Drama school reviews

  • User Deleted

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    Hi there,

    Just wondered if anyone had any advice. I'm looking for drama school reviews from somewhere online for PG-Dip/MA courses but there don't seem to be many anywhere. The ones that are out there are old and few and far between.

    Any ideas if there's a site or a publication that offers past students' reviews?

    I got into this quite late, have no formal training and mostly getting the closed door treatment from agents and CDs so am thinking that drama school will be a great thing to do for myself and to further my career and opportunities.

    Maybe the reason why there are no reviews is that people pick the one right for them and then (we assume) always enjoy their experience?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Adam.

    • 12th Feb 2010
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  • User Deleted

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    Hey Adam! Okay, so you and I are in the same boat - no drama school training. And I started even later than you, at 36! (I'm guessing you're a bit older than your playing age, but not that much older, probably).The key thing is to get yourself Spotlight membership, because that's what CD's will look for. You look great on camera ( a bit Jake Gyllenhaal a bit George Clooney)and have some really good showreel, much higher quality than some I've seen and you can definitely act. That's not something you can teach someone. I started by doing background with an agency that I knew had access to featured castings (Mad Dog) and then made it very clear that I was up for doing auditions for walk-on and small dialogued parts. I got dialogue on The Sara Jane Adventures and a monologue for Reader's Digest and then got myslef work through StarNow (bit iffy, but can come up with some stuff) as the lead in a series of commercials for a shopping channel. With a few other bits and bobs of paid work then I had enough to apply to Spotlight. Now I have membership, it gives me the credibility I need to be put forward for good roles and CD's have access to my details and showreel. My acting hasn't changed - but my status has! I would really recommend registering with Mad Dog (they just auditioned me for a small part in a feature film), also try Rapid Talent who are an online agency who deal in background up to featured actors,they do commercials and Tv stuff and meet you to see what your skills are and how good your acting is. Don't necessarily think you have to try to find thousands of pound (I know people will shout me down over this, but when you haven't got the money you have to be resourceful!!) just putn yourself out there and don't give up. It's taken me four years and I'm just beginning to scratch at the good stuff but still (as most people will probably agree with) have to do a lot of work to find the parts. Hope this helps :) Vanessa

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 1
  • User Deleted

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    Wow, thanks Vanessa for that great insight and kind assessment of my profile! I think that your approach is great and will definitely try that and approach the agencies you mention. I am seriously considering drama school anyway as I would like to have that discipline but will be pushing to get work in the meantime.

    I'm also looking into the Temple as I'm aware that they are a great place to learn too.

    Thanks again for your comments and advice. I'll let you know how I get on...

    Good luck with everything!

    Adam :)

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 2
  • User Deleted

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    I started working professionally at the age of 41 and worked on the fringes of the profession while my children were growing up. I had occasional bits of work but decided that drama school training was what I needed and did the one year accredited course at the Oxford School of Drama at the age of 47. It wasn't quite sure what to expect but overall it was a very positive experience and has helped me in many different ways. Mostly I learned things I never knew I never knew! I think it can give you "tools", and show you how to use them, though it doesn't teach you to act. It can also give you confidence and contacts. If you'll tolerate an expansion of the metaphor (such a bloody luvvy, but I was like this before I went to drama school): there are some tools that are still in the wrappers in my tool box; there are some I use all the time, there are some that are a bit rusty and I ought to take better care of them and there are one or two that are just plain weird and I can't imagine I'll ever find a use for them - but at least they're there!

    I definitely feel more confident and made good friends and useful contacts through the school.

    I know people who have entered the profession later in life who have been successful without drama school training too, so I think it's a very individual choice. I do recommend looking at Oxford though. I got a DaDA which covered my fees, plus a hardship grant which went part of the way to covering living expenses. I'd already had funding for a degree aeons ago.

