Could you send me a brochure?
We would be happy to. You can also download the ACTeen brochure online. (an exact replica of the one we send through the mail) if you have a PDF viewer such as the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not know whether you have this reader, just click on the brochure link and your browser will let you know.
When are the classes held?
During the school year, classes are held on Saturdays or late afternoons during the week. Summer class times and schedules vary. Click “Courses > Semesters ” and click term of choice (“Fall,” “Spring,” etc.) and click either “Introductory” or “Alumni” Courses for times, dates, and complete schedule information.
How much do your classes cost?
After clicking “Courses > Semesters ” choose your preferred term. Fees are listed after each course, or in the case of full summer programs (June, July, or August Academy) fees are listed after each program number (click “Program One” or “Program Two” etc.). Most eight wk/session courses are $375.
How do I apply?
After clicking “Courses > Semesters ” , look for the “Dates, Discounts, & Registration Information" link under Fall or Spring Program for complete details. An interview is requested at our NYC studios before registration. A videochat or phone interview may be substituted if necessary.
For Summer Applicants see the Summer Admissions page. There you will find complete information regarding submitting Summer Application, application fee, and audition specifics. If you live too far away to visit our studios, you can still apply, via our “long distance application” by sending by mail your summer application, photo, application fee, a optional letter of recommendation, and a DVD recording or online link of your monologue(s) audition. When all materials are received a phone interview may be arranged.
What’s involved in the interview or audition?
We request an interview for all students before registration for our 8-Week Semester: (Fall Program, Winter Program or Spring Program) and an audition and interview for our Summer Academy. The interview is a chance for us to get to know each other, show our studios and facilities, and discover the needs of each teen to better recommend course selections. The audition for the Summer Academy consists of one or two, 1 ½ to 2 minute memorized monologues from any source. See our “Links” page for suggestions on finding appropriate monologue material. If requested, the director can supply a cold reading. We prefer teens come with a parent or guardian who is invited to a brief discussion period following the interview/audition. We’re happy to answer questions to be sure the needs of the student, parent, (and ACTeen) are met.
What if I can’t audition in New York City?
You can still apply for any of our summer programs by submitting our “long distance application” . Typically we ask for the summer application/questionnaire, photo, letter of recommendation, optional DVD of your audition monologue(s), and application fee. When all the forms and materials have arrived at ACTeen, we usually conduct a phone interview, where we may ask to speak to a parent or guardian as well.
Occasionally scheduling conflicts prevent a Fall, Winter or Spring Program interview. Under special circumstances, we may substitute a telephone interview for the on-site interview. Additionally, students who are recommended to ACTeen by agents or managers have the interview requirement waived (but must still audition for our summer programs).
Where do I get a registration form?
Since we request on-site interviews before registration, we typically give out registration forms after the interview. For Summer Academy applicants who must schedule an audition, we notify accepted actors promptly, and the appropriate registration form is included in the packet. If you lose your form, or are a returning student (alumnus) you can find the registration forms for each semester here.
Who teaches the classes?
The ACTeen staff is exemplary — they understand the demands of the business because they are in the business. All are adults from professional acting, directing, or casting backgrounds. Many also teach in colleges, universities, and other acting conservatories with the majority holding advanced degrees. The small class size fosters a close personal relationship between students and faculty. Teachers work creatively to tailor scenes and exercises to each student. (See our “Staff” page).
In addition, students in the Commercial workshop audition for a NYC commercial casting director, while several guest casting professionals teach students in the Audition workshop. Full-time Summer Academy students work with 6 to 8 different experienced instructors as well as special Guest Artists. Students thrive in this exciting atmosphere. (See “Letters From Our Students”.)
Do you teach beginners?
We work with beginners and professionals.
Our Summer Academies are rigorous, comprehensive, and challenging full-time training programs. They require talent, professionalism, and determination to excel. Consequently, our application and audition process is more selective for summer semesters. See our Summer Admissions for specific information.
Some students come to us with little or no acting experience. Many factors affect this, including the lack of school programs devoted to acting or the arts, conflicts with other extracurricular activities, time and difficulty commuting to NYC. While we greatly value experience in school and Community Theater, a student with no experience on stage may do as well in our classes as an experienced student. An equalizing factor is that few of our students have experience on camera. Students with stage or musical theater background need to learn to adjust to the intimacy of the camera, and students with no formalized theater instruction need to be brought up to speed on theater terms and methodology. Furthermore, we believe many students possess natural ability! ACTeen attempts to foster growth and development at all levels, and our intimate class sizes (6-12 students maximum) allow each student to be challenged accordingly.
