I believe Drama Schools fail their applicants. I believe it’s a historical but systemic problem. Here’s how they fail their applicants.
One - An Unsafe Bet
Go to a casino, take £560, go to the roulette wheel and put all of it on RED. There is a 49% (48.6%) chance of winning. Would you do it?
Apply to Drama School, well, actually about 6 - the average. It will cost you around £560 in fees alone. Let’s pretend for a second there aren’t costs for accommodation and transport. Work your socks off to prepare up to 5 monologues to meet the differing criteria of all the different schools. There is between 0.8-1.1% chance of getting accepted in the UK. Who would take these odds?
Which of these two scenarios seems like the safer bet?
Two - World’s Worst Job Interview
Two monologues and a brief chat. For eighty quid. If you’re lucky you get a workshop. For eighty quid.
On absolutely no day of the week can you ascertain who is trainable and who has the potential to grow in ten minutes. You can only choose the blatant, the pretty - and those that will survive the three years of any course because they already have most of what it takes to succeed.
Most job interviews last 20-30 minutes or more. And even then, it’s a gamble.
What incredible talent acquisition skills these Drama School panels are endowed with that they can do better than most employers in ten minutes.
Three - The Feedback is Non-Existent or Awful
Drama Schools don’t often give feedback. It means they don’t have to be responsible for their choices.
When they do give feedback, it is woolly and intangible. On what basis can anyone paying £80 be expected to know how to proceed if the feedback is as useless as the rare feedback from a Drama School?
But when feedback IS given, the applicants take it to heart, so it better be of a sufficient standard too!
These are just 3 ways that drama schools fail their applicants but there are more.
To you, the best
Mark Westbrook is the Course Leader of the 1-Year Diploma in Stage and Screen Acting at Acting Coach Scotland. They do not charge for auditions