Young Adult Actors, Theater/Drama Degrees, and Pilot Season 2020

In 2018 and 2019, I posted information that I had gathered about the educational and training backgrounds of young adult actors aged roughly 23-33 who booked leading and series regular roles in pilots and straight-to-series orders during Pilot Season grouped into the most common paths. While I didn’t think I would have time to do it again this year, the recent turn of events with COVID-19 has brought the entertainment industry to a halt and left me with more time than I would have liked. Much more. So I decided to conduct the study again maintaining the 23-33 age range and yet again, the numbers of those who majored in Theatre/Drama/Acting in college has dominated the other categories. I also kept close track of diversity and nationality and will post that information on request.

Now, realizing that I’m talking to kids and parents who might not know what Pilot Season is, it’s the period that roughly takes place between January and May of each year during which the television networks and streaming services cast and shoot sample episodes of programs from which they will choose for their fall lineups. This year it has been cut short, but there were more actors already cast in the age range than in the previous two years, so the numbers are applicable. Also understand that most of these shows will never see the light of day and some may never even shoot given the current circumstances. Plus, being cast in one does not necessarily a sustained acting career make. However, these castings are considered to be an auspicious sign towards that end and I will posit that they signify a trend now being seen in young adult actors working in television at the leading and series regular level.

In the near future, I will further compile and post the combined numbers from 2018, 2019, and 2020 along with some takeaways to conclude this as a three-year study. So without further ado:


232 actors of whom 164 are American

71 Undergraduate Acting - 50 American

15 Graduate Acting - 14 American

22 Non-Degree Conservatories - 14 American

38 Majored in Something Besides Acting - 32 American

40 Began Careers with High School Education or Foreign Equivalent - 22 American

46 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors - 32 American


71 Undergraduate Acting - 50 American

Chanté Adams - A League of Their Own - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Robert Aramayo - The Lord of the Rings - Brit. BFA Juilliard preceded by Oxford School of Drama.

Nabiyah Be - Daisy Jones & The Six - BFA Pace University.

Daniel Bellomy - Power Book II: Ghost - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Adam Chanler-Berat - Gossip Girl reboot - BFA Musical Theatre, Marymount Manhattan College.

Kimia Behpoornia - Someone Out There - BA UCLA. Improv at UCB, The Groundlings, Second City, and about every other place in LA.

Kevin Bigley - Upload - BFA DePaul University.

Rachel Bloom - Mother Mary - BFA NYU/Tisch. Has also studied at UCB.

Novi Brown - Sistas - BA City College of New York. Has also studied with Anthony Abeson and at Weist Barron Studios preceded by kids’ classes at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute.

Sonya Cassidy - Soulmates - Brit. BA RADA.

Sebastian Chacon - Daisy Jones & The Six - BFA NYU/Tisch and Peoples Improv Theatre.

Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut - Panic - BFA UNC Greensboro preceded by Northwest School of the Arts. Has also studied with Bob Krakower.

Ruby Cruz - The Lost Boys - BFA DePaul University.

Sam Claflin - Daisy Jones & the Six - Brit. BA LAMDA.

Morfydd Clark - The Lord of the Rings - Welsh. Left Drama Centre London in final term to take a stage role.

Thomas Cocquerel - The Guilded Age - Aussie. BA NIDA.

Roberta Colindrez - A League of Their Own - BFA Texas State University.

Branden Cook - The Lost Boys - BA Wake Forest University and Foundational program at LAMDA.

Ismael Cruz Córdova - The Lord of the Rings - BFA NYU/Tisch

David Corenswet - Hollywood - BFA Juilliard.

Darren Criss - Hollywood - BFA University of Michigan with minors in Musicology and Italian.

Camaron Engels - Clickbait - BFA Boston University. Coaches with Patrick Day.

Iola Evans - The 100 prequel - Brit. Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and National Youth Theatre.

Lydia Fleming - In from the Cold - Brit. BA Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Alexis Floyd - Inventing Anna - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Jason Gotay - Gossip Girl reboot - BFA Marymount Manhattan College.

Molly Griggs - Dr. Death - BFA Musical Theatre, Carnegie Mellon University.

Will Harrison - Daisy Jones & The Six - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Leah Harvey - Foundation - Brit. BA LAMDA.

Ema Horvath - The Lord of the Rings - BA Harvard preceded by Interlochen Arts Academy and “years of art school” before that.

Corey Hawkins - Americanah - BFA Juilliard preceded by Duke Ellington School of the Arts.

Quincy Isaiah - Untitled Lakers Project - BA Kalamazoo College.

Aaron Jennings - NBC untitled ensemble comedy - Columbia College Chicago. Has also studied at Diana Castle’s Imagined Life and Berg Studios.

Toheeb Jimoh - The Power - Brit. BA Guildhall School of Music & Drama.

Camron Jones - Panic - BFA USC.

Wesam Keesh - Echo. BA University of Tulsa.

Jesse James Keitel - The Big Sky - BFA Pace University.

