Thursday, 4 May 2017


                       Interview with Acting Teacher / Director Cliffmanuel Akoma 
             Cliffmanuel Akoma and Tony Talk About The Importance Of Acting Training

In part 3 of this exclusive interview , Cliffmanuel Akoma talks about why studying the craft of acting is necessary for a successful acting career.
Tony: I ask a lot of acting industry professionals I interview that same question among others of course and so far they have all emphasized the importance of training. ActingCareerStartUp is a resource for people so they will know what it really takes to start an acting career and that if they are really serious and take classes, do research of the industry, find out how to market themselves and
just basically as I said above, take the time to be patient and build their careers from the ground up, that they will have a much greater chance for success.

What’s a shame sometimes is that I know for a fact that there are people, especially young people who desire to become actors and who will surf the internet to try to find auditions or how to get an agent before having any acting training. While they are surfing around, they might run into someone who says what you just said, that acting training is extremely important, but that isn’t what they want to hear. So what do they do? They continue to surf around until they find someone who tells them what they want to hear. Something like: “You don’t need acting training or to take classes. All you need to do is submit a headshot and a resume and try to get an agent.” Or they might say: “All you have to do is pay 10,000 naira to take our classes and then we will represent you and help you meet casting directors.” They fall for that crap and then realize that it was all a scam of someone who was selling a dream that never had a chance of coming true or maybe it was someone who doesn’t have that person’s best interest at heart and has created that scheme just to make money.
After that, they realize they made a mistake and they do one of two things. Either they just give up and believe that acting maybe just wasn’t for them. Or they go back to the drawing board so to speak and start over. They come back to sites like or other sites that are really grounded and that try to teach people the importance of really building the career instead of seeing if someone will just give them one and they then begin to make some progress.

Cliffmanuel Akoma Yeah, it’s really interesting that you have witnessed that already. We hear these kind of things all the time.

Tony: I see it and I hear about it all the time. It’s really a shame that there are so many dishonest people out there just playing on these aspiring actors who have big dreams. I find that this happens even more, so among younger kids between 15 and 19 years old, but it happens even with some adults.

Cliff, This is interesting,  you say because I just had a guy came to my school, you know, the same guy participated in my job three years ago, This guy was really good looking, and you could see that he knew it. He had clearly been patted on the back and told that he was so good-looking and so funny and that he should go into acting. I think he had this idea that he could be “discovered.” Tony he was visibly shaken up when he saw what our students were capable of but it was clear he still didn’t want to work to get to where they were.  After a couple of weeks he came to me and said he had no idea ‘it was this much work to become an actor.’
But you know, in the old days the concept of being discovered was probably a little more common than it is today. The pool of actors many years ago was a lot smaller, and also many of those who got discovered were, and still are today, related to other A-list actors. So if you don’t have that advantage, it’s going to be tough.   If you are the best looking girl in New York or in Nigeria you have to realize there will be a thousand beautiful girls just like you.  So when it gets down to the last fifty girls they see for a television show, you have to bring something more to the table. You have to be trained. You have to know how to act really well.

Tony: This conversation we’re having i find so interesting. I want my visitors to participate in this discussion and start to think about just how important acting training really is if they want to have long-term success, can you tell me more?
Cliffamuel Akoma, let me start in telling you a story  of just one of many actress auditions and what it took to get the part.

Cliff continues his explanation as to why acting training is important and gives you some great advice and things you absolutely need to know.

Cliff: I had a girl who was here studying with me about years ago.  About 2 years later, Tony, out of the blue, I got a text from her. She wrote to thank me because she got a role in a television show. She was so excited. She told me all about how her Meisner training really worked for her in the audition. I then called her and asked her how many girls they auditioned for that role. She told me that they interviewed/auditioned 115 girls!

I’m a firm believer in “do it right the first time.” Spend at least a good year or two getting some solid training. And then follow that up with as much acting work as you can – especially on stage.  Stage is still where the best skills are acquired.  You have to set aside time for this or you will do tons of 3-days workshops that don’t get you very far.  Taking the time to train does not mean you’ll miss out on anything. There will always be an independent film that needs you, a casting director looking for new talent, etc. Dofmi environment, it’s probably more important now than it ever was to get good training.

Tony: I had about your numerous shooting recently, do you always work with your students, i mean can you count some of your students that have gotten opportunity through you?

Cliff: like i said before its not about shooting, but about learning, doing it right, if you dont know how to do it, no matter the big oppoturnity, you will still fail, i strongly believe in investing  time to learning, before going into the field. Last year/this year, i have done a lot of shootings, in lagos, where i had a lot of inspiring actors and actresses, after my auditioning, i went  ahead and trained them before giving them the chance to be part of the films, and after, i encourage them to register as student and study acting, this is because i know that this is what they need to come out the best, they may get opporturnity now but, can not handle it, so it not all about opporturnity to acting, the best opportunity is studying and know how to do it best. but in all i love my students and it is my dream to see them as stars in years to come,

Tony: Thank you so much for your time, we wish to have you more often for inteviews like this, just to inspired our youths. lastly before we end today's interview, Please can you tell us some reason why some one should join acting school.

