Young Adult Actors, Theatre/Drama/Acting Degrees, and Pilot Season 2018

Last year, a friend of mine who used to post here as Fishbowlfreshman asked me to share some information that had I gathered about the educational and training backgrounds of [actors in their 20s who booked leads and series regular roles during Pilot Season.]( It seemed to go over pretty well with this audience, so I decided to go ahead and share this year’s information on my own. Be gentle because Fishbowl is busy and won’t have time to back me up if I run into trouble and y’all make me cry. haha

Now realizing that I’m talking to a lot of 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 cast and shoot sample episodes of programs from which they will choose for their fall lineups. Most of these shows will never see the light of day and booking one does not necessarily a sustained acting career make. However, being cast in one is definitely considerd to be an auspicious sign and I’ll posit that these bookings signify a trend now being seen in young adult working screen actors.

I did things a little differently this year by raising the age range to roughly 23-33 to give the actors who started their training and careers later more time to catch up while also allowing the former child stars who never got serious about their craft to fade from the scene like they so often do. The difference in the results has been surprising in that while the percentage of those who studied Theatre/Drama/Acting in college has remained dominant, that of the former child stars who rivaled them last year has dropped much more significantly than I would have predicted with those who majored in diverse subjects and trained in the studios having taken up most of their slack. I have also kept close track of diversity in casting although I will hold onto that information unless somebody specifically asks to see it.

So kids and parents, I have now provided you with a two-year truth bomb to be dropped on somebody’s pointy little head when he hands you all the tired b/s that I that I had to suffer when I was coming along like “college training sucks, it’s a waste of time and money, it’s just for theatre, you will be squandering the four most marketable years of your life, you would be better off majoring in Business and then just showing up in LA to take once-a-week classes, David Mamet said, Jennifer Lawrence, blah, blah, blah, and blah.” Use it liberally! haha


174 Actors - 126 American

64 Undergraduate Acting - 53 American

5 Graduate Acting - 4 American

13 Non-degree conservatories - 9 American

31 Majored in something besides Acting with studio training or training unknown - 26 American

18 Began with high school education or foreign equivalent/Studio Trained or training unknown - 9 American

37 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors - 23 American

6 Unknown Education, Training Background, or Starting Age - 2 American


64 Undergraduate Theatre/Drama/Acting - 53 American

Justina Adorno - Series regular - Grand Hotel - South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and BFA Coastal Carolina University. Improv at UCB.

Ben Aldridge - Lead - Skinny Dip - Brit. National Youth Theatre and BA LAMDA.

Emily Althaus - Series regular - Salvage - DuPont Manual Youth Performing Arts High School and BFA Western Kentucky University.

Annaleigh Ashford - Lead - Three Rivers - Kit Andre Performing Arts Center in Denver and finished a BA in Theatre from Marymount Manhattan College in three years.

Raffi Barsoumian - Series regular - The Code - BFA Carnegie Mellon University. Has also studied at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris, Globe Theatre International in London, and the Moscow Art Theater School.

Jon Bass - Series regular - Miracle Workers - BFA Boston University and improv at UCB.

Beth Behrs - Lead - Our People - ACT’s Young Conservatory and BA UCLA.

D.J. Blickenstaff - Series regular - #Fashionvictim - Harker School Conservatory and BFA USC.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger - Series regular - Three Rivers - BFA Musical Theatre, University of Michigan.

Briana Buckmaster - Lead - Wayward Sisters - Canadian. Degree in Theatre Arts from Grant MacEwan University.

Sebastian Chacon - Series regular - Crash and Burn - BFA NYU/Tisch and Peoples Improv Theatre.

Thomas Cocquerel - Lead - Get Christie Love reboot - Aussie. BA NIDA.

Justin Cornwell - Series regular - One Day She’ll Darken - BS Theatre Arts, University of Louisville. Post-graduate studies at ATC in Chicago and coaching with Ryan Kitley and Janelle Snow.

