Deciding on the right acting course to study and which institution to study at is an important step in your acting career. It is not an exact science however; the decision you make must be one that is right for you.
Choosing where to complete your studies is essential to your personal fulfilment and professional success. Here are some tips to consider on how to choose between taking acting classes at a university or at an acting school.
There is a wide range of drama-related subjects that you can study at university but they are very different from learning the definitive skills to become an actor from experienced professionals. While many acting courses at university have practical elements to them, they are primarily theory based and introductory, taught by lecturers as opposed to current actors in the industry.
Most universities are very transparent with the fact that although their courses offer a wide range of fundamental knowledge, they do not provide the much hands on training and exercises for students to become actors. It is more likely that an acting enthusiast would have to go on to complete post-graduate training at a drama school. With that being said, graduating with a university degree is a great achievement and can certainly provide a ‘safety net’, should you ever decide to branch away from a career as an actor.
As most university acting courses range from three to four years, it is also important to consider if you do have the time to commit, as opposed to taking an acting course at an acting school which typically run for two to two and a half years.
To become an actor, you must first learn the trade!
It is true that a thorough education is essential to succeed in any industry. If you are able to master your craft, as a result of a proper education and training, you are more likely to have a competitive edge over your competition. The rigorous training and learning of acting skills is imperative as natural talent can only get you so far. This is why earning a Diploma of Screen Acting and spending multiple formative years learning the craft in all areas of acting is the best way to excel as an actor to be ready to answer any questions a casting agent throws at you.
At first glance, acting school might seem to be the obvious choice for budding actors as their courses are designed to diligently prepare people for a long career in acting. As well as honing the talent and performance skills you already possess, you will be taught the tools and techniques to aid you in your pursuit of becoming a successful actor. The training is extremely practical and on a full-time basis, consisting of roughly 8 hours a day, at least 4-5 days a week. It is intensive and very demanding due to the competition for places being fierce.
It’s also important to note that at an acting school, you are definitely more likely to be ‘spotted’. Exposure to casting directors and agents usually through an acting school’s showcase is generally vastly beneficial; it can provide incredible momentum at the beginning of a young actor’s career.
So if you are planning on taking an acting course and are deciding between an acting school or university acting classes, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you career acting goals?
- How much time do you have?
- Have you checked the Acting School’s credentials and reputation?
- How easy is it for you to get there?
- Who will be teaching you?