Leah Kreitz - Dash & Lily - BA UNLV.

Lou Llobell - Foundation - Brit. BA Drama Centre London.

Thuso Mbedu - The Underground Railroad - South African. BADA degree in Physical Theatre and Performing Arts Management. Has also studied at Stella Adler Studio of Acting.

Charlie McElveen - The Brides - Brit. BA Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Emma Meisel - Vegas High - BFA The New School preceded by Denver School of the Arts.

Freddy Miyares - DMZ - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Tiana Okoye - Crazy for You - BA UCLA. Has also studied with Lesly Kahn.

Lucca De Oliveira - Clarice - Left Pace University BA program after two years. Also attended Long Island High School for the Arts while also taking classes at Acteen, T. Schreiber Studio, and Actors Connection. Has since studied at William Esper Studio.

Elizabeth Olsen - Wandavision - Family in the business and BFA NYU/Tisch. Could be considered a child star, but there was a 15 year gap between her cameos with her sisters and what she started doing after Tisch.

Ashley Park - Emily in Paris - BFA Musical Theatre, University of Michigan preceded by Interlochen Arts Academy.

Teyonah Parris - Wandavision - BFA Juilliard preceded by South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. Has also studied with Bob Krakower.

Sarah Pidgeon - The Wilds - BFA Carnegie Mellon University preceded by Interlochen Arts Academy. Also studied abroad at Drama Centre London.

Aaron Pierre - The Underground Railroad - Brit. BA LAMDA.

Camille Razat - Emily in Paris - French. BA Cours Florent.

Corbin Reid - Run the World - BFA Musical Theatre, University of Michigan.

Erin Richards - The Brides - Welsh. BA Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

Harry Richardson - The Guilded Age - Aussie. BA WAAPA preceded by National Art School.

Josh Andrés Rivera - Vegas High - BFA Musical Theatre, Ithaca College.

Hadley Robinson - Untitled Lakers Project - BFA Juilliard preceded by Interlochen Arts Academy.

Jon Rudnitsky - The Big Leap - BFA USC. Has also studied with John Rosenfeld and is a standup comic.

Ben Schnetzer - Y: The Last Man - BA Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Parents in the business.

Jack Cutmore-Scott - Jury Duty - Brit. BA Harvard with a gap year at LAMDA.

Josh Segarra - Night School - BFA NYU/Tisch.

Rachel Sennott - My Village - BFA NYU/Tisch.

Sarah Snook - Soulmates - Aussie. BA NIDA.

Riann Steele - Debris - Brit. BA Arts Educational Schools, London.

Gavin Stenhouse - Kung Fu - Brit. BA Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Ianne Fields Stewart - Dash & Lily - BFA Musical Theatre, Illinois Wesleyan University.

Sam Straley - This Country - BFA DePaul University.

Veronica St. Clair - La Brea - BA University of San Diego. Has also studied with Jesse Torgerson, MCIT Studio, Robin Dale Meyers, Larry Moss, Chelsea Rickets, Abbie Cobb, and Michael Woolson. Began college as an Economics major.

Auden Thornton - Thirtysomething sequel - BFA Juilliard preceded by Interlochen Arts Academy.

Philippine Velge - Station Eleven - Brit. BA RADA and member of the National Youth Theatre.

Charlie Vickers - The Lord of the Rings - Brit. BA Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Chris Wood - Thirtysomething(else) - BFA Musical Theatre, Elon College.

15 Graduate Acting - 14 American

Stella Baker - The Republic of Sarah - Aussie. MFA Yale School of Drama; BA Philosophy, Reed College. Daughter of Simon Baker and Rebecca Rigg.

Charles Bice - In from the Cold - MFA Actor’s Studio Drama School; BFA Shenendoah Conservatory.

Brittany Bradford - Julia - MFA Juilliard; BA Arizona State University.

Allegra Edwards - Upload - MFA American Conservatory Theatre; BA Pepperdine University.

Melanie Field - A League of Their Own - MFA Yale School of Drama.

Motell Foster - Clickbait - MFA NYU/Tisch; BA University of Alabama.

Jerrie Johnson - Untitled Tracy Oliver project - MFA ACT; BA Penn State with minor in African American Studies.

Brian Jordan Jr. - Sistas - Attended NYU/Tisch with graduation unknown. Also studied Vocal Performance and Piano Pedagogy at Lousiana State University and acting classes at Southeastern Louisiana University along with Dance at Debbie Allen Dance Academy and played college football.

Adrianna Mitchell - Harlem’s Kitchen - MFA ACT; BA English with Drama minor, Spelman College. Has also studied at Susan Batson Studio, NYS3 Studio, The Alchemy of Acting Studio, and at BADA.

Carra Patterson - Turner & Hooch - MFA NYU/Tisch; BA Georgia State University.

Jade Payton - Rita - MFA UC Irvine. BA UNLV.

Pete Ploszek - Maverick - MFA USC; Undergraduate at Princeton University where he played football.

