General Question

Hobbes's avatar

When pursuing an acting career, how important is a BA?

Asked by Hobbes (7255 points ) November 28th, 2010

Does anyone have experience with professional acting? Did you receive a BA in Theater or something similar? If so, do you feel it played an important role in your career? If not, do you feel you were at a disadvantage?

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9 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

It’s not a disadvantage, so why not. In fact, while you are taking your acting classes, it can be very worthwhile to get some knowledge mixed with it.

wundayatta's avatar

The few actors I know arrived at their careers in any number of ways. I know one who skipped college and went to acting school. I know that people who graduate from Chicago’s Second City program often do very well. There are also schools in New York that are good.

But you can also do well by getting a BA. And, as @YARNLADY says, a BA is good, no matter what you do in life.

Hobbes's avatar

Well, the thing is that a BA costs a disgusting amount of money.

Blueroses's avatar

You don’t necessarily need a BA in Theatre to become an actor but the support, feedback and networks you build in school will only help you in your pursuit of a career.

So much of acting is stripping away your own ego and building characters based on sometimes painful experiences. Learning your craft in a non-competitive environment nurtures you through the process in a way that just hitting open auditions does not.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

“Education” and “knowledge” in any form are important in any endeavor. If you can help the director and the writers to improve their material by getting the cultural references that they put in their work and adding more of your own, then it helps the whole process.

Hobbes's avatar

I can understand cultural references without the aid of a high-priced university, though.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

You can also get a BA without a high-priced university, though. I didn’t finish the thought that I started: the degree is less important always than the education. I don’t have any degrees, not even an Associate’s. I don’t brag about it or lead off many conversations with it, but when I am in conversation with people who do go on about their degrees… and prove themselves to be over-educated fools without understanding or sense, then I don’t feel any lack.

I suppose my lack of ‘credentials’ may have prevented me from getting a job or two that I’ve applied for, but I’ve never much worried about losing a job where a BA / BS was simply a ticket to admission. Presumably in your career choice, that ‘credential’ means even less than in more technical fields. But to get back to where I started, your education always matters.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Education prepares you to do other things in theater besides act, in the event that your career doesn’t go as planned. There are lots of great performance-based programs out there, such as Otterbein. Schools that have strong co-op programs provide invaluable experience, especially if you get to work in a casting department. In addition to learning a skill about the business, you learn how auditioning really works. Acting is a profession, and like all professions, it’s more about hard work than luck.

iphigeneia's avatar

I’m not sure about film, but in theatre these days everybody goes to school first. Either that, or they appear on a reality tv show.

It’s a similar story in many other career paths. If you want to be a professional actor in other people’s productions (as opposed to producing your own), high-level certification is invaluable.

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