I got an email today asking “Will film school help my career?” Here are my thoughts on that:

Film school DOES help you become a better actor.

So will any full time acting program, because any program where you’re devoting 100% of your time to study and practice will help you be a better actor. Think carefully about what your goals are when you decide on a program, because full-time programs can be very expensive. In the beginning you won’t make much money as an actor, so don’t go $30,000 in debt unless you have a clear plan. Do you want a degree? Go to a university. Do you want to do theatre? In Vancouver, go to Studio58.

Film school DOES NOT help you get auditions.

If you’re enrolling in film school to “launch your career,” think again. Casting directors probably won’t even notice where you went to school when they look at your resume. They’ll spend 20sec looking at your headshot, and 10sec looking at your resume. If your goal is to work professionally in Vancouver, the best thing you can do is enroll in one or more part-time professional classes, or get some private coaching. You can find a list of the training in Vancouver on the Vancouver Actors Guide. For kids and teens I recommend Biz Studio, and for adults Shea Hampton. But there are lots of options.

The advantages of taking a part time professional program.

The part-time route takes more self-confidence, and more self-motivation, but it makes you available to take auditions immediately. And it’s much less expensive–especially if you can find flexible shift work (like a restaurant job, for instance) while you’re studying and auditioning. Look for classes that are already full of working actors–unlike film school, you’ll learn as much from the other actors in a professional class as from the instructor. After a few months of classes, get some good headshots and go looking for an agent. Wait until you’re ready to audition, because you’ll get some good auditions at first and you want to be ready to take advantage of being a “new face”. It’s harder when it’s not packaged-up for you like it is in full-time programs, but you’ll get a lot more out of it.

-Michael Bean, Head Coach | Biz Studio [[Classes for Young Actors]] in Vancouver BC