Taking your first acting class is scary… but is the fear real?

There’s something inside you that wants to see if you have what it takes to be an actor. Maybe you want this to be a career, a new hobby or just make a checkmark on the old bucket list.

Whatever the reason, the same fears creep up in all of us.

Am I good enough?
What will people think when they find out I’m in acting class?
Am I crazy?
What if they tell me I’m not talented?
Why am I doing this?

Taking an acting class can feel like forcing yourself to dive head first into the middle of an ocean without a life preserver. In this post we will discuss the truths about acting class and how to overcome those fears no matter your situation. I’m going to share my own personal experiences in the hope they may help you realize that you can do this and that there are good people out there willing to share their life boat as you navigate the open water.


Before I move forward here, let me start with a quick introduction. My name is Shea Toepel and I’m the director of operations as well as an instructor at the best acting studio in Phoenix, Arizona, Dearing Acting Studio. And I’m not just saying that to get the SEO optimization for writing “best acting school in Arizona”, but because my acting journey took me many places and I have the experience to make that statement with confidence. Also not for nothing but our studio has won AZ Foothills Best of the Valley for Best Acting Studio five years running.

My story is unique and the journey to being a great actress is far from over but in the process of getting to where I am now with a bachelor in fine arts, tons of theater credits, an acting agent, commercial credits, becoming a casting assistant, acting coach, etc. The list goes on but the truth is that all I have become and all I will become is a reflection of my belief system. And THAT is what I got and what you will get from an acting program like we have here at Dearing Acting Studio.


**Side note** Why is the word abbreviate so long? A question we will have to come back at another time.

First off, know that there is no right or wrong time to start acting. At the Dearing Acting Studio we have students from 4 yrs and up. We have several stories of students who began acting for the first time in their seventies, who now have full time careers! In fact the benefits of learning to be an actor later in life are remarkable. And at the same time we are home to kids, teens, millennials, etc. You get the drift. The point is that acting is for everyone!

OK, back to me. Speaking of child actors, I was one of those kids who began dreaming of becoming an actor early. Somehow at 12 years old I just knew this was for me. No plan B. No clue as to how I was going to do it, but that never mattered, acting was just something I had to do. So I jumped in head first (which is the right way to do it by the way, but I was lucky since at the time I didn’t really know any better) and got to work. Our family had just moved back from Hawaii to Arizona and my go-to audition move was to sing 32 bars of the Hawaiian state song. Totally worked. I landed a few lead roles with a unique song most people hadn’t heard before and a mindset that wasn’t self defeating. Huh… maybe 12 year old me was on to something.

Moving forward.

I promised the abbreviated version so here you go. Trained in AZ at a community theatre for a while, 4 years of high school thespian troupe, almost fell for an agency talent scam and left for college. (Attached here is an article written by Dearing Acting Studios’ studio director, Matthew Dearing on how to avoid these industry scams) I attended California State University, Fullerton as a theatre student, learned from great coaches there about Stanislavski, Meisner, and Uta Hagen. Then came back to Arizona and finished my last year at Arizona State University earning a fine arts degree Summa Cum Laude.

The point here is that I had by this time quite a few hours logged in as an actress.

Soooooo…..NOW WHAT? Right? What do I do?

The truth is that when I moved back to Arizona I brought some major FEAR baggage with me. Because of the fact that I was not on a major television show by now and had no clue as to what to do next felt embarrassing. I felt like I had failed at my dream.

Finally with some hard mental work and tough love from those who cared most about me, I got back on the horse. My mindset began to shift. Although I had legitimate training under my belt, I knew deep down that I needed more. I desperately wanted to get myself back to that magical 12 year old girl inside who was going to do this no matter what anyone said and who didn’t know that she had to pay the bills. And this is what I believe; when you’re ready to find that magic and really want to work on yourself in more ways than you think are even possible, tha