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3-Year Totals: Young Adult Actors, Theater/Drama Degrees, and Pilot Season

GyokorenGyokoren 54 replies6 threads Junior Member
During the last three Pilot Seasons, I made lists of young adult actors aged roughly 23-33 who booked leading and series regular roles and grouped them into the most common educational and training paths based on what I could find of their backgrounds. Now to conclude the study, instead of offering long lists of individual actors like in the past, I have listed the schools those with college and conservatory training attended along with the numbers of bookings from each. Plus, I have further divided the categories of those who majored in subjects besides Acting into subgroups of related courses of study along with dividing those who began their careers with high school educations into additional subgroups showing prior training, experience, major market residency, etc. This should bring some light to the realities behind the advice often given to serious young American actors suggesting that it is best to major in something "practical" like Business or STEM or just move to New York or Los Angeles straight from high school with no significant training, experience, connections, nor established parallel careers. Actors who did that and rose to this level account for 1.6%, .6%, and 2.4% of bookings respectively despite a constant and often aggressive online drumbeat of that advice having been given since I was in high school and most certainly before.

Now, realizing that I'm talking to a lot of kids and parents who may not have seen my past posts and do 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. While you may recognize some shows that were picked up to series if you look at the lists from years past, most pilots will never see the light of day and booking 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.

So kids and parents, I have provided you with a 3-year study that amounts to a truth bomb you can drop on the pointy little heads of those who may try to hand you all the tired b/s 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, so-and-so A-Lister never trained, blah, blah, blah, and blah." Use it ruthlessly.


619 Bookings of which 436 were by Americans

Educational and Training Backgrounds

215 Undergraduate Acting - 158 American
22 Graduate Acting - 21 American
50 Non-Degree Conservatories - 28 American
99 Majored in Something Besides Acting - 78 American
102 Began Careers with High School Education or Foreign Equivalent - 58 American
129 Former Child Stars/Began Careers as Minors - 91 American
2 Unknown Education, Training Backgrounds, or Starting Age - 2 American

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Replies to: 3-Year Totals: Young Adult Actors, Theater/Drama Degrees, and Pilot Season

  • GyokorenGyokoren 54 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Graduate Acting Programs

    * 12 Schools

    4 Yale School of Drama - 3 American
    4 NYU/Tisch
    3 American Conservatory Theater
    2 Columbia University
    2 UC Irvine - Same actor booked twice
    Actors Studio Drama School
    Alabama Shakespeare Festival
    National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts
    UNC Chapel Hill
    University of Tennessee

    Non-Degree Granting Conservatories

    * 30 Schools - 12 American

    9 AMDA - 1 actor booked twice
    6 NYCDA - 1 actor booked twice
    4 NYFA - 1 actor from the NYC campus booked 3 times and the other is Guatamalan.
    4 William Esper Studio (2 with unrelated college degrees.)
    2 AADA
    2 Actors Centre Australia - same actor booked twice and also trained in the NIDA One-year Musical Theatre course.
    2 NIDA One-Year Musical Theatre Course - same actor booked twice and also trained at Actors Centre Australia.
    Act Cape Town Film Acting Academy
    Art of Acting Studio
    A.T.C.L - Actor also studied at the National Theatre Drama School
    Bury College National Extended Diploma in Performing Arts
    CBC Actors Conservatory
    Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
    Circle in the Square Theatre School (Actor is British)
    Cristina Rota Conservatory and Film Institute (Actor has an unrelated college degree.)
    EICAR Cinema and Acting School
    Identity School of Drama
    Kingdom School of Drama
    LAMDA Foundation Course
    Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute (Actor is Costa Rican)
    London School of Dramatic Art
    Maggie Flanigan Studio
    National Theatre School of Canada
    National Theatre Drama School (Actor also studied at A.T.C.L.)
    Neighborhood Playhouse
    Principal Academy of Dance & Theatre Arts
    Stella Adler Studio of Acting
    Stella Mann College of Performing Arts
    Terry Knickerbocker Conservatory
    2 UNDISCLOSED - Same British actor booked twice and trained at an undisclosed Meisner conservatory in London. Possibly the Actors Door Studio.

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  • counselinggirlcounselinggirl 31 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Amazing and so helpful! Thank you!
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  • beachymombeachymom 241 replies44 threads Junior Member
    This post is a wealth of info. Thank you so much!
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  • jbtcatjbtcat 339 replies2 threads Member
    @Gyokoren thank you again for all of this hard work and I am so happy that your research backs up the information I give my clients regarding the value of majoring in theatre if you want to work in the industry. I hope you don't mind if I quote you often (and ruthlessly as you suggest!)!!
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  • GyokorenGyokoren 54 replies6 threads Junior Member
    @jbtcat You're welcome! Quote it all you like. That is what it's here for!
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  • julieann123julieann123 4 replies0 threads New Member
    @Gyokoren Your generosity of information is incredible. You are like a treasure chest filled with insight. Thank you so much. Wow.
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  • alwayshp394alwayshp394 31 replies0 threads Junior Member
    This is such great information to have! Super excited to train within the next couple of years!
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