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How do I Choose an Acting School?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are three items to consider when looking for the best acting school: accreditation, faculty, and opportunities to perform. An acting school can be part of a large university or can be a completely separate school focused on preparing people for acting on stage, TV, or movies. Although not all successful actors have attended acting school, most have completed a training program or have an acting coach to help them hone their skills.

Acting school provides the training necessary to start a career as an actor. There are three areas where actors can find employment opportunities: stage, television, and movies. Stage performances are live shows, where the audience provides immediate feedback. The actors are required to perform for a specific contract length, with multiple shows each week. Depending on the success of the production, the contract can be extended for several months.

Television acting is slightly different. Many shows are recorded in front of a studio audience, but there are opportunities to repeat a scene if there are any mistakes. The contract is usually for a specific number of episodes. If the show and character are successful, the contract can be extended for several years. Movies are usually filmed in an intense three- to four-month period, and may require travel to other locations around the world. There is usually no audience and the scenes are repeated until correct.

In order to qualify for admission to acting school, most programs require an audition, production of a portfolio of acting experience, and an interview. High school graduation is required, but no specific courses are necessary for the admissions process. Each acting school has specific requirements for the audition and it is best to prepare well in advance. The portfolio of acting experience can include professional and amateur productions.

When reviewing an acting school, the first item to check is the accreditation status. An accredited school has been reviewed by an independent third party and both the academic and administrative policies reviewed. Acting courses from an accredited school can be transferred to other post-secondary institutions. In addition, accredited schools are able to offer students access to government student aid programs. The acting studios and directors recognize accredited acting schools as a legitimate start when training to become an actor.

Review the qualifications of the faculty or course instructors. Check the working experience of the instructors to determine if they are focuses on theater, TV, or movies. Talk with the admissions counselor about who the actual instructors are and their teaching experience. Many famous acting teachers are not well-known performers, but have a specific skill in training quality actors.

An acting school should have multiple opportunities to perform. There should be a full stage production at least twice a year, with smaller shows several times throughout the year. Movie previews and short film festivals provide opportunities for actors, producers, and directors to hone their skills.

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