Laura Dale - Series regular - #Fashionvictim - Brit. BA Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Kimrie Lewis - Series regular - Single Parents - BFA NYU/Tisch.

Ryan Eggold - Lead - NBC Medical Drama - BFA USC.

Daniel Ezra - Lead - CW April Blair/Spencer Paysinger Drama - Brit. BA East 15 Acting School.

Willa Fitzgerald - Lead - #Fashionvictim - Cherubs at Northwestern and BA Theatre Studies, Yale University with theatre internships at The Wooster Group and The Builders Association.

Nelson Franklin - Lead - Abby’s - BFA NYU/Tisch.

Caleb Foote - Series regular - ABC untitled single-camera comedy - BFA University of Michigan.

Tati Gabrielle - Series regular - Sabrina - Oakland School for the Arts and BA Drama and French, Spelman College. Has also studied with Yonda Davis in LA.

Brandon Micheal Hall - Lead - God Friended Me - South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and BFA Juilliard.

Tre Hall - Series regular - Misfits - BFA USC.

Ian Harding - Series regular - FBI drama - BFA Carnegie Mellon University.

Tom Hopper - Lead - The Umbrella Academy - Brit. BA Rose Bruford College.

Brianne Howey - Series regular - The Passage - BFA NYU/Tisch. Has also studied with Lesly Kahn.

Bernard David Jones - Lead - Our People - Paper Mill Conservatory and BA Morehouse College.

Jordan L. Jones - Lead - Rel - BFA USC.

Nicole Kang - Series regular - You - Summer Intensives at The Performing Arts Project and BFA NYU/Tisch.

Elizabeth Lail - Lead - You - BFA University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Ashleigh LaThrop - Lead - Misfits - BFA University of Illinois and continued study at Steppenwolf in Chicago.

Allie MacDonald - Series regular - Misfits - Canadian. Studied Musical Theatre at the Canadian College of Performing Arts.

Madeleine Mantock- Lead - Charmed reboot - Brit. BA Musical Theatre from Arts Educational Schools, London

Caitlin McGee - Series regular - History of Them - BA Wagner College with a semester abroad at I.E.S. London Theatre Studies program. Has also trained with Wynn Handman for scene study and Maggie Flanigan in a Meisner intensive.

Jack Mulhern - Series regular - Locke & Key - BA Skidmore College.

Ebonée Noel - Lead - FBI - BFA NYU/Tisch and Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Hari Nef - Series regular - You - BA Theatre Arts, Columbia University.

Myko Olivier - Lead - Now & Then - BFA NYU/Tisch with study abroad at the International Theater Wing in Amsterdam. Has also studied at UCB and with John Rosenfeld and Christinna Chauncey in LA.

Elizabeth Olsen - Lead - Untitled Dramedy series - 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.

Teyonah Parris - Lead - Murder - South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and BFA Juilliard.

Nathan Parsons - Series regular - Roswell reboot - Aussie. BFA USC.

Kosha Patel - Lead - False Profits - BFA USC and continued study at Annie Grindlay Studio, The Groundlings, and UCB.

Jack Quaid - Lead - The Boys - Son of Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan. Dropped out of NYU/Tisch after three years.

Katherine Ramdeen - Series regular - Wayward Sisters, Canadian. BFA Studio 58/University of Alberta. Too much post-graduate training to list although her primary coach seems to be Kelly Ruth-Mercier.

Emmy Raver-Lampman - Series regular - The Umbrella Academy - Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and BFA Musical Theatre, Marymount Manhattan College.

Ellie Reed - Series regular - The Greatest American Hero - BA Northwestern University and improv with Second City and IO West.

Devere Rogers - Lead - Friends-in-Law - Tri-Cities High School for the Visual and Performing Arts and BFA NYU/Tisch.

Gia Sandhu - Series regular - The Greatest American Hero. Canadian. The National Theatre School of Canada and Canadian Film Centre Actors’ Conservatory.

