What is The System™ you teach?
Ryan R. Williams has developed a revolutionary new approach to film acting. The System™ is a synthesis of the classical, european, Meisner and Strasburg based actor training Williams mastered in drama school and his expertise in several cinematic disciplines. Williams is an accomplished film director, screenwriter, editor and cinematographer–a department head in the major areas that count for film actors. He teaches a strictly film based performance approach, stressing the intense precision, clear storytelling, emotional availability, and business acumen we observe in nearly all major movie stars. The System™ offers a singular solution to the confusion and rhetoric that dominates most classes. If you want to know how to become a screen legend, he has a simple approach that will work wonders for you immediately. The System™ also hosts a more expansive consideration of cinematic acting technique that will challenge you for years to come.
How often will I be able to put up work in class?
Members work 3-6 times a night typically. None of this waiting around for weeks on end to finally put up a scene. We do a number of on-camera exercises and warm ups prior to scene study that get people focused on proper form and “minimum movement.” Once scene study begins there is no limit to the number of scenes you can put up in a given night. Some students put up three scenes a night. There is, however, an expectation that the scenes are fully rehearsed and ready to put up with precision. If you dedicate the time outside of class, then this is a truly unique opportunity to work at your own pace.
Who makes up the members of Screen Actors System?
We have had everyone from beginners to two time Academy Award winners in class. Some are students making the leap from theatre into film, others are stand up comics who want to ace their TV auditions. There are series regulars on hit shows working alongside everyone else in class. Some students are filmmakers and screenwriters who want to expand their horizons. There have been some students who are teachers at other acting schools and some who have never performed before. But mostly the members are just hard working actors who are looking to move up in the world. All are actors who want to work, just like you.
What are the levels of class?
We do not have levels in the Screen Actors System. That surprises some people. Below is a dialogue exchange from “The Karate Kid.” This explains how we feel about levels in acting class:
Daniel: Hey, what kind of belt do you have?
Miyagi: Canvas. JC Penney, $3.98. You like?
Daniel: [laughs] No, I meant…
Miyagi: In Okinawa, belt mean no need rope to hold up pants.
[laughs; then, seriously]
[taps his head]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[taps his heart]
Miyagi: Karate here.
[points to his belt]
Miyagi: Karate never here. Understand?
Or perhaps put more simply in the brilliant film “Quiz Show.”
Charles Van Doren: At this level it’s a bit more complicated.
Mark Van Doren: And at my level? I never thought of myself as having a level. What level might that be?
How do I come in for my working audit?
You will simply click here and follow the instructions. Canceling or not showing up for your audit will not reflect well on you as we consider you for participation in the class.
What do I prepare before I audit my first class?
You don’t have to prepare anything for your working audit. You will participate just as any other student in class exercises. When it comes time to do scene study you will perform a structured improv scene with a partner selected that night. This will give us a sense of whether or not we want to work together, so be at your best and have fun! Do not be intimidated by this. The members of class are the most supportive group of people in Los Angeles. But since it is like a family, we are selective about who we allow to become a part of class. We are not evaluating your skill, that will evolve and improve very quickly. Your attitude and positivity are what we are looking at. This is like a family and we protect it as such.
How do I find my scene partners and are they assigned?
We do not assign scene partners. You will naturally gravitate toward the collaborators you want to perform with once you join. It’s up to you to make it happen. Pick partners who excite and challenge you.
Where do I find the scenes for my scene study?
You select your own material. The scenes you chose should be from “A” feature films, award winning indies, or critically acclaimed TV shows that were made after 1975. The more modern the better. You have already done “Streetcar.” That is great. But our aim is to teach you to function in current mainstream cinema. The internet movie script database is a great place to start looking for material. Let your recent favorite movies be your guide. Be sure to find the draft that most closely resembles the finished film. Avoid combining scenes unless absolutely necessary. Scenes should be 2 to 3 minutes in length. That is the duration of the average scene in a movie and so it is what you should become used to.
What happens if I miss a class?
You can do a make up class on another day and time as long as you were absent due to a booking. You must give us a heads up and make sure space is available in the class you wish to attend for your make up day. We do not pro-rate or offer refunds for missed class.
How many times do I put up the same scene?
Usually just once or twice. Depending on how the work outside of class went and what our feeling is after approaching the adjustments. Great scenes are sometimes revisited when we have important visitors in class, casting directors, etc.
Will agents, managers, casting directors and filmmakers come to see my work in class?
Yes. Certainly if you look at it from the point of view that we shoot footage that goes on your reel. No telling who will see that work. We also have directors, CD’s and reps stop by from time to time. Some come incognito and others get more hands on. We do not put on a showcase, however. In reality those are almost always a waste of time at best. Doing amazing work in front of the camera on shoots, cutting a great reel, and great audition work will be your path to being discovered. Many of our students are with top agencies. When your work gets strong enough, most members are generous with recommendations and referrals. Also, don’t forget Ryan R. Williams, your instructor, is a working director who routinely casts students in his film, music video and television projects.
When is payment due?
Payment is due on the last day of each 4 week cycle. This early payment insures your seat in the next cycle. You may wait to pay until the first day of class but that may not guarantee you a spot. If you are signing up for the first time then we do allow you a one time proration. This discount will be offered to you on your second cycle. So for new students who join up in the middle of a cycle, you would still pay the full amount for that current cycle. Then, on your next cycle it will be half off to reflect the missed class. Ongoing students who are returning to class will not be given a discount for missed class.
What is a cycle?
A cycle is 4 weeks of class. Each individual class is on a different cycle and it is up to you to be aware of what week we are on and when your payments are due. Cycles may be “paused” for things like Christmas break. A cycle will always include 4 weeks of class. From time to time we do five and even six week cycles at no additional charge and that happens to celebrate film festival awards or other contests the class wins.
How much does class cost?
The cost is $240 for a four week cycle. That includes 4 weeks of classes and a reel shoot. Payment is due on the last day of each 4 week cycle. This early payment insures your seat in the next cycle. You may wait to pay until the first day of class but that may not guarantee you a spot.
Does it cost extra to get my reel shot?
No. The shoots are entirely included in the basic cost of class. The footage is color corrected and the dialogue is properly sound mixed, all for no additional fee. You must be a fully paid, ongoing student to receive your free reel footage each cycle. Students who are not currently enrolled in class and paid will forfeit that footage.
How do the reel shoots work?
Each shoot is different. Clear instructions will be posted in the members section of this website and discussed in class the week before photography commences. It is up to you to show up in hair and makeup and costume. You will decide based on class feedback how best to sell yourself. This will inform your costume choices. The shoots are held during normal class hours and scene study begins immediately afterward.
How and when do I receive the location footage we shoot for reels?
Footage is provided every cycle on DVD or via dropbox. No more waiting around for that director of the web series you were in to give you footage. Our class reels are completed and delivered approximately 3 weeks after they are shot. It is important to note that reel footage is for ongoing students only. If you are not a current member of class, your footage may be omitted. This saves time on color correction, dialogue editing and prevents current students from being expected to hold or deliver copies to former students.
Are the reel scenes scripted, and if so who writes them?
The reel shoots vary from month to month. Many are improvised. Some you will be expected to generate a short script. Don’t be intimidated. Your skills as a writer will develop as a natural byproduct of your acting training with us. Actors are assistant storytellers in the end, so get ready to take command of your own creative destiny.
What is Act Club?
Act Club is the distinction for members of the Screen Actors System who were in the original underground classes.