A look at the many learning opportunities in the city
I’ve been known to talk about the “graduating class” of any given year with regard to New Mexico acting talent. This stems from following and reporting on the state’s film industry for more than eight years.
I’ve been afforded many opportunities to watch careers begin and bloom. Invariably, the success stories have fundamental elements in common, the core element being one very attainable practice: Training.
One may not be able to control the support of family, friends or peers, but the drive to improve ones’ self ultimately comes from within. With a little bit of discipline and focus, the tools to get into and thrive in the local film industry are available. Talent resources actually abound here.
Whether they are locals who have been here working within the scene for decades or talented individuals who have relocated to be a part of the booming community, New Mexico is full of training opportunities.
In Albuquerque, Arizona transplant/co-habitant Faith Hibbs-Clark, CSA (goodfaithcasting.com) teaches auditioning for film and commercials to adults and teens. As a member of the Casting Society of America and a long-time casting director whose credits include multiple New Mexico-made commercial productions, Hibbs-Clark is an expert in her field.
Sol Acting Academy (solacting.com) is widely regarded as the go-to place for acting and performance training of all kinds. Headed by actor/owner Vivian Nesbitt, Sol is tops with many actors who continue to hone their craft and build their résumés.
Auditioning 101 by Marie Kohl McMaster has become a must-have in every actor’s tool kit. Check-in at McMaster Audition 101 on Facebook for information and updates on upcoming courses.
Lora Cunningham is a highly accomplished New Mexico native whose eight-week acting classes are extremely popular. Cunningham can be seen in countless films and television series, including the upcoming third season of the Albuquerque-made El Rey network series “From Dusk till Dawn.” Cunningham has recently been snapped on the red carpet with “Maze Runner: Scorch Trials” co-star Dylan O’Brien and “Sicario” co-star Benicio del Toro. Locals can catch her Albuquerque Actors Studio (abqactorsstudio.com) course at select times throughout the year.
Rebekah Wiggins is the one and only acting teacher in New Mexico trained in the Chubbuck Acting Technique. Wiggins is a SAG-AFTRA actress who teaches the multi-level technique through Southwest Scene Works (southwestsceneworks.com) at regularly scheduled intervals for varying skill levels. The Chubbuck technique draws from the basic psychology of human behavior, and it has been practiced by actors such as Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron and Halle Berry.
These are a few of the best places for aspiring thespians to get started. In every case, I strongly advise getting multiple recommendations and testimonials before committing your valuable time and money in any instructional course to find the best fit for you and your goals.
New Mexico film expert Christa Valdez, of OneHeadlightInk.com and ChristaValdez.com, reports on movies industry news for ABQ Free Press Weekly.