Should I Get A College Degree In Acting/Theatre? Q & A Letter

Dear Paul,

Hi, I would like to be an actor and I just want to ask you for some tips and steps because I want to be in  film & tv. I am thinking of taking theatre in college, but I don't know yet, cause people tell me you don't need an acting degree.

Sincerely, Solomon S.

Dear Not-Sure-Which-Degree to Get,

So glad to hear from you and that you are going to college!

Should you get a college degree in Theater? My thought is this - maybe.

Let me explain.

Have you considered during that first year of getting your college generals out of the way, to also try meeting with agents, audition & hopefully perform in commercials and films? You could see if you even like the work involved in being a film/commercial actor. (Believe me, it can be tedious and dull.)
Then, if you decide you do like the it, you could either focus your degree on acting/theater, or you could consider something related to the industry- like a business degree, advertising degree, or even an entertainment law degree. (So many of my friends that have degrees in theater say that they wish they'd have gone to college for a degree in something other than theater to earn a better salary when they aren't performing.)

Even if you don't want to make a decision about your college degree just yet, you may dig into the industry. Something invaluable to me when I began my career was the local library. When I was 16 I went there and got as many books on acting, agents, and the entertainment industry as I could get into my hands.

A few book titles that I've read and found to be insightful are:
  1. Breaking Into Acting for Dummies by Larry Garrison
  2. Acting in Film by Michael Cain
  3. An Actor Prepares by Konstantin Stanislavski
  4. Audition by Michael Shurtleff
  5. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al ries and Jack Trout

Thanks for the email and I hope you find much happiness in your life,

Read a bit more information on how I started out in acting. And if you have a question for Paul send it to