Mia Serafino - Series regular - Now & Then - BFA Musical Theatre, Roosevelt University.

Michael James Shaw - Series regular - Blood & Treasure - Howard University transfer to BFA Juilliard.

Lyndon Smith - Lead - Dead Inside - BFA University of Florida.

Jason Michael Snow - Lead - Justin Noble Workplace Comedy - BFA Musical Theatre, Boston Conservatory. Has also studied at UCB and The Groundlings.

Karan Soni - Series regular - Miracle Workers - BA USC.

Phillipa Soo - Series regular - The Code - BFA Juilliard.

Sam Straley - Series regular - Tim Doyle Comedy Pilot - BFA DePaul University.

Stephanie Styles - Series regular - Three Rivers - BFA Musical Theater, University of Michigan.

Ellen Tamaki - Series regular - Charmed reboot - BFA Boston University.

Luke Tennie - Series regular - Deadly Class - BFA AMDA.

Emily Tremaine - Series regular - Tremors - BA Sarah Lawrence College with a year abroad at Central School of Speech and Drama.

Michele Weaver - Lead - Love Is ____ - BA Theatre and Media Production, Pepperdine University. Has also studied with Lesly Kahn, Stan Kirsch, Cameron Watson, Lynette McNeill, and at UCB among others.

Chloe Wepper - Series regular - For Love - BFA NYU/Tisch and UCB. Assistant faculty at John Rosenfeld Studios.

Anna Wood - Lead - The Code - High School Diploma and BFA from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Lincoln Younes - Series regular - Grand Hotel - Aussie. BA NIDA.

Sasheer Zamata - Lead - So Close - BA Drama, University of Virginia. Also studied at UCB as well as Webster Film Studio and on-camera and cold reading at Actors Connection.

5 Graduate Acting - 4 American

Lauren E. Banks - Series regular - City on a Hill - MFA Yale.

Myles Bullock - Series regular - Dead Inside - BA Cal State Fresno, MFA UNC Chapel Hill

Mehdi Dehbi - Lead - Messiah - Belgian. Royal Conservatory of Brussels and National Conservatory of Dramatic Art of Paris.

Marcus Henderson - Series regular - Tocoma FD - BFA Alabama State University and MFA Yale.

Afton Williamson - Series regular - The Rookie - BFA Eastern Michigan University, MFA Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

13 Non-degree conservatories - 9 American

Ser’Darius Blain - Lead - Charmed reboot - NYCDA and undisclosed private on-camera coaching.

Nicole Byer - Series regular - Justin Noble Workplace Comedy - Trained at The Actor’s Playground School of Theater in high school and Certificate from AMDA. UCB legend.

Lex Scott Davis - Lead - For Love - Studied Dance Physical Therapy at Drexel University before moving to NYC to train at New York Film Academy. Has also studied with Dustin Felder in LA.

Michel Duval - Series regular - Deadly Class - Mexican. Studied at Centro de Educación Artística and AADA.

Harriet Dyer - Lead - In Between Lives - Aussie. NIDA one year Musical Theatre course and full-time course at Actors Centre.

Callie Hernandez - Lead - Fox Musical Drama pilot - BA Photojournalism, UT Austin. Trained at William Esper Studio, but had to drop out when she could no longer afford tuition. Has since studied at Aquila Morong Studio in LA.

Ana Cruz Kayne - Series regular - Now & Then - BA in Neuroscience and Italian Literature; Barnard College, Columbia University. Trained at Maggie Flanagan Studio. Has also studied at UCB and coaches with Allen Savage and Caymichael Patton.

Titus Makin - Series regular - The Rookie - NYCDA and on-going scene study with W. Morgan Sheppard.

Janet Montgomery - Lead - Untitled Bellview Medical pilot - Brit who earned a Diploma from Stella Mann College of Performing Arts which is primarily a dance school, but also offers acting classes. Works with a “brilliant,” but undisclosed private acting coach.

