HOW TO START AN ACTING CLASS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM


 
The front page headline blared: "WOULD BE ACTOR GETS 15 years."A 24 yr old French boy Charles Robinet, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for robbing an LA bank. He told the judge he'd done it to pay for acting lessons."
We should be compassionate. Today, a young wannabe in Hollywood who needs an acting coach or "DRAMA CLASS", pays 150$ to $175 a month for just four classes. OUCHEY! These teachers have a dozen people in there, paying roughly 40$ per person, or $400 minimum for a night. These sons of guns really STICK it to the obsessed, desperate and hungry, don't they? MORE THAN A SHRINK EARNS and a SHRINK has to go thru MED SCHOOL and INTERN! There's a HUGE SCAM going on in this town.

Let's do ourselves a BIG favor. START YOUR OWN LIVING ROOM GROUP ACTING class and SERVE THE COMMUNITY. Most of the actors you'd find in L.A. who might NEED the FREE ACTORS' CO-OP have gone to such classes before. The idea is, get them to assemble in your living room and use their years of expertise to coach each other, to critique one another's scenes and improvs, do skits, practice stand up comedy routines..

Between the group you attract with your Craigs list ads, they'll know more acting exercises and games than you'd ever need. I needed a writing group, I started my own, the L.A. Free Screenwriters' Co-Op. In my living room. I let it be known with a free ad in DRAMALOGUE magazine that we were starting this group. One can put a free ad in many magazines that are in healthfood stores,the WHOLE LIFE JOURNAL type mags. They put your ads in for free if it's a free group. And last there is CRAIGS LIST for L.A or any city in USA or EUROPE/ OR ASIA! A huge resource. 

YOU WILL HAVE MORE PEOPLE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE. CALL YOUR group the L.A. FREE ACTORS' CO-OP. All you need is for one of your group to have a nice sized LIVING ROOM. Everyone leaves their shoes at the door, in the entry hall so the carpets don't get old. Serve punch and cookies. (take a collection for that.) First month or so, do improvs only. You know what an improvisation is? If not, don't worry. The other actors will and you'll be doing it sooner than you imagine. Then, when 'you're all pals,' start on SCENES FOR ACTORS, you know THE RAINMAKER, OUR TOWN, the usual scenes.

THE GROUP itself plays the part of the teacher and cooperatively 'critiques' fellow members. Most of us have been in some drama class and know 'games to play' and what a 'sense memory' exercise is. We do not need a teacher to play God and critique us. The group can usually do it more charitably. Later on, members of the group will 'show up' who can direct a little. 


Or-- if you're in LA OR NEW YORK, you can get a professional actress or actor or director to come over and critique the group.  

I was an actress, see me at imdb.com and I know I could run an acting class but my living room is too full of cats, and too small. A big living room with a lot of seating is required. You can attract a dozen students when you start out. So the house you rent now would work and there's no reason for ACTING COACHES to be so very costly and let's face it, actors who are starting out are strapped. So try to think like a spiritual person does. Charge l0$ tops per classroom. 

Read Lee Strasberg's books, available at ABEBOOKS.com  and read STELLA ADLER's books. She rewrote the concepts of Stanislavsky and made them easy and clear to understand. 

EARLY in the game, remind the students that if you want to be a director one day, help out by directing other actors. So the group doesn't get sadistically 'tear-down' on one another, ask them to remember a few rules. The good teacher criticizes how a student executed his choices, whether believably or not, whether with energy and focus or not. NO ONE should attack the choice you made. Plot wise. Action wise. After all, you're not screenwriters. Maybe the reason that you flinch when they open the jar is because you had your ex's head in that jar. That choice is OKAY if you made it. How you executed the FLINCH is what gets critiqued, were you believeable as you tried to keep your dinner guest's hands off your jar.

Everything actors do or know is summed up in two words, concentration and ENERGY. The concentration is about focus. Everything comes out of that, the being there on the stage alone, having the 'walls' around you, so the audience literally does not existů Important is the listening, the not being up in your head (a terrified actor who is planning, but being a REAL PERSON, really in that situation doing some genuine reacting, genuine feeling and that takes focus and relaxation.

When the actor concentrates, there should be no audience there. Only a third wall there. The actor does not see the camera. Getting relaxed and free enough to be alone on stage when there is an audience or a camera is what it's about. So relaxation is FOCUS is FREEDOM.

