Top 7 Acting Schools in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the center for aspiring actors looking to learn the craft of acting and pursue a career in television and film. With so many schools and classes to choose from, finding the right one can be very confusing.

To help you on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of 7 great acting programs in Los Angeles with exceptional training, supportive community, and inspiring mentorship.

 

Best University Acting Program

 

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA SCHOOL OF DRAMATIC ARTS

817 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, California 90089-6230

The USC School of Dramatic Arts —formerly the USC School of Theatre, is a private drama school at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. It is ranked one of the top 10 dramatic arts schools in the world, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The BFA in Acting for Stage and Screen is a 4-year curriculum that connects the foundation of classical theatre with innovative training for the contemporary performing artist in the digital landscape — including on-camera techniques, voice-over, and much more. This degree must also complete a series of general education courses required by the university.

To audition, applicants should send in a videotape of one classical monologue and one contemporary monologue. Each piece should be no longer than 90 seconds in length, memorized, and performed in the context of the entire play.

University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts

213-821-2744

https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/programs/undergraduate/bfa-in-acting/

 

Best Acting School to Study Technique 

 

THE ELIZABETH MESTNIK ACTING STUDIO (EMAS). 

4713 Lankershim Blvd.  North Hollywood, CA 91602

 

For 23 years Elizabeth Mestnik has been fostering a supportive and comprehensive training program for aspiring adult actors looking to hone their craft and build their careers. Based in The Meisner Technique, EMAS focuses on developing the skills needed to strengthen the actor’s imagination, expand their emotional range, find their voice, and discover what it takes to be a great actor. Classes are conservatory level without having to be enrolled full-time.

Students come from a variety of backgrounds, creating a diverse and inclusive environment that engages different perspectives. This allows students to deepen their understanding of the world and the characters they will be asked to play. The EMAS community is more collaborative than competitive with alumni coming back to help current students navigate the industry.

Students benefit from personalized attention and a curriculum that covers Meisner Technique for those pursuing acting professionally, Scene Study for professional actors who want to keep working on their craft, and Acting for Beginners classes for those who have little to no acting experience but want to explore the process and see where it takes them. Their faculty includes experienced professionals who have worked in film, television, and theater and mentor their students through the unique challenges involved in pursuing an acting career.

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is ranked as the Top Acting Program in Los Angeles by CBS,  Backstage, and other industry publications.

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

www.emasla.com

323-528-6280

 

Best Youth Acting School 

 

THE YOUNG ACTOR’S STUDIO

5215 Lankershim Blvd.North Hollywood, California 91601

 

The Young Actor’s Studio is an acting school dedicated to developing the young actor’s craft through classes, workshops, and productions. Founded in 1996, TYAS was created as a supportive and nurturing environment for young actors to develop acting skills.  Their focus is on the storytelling process- whether it be for television, film, or theater. Students dedicate themselves to learning the craft of acting so that they may fully serve the story. They concentrate on students developing a solid technique that can take them wherever the industry demands.

Acting programs are divided into Kids’ classes and Teens’ classes.  They are both centered around encouraging and praising each student for who they are and merging this into their work. They offer technique classes that teach how to approach a performance as well as a performance-based class that teaches students how to apply the technique to a scene or monologue.

TYAS also offers a three-week summer program in July. This program includes acting technique, voice/movement, on-camera work, improv, and the opportunity to work on a full production.

 

The Young Actor’s Studio

https://www.youngactorsstudio.com/acting-classes/

 

Best Full-Time Acting Conservatory 

 

THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF DRAMATIC ARTS

1336 N La Brea Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90028

 

This Full-time Associates Degree program provides students with an immersion in acting. In addition to acting classes, students will also study theatre history, world civilizations and culture, script and character analysis. And of course, students also receive a practical study of foundational acting techniques, including Strasberg, Meisner, and Hagen. Other required classes include Movement, Vocal Production, Speech, Stage Combat, Period Styles, and Stage Management.

AADA’s instructors are invaluable mentors as actors, singers, writers, and directors with a wealth of professional and educational knowledge. They provide support to the students throughout their educational experience.

AADA also offers a 4-week summer intensive for students ages 12-16.  This program is taught by the same professional instructors who oversee the full-time Conservatory.

Famous alumni include Jessica Chastain, Danny DeVito and Adam Scott

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts

https://www.aada.edu/

 

Best Commercial Acting Class

 

KILLIANS COMMERCIAL WORKSHOPS – online

 

Commercial Acting is a very specific skill set that requires you not only know how to act, but how to improvise, slate,  deliver one-liners, or do a scene without dialogue. Killian’s Workshop offers live online classes to help actors navigate commercial auditions in the ever-evolving industry. Killians offers a 4-week program to fine-tune the self-tape audition process so you can start booking jobs. The work is still out there, so it is important to hone those skills and give the client BEYOND what they are hoping for with your submissions.

