Drama school is pointless.... (Oh - yes - it - is!)

  • User Deleted

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    I've never been to drama school. Can you tell?

    I thought not.

    Before you jump in with the funny comebacks, think about it: is there a guarantee to tell if someone has been through drama school? And I'm talking about the modern 3 year acting degree here, not occasional classes.

    If you had to guess which actors on television or film had a degree in acting, I think you're chances of being accurate would be slim. Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) has been to RADA, Jack Nicholson didn't.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the rise in demand for drama school places has exactly mirrored the rise in demand for Big Brother applications. In fact, the quest for fame has been around for a very long time, and so have the institutions that promise to deliver dreams. And please don't tell me that you're not interested in fame!

    The one, tangible, and huge benefit of going to drama school, is the 3rd year final showcase. An opportunity to strut your stuff in front of some industry professionals. But that's it.

    Can we really teach people how to 'breathe properly', after 6 million years of evolution? Do we need to learn how to move, when most of us have been doing that without looking like a fraud for all our lives? Should we delve deeply into 'text analysis', when primary school education equips us early on with 'comprehension' basics?

    No.

    The truth is, acting, an ability to roughly reproduce human behaviour, is something that you either can't do, or can do. Drama school can't turn you from one in to another. If you want an analogy, they can teach you how to polish your existing trophy, but they can't swap your trophy for a different one. Some are naturally gifted, and some aren't. Extremes in nature exist, giants and dwarves, and they're clear to see. Other extremes, like acting talent, are harder to see on the surface, and it's this hidden truth that drama school promises to rectify. But they can't, and they never will.

    I wish I had gone to drama school for two reasons. Firstly, to have that 3rd year showcase and nab a decent agent early on. And secondly, so in writing this, I could get less 'How would you know if you haven't been?' replies!

    For a long time, the United States shunned the acting degree system, picking stars instead with a much more logical system: how someone looked, or, if they could act already. Now, it seems that they're following the fairly recent British approach of the 'degree in acting'. Not only is this pointless, it's damaging. Three years of an acting degree don't prove you can act any more than a piece of paper (marriage certificate) proves you're in love for eternity!

    Don't go to drama school. Get on with it in some other way.

    See you at the top!

    Paul Khanna

    • 7th Sep 2009
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  • Christine Hounslow

    Actor

    Sorry - but i think your comments themselves prove you haven't been to drama school. Good luck with your career - I truly hope you will be successful. Best wishes Christine

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 1
  • User Deleted

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    Alternatively, if you've been to a (good) drama school, you'll know that you've picked up various skills along the way, one of which is how to project your voice in a big theatre so that you can manage 8 performances a week and still have a voice left.

    Some people (and they are VERY few) can do this naturally. Most can't.

    I agree that there are some things you can't teach, and acting is a natural ability. However, acting is a physical craft, and if you look at sportspeople, not one of them ever makes it (or even attempts to) to the top without training. It's the same with acting. even if some of today's big stars 'made it' without formal training, you can bet your bottom dollar they've had some kind of tuition since.

    This is a choice you have to make for yourself. Paul has 1 view, I have another, and I'll bet there are as many different views as there are members of CCP.

    But I think such a black and white statement as Paul has made is wrong.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Simon Burbage

    Actor

    I'm really irritated by your comments, i chose to go to drama school, had a great time, and i'd rather not be told i made the wrong choice, ta.

    I also don't think your post is fair to people that are considering going to drama school, i know that you know that you've set yourself up for the inevitable "how do you know if you've never been" spiel, but there's some truth in that, you cant judge unless you've seen both sides, surely?

    I worked super hard at East15 and don't like to hear the school or my training be belittled.

    Despite all that, sincere congrats for harry potter - (thats not a bitter backhanded compliment - i mean it, good on you).

    Simon

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 3
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    I really hate to get involved here having just had to deal with the appalling attitude of a trained actor for the last 4 days but it seems like training isn't actually required to develop an appalling attitude!

    Sorry to pop you bubble, but 1 high profile (incidentally non-speaking and "uncreditted" on IMDb) role does not an actor make and for some reason a little bit of success seems to have gone straight to your head!

    Personally speaking I would have loved the opportunity to go to drama school for a miriad of reasons however taking 3-5 years off from supporting my family wasn't an option!

