Whether you’ve been acting since childhood or didn’t discover your love for the craft until later in life, one thing is common among many who are passionate about acting: the desire to make acting their career path. Making it as an actor can be hard work, but when you combine experience and talent with the right education and a degree from a quality acting school, you can give yourself the edge to succeed. But once you’ve decided to go to acting school – what comes next? Here are four tips to help you prepare for attending – and succeeding – in acting school.
1. Research the School
Learning about and researching the acting school you’ll be attending is (at least) a three-part process.
- First, you’ll want to learn about the school to decide whether it’s the right acting program for you. Are they accredited? Do they have notable alumni? Does the faculty have proven industry – and teaching – experience? What are their graduation gainful employment rates like?
- After you’ve decided that the acting school matches what you’re looking for, you need to find out about the process of becoming a student. Research their application process to find out what you need, and learn about financial aid options.
- Finally, after you’re accepted, you’ll want to prepare yourself for your first week – and even your first semester. Get a map you can study to learn your way around campus before you arrive. Once you have your class list, take a few minutes to research what you can expect in each class – and from each professor.
If the acting school you choose isn’t in your hometown or where you currently live, you’ll also definitely want to take plenty of time to research the new city or area you’ll be living and working in. What’s the acting community like in the area? Are there plenty of opportunities to act and gain experience? Also, don’t wait until last minute to figure out your housing and employment options; learning about the city and making plans early in the process can save you a lot of stress and anxiety later on.
2. Gain Experience
If you’re not planning on enrolling in acting school immediately for the upcoming semester – or if you’re planning ahead early enough that your application deadline is still far off – making an effort to gain extra experience can be helpful in more ways than one. Not only will additional experience give you something significant to add to your resume, but it can also give you extra practice to work on honing your acting skills and increasing your comfort level to prepare you for the classroom.
3. Prepare Your Application and Audition
While the exact application process may vary from one school to another (hopefully you researched your school’s requirements, as we suggested earlier!), there are a few requirements that are generally fairly universal at any quality acting school, and carefully preparing these ahead of time will help you be ready to impress the admissions department. First, any acting students applying to an acting school should expect an audition to be part of the admissions process. If you can, find out ahead of time from the admissions department or former students what an audition for this program might include. At the very least, prepare a monologue and practice your cold-reading skills so that you’re comfortable if called upon for a cold read.
In addition to the audition, including a resume (if you have one) can be an excellent way to highlight your experiences and accomplishments to the school’s admissions department. If you do include a resume, make sure that it’s well organized, up to date, and free of any spelling or grammatical errors. (Though your degree may not focus on your writing ability, a poorly written resume can show a lack of attention to detail. If spelling and grammar aren’t your strong points, have a friend or professional proofread your resume for you.) Your resume would also be an ideal opportunity to include references and recommendations, unless the school specifically asks for references to be submitted separately.
4. Start Making Connections Early
“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” While this popular saying may not be entirely true – your skills, knowledge, and experience are often critical to success – it’s true that the right network of people can be helpful in all aspects of your life: social, academic, and professional. If possible, look for opportunities to meet or connect with both instructors and other students before classes begin. Attend any orientations, and don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to anyone there; you never know when you might make a valuable contact who can help you throughout your time in acting school. Also, don’t underestimate the power of a social network – connecting with your future classmates before school starts can give you a built-in support system of friends to help make the transition even smoother – and more fun!
Still Have More Questions?
KD Conservatory has acting, musical theatre, and film production programs to help prepare students for careers in the entertainment industry. Contact us with any of your questions, or check us out on Facebook for ongoing updates and information!