Formal Schooling or Not Formal Schooling....Do You Need It??

There’s some debate on whether or not you need formal school for acting. There are people who believe that those with natural talent will stand out, regardless of whether they had a formal education or not. In order to succeed as an actor, you need to have the ability to take the words on your script and breathe life into them. That doesn’t mean you should remove a formal education from your goals.

Most casting directors prefer that their actors and actresses have some type of formal education. This allows them to act like professionals and to truly shine. Agencies and managers you will work with in the future will also recommend that you have a formal education. This can be a Theater Degree from a major university, studying at a conservatory, or just taking an acting class in general. The more you accomplish, the better off you will be. In fact, many of the acting agencies you work with will have a space for you to showcase your education, as it will be important.

As part of your formal schooling, you’ll be given pointers on how to memorize scripts and to play off of the other actors in a scene. You’ll also have a chance to learn about collaborating with the different roles on a set like the director, designers, and crew so each performance goes smoothly.

But don’t fret over what school you ultimately get into either. Often, many places are looking more for the education, rather than the school name. Yes, it is true that some major actors have gone on to have a successful career without formal education. They include:

  • Brad Pitt
  • Cameron Diaz
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Jim Carrey
  • Johnny Depp
  • Meg Ryan
  • Tom Cruise

Notice how there are just seven names on the list out of how many hundreds of stars? The truth is that a formal education does matter. For the few major actors who managed to make it without acting school, countless others did have to take the courses and to make connections that would give them an opening to that one role that helped them to capture an audience and to ultimately stand a chance. So while you are out there going to auditions, make sure you do what you can to take formal courses to help you prepare for your time in front of a camera. This is the best way for you to have new doors open for you.