    Learn some humility young man...it'll take you much further in your career

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    CCP admin had better close this one sharpish as it has all the hallmarks of getting pretty ugly in here! lol!

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    LOUD VOICE:

    "Innnn the blue cornerrrrr".......!!!

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 6
  • User Deleted

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    Paul ... your'e opening line " I've never been to drama school, can you tell ?" ... well, obviously, no !!. But rest assured, within 5 minutes of you joining the rest on Set, the Crew will know !!.... and try filming 'out of sequence', with the Continuity and the self continuity involvement ... THAT can blow your mind.

    A simple scene, in a movie I was doing, was required to be re-done 35 times !!! ... and that was a simple scene. I doubt such a thing exists in Harry Potter ... so be warned, a great deal of patience and fortitude will be required from the Artistes.

    Whilst on the theme of Harry Potter .. we all wish you great success.. but ... would we have heard from you had the film been a low key effort ? ...

    It matters not how you get there .. be it straight off the street, or by 3 years grafting at College, just.. get there. But, please, don't knock other peoples dreams Paul ... it doesn't become you. Be happy for yourself.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 7
  • User Deleted

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    Nice to see you've raised your profile Forbsey ... thought you'd gone to the embalmers !!!!!.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 8
  • User Deleted

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    I once knew an actor who had a nagging doubt that he couldn't be a good actor because he hadn't been to drama school. That actor, was me.

    I now realise that I was wrong to think that, and I simply wanted to share my story (previous post) and inspire others.

    My new opinions are also based on real life observations of people I've worked with. I've seen not so brilliant actors and brilliant actors, and there's simply no correlation between their skill and whether they've been to drama school. The public don't make decisions on who has been and who hasn't, they simply like who they like!

    In fact, case in point, Harry Potter, where allegedly I have an uncredited and non speaking role on the IMDb!. Those films have some fantastic performances from completely trained and untrained actors alike. Spot the difference? There's none. Well apart from a certificate to prove your new job title and £50,000 in fees!

    On a serious note, I'm not taking away anything from those in drama school. What I WILL take away, is the incorrect belief held by many non drama trained actors: that nagging voice that tells them they're missing something.

    You're not. Not at all.

    We live in a nanny state that has a 'Dummies Guide' approach to everything. Long before there were books on childbirth, I can assure you, women and civilisation knew what to do! I'm being flippant, but the point stands up.

    Someone said I should learn some humility. I'm not sure what angered that piece of advice, but I would say, I am pretty humble. After all, I'm simply highlighting the possibility for success by non trained actors.

    We don't need any more man made barriers in this already prejudiced world. Race shouldn't matter, or what gender you are, what culture you hail from, or what drama school you went to.

    Until I can fix the first three of those, I'll do my hardest to prove the irrational justification of the third. And I welcome all those in fear to try and stop me.

    Paul Khanna

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 9
  • User Deleted

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    The last paragraph should read:

    "Until I can fix the first three of those, I'll do my hardest to prove the irrational justification of the FOURTH. And I welcome all those in fear to try and stop me."

    I must have been excited. Just to add, I really am impressed by the response, it's exactly as I wanted.

    And as someone pointed out, you probably wouldn't have heard from me had I not got something in Harry Potter.

    That's the whole point, to talk about something with some justification and hopefully get thousands of others to do the same.

    As Michael Jackson said to my almost namesake, "I'm a lover not a fighter".

    Keep fanning the debate :)

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Christine Hounslow

    Actor

    Would you trust your surgeon if he hadn't been to medical school but had read every book and absolutely knew he could do it? Would you trust an untrained dentist? I do get your point that a few people get lucky and just do it, but I still believe they do it better with training. I await your next acting job with interest. Keep us informed of what life offers after Harry Potter.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 11
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    I have recently graduated a one year acting course. Ok, it wasnt the full blown three years at RADA or where ever else. But I still worked damn hard to get there and even harder once I got there. My course was un funded which meant I had to find every penny to pay for fees and living costs as well as moving to London on my own. Knowing no one. But the whole experience taught me one massive lesson in Self Discipline. We can all create the belief in ourselves. Even if we lose it on occasion. But the need for discipline can't be under estimated and I now know I can carry that through with my for many years to come. Without discipline how can we expect to recreate a scene in the same way for every shot for continuity (as was previously mentioned) or indeed turn up ready to go night after night on stage.

