Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What makes a good college or university for acting?

There are many ways to approach this question, but I warn you the answers are not going to be what you would suppose. For example, it makes no difference who the alumni of the school are. Lists of successful alumni are nothing but public relations. Reputation is also of little value in some cases. Mostly is it based upon the past and the present is what is important. Julliard may no longer be the top acting school in the country. The professors have changed and there are a great number of new schools with excellent programs. What really matters is how you and the school fit to make a path to help you achieve your goals. You can’t just attend the school. You have to make connections with people in the business while you are in school and take advantage of any opportunities that come your way. The number of plays they produce each academic year is important. And if they have a summer stock theatre is important. Because you want to get all the on stage experience you can. It is much more important than the classes. The best schools for acting will not have a tech lab requirement for acting students, but they are very rare because most schools have not figured out how to provide the scenery, costumes and lighting for shows comically without using student slave labor. Now this is not necessarily a really bad thing. If well done, tech calls for the actors make for unity in the theatre company. My summer company required that any member not in rehearsal went to tech calls. But later on, I was able to build and paint all the sets for a summer season so tech calls were limited to set up and strike. With costumes, props, and lights being handled by scholarship holders or staff, it was a terrific company. I belonged to several summer stock theatres where the actors had to do tech calls. No problem. It was part of the company. So what makes a good college or acting? I think you do. You get out a place what you put into it. A small state college might be terrific for an actor who really works at it and a huge university like UCLA may be a place where you just get lost in the crowd.

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