Acting courses come in various shapes, sizes and most importantly costs. How do you know which is a good one? What I have below is a list of requirements, some obvious, some not, so when you are looking for a course the more of these boxes they tick the better. Some points may not be as relevant as others, but all are, to some degree, valid and worth considering. The order is no indication of importance - thats up to you.
A good acting course will give you a thorough appreciation of the filmmaking process. This will allow you to access and develop so many vital tools. It will give you understanding of how to create a character which is rounded and believable on screen. Understanding the technical process will hopefully help develop your confidence in front of the camera, if you know what a director wants, it should be easier to give it to them. Therefor any knowledge regarding the technical aspects of filmmaking will be to your advantage.
Any acting course should have be a positive learning environment. The classroom should be a forum for ideas and criticism, where no one is afraid to open up and enthusiasm encouraged. Large class sizes are not always a bad thing they give you the opportunity to network and make a few friends too.
Look for acting courses that provide script analysis and understanding as part of the curriculum. The script is your starting point and being able to see which characters work better than others or are more believable and three-dimensional, will enable you to work more efficiently with the director or writer. The course should also highlight the difference between stage and film scripts, being good at understanding one doesn't automatically mean you'll be as competent with the other. Even a film acting course can contain information and techniques for stage acting, they are quite different, but some aspects of stage craft can prove useful in front of the camera.
All of the above training and coaching will hopefully be provided by industry veterans or experienced professionals. Most courses will provide a resume for their instructors, but if no information is provided about the people who will be coaching you then the internet can provide quick and easy access to a persons professional background. A good acting course will be able to supply you with plenty of testimonials from previous students to help you decide if its the right one for you.
Don't be blinded by one famous alumni, better a school produces a lot of good working actors than one superstar. If you are to get a thorough understanding of the life of an actor your course should give guidance on auditions, including such aspects as monologues, casting call requirements and even details on agents. Lets not forget that they should be realistic and give you an incite into how to survive the arduous life of an actor. Well thanks for taking the time to read my article. Acting courses really can be useful, even for experienced actors, I hope its been helpful.