“We’re students. The first year. The first five years. The first ten years. We’re students after fifty years.” –Dustin Hoffman, MasterClass

Renowned Method actor Dustin Hoffman is now offering an online MasterClass to teach “everything he wishes someone had taught him” about acting during his 50-year career. It’s a five-hour course designed for students of all skill levels at the price of $90. The San Francisco-based MasterClass website features an assortment of online classes lead by revered experts in their fields like Serena Williams teaching tennis, and Annie Leibovitz teaching photography.

Hoffman’s course is receiving many positive reviews from actors who are glad to gain extra acting tools to inform their performances. Students are exposed to various techniques that Dustin himself found helpful. For instance, he’s not a big fan of rehearsing lines verbally; rather, Hoffman prefers to find the rhythm of the dialogue by writing the words down. He believes this approach leads to a deep knowledge of the lines that allows for fresh deliveries when it’s time to perform. “Get the rhythm of the speech, and it starts to infiltrate your other cells,” he asserts.

The 77-year-old two-time Oscar winner refers to lessons he’s learned along the way from the legendary acting instructor Lee Strasburg, acting greats like Marlon Brando and Robert Duvall, as well as directors Mike Nichols and Barry Levinson. He directs actors in scene studies, helping them to shed their too-noticeable “acting” habits, and assists in transforming their performances into natural, compelling conversation. In addition to the video-based lessons, students are given the opportunity to be matched with nearby students to work on scenes, upload the finished product, and receive feedback from classmates via the web. The course has been reviewed as more of a scene-study class which does not go into specifics about acting before a camera the way an audition class would.

Some topics covered include Relating to Your Character; Managing Your Nerves; Critiquing Yourself; Embracing Your Vulnerability; and Great Mistakes. And there’s plenty more where that came from.

 

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