 

Killian McHugh, the creator of Killian’s Workshop, began working in commercial casting in the early 2000s. He has worked for most of the top commercial offices in Los Angeles and worked with most of the top commercial directors as either an on-camera principal actor or through the casting process.

Killian’s Workshops

ONLINE

https://killians-workshop.myshopify.com/collections/classes

Best Voice-Over Training

 

KALMENSON & KALMENSON

KALMENSON AND KALMENSON is known to the actors and agents as a premiere training facility for those performers who are seriously committed to a successful career in voice-over.  They have been in the voice-over business for over 50 years. Their daily contact with producers keeps their finger on the pulse of the industry, keeping current with trends and attitudes that are in demand.   

They provide voice-acting training relevant to commercials, animation, narration and interactive video gaming. They are proud that they have a range of classes and can guide each prospective student to the voice-over class that best fits their skill level.

Kalmenson & Kalmenson

818-377-3600

https://kalmenson.com/voice-over-education/

Best Improvisation Class

 

THE GROUNDLINGS. 7280 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, California

 

The Groundlings has taught improv and sketch comedy for 50 years to hundreds of Los Angeles actors each year and boasts some of comedy’s best improvisers. Actors like Melissa McCarthy, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Lisa Kudrow have earned their stripes there, graduating from their progressive curriculum. 

 

Their mission statement is to endeavor to produce the highest quality shows and educational programs that amplify and showcase performers and students’ individual points of view. They seek to build a diverse community of unique comedic actors, writers, improvisers, teachers, and students who perform material with an emphasis on characters.

 

People new to Improv can drop into a one-day class such as Improv for Beginners and work their way up through their Core Track and Lab Tracks, with a fortunate few to be selected for the Main and Sunday Companies.  Students have the opportunity to perform once a month in the Groundling Student Performances (GSP).

 

The. Groundlings

https://groundlings.com/school/online-classes

[email protected]

The Power of Repetition: A Deep Dive into a Key Meisner Exercise

Introduction

  • Brief Overview of Meisner Technique: Start by providing a concise introduction to the Meisner technique, emphasizing its focus on realism and emotional honesty.
  • Importance of Repetition Exercise: Highlight why the repetition exercise is crucial in Meisner training.

The Repetition Exercise Explained

  • The Basics: Describe the basic structure of the exercise, where two actors repetitively exchange a phrase, focusing on each other’s behavior and reactions.
  • Objective: Explain the objective of this exercise – to develop actors’ instincts for listening, reacting, and being in the moment.

The Power of Repetition

  • Breaking Down Barriers: Discuss how repetition helps actors break down internal barriers and become more responsive to their scene partners.
  • Building Authentic Responses: Illustrate how this exercise leads to spontaneous, authentic responses rather than pre-planned reactions.

Advancing the Exercise

  • Progression: Detail how the exercise evolves over time, from simple repetition to incorporating emotional changes and physical actions.
  • Application in Scenes: Show how the skills developed in this exercise apply to actual scene work.

Student Experiences

  • Testimonials: Include quotes or stories from students who have experienced breakthroughs or significant learning moments through this exercise.
  • Visuals: If possible, integrate photos or videos from your classes showing the exercise in action.

Conclusion

  • Summarize the Value: Reiterate the importance of the repetition exercise in developing a Meisner actor’s skill set.
  • Encouragement to Try: Encourage readers, whether beginners or experienced actors, to explore the Meisner technique and experience the power of repetition first-hand.

Call-to-Action

  • Join a Class: Invite readers to sign up for a Meisner class at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio.
  • Further Learning: Suggest additional resources, like books or videos, for those interested in deepening their understanding of the Meisner technique.

This blog post will not only educate aspiring actors about a key component of the Meisner technique but also serves to inspire and invite them to explore the method further under your guidance at the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio.

Happy Holidays from Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio!

As the holiday season approaches, we at Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio want to extend our warmest wishes to all our students, faculty, and supporters. This time of year reminds us to cherish the connections we’ve made and the growth we’ve witnessed, both on stage and off.

As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on the wonderful moments and achievements within our community. Your passion and dedication to the art of acting inspire us every day. Let’s continue to foster creativity and pursue our dreams with vigor in the coming year.

May your holidays be filled with joy, laughter, and heartwarming experiences. We’re excited to see what 2024 will bring and look forward to continuing this incredible journey with all of you.

Happy Holidays!

