I am becoming increasingly concerned about my ability to maintain a creative life, working three jobs to maintain my head above water, some days I feel excited (generally after I’ve done bit of writing or acting) and other times (generally after I’ve looked at my bank account) I get sucked into a cloud of financial doom. Currently I am suffering at the hands of a huge loan I took out for my Foundation course that I did at Drama school. The monthly repayments are killing me and I’ve had to move out my house and sofa surf between my mum, sister and boyfriend. My nomadic lifestyle doesn’t feel very arty or hip, more desperate and worried that it’ll always be this way unless I land some life changing money through winning the lottery or going all ‘Breaking Bad’. This is the life of an actor right? So I’m prepared, I’m fully prepared to do this, and I’m not afraid of hard work. I’ll make it work as there is so much more work that I have and that I want to see the light of day. But I would be financially better off if I had never done my foundation course. So was it worth???
So are Foundations courses worth it? What happens when you don’t have parents or relatives to fund you through? Are these a waste of money?
I did one and I’m not sure how valuable it is in the industry. Do professionals/agents/Cd’s even look at it as valuable? I did one as I thought maybe it would be the only training I would ever get, so I threw myself into it. Spending time on the course I soon realized for some people it was a holiday, some kids were there as they weren’t sure what they wanted to do with their life and thought they’d would test it out. Allot of people wanted to progress but there was plenty of people clearly there not personally footing the bill, so they had no idea what it feels like to drag yourself through 10 months of stress to come out the other side with a certificate that states you attended lesson and no clear standing or mark within the professional circuit, although they do state at the end of a foundation course that you are not a professional actor, so it’s probably not the aim of the course. So it kinda leaves me wandering what is the point of them…..
I think I am feeling annoyed, annoyed that maybe I wasted my money. At the time I felt it was very valuable being in school everyday, movement and breathing and swinging my arm till it was loose in my socket that I could touch my toes. But on reflection as I eat super noodles every day, going between houses and living out of a suitcase, I think how far has it got me? Am I different now? not really. What I learnt could I learn on the job? most likely. The problem is I wanted to go to Drama school so bad and it became quite all consuming, a living breathing monster, I must get in to drama school, without it I’m nothing, who’ll will even take me seriously. I spent too much money on auditions and that was the beginning of my financial suicide, after the foundation offer I got a loan, then a credit card to support my expenses and it snowballed. Now I am in 11,000 pound debt that I barely pay off monthly. I work my arse off on fringe projects I love and that’s the thing that keeps me going , I am doing something I love, I am creating art with passionate people and it is thanks to Actor Awareness and the people I’ve met through this campaign- otherwise it would of been ten times more of a struggle to get my work made. When people tell me that Actor Awareness keeps on banging about the working class I want to shout at them and tell them it’s a f**king problem, the only kids accepting any foundation places aren’t those from working class backgrounds, no way!!! Half the people who do foundations progress to a BA, because they’ve had that experience and confident boast of being in that environment. So working class people are already on the back foot there, and I wouldn’t recommend doing what I did (getting a bank loan) as it’s a monthly debt you’re tied to that is SO hard to pay every month (whilst gathering interest!) it’s a struggle alone to afford the rest of London life -rising rent, bills, food etc.
My opinion is if you want training and you are determined to go to Drama school, wait for a BA place, because there is plenty of other ways to practice your craft, I think the Americans have it right with classes. There are some drama schools like Rada that do classes and they do subidise some places if you can state your financial position, these courses provide fantastic tutors and can be done at your leisure when you have saved up the money. My advice get proactive, no one gets anywhere sitting and thinking, it’s the doing that propels you. So if you didn’t get into drama school this year, maybe your too skint to get the headshots and showreels that an actor requires go away write a play, make a film on your iPhone, get involved with us here at Actor Awareness.
Tweet #Foundationcourse @steffiegg12 and say yes or no to whether you think these courses are worth doing. let us know what you think.