What are the Top Acting Schools in LA?
Los Angeles is a haven for those embarking on a journey into the acting scene. The City of Angels provides a multitude of opportunities and connections, making LA one of the best places to make some real moves in your acting career.
Nonetheless, we cannot ignore how close to impossible taking on LA on your own actually is. Because the industry is saturated, trying to learn the ropes of the LA acting scene without help can be daunting.
Enter drama and acting schools, which can function as a wondrous stepping stone. This is why finding a worthy school is crucial to your success as an aspiring actor.
Finding the right school is the first step. Before you enroll in an acting school, you need to know what makes for a good acting school, and there are several factors to consider.
What acting techniques do you want to learn? What is your niche or specialty? Do you want to study for the stage or solely TV and film? These factors will influence your decisions, so we decided to help out and do some of the heavy lifting for you.
Here’s our complete list of the top eight drama and acting schools in Los Angeles:
Overview: The Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre has the most notable alumni on this list.
Miss Adler trained some of the world’s most celebrated and notable actors of all time, including Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert DeNiro, and Benicio Del Toro, just to name a few. These actors credited Miss Adler for their talent and successes.
Furthermore, Adler personally trained under Konstantin Stanislavski, later popularizing his method for generations.
Flagship Program: The Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre offers a variety of different programs. Each program is unique to your goals as an actor.
However, we believe the school’s Two-Year Program to be one of the most valuable. It is ideal for an actor looking for something both intensive and immersive. Students apply to this program just as they would for a university, with tuition paid per term if needed.
Cost of Tuition: $35,900 total for the two years, six terms.
Duration of Program: Two-year program, 24 months total.
Instructors: Instructors vary per chosen program.
Famous Alumni: Marlon Brando, James Dean, Robert DeNiro, and Benicio Del Toro, etc.
COVID Considerations: Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, The Stella Adler Academy of Acting & Theatre is currently holding their programs online. For more information, please visit the “current schedule” page.
Learn more at https://stellaadler.la/
Overview: Andrew Wood is an MFA graduate from the Yale School of Drama and has his Ph.D. from Stanford University. Wood founded his acting studio in 2004. His intention was to expose students to the acting methods he encountered as the MFA Director of the Yale Drama School.
Students at the Andrew Wood Acting Studio train with an emphasis on dedication, excellence, and intensity. Character development is their primary focus.
Flagship Program: Wood offers two programs: the Essentials Workshop and Advanced Workshop—the Essentials being the keystone for actors looking to step into the scene. Students train in the Stanislavski approach, cementing their skill in the framework of the script and development as the character and the actor.
Cost of Tuition: $640
Duration of Program: 10-week course
Instructors: Andrew Wood, with guest teaching associates Leah Zhang, Beth Gudenrath, and Chris Lang.
Famous Alumni: Cris D’Annunzio, Evan Bittencourt
COVID Considerations: The Essentials Workshop is going online starting January 6th
Learn more at https://www.andrewwoodla.com/
3. Berg Studios
Overview: Gregory Berger-Sobeck is a graduate and former acting faculty member at the Yale School of Drama. Berger teaches bi-coastally in both Los Angeles and New York, as well as teaching workshops internationally in London, Paris, Sydney, and Tahiti.
Students at Berg Studios learn a variety of techniques, concentrating on unleashing the imagination and the cultivation of behavioral work.
Flagship Program: Berger specializes in a twofold approach by “first providing the actor with tools to make choices from the text, and then leading them to find their own spontaneous behavior.” The studio offers two programs, on-going classes, as well as curated workshops.
Cost of Tuition: Both Berg’s classes and workshops vary in cost. Workshops go from around $280-$325 while classes range from $280-$2,500.
Duration of Program: Workshops are for four weeks. Classes are from 1-12 month durations, leaving the option open to the student.
Instructors: Instructors vary depending on the given chosen workshop and/or class.
Famous Alumni: Lupita Nyong’o, Riz Ahmed
COVID Considerations: Currently offering online classes and workshops. Email the studio at [email protected] for more information.
Learn more at https://bergstudios.com/
Overview: The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles is a university program, so it does require a completed application ($50 application fee), high school or college transcript, personal reference letter, dramatic reference letter, and audition. This program is full-time, perfect for individuals seeking an immersive two-year performance-based experience.
Flagship Program: The AADA Conservatory Program is a full-time education program that prepares students for a long-term, lifelong career both on stage and on screen. Admission is competitive, but the payoff is an “educational journey of discipline, exploration, and self-awareness, upholding time-tested and innovative techniques of expressing and harnessing truth in all performances.”
Cost of Tuition: $36,000+
Duration of Program: Two years
Instructors: Matt Neves, Judith Bohannon, Betty Karlen
Famous Alumni: Jessica Chastain, Paul Rudd, Adam Scott, Anne Hathaway, Robert Redford, Danny DeVito, Gail Fisher, Adrien Brody, and more.
COVID Considerations: AADA has reopened its campuses for the coming semesters. Details regarding the university’s health and safety regulations can be found here.
Learn more at https://www.aada.edu/programs/two-year-conservatory/
Overview: Offering programs for undergrads, graduates, and professional development, the USC School of Dramatic Arts is another university program perfect for students seeking university-level training. Students of all levels train in their chosen area of interest, providing you both range and specificity.