    Don't belittle my training and hard work in the same way I wont belittle you for not having been and tried it out.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 12
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    You may be right or you may be wrong about the drama school thing...there may be something wrong with your attitude maybe not! On both points my opinion is fairly clear so I don't need to labour the point I was trying to make before although I will correct myself on the "uncreditted" comment though as it has now appears to have been changed on IMDb. It was certainly uncreditted when I checked last week!

    There are many uncertaintities in this game Paul but one thing is for sure...there's nowt wrong with your ego Paul!

    Good luck with your career.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Mark Kempner

    Actor

    LOUD VOICE AGAIN:

    "...innnnn the RED Corrrnerrr!!!!"

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 14
  • User Deleted

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    It's funny how most are defending going to drama school, rather than applauding the idea that you don't have to.

    Would I trust a surgeon who'd not been to medical school, or a dentist who hadn't been to dental school? Absolutely not!

    But would I trust an actor who had or hadn't been to drama school?

    I see what you're trying to say. You're warning against the dangers of, dare I say it, TRUSTING AN NON DRAMA SCHOOL TRAINED ACTOR IN PUBLIC!!

    Prejudice exposed and case closed.

    PK.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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  • Simon Nader

    Actor

    One thing that you would have been told at drama school Paul - do not, under any circumstances, let any success go to your head. What this looks like, your posting "advice" straight after having had some success with your Harry Potter news, is that you think you are now in a position to tell other people how to be as good as you and get castings just like you. That may not be what you intended, but in black and white, on a public forum: that is how it could be construed. That's certainly how I have interpreted this - rightly or wrongly.

    By all means have your opinion about drama schools. But in an industry where most consistently working actors, most represented actors, most successful actors HAVE trained it probably isn't a good idea to p**s all over their effort, expenditure and choices and expect to work alongside them happily later. If drama school isn't for you or anyone else, no problem, there are many reasons not to go, but more reasons to go to one - if only because a lot of industry people do not share your viewpoint. And it isn't you that decides who to call in for a casting. It's those people reading the CV's.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 16
  • User Deleted

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    Listen guys, I'm not letting success go to my head, far from it. I'm apparently a small fish in a big movie pond.

    I'm sharing a story, an opinion, and that's about it. All the drama school followers seem to have reacted without confidence, but with the lashing out fear of a trapped animal.

    I'm not saying going to drama school is a bad idea. I'm saying it's not the only way, not by a long shot.

    The same issue happens in filmmaking. For years, film schools have dominated in producing what we watch. Then along came a guy called Guy, who made "Lock Stock..", causing quite a stir and inspiring a wave of independent British filmmakers. Lots of people fear and hate Mr Ritchie, and have a distinct snooty opinion towards his kind. I'm sure many still respect film school education over someone who worked in a video store once. Somehow, Quentin Tarantino defied those particular odds and did okay.

    And Forbes KB, you sir, are non drama school, yet you can act with ease, and you're getting more bloody successful by the minute!

    I wish everyone success. And I actually mean it.

    Paul

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 17
  • Forbes KB

    Actor

    Just to make my position on the drama school thing very clear so there is absolutely no doubt! I would have chopped off my left one for the chance to go to drama school...wether it would have made me a better actor or not is a mute point...as an untrained actor there are certain doors that will always be closed to me and that is only to be expected. Nailing a part in HP or not will make absolutely no difference to the lock status on those doors and it's gonna be a long time and probably a few generations before that changes.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
    • 18
  • User Deleted

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    Paul,I think you will find that someone always has a different opinion on these boards ( that's what makes it interesting ).

    Because of your recent casting success are you in the position to advise people on being a "better" actor ? Most probably not. However you have shown how to create your own luck by going that extra mile with your home-made audition after the casting opportunity had seemingly passed. How many of us have walked away from auditions thinking we had ballsed it up and wishing we had another chance to show what we can REALLY do ? You took the initiative and gave yourself that second chance, and no doubt you would have been advised against it by many people on these boards.

    The Drama school debate will continue to roll on with both camps frothing and ne'er the twain'll meet.

    However you have taught me that a little extra effort and a large pair of cohones can get results.

    So I say fair bloody play to you, regardless of what happens post-Harry.

    • 2nd Sep 2009
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