It’s an understated truth that becoming an actor requires a lot of money. There’s getting quality headshots (that’s right, multiple), designing a website, transporting yourself to auditions and rehearsals… the list goes on and on, and the struggle is VERY real. Of course, today one of the most expensive necessities is receiving training. We all have those friends, or maybe are those friends, who are lucky enough to be swept off into the mystical world of Yale Drama or Tisch. For the rest of us (and those merely looking to fine-tune their skills post grad) here are four inexpensive alternatives to honing your craft:
1. Work-Study programs.
One of the great things about working in entertainment is that most industry professionals understand the challenges. There are various programs that offer work-study options for their students. For instance, in New York City, the Barrow Group and UCB proudly provide their applicants opportunities to exchange work hours for classes. If the school you’re interested in doesn’t seem to have a work-study setup simply ask one of the leaders. You’d be surprised to see how people will work with you if you’re willing to assist them!
2. Intensives or one-time lessons.
Although not a supplement to years of training, acting intensives can be the tune-up you need. Many studios offer intensives that last for just a few weeks, or even one night, with an extremely prestigious instructor. Two major institutions to look into are the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute and Stella Adler Studio of Acting. However, there are plenty floating around the world – look it up in relation to where you live, of course!
Yes, we all know that most schools offer scholarships, but did you know that most training programs do as well? Complete thorough research to ensure you’re not missing out. If you can’t find anything online, remember you can always call up the program’s office and ask!
A good place to start? Browse acting scholarships here
4. Read a book or play.
I know, this one sounds ostentatiously simple. But that’s only because it is! Every training program out there is complimented by a good book. If you feel you have both the drive and the discipline, try cracking open of them and putting it into practice. There are multitudes of books from all kinds of authors and methods. Two fine places to start are Audition by Michael Shurtleff, and The Present Actor: A Practical and Spiritual Guideline to Help You Enjoy the Ride by casting goddess Marci Phillips. It’s always conducive to read plays, as well. This keeps you in great acting shape! Reading is most definitely the cheapest way to train.
Unfortunately, there is no joinable “actor gym” where we can pay monthly to “workout” our craft. However, in the end it all really comes down to one thing: you are a thespian. And thespians never fully quench their thirst for learning. So, keep exploring, friends, and I promise you will feel more comfortable in your craft soon!