Simone Recasner - The Big Leap - MFA NYU/Tisch; BA Sarah Lawrence College.

Tramell Tillman - Severance - MFA University of Tennessee. Has also studied at the Chautauqua Conservatory.

Tamera Tomakili - Untitled Lakers Project - MFA Columbia University.

22 Non-degree conservatories - 14 American

Lovell Adams-Gray - Power Book II: Ghost - Canadian. Humber College Acting for Film and Television program and CBC Actors Conservatory.

Samuel Arnold - Emily in Paris - Brit. EICAR Cinema and Acting School and Giles Foreman Centre for Acting.

Heather Agyepong - The Power - Brit. 1-year course at Kingdom School of Drama. Also Identity Drama School, Tricycle Young Company, MN Academy, Acting for film course, WAC Arts, Talawa Theatre’s MAKE: Sustain Artists, and Actors Temple plus a National Diploma in Performing Arts with triple distinction from City of Westminster College and a BS in Applied Psychology from University of Kent and a MA in Photography & Urban Cultures from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

Ser’Darius Blain - The Big Leap - NYCDA and undisclosed private on-camera coaching.

Andrea Bordeaux - Run the World - NYCDA preceded by a year at Pace University. Has also studied at T. Schreiber Studios, The PIT, Larry Singer Studios, The Barrow Group and with John Ort, Geoffrey Soffer, and Ted Slubersky.

Nicole Byer - NBC untitled ensemble comedy - AMDA and UCB.

Lex Scott Davis - Rebel - New York Film Academy in NYC. Previously satudied Dance Physical Therapy at Drexel University. Has also studied with Dustin Felder in LA.

Ian Duff - The Republic of Sarah - Neighborhood Playhouse.

Harriet Dyer - American Auto - Aussie. Actors Centre Australia.

Mike Faist - Panic - Dropped out of AMDA half-way through.

Bella Heathcote - Pieces of Her - Aussie. A.T.C.L. Associate Diploma in Speech & Drama, Trinity College London; MTC monologue performance workshop; NIDA Screen Acting short course; Diploma of Arts (Acting), National Theatre Drama School; and the 1st year in Drama at Deakin University.

Shelley Hennig - Crazy for You - NYCDA. Former Miss Teen USA.

Julia Mayorga - Rust - Terry Knickerbocker Conservatory.

Melanie Liburd - Power Book II: Ghost - Brit. Identity Drama School. Also a model with a BA(Hons) in Fashion Design from an undisclosed school.

Eddie Liu - Kung Fu - William Esper Studio. Also has a degree in Public Relations from Hofstra University and has further studied with Billy O’Leary and Sara Mornell as well as at UCB.

Kelly McCormack - A League of Their Own. Canadian. AMDA.

Karen Obilom - Games People Play - AMDA and has also studied with Anthony Meindl.

Ebony Obsidian - Sistas - William Esper Studio Conservatory. Has also studied at Susan Batson Studio and UCB.

Jeremy Pope - Hollywood - AMDA.

Caleb Ruminer - La Brea - AMDA.

Toby Sandeman - Raising Kanan - Brit. Former model and gold medal track athlete. Trained at an undisclosed two-year Meisner-based conservatory.

Shoniqua Shandai - Untitled Tracy Oliver project - Certificate from AMDA. Also trained at Playhouse West and with Dustin Felder among others too numerous to list.

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38 Majored in something besides Acting - 32 American

Clare-Hope Ashitey - Harlem’s Kitchen - Brit. Studied Anthropology at SOAS University of London. Trained at Centre Stage School of Performing Arts, Southgate in high school.

Deborah Ayorinde - Them - Began acting as a child and attended a stage school in London before moving to the US. BA Film Production, Howard University where she took acting for non-majors. Has also studied with Penny Templeton, Vince Pisani, and Vera Katz.

Cassian Bilton - Foundation - Brit. Did a lot of Theatre at Oxford University with an undisclosed major. Also a member of The National Youth Theatre and The National Youth Film Academy.

Mike Cabellon - Untitled L.A. Mayor comedy series - Degree in Advertising from Loyola University Chicago - Trained at UCB.

Aimee Carrero - Someone Out There - BA International Relations, Florida International Univeristy.

Shanley Caswell - Raising Kanan - BA Cultural Anthropology, UCLA. Had been acting in local theatre in Florida since she was 8. Has studied at New York Film Academy/Harvard Program, and with Dave Glowacki, Deborah Dion, Geoffrey Owens, Tess Kirsch, and Leigh Kilton-Smith.

Emma Caymares - My Village - BFA Dance, SUNY Purchase.

Zach Cherry - Severance - Studied Law, Jurisprudence, and Social Thought at Amherst College. Attended a high school with a great performing arts program including improv, did improv throughout college, and is on the GOAT team at UCB in NYC.

Desmond Chiam - The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Aussie. Law degree from University of Melbourne and MFA in Screenwriting from USC.

Austin Crute - My Village - BFA Recorded Music NYU/Tisch.

