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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

University Acting School Scam

PARENTS: Save Yourselves $200,000
Do you have a child about to leave for college? Is that child going to study drama/acting/theater? STOP! Do not write any more checks. You are about to become part of a huge Ponzi scam if you send any more money to a college/university that offers an undergrad degree in drama. Unless your kid is enrolled at the Yale School of Drama, be prepared to lose your deposits. And save yourself a couple hundred thousand dollars.
Sending your kid to college for acting is stupid. You’re stupid if you do it. You’re not stupid, right? Then why would you pay to take your child out of the job market during his/her most marketable years? Why would you send them to study under some losers who can’t make it in the real world?

When we did Ukulele Land in 2008, after talking with the cast members, most of whom had recently graduated from university drama programs, I discovered something frightening. These kids did not know what a Ross Reports is – not one of them knew what I was talking about when I mentioned that basic tool for getting an acting gig in New York City.

Their  professors had sent them into the world, after 4 years of someone shelling out big bucks for an education, without the most basic practical knowledge. (Probably because the profs never had to scramble for work in the real world. .) 

Okay. So instead of paying for your kid to listen to these ivory tower talkers, sit her or him down and say this, “For the next two years, I am going to send you $500 a week. You can go live in Los Angeles or New York City. You’re eighteen years old. America is youth-obsessed. These years are your best shot to break through as an actor. Go. Make your name. Audition. Find an agent. Become a star!”

Otherwise you’re going to spend a quarter million dollars on bullshit that harms your kid’s chances of making it in showbiz. Will sending your 18 year old off to NYC or LA without a formal acting education  help their chances? It certainly will not hurt them.

 Maybe your kid will become a huge star and you will be a hero (to your kid, and to yourself for not wasting all that dough). Maybe your kid will realize s/he doesn’t have what it takes. Either way – it doesn’t take shoving a quarter million dollars up the asses of some academics to find out. And there’s still that college fund in case the kid bows out and wants to become an engineer or nurse or like that.

I'm not going to quote the numbers of acting union members who don't make a living. Your kid's odds are no better. But don't think for a moment that 4 years under third rate tutelage that removes them from the job market in their prime years will increase those odds. It won't.

$500 a week; $50,000 over two years – that’s real world support to pursue the dream. And at least you won’t have spent a quarter million to have your daughter become a hash-slinging wactress. 

Uke Jackson


  1. And there’s still that college fund in case the kid bows out and wants to become an engineer or nurse or like that.

  2. Nice blog. The Acting Tuition Sydney offered by Point Break Drama has a variety of short acting courses or classes taught by professional actors.