How do you group the classes?
Students always work beside their peers. Often multiple sections of the same course allow us to group students for the best balance of talent and maturity. We like the diversity of multiple ages, and believe that it mirrors industry casting trends to combine ages in scene and exercise work. Our small classes allow the instructors to select specialized material from our vast television and film library to suit the age, abilities, and growth of each student.
What if I am not sure that I want a professional career?
We think there are terrific advantages to acting training unrelated to becoming a professional! Poise, self-confidence, self-expression, creativity, ensemble problem solving skills, reading comprehension, public speaking skills, speech & voice improvement, grace and physical relaxation — all these are benefits accrued from acting training! Committing to an acting career is a complex decision, made more complicated in adolescence. No one will push a student into showcases or exposure. That is another reason why we isolate “business and marketing information” into specialized classes like Commercials or our showcase workshops. As long as students are willing to work hard and get the maximum growth from our courses, they are welcomed in our classes.
What if I am mostly interested in theater?
We love the theater! Our instructors come from theater and film backgrounds and the majority hold advanced degrees in theater programs from around the country. Most also teach at the most prestigious conservatories and universities on the East Coast. Our electives complement a love of theater — e.g., theater, musical theater, speech & voice, improvisation, Shakespeare, directing, movement, scriptwriting, etc. See Courses.
While our focus during the school year is on film and television training, theater devotees can benefit from many of our film acting technique courses. If you are interested in a professional career and possibly majoring in theater in college you’ll find that intensive theater training programs are adding film & television courses to better prepare their graduates for careers in “multi-media” — theater, film, or television. Actors need to prepare for existing employment opportunities. There are many lucrative film, television, and commercial jobs which may ultimately pay the bills while you’re doing theater work.
Additionally, we feel our film courses use many common theater terms and exercises, specifically those that concentrate on listening and responding to your partner “in the moment.” The ability to perform on-camera, and be able to analyze your work from the video playbacks is an invaluable opportunity to begin to distinguish between what you (the actor) are feeling and what the camera sees (and the audience feels!). Many theater students are amazed at the growth they achieve working on-camera, as they begin to recognize their insecurities and correct personal bad habits.
What happens after I finish a course?
Well . . . we don’t get you work (see below), but we do give you evaluations from each instructor. We want you to know how you have progressed, and what areas we feel still need attention. We are evaluating you specifically in every session of every course (individual attention!) — but a semester report card puts all your work in focus for the future. Students who have shown steady growth are encouraged to continue training in upcoming advanced ACTeen workshops, or to audition for our industry showcase workshops. Additionally, we ask every graduate to complete a questionnaire detailing their impressions of our courses and staff. To read various student comments click here.
Do you get your students work?
We are a school, not an employment agency. While we consistently get casting calls because of our excellent reputation, and while we do maintain current student files and are delighted to make referrals, it is not our primary function. All our courses offer training to improve the students acting abilities. Some courses (especially Commercials) offer specific and vital information regarding agents, managers, union, photos, and how to “get started.” In other courses we may feel that 'business information' is premature until a student has a better grasp of acting technique, marketability, and professionalism.
We do teach the “business of acting.” Many students are already represented — or come recommended by agents or managers (25 to 30 percent). We also offer specific showcase workshops several times each year for qualified alumni. At this time, agents or casting professionals are invited specifically to see our best young talent in action. Our showcases have been instrumental in launching the careers of many of our stellar graduates. See also “Who’s Working” or “Alumni Honor Roll”.
Are agents or managers invited to classes?
While agents and managers often request an audit (which we encourage) to better recommend our program, we do not specifically gear all courses to a final “showcase night.” Under those conditions the technique or learning time is slighted in favor of polishing one scene or monologue for each teen. The end result is that students perform one bit of material well but learn little about how to work on their own. Again, we prefer to separate agent visits into specific showcase workshops where, over several evenings, top NYC talent representatives see our best alumni who are well trained and ready for representation
Do any of your graduates get work?
Our success ratio is very impressive in a very competitive field (the average unemployment rate of union actors is 85 to 90 percent!). Many of our students are inexperienced or untrained when they start with us. However, our advanced courses include working professional young actors, who come to us to be further challenged. We believe our success ratio is directly related to the quality of our training. See also “Who’s Working” or "Testimonials". We are very proud of many alumni, now well beyond their high school or college years, who continue to work successfully; alumni who received their first professional and core technique at ACTeen.