I know some people think acting classes are mandatory for writers and some think they’re a waste of money.; that if you just read enough scripts or writing books, you’ll be a pro.
Acting classes aren’t mandatory, but I would recommend them. I started out acting. That’s actually how I got into writing.
My mother also writes, and whenever she reads something I write, so always ask me “How do you write so realistic dialogue?”
There’s a simple answer: I’m an actor.
There are several benefits in my mind to taking acting classes.
1. It helps you write better dialogue.
When you’re up on stage or in class everyday and you have to perform someone else’s written work. You have to make that dialogue ring true. You learn what NOT to write, when it comes to dialogue. I hate to say it, but not even A-list actors can make cheesy dialogue come to life. When you are acting saying other people’s dialogue, you learn very quickly what works and what doesn’t.
Dialogue is also very important. Yes, there have been amazing silent films and amazing scenes without dialogue. But dialogue is the pepper, salt, and cheese to your Mac’n’Cheese. Without it, they’re just noodles. Noodles are good, but so much better with the cheese, and the pepper and salt on top. Don’t you want to make a great Mac’n’Cheese?
2. It helps with pitching.
Once you’ve performed a play, you can pitch. It’s no different. You selling a story in both of those. You’re just telling the story when your pitching and acting the story when you performing in a play.
3. It builds confidence.
That’s pretty self-explanatory.
4. It builds a thick skin.
One that’s very needed in the entertainment industry.
5. You make connections.
If you ever wanted to make a low-budget film, the actors and actresses you meet in acting class are the one’s you want. They’ll be trained and most likely work for free. Plus, it always helps to have actors read your script and give feedback. After all, they are the one’s that are finally going to be performing the script, hopefully.
Finding a good acting teacher is really tricky, especially if you don’t live in LA. But, even if you got involved in community theatre as an extra, that helps. I love acting and it’s not easy. But it’s helped me so much when writing scripts. And it’s just another tool to put in your screenwriting tool chest. One of my acting teachers use to say when teaching us a new technique, “This is another tool to put in your tool chest and pull out when you need it.” When you have that tool chest full, you’ve got everything you need to write or to act. And even if you can’t fill it up, don’t you want to put as many tools in your tool chest as possible? What happens if the house starts to flood, don’t you want ALL the tools you need to fix the problem? You don’t want to have to go to all the way to Lowes just to pick up a wrench, because you didn’t have one.