Hayley Marie Norman - Lead - Dead Inside - Summer program at CalArts in high school and AADA. Also a UCB graduate and studies with Stan Kirsch.

Christina Ochoa - Series regular - A Million Little Things - Spanish. Degree in Oceanographic Engineering from Las Palmas University in the Canary Islands and began a Masters course in Marine Biology at James Cook University in Australia. Actor training at Cristina Rota Conservatory and Film Institute in Madrid. Has also studied with Shari Shaw in LA.

Leigh-Ann Rose - Lead - Untitled ABC Drama - Trained at William Esper Studio. Has also studied at UCB and HB Studio and has a degree from Syracuse University with an undisclosed major.

Shoniqua Shandai - Series regular - The Greatest American Hero. Certificate from AMDA. Also trained at Playhouse West and with Dustin Felder among others too numerous to list.


31 Majored in something other than Acting with studio training or training background unknown - 26 American

Andy Allo - Lead - Upload - Prince’s former protege who dropped out of the Communications major at American River College to pursue a music career. Has studied acting with Lesly Kahn.

Deborah Ayorinde - Series regular - Main Justice - BA Film Production, Howard University where she took acting for non-majors. Has also studied with Penny Templeton, Vince Pisani, and Vera Katz.

Shakira Barrera - Series Regular - Three Rivers - BFA Dance, Rutgers University. Has studied acting with Lesly Kahn, Don Bloomfield, UCB, Tess Kirsch, and Judy Kain.

Shea Buckner - Series regular - Get Christie Love - Former Olympic water polo player who studied Public Policy at USC. Has studied acting with Lesly Kahn.

Quinta Brunson - Lead - The End of the World as We Know It - Buzzfeed star. Dropped out of Temple University after her Communications major was dropped and trained at Second City in Chicago and LA.

Sofia Carson - Series regular - Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionist - Attended Maria Verdeja School of the Arts in Miami and majored in Broadcast Journalism with an International Relations minor at UCLA.

David Castañeda - Series regular - The Umbrella Academy - Double degree in Film Production and International Business and acting classes for non-majors at Cal State Fullerton.

Will Catlett - Lead - Love Is ____ - BA Communications with an emphasis in Radio and TV from University of La Verne. Has studied acting with Ritchie and Bobbie Chance, Stephen Snyder, and Gary Imhoff.

Zach Cherry - Series regular - You - Degree from Amherst College with an undisclosed major. 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.

Jake Choi - Series regular - Single Parents - Attended Yonsei University in South Korea on a basketball scholarship with an undisclosed major. Has studied acting at Strasberg in NYC, UCB, T. Schreiber Studio, and with Josh Pais and Bob Krakower.

Lily Cowles - Series regular - Roswell reboot - Daughter of Matthew Cowles and Christine Baranski. BA Religion, Princeton University; MS Visual Anthropology, Oxford University.

Kether Donohue - Lead - Like Family. BA Communication and Media Studies with a concentration in Film, Fordham University. Has studied acting at Anthony Meindl Acting Center in New York.

Jerod Haynes - Series regular - The Village. Former collegiate basketball player at the University of Idaho and Angelo State University with an unknown major. Has studied at Acting Studio Chicago and at BADA.

Sean Kleier - Lead - So Close - BA History with Film minor, Boudoin College. Trained at UCB.

Christine Ko - Series regular - Dead Inside - BA Communication and Media Studies, Georgia State University. Has studied acting with Stan Kirsch, Sara Mornell, Anthony Meindl, and Della Cole.

Alice Lee - Series regular - Take Two - BM Music Business, NYU/Steinhardt.

Javicia Leslie - Series regular - God Friended Me - BS Business Management, Hampton University. Has studied acting with Jonathan Slavin, Michael Adams, Paolo Pagliacolo, Salome Jens, Bill Duke, and Cheryl Rhoads.

