Actors Studio: The Best Screen Acting Course in London
To be the best at your job you must never stop learning. Even seasoned actors who have achieved great success are constantly looking for new ways to enhance their skills. An area that drama schools place little importance on is screen technique. Like many performers my skills are deeply rooted in theatre. Screen acting is something I have had to pick up on the job. Recently I was cast in a role that required me to cry on screen. Amongst the mayhem of the busy set I felt extremely distracted and once we had wrapped I doubted the strength of my performance. The director seemed happy but feeling like you could have done better is an awful feeling for an actor. On set there is rarely time to ask those important questions and that can make you feel unprepared.
I have worked on a handful of film/TV sets before and it is safe to say screen acting is a totally different beast from theatre. I decided that if I am going to be booking screen jobs then I should get some more training under my belt. After endless research and recommendations from within the industry I signed up to Actors Studio. It proved to be a great investment for the following reasons;
Working with industry leaders.
Something that was really important for me was to learn from teachers who are still working in the industry themselves to make sure the training was relevant. Tim Kent ran a successful acting agency representing many household names for 12 years. He has an incredible depth of knowledge of the industry and he now works as an award-winning director and producer based at Pinewood Studios. Working with Tim in a relaxed but professional environment helped me develop my skills and get honest feedback. It helped me to realise where I need to position myself in the industry to suit my casting and to get seen for better roles. The course caters to all levels, which means you may find yourself acting alongside TV regulars who are also there to hone their skills and learn from the best teachers. Mel Churcher and Steve Finn also lead courses there and they are both very well respected and experienced coaches.
2. Learning technique.
Areas covered were continuity, eye-lines, shot sizes, framing, cold reading, audition technique to name but a few. Whether you are learning these skills for the first time or further developing them being ready when you walk on set is crucial. Not being prepared will waste time, annoy the director and could cost the production money. We studied characterisation for screen and used exercises to look at how you can communicate emotions using only your eyes. Watching this technique in practice was fascinating and it gave me a whole new level of respect for screen actors and the detail involved in giving a great performance.
3. A showreel tailored to your casting
If you are serious about getting in the audition room, then the most important thing you have as an actor is your showreel. I have wasted a lot of time acting for free in low budget films that have not provided me with good footage or worse still they never sent me the footage in the first place! On the course the script was chosen for me based on my casting and the type of characters I wanted to show myself playing. The scenes were shot with a ten man crew who all work in the industry and are extremely skilled at what they do. They decorated the sets beautifully and left no leaf unturned when it came to attention to detail. The scenes looked authentic and professional and it looks like footage taken straight from a BBC drama. Bingo!
4. Working at Pinewood Studios
Film studios are really exciting places. There were a handful of Hollywood features being filmed during the week I was there. I even got a glimpse of some of the stars who were training for one of the most highly anticipated action movies of the year. The buzz I got from being part of this world gave me a feeling of determination. Spending the week working here was great fun and it was good to experience what it would be like to work at the studios.
5. Value for money
Film acting classes can be expensive so investing in the best course for you is essential. I had a showreel made from scratch a few years that cost about £400 and the price included no training or workshops. Getting a good showreel is one of the best investments you can make into your career. After all you cannot put a price on landing your dream role. The course was perfect for me because not only did I walk away with a great showreel to help me get noticed for the right reasons but I learnt techniques to help me deliver a stronger performance every time.
When choosing your training make sure you find tutors who are active in the industry. Teachers with experience in working with actors are ideal because they will not just regurgitate the techniques but they will also help you do the character exploration and stress the importance of a good audition. Actors Studio has helped me develop my skills, know my casting, network, be confident and build the foundations to be the sort of actor directors will want to work with time and time again.
Written by Rebecca Ward – Student of Actors Studio
Rebecca took the 5 Day Screen Acting course in January 2017 lead by Tim Kent. For more information about our courses, and how we can help you launch a career in screen acting see the Courses page of our website, or call us today on 01753 650951.