So do your research which Fishgirl has laid out for you before you fork over the big bucks and years of your life.
Fishgurl, I'm so grateful for the many posts you've made about college programs. My daughter is applying to colleges right now and this information is invaluable. (Now I just need to find a bag of money to pay for it.)
I'm wondering if you would adjust your list at all if you knew that the following were someone's goals:
1. Be a great actress first, a working actress second.
2. Work in film primarily. She also loves stage, including musicals, but prefers film. She's a great singer and an intermediate dancer.
3. Be able to take music electives. (She's a singer/songwriter/pianist in the style of Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson. She sees herself as a professional musician as well as actress.)
4. Be able to take dance electives. She doesn't see herself as a professional dancer, but wants to be able to at least hold her own.
Thanks also to all the folks who comment on these threads about training. I value hearing about everyone's experience.
It sounds like UNCSA should probably be her top choice if she doesn't feel like she needs to be in an urban environment or on a big campus. Reasonably priced, tight-knit program, great faculty, shares a campus with an excellent film school, not an mt program but they incorporate some of that training and do some musicals, plus a lot of the kids there are triple-and-up threat types. They also have as many working graduates as anybody short of Juilliard. Carnegie Mellon may actually have a few more and they carry more name recognition since they've been around as an elite program longer, but that difference mainly comes from their MT majors although there are certainly UNCSA alums whose work has primarily been in musicals. CMU doesn't have a film school, either.
MT is always an option, too, if she's really into musicals. They don't get nearly as much work in the classics in that type of program due the the 24 hours in a day factor and there are quite a few at which the acting part of the triple triumvirate seems to be pretty lax, but the Carnegie, Ithaca, Syracuse and Tisch MTs are reasonably strong in that area. Tisch actually changed up their faculty for that a couple of years ago and brought in some really impressive people. Of course, those schools are also among the most expensive short of scholarships and huge amounts of grant aid ...
Generally, I'd say to look to the BFA schools that share a campus with a good film school or are located somewhere with an active indie scene she might find the time to get involved with although that will mainly need to be in the summers at the high intensity places. Like I mentioned UT Austin that has a new BFA as one to watch. They previously had a very good MFA that they put on hiatus in favor of becoming an undergraduate program and they have one of the better independent film scenes in the country. Music, too. Cool town.
But like I've told you before, you'd be better off over on the College Confidential forums if you want to get into the specifics of the different schools.
I think it is possible to be successful actor without drama school. I have a few friends who have B.A in theatre and are not as successful with acting as my friends who have other degrees or no degree at all. To be a good or great actor you have to have passion for the craft. You need to learn the craft but a degree is going to matter if you don't have life experiences and are passionate about what you what to do. Work on learning the craft but don't stress the degree idea. I have learned that actors have to good communication skills, good performing skills, marketing skills to be successful.
Fishgurl, thank you so much! You've been a great help!
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