Do Actors Need Acting Lessons?
Acting is a specialized Performing Art. Almost every actor in the entertainment industry today, has at some point in his/her career, undergone some amount of professional acting training. Most aspirants who identify acting as their profession of choice opt for full-term structured training. Others seek out short-term acting courses or workshops.
Yet, just a handful of them have been able to survive this dog-eat-dog world and make a name for themselves. Some pertinent doubts can shroud an acting student’s mind. Is spending money on an acting course even worth? Do my odds of succeeding get better with an acting degree or diploma? How soon do I start getting my return on investment?
As an attempt to quell some of these fears for our readers, we have attempted to compare the pros of formal acting education with the realities of the industry that acting schools may not be talking about. A comparison might help our readers to make a balanced decision when taking up an acting course.
The pros of acting courses
- As mentioned above, acting is a specialized performing art. You may be born a natural actor, but professional training enhances and hones your inborn gift. Besides, good acting classes train you as per industry standards and requirements. It especially helps when you are auditioning.
- A comprehensive acting course entails the following aspects, about which you will learn only in an acting school:
- Various acting techniques
- Speech, vocal training, voice throw, linguistics, proper diction
- Movement techniques including dance training
- Script analysis to enable you understand your role better
- A basic knowledge of several stages of production to get better adjusted as the
Ask yourself if you would be able to achieve all of this on your own. You will limit your chances of successful auditions if you deny yourself formal training in such key sub skills.
- Reputed acting schools are very well-connected with a lot of key people in the industry. It would be almost impossible for you to network with them on your own. Many reputed acting schools offer placements and have testimonials on their websites to prove the same. Such placements can give you the invaluable head start in a cut-throat industry.
- Any professional degree in your field of choice makes your resume worth a look. An acting course from a credible acting school gives you an advantage with talent hunters. Filmmakers will give a more serious look to your portfolio or resume. You will certainly come across as a more confident, committed and professional candidate to filmmakers, particularly in auditions. With more international studios foraying into the local arena, your appeal to them will increase with a professional degree.
- Short-term enhancement and improvisation courses for actors already in the field help them explore newer skills and techniques to keep their boat afloat. In a market as fickle as share prices, it is of utmost importance to keep evolving as an actor. The more possibilities you explore, the better acquainted you get with your potential. Hence, chances of your surviving the newer competition get better.
- Various acting courses are of tremendous value to you if you want to teach acting.
We now shed some light on things you may not be taught about . You get acquainted with these challenges as you face them in the real acting world.
- In the real world,you are a 'product' and you need to ‘market yourself ‘in a way that distinguishes you from others.How you network, present and advertise yourself is all up to you. You need to know the market and its demands. You might not get to learn about managing yourself as a product in acting schools.You learn as you roll along.
- You might have aced every performance and examination in school. But you might not even be considered for a role in the beginning. Remember, you are just another face in the crowd till you have proved yourself. You might have to start out at the bottom of the rung. You might lose out roles to some of the most incompetent candidates. You might even have to take up odd ancillary jobs to bring bread on the table. Some actors, despite their illustrious degrees, even throw in the towel in despair. You have to ‘work your way up’ like anyone.Your acting degree will almost never work as a shortcut.
- Actors who have struggled and finally made it have actually struggled much longer than you may even fathom. They have gone through every crest and trough. They have not confined themselves to just acting during their struggle phase. Some of the superstars today are known to have taken up everything that came their way -sometimes, the most belittling and pettiest of tasks that were offered to them initially! So the overused phrase, ‘be patient and persistent’ is 200% true, no matter how clichéd it sounds.
Although, you have an uphill journey ahead, the pros of a formal education in acting outweigh the cons of your real world. A course in acting will take you a few steps closer to your dream. However, your training should be relevant. Make wise choices of acting programs from reputed acting schools only. There are a lot of sham schools out there who only exist to dig your pockets deep.
All said and done, go for it .
Photo By Biswarup Ganguly, CC BY 3.0,
Click here for the list of reputed acting schools (zone wise)