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Advice

Did Your College Acting Program Prepare You for the Real World?

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"In my four years in a BFA acting program, I learned everything you need to know about acting except for two things: how to act and how to get an acting job! The dance, makeup, history, stage combat, and voice classes were excellent. However, the acting classes were not conducive to practical application. We had endless improvisation classes and learned about acting techniques that were way beyond our skill level. I had to hit the pavement before I learned how to format a résumé, audition, and cold call. Now almost all my fellow alumni are teachers!"

Tom Dheere, Parsippany, N.J.

"After graduation, I was like a deer in headlights: I had absolutely no idea what to expect. So I don't think NYU's Tisch School of the Arts prepared me for the real world. I think they could have been more active and more generous about preparing the seniors. Unfortunately, the school only lets a select few be a part of the showcase. Considering how much the school costs, I think everyone has the right to get the kind of education that comes with being seen by industry professionals."
Dominique Toney, Chatsworth, Calif.

"I graduated from Loyola Marymount University this past May. I really thought the training and opportunities I received there were world-class. In this economy, I was apprehensive about what to expect transitioning from full-time student to working actor. But honestly, LMU offered a wide variety of acting classes and opportunities to perform during the four years. There was even a class dedicated to teaching you the ins and outs of the industry and how to survive as a working actor. I could never have done it without them."

Will Werre, Los Angeles


"My freshman year I met a professor who would turn out to be an amazing mentor. Patrick Cronin, who recurred on 12 series over his 25 years in L.A. before retiring to Tennessee to teach, was the first person who taught me how the industry actually works. He gave me the tools I needed to come to L.A. and not fall flat on my face. He even used Judy Kerr's "Acting Is Everything" as the textbook for one of his classes. I am now a professional actor and producer, thanks in large part to Pat."

Ryan Basham, West Hollywood, Calif.



"I don't feel what I learned in the conservatory I attended was enough about the business side of acting. That being said, I loved the American Academy of Dramatic Arts; it was the greatest acting experience. The best parts of the program are the spectacular instructors. However, as far as the business of acting, I had one semester of a business acting course, which wasn't enough. Personally, I learned more about the business of acting from awesome advice given by casting director Bonnie Gillespie and my own personal life experiences. Sometimes you just have to experience the industry firsthand in order to understand it."
Regina Virk, Hollywood, Calif.

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