What They Won’t Teach You At Drama School

Posted on 16 May 2016



All I can say is that I wish that I had known about this course before I started three years of drama school because I spent a lot of time and a lot of money over those three years, and I’ve just learnt so much more in one year on the Ultimate Acting Programme.’’ – Moya Allen, Hitchin (Past Student)

Drama school is an essential foundation for your career as an actor. Professional courses are designed to give you physical, mental and vocal training for a lifelong career in acting. However, what is rarely touched upon is learning the ‘business’ of acting.

  • What is it like trying to get hired as an actor?
  • Do you need an agent?
  • How do you deal with rejection?

These types of questions are not usually covered extensively during drama school training, yet are common issues that all actors face at some point during their careers.

The business of acting does not just rely on delivering impressive performances in front of the camera or on the stage. Real-life actors must put in the work outside of auditions and shows to ensure that they have regular work and are able to build up a solid CV.


Market Yourself

If you have recently left drama school and are in the early stages of your career with little acting experience, then this is a great opportunity to dedicate some time to establishing your own personal brand. Build your own website to create an online presence as an actor. In the future when a casting director searches for your name they will be presented with your personal domain. Instead of scrawling through various social media profiles to collect information about you, they will see your headshot, CV, showreel, reviews, blog articles and all the information that they need to be interested enough to invite you for an audition.

As well as having your own site, you should also try to build connections with people, both online and in real life. Connect with acquaintances from drama school as well as actors, directors and producers and begin to share and communicate with them about your passion for the acting business.


Headshots And Showreels

Casting directors and talent agencies love actors who have an impressive headshot. This is simply a close-up photo of an actor from the chest up. It should be taken by a professional as it is an actor’s main marketing tool. Looks are important when it comes to casting, as often a director will already have a vision in mind of what they want a particular character to look like.

It is also important to have a professional company cut a showreel together of around 2-5 different scenes from your performance portfolio.




For every successful actor or actress, there are countless numbers who don’t make it. The name of the game is rejection. You go to an audition and you’re told you’re too tall or you’re too Irish or your nose is not quite right. You’re rejected for your education, you’re rejected for this or that and it’s really tough.” – Liam Neeson

Newcomers to the acting world can find rejection hard to stomach. Yet it is something that all actors must deal with, so it is important to toughen up and realise that each rejection can teach you something about the business of acting. Work on building your inner confidence. This will serve you well, not just throughout your career behind the scenes, but also during your performances.


Getting An Agent

Many actors are stumped by the catch-22 of how to get a job without an agent, yet are unable to get an agent without any professional acting work. There are a number of things to do in this frustrating situation. Start by reaching out to small, local agencies who are more likely to be interested in signing young, raw talent with little experience than some of the larger well-known agencies. Always find out the name of a specific agent within the agency so that your contact is targeted and more likely to draw interest. Don’t contact an agency until you have a solid CV drafted with a personalised cover letter and are able to include professional head-shots and a showreel.

You should also attempt to supply recommendations from existing actors to help you get noticed. If at all possible, make connections with actors who are already signed to the agency and ask if they would be willing to recommend you. Always follow up your initial contact with the agency to see if they have reviewed your resume and ask if they have any feedback to offer. A reputable agency will never ask for money upfront, so don’t fall victim to any scams.


Continue Your Studies

Graduating from drama school is an excellent achievement. However, this certainly does not signal the end of your acting studies. Those who are serious about carving a career for themselves in the acting world must continue to soak up as much information about being a professional actor as possible. This means reading about the business of acting, marketing, talent agents and the acting industry in various key cities around the world such as London, New York and LA. It is also important to become as knowledgeable as possible about various different acting techniques, this includes method acting. This discipline is a process-driven approach which enables you to draw upon real emotion while on stage or set and become a much better actor as a result. Method acting is rarely taught in drama schools yet is responsible for some of the most iconic performances of all time. Those who fail to learn ‘The Method’ are missing out on valuable tools and techniques to enhance their acting abilities.

If you’d like to learn more about method acting as well as the business of acting, then why not get in touch? Apply for a sought-after place on either our 3-day bootcamp which is perfect for those with little or no acting experience, or alternatively audition for the Ultimate Acting Programme which is a 1 year, part-time comprehensive course and career launch into the industry. Want to know more? Apply for a brochure today.


Yes, I’m over 18 years of age