Shannon Dang - Kung Fu - BS Business Administration, UC Riverside. Fitness model, former LA Clippers dance team member, and current LA Rams cheerleader. Has studied acting at Lesly Kahn & Co.

Delante Desouza - Untitled Lakers Project - BS Computer Science, University of Maryland. Studied acting at the Arena Players in Baltimore since he was 14 and did plays throughout college. Has also studied with Bob Krakower, Mark McKinnon, and Susan Scher.

Grace Gummer - Dr. Death - BA Art History and Italian, Vassar College. Meryl Streep’s daughter.

Reina Hardesty - Maverick - BA Communications with a concentration in Public Relations, Cal State Fullerton.

Chelsea Holmes - This Country - BA English Language and Literature, Florida State University. Company member at IO in Chicago.

O’Shea Jackson Jr. - Swagger - Studied Screenwriting at USC. LA native, Rapper and son of Ice Cube. Has coached with Aaron Speiser and Susan Batson.

Sarunas J. Jackson - Games People Play - Played basketball at Post University with an undisclosed major and then an international professional league.

Zainab Johnson - Upload - Degree in Math from an undisclosed college. Standup comic and former schoolteacher.

Abraham D. Juste a.k.a. Da’Vinchi - Vegas High - Degree in Criminal Justice from College of Central Florida. Instagram star. Has coached with Shari Shaw.

Steven Krueger - Yellowjackets - Studied pre-law at the University of Virginia. Staff faculty member at John Rosenfeld Studios.

Mike Lane - Jefferies - BA International Relations and History, UC Davis where he was the director of Birdstrike Theatre impov. UCB regular.

Alice Lee - Crazy for You - BM Music Business, NYU/Steinhardt.

Tyler Lepley - Amazon comedy series - BS Criminal Justice, Kutztown University. Studies with Ivana Chubbuck.

Olivia Liang - Kung Fu - BA Communications, UC San Diego. Took the Acting for the Camera course at UCLA and has also studed at John Rosenfeld Studios and UCB.

Abraham Lim - Clickbait - BFA and MFA in Film, NYU/Tisch. Has studied acting with Jeffrey Marcus and at The Groundlings.

X Mayo - American Auto - AA in Film/Editing, Los Angeles Film School. Improv and sketch writing at UCB.

Zackary Momoh - Americanah - Brit. Studied Business and Marketing at an undisclosed university, but didn’t graduate. Trained in twice-a-week classes at Identity School of Acting.

Chido Nwokocha - Sistas - BS Health Services Administration, Ohio University. Former collegiate and arena league football player. Has studied at Film Acting Bay Area and Studio 24.

Taylor Ortega - This Country - BFA Communications with a minor in Film & Electronic Arts, Cal State Long Beach; MFA Creative Producing, Columbia University. Performer at UCB.

Punam Patel - The Kenan Show - Journalism Major/Theatre Minor at U. Florida and trained at Second City in Chicago.

Octavio Pizano - Coyote - Mexican. Either majored in Business or Film at San Francisco State University. Took acting classes at an undisclosed studio while in high school in Vancouver and has taken assorted classes at Holy Wood Acting Studio, Scott Sedita Studio, Actors Circle Theater, TVI Studios, Simmons and Scott, The Edge, The Acting Corps, Sal Dano Studio, and The Actors Work.

Meaghan Rath - Jury Duty - Canadian. Studied Cinema and Communications at Dawson College. “Parents put me in acting classes since I was a little kid.”

Kyanna Simpson - Vegas High - BA Entertainment and Media Studies, University of Georgia.

Krystal Smith - This Country - Studied Pre-Law at Morehouse College. YouTube personality.

Freddie Stroma - The Crew - Brit. BSc Neuroscience, University College, London. Former member of the National Youth Theatre. BBC TV guest appearances while at university and took a year off to shoot Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Glo Tavarez - Rita - Studied Economics for three years at an unnamed college. NYC UCB regular.

Agneeta Thacker - Dash & Lily - Northwestern University with an undisclosed major.

Devyn A. Tyler - Clarice - BA French and Francophone Studies, Columbia University. Studied theatre at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston where she was a YoungArts Gold Winner in Theater and a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. Mother is an actress.

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40 Began careers with high school education or foreign equivalent - 22 American

Hammed Animashaun - The Wheel of Time - Brit. Started at the Half Moon Children’s Theatre in Limehouse at 11. Dropped out of the Drama course at the University of Greenwich for a stage role.

Joey Bada$$ - Raising Kanan - Rapper.

Rebecca Breeds - Silence of the Lambs - Aussie. Began a double degree in Music and Performing Arts at University of New South Wales before dropping out for a film role.

Joey Brooks - Untitled Lakers Project - Brit. Singer/songwriter.

Jasmin Savoy Brown - Yellowjackets - Was in clubs and classes at University of Oregon, Portland Shakespeare Project, Art’s Umbrella, Oregon Children’s Choir, and Up Start Crow Studios before starting career in Portland.

