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The Acting Corps Bucks the Trend in Recession in Terms of Acting Auditions

While the White House Adviser says that the current recession is over, many people still feel the impacts of it, especially in the entertainment industry.  However, for some acting schools, specially the Acting Corps, the recession and the economy do not seem to matter to their students as its 1200th student will be listed on IMDB for booking "Let Me In", a feature of the new “Cloverfield” director.

By Samuel Chong
December 13, 2009

Los Angeles.  Lawrence Summer, the top economic adviser for President Obama, claims that the recession is over.  It is a relief for most people, especially for the people in the entertainment industry who want to become actors.  It is difficult to become a famous actor.  It is even more difficult to become a famous actor in a recession.  While many prospective actors are affected, the ones at the Acting Corps, an acting school in Los Angeles, seem to buck the trend.  It just had its 1200th student listed on IMDB booking a show called "Let Me In."

Ashton Moio, the young actor who just booked “Let Me In”, a remake of “Let The Right One In” helmed by “Cloverfield” director Matt Reeves, cites the principles made available to him though his study at The Acting Corps as a primary source for his success. “The Acting Corps teaches everything, not just the acting part. I learned here how to get out there and get work, and that’s not easy.”

The Acting Corps teaches acting techniques such as the techniques of Meisner and Chekhov to its students.  Students have to be trained rigorously in order to graduate from there.  Since the founding of the school, many well know actors, directors, and producers have taught at the school.

This time, perhaps a person more excited than Mr. Moio, was The Acting Corps Founder and Artistic director, Eugene Buica. When made aware of the milestone, Mr. Buica replied, “It’s music to my ears. Nothing makes me happier than to hear of a student’s success. Especially in terms of making a living in these tough times. It’s what we’re all about at the Acting Corps. ”

The Acting Corps’s ability to thrive under the current economic conditions may have to do with the fact that it began in similarly difficult times. After a disastrous commercial strike in 1999, Mr. Buica, who had been teaching his trademarked Actors’ Boot Camp approach for some time, decided to offer his approach of rigorous daily acting training combined with teaching actors about the industry to a much larger audience.

“It seemed to me that people came to Los Angeles to act for money, not to wait tables and act for their acting teachers. So I told my students to either meet me in the Burbank Park across from Forrest Lawn at 7AM for a whole year or to look for classes elsewhere.” From this initial proposition coupled with a desire of Mr. Buica to share his knowledge, The Acting Corps started to take shape.

When asked to expound on this concept of the importance for an actor to make a living, Mr. Buica thought a moment. “Oftentimes, so much of what surrounds the business, and the art and craft of acting remains ungrounded and fantastical. You can put your hand through it. After all, actors help tell imaginary stories. However, the lives of actors require real-world sustenance, and there is something called the rent. We have all had quote-unquote survival jobs, and that’s fine. But in order to consider yourself a professional, you need to make money doing it. And here at the Acting Corps we emphasize the importance of getting out there and getting a job.”

When pressed to suggest how long it might take for one of his students to begin making a living as actors, he said, “If a student has the basic intelligence necessary to be an actor, and pursues the goal of becoming a competent actor with single-minded focus, remaining teachable and keeping his ego out of the way, I believe that within as little as six months to one year of serious training an actor will get the necessary tools to get started as a professional. Of course not every student will have what it takes.”

After fielding a call from a talent agent on the phone, Mr. Buica expounded. “Of course one goes deeper into his or her art as one’s life unfolds. You can say it takes twenty years to become an actor. Fine. But along with teaching tried and true principles of acting, inspired by such people as Meisner and Chekhov, at the very same time the Acting Corps disavows the idea that one must slave away in poverty for years before starting to generate income as an actor.”

Very close to half -- fifty percent -- of all Acting Corps students have ventured forth to book work and made money as working actors. “I’m very proud of that percentage,” Mr. Buica said. “Otherwise,” he stated, “you remain an amateur.”

With many paths to becoming an actor in Los Angeles, studying at the Acting Corps under Mr. Buica seems to be a wise one.

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