Next, ENERGY. That's almost totally conferred by diet and exercise. Stars are energetic people. They don't mumble. They're intense, alive. THEY STICK OUT. You can learn to eat energy producing foods and have energy and practice SHOWERING the room with energy when you're on stage, and when you get free, relaxed and focused, you'll learn to work BIGGER. But mostly filmwork or tv doesn't require REAL BIG, energetic work, so don't worry about size. Only on Broadway does size count.

NEXT, the directors who have video cameras can shoot the actors doing scenes they've prepared so you have FILM ON YOURSELF for auditions at studios. Directors want to see you on film. They can't imagine what you're like just in person so FILM is good. Video is super cheap to work in, and to duplicate or transfer to professional size so you can all collect a library of film on yourself suitable for job interviews!$. (You can train the group to be SPY SHOPPERS with the smallerversion spy camera or IPOD, and they can each make l00$ a day.)

So these are things we can create, do, practice for nearly free -- without paying $175 a month to some coach. INSTEAD use your hard earned money for good B&W headshots, photographs. Better yet, find a member of the group with a 35mm camera, and one day, you all shoot your headshots with two rolls of film. Develop them for a five spot, pick the best, and do cropping marks on the picture and take it back to the Kodak booth for photo finishing. The photos are the real key to getting jobs, so make yourself LOOK four different ways. A villain, a sexpot, a nice PTA parent, and an insane person.

See, if you don't have to work so hard and long earning $175 for a photo shoot, right away you free up some money for B&w 35 mm. film, developing, and then blowing the final selections up into 8 by 10s, (even for some VIDEO footage of you acting in scenes, so you can show the required "FILM ON YOURSELF" then you will require one more thing. The DUPING of your 8x10's at HOLLYWOOD FAN FOTO l00 glossies are necessary. You get a l000 for 29$. A composite is really the best way to start your acting career. Four different pictures on ONE 8x10, which these film fan foto places do, showing you looking four different ways. A young thug, a kid, a parent, an ingenue look, a villain look. And your stage name on the bottom. Check with SAG that no one else has your stage name! 

It's good to find a partime way to earn your daily bread. You must survive while you seek fame in acting, without a 'real punch in at 8 a.m. job.' If you don't have to work 40 hours a week to make it in Hollywood, you free up time to pound the pavement and see agents, go on interviews, get parttime extra work.But you don't need a big 40 hour job. You won't have to earn $l75 for the acting coach, or 400$ for the photos, or 500$ for the video film working 5 days a week at minimum wage. That steals too much of your time. 

To make it in LA you really have to get a 'cottage industry' self-employed kind of job. Most of my actor pals give holistic massage at 100$ an hour. Only do same-sex clients as pretty actors are always getting hit on.

Then what you do is carry your biz cards full time and talk to people in super market lines so you can meet clients daily and be in charge of the 'meeting' thing. Next, attend new age groups, yoga classes or the Agape Church as these people sitting next to you are the upscale clients you'll need.

Soon, the interviews come and from them the acting jobs. You can make a thousand a day once the acting gigs come, so this really is a way to make a living and SAG has wonderful pension plans, health care if you can continue working.

I feel that with any popular career, where competition is dangerous, you MUST have a second, moonlighting job and the New Age is full of them and they're lucrative in any big city, so if you finally 'get out of show business' your 'other career' can be your safety net.

So start that Actors' Co-op! I truly believe the frugal way is the right way. The happiest man is the one who needs no money. Money we can get because we were given ingeniousness by God. Let's USE it!

Anita Sands began studying at the Players Ring at age 15, acting in Hollywood at age l8, was represented by William Morris Agency, starred in DIARY OF A HIGH SCHOOL BRIDE, by AIP, and guest starred on Bonanza, Maverick, Dobie Gillis where she's played opposite Charles Bronson, Roger Moore, Warren Beatty and Michael Landon. As an astrologer, she's read for Liza Minelli, Courtney Love, (who thanks her in album jacket to America's Sweetheart,) Sally Kirkland, Joni Mitchell,  Jimmy Connors, Michael Stipe, Rosemary and Bob Stack, Michael Learned, Nicolas Cage, Patricia Arquette, Joan Hackett, Laverne and Shirley, Producer George Litto, Teri Garr, New age Guru, late author Carlos Castaneda,  Yogi Bhajan for 35 yrs, and the ex President of India, Dyal Singh. Visit her at her website "FREE DAILY HOROSCOPES" found at http://home.earthlink.net/~astrology Ask her to send you the POWER HOURS, something which you will want to use to go and meet an agent/ or do your actual job interviews as then, you'll get the job! And there are many articles on 'new age cottage industry jobs' that will give you cash, free you up for acting.