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 3
  • User Deleted

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    Hi Helen. Sounds interesting. I do think that if I can get funding or some cash (!) then that would be a good idea. I know that there's a reason why formal training is often a necessity from agents or CDs - it makes complete sense because of the experience and tools that you get to keep. I am going to try to use the skills and experience I have now though and see how far I get.

    Many thanks for your input.

    Adam.

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 4
  • User Deleted

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    Hey Adam - try this website for courses: ncdt.co.uk/guidetotraining/. The only trouble with postgrad courses is the cost but can be well worth it. From personal exerience the Arts Ed MA Acting was a brilliant course, covered everything from Shakespeare to Film technique. 10k but so valuable!

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 5
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks for that Sally-Anne. Appreciate the feedback.

    Adam.

    • 8th Feb 2010
    • 6
  • Nicola Sangster

    Actor

    Hello,

    I did the postgrad at birmingham which you can now convert to an ma if you do the writing bit!

    I would recommend the course wholeheartedly - they pack a massive amount into a year. I wouldn't say doors have sprung open to me as a result of training there - but in terms of training I couldn't fault it.

    They are a conservatoire so you have a good chance of having your fees paid...and my rent in brum was £42 a week.

    I know if you called and asked to chat to someone about the course you would get some friendly advice.

    Good Luck.

    Nicola.

    • 9th Feb 2010
    • 7
  • User Deleted

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    Hey Nicola,

    Thanks for that. I will look into Birmingham.

    Cheers,

    Adam

    • 9th Feb 2010
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    Hey,

    I did an MA in Acting at East 15 Acting School. Fantastic year and well worth the money. Of note I was 30 when I went and there were 3 or 4 guys considerably older then me (Max was 58 y/o). Its a tough and time consuming year but since graduating have enjoyed the benifits.

    Best o luck.

    • 10th Feb 2010
    • 9
  • User Deleted

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    Hey Brendan, thanks for that. Good to know that the East 15 course was also a good one. Will look into it.

    Good luck with everything. A

    • 10th Feb 2010
    • 10
  • User Deleted

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    As a boy, and an older one at that, you may get lucky and get a DADA. I did, so didnt have to pay a thing towards my fees on the MA course at Arts Ed, and even got money towards my accomodation. Not all of the drama schools have the same number of DADAs available, so worth looking around.

    • 11th Feb 2010
    • 11
  • User Deleted

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    Hiya

    I did an MA at East 15 and had a great year of discovery. But saying that I wouldn't get too hung up on reviews because the work you do depends very much on the tutor running the course and the head of the school at that particular time which swaps and changes like you wouldn't believe! For example the year I was there we had a very method tutor and did 2 public performances. A year or so later they had a completely different tutor and only did 1 public performance.

    I would say definitely a better plan would be to invest in the audition fees for the schools and get a feel for them first hand. For example I'd heard such amazing things about Bristol Old Vic, but going to Bristol for the weekend recall workshops and spending time there I knew by the end of it that it wasn't for me, however good reviews it might have had...

    Hope that helps a bit.

    Suzanne

    x

    • 11th Feb 2010
    • 12
  • User Deleted

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    Thanks guys - interesting comments here. Will bear this in mind.

    Cheers,

    Adam.

    • 11th Feb 2010
    • 13
  • Law Ballard

    Actor

    Hi

    I did an MA at Arts Ed, with Sally Anne infact, i would recommend it as a good way to get a 'named' training, it has got me auditions, and as a way to get into a disciplined routine and aid the transition into becoming a professional actor.

    You mentioned, being interested in The Actors Temple and I wanted to feedback my experience -For learning the actual 'craft' of acting I go to The Temple regularly and have learned more there than anywhere before, when i left drama school i still wasn't entirely sure what I was doing, after a term at The Temple I new what it was all about and my confidence in myself, ability and self belief grew tenfold and continues to grow and as a result a I am a much better actor.

    I would still have done the year at drama school as the name thing seems quite important to alot of people in this industry, i regularly get asked- where did you train?

    However, doing Meisner work has been a lifesaver in so many ways.

    • 12th Feb 2010
    • 14