Drama School training

  • Kate Davies-Speak

    Actor

    Hi, I am wondering what levels of training everyone has had and whether people like myself stand a chance in the industry without having trained at the Credited drama schools, what are your opinions? thanks.

    • 11th Jun 2005
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    I think its split. Alot of casting directors and other industry people can be quite snobbish about it and other people think it makes you 'generic' of that specific drama college. For every successful drama trained actor there is one who didn't. I was once told that an acredited drama college education is like a brand name. So I think it should be down to personal opinion. I would advise some training though because the only other way to learn how to act it ' on the job' and thats hard do if you have no experience/training ( though I am not saying you don't ) The acting industry used to be a closed shop but I think it is opening up a bit.

    It's late and I havn'y really given a great in-depth answer but I hope any of this is valuable. Catherine.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Kate Davies-Speak

    Actor

    Hiya Catherine thanks alot for your message. I agree alot with all that you have said. When I was working in a recent show I was performing alongside actors who had trained at all different drama schools and they each had things to say/complain about each others training. I have to say that I am very lucky to have gone into professioanl work straight from where I studied (a school that is fairly unheard of) and I didn't feel that I was in any way less professional in my approach to the rehersals and attitude and in my acting, to any of the others. I feel that if you train to respect your directors, put in all the hours and work yourself as hard as possible you have what it takes and this isn't necessarily something that you only get through training at a top drama school.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    I very much agree.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    Hi cait

    I have some drama training, most of which was part time, but some training is better than no training at all there are lots of places in London to this , and most places that do part time course are fair priced as well .

    The other point is, you gain a lot of experience from working with older and more experienced actors anyway, the secret is to listern and learn from them. watching also helps.

    good luck

    Ian.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Kate Davies-Speak

    Actor

    Thanks for your replies everyone. I agree with all of you. I think I may try and get into drama school when I turn about 25, I think a little extra training wouldn't hurt. I learnt a great deal from the experienced Actors in my recent show including Peter Ellis (Brownlow from The Bill) he told me a lot about life as an actor, the good points and bad points too, its a good way of waking up and realising how hard the life can be.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    Good idea i hope it works out for you and agin

    good luck. and take care.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Adrienne-Marie Zitt

    Actor

    Yes Cait, as everyone seems to say it really depends. You seem to be getting work somewhat easily without accredited training so there ya go! I trained in canada at the National Theatre School, which there is very recognised, but here no one has really heard of it(: However I find that, for me, coming from a different continent and having no contacts in the UK whatsoever, having a three-year conservatory style training has really helped me being taken a bit more seriously. I trained because I felt I wanted the experience of it: more grounded techniques, the time to explore, the work with different directors who also take the time to teach, the invaluable experience of being part of an ensemble for an extended length of time, etc. For me the "life experience" of training was as important as "what would come out of it". In fact I would recommend it to everyone(:hehe. Although it did feel like going through hell sometimes. I also did it when I was older( 24 when I got in) after having worked professionnally a tiny bit. I think I got different things out of it than if I had been straight out of high school. Anyways good luck with whatever you decide!(:

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Alasdair Shanks

    Actor

    Hope I'm not to late for this but basicaly Spotlight is planning to close it's books to all people that have not been beeen to an acredited acting school. This is due to the fact that almost anyone can get an equity card these days.

    I went back to training at the age of 28 and in my opinion nothing sets you up for the industry better than a post grad or BA in acting from an acredited acting school.

    Also alot of them are degrees these days which means you can get student loans and fees paid if your a more mature student. It also opens you up to skills like singing, dancing and different acting techniques that you won't get in the industry.

    At the end of the day the industry is run by the people who want it done quickly, efficiently and to the highest standard possible and if you can't cut it, then there is someone else that can...

    So I would consider training if you really want to make it.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    If spotlight does that , and I have already heard the rumour ( which chills me to my blood ) then it will be elitist. Not everyone can afford to go to Drama school and not everyone wants to. Since when you first start acting you also have to work for free on student productions etc a lot of people from working class backgrounds or who's parents are unable or unwilling to help will also struggle to get their career of the ground. Even if they do at all. I just think its wrong. If your an actor and not just someone who wants to be famous or thinks it's an easy or glamourous career ( HA HA ) then you should be able to make your own decisions and be congratulated on your bravery in pursuing a difficult and often poverty striken career route. Thats justmy opinion anyway.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    Hi Guys,

    Was going to wait until I had some time to post a message to kind of introduce myself but am too interested in this to wait! Basically, I am a member of Equity and gotinto it by undertaking professional work. I did do an industry related degree, but not an accredited course (it was at a Uni - they didn't do many degree courses at Drama schools when I trained), I have recently (successfully) applied to Spotlight and therefore was astounded by this rumour. I do hope it is not true. I am about to leave a job I am very successful in to restart my acting career. This is not because I think it will be easy etc but because I know it is the only true path for me, and from June will be all systems go in the realms of hope, faith and (hopefully not much!) unemployment. If Spotlight were to have stopped me from entering, does that mean I am no longer a dedicated actress? Appalling thought. By the way, in response to the initial question I think that it really does depend on you and your circumstances. If you can afford it, and want the training, go for Drama School. Or try it on your own with the option of Drama School. Just my humble opinion.... x

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Kate Davies-Speak

    Actor

    I have recently sent my application for 'The Spotlight' and the money has gone out of my account so I presume that the membership has gone ahead. I hope that these rumours are not true as I cannot afford Drama school training at present. I understand that people need to separate true profesionals from non-pro actors but surely it means something to train somewhere that is not acredited? I have been training as an actor for 5 years. I suppose I should stop worrying but it is always nice to know that you are worthy of the term 'profesional actor' and I had hoped that Spotlight would help me lay claim to that.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Angela May

    Actor

    ...does that apply to new members of Spotlight and existing members of Spotlight? I'm with Spotlight but haven't had formal training...will they give me the boot...eck!!!!

