Foundational technique is taught through script analysis, character development, improv, solo work and partnered scene work. The course also covers an introduction to professional opportunities in commercial, TV/Sitcom, film, theatre, TelePrompTer, and voice over fields. Most of the work is done in class and there is little outside homework.
Level 2 builds on Level 1. With a deeper understanding of technique, students will work on more complex characters and complicated scene work. Level 2 also introduces solo exercise work and additional movement and imagination work and Green Screen. Most of the work is done in class and there is modest outside homework, all individual.
Advanced students that have studied for a minimum of 2 years at Verve are invited to Level 3. Since classes are always small, every student’s progress is tracked and each student is challenged where they are at. Level 3 adds units on voice production, hosting, and comedy. Most of the work is done in class, but often scripts will be sent ahead of time and are expected to be worked on outside of class.
Advanced students that have studied for a minimum of 3 years at Verve are invited to Level 4. By this level, students are working at a professional level and expectations are to come to every class fully prepared. Level 4 adds stage combat, emotional work and Shakespeare. Most of the work is done in class, but often scripts will be frequently sent ahead of time and are expected to be worked on outside of class.
Every class starts with physical and vocal work to warm up the instrument and improv work to warm up the heart and mind. After the warm-up, the class moves into the unit work for the rest of the day. Each unit lasts between 2 and 5 weeks.
Open to Young Actors:
• With some experience
• Brand new to acting
• Professional/represented actors
• Wanting to audition for theatre
• Wanting to improve their craft
• Looking for creative expression opportunities
• Actors that may wish to get a talent agent
• Actors that already have representation
BY THE NUMBERS/IN STUDIO:
Number of classes in term: 33 classes (14 in 2020, 19 in 2021)
Number of class time hours: 49.5 hours
Maximum class size: 10, until Covid restrictions are lifted, then 12.
Years coaches have been teaching: 10+ (Will) 20+ (Amanda), 10+ (Ashley)
BY THE NUMBERS/ZOOM:
Number of classes in term: 32 classes (13 in 2020, 19 in 2021)
Number of class time hours: 40 hours
Maximum class size: 12
Years coaches have been teaching: 10+ (Will) 20+ (Amanda), 10+ (Ashley)
How big are the classes? Classes are limited to 12 students (Currently reduced to 10 for Covid-19/In Studio). A small class size ensures that every student works at every class and gets individual attention.
What happened to “Tweens” and “Teens” classes? After 14 years of teaching youth, the Tweens and Teens class titles no longer accurately reflected what the classes are. A good majority of Verve’s students have agents, are seeking agents, or are actively auditioning for competitive parts in film and theatre. The new name more accurately describes what we are already teaching at Verve.
Why are there two levels combined in one class? Because the classes are small, (and because Amanda is a spreadsheet nerd!), Amanda knows what each student has worked on at Verve. She keeps track of the commercials, voice overs, monologues and scenes that each student has worked on. Because of this, she is able to customize the experience for each student.
What if I just want to try acting? This sounds too intense for me. Even though it is a class, we still have FUN! Students get out of it what they put into it, so if you want to come and explore, it’s still a great class for you. If you just like acting and want to continue to act as a hobby, that is fantastic and you are welcome! Acting skills are life skills, so even if you don’t think (or don’t know yet) if you want to work professionally, you’ll still learn skills that will help you in life. In addition, expressing yourself artistically is essential to your long term well-being, and Verve’s youth programs are a safe place to explore and express your inner artist. However, we also offer Saturday workouts and summer camps that have a shorter time commitment. The Saturday workouts are a la carte and you can attend them as your schedule permits. The weekday training program is designed to build on skills as the year and levels advance.
Who should take the class? If you want to audition for theatre – a play or musical – where there are cuts, this class will help you get and maintain a competitive edge. If you want to get an agent here in Phoenix, this class is essential. Phoenix agents represent you “across the board,” which means in commercials, voice over, film, TV, hosting and print. You must have training, and skills, in all of these areas. If you want to get an agent in LA (First talk to your parents! That is a huge commitment!), the skills you learn in the class are applicable to huge markets. (Phoenix is the 6th market Amanda and lived and worked in, so the curriculum reflects that experience.) If you already have an agent, you know that ongoing training is essential to being competitive. Most agents actually require you to train regularly.
Who teaches the classes? Amanda Melby designed all of the curriculum and materials. She has been a working actor for 30+ years, a member of SAG-AFTRA for 20 years and a member of AEA for 18 years. She has a B.A. in Theatre and English from Concordia College in MN, has studied in Howard Fine’s Master class in LA and has training from all of the markets she’s lived and worked in. Will Hightower is a graduate of both the Phoenix College (AA) and Arizona State University (BA) theatre programs. Ashley Faulkner graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Theatre and Film Studies. Read their BIOS here.
What if I get cast in a show? Or have an audition/booking out of town? Awesome! When you audition for the play, put your class as a conflict. Often they can work around it. (Or you can leave early from class to get to rehearsal on time.) If they aren’t able to work around it, temporarily drop the class (by the 20th of the month) during the tech/run and re-enroll after the show opens. If you are travelling frequently to LA for last minute auditions, contact Amanda to work something out.
What are the payment options? Tuition is based on the full amount of classes for the school year. You can opt for One payment (5% discount; no refunds), Trimester payments (Sept, Nov and February payments) or Monthly payments.
For monthly or trimester payments, we request a credit card to auto-bill on the set dates. If you are joining or re-joining mid-month, individual classes are $48/each.
We don’t offer drop-ins, this option is only for those enrolling or re-enrolling after dropping if mid-month due to a play or life event.
The Thursday Zoom class offers full tuition payment or monthly payments.
How do I know which class is right for me?
If you took the Wednesday Level 1 2019-2020 class, and are in high school this year, you should enroll in Tuesday as a level 2.
If you took the Wednesday Level 1 2019-2020 class, and are in middle school this year, you should enroll in Wednesday as a level 2.
If you took the Tuesday Level 1-2 2019-2020 class, you may enroll in either the Tuesday or Monday class this year.
If you took the Monday Level 2-4 2019-2020 class, you may enroll in the Monday class (or Tuesday if your schedule conflicts with Monday).
If you haven’t taken class at Verve before, enroll in Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday based on your age or grade. (The ages and grades overlap by design).
If you have taken only the Saturday workouts or summer camps at Verve, enroll in Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday based on your age or grade.
If you haven’t taken classes at Verve before, but have taken more than a year of classes at other studios, contact Amanda to schedule an audition. Students must be proficient in commercials, voice over, improv, film auditioning and scene work to work in the Monday class. At the audition, students will perform a prepared monologue (their choice) and a commercial cold read (Amanda’s choice).
Still not sure? Call or e-mail Amanda to set up a meeting.