Kylie Bunbury - The Big Sky - Canadian. Former model.

Ross Butler - Swimming with Sharks - Left Ohio State University after one year.

Tosin Cole - 61st Street - Brit. Left school before A Levels.

Sebastian De Souza - The Great - Brit - Began acting and writing in early childhood. Studied at the Watermill Theatre in high school as well as being a member of the Nation Youth Theatre.

Thomas Doherty - Gossip Girl reboot - Scottish. Trained at MGA Academy of Performing Arts in high school.

Reign Edwards - The Wilds -

Elliott Fletcher - Y: The Last Man - Attended Sarah Lawrence College for an undetermined time.

Molly Gordon - Untitled Lakers Project - Dropped out of NYU after two weeks to take undisclosed classes. LA native with parents in the business. Formed a theatre group when she was 3.

Barney Harris - The Wheel of Time - Brit. Signed with The Artist’s Partnership after being seen in a school play.

Charlie Heaton - Soulmate - Brit. Former musician.

Riley Keough - Daisy Jones & the Six - LA native. Former model with family in the business.

Hope Lauren - The Republic of Sarah - Has studied with Mario Campanaro.

Hayley Law - Mark, Mary & Some Other People - Canadian.

Alison Luff - Heels - Was working in the Houston professional Theatre/Opera scene as early as 8th grade.

Nandy Martin - Maverick -

Woody McClain - Power Book II: Ghost - Former professional dancer and social media star.

Christopher Meyer - CW’s First Daughter drama -

Zión Moreno - Gossip Girl reboot - Former model.

Lindsey Morgan - Walker Texas Ranger reboot - Dropped out of the Theatre major at UT Austin after a year. Studies with John Rosenfeld.

Gianni Paolo - Power Book II: Ghost - Studies at UCB and has taken James Franco’s master class.

Jon Prasida - Kung Fu - Aussie. Studied at NIDA’s Part-time Young Actor’s Studio and has continued with Anthony Meindl.

Nabhaan Rizwan - Station Eleven - Brit. From a family of actors. Has studied at the Almeida and Royal Court.

Genesis Rodriguez - The Fugitive - Coaches with Marjorie Ballentine.

Ben Rosenfield - Mark, Mary & Some Other People - Father teaches standup and is the founder of The American Comedy Institute. First acting teacher was his mother who teaches improv.

Wyatt Russell - The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Son of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Former professional hockey player.

Marcus Rutherford - The Wheel of Time - Brit. Model who has studied at Nottingham Television Workshop.

Pepi Sonuga - Harlem’s Kitchen - Former Miss Jr. Teen Los Angeles and model.

Jessica Sula - Panic - Brit. Completed A-levels n Spanish, French and Drama at Gorseinon College.

Daniela Vega - The Power - Chilean.

Suki Waterhouse - Daisy Jones & The Six - Brit. Former model.

Josh Whitehouse - Daisy Jones & The Six - Brit. Musician and model. Started in reality tv.

Amber Stevens West - Run the World - LA native. Family in the business.

Parker Young - United States of Al - Former model. Studied at Joanne Baron/D.W. Brown Studio and with Lauren Patrice Nadler and Scott Sedita.

Ria Zmitrowicz - The Power - Brit. Member of the National Youth Theatre. Rejected by drama schools three years in a row.

46 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors - 32 American

Sophia Ali - The Wilds - Began career at 8.

David Alvarez - Rust - Canadian. Began Tony winning Broadway career at 14. Joined the US Army after high school and was a sniper for 2.5 years. Also attended Case Western Unversity where he was rediscovered for Speilberg’s West Side Story.

Kevin Alves - Panic - Canadian. Began career at 12, but took a hiatus to pursue figure skating. Has studied at Armstrong Acting Studios.

Maxim Baldry - Lord of the Rings - Brit. Began career at 9.

Kelli Berglund - Heels - Began career at 10.

Joey Bragg - My Village - Began career at 16.

Sadie Calvano - Jury Duty. Began career at 13. Also attended Stage Door Manor, Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and Occidental College part-time with an undisclosed major.

Ray Cham - The Big Leap – Began career at 10.

Lily Collins - Emily in Paris - Began career at 2. Also studied Broadcast Journalism at USC.

Dexter Darden - Saved by the Bell reboot - Began career at 15.

Kat Dennings - Wandavision - Began career in commercials at 10 and was a series regular by 15.

Nathalie Emmanuel - Die Hart - Brit. Began career on West End at 10, BBC at 17.

Taissa Farmiga - Guilded Age - Began career at 16 in a film by her sister Vera which premiered at Sundance.

Kristyan Ferrer - Coyote - Mexican. Began career in Mexican television at 12.

Lyndsy Fonseca - Turner & Hooch - Began career at 14.

Julia Garner - Inventing Anna - NYC native. Began career at 17.

Sarah Gadon - Evel - Canadian. Began career at 10.

Tavi Gevinson - Gossip Girl reboot - Began career at 12. Also a fashion blogger.