With gratitude and best wishes,

Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio

Refresh Topics for Meisner Students

1. Moment-to-Moment Listening and Responding:

Overview: In the realm of acting, nothing is more fundamental than genuine connection between performers. Meisner emphasized the pure essence of being present and truly hearing what your scene partner conveys.

Why Refresh? As actors continue in their career, it’s not uncommon to fall into patterns or routines, leading them away from organic, spontaneous reactions. The danger here is the onset of complacency, where performances may start feeling staged rather than genuine. By revisiting and reinforcing the principle of moment-to-moment listening and responding, actors can shed these habits, ensuring every interaction on stage or on screen feels as real as those in our daily lives.


2. Emotional Preparation:

Overview: An actor’s ability to summon genuine emotions on demand is pivotal for the believability of a scene. Meisner techniques provide tools to tap into a deep well of emotions, bridging personal experiences with the character’s circumstances.

Why Refresh? Emotions are complex, and accessing them requires sensitivity and practice. Over time, actors might find themselves relying on surface-level emotions rather than delving deep. Renewed training in emotional preparation can rejuvenate an actor’s ability to resonate with the core of their character’s feelings, delivering a performance that truly connects with the audience.


3. Repetition Exercise:

Overview: The repetition exercise, foundational to Meisner training, aims to keep actors in the present, emphasizing genuine reactions over rehearsed responses.

Why Refresh? With time and frequent usage, even the most organic exercises can start to feel rote or mechanical. As actors advance, they might overthink or anticipate during repetitions. By revisiting this exercise, they can re-establish spontaneity, ensuring their reactions remain raw, instinctive, and devoid of preconception.


4. Physical Actions and Objectives:

Overview: A character’s internal life often manifests physically. Their desires, conflicts, and emotions drive their actions, and Meisner training emphasizes the truthful execution of these actions.

Why Refresh? Physical choices can sometimes fall into stereotypical or overused patterns. A refresher on determining specific, varied, and genuine physical actions can reinvigorate an actor’s performance, adding layers of nuance and authenticity that keep the audience engaged and believing.


5. Character Analysis and Personalization:

Overview: To truly embody a character, an actor must understand them inside and out. This entails a deep dive into their background, motivations, relationships, and psyche.

Why Refresh? As actors encounter numerous roles, there’s a risk of approaching characters with preconceived notions or cliched interpretations. Refresher training encourages actors to shed biases and rediscover the joy of exploration, finding fresh insights and personal connections that make each portrayal unique and compelling.


In the dynamic and demanding world of acting, foundational techniques remain the bedrock of great performances. Regularly revisiting these techniques is not just a nod to tradition; it’s an essential practice that ensures every role is approached with fresh eyes, deep understanding, and authentic expression.

Our Los Angeles Acting Classes: The Path to Success in the Industry

Are you an aspiring actor looking to take your craft to the next level? Look no further than EMAS, the premier acting school in Los Angeles. Our Los Angeles acting classes are designed to provide you with the skills, knowledge, and experience you need to succeed in the highly competitive world of acting.

At EMAS, we offer a range of core classes, including our Meisner Technique and Beginning Acting foundational courses. Our Meisner Technique is the foundation of our discipline, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in the moment and connect with their scene partners on a deep, emotional level. Our Beginning Acting class is perfect for those just starting out in their acting journey, providing a solid foundation in the basics of acting technique.

But we don’t stop there. We also offer supplemental courses designed to help you refine specific tools and grow as a working actor. Our Scene Study and On Camera classes allow you to refine your craft and stay sharp, while our Actor’s Life & Business course teaches you the ins and outs of the industry so that you can succeed both on and off camera.

For students ready to commit to an immersive acting program, we offer a Conservatory Training Program. This program is designed to provide you with the most comprehensive acting education possible, with classes covering everything from the Meisner Technique to on-camera auditioning and even Shakespeare.

And if you’re looking for something more specialized, we’ve got you covered there too. Our Speech for the Actor class will help you master the art of diction and vocal projection, while our Movement Program will help you develop physical awareness and control. We even offer a Los Angeles Shakespeare class for those interested in classic theater.

But that’s not all. At EMAS, we also offer acting workshops throughout the year, including Commercials and The Business of Acting. These workshops are designed to provide you with the practical skills and knowledge you need to succeed in the real world of acting.

At EMAS, we believe that acting is a craft that requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to lifelong learning. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing our students with the best Los Angeles acting classes possible. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro looking to refine your skills, we’ve got the classes and programs you need to take your acting to the next level. So why wait? Enroll in our Los Angeles acting classes today and start your journey to becoming a working actor!

2023 EMASLA GIVEAWAY

The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is proud to announce the Welcoming 2023 Giveaway.

