Thursday, October 6, 2011

Education and the Actor

Would you believe that this blog, my e-book, and my web site came into being because I was contacted by a high school student from Houston, Texas several years ago? He had seen a posting on a forum that I wrote which said that I did not think it was necessary for actors to go to college, and he wanted to know if it were true. Well, it was true. I did write such a post. Moreover, I still believe that it is not necessary for a person to go to college to become an actor.

In my e-book, I explain why colleges and acting schools are not necessarily the best way to prepare for a career in acting. However, most people would benefit from the added knowledge, experience, and maturity that the four years of college provides. It really is the exception that someone becomes an actor with no formal education or training.

I have talked to many teens who wanted to become actors, but could not see the benefits of formal education. Most want to know how to become actors without going to college or acting school. One wanted to drop out of high school. One wanted to know which college acting programs did not require good grades. I forgot to tell him my daughter was dropped from a prestigious university acting school because her academic grades at the university were not sufficiently high. Teens sometimes get the strangest notions about becoming actors: that a BFA Acting degree does not require the same academic classes as other degrees; that somehow they just go to an agent and say 'I am an actor, find me a job;' or that because one of their high school teachers told them they should become an actor that they can do so.

First, no one wants an uneducated actor. An actor needs good grammar. He needs to know how to find information about things such as the time and place of the play historically. He needs to be well read. And he needs to be able to carry on an intelligent conversation on many subjects. Only a formal education or an extraordinary informal education would provice these things. Intelligence in actors is much prized by directors.

So I am afraid that if someone really wants to become an actor, that person needs to be well educated. High school and college grades are important--not to get a job as an actor, not to be brilliantly talented, but to be the most effective human being you can be. Acting is such a difficult profession that many of the most talented people never make it because they are not properly educated and guided toward success as an actor. That is why I created my web site--to offer the kinds of information and guidance needed by people who want to become actors. It does not substitute for formal education. It adds to it. There are other things aspiring actors need as well, but they are subjects for another time. Pehaps they are elsewhere in this blog or elsewhere on my website.

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