Mouzam Makkar - Series regular - The Fix - Indian. BS Finance, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Has studied at Steppenwolf and Second City in Chicago.

Jeanine Mason - Lead - Roswell reboot - “So You Think You Can Dance” winner. UCLA degree in World Arts and Cultures: Dance and Film minor. Actor training with Michael Woolson.

Jessica “Jess Hilarious” Moore - Lead - Rel - Social media star and standup comic. Studied Mortuary Science at an undisclosed college.

Nathan Mitchell - Lead - The Boys - Canadian. Studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University after studying acting at Cawthra Park Secondary School. Also studied with Strasberg and Meisner teachers in Toronto and Vancouver post-graduate.

Mark O’Brien - Series regular - City on a Hill - Canadian. BA English, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Clare O’Connor - Series regular - Fox Legal Drama - Former dancer. Degree in Fiction Writing and Painting/Drawing from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Trained at Second City Conservatory.

Punam Patel - Series regular - So Close - Journalism Major/Theatre Minor at U. Florida and trained at Second City in Chicago.

Tyler Ritter - Lead - Playing Dead - John Ritter’s son and Jason Ritter’s brother. Graduated from University of Pennsylvania with an undisclosed major and taught school in Argentina for three years. Studies acting with Lesly Kahn.

Suraj Sharma - Series regular - God Friended Me - Indian. Current Film student at NYU/Tisch. Has also studied Philosophy at St. Stephen’s College and University of Delhi.

Freddie Stroma - Lead - CW supernatural cop drama - 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.

Kapil Talwalkar - Series regular - False Profits - BA International Relations with a minor in Dramatic Arts from USC.

Ana Villafañe - Lead - History of Them - Started acting in Atlanta musical theatre as an after school activity at 9. Majored in Music at Loyola Marymount University and was coached in acting by the Theatre faculty when she was in musicals there.

Michael Vlamis - Series regular - Roswell reboot - BS Business from Chapman University. Has studied acting at or with Sandy Marshall, UCB, Lesly Kahn & Co., Chapman University for non-majors, and Katie Amanda Keane.

Zeeko Zaki - Lead - FBI - Studied Business at Temple University where he took an Acting for Film class and transferred to Cape Fear Community College where he took two levels of Acting for Camera.

18 Began careers with high school education or foreign equivalent/Studio Trained or training unknown - 9 American

Clark Backo - Series regular - Wayward Sisters. Canadian. Has studied with Jock MacDonald at Straeon Studios.

Tyler Blackburn - Series regular - Roswell reboot - LA native. Has studied and coached with Brad Heller.

Kylie Bunbury - Lead - Get Christy Love - Canadian. Former model. Has studied at Playhouse West and with Michael Laskin in LA.

Shiloh Fernandez - Series regular - Tremors - Former model. Has coached with John Markland.

Alex Fitzalan - Lead - Crash and Burn - Aussie. Attended an arts high school, but didn’t get serious about his career for a few years.

Josh Helman - Lead - The End of the World as We Know It - Aussie. Has coached with Josh Bitton.

Heather Hemmens - Series regular - Roswell reboot - Trained in high school at Walnut Hill School for the Arts. Has also studied with Stan Kirsch.

Camrus Johnson - Series regular - #Fashionvictim - Began career in NYC. Has studied with Anthony Abeson, Gregory Berger Sobeck, Actors Connection on-camera, La Tea Theatre, Actors Project NYC, and Peoples Improv Theatre.

Parveen Kaur - Series regular - Manifest - Canadian.

Julia Kelly - Series regular - Get Christy Love - Social media influencer. Has studied acting at Scott Sedita Studios, the Professional Performance Program at the UCLA extension, TVI Studios, Spolin Players, and Gray Studios.

Georgia King - Series regular - Making Friends - Brit. Daughter of Aussie actor and Royal Shakespeare Company member Jonathan Hyde. First booking at 18.

