Is Acting School Necessary?

Every aspiring actor or actress is plagued with the question of whether to go to acting school or fly solo. Acting school is time consuming, but you may learn a lot from it. And going solo might be hard starting off, but you have a lot more freedom and time to gain exposure and grow your career. Enrolling in an acting school does require a generous amount of your time, energy, and money.

Whether you are thinking about joining the BFA program or BA program, acting school provides an environment to learn different acting styles, find your style, and make contacts for your future career. But there are also cons to going to acting school. You might not even make it in. There are a huge amount of other applicants so you best be prepared for a lot of disappointment and discouragement in this field.

But assuming you made it in to an acting school and are training full-time, it is hard working 10 or more hours a day, and trying to balance a job at the same time. That also leads into how expensive it can be as well as it being hard to pay off your debt after you graduate. Most of the time you won’t immediately land a role after you finish school, and though you probably have met a few contacts during your enrollment, actively auditioning yourself is very important for exposure which you might not have time for while you are in school.

Though another way of going about acting is just part-time training. If you still want to increase your knowledge and practice your acting with a coach, you can sign up for small classes here and there while you are auditioning. It might not look as well as three years of formal training on your resume, but it is an option if committing your time and money into three years of schooling is not what you are looking for. There are some pretty well known celebrities that did not go to acting school, did go to acting school, and some that got rejected.

Brad Pitt saved up $325 to drive from Missouri to California to pursue his dream and ended up finding his first audition in a newspaper at McDonalds.  Jennifer Lawrence also jumpstarted her acting career without going to acting school by asking her parents to hire her an agent. Some more renowned actors and actresses that made it in the industry without enrolling in acting school were: Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey, Johnny Depp, Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale, Chris Pratt, Henry Cavill, Evangeline Lilly, and Heath Ledger.

Though not as many, there are a few known actors and actresses that attended acting school and graduated with B.A.’s. Jessica Chaistain, though suffering with anxiety throughout her schooling, graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Other familiar actors and actresses that went to acting schools were Meryl Steep, Miranda Cosgrove, Rachael McAdams, Zac Efron, Sandra Bullock, Tony Shalhoub, and Hugh Jackman.

Hugh Jackman was a special case; he went to school and graduated with a Bachelor in communications. But while he was finishing up school, he developed a love for acting and took a drama course. And finally, the celebrities that got rejected from acting school. Though not many known, these aspiring actors did not give up after being rejected by their acting schools of choice. 

Rosamund Pike was rejected from every drama school she applied to without fail, but that did not stop her from pursuing her dream. Daniel Craig also in a sense failed his first audition, but soon after landed a spot in Barbican drama school. A few other a-listers that got rejected from drama schools were Tom Hardy, Steven Spielberg, Brendan Cowell, and Carey Mulligan. With all these different people making it and different options you have to choose from, do not let it waver what you think is best for you.

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