Can I become an actor without formal education?

August 30th, 2021  |  by Maria Ayalde

Can I become an actor without formal education?

Acting is a career coveted by many. Taking centre stage, stealing the limelight and wowing people with your skills is often the main reason people aspire to be actors.

But the truth is, it’s hard to break into acting especially if you don’t know how to go about it. Around the globe, there is no distinguished formula on how to become an actor.

Some become actors start by taking degree courses, while others master the act and learn few skills that help propel their careers. This is why its easier or harder to join acting for some actors.

Today, we will take different steps to become an actor, some conventional, others not so much. Never give up on your dream, and the key takeaway is to build relationships, have great life experiences and practise every day.

Like all skills, you only get better with practice!

Which steps do you need to take to become an actor?

Acting involves a lot of aspects, from performing in theatres to TV shows to doing commercials. All the aspects can be your stepping stone ever as you look to expand your reach.

Here are steps you can take to foster a career in acting;

Study a bachelor’s course

A formal bachelor’s course will take your acting career to the next level. Although this is not required when applying for acting jobs, it goes a long way in ensuring that you get the necessary skills.

A bachelor’s degree course in writing or acting will propel you to great heights as you will learn many writing, acting, dancing, and history skills. You will be well-equipped and all-rounded, which gives you a chance and ability to tackle the various projects.

Formal education broadens your prospects as you have more than one career choice to follow. See it as your safety net if one area doesn’t work out.

Some of the skills you will learn include;

  • Movement
  • Acting techniques
  • Scene study
  • Voice
  • Speech
  • Audition techniques

Take evening or daytime acting classes.

Going to school to get a degree seems like a big ask; taking acting classes will elevate your career.  It can be as simple as acting classes in high school or joining the local theatre. The most important thing is that you get vital acting skills that will help you advance your career.

Some of the skills you will learn in an acting class include: memorising lines, stage presence, managing stage freight, public address, among so many more.

Get a post-graduate degree.

An undergraduate degree can only take you far, but if you want to climb the highest levels of film, you need a better educational backing. Getting a master’s degree will take your acting career even further. See it this way, the undergrad will get you on stage, but a masters degree will boost your credentials past that.

Get yourself an agent

An agent works wonders with most, if not all, actors. You are not required to have one; an agent will be working behind the scenes to get you more gigs and better pay. The trick is to get an agent who is well established in the industry, someone who has connections and knows the business inside out. 

An agent is tasked with getting you auditions and looking at the contract terms to ensure they align with your goals and preferences.

Which are the skills that every actor should know

Though formal education is not the only route, there is a need to know some of the vital skills in acting. Some of them include:

  • Creativity: It involves portraying emotions and how you develop characters.
  • Speaking: This is how you project your voice and your pronunciation.
  • Memorisation: Perhaps one of the most important skills will have you memorise lines and remember stage instructions and directions.
  • Reading: It goes hand in hand with memorisation as you have to read, understand and interpret scripts.
  • Improvisation: Not all the time will things go as planned and actors are required to readjust if things go wrong quickly. This is a critical skill to master as an actor.
  • Stamina: Acting is not your typical 9-5 job as you will be required to work long and odd hours. Having the stamina to do all this is critical to an aspiring actor.

Our final thoughts

Do you need a formal education to become an actor? The simple answer is no. But you will still need to master some of the most critical skills that make an actor.

The main thing here is to get the necessary skills that will help you perform your roles with sheer perfection.

Before landing those roles, you must audition for the shows, which takes a lot of effort. Having an agent will ease your burden thou you will have to part with some of your earnings.

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