Kelli Goss - United States of Al - LA native who began career at 15.

Sammi Hanratty - Yellowjackets - Began career at 11.

Tyler Hoechlin - Superman & Lois - Began career at 8. Also played professional baseball.

Nicholas Hoult - The Great - Brit. Began career at 7.

Paige Hurd - Power Book II: Ghost - Began career at 8. Has studied at Young Actors Studio in Dallas.

Josh Hutcherson - Rita - Began career at 9 or 10.

Miki Ishikawa - The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Began career at 14.

Hunter King - Prospect - Began career at 8.

Alexander Ludwig - Heels - Canadian. Began career at 9. Also has a BA in Theatre from USC.

Rose McIver - Ghosts - New Zealander. Began career at 2.

Madeleine Madden - The Wheel of Time. Aussie. Began career at 12.

Richard Madden - Citadel - Scottish. Began career at 13 and also earned a BA from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Malcolm Mays - Raising Kanan - Began career at 15.

Jillian Mueller - The Crew - Began Broadway career at 12.

Ray Nicholson - Panic - Son of Jack Nicholson and Rebecca Broussard. Also a producer and director. First film role at 14.

Josh Peck - Turner & Hooch - Began career at 13. Attended The Professional Performing Arts School in NYC.

Parker McKenna Posey - Games People Play - Began career at 4. First series regular at 6.

Kyla Pratt - Call Me Kat - Began career at 8.

Ella Purnell - Yellowjackets - Brit. Began career at 14. Had studied at Young Actors Theatre Islington, Sylvia Young Theatre School, and was a member of the National Youth Theatre.

Jazz Raycole - The Lincoln Lawyer - Began career at 9. Also a professional dancer.

Zoe Robins - The Wheel of Time - New Zealander. Began career at 12. Has studied at The Actors’ Program in Auckland as well as having done a summer intensive at Toi Whakaari.

AnnaSophia Robb - Dr. Death - Began career at 8.

Ella Rumpf - Tokyo Vice - Swiss. Began career at 16 and later studied at Giles Foreman Centre for Acting after finishing an undisclosed degree at Zurich University of Applied Sciences.

Kendrick Sampson - ThirtySomething(else) - Began career at 17.

Josha Stradowski - The Wheel of Time - Dutch. Began career on Dutch tv at 16. Graduate of Theatre School Amsterdam.

Emily VanCamp - The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - Canadian. Transitioned from dance to begin career at 16.

Haskiri Velazquez - Saved by the Bell reboot - NYC native who began career at 16 while studying at Urban Arts Partnership Lifestories theater program.

Lincoln Younes - The Lost Boys - Began career at 17. Took weekend course at NIDA and began a BA at Melbourne University for six months before dropping out.

2019 Results:

2018 Results:

2017 Results under a different age range:

Thoughts on College vs. Studio Training:

Thank you!

These are great stats, @Gyokoren , thank you for providing!

Thank you @Gyokoren!!!

@Gyokoren Thank you for this! I looked all all the years you have complied. Definitely seeing certain schools over and over again. A few questions:

  1. Are these pilots for all cities, including those that shoot in Altanta?
  2. Does this list also include existing shows or it is just pilots?
  3. What are the actors from BFA schools not on this list doing? I imagine the list is quite different for theater (straight plays and musicals), and film. Would be so interesting to compare all 3 mediums.


@Abutilon You’re welcome!

The survey is for the whole American television market. While there are some outliers, the pilots will most commonly shoot in LA, NYC, Chicago, Atlanta, Albuquerque, Vancouver, or Toronto and continue in those locations if they are picked up to series. And these are all castings for leads and series regulars in pilot presentations and new straight-to-series orders - not recurrings, guest stars, or new and promoted cast members for ongoing shows. The list would become unmanageably long if I included all those.

I considered doing a similar survey for a year’s worth of On and Off-Broadway theatre, but quickly found that those actors who do not have significant tv/film credits tend to maintain lower online profiles and are thus harder to research - especially as to age. Plus the new television castings are announced on as they happen. Theatre takes more digging.

As for roles in studio films much past bit parts, the main way in these days for those of us who didn’t start in the business as children and/or as industry legacies and/or in other high profile occupations is through first making sufficient names for ourselves in television and these pilots are a big part of where that starts. You can always find an exception here and there, but that is the general rule. There is also no longer a glass wall between television and film actors like there was in the past. For instance, while I hesitate go into too much detail about my own career trajectory, I was actually out on location shooting my first supporting lead in a major studio film when production was (hopefully temporarily) suspended and I would have never been considered for that role absent the name recognition I enjoy from the two television series I have under my belt.

