With the migration of Hollywood films to Arizona comes an influx of talent scams. Hopeful actors are often all too quick to buy into the promise of easy success. Matthew Dearing, (owner/head instructor of Dearing Acting Studio) provides tips on insider information on the Arizona acting schools and the film market. “As a teacher in various Arizona acting schools for over six years, I have seen many eager, talented individuals disillusioned by scam agencies.” says Dearing. “They’ve come to believe that there is no career possible outside of the Los Angeles market.” Are all Arizona acting schools a hoax? Absolutely not. There are credible Arizona acting schools that can give you the training you need.

“Acknowledge that success takes time. Simply taking one or two of the available Arizona acting schools does not ensure success.” Dearing provides a quick education for those entering the market for Arizona acting schools or film acting.

Step 1: SAG

SAG (or Screen Actor’s Guild) is the union established to protect actors from mistreatment and fraud. Arizona currently has 5 agencies that are SAG accredited: Ford Robert Black, Leighton, Dani’s, Signature, and SIM. These agencies don’t ask for a penny up front. They don’t get paid until you land a job! They work incredibly hard to continually create a working environment for local actors. None of these agencies double as Arizona acting schools, nor do they receive compensation for recommending legitimate Arizona acting schools or photographers. “Remember, if an agency is trying to sell classes, headshots or workshops, it’s a red flag,” says Dearing.

Remember, when auditioning for a talent agency to take it very seriously. Matt Englehart, head talent agent for Ford Robert Black, reminds actors that one of the most important things when auditioning for an agent is “overall professionalism.” Englehart suggests punctuality and preparantion. “If you aren’t on time…it tells me that you don’t treat your career as a business. Your audition for an agent is, among other things, a business meeting.”

Step 2: Make yourself a “working actor”

The working actors of Arizona are training and teaching at legitimate Arizona Acting Schools. The industry is growing exponentially due to the tax incentive to bring more Hollywood films to our state. Arizona acting schools are stepping up to the challenge of getting “Hollywood ready.” A few recent blockbusters filmed in the valley including Kingdom (Jaime Foxx), Jake’s Corner (Richard Tyson), Take Me Home Tonight (Topher Grace), The Comet (James Cosmo), Everything Must Go (Will Ferrell) and Netherbeast Incorporated (Darrell Hammond), all of which include supporting roles from Arizona actors!

The common theme among the actors is simple, according to Dearing. “Those who get work are those who receive instruction. Consistent training in Arizona acting schools is necessary. These are the actors who get hired for big films.” Kimberly Dearing, sister to Matthew and an instructor at the Dearing Acting Studio was cast as a principle in the film “Take Me Home Tonight” (Universal Studios). She attributes her success to consistent training. “With the film market growing so fast, you have to train,” Dearing advises. “It’s no different than a musical instrument. The people who practice every day are going to perform the best.”
Many actors wonder what they can do if they aren’t working on a film or project. Phil Bradstock, Phoenix film commissioner, suggests that actors ” be ready for your auditions, constantly practice, and exhibit professionalism. That’s how we will establish our talent base. ” ‘Working’ actors are simply those who are improving and refining their craft. There are Arizona acting schools that can give you the training you need when you aren’t on set or stage. Perfect the art of performance in and out of the classroom. The Arizona acting schools are working hard to get their actors ready.

Step 3: How to find training

A good place to start is the SAG agencies, according to Dearing. They are usually happy to give you recommendations for legitimate Arizona acting schools. “Generally it’s helpful to ask the teachers where they have trained and what their students are saying about them. Don’t assume all Arizona acting schools are the same.”

Once you do find a teacher you trust, be prepared to work. Good Arizona acting schools will give “homework” so that you can improve between classes. If you’re not satisfied with your progress, be proactive. Ask the instructor what you can do to challenge yourself even further. A good acting teacher will be ready with suggestions.

The average cost for Arizona acting schools ranges from $135 – $225. They range in length (usually from about 4 to 8 weeks for a class) so choose a class that works with your schedule. Once you chose the class, plan to be committed, both for yourself and your fellow students.

With solid training from Arizona acting schools, we can expect to see many of our actors working on major motion pictures in the future. “Work hard and know that you have something unique to bring to the industry,” says Dearing. “And of course, don’t forget to have fun.”