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The Playwrights Forum > General > Question & Answer > What about acting

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Zimainstitute
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Hi Folks

What you think if we want to pursue our career in acting, writing or filmmaking do we need to have a degree in Media and Arts.

Doug B
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It depends. If you are young, a degree from an institution respected in your field will open doors for you. You also need some experience: In college did you play the lead roles or were you "un-named town person #2"? Did your video reel win any awards?

As you approach your 30's things change. People are looking at what you have done, roles you have played, have your plays been professionally produced? Won any awards? And so on.

Of course, on top of this, talent reigns supreme. Casting Directors have very good memories. If you can get an audition and do a good job, you will be added to the long list of wanna-be's. If you absolutely knock their socks off, they will remember you whether you are cast or not.

Finally, in every field there are tricks of the trade, rules that you need to know, experience you need to gain. You can learn what you need to know through trial and error or you can get training where you can learn faster than if you work by yourself.

I'm trying to think of anyone I know who is successfully self taught. Can't think of anyone. The best actors and writers I know are constantly training. They take classes, they join small groups to polish their skills, they take any role they can get for the experience.

Hope this helps.

Doug B

Edd
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NO! All you need is passion and long of the craft. I'm a 60s college dropout and I haven't regretted it. I was an actor which helped me understand the nature of the play. I am completely self-taught and I've made a satisfactory career for myself.
http://www.ecwells.org

P.S. I know nothing about filmmaking. I do believe that needs academic help. A couple of people I knew swear by NYU.

noviceplaywright
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Zimainstitute wrote:
Hi Folks

What you think if we want to pursue our career in acting, writing or filmmaking do we need to have a degree in Media and Arts.


Hi! I don't know how the professional world works in Mumbai, whether they require degrees or not. Have you tried reading graduate students' reviews of whether they felt a degree helped them?

If you meant entering one of these fields in the U.S., I've read U.S. graduate students' reviews and they said earning a degree didn't really help them get a job because it was very competitive, with many applicants and few jobs available.

I've heard of a few, worldwide, successful filmmakers, actors, and writers who said they didn't earn degrees, but they also said they worked hard, had help from friends, and got lucky with their work finally being noticed by certain professionals, because their type of success (without having the benefit of a network of university students, professors, etc.) is rare and hard to achieve without help.

Last edited on Wed Jan 10th, 2018 10:05 am by noviceplaywright

Wrighter
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I would have to second what Edd said. In terms of playwriting (and I’m sure the same basic precepts apply to acting and filmmaking), if you have a love of language, a way with words, a passion for theatre, and the drive and tenacity to stick at it through the fallow times as well as the fruitful ones, there’s nothing stopping anyone from carving out a slice of the pie.

You’ll learn a lot from studying for a degree in playwriting, but you won’t learn how to become a good playwright. Without that innate ability lying somewhere in your DNA, you’ll only be parroting the ideas and theories of others. The end result of that is essentially writing-by-numbers, and plays written that way tend to be ten-a-penny and utterly forgettable. It takes instinct to be a good playwright, and a university’s faculty can’t gift you that faculty.

As noviceplaywright points out, the network of connections that a university can provide – especially the more prestigious ones – can give you a real leg up, but if you have the ability and a willingness to put in the hard work (important), you’ll manage just fine without it.

Panagiotis
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Mana: 
Zimainstitute wrote:
Hi Folks

What you think if we want to pursue our career in acting, writing or filmmaking do we need to have a degree in Media and Arts.


Hello. I think that depends on every human and personality. It's important for someone to make the decision and start a degree, if he or she believes that in this way can earn some learnings, techninques etc. The truth is that the rest of building a carrer, in my opinion, is in the mind and result of much work with arts and the mind (ideas, influences, "our stigma" etc)

P.S. Please excuse my strange English.

Coluseld
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i've often heard people who got *big* in acting, writing or filmmaking without having a degree in Media and Arts. I'm not an expert here, but I know people who do have a degree in Media and Arts and yet, they've never had a proper job. all in all, i just want to say that it greatly depends on your talent, ambitions and, of course, a bit of luck.



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