Jake McDorman - Series regular - Murphy Brown reboot - Trained at Dallas Young Actors Studio.

Allison Miller - Lead - A Million Little Things - Briefly attended U. Florida with an undisclosed major.

Shay Mitchell - Series regular - You - Canadian. Studied acting since high school and has coached with Lauren Patrice Nadler in LA.

Erin Moriarty - Lead - The Boys - NYC native. Has studied with Shauna Hicks and Sheila Gray in NYC and with Michael Woolson in LA.

Melissa O’Neil - Lead - The Rookie - Canadian. Former Canadian Idol winner having been a local musical theatre actress in Calgary.

Leonard Ouzts - Lead - Abby’s - Standup comic. Briefly attended Virginia State University and dropped out to go to NYC to pursue a comedy career.

Luke Youngblood - Series regular - Playing Dead - Brit. Attended Sylvia Young Theatre School in London.

37 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors - 23 American

Robbie Amell - Lead - Upload - Canadian who started acting at 6. First film at 17. Trained at Canadian Studios Acting Academy.

Penn Badgley - Lead - You - Began career at 11. Got high school equivalency at 13 through night classes while taking acting classes during the day.

Kirby Bliss-Blanton - Series regular - Tacoma FD - Began career at 14. Studied at Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio.

James Buckley - Series regular - NBC Single Camera Comedy - Brit. Began career at 14.

Cody Christian - Series regular - CW Drama - Began career at 12. Has studied with Richard Brander.

Kat Dennings - Lead - Justin Noble Workplace Comedy - Began career in commercials at 10 and was a series regular by 15.

Melonie Diaz - Lead - Charmed reboot - Began career at 16. Attended the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan and earned a BFA in Film Production from NYU/Tisch.

Brett Dier - Lead - History of Them - Canadian who began career at 16. Parents were stage actors.

Nina Dobrev - Lead - Fam - Bulgarian/Canadian. Began career at 17. Trained at Armstrong Acting Studios and Wexford Collegiate School for the Arts. Also briefly attended Ryerson University for Sociology.

India Eisley - Series regular - One Day She’ll Darken - Began career at 12. Studied at The Playground with kids’ coach Gary Spatz.

Noel Fisher - Series regular - Red Line - Canadian. Began career at 14. Has studied with Lisa Robertson in LA.

Maria Gabriela de Faria - Series regular - Venezualan who began career at 10.

Kelli Garner - Lead - The Enemy Within - Began career at 16.

Gage Golightly - Lead - The End of the World as We Know It - Began career at 9. Has studied at Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio.

Aldis Hodge - Series regular - City on a Hill - Began career at 3. First film at 9.

Kris D. Lofton - Series regular - Safe Harbor - Began career at 12. Shows no training on his resume, but has taught kids’ classes in Chicago and Atlanta.

Clara Lago - Lead - Playing Dead - Spanish. Began career at 9.

Peyton List - Lead - Fox Untitled Drama - Began career at 14.

Perry Mattfeld - Lead - In the Dark - Began acting career at 14. Also earned a BFA from USC with a minor in Cinematic Arts.

Leighton Meester - Lead - Single Parents - Began career at 13.

Emily Osment - Lead - Spaced Out - Began career at 6. Also studied Theatre at Occidental College.

Ellen Page - Lead - The Umbrella Academy - Canadian who began career at 10.

Janel Parrish - Lead - The Perfectionists - Started acting at 6 and began career at 14. Studied at The Playground with kids’ coach Gary Spatz.

Ethan Peck - Lead - For Love - Began career at 9. Family in the business and grandson of Gregory Peck. Dropped out of NYU/Tisch after third year.

Zoe Robins - Series regular - The Finest - 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.

Melissa Roxburgh - Lead - Manifest - Canadian who started her career at 17. Has studied with Suzanne Bastien in Toronto.

Matt Shively - Lead - Spaced Out - Began career at 17.

