By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Located in the Flatiron district, the Acting Studio Inc.(228-2700) touts its instruction as "serious training for the actor." While it offers the standard round of classes, what sets the studio apart is its two performing forums, the Chelsea Repertory Company and the Off-Off-Broadway Theater Company, in which students are sometimes invited to participate. Class lengths vary, as do costs, ranging from $225 to $1250. Registration is ongoing and an interview determines placement.
What do Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Alec Baldwin, and Uma Thurman have in common? They all studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute (533-5500), where students learn the basics of the Strasberg method and can choose from electives such as directing, writing, and acting for film and TV. The school's summer term starts June 28 and costs $950, electives an additional $160 to $445.
Describing theater as a "joyous, developmental activity," the staffers at Performance of a Lifetime (343-2884) liken their studio to "a performance school for nonperformers," in which students are encouraged to experiment in a supportive environment. Courses include public speaking, improv techniques, communication skills, and a month-long program devoted to the creation and performance of an original play. Costs range from $50 to $300 per series of courses. Registration is ongoing.
Drawing on Meisner training and the Method while emphasizing physical acting techniques, the Total Theatre Lab (799-4224) curriculum includes scene study, monologue, voice and speech technique, and audition coaching. Classes are small 12 pupils or less and students are often invited to perform in Equity showcases sponsored by the Lab. Classes cost $135 to $260 per month and registration is ongoing. Alexis Soloski
Proving that the appeal of fashion is an international affair, the Fashion Institute of Technology (217-7999) helps sharpen industry skills by teaching the dos and don'ts of pattern making and draping in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Korean. Classes cost $315 and an additional $25 in lab fees. Basic ESL courses are recommended in conjunction with bilingual classes. High- school students can also choose from a wide range of courses comparable to those in the school's degree programs as part of "Summer Live." Running from July 12 through July 29, courses costs $135 each plus a $5 fee. For more information on these programs, call 271-7882.
So, you're a beauty school dropout? Il-Makiage founder Ilana Harkavi and her team of top makeup artists will help turn your dreams of glamor into a career. Master "Make-Up Basics," for $325, and "Advanced Make-Up," for $425. Enrollment in the latter comes with perks such as free brushes, membership in the Il-Makiage Club, and inclusion in its national referral list. For more information, call 800-722-1011. Denise McNicholl
What do Kurosawa, Coppola, and Godard have in common? The answer can be found at the "Film Studies" summer program at Brooklyn College (718-951-5664), which also offers complete training in directing, screenwriting, editing, sound, and animation for very reasonable prices for New York State residents, $160 per credit.
Learn how to write, shoot, direct, and edit your own film at the New York Film Academy(674-4300), which emphasizes small classes and individual attention. Four-, six-, and eight-week intensive filmmaking workshops are also available. Tuition for most programs is between $4000 and $5000.
For those who want to walk in the steps of Scorsese, opt for the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies summer intensive workshop. But beware, the six-week program runs from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will have you racking up 350 hours of class time. The workshop costs $5775. For more information, call 998-7140. Ioana Veleanu
You're among the few, the very few . . . who have extra cash. Perhaps your first investment should be in the "Fundamentals of Personal Financial Planning" or the "Fundamentals of Individual Investing" at the NYU School of Continuing and Professional Studies. Each course costs $395 and could be the first straw to turn that nest egg into a giant Flintstone omelette. Yabba-dabba-doo! For more information call 790-1319.
Let's attempt to solve one of history's great catch-22s: how do you learn the ways to save money without actually spending the bucks to find out? The Open Housing Center Inc.(941-6101) is a free resource for first-time minority home buyers, building on a 35-year legacy with workshops on such subjects as figuring out closing costs and finding ideal mortgages. A $25 materials fee is necessary for the four sessions.
Thinking about starting your own business? Broke? Learn "How To Get Rich on 'Other People's Money"' and track down loans, grants, venture capital, private-lender funding, and much more at The Seminar Center on May 12. The course costs $38. For more information, call 655-0077. Andrew Aber
Entering its 22nd year as one of the leading foreign-study institutions in the nation, TraveLearn (800-235-9114) continues to offer adults between the ages of 30 and 80 the opportunity to fufill the "delayed dream" of study abroad. The program's unique itinerary is designed to acquaint older students with the people and cultures of the world so that they become true citizens of this planet. Ten- to 20-day courses available all year round and students attend daily classes taught by local professors. Log on at TraveLearn.com.