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    Thats what I was wondering. I am in Spotlight and although I trained it wasn't at an accreditied college. I am sure we could start a petition if they do go ahead with it so they can change there mind. It's funny being an actor because you always have to prove yourself because people don't see it as a 'real' thing. Do people ask doctors to prove they know about the human body? or stand beside a chef when he is cooking to make sure he didn;t lie and is a professional. Actors always have to prove they can act. Over and over again. What other professional has people constantly questioning the people in the profession and claiming they are fakes? Just a little thought I had.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Kate Davies-Speak

    Actor

    I have nothing but repsect for those who have trained at these schools, and I understand the struggle that they went through to get to where they are. I suppose deep down I am angry at myself as when I was 19 I auditioned at lots of places and got accepted at Salford Uni and Manchester Met. I didn't feel ready to move away and begin the training at the time and I suppose I wasn't so aware of the importance of the school I could have gone to. I know that it is never too late to go back but part of me feels like I need to be earning money rather than studying now- so I guess I am my own worst enemy. Time will decide what I do-if I am unsucessful in finding more work (it's an agent I want more than anything) then I will have to sacrifice and earn the right to train at drama school. A good friend that I made during my last show-Maggie- sold her house to pay to go to East 15 school, I admire that more than you would believe.

    I agree with what you said about depending on the sort of work that you want- I want something gritty, a chance to challenge myself and know what I am capable of. :-)

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    This discussion is getting more and more interesting..

    My parents were very keen on me doing something academic with my life to the point that they refused to pay for RADA fees after I had secretly run off to the audition and got accepted. So for 4 years after my 'unaccredited' drama training I worked in marketing. I hated every minute of my life.

    I went back into acting and worked constantly for 2 years and now I am in London many directors I meet are very impressed by my knowledge of life and maturity that 'office' years gave me. Typically I am now in a position financially to go to RADA or any other London accredited school for that matter, but when I am already securing work alongside actors from these schools already, what am I to gain??

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Alasdair Shanks

    Actor

    Ok I am hearing alot about the cost of Acting school at the moment. Basicaly alot of schools are now BA in acting, this means that the government pays your fees and you can get a student loan. The same as if you went to university. Also for other schools that are not BA's you can get a dance and drama award. Going to a good school does not only train you but alows you to make good industry contacts that will help you find work. And at the end of the day this is a "who you know industry"

    Also if you want to act where else other than a Rep company are you going to get the chance to act everyday for 3 years and get a degree at the end of it?

    There are alot of people who I admire that have not trained Sir Ian McKellen for one. But saying that he went Oxbridge as did Helena Bonham Carter etc, ect. At the moment alot of the schools are doing there graduation shows (mine is starting tonight) so why not go and see some of them. Talk to the students and the tutors and get their advise. At the end of the day it is a hard industry, but also a helpful one. For me I wanted to explore and know more about my art. We get to bogged down about agents, work, making it.... At the end of the day are we not artists????

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Adrienne-Marie Zitt

    Actor

    I couldnt agree with you more. I think no matter what path you choose, ultimately what matters is your work. For me training was life experience, big time. But I also got that in the years I did not train. Life is the best teacher(yeah baby!!!)Dont let anyone tell you how the odds are against you. The odds change, and ultimately what is important is how unique you are.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Mark Joseph

    Actor

    In terms of Spotlight, do you know it for a fact, or have you just heard it on the grapevine?

    I just did a showcase, and someone at Spotlight spoke to me about the creation of an actor's version of the Spotlight calender in order to stop independent showcases being trampled on by drama school ones.

    This would kind of suggest the oppoiste, don'ya think?

    Mark.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Alasdair Shanks

    Actor

    The spotlight thing is definately being discussed and at the end of the day if you've put yourself through the tourture of 3 years training you should get somthing for it.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Sheri Copeland

    Actor

    I am little confused by the last post. Are you suggesting that people that have done 3 years on an accredited course deserve to be in Spotlight, and those who haven't don't?

    Please tell me I have read that wrongly!

    ------------------------------------------------

    Pretty much all of us in the 'business' struggle on a day to day basis to make ends meet and to keep our chin up. We have to constantly promote ourselves and prove our worth, even when it feels like all the odds are stacked against us. We ALL deserve to be in Spotlight (and it shouldn't be so bl**dy expensive either!) and we should all support each other.

    I believe that our careers will mostly come down to 'luck' (or opportunities, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, whatever you want to call it). Talent, training and a good attitude will get you to the right place, but once there you are joining a huge amount of people who are after only a few jobs. I have had years when I have had to turn down more jobs than I was able to take, and years when I had pretty much nothing at all.

    I have worked in quite well respected shows alongside people with a small amount of talent, and in smaller less respected things alongside people with huge amounts of talent. One thing I have learnt along the way is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to it and certainly, absolutely no justice in this profession!

    There are advantages and disadvantages to training on an accredited course. Part of me wishes that I had pursued training, and another part is glad I didn't. If you are able to train 'on the job' then good for you, what a wonderful way to learn!

    Don't feel pressured to train on a 3 year course if you don't feel it is right for you. Be true to yourself and don't let anyone else's opinion change yours...

    • 1st Jun 2006
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