Written by Graeme Petrie
As an actor it can be frustrating when you are unable to find an inspiring local Film & TV acting school; one that meets your expectations AND is recognized by the industry. Here are some reasons why acting schools in Vancouver, BC should be at the top of your list.
1. The Industry is there.
Vancouver has earned the nickname “Hollywood North” for good reason. The city is 3rd to LA and NY for Film & TV production and 2nd to LA for TV pilots shot in North America. Last summer there were over 70 commercial productions shot in Vancouver with over $2.6 billion spent in BC in 2017. Much of that is spent by Netflix, Amazon and Hallmark and they all plan to spend more. Well trained crews; a strong track record for major productions; abundant studio space; close location to LA decision makers and major talent; large pool of local actors and a low Canadian dollar make this a great city to shoot. Convoys of white trucks and trailers signal another production is taking place downtown or in the suburbs.
Follow shoots taking place or planned at https://www.ubcpactra.ca/whats-shooting/
2. Schools see the BIG picture.
A direct result of the many productions being shot in Vancouver means schools specializing in teaching only Acting for Film & TV network closely local talent agencies and casting directors looking for new and upcoming talent. While some schools are more connected than others, learning to put together your professional package; how to present yourself to an agent, getting signed to a roster, auditioning and booking a role are all important considerations international students can learn and take away to pursue acting careers back home.
3. Tuition is cheaper than most US acting schools.
Depending on the school you choose, you will likely find that tuition rates are cheaper at Canadian acting schools (and due to the strong US Dollar American students enjoy about a 30% further discount), which can make a big difference when covering living costs.
While Vancouver is not a cheap place to live, it is considerably less expensive than the likes of New York City or London.
Sharing a place with a classmate or doing a homestay can also make things all the more affordable.
4. Professional Alumni and Industry Contacts.
Many local Vancouver actors are getting work in the city’s booming production industry. As a result, schools invite their alumni back to meet with classes and discuss their path to success. Nothing will be more motivating to you as an aspiring actor, than meeting someone who has walked in your shoes and found success. Just knowing that the person standing in front of you learned from the same teachers and went through the same ups and downs will inspire you to keep believing it CAN be done, but only if you work hard at developing your craft. Schools will also invite local Talent Agents, Casting Directors, Writers, Producers and Directors to visit and speak with you.
5. Curriculum reflects industry needs.
The method of acting that a school teaches needs to reflect the trends occurring in the industry at present. In this industry, acting approaches and techniques can change at the speed of light.
Finding a program whose teachers are working in the industry now is key to ensuring you are gaining skills that Casting Directors are looking for in the audition room. And, while learning how to act is one thing, you also need to understand the business side of things.Vancouver’s well–established production industry allows you to immediately apply lessons learned about how this industry works; getting headshots, finding an agent, auditioning, and (possibly) getting on set.
6. Study Visas can be easier to get for Canada than USA.
Some schools offer short Certificate courses you can study on a Visitor Visa (up to 6 months stay in Canada). This will depend on which country you are from, however if taking a full-time study program over 6 months in length, you will need to apply for a Study Visa. Even if your program is just less than 6 months, you should still apply for a Study Visa, since this will give you adequate time to arrive and depart, as well as the advantage of being eligible to work part time during school and full time during school breaks.
Learn more at about Visa Requirements at http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/index.asp
7. The city is drop–dead gorgeous.
Anybody who has ever visited Vancouver will tell you how beautiful the city is and how friendly the people are. Perhaps it’s the laid–back lifestyle of living on the West Coast, being surrounded by ocean, beaches and mountains, but there is something about time spent there that is unlike anywhere else in the world. Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city that embraces diversity and welcomes other cultures.The city has four distinct seasons and each provides its own natural beauty.
During summer (June–August) there is little rain and beaches are packed. In Spring (March–May) the city is filled with colourful flora. Autumn arrives (October–November) and provides a picturesque array of colours as leaves start to change. And, unlike the rest of Canada, winters are very mild.