@Gyokoren - you are a God(dess). I always find your posts on pilot season so fascinating and I know I’m not the only one who appreciates your thoroughness. Thanks for all you contribute to this forum and I hope production can begin soon again on your film - congratulations on the supporting lead and let’s hope all this “safer at home” is working. :slight_smile:

@CaMom13 Thanks! I seem to be mainly preaching to the choir here, but it’s nice to be appreciated. I posted this on the reddit acting sub and got record low upvotes along with enough downvotes that it’s almost off the front page. In the meantime, a 15 year old kid asked a question about going to college for acting and some swaggering hack who has probably never done anything with more than five lines if that got more than one upvote when he replied:

Those people are like cockroaches every single time a kid asks and have been since I was in high school which is why I do this.

Hang tight in LA! When production was suspended, I did the wimpy girl thing and enacted my earthquake protocol by taking a rental car to my parents’ house in East Coast mid-sized city suburbia where social distancing is easy. Now it looks like I’m going to be here for awhile.

I haven’t made my obligatory podcast recommendation yet. I hadn’t given Audrey Helps Actors a full listen when I posted last year, but now that I have had a chance to do a binge, there is a great episode about what actors go through during Pilot Season with USC BFA graduate Elizabeth Ho who has done a bunch of them:

John Rosenfeld Studios which is one of the places I recommend for post-graduate study has also started a new podcast entitled Industry Town with UCLA graduate and senior faculty member Brian Norris hosting:


Thank you so much for these posts. I rarely comment on the boards because my D is very private and doesn’t like me sharing info about herself, but I’ve been reading on CC for five years and have always greatly appreciated the information you’ve shared, and the time it must take you both to do the research for, and to write, these posts.

There is something I’d like to ask your thoughts on, though…and I’ve debated about whether I should or not, but here goes. I can’t help but notice that over the years (and including this year), the list of colleges that BFA actors come from is fairly small. Some of the colleges that are seen over and over again are ones you might expect to find on the list…but some aren’t. And some names one might expect to see aren’t represented at all. This might be a dumb question, but what do you make of this? Are there certain schools that are just “known” to produce good TV and film actors, and some that are more geared towards the stage? And if your kid doesn’t end up going to one of the schools that appears on the list over and over again, what then? My guess, given what you’ve written in past posts, is that you would recommend on-camera training after graduation, potentially with one of the teachers/studios you’ve recommended in the past. Anything else we nervous parents should know? Again, in reading your posts over the years, the big takeaway that I’ve gotten is that training IS a big deal, but that the BFA isn’t enough…you really need specialized on-camera training post graduation…correct? I seem to recall you saying that you still study with a teacher who helps you prepare for big auditions, at the very least.

Thanks in advance for any guidance you may be willing to provide, and I apologize if these questions have been asked and answered in the past. My D made a fairly recent switch from an MT focus to a straight acting one, so admittedly I’m still struggling a bit to come up to speed.

@muttsandMT glad u asked this question! I have had similar thoughts. My D has always been MT, had about 12 MT bfa acceptances… but I think is going to commit for a bfa in Acting (with no MT crossover or options. Wow) This seems to be where her true passion is. I am a fish outa water on this stuff as well. I feel ya!

@muttsandMT You’re welcome! I’m here to help. Just you and @HAHCx4 gird yourselves for a major ramble because I’m going to try to dash this off with minimal editing! haha

There are no doubt some schools that appear over and over on these lists and they certainly do have longstanding reputations for turning out solid, well trained actors. Almost as important and a big part of why I believe you see so many from those specific schools is that they also have extensive alumni networks that saavy new graduates can not only utilize for career boosts through those connections; but, also for finding housing, getting flexible survival jobs, and just generally being shown the ropes by those who have been around longer when they’re settling in post-college. I can’t emphasize the value of that enough. Showcases can obviously make for huge jump starts as well for those whose talent/looks/personality packages meet industry trends at a given moment.

Absent those bells and whistles? Truth be known, with the possible exception of Juilliard, nobody in the tv/film industry gives a single damn about the name of the school on one’s resume. See, my biggest takeaway from this research doesn’t have much to do with school names; but, rather that the numbers of those who trained in college programs period surpasses the other commonly trodden paths because of the foundational training and the experience using it they received. I outlined my reasons for believing that in another long post entitled “Foundational Training in College vs. Private Acting Studios.” Moreover, what the industry DOES care about is what one brings into the audition room as well as on-set and the college trained actors on these lists clearly have something right going for them in that respect. Remember, around 127,000 people come to LA to have a go at acting in any given year along with God only knows how many to the other markets and only a small fraction of them went to college for it.

Just keep in mind that in my world the most important part of that training is foundational. Not advanced. To my knowledge, no college program really prepares students to receive twelve pages of sides after supper and then be on the other side of LA the next morning off-book and ready to roll with specific choices informed by a solid comprehension of character, genre, and tone while still bringing what is unique about themselves to it and then taking direction on a dime. That is what we need to be able to do. Consistently. But as long as we have that solid foundation in the craft that can be earned in lots of college programs that are not necessarily prestigious, a smart actor can learn to handle all that relatively quickly with some additional in-market training and experience which is part of why I have repeatedly recommended those specific studios for post-graduate work.