We’ve had an amazing 2022 and are excited to make 2023 even better. We appreciate all of our students and look forward to all the students who will join us in the upcoming year.
To celebrate, we are giving away 2 amazing gifts to help you on your acting journey.
Grand Prize:
– Two 1-hour long coaching sessions with Elizabeth Mestnik – either online or in person in our studio(A $250 value)
2nd prize
Book Bundle:
– The Actor’s Art and Craft – William Esper
– Respect for Acting – Uta Hagen
– Bird by Bird – Anne Lamotte
– The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

In Order to Enter Our Giveaway:

Just follow us, like this post and answer this question in the comments to enter:
Why Do You Want To Become An Actor?

View EITHER our Facebook post OR our Instagram post and comment your answer to win:

 

Giveaway Dates:

January 23rd, 2023 – February 28th, 2023

 

Giveaway Restrictions:

  • US Only Residents.
  • Must Be Over 18 Years Old
  • Coaching Sessions Must be Redeemed within 1 Year of Giveaway Announcement.

 

 

Introduction to the Meisner Technique

“To be an interesting actor – hell, to be an interesting human being – you must be authentic and for you to be authentic you must embrace who you really are, warts and all. Do you have any idea how liberating it is to not care what people think about you? Well, that’s what we’re here to do.” – Sanford Meisner on Acting

You might wonder what actors do to learn their craft. Of course, it takes a lot of practice, but to really succeed, an actor needs the right approach. One approach that many actors have had success with is called the Meisner Technique, which was developed by Sanford Meisner, an American theater practitioner.

In some approaches to acting, like Strasburg’s method, the process is very internal, reaching inside to remember actual memories to emotionally connect. The Meisner Technique is different, in that it’s much more external.
Actors focus less on themselves, and more on the other actors around them. This allows them to be in the moment and not in the past. And all emotion is a byproduct of what they are doing and the stakes of their scene. It’s a technique where the emotion behind the words is as important, if not more, than the words themselves. It differs from method acting, which focuses more on the character’s internal thoughts and feelings. The Meisner technique focuses on the other actor, or actors, in the scene.

An actor training in the Meisner technique will participate in several training exercises, each one building on the previous one. These exercises are improvisational, meaning they are without scripts. Students first learn to listen, then learn to access an emotional life, then they learn how to allow their emotions to create behavior, and then finally learn to bring the spontaneous style of improvisation and the emotions of personal response to a dramatic text. The technique develops an open and available instrument, improvisational skills, as well as empowers actors to interpret a script, and create the physical characteristics of the character being played.

Repetition Exercise

The repetition exercise is the foundation of the Meisner technique. It involves two actors standing across from each other, responding to each other with a phrase that’s repeated. At first, the phrase focuses on some physical property, such as “You’re wearing blue jeans.” But as the exercise continues, the phrase becomes more about the actors’ behavior, such as “You look upset with me.” The way the words are spoken changes in tone, intensity and overall meaning as each actor reacts to the behavior of the other actor. This causes the actor to stop thinking about what to say and do, and answer in a more spontaneous fashion.

How the Technique Was Developed

Sanford Meisner began developing his acting approach back in the 1930s, while working with the Group Theatre. Over the next five decades, he would continue to refine it, while he was head of the acting program at New York City’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre, as well as a teacher of private acting classes. As time went on, he would drop some exercises if he thought they weren’t effective, and he developed new exercises to help solve some of the problems his students were having. In 1980, a group of alumni decided to preserve his teachings for the actors of future generations.

List of Meisner-Trained Actors

The list of Meisner-trained actors is a long one. Some notable names include:
Keiko Agena
Kathy Bates
Chadwick Boseman
Néstor Carbonell
Stephen Colbert
Charles Michael Davis
Alexandra Daddario
Griffin Dunne
Robert Duvall
James Gandolfini
Jeff Goldblum
Regina Hall
Diane Keaton
Grace Kelly
Natasha Lyonne
Johnathan Majors
Tatiana Maslany
Christopher Meloni
Michelle Meyrink
Carrie-Anne Moss
Joakim Nätterqvist
Michael Paré
Maria Pitillo
Sydney Pollack
Sam Rockwell
Mark Rydell
Amy Schumer
Amanda Setton
Nawazuddin Siddiqui
Jurnee Smollett
Ed Speleers
Sebastian Stan
Mary Steenburgen
Jon Voight
Christoph Waltz
Naomi Watts
Wil Wheaton
Chad Willett

Conclusion

The Meisner technique has stood the test of time and has proven to be a highly effective technique for a great many successful actors. Training in the Meisner technique should be considered for anyone serious about getting into the acting profession.

Los Angeles Acting School and Classes