Rachel Skarsten - Series regular - For Love - Canadian. Former dancer. Began career at 14. Also earned a BA in English from Queen’s University.

Brandon Mychal Smith - Lead - Like Family - Began career at 8. Also earned a degree in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Finance from Hampton University.

Robert Sheehan - Series regular - The Umbrella Academy - Irish. Began career at 14.

Ksenia Solo - Series regular - Blue Book - Latvian-Canadian who began career at 10. Has studied with Lynette Sheldon in NYC.

Denyse Tontz - Lead - Grand Hotel - Former child model who began acting career at 13. Has studied at Cynthia Bain’s Young Actor Studio.

Jessie T. Usher - Lead - The Boys - First commercial at 11 and first guest star at 13. Graduated high school at 15 as class salutatorian. Studied Culinary Arts at an undisclosed college. Trained in undisclosed classes and workshops.

Chris Warren - Series regular - Grand Hotel - Began career at 10.

Perdita Weeks - Lead - Magnum PI reboot - Brit. Family in the business. Began career at 8, but also studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute.

Tyler James Williams - Lead - Whiskey Cavalier - Began career at 4.

Mark L. Young - Series regular - False Profits - Began career at 12.

6 Unknown Education, Training Background, or Starting Age - 2 American

Hina Abdullah - Series regular - Pandas in New York - Pakistani. ???

Dennis Andres - Series regular - Greatest American Hero - Canadian. ???

Sierra Capri - Series regular - On My Block - ???

James Earl - Series regular - Now & Then - ???

Cindy Luna - Series regular - In Between Lives - Mexican model. ???

Yootha Wong-Loi-Sing - Series regular - Love Is ____ - ??? Dutch.

Thank you so much for all this!

This represents a HUGE amount of research - and is SUPER interesting- thanks so much!!

@Gyokoren Wow. amazing. I feel like you should start a gofundme so we can reimburse you for the time you must have spent on this. Thank you! Such fantastic timing, too, as so many HS Class of 2018 kids are coming to terms with the crumbling of dreams of particular colleges or accepting schools that may be their 2nd choice or their 32nd choice.
My take-away from this list is the reinforcement of the adage about there being a zillion divergent paths, not one road to making a life as a working actor. THANK YOU!

It also makes the case for continued training

@Gyokoren Thank you so much for this interesting information and for putting the time into compiling all of it! As @Jkellynh17 pointed out, it confirms my D’s agent was right when he told her to go to college and get her BFA because the training will serve her better in the long run.

@Gyokoren Thanks for this! I know several of the Canadians listed as well as many of the Tisch kids. So much talent! It will be interesting to see how many of these pilots actually see the light of day!

I’m glad some of you found it interesting! I only lurked here a little in high school. However, I got some advice and info from other places that helped me hit the ground running when I finished school, so it’s good to try to give back. Besides, I’m on a show that is the product of the runaway production everybody in LA complains about, so I could end up spending lots of time sitting around in my trailer twiddling my thumbs if I didn’t maintain some side projects.

@katew529 Yes. I thought about mentioning that in my intro, but decided that it was already long enough considering the monstrosity of a list that followed. haha While graduates of most of the prestigious, big name schools make their presence felt, there are definitely others from lesser known places representing. In my view, what is most important for somebody aspiring to a career in tv/film is to get a solid foundation in the craft along with some experience using it and you can get that lots of places. Then you can go on to get in-market training with finishing teachers and audition coaches to fill in any blanks - and make no mistake that blanks often still exist in graduates of top schools who still need at least some of that additional work.

And btw, I highly recommend that anybody who wants to come to LA after graduation to pursue tv/film read Jenna Fischer’s new book, The Actor’s Life: A Survival Guide… She earned a BA from Truman State University which I had never even heard of, but speaks well of it and she has clearly done very well for herself.

