Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What good is school in helping me become an actor/?

Teens often become disenchanted with school; and, if they want to be actors, they can see no purpose in getting a formal education. They have more than a few misconceptions to say the least. First, they probably think that acting is an easy job; and although acting itself is easy to do getting an acting job is quite difficult. Very few actors make a living at acting. Most have to support themselves doing other work. Second, no on wants to hire a stupid actor. The actor had better know what all the words of the script mean and how to pronounce them. Acting deals with every subject under the sun. Therefore, it is helpful for an actor to have a broad, liberal education. Third, another school subject that the disenchanted teen will not like is English. However, both the study of literature and grammar will improve the teen's ability to act effectively. Historically, plays have been considered literature and as such hold much from which the actor can gain. Performing Shakespeare, Moliere, and others requires both an understanding of verse forms and how they function, along with figures of speech, and grammar for in the mechanics of the writing of his plays, Shakespeare literally tells the actor how to read the lines and act them out. Fourth, an actor is required to write business letters in search of work, Knowledge of this sort of composition is a must. Finally, acting is foremost a business proposition. The actor needs to know how to operate the business of his being an actor. Therefore, the actor needs to know enough math to figure his share of contracts, to budget his investment in his business, and to do his income taxes.

So the message to the whining teen who is so bored with school and thinks because they want to become an actor they don't need the rest of it is that they are quite wrong. If they are going to be a success at acting, they had better be very good scholars, indeed. In the earlier editions of The Tao of Acting, including the one currently available on my web site, I say the Tao does not recommend going to college. But that is only for the more experienced and mature of high school graduates. The most of us gain a great deal in attending college. Not only do we broaden our education, but also we gain much in maturity and acting experience by going to college. Most successful actors in the UK and many in the US are graduates of colleges and universities or professional acting academies. It takes a good student to do that and to become a professional actor..


  1. I have a question Mr.Plonkey,how do you let others know that you are serious about acting??It seems like people take it as a joke when I say "I want to make a resume for acting."

  2. Well, you do all the school plays. You read a lot of books about the acting profession so you can discuss what the work is like. You do not give people the impression that you are not serious about anything. You don't tell people what you want to do, you do what you want to do. Doc