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New York Film Academy Acting for Film

Acting Classes at the New York Film Academy

Learning the essentials in NYFA's acting classes Applying the skills learned in acting classes to shooting a scene Learning to work with a full film crew through NYFA's acting classes Students film a scene as part of their acting classes Student with clap board preparing a scene Students dance for the camera as part of their acting classes

Learn the Craft of Acting for Film

Contrary to popular belief, stars are generally made, not born. This is especially true when it comes to acting for film. While many actors cut their teeth in school plays and productions, learning how to harness one’s body language, voice, and truly embody a character while being surrounded by crew members, intense lighting, and challenging locations is not something that comes naturally to many people. And yet, when watching a television show or movie, the actor’s performance is what audiences tend to remember the most. So how does one create a convincing character while negotiating the many disruptive variables that come with acting for film?

Students enrolled in the New York Film Academy’s intensive acting classes are encouraged to shed their physical and internal inhibitions and dig deep to discover how to create truthful characters that resonate with audiences. Through in-class instruction and exercises in acting techniques alongside acting in original short films and scenes, students receive a full immersion in all aspects of acting for film, preparing them to become professional actors. What distinguishes the Acting School’s acting classes is that all acting students also learn the fundamentals of filmmaking, including directing, producing, screenwriting, and taking on a variety of crew positions so that they not only learn the essentials of acting, but also receive practical filmmaking experience.

Students shoot a scene on set as part of the New York Film Academy's acting classes The Film Academy offers a wide range of acting classes from degree programs to intensive programs and workshops that can run from three years to one week. Classes are offered at our campuses around the world, giving aspiring actors the opportunity to work with a diverse group of students, something that past graduates of the Academy’s acting classes often rave about. Furthermore, students are instructed by our distinguished faculty, comprised of working professionals with on-screen and theatre experience, providing unique insight into the practical realities they will face in the real world. Actors in our programs are also encouraged to collaborate with filmmakers in our film school to hone their abilities in front of a camera and crew.

What to Expect from the Classes in Acting at New York Film Academy

Unlike traditional acting classes, the New York Film Academy’s Acting School offers a full immersion in acting for film, in which students follow a demanding schedule that couples full-time class work with time spent out of class studying, developing, and rehearsing projects for presentation in class. In addition, depending on the program or workshop they enroll in, students can choose to focus solely on their acting craft in our short workshops or receive more comprehensive training that develops their skills as actors and in film craft classes that give actors an insight into the role of directors, cinematographers, writers, and editors to better understand the intricacies of filmmaking as it relates to acting.

Ultimately, students get as much out of their acting classes as they put in, and those that fully commit to their coursework and balance class assignments with work on student films can expect to emerge from their acting classes with a set of applicable skills that will aid them in the process of gaining work in film and television. Students enrolling in the Acting School should approach their acting classes with an open mind and willingness to try new techniques and immerse themselves in new situations. Students may have little prior experience in acting, let alone acting for film, perhaps having acted in school or regional theatre productions. In these programs, students are exposed to and train in a spectrum of skills and practices essential to a career in film and television, with a discipline that remains with our students long after the New York Film Academy’s acting classes are completed.

Acting Principles and Skills Covered

Across the acting classes provided in the New York Film Academy’s Acting School, students can expect to:
Student filming in the doorway for her acting classes
  • Learn to work with source material to develop a thorough working knowledge of text in order to identify genre, tone, transitions, and elements of character creation.
  • Learn how to work truthfully in the moment.
  • Develop fluidity and control over the vocal and physical instrument to create characters with depth and variety.
  • Gain practical experience in on-camera technique.
  • Learn improvisational skills to free the actor’s instincts so that they are accessible in the moment-to-moment work of film acting.
  • Apply and examine foundational acting techniques to contemporary scenework.
  • Reveal and dispel common misconceptions of film acting.
  • Confront challenges specific to the working actor: live audiences, a three-camera shoot, working on location, and shooting out of sequence.
  • Identify key principles of narrative structure including: story arc, rising action, linear sequential plots, delineation of beats, developing a back-story, and other essential tools necessary to the actor.
  • Investigate project specific aesthetics such as set design, costume design, and makeup in order to highlight narrative and the character journey.
  • Participate as crew on student shoots in order to have a working knowledge of key positions.
  • Learn the arc of film/video production through the study of directing, cinematography, editing, writing, and producing.

Hands-On Film Acting Classes

While the curriculum varies depending on the workshop or program that students enroll in, students can expect to complete the following core acting classes at the New York Film Academy’s Acting School.

NYFA acting school student filming with parisol
  • Acting for Film: Although there is overlap in the fundamentals of acting between stage and screen, film actors gain proficiency in skills that are exclusive to film and television performance. In addition to learning essential techniques and practices, students are placed in front of the camera to receive hands-on training that will begin the process of mastering on camera work. This class covers basics required for film acting, including calibrating performances based upon shot size and angle, hitting marks, emotional and physical continuity, and strength of imagination. Central to this class are lessons in retaining a steady emotional state across scenes when shooting out of sequential order. In addition, students are guided through lessons on eye line to give the audience maximum access to the character, the role of the actor on an active set, and the challenges that a film actor faces during the shooting process. Throughout the course, students participate in a range of exercises for the camera that help cultivate their technique in rehearsal, readings, auditions, and the creation of a meaningful performance on film.
  • Audition Technique: Preparing for auditions can be challenging for actors at any level. These lessons help students put their best foot forward during cold readings, create an effective resume, select a head-shot photographer, and develop their career path. Students move through the process of on-camera auditions with notes from instructors to advance their work into the most effective audition possible.
  • Film Craft: An essential element of acting for film is understanding the language and grammar particular to filmmaking. This class will introduce students to shot sizes, eye line, screen direction, camera movement, and lighting so that actors improve the quality of their communication with directors while increasing their knowledge of film.
  • Scene Study: Building on program curriculum that emphasizes working with scripts, students explore the structure and specific requirements of scenework, from silent scenes and simple dialogue to longer dramatic or comedic scenes. Looking at the give and take, flexibility, drive and concentration required of actors in working with fellow actors on scenes, actors will learn the art of dissecting a scene into beats, defining and pursuing objective and getting inside the character’s head.
  • Monologues: While much of film acting is a collaborative effort between actors, Monologues teach students how to sustain a story solo, skills that will serve them on film sets when schedules require that they shoot scenes without a scene partner.
  • Improvisation: The rise of improvisation in feature filmmaking has made it a necessary skill for today’s actors, should they be asked to modify dialogue on the fly or perform a series of ‘alts’ or alternate versions of a scripted scene. The skills of improvisation are essential when approaching comedic material, since a sense of timing is imperative for sit-coms and sketch comedies.
In addition to the core set of acting classes, students in longer programs and workshops may be offered additional courses to further develop their skill set. These can include: Singing for Actors, Yoga for Actors, Sketch Comedy, Writing for Actors, Business of Acting, Shakespeare, Writing for Actors, and courses focused on major acting techniques including those of Sanford Meisner, Constantin Stanislavski, Michael Chekhov, and Uta Hagen.



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