@Jkellynh17 Absolutely and just because a lot of those actors show bare degrees or even no training at all when you look on down the list should not be construed to mean that they haven’t undertaken more than that. To use myself as an example, if you Googled me, you would immediately see where I went to college as well as my high school if you looked a little deeper. However, since I shut down my website years ago and my resumes on Breakdown Services and Casting Networks are not publically available, you would not see that I have also studied with Lesly Kahn, Billy O’Leary, Killian McHugh, and done a level of improv at IO West. And even if you managed to hack into that, you still wouldn’t see that I have a go-to coach with whom I usually consult when I read for something that shoots during hiatus. It never ends! haha

That’s what I meant, yes, in addition to college/conservatory. My s’s looking into some of this now, one year out of a BFA problem. You never stop learning.

@Gyokoren This is really insightful information! You mentioned above that you’d kept a track of diversity in casting. Is it possible for you to post that information here, or perhaps direct message it to me?

@actingstudent22 Okay. This can be a sensitive topic and I’m a little hesitant, but this seems to be a pretty level headed group of people so I will include how diversity breaks down through the educational and training categories beyond the raw numbers. I see from your other posts that you will be coming from India with a couple of great US choices, so I’ll go ahead and include information on how it breaks down with foreign nationals as well.


76 Male
97 Female
1 Transgender

84 White
51 Black
13 Hispanic
2 Middle Eastern
10 South Asian
5 East Asian
9 Ethnically Ambiguous

Undergraduate Acting
37 White - 16M 20F 1T
17 Black - 10M 7F
2 Hispanic - 1M 1F
1 Middle Eastern - 1M
3 South Asian- 1M 2F
2 East Asian - 2F
2 Ethnically Ambiguous - 2F

Graduate Acting
4 Black - 2M 2F
1 Middle Eastern - 1M

Non-degree conservatories
2 White - 2F
7 Black - 2M 5F
3 Hispanic - 1M - 2F
1 Ethnically Ambiguous - 1F

Majored in something besides Acting with studio training or training background unknown
10 White - 5M 5F
10 Black - 5M 5F
4 Hispanic - 1M 3F
5 South Asian- 3M 2F
3 East Asian - 1M 2F
1 Ethnically Ambiguous 1F

Began careers with high school education or foreign equivalent/No college/Studio Trained or training unknown
8 White - 4M 4F
5 Black - 4M 1F
1 South Asian - 1F
4 Ethnically Ambiguous - 1M 3F

Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors
26 White - 10M 16F
7 Black - 6M 1F
3 Hispanic - 3F
1 Ethically Ambiguous - 1F

Unknown Education, Training Background, or Starting Age
1 White - 1M
3 Black - 1M -2F
1 Hispanic - 1F

1 South Asian - 1F


Canadian 20
British 10
Australian 8
Spanish 2
Indian 2
Mexican 2
Belgian 1
Venezuelan 1
Pakistani 1
New Zealander 1

11/64 Undergraduate Acting
British 4
Australian 3
Canadian 4

** 1/5 Graduate Acting**
Belgian 1

4/13 Non-degree conservatories
British 1
Australian 1
Mexican 1
Spanish 1

5/31 Majored in something besides Acting with studio training or training unknown
British 1
Canadian 2
Indian 2

9/18 Began with high school education or foreign equivalent/Studio Trained or training unknown
British 2
Australian 2
Canadian 5

13/37 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors
British 2
Irish 1
Canadian 7
Spanish 1
New Zealander 1
Venezuelan 1

4/6 Unknown Education, Training Background, or Starting Age
Canadian 1
Dutch 1
Pakistani 1
Mexican 1

Thank you so much.

You did so much work and this is wonderful! Thank you!

I have your list from last year saved on my computer! Thanks for doing this research again!

Thanks. I will be sharing this with others. Best regards to @Fishbowlfreshman who, presumably, is making pilots? Is she included in the tally?

@Gyokoren Super interesting! Thank you for sharing!