Recently I received a communication from a parent saying that their daughter had been told that if she really wanted to act school doesn’t matter. The red flags went up for me immediately. Education is the cornerstone for an actor. It is the well that an actor draws from for all their work. That education comes in many different forms and makes up the background that we call “life experience.” No, not all actors will choose to go to college just as not all high school graduates choose to go to college immediately after graduation.
An actor benefits from formal education in research, history, art, science and math. Actors are expected to be disciplined and part of that discipline is investing in the job at hand. For a high school student the immediate job at hand is successfully completing their high school studies. To “blow off” those studies because you don’t think they ‘re important is to diminish your growth. For one very important thing is that schooling isn’t just a means to an end it is an educational process in itself and therefor very beneficial.
The truth is unfortunately that Hollywood, particularly television, is a young persons’ town. The prime age for actors is between approximately 16-22. If a student asks the “right” question of one of our faculty those statistics will come up. But that’s not the whole message and the path will be different for different people. However, our message is that acting is a craft. It’s study takes a lifetime and its foundation is a good liberal arts education. It is important to be an educated and erudite actor in order to be able to deliver a good performance and to have longevity in your career. If you want, do a little research, how many child actors go on to successful adult careers? Childhood is a very short span of years. Adulthood is the rest of our life. Everyone who works for us at US Performing arts as mentors/counselors has at least an undergraduate degree and most have or are in the process of receiving their graduate degrees. These are all talented “20 something” actors, dancers, filmmakers and writers who value their craft enough to engage in the discipline of their education.