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Acting Schools

Many people decide to enroll in acting schools because they dream of an exciting career on the stage or the screen. Others decide to attend acting schools for the fun of it, or to develop an interesting hobby and to meet people.

There are many acting schools, particularly in New York and LA, dedicated to both the serious student and the casual theatre-fancier, although the schools are usually separate. A student can earn a BA in acting, an Associate in Arts or can opt just to take classes with no special degree. Many experienced actors return to acting schools to take refresher courses, to work again with a valued mentor or to teach.

Many classes in acting schools are taught by well known actors who have been on the stage and screen for decades. In fact, many actors attend certain acting schools specifically to have an opportunity of studying with a giant in the field.

While there are many specialized acting schools, many students decide to pursue their acting degree at colleges or universities. These are often under the heading of Theatre majors, for which students learn other skills associated with the craft, such as directing and costume design. Students at traditional colleges and universities often have to take distribution requirements, such as history, math, science, and English.

Many acting students prefer to pursue this route, because it will give them a well-rounded education, and something “to fall back on” until they can support themselves as actors. Still others prefer to enroll in schools that are specifically geared toward acting. These schools may focus on film or theatre technique, or both.

Acting schools may have varying approaches to the craft of acting, and the type of acting school a student chooses depends on which approach is more comfortable for him or for her.

Many acting schools teach acting theory, using texts and examples from great, classic performances. Others focus on hands-on learning and encourage the actor to work constantly on developing characters and roles.

The first approach is geared more toward students who are interested in an academic approach of learning by studying. The more hands-on approach is focused toward learning by doing. Which approach is best depends on the personality of the student.

Many actors talk about “method” acting, and seek out acting schools that teach the Method developed by Stanislavsky.

lthough the Method is not as popular now as it was a few decades ago, there are still who are fascinated with the extent to which actors who practice the Method attempt to get inside of their character’s skin by living the character’s life. For example, a teacher espousing the Method would suggest to an actor playing a character who is a short-order cook that he or she should get a job at a diner to see what the character’s life is like.

Other acting schools emphasize technique, and that one should use his or her voice and gestures to create the character. Most acting schools teaching theory falls somewhere between these two extremes, although it is possible to find acting schools that espouse Method or Technique.

For most acting schools, one is required to give an audition to gain acceptance. This audition is usually in the form of one or two monologues, lasting 2 to 4 minutes.

For a BA degree, the school will require other information, such as transcripts and recommendations. Acting schools who also welcome casual learners will require only that potential students sign up and register.

Since competition to get into acting school is sometimes fierce, students are encouraged to apply and audition for more than one acting school, balancing the risk between highly competitive schools and those who have more relaxed admissions standards.

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