Many young actors and actresses aspire to perform on Broadway or act in Hollywood’s next blockbuster movie. While these actors and actresses may possess the necessary talent, many of them haven’t honed their talent just yet. To combat this, acting schools have been established all across the globe, and one solution to this problem is to attend one of these schools to be instructed in the performing arts. If you yourself are an actor, the following article is aimed toward informing you about these schools and how you can maximize your potential to become the next Robert Redford or Meryl Streep.
The History of Acting Schools
For over a century, acting schools have been in the United States and have served to polish the talent so of actors and actresses across the country and even the world. The first of such schools was the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, which was established in 1884 in New York City, New York. However, the first school to offer a degree in the dramatic arts was the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, which was founded in 1914. Since the establishment of these schools, many others like them have been started all across the country including the Julliard School in 1905, the Yale School of Drama in 1955, and the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University in 1965.
Since their establishment these schools have produced talents such as Kevin Spacey, Jessica Chastain, Robin Williams (Julliard); Meryl Streep, Paul Newman, Paul Giamatti (Yale); Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (Tisch); Ted Danson, Zachary Quinto (Carnegie Mellon); Florence Henderson, Grace Kelly, and Robert Redford (American Academy of Dramatic Arts). This list of alumni proves that drama and acting schools are great places to enhance one’s abilities and become the best actor possible. Attending one of the many schools across the world may be the key element in taking an actor from low-budget film star to Hollywood legend.
What Do They Teach?
With such an impressive list of alumni, you may be asking yourself: How do they do it? No, it isn’t some magic potion that turns any Joe Schmoe into the greatest actor of all time. It’s actually exactly what the name suggests—a school. The missions of these schools are all very similar: they strive to provide a quality education for musicians, actors, and dancers so that they may achieve their greatest potential.
For an aspiring actor, a new student may enroll in classes such as Dramatic Techniques or Dramatic Interpretation.
These classes aim to teach the essentials of theatre, including speech, self-awareness, improvisation, and dance. Many of these schools are structured so that each successive year builds upon the principles of the previous year and maintains the same areas of study. For example, Julliard School offers Dramatic Techniques for first, second, third, and fourth year students with each year building upon what was learned in the previous year’s studies. As the students near graduation, they begin to focus on what to do once they enter the profession and how to make the most out of each audition.
How Do I Get In?
Now that you know a little about the schools, you are probably eager to apply and begin your journey toward international stardom. However, these schools are some of the most exclusive in the world with acceptance rates rivaling those of top universities such as Julliard’s 7.3%. This acceptance rate makes it harder to get into than Princeton (7.9%), MIT (9.0%), and Dartmouth (9.8%). With the right talent, however, schools such as Julliard are guaranteed to make you the best actor you can possibly be.
The admissions process to these schools is very similar to that of a regular university. Many schools require an application, transcript, essay, letter of recommendation, and proof of English proficiency for non-native speakers. As expected, an audition is also required to fully gauge the talent of applicants, and the admissions board takes all of these factors into account when making their decision. This isn’t meant to overwhelm and frighten you, but it is a warning that you should be serious and talented when applying to drama schools.
Post-Graduation: Becoming a Movie Star
After being accepted, let’s fast forward four years to your graduation. Congratulations! You did it. You’re going to be a star. But wait, the hard part is just beginning. A degree from one of these schools does not guarantee you a job anywhere. Performing on Broadway or starring in a Hollywood movie is about as easy as it sounds. You may be extremely qualified and very talented, but you also need to nail your audition in order to gain experience.
Don’t be too worried by that either. There are many people and businesses that are focused on turning actors into audition champions. They focus on further sharpening your talents and making sure they are exemplified during your auditions because even the most talented actor could mess up an audition if he or she was not properly prepared for what was ahead.
These teachers and classes are found all over the place, especially in large cities such as New York and Los Angeles. While attending these classes may seem like overkill with a degree already under your belt, they are still used by actors who are already in Hollywood. One such acting coach is Larry Moss. Moss has coached a wide variety of actors, including Hilary Swank, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Jim Carrey, and Jennifer Garner. This just goes to show that all actors still need coaching, and it never hurts to revisit some of the techniques and exercises that are taught early on.
The information within this article proves the importance of acting schools and reveals the tremendous results actors can achieve with the right coaching and education. Whether your goal is Broadway or Hollywood, acting schools are the definite answer to your questions about making it big. Many actors and actresses across all time periods have used acting schools to enhance their abilities, and because of it, they are known as some of the best ever. So, if you’re serious about becoming an actor, consider applying to an acting school because it may just be the key to unlocking your dream.