Flagship Program: Undergraduate, Graduate, and Summer programs are all unique programs that are dependent on your prerequisites. Because of this, program fees vary; however, each entails a traditional university admission process.
Cost of Tuition: Varies—refer to the individual program pages to determine tuition and fees.
Duration of Program: Varies—refer to the individual program pages to determine tuition and fees.
Instructors: Varies—It depends on the chosen courses of the student.
Famous Alumni: Patrick Adams, McKinley Belcher III, Troian Bellisario, Todd Black, and more.
COVID Considerations: Classes are currently held online as of Spring 2020. For more details for COVID updates, visit this page.
Learn more at https://dramaticarts.usc.edu/
Overview: The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio offers sessions in Scene Study, Meisner Program, and Beginning Acting Program, and more, providing you specific disciplines in which to hone your talent.
The studio is dynamic in nature, training professionals in the art of drama. This studio is for those who are naturally disciplined, spontaneous, and encouraged by a challenge.
Flagship Program: “The truth of ourselves is the root of our acting.” – Sanford Meisner
Recognized as one of the most effective acting techniques of the modern age, the Meisner Technique is the foundation of the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio’s discipline. Admission into the studio is through a personal interview. To request more information, access this page here.
Cost of Tuition: $650
Duration of Program: The Meisner program is for six weeks. The studio offers sessions in the summer, fall, and winter.
Instructors: Chris Bensinger, Diana Jllinek, Jordana Oberman, Caitlin Rigney, Alex Egan, Jordana Oberman, Thom Rivera, Ken Weiler, Michael Yurchak, and Elizabeth Mestnik.
Famous Alumni: Sharif Atkins, Jessica Bishop, Jeannie Bolet, and more.
COVID Considerations: The Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio is currently hosting two acting programs online in consideration of COVID-19. They’ve dedicated this page to information regarding the programs. They are continuing to add to their online offerings.
Learn more at https://www.emasla.com/
Overview: Among several acting studios on this list, the Speiser/Sturges Acting Studio boasts wildly-acclaimed alumni. Aaron Speiser and Shanna Sturges have been operating one of the best acting studios in Los Angeles for over 30 years. Their focus is training their students specifically for television and film, and they waste no time in getting their students prepared for the screen to send them straight to Hollywood.
Flagship Program: The Speiser/Sturges Acting Studio offers courses in Technique, Scene Study, Private Coaching, and Improv. They do so both in-person and online via Zoom. Their flagship program is their Beginning to Intermediate course in Technique.
Cost of Tuition: $800 for Technique Program.
Duration of Program: Technique Program is for six weeks, proceeding the course in Scene Study. Most students are to first commit to Technique prior to continuing over to the Scene Study series.
Instructors: Aaron Speiser, Shannon Sturges, Indrani DeSouza, Deena Freeman, and more.
Famous Alumni: Will Smith, Jennifer Lopez, Gerard Butler
COVID Considerations: The Speiser/Sturges Acting Studio is currently offering an online course for the Technique Program via Zoom in consideration of COVID-19. To reserve your spot or for more details, contact the studio at [email protected].
Learn more at https://speisersturges.com/
Overview: Allen Levin’s celebrated Lifebook Acting Academy is more than just a school—it’s a community of supportive and dedicated artists with a common goal of learning their craft and collaborating for the spirit of acting and drama.
Allen Levin founded his studio with the goal of providing a “launchpad for artistic communication and a place for real inspiration.” Many of his students create long-lasting relationships both in the studio and in the industry, ensuring the success of their peers.
Flagship Program: Lifebook Acting Academy offers three different programs for three varying students: All Levels, Advanced Class, and Non-Actors & First Timers.
The right program for you would be dependent on your level and desires. However, we believe the Advanced Class to be a standout due to its focus on leadership as an actor and on providing the tools you need to pursue a long-term career as an actor.
Cost of Tuition: Lifebook Acting Academy cost of tuition varies depending on the number of weeks desired to take. They range from $225 to $575.
Duration of Program: Programs start at 1 or 2 classes per week for four weeks to 1 class per week for 12 weeks.
Instructors: Allen Levin
Famous Alumni: Chrystee Pharris, Fern Field
COVID Considerations: n/a
Learn more at http://lifebookacting.com/
Choosing the Best Acting Schools in Los Angeles
Choosing the best acting school in Los Angeles requires research and consideration. Each of these programs offers a myriad of opportunities, with each of them serving specific needs and desires catered to different individuals. We recommend following up with whichever acting and drama studios caught your eye.
Regardless of which school you decide to pursue, enrolling in an acting studio is an investment into your future success as an actor. Acting and drama studios provide you with the tools and skills needed to stand out and succeed. Acting schools provide you with opportunities, connections, and support systems of like-minded individuals who are willing to take a chance on their dreams.
Are you interested in diving into your career as an actor today? There are endless opportunities available online. One acting career path available to you is that of voice acting, which many actors are keen on pursuing these days.
Get Started in Your Career
No matter which career path you take or acting schools you choose, Voices wants to give you a platform where you can shine. We are the world’s top marketplace for voice over talent and would love to help you get started by gaining traction and showcasing your voice today.
If you’re curious to learn more, check out online coaching services to guide you in the right direction for your career.
What programs caught your eye? We’d love to know in the comments.