Should you go to an Acting School? – Casting Call

Written by | The Craft of Acting

Acting schools are often advertised as the path to fortune and fame, but are they legitimate? Catrine answers a question from a veteran who wants to start acting.

What acting schools would you recommend?  Jonathan K., Kirkland, WA

IN MY OPINION ONLY, I would avoid the big national acting/modeling chains like the plague. They tend to be overpriced and have lousy teachers. I am speaking from personal experience when I tell you that their focus is far more on selling acting packages to you and getting a signed contract than in training you as an actor or model. I was once invited to sit in on a sales session at one of these schools. They wanted me there so that they could boast their “contacts with prominent casting director”. Had I known then what I know now, I would have never lent either my name or my presence to their scam. People had to fill out extensive profiles that included their income. Miraculously, people who earned good money and could afford the whole program paid full price. People who were less likely to have the investment were told in whispered tones behind closed doors that they – their children, their grandmother, etc. – were SO talented and had SO much potential that the school was willing to give them a partial scholarship (“WOW, me?”). And the school was even willing to go one step beyond that – they had a deal set up with a lending institution to finance the rest. Yeah, at only 21% interest, you too can become a star! The candidates were then whisked into a room for a fake camera audition (there was no tape in the camera) I could go on here about these schools, but there is an entire article being devoted to this question coming up soon – watch for it!

So, where do you find a GOOD, legitimate teacher? In most markets, you can find weekly classes that vary from $15/class to a couple of hundred dollars a month. Experts in the field will also teach workshops that can range from $100-$400 for the day. These are usually well worth it. Ask around. Get recommendations. A legitimate class will usually let you audit one class for free to see if it is your cup of tea.  

The rule of thumb is stay away from heavily advertised classes and go with the smaller word of mouth classes.

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I always wanted to be an actor and did a few little things before I joined the Army. In Iraq, I stepped on an IED and lost a leg. Will this keep me from pursuing an acting career? Philip F, Fayetteville, NC

First and foremost, thank you for your service. I know that tends to be lip service from a lot of people – it becomes too easy to say with little meaning behind it. I have a son who served. I TRULY thank you. So it thrills me to be able to say: GO FOR IT! What, are there not Dads, teachers, lawyers, bank robbers, best friends that are missing a limb – then heck yes, you can act. You will need to follow the same process as everyone else – you will need to be and stay professional as far as getting a headshot and resume, getting an agent, studying, etc. Your craft and your talent will dictate whether or not you get next the role you go out for, not any physicality.

-Catrine McGregor

For more on acting from Catrine, check out her book Acting Across America!

Catrine has cast well over 400 projects, including films, TV, IMAX, commercials, webseries and video games. She is a member of the prestigious CSA (Casting Society of America). During her forty year career in the film industry, Catrine has worked extensively all over the US as well as Europe and Africa. She prides herself in discovering and developing new talent, and has done so with many people that you see every day in films and on TV.

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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