Joining an acting class is the very first step towards building a career as an actor. It’s where you get your feet wet, understand what acting is about, whether you like it or not, and how the process of “acting” really works. It’s your place to experiment, fail, succeed and learn.
It’s important to pick an acting class that’s right for you and your goals. Be sure that you’re learning the good stuff and not acquiring any new bad habits which will be difficult to remove later. Ensure that you click with the teacher and understand what you’re taught.
If you’re in London (or moving here), and need help finding the best acting classes, drama clubs, drama schools and other acting communities, I recommend you take a look at London Acting Training Directory which has everything regarding actor training that London has to offer.
It’s exciting once you have picked your acting class and are getting ready to attend your first session. On the other hand, you may also feel a little overwhelmed and not know what to expect from your first class. Not to worry, because virtually every new aspiring actor feels the same about their first acting class.
Below, you’ll find some advice and tips on how to make sure you are fully prepared for your very first acting class, and know a little bit about what to expect out of it.
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16 Ways To Prepare For Your First Acting Class
1. Stop imagining the worst-case scenario
The first thing to do is to prepare yourself mentally and this means overcoming those nagging doubts, worries and worst case scenario images that you will probably be imagining.
Your first acting class is your first step to achieving your goals – to become a better actor, to learn new acting skills or to gain more confidence in your own abilities. We all tend to imagine the worst when we are trying something different so don’t allow your fears to take over.
Stay positive and think positive. Tell yourself you will enjoy your first acting class and it will be a great experience.
2. Familiarize yourself with drama games
Even if you have studied acting at school or have taken part in drama games before it is always better to familiarize yourself with them again.
Most acting classes use drama games as a way to enhance actor’s focus and concentration and encourage creativity. They are often great fun. Here is a link to give you some ideas of drama games that are often used in an acting class.
3. Be prepared to learn breathing and relaxation techniques
Most drama classes begin with warm up exercises that involve working on your breathing so you learn to take in a lot of air and use it to its full potential for example. Breathing exercises also help to control anxiety, which is a must for an actor.
Muscle stretching exercises eliminate tension form the body which allows looser movement and will help you familiarize yourself with your body. Trying some of these exercises at home before you attend you your first class will help you get used to them and help to prevent you from feeling awkward.
4. Familiarize yourself with the teacher/school/other students beforehand
If it’s possible, it can be a good idea to meet your teacher prior to your first acting class or visit the drama school beforehand to get familiar with the surroundings.
People tend to feel more comfortable in surroundings that they have been in before and knowing what room you will be in or meeting your teacher for a few minutes before your first class will put you at ease.
5. Be prepared to try new things
Becoming a good actor relies on using your knowledge of emotions and experience to portray them realistically. Therefore, it is important that you have experienced feeling uncomfortable, angry or sad.
Sometimes you may be asked to take part in an activity that you are not sure about, or have never attempted before, but this is a vital part of becoming a good actor. If you are mentally prepared to take on any new challenges you are faced with you are likely to just get on with it and see what happens.
6. Get comfortable with showing others your skills
Many people think that actors are full of self-confidence, however this is not always the case. Many actors can be quite shy and sometimes even struggle to perform in front of others. Overcoming these feelings is all part of learning how to become a good actor and there are things you can do before a class to help you.
Perhaps you could read a monologue aloud to a friend or family member that you trust, or even recite some dialogue with some movement from a favourite movie scene? Little things like this can help you get used to ‘performing’ in front of others and may lessen your anxiety if you are asked to do this during your first class.
7. Be prepared to work in a group or individually
Teamwork is an essential part of acting and even if your first class is a private lesson with your teacher you will probably have to carry out activities with her.
Many people are more comfortable working and learning alone while others prefer to be in a larger group, so preparing yourself with the idea that group work and individual work might be required will mean you are ready to try any activity asked of you.
8. Be ready to express your emotions
You may be asked to take part in a role play activity that will require you to draw on your own feelings or experiences of a situation.
Sometimes during role play an actor can get so involved in the scenario that they display real anger or even cry. This is absolutely fine and shows an ability to put yourself in another person’s shoes. So, don’t think you can’t express any real emotions during your class, you can.
9. Be prepared to make mistakes
Making mistakes is an integral part of the learning process and it’s expected. If you always expect to do everything perfectly all the time you will end up feeling like you have failed and that will take away anything positive.
Be ready to make mistakes and don’t worry about it. You will learn what not to do the next time.
10. Familiarize yourself with improvisation
Improvisation is a well-known and well used drama technique and it’s an activity that you might be asked to do during your first class.
Get familiar with what improvisation is and what you can learn from it.
11. Become as comfortable as possible with your own voice
Your voice is an essential tool and over the course of your acting classes you will learn how to use it well. Even during your first acting class it is very likely you will be speaking and there are a few things you can do at home to help you with this.
Record yourself saying something, then play it back. Try the same again speaking in another tone or accent. This will help you get used to projecting your voice and prevent you from feeling embarrassed about speaking clearly during your first class.
12. Practise talking to yourself in front of a mirror
This simple exercise can be done whenever you have the time and it will help build upon your confidence and ensure that you do not feel self-conscious about speaking aloud in a group or on a one to one with your teacher.
13. Remember why you signed up for acting classes
First time nerves can sometimes take away the enjoyment if you let it, so every time a niggle of doubt or worry about attending your first acting class, remind yourself why you want to go and what you hope to achieve at the end.
14. Plan what to wear beforehand
Feeling comfortable in the clothes you wear to your class is very important.
Some students prefer to wear gym clothes to a class so they can move freely, whereas others wear their regular clothes. Think about what you will feel more comfortable in before the day and that will take away a last-minute panic.
15. Don’t panic and tell yourself you will have fun
Lastly, try not to panic. Many students report that after they have attended their first class they realised they were worrying about nothing. It’s important that you are learning new skills and techniques but it’s just as important to have fun as well.
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