As for your daughters who won’t have access to all the bells and whistles that come with a big name school? Knowledge is king and if she reads, listens, makes notes, and takes action on the books and podcasts that I’m about to recommend along with working really hard at her craft during her remaining time in college, she will be better prepared to survive and work smart in this insane business than the vast majority of actors who come to LA. Even those from top schools. I’ve recommended most of these before and I’ll do it again with some notes plus add in a few more:


Audrey Helps Actors from episode 17 through the present. This woman knows her stuff. TAKE NOTES and pay special attention to the “Leveling Up” episodes because she goes into great detail with her guests about actions they can take to better market themselves which should give listeners ideas about how to optimize their own attributes. Theatre folk often balk at the idea of “type” and recoil physically when “branding” is mentioned, but an awful lot of really talented actors never work because they won’t embrace it and “wear the hat” so to speak. And these days that hat needs to be specific. Agents are salespeople - not creatives - and need to be shown what they will be selling. So she needs to know what SHE will be selling and have her marketing materials all bound up in a nice tight little package with a pretty bow on top. Lots of actors flounder for years before they figure that out. Others never do and usually go away bitter. There are also innumerable articles about how to determine one’s general type and specific brand/marketing if she Googles around a bit, but Audrey will give her a good start on how to approach it in those episodes.

One Broke Actress. It’s overall very good and educational entry level stuff. Pay special attention to the actor round tables. Especially 4.8. There is gold in that one.


Secrets of Screen Acting by Patrick Tucker who ironically teaches First Folio to the UM Guthrie kids when they are in London - or at least did a few years ago. This book lays out the basics of the technical side of the craft of acting for the camer … editor. Just be forewarned that some of it might seem blasphemous to members of the Church of Stanislavsky and there are a few peripheral particularities in terminology and about auditioning that must be a British thing.

A Screen Acting Workshop by Mel Churcher who has spent a lot of years as an on-set coach for people like Keira Knightley, Angelina Jolie, and Jeremy Irons. The strength of this one is that it goes hand-in-hand with the Tucker book in offering great instruction along with demonstrative videos (dvd and online) about how to prepare and keep one’s acting alive within Tucker’s technical context.


The Hollywood Survival Guide for Actors by Kym Jackson. She is also one of the only career coaches in LA that I would recommend.

Self-Management for Actors by Bonnie Gillespie. The all-time classic which has been revised and updated at least twice since I was coming along.

The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide by Jenna Fischer who relates lessons learned from her own journey before and after she booked Pam on The Office. She is also someone who made her way from a lesser known college program. Truman State? Huh? Pay special attention to her advice about finding one’s “tribe” because that is crucial for anyone coming to LA without a built-in tribe from a top college. Those classes I recommend also emphasize community building on top of craft and can be a great start on that, btw. Just be forewarned that the New Media loophole for getting into the union she outlined has since been closed and surviving in LA has actually become more difficult for newbies than it was when she was coming along. These days she wouldn’t be able to afford to live in her first apartment in Weho behind the dildo store and across from the gay porn theater without at least one more roommate. Seriously. But hey, John Rosenfeld Studios is just a few blocks from there! haha If you as a parent just want to read an entertaining and informative book about what your kid will be getting into, this is the one.

The Tao of Show Business by Dallas Travers. Can be a little woo woo at times, but it’s overall great advice on how to build and nurture one’s network. There is another book I haven’t read that supposedly covers a lot of the same principles from a conventional business perspective is entitled Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.

An Agent Tells All by Tony Martinez. Believe it or not, he was Jenna Fischer’s first good agent who found her doing commedia dell’arte Downtown. It’s a good breakdown on not only the mindset and care and feeding of a mid-level agent, but a great primer on the television business overall.


Richard Lawson’s lecture entitled “Mastering Your Career” on lays out a set of steps a newbie to LA can take to maximize the effectiveness of one’s efforts better than anyone else I’ve seen. I love how he breaks down elements of building a career into Politics, Personality, and Craft. Here is a teaser for it.

I guess this post is long enough considering that I had to divide it up into two parts and it entails at least a year-long assignment that I’ve given to your daughters. There is always more to learn, but I hope it helps!

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@Gyokoren , as always your posts are immensely helpful and informative. Thank you for putting this out there for our kids!

@Gyokoren , thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed responses to my questions. We are so lucky that you still pop in here from time to time!!! I have copied and pasted what you’ve written into a document that I plan to give my D once she has all of her college decisions and has a little more time to focus. She LOVES podcasts (so I’m guessing she will have a lot of fun diving into the ones you mentioned) and is an avid reader as well (read Jenna Fischer’s book already, as The Office is her favorite show of all time), so you’ve given her a lot of great info to “chew on.”

Thank you also for explaining that your overarching point was that the foundational training is very important and helpful in and of itself, rather than necessarily the school one graduates from. As a glass-is-half-empty kind of gal, I naturally find myself gravitating towards any negative, I’m afraid, so your explanation definitely helped me feel better about it. :slight_smile: