Acting Essentials

Develop your instrument, and work with an ensemble, in four months of exploring truth in performance to discover if acting is the ideal creative path for you.

You are ready to find out if acting is the right outlet for your passion to tell stories. You’re looking to build your self-awareness, and develop your instrument, both vocally and physically, to approach any performance platform—a film set, a stage or a boardroom—with more presence and confidence. You are a creative force.

An Education in Acting Essentials

Hone Your Craft

VFS Acting faculty share how our Acting programs prepare you for the next step in your career journey.

Hone Your Craft

Acting students exploring techniques

Expand your actor's toolbox

Develop self-awareness, concentration, and imagination. Begin to recognize emotional truth when connecting to character and their stories.

Expand your actor's toolbox

Acting students at the Week 15 shoot

Grow your confidence on camera

From weekly audition class, to a grounding in the fundamentals of camera technique, you will get comfortable in front of the lens.

Grow your confidence on camera

Program Breakdown

LET'S PLAY. Dive into the skills necessary to pursue an acting career. Explore introduction to camera, improvisation, and audition, along with the essential actor’s building blocks of voice, movement, text analysis, and acting techniques. Commit to the craft through serious play.

LET'S CONNECT. Integrate the actor’s various disciplines to work more deeply with scripts to create vibrant characters. Build your actor’s toolbox to play freely in front of a camera and to connect more fully with your voice, body, imagination, and each other. The first steps in finding your confidence as an actor.

  • program length

    4 Months

  • Time spent with instructors

    398 Hours

  • A Certificate in Acting Essentials
  • The opportunity to apply to the VFS one-year Acting for Film + Television program.
  • Access to the VFS Alumni Directory and Job Board

Key Faculty

Our Acting instructors come right from the industry, and offer an unparalleled education based on decades of real-world experience, designed to give students the skills, contacts and confidence to kick start their careers.

Head of Acting, Jennifer Clement first photo
Head of Acting, Jennifer Clement second photo

Jennifer Clement

Head of Department

Jen has acted in over 100 theatre, film and TV projects in the course of her professional career. She has been teaching for ten years, sharing her years of experience, and passion for acting, with her students.

Acting Essentials Senior Instructor Mattie Shisko first photo
Acting Essentials Senior Instructor Mattie Shisko second photo

Mattie Shisko

Senior Instructor

Mattie undertook her formal training as an actor in Sydney, Australia, and has more than 27 years' experience as a teacher, performer, actress, and filmmaker. She has been with VFS since 2002.

Acting Essentials Instructor Rondel Reynoldson

Rondel Reynoldson


Rondel has worked as an actress for more than 20 years, and brings a genuine love and curiosity for the craft of acting to her teaching. She's worked in over 50 television and film projects ranging from local independent films to Hollywood blockbusters, such as Man of Steel. 

Acting Essentials Instructor David C. Jones first photo
Acting Essentials Instructor David C. Jones second photo

David C. Jones

Instructor – Improv

David works as a corporate entertainer and was the Entertainment Manager for the 2010 Olympics. He has acted in commercials, web-series, and independent films, as well as directing and acting in plays. He has also won some awards.

Senior Instructor Alison James first photo
Senior Instructor Alison James second photo

Alison James

Senior Instructor

Alison has been acting, directing, and teaching for over 11 years. She played the coveted role of “Nurse Tiffany” in New Zealand's primetime clinical drama Shortland Street, which is still shown in over 70 countries.

See more Instructors and staff

Faculty Career Highlights

Fido poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Jennifer Clement –  Dee Dee Bottoms

The Dead Zone poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

The Dead Zone

Bill Marchant – Scotty
Jennifer Clement – Phyllis Grantfork
Nancy Sivak – Animal Control Officer

The X-Files poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

The X-Files

Jennifer Clement – Michele Wilkes

Cold Squad poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Cold Squad

Mattie Shisko – Woman

Everyone poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Bill Marchant – Shepard (Bill also wrote, directed, and produced Everyone)
Cara McDowell – Rachel
Nancy Sivak – Madeline

Supernatural poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Bill Marchant – Deputy Frank
Jennifer Clement – Wendy Rice
Kurt Evans – FBI Special Agent Carl Reidy

Da Vinci's Inquest poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Da Vinci's Inquest

Bill Marchant – Don Marcos
Jennifer Clement – Sarah Woods
Nancy Sivak – Sara MIlls

Shortland Street poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Shortland Street

Alison James – Nurse Tiffany

Diary of a Wimpy Kid poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Jennifer Clement – Mrs. Flint

Stargate SG-1 poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Stargate SG-1

Michael Robinson – Head of Council

Intelligence poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Bill Marchant – Paul Legros
Jennifer Clement – Parent
Nancy Sivak  – Anne's Mother

Eureka poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Jennifer Clement –  Susan Perkins

Waydowntown poster, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


Jennifer Clement – Vicki Strayhorn

David C. Jones in Tops and Bottoms, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Tops & Bottoms

David C. Jones –  The Host

David C. Jones in In Session, Acting Essentials Staff Credits


David C. Jones –  Geoff

David C. Jones in Rink Rats, Acting Essentials Staff Credits

Rink Rats

David C. Jones –  Adrian

Campus Life

Your four months in Acting Essentials puts you in close contact with students in a host of other VFS programs, from writers and filmmakers to makeup artists and sound designers. This downtown training facility features near round-the-clock access to rehearsal space, computers, and everything you need to perform at your best. You'll also be surrounded by the city's best cafes, restaurants, and cultural attractions – not to mention some of the leading film and television production studios. 

Students happily warming up for class

Program Events

Allan Hawco of Republic of Doyle speaking to Acting students

Guest Speakers

Gain valuable career insights from industry guest speakers who will give demonstrations or answer questions about their experiences. Recent guests include Matthew Lillard (The Descendents), Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies), and talent agent Tyman Stewart of The Characters Agency – West.

Guest Speakers

Students take a bow after a performance

Essentials Day

Perform your movement piece and scenes to an audience of invited faculty and students. The experience cements the foundational techniques you've learned and exposes you a realistic performance scenario.

Essentials Day

Acting students gathered at the VFS Cafe for Slice event


Build an initial network of actors who are on the same creative path. This event brings the whole VFS Acting department together and occurs once during the four-month Acting Essentials program.


Acting alumni visiting current students

Ambassador Talks

To give you a better sense of what it's like to pursue your acting training beyond Acting Essentials, you will be able to engage with VFS Acting students and alumni. These events are casual in nature, but provide valuable insight to help you determine if acting is right for you.

Ambassador Talks


You'll graduate from Acting Essentials at VFS ready for higher-level training; with an indepth understanding of acting techniques, and an awareness of presence that will showcase your confidence in acting and a range of other disciplines.

Acting for Film + Television

61% of students who complete Acting Essentials go on to specialize in VFS's Acting for Film + Television program.

Other VFS Programs

Another 3% of Acting Essentials students choose to further their skills in the entertainment arts through one of VFS's other programs.

Other Careers

Others who complete Acting Essentials, choose to explore other career options with a newfound self-confidence.

Alumni Success

Vancouver Film School grads are some of the most successful professionals in the film and television industries. Take a moment to browse some of their accomplishments and achievements. The Alumni Success Stories feature tales of triumph and fame, and will open in another window to take you to the VFS Blog page. Grad Career Highlights offers a glimpse at some of our amazing alumni credits and contributions to the industry.

Alumni Success Stories

Admissions Info

To make sure you have accurate admissions information please select your region based on country of citizenship.


Select Your Region

Start Dates

Select Your Region


You will be asked to submit one of the following along with your application. Your advisor can help with selecting the best option.

All you need is a passion for acting and the arts, a strong desire to express yourself and tell stories through performance, and a willingness to collaborate with peers and instructors. Acting Essentials is ideal for those who feel a need to expand their foundation as an actor and for those without a portfolio sufficient to gain entrance into VFS's one-year Acting for Film + Television program.

For more about language requirements and other information for international students, visit the International Students page.

We Can Help

We’re here to help you submit an application that best reflects your abilities, and gives you the best chance of being accepted. We've helped thousands of people complete a successful year at VFS by answering questions like these: 


  • What does VFS look for in an application?
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  • Can I pay in installments?
  • How much will I need for living expenses in Vancouver?


  • How do I get to Vancouver?
  • Where will I live in Vancouver?
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