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  • Mark Westbrook

What If I Don’t Get Into Drama School This Year?

When you have your heart set on a particular course at a particular drama school, it can be really soul destroying to find out that you haven’t got in. So, do you spend the entire summer crying into your coffee, or moaning to friends and family? No, of course you don’t. You go out there and do something about it, of course! But what can I do, I hear you cry? Well, here are a few ideas to get you started.

Firstly, comfort yourself with the fact that you are not alone. Many thousands of applications are rejected each year, and in fact many now-famous actors were rejected once, or even several times over, before they made it. BA acting is a tough nut to crack.

Secondly, it’s a great idea to use this time to improve yourself. Have a good hard look at your skills and weaknesses - what do you think it was that held you back? (No, it certainly wasn’t that the panel had something in for you)! Are there areas you could improve? Go to the theatre; read novels and plays; have a go at writing your own stuff. There is a lot you can do to improve yourself as an actor so you can be sure of getting onto your next acting course.

Next, how about taking the time to save up so you can apply for more schools next year? Even if your first and best choice has rejected you, that in no way means that there may be a better BA acting option out there for you. Of course, it’s expensive - but it’s also an investment for your future. Take a job washing dishes, or waiting tables - anything that will make you a few extra pennies so you can get together a good pot of savings to apply again next year.

The idea of taking on a crappy job leads us neatly on to observing humanity (yes, this is really a fancy way to talk about people watching). Hemingway told us that we have to experience life in order to write about it, and this applies to acting too. Watching how people interact, how they behave when they’re alone, what they do when no one’s watching, is a great way to get inside their heads, which will help you when getting into the skin of your next character (and into your next drama school).

Another great idea is to find an acting coach. An experienced trainer of actors is an invaluable resource; they have seen and done it all before and will be able to help you improve your techniques so that when you apply for BA acting next year you are guaranteed to be accepted.

And last, but by no means least, don’t give up. So you’ve had one application rejected? You’ve got eight more before you reach the number of rejections Dustin Hoffman received from drama school, and look where he is today! So pick yourself up, put on your Grown Up Pants, and get back out there to live your dreams.

Mark Westbrook

Head of Acting Programmes

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