Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress
I did what you said and I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA
This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA
Interview with Ward Studio Founder & Teacher Wendy Ward - Part I
Tony: Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you came to teach acting and found the Ward Studio here in New York?
Wendy: It took me a couple of years after college to make my way to New York. I had received my BA in theater from Duke University but then went home to Michigan and did no acting for one or two years. I was miserable. So I decided to apply to the National Theatre Institute’s one-semester program at the Eugene O’Neil Theater Center in Connecticut. That program helped convince me that the move to New York I was contemplating was right for me.
So I moved to New York, did some acting, and eventually found my way to a Meisner school. The technique was by far the most useful, practical and effective training I had received and I really loved and excelled at it. When my teacher asked me to teach for his school, it was a no-brainer. I taught there for a few years and then I opened my own studio in 1996. Best decision of my life. I’ve never been so happy. My day job at the time was working for a very successful mortgage-backed securities firm that gave me an obscene bonus each year. But inside I kept asking myself “What would it be like to do something I love all day long, every day?” So I finally got the courage to tell my boss I was quitting. Lots of disbelief from both of us but here I am, thirteen years later running my own studio and directing about twelve shows a year -- something else I love about my job.
Tony: What kind of students do you get coming here to study acting with you at the Ward Studio?
Wendy: Three types overall – kids who got their BA in theater but realize once in New York there’s more to learn; working actors who feel their work has become too results-oriented or stale; and mature beginners – people who’ve always wanted to act and don’t want to Mickey Mouse around with a beginning class that moves too slow for them. Our students are disciplined. They understand that overnight success is a myth. They understand if they take the time to do things well now they’ll be better served in the future. If students believe the programs that market short-term solutions they tend not to come to us. Unfortunately, I see more and more people marketing stuff that really has no substance and that plays on actors’ delusions and fantasies. But here at the Ward Acting Studio we get students who do their due diligence. They do their research.
Tony: What kind of research are you talking about?
Wendy: They check out acting school websites and they contact and meet with instructors and make informed decisions about the actual training they will receive. And so what happens at my studio is that the students here really bond in a more professional way. It’s not what I call “theatre camp bonding” that’s fairly superficial but it is the kind of bonding that comes from meeting your challenges and respecting what the other guy’s challenges are. I know our students see growth in their colleagues as well as feel it in themselves. And they feel supported. They may have a competitive spirit in class but also celebrate the other guy’s successes.
Right now our youngest student is 17 and his classmates really back him up because they’re impressed with his being here. He goes to high-school during the day and then comes here two to four times a week in the evening for classes. He’s crewed our shows and is now in two shows of his own. So he is kind of exceptional. And his classmates get that.
And our oldest actors are in their late fifties or early sixties. And the younger actors respect them as well. No matter who is in the class, they all share a work ethic that I think we really do a good job at communicating in our marketing materials.
I’ve been diligent about keeping our standards high here at the Ward Acting Studio and not allowing the market place to make me say, “Oh, ok. It’s ok if you’re late to class.” Or “Don’t worry about it this time if you couldn’t get your homework assignment done.” I don’t accept that. If you come to this program, I demand that you work hard. And I know that the students see how much it’s paying off.
Tony: I can attest to that Wendy and I think that is a good thing. The Ward Studio maintains really high standards.
Wendy: I would rather have eight students who are really committed and who aren’t going to let you down than a class of sixteen where I have problems with attitudes or with people who are lazy and don’t do all the work.
End of part 1. In part 2 of this exclusive interview with Ward Acting Studio founder Wendy Ward, she talks about entrance requirements to get into her acting studio.
Visit the official website of the Ward Studio.
Here are some other related pages you might find helpful:
Read here about my personal experience at the Ward Acting Studio
ActingCareerStartUp.com Acting School Directory
10-Step Guide To Preparing Your Trip To New York To Study Acting
A Guide To Starting A Successful Acting Career
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I want to say you changed my life. I want to be an actress so bad, but i began losing motivation when I couldn't figure out what to do. And then I found you! Thanks to you, I'm taking my first acting classes next month! Yippee!
Sara, Pasadena, CA
Just wanted to thank you for bringing me in to [audition for the video], meet you and chat this Saturday. I was really excited to hear about your working on actingcareerstartup.com and even took a look at it today - it's awesome! You are very well-spoken, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and it shows through the work that you do! I hope our paths in the industry will cross again and really enjoyed meeting you. Thanks, again and best wishes with your very important work!
Gretchen, NY, NY