April 12, 2012
Forum School Of Acting
Quite a few people wonder about going into both acting and modeling. I think this line of thinking pops up so often because of the marketing efforts of the “acting and modeling” or “modeling and talent” schools that seem to be everywhere these days. I’ve been asked several times if these acting and modeling schools are “scams” or if they’re legitimate or not.
The simple answer is, for the most part, they do what they say they’re going to do.
The tricky part of that answer is that they cloak what they say they’re going to do in a bunch of flowery language that really amounts to a bunch of bullshit at the end of the day. For the most part, they send sales people to troll shopping malls and spend tons on advertisements that appeal to the superficial aspects of acting and modeling. That is to say, they’re really selling their b.s. to people that just want to feel special somehow.
Of course, in some way, almost everyone wants to be special or unique. The problem lies when you mix that desire with a person well versed in high pressure sales that’s trying to make a buck off of that desire. We all know the story of some random person being discovered in an unusual location that goes on to become a big film or television star. Just know that, for the most part, that story is part of someone else’s marketing campaign. It’s no more a legitimate way to “make it” than winning the lottery.
The Dream Machine
What these acting and modeling “schools” do is make money off of your dreams through careful emotional manipulation and high pressure sales. And it can cost hundreds, sometimes THOUSANDS of dollars before you realize they aren’t really doing a damn thing for you. The old adage holds true, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Legitimate film, television and commercial agents and managers make money solely by sending you to auditions and collecting a percentage of the money you make when you book a job. They DO NOT charge you money up front. Anyone charging you money up front is making ALL of their money by charging people up front. Anyone that is telling you otherwise is either very unscrupulous or outright lying to your face.
Modeling is a fickle industry, and aside from a VERY select few people, the work is sporadic and doesn’t often pay much. The overwhelming majority of working “models” in the world have other jobs to pay their bills. The same is true for acting as well and in both cases the work comes almost exclusively as the result of having an agent sending you to auditions from which you try to book work.
What’s Real And What’s Not
Now, there are (obviously) legitimate acting schools out there. You have to do a bit of diligence on your own in understanding what goes into acting and how to make good decisions regarding picking an acting school. This article has some tips on how to get started.
As far as modeling schools go, I doubt very sincerely there is a “legitimate” one out there. As a model, you have to appeal to a marketing person’s taste. That’s it. A modeling agent is theoretically narrowing the field down to people, that, in the agent’s experience, are likely to be appealing to those marketing people. If the agent doesn’t do that well, he or she goes out of business. Pretty simple really.
So, if you want to be a model, you have to appeal to a successful agent’s taste, or at least what that agent thinks will get hired. The only way to find out is to pound on the doors of successful agents until they agree to take you on or tell you to go away. Unless you’ve been working as a model for a long time, you will almost always need an agent to book modeling work.Taking classes on poise, or how to do your make up, or getting pushed into buying photo sessions, or classes on how to walk and all the associated crap these so called modeling “schools” peddle is just that. Crap. A “talent scout” from a school is just a sales person. Every person they talk to will get an offer to be part of the school.
Talent agencies don’t “scout”. They don’t have to. They have thousands of people sending them thousands of photos every week. Put it to you this way, if people were sending you piles of $1, $5, and $10 dollar bills in the mail every week, but you every now and then got a $100 dollar bill, would you go looking randomly on the street hoping to find a $100 dollar bill laying on the sidewalk? Or, would you just wait to see when the next $100 bill just showed up on it’s own? Now, of course, if you just HAPPENED to find a $100 bill, you’d pick it up…but, seriously…when’s the last time you found a $100 dollar bill?
The competition for modeling and acting jobs in incredible. There are literally millions of people around the world trying for a few thousand jobs. And the vast majority of those jobs are temporary and will only pay a few hundred dollars at best. Do yourself a favor and don’t spend more on a school than you are likely to make back.
It just doesn’t make sense.
If you want to learn more about how to get started in acting for film or tv, be sure to check out Acting For Film And Television.
As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, or would just like to share some of your successes, please feel free to drop me a line. I actually answer them.
Best of Luck out there and remember, you can’t fail if you don’t quit.