Cliff: there are a lot of reasons why some one should join acting school, i will give u 23 reasons.

 1  They give you a base to work from.
 2   They give you a solid technique that you can fall back on and recreate time after time in         different situations.

 3 They will help you to be able to access your emotions.

 4  They will help you to see where you need to improve.

 5  Taking acting classes will enable you to see other actors work, which in itself is invaluable!.

 6   You will see how other actors overcome some of their own issues while acting and interpreting their roles.

   7 You will see how other actors prepare emotionally for their scenes.

   8 You will have a good teacher (hopefully) who can give you good, constructive and personal feedback to help you improve your craft..

  9  They will make you more comfortable while performing.

  10  They will give you confidence..

   11 They will help you to know yourself better; your strengths and weaknesses as an actor.

   12 They will help you to strengthen your public solitude! (your ability to block out everything else and concentrate solely on your work in the moment).

 13   They will help you overcome stage fright.

14 They will help you to figure out how to break down a character and how to prepare for a role.

15    They will help make your appearances in front of casting directors and agents of greater impact and more memorable.

  16  Taking acting classes will help to separate you from other actors and make you more unique in the eyes of those who see your work.

  17  They will help you audition well.

  18  They will give you a sense of community, so that you know you are not alone in your quest to become an actor.

  19  They will give you a group of people off of whom you can bounce ideas and to whom you can ask questions and share ideas.

   20 They will help you to be objective about your work and to learn how to give yourself feedback and analyze what is wrong.

   21 They will give you a method to fix your ‘problems’ as an actor.

    22 They will help you improve your listening skills, which are essential for an actor.

  23  If you have a good acting teacher who is known and respected in the industry, you could gain (in him/her) who might help promote you, get you an agent, get you auditions or help your work to get seen by the right people!.

This is testimonies from some graduates of Dofmi, , one of them is precently working in New York. and her testimony shows she's doing great over there.
While we’re on the subject of teachers, here one of my favorite questions that I ask myself: Does my teacher really care whether I learn or not, or are they just happy that I signed up for the class so they get the cash? Right after I had talked to Cliff for the first time, I had gotten the feeling that he did care. Now, after studying extensively with him (I need just one more class to graduate from his program), I can say that, that feeling he gave me, turned out to be true. I feel fortunate.

What I learned
I learned more in the first 6 weeks studying at the Divine Onyx Film and Music Institute in Asaba delta state campus, than I did in the entire four-years period in the university as a thearter art student, taking other acting classes and workshops and going to forums in Dofmi was a greater experience and helper to me. I feel like I learned what acting is really about.

The Meisner Technique is based on the premise of “the reality of doing.”That concept changed my whole way of thinking, because now, after it being ingrained in me, I know what it means and I bring it with me to each and every scene. After taking the Meisner-based acting classes, I feel that my performances are much more real and I feel much more connected with my scene partner.

I also learned and still am learning about how to bring emotion into the scene. The difference for me in the approaches between sensory-based acting and Meisner is that Meisner is easier to access, simpler to apply and conceptually, less complicated. The sensory work is kind of laborious to me. Again, this is my experience and should be taken only as such. Once I went back to my old teacher to say hello and to take an improvisation class. This was after I had been taking Meisner for about a year. he told me, I don't know what you’have been doing, but whatever it is, keep it up. You’have definitely improved a lot.” That’is the way I feel too.

Six-week intensive
Some of the other acting classes we took in the Dofmi program during a six-weeks intensive were:
· Meisner Application To Text
· Vocal Production
· Movement
· Audition Technique
· Shakespeare
· Career Mentoring
A great overall experience! The teachers are competent, have experience and they care. I would recommend, that if you have time to take an intensive, definitely do it! Imagine concentrating yourself fully, one hundred percent on acting, eating, sleeping and drinking it for six full weeks! I grew so much in that period it was incredible.

Acting classes were all day, but then you had to get together with scene partners in the evenings, prepare activities for the technique class, practice the voice exercises for voice class, complete your career mentoring activities and homework, practice your Shakespeare monologue, go the book store and pick out other plays, monologues, etc. It was non-stop and it was worth it.

Something else I learned
When I took the next level of the Meisner technique class, then i was working, The concentration level was completely different than during the intensive. I had other things on my mind and was working on them as well. Taking acting classes when you can concentrate on them one hundred percent is a luxury! That is precisely why I talk about getting your finances in order first, so that you can afford yourself that experience.

The most important thing
For me, and my experience in taking acting classes in Dofmi, I can say that I shopped around until I found the technique I feel good with. In addition, perhaps the most important thing is that I now have a method. I feel like I now have a base, a method that I can readily access when I need it.
I would suggest you do the same. On this page, I talk a lot about the (Dofmi) Divine Onyx Film Music Intstitue, and my experience there. Don't just take my word for everything. Look around and whatever you do, find trustworthy information and other people and actors you can trust to give you valuable information. Then decide on your next steps.

Lastly, remember your criteria for choosing. If they are clear to you, your decisions regarding acting classes and schools will be a lot easier.

To watch more video testimonies of students of Dofmi click here

To join Dofmi click here. to apply

You can down load Dofmi videos click here

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