Guidelines for Finding Your Class
How to Find a Good Class
It can be a challenge for actors to find good, safe, reliable and ethically run acting classes.
These guidelines have become necessary for actors because of long-term and systemic psychological, financial, and sexual abuse in the “acting class culture”. Make sure to read through these guidelines carefully so that you can be armed with knowledge in choosing your classes wisely.
1. Be aware of high prices and hidden fees.
This includes exorbitantly priced classes, teachers taking commissions from students for work they book, teachers demanding payment for class audits, and fees that were not made evident before you signed up for class. This can be avoided by comparing class prices and knowing the financial rules for a studio beforehand.
2. Be aware of hierarchy in classes.
Many classes will form a kind of “caste system” within their classes with predetermined different levels. This puts the student into an inferior and powerless position. These classes also create an environment where the student must put in time (all the while paying for a class that may not be the right fit for them) in an effort to get to the next level. A studio where the students hero-worship the teachers is one hallmark of an abusive atmosphere. Further to the point, the namesake of the studio will often make themselves inaccessible to students, creating a sort of god-like lore around themselves. Make note of this kind of narcissistic behavior.
3. Be aware of control tactics.
If you witness teachers trying to take control over students’ personal lives, including their weight, personal relationships, romantic relationships, and their whereabouts outside of class, this is a good indicator that the class is unhealthy. Although students are allowed to discuss their private lives , provided they feel safe in their class (and assuming it is directly related to their work in class), no student should be coerced into it – especially if the teacher is using the information for control purposes.
4. Be aware of polarizing behaviors.
This includes the studio/teacher prohibiting their students from taking other classes, socializing with people outside of the studio, and working on projects with people outside of the studio. This is yet another form of control.
5. Be aware of scare tactics and other forms of abuse.
If a teacher is yelling, degrading, guilt-tripping, threatening, or using physical force with their students, this is considered abuse and must not only be avoided, but reported to the proper authorities.
6. Be aware of sexualization.
A class should deal with sexual matters in a safe, healthy, and professional way. No teacher should be dating students. Sexual harassment is not tolerated. No student should feel pressured into doing sexual scenes, especially if they feel unsafe doing it; this includes nudity, intimate touching by the student or classmates, and kissing. If a teacher is not taking sexual harassment seriously, they should be reported and the student should leave the class immediately.
7. Be aware of discrimination.
Any kind of discrimination based on nationality, color, sexual orientation, experience level, gender/ gender expression, religion, education level, economic class, immigration status, size, and mental ability should not be tolerated. It is advised to leave class immediately if you witness this behavior.
8. Be aware of retribution.
If you witness a teacher punishing a student for leaving class or any other reason in public, private, or on social media, take that as a cue that the class is an unhealthy atmosphere.
9. Be aware of teachers claiming credit for others’ success.
It is very common for teachers of unhealthy acting classes to “claim” celebrities and other working actors as part of the studio, often without the person’s permission and sometimes without having even been that person’s teacher. This is an unethical business practice. Use a discerning ear when you hear these claims.
10. Be aware of what your gut tells you.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t right. Listen to your gut. It rarely leads you astray.
If you have been part of an acting class that you feel has violated this code of ethics, use our ‘contact us’ page to let us know.
It is vitally important that teachers stop the kind of unethical and abusive behavior that leads to a cult-like class. Utilize our list of verified ethical acting classes that adhere to our guiding principles.
Acting class should be an environment in which you feel safe and cared for. And it should be a place where you can learn and grow in a healthy environment. Do not give up your values for any class. Instead, find one that aligns with your values and feels right. Don’t settle for an abusive acting class; there are many great acting classes for you to find.