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Friday, July 03, 2009

The School For Film And Hellavision

The summer after I finished freshman year of college, I got an internship full time with a Broadway Education company.
It's the one job I have done which I really enjoyed. I got to meet so many people in the Broadway community, have meetings with big time producers, see shows and represent a cause that I believed in.

When the summer was over, I had already decided I wasn't going back to real college, because I had been accepted into a 2 year acting conservatory with a $700 scholarship to boot.
In this particular school; you are put into groups of 25 students, whom you spend 5 days a week, 8 hours a day taking classes with.
At that point I had already done a few small acting jobs, and had some amazing new black and white head shots. (Which I laugh at now)
I wasn't down with the idea of not auditioning for two years while I attended, but figured I'd just do it on the side.

My new schedule was something like
8:00 a.m. -10 Improv
10-11:30 Acting
12:00-1:30 Speech
1:45-2:45 Movement and meditation
3:00-4:00 Scene Study- etc etc

On my first day of class most of the 25 kids had already formed a tight knit group, because they all lived together in the dorm. At that point I already was renting a room in Manhattan on my own, because I had been in NYC a year.

These other students were straight out of High School, and acted like they were 14 instead of 18.
They were some seriously spoiled rich kids, who's Daddy's had paid the $40, 000 in tuition in full. I had that much in grants and Loans.

After a couple of weeks I had made two friends at school (and of course they were fabulous gay men). That trend would continue throughout my life.

One thing that struck me as odd, was that many of the teachers had been touted as "working actors" who had fantastic industry connections. My teachers seemed not to have worked since the 1980's, and had a bad attitude toward us ambitious newbies. I wanted to learn from someone successful!

I started to get bored quickly, as I do in most school environments- and started skipping some classes to go on auditions and do promo work.
I was becoming very unhappy with the school and felt like I had been mislead before I enrolled.

One day during improv class, the teacher had everyone stand up in the middle of the room and read a certain passage from the white board.
It was something emotional, and he said that no one had ever read it without having "an emotional breakthrough" and crying.
I was already snickering under my breath.
Of course everyone went up one by one and on the third try reading this passage burst into tears, and had a lovely "emotional breakthough". Fabulous.
For the life of me I could not figure out why, or what was going on.
I got up nervously and read the passage, two times, three times, and didn't cry or have any sort of emotional bullshit breakthrough. I was acting forchrist sakes not in therapy. And I do not do method.

After that I really didn't fit into the group. Maybe they thought I was an emotionless robot. During an improv class later in the week, everyone had to go around one by one and ad a piece onto a story.
The story went from a nice one, to a personal attack on me.
By the end of the story the class had burned down my apartment, and killed my cat and stabbed me. Uncomfortable much?

I spoke to the teacher to see if I could be switched to another group because they were making my life hell 40 hours a week and I wasn't learning much accept how to hate people.

The next day I was called into the office of one of the school directors.
He told me that I had missed to many classes and was going to fail the semester.
He told me they didn't allow students failing to continue in the program and no matter what I did I couldn't make up the work.
Then what happens next in my memory is in slow motion.
He hands me a big yellow lined notepad, and tells me to sign myself out of school.
I had just dropped out of college, and now I was getting kicked out of acting school?!! OMG!
I didn't see much other choice in the matter, so I did.
I Jane Doe, hereby sign myself out of school for life.
Had I been older and smarter I would have realised that they just screwed me out of $20,000 nonrefundable dollars for a month of classes. I'll be paying that off until i'm 83.

I wasn't really sure what to do next. I knew I didn't want to go back to college, and after the horrid experience in an acting school I really didn't want to go back to that either.

So I started searching for another job.

Bank account funds: $175 i'm rich!

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