Our Training Philosophy

The S.T.E.P.S. approach to screen acting

S.T.E.P.S. is an acronmyn that stands for Story, Truth, Expression, Physicality, Spontaneity. These are the 5 tenets of acting technique primarily explored in our unique and original approach to acting that is not derived from traditional acting methods, but rather distilled from the years of on-set experience of our coaches. The S.T.E.P.S. approach contains dozens of sub-concepts and is exercise-based, in that the training, much like with athletes, develops an actor's skills in an extraordinary number of different ways to allow them to simply and beautifully harness their authentic selves in performance.

Sub-concepts explored include:

-acting muscle memory (impulses, instincts, intuition)
-attention (observation, listening, awareness)
-dramatic improvisation (not "improv" comedy)
-scene comprehension (understanding)
-scene interpretation (not analysis)
-scene exploration (active discovery)
-concepts of emotion: awareness, intelligence, accessibility, sensitivity, control, complexity, resistance, resonance
-emotional spaces, including transitions, weight, vibrato, mask
-inner dialogue vs inner monologue
-heirarchy of human needs
-naturalism, authenticity, and organic performance
-modes, scales, and levels
-modes of being
-pain modes
-energy modes (kinetic, potential)
-energy scale (low-low through to high-high)
-tone scale (witty to gritty)
-substitution (active vs passive)
-visualization and imagination work (active vs passive)
-flexible wants
-behavior spaces
-conflict modes (external vs internal)
-conflict scale
-musicality in dialogue
-scale of engagement
-engagement modes
-creative collaboration (making "offers")
-blocking & body language
-style vs substance
-risk taking and what it actually means at any stage in your career
-on-set communicating with directors, actors, and other creatives
-8 types of direction and how to approach taking each type naturalistically
-modes of breathing
-playing moment-to-moment
-pre-occupation and introspection
-focus and concentration
-eyes up vs mind's eye
-owning the moment
-dynamics (shape of a scene)
-playing extremes
-rage and aggression
-everything / nothing theory
-recognizable human behavior
-stillness and movement
-camera coverage
-eyelines and camera awareness
-scale of maturity (child to adult)
-shooting multiple takes (different, same/different, same/same)
-the G.U.T.S. and B.E.S.T. approaches to auditioning with simplicity
-concepts of character: history, ghost, fear, need, misbelief, point of view, arc

Our approach introduces a great number of concepts and theory, while allowing actors to completely let them all go and play on instinct. Actors learn that most compelling performances they see contain many elements outlined above, however actors don't necessarily need to be aware of any of the above concepts to actually convey them in performance. Many times they are simply present due to the performance being a reflection of life. The S.T.E.P.S. approach helps identify these behavioral characteristics, distills them into concepts and exercises, and then trains actors to be able to convey them through their own instrument with minimal preparation.

The Style

In our classes, actors are not huddled in front of their computers reading scripts off the screen, like many classes that have temporarily adapted to an online format. Scenes are framed, blocked, and shot cinematically, empowering actors to create their own work after developing a deeper understanding of the filmmaking process.

Film and television actress on set looking into camera. Monitor showing her image, film crew present.
Film and television set. Screen actor stands on backdrop with umbrella lights and softbox lights. Large crane holding camera above him. Monitor shows his image.

Among many other concepts, you'll learn foundational acting skills, audition/self-taping technique, scene study, and skills that translate directly to film sets. Our unique training style combines scene study with practical on-set movement and camera awareness, challenging actors to evolve their creativity and communication skills with crew members on-set. Actors learn to achieve the most organic performance possible given various technical constraints they may be faced with.

A tripod and cell phone mount setup is encouraged (but not required until our Intermediate levels) as we work with movement in the frame, using props, hitting marks, shot and frame sizes, and lighting. You'll get to play with wardrobe choices, size of performance, stillness, scene interpretation, and even more concepts that are extremely relevant for screen acting.

A film camera on film set. Setting up frame for a scene.

Our Classes and Programs

For Adults (ages 18+), we have an Acting for Beginners Workshop, a 3-hour session for newer actors to get an introduction to the film/TV industry and lots of time working on scenes with other actors.

You'll progress through the five categories of our Acting On-Camera training program, beginning with the foundational Core levels. Then onto moderate Essentials levels, and moving through mixed-level Intermediate, Advanced, and Mastery classes, which are a hybrid of On-Camera Technique, Scene Study, and Audition Technique. Each has multiple levels with 4 classes per level. Each class costs 1 credit. Mastery is intended as ongoing training for the actor looking to continually evolve their craft.

For Teens (Ages 15-17), we have Teen Acting Workshops! In these fully online 3-4 hour workshops, teen actors at all levels will be challenged appropriately from beginner concepts to advanced level techniques, depending on their past training and experience.

The Progression of Training

There's a clear progression through these categories and levels, where you'll take on more complex material across numerous genres while finding what is uniquely you as the actor. You'll discover what is memorable and compelling on-camera that you can bring forward to help casting learn who you are and solidify your talent as someone to watch.


Acting On-Camera | Core introduces our organic approach and practical technique for Film & TV acting. The actor will begin working with some of our 25+ concepts unique to our studio, being challenged with a variety of exercises.


Acting On-Camera | Essentials continues the actors training with more challenging exercises, memorization, characters, and scene partners.


Acting On-Camera | Intermediate challenges the actor to a greater degree, using longer scenes and more complex exercises. Actors in Intermediate levels will work with scene partners in the Intermediate and Advanced levels in a hybrid of On-Camera Technique, Scene Study, and Audition Technique.


Acting On-Camera | Advanced introduces a greater focus on emotional depth, as well as blocking and movement. Actors are given extensive dialogue to memorize (including monologues) as part of their exploratory on-camera work, and are challenged to evolve their communication skills and creativity through exercises that mimic an on-set experience.


Acting On-Camera | Mastery focuses on going deeper into understanding story and scenes as well as strengthening actor weaknesses. You'll work on going to those difficult places and staying there, and mining the most from your unique personality and experience to create the most truthful acting on-camera. Actors are paired together and work much more directly with ongoing partners in this category.

Why Choose Us?

Thinking about joining our classes? Here are some of the reasons our students choose us:

Try before you buy! Adults (ages 18+) can observe one of our classes for free.

Online classes mean you can learn from anywhere and connect with a global community of actors.

Our unique organic approach to screen acting (we work with 40+ concepts!) gives you access to practical knowledge you can use to book the job, while drawing from existing foundational technique and theory that actors may already be familiar with.

Our expert coaches are also working actors, so they know what it's like to be auditioning in the industry today.

Small class sizes (typically 4-6 actors) guarantee individualized instruction.

There are no "semesters" or "terms," meaning actors can jump into our ongoing classes at any time.

Flexibility with rescheduling and purchase options. Our class credit system allows you to purchase as many or as few classes at a time as you'd like.

Access to our exclusive community and private Facebook group providing industry advice, support for auditions, and more.

Discounts on our Private Coaching options.

Ongoing class discussion of industry-related topics including headshots, demo reels, agents, and more.

Film set. Director of photography behind the camera setting up the shot.
Home studio. The O.A. Training Studio empowers students to create their own work after learning more about the filmmaking process in class. Home setup for a short film with a couch, umbrella lights, a softbox light.
Film fet with the director's chair and monitor in the foreground. In the shot, actors working on blocking with the director. Film crew members around.

Ready to Join The O.A.?