• Mark Westbrook

Writing a personal statement for a foundation acting course

Before you even get to the stage of auditioning for a foundation in acting course you will be met with an application. Along with the basic bits of personal info will come the dreaded personal statement. A personal statement is a brief window into the personality and intentions of a possible applicant and is the first impression of your understanding and potential as you embark upon your acting course. Here are the major components, some helpful hints, and things to avoid on your personal statement to get you into the audition room. 

Who are you? and Where are you coming from?

It’s important that your personal statement gives a feel of who you are. Beyond “Hi, my name is…” the personal statement needs to give an impression of you that reaches beyond the page. Often this is done in just a few sentences that formally states your purpose for writing. Then in the next part a bit of info as to where you are coming from and your background. By letting your acting course know that you come from a specific place and have done specific things you begin the narrative that leads to the next part of the personal statement…

What do you want? and Why do you want to go here?

You obviously want to join a foundation acting course, but here is the bit where you can explain why you truly want to be an actor. What is it that sparked your interest? What is it that inspires you to want to be a participant in the artform as opposed to just a spectator? What moves you as an artist? Next, how does that align with the acting course that you have chosen to apply to?  If you want to be a Musical Theatre performer, applying to the Actor’s Studio is not a good fit. Do your research…”I Googled best acting course and yours was the first hit.” is not a good enough reason. 

What do you want to do with the training you get?

Now you need to combine the first two sections into the bigger picture. Although it may seem odd to be thinking about what happens after a course you’ve yet to begin, you need to realise that the foundation in acting course is also investing in you. They want to know what you plan to do with the skills you aquire. Are you planning on using the course to boost your confidence? Are you looking to prep for your auditions to top tier drama schools? This section will cue the acting course into your bigger goals and give an indication that you have thought about your application thoroughly and are in it to win. Wrap it up recapping what you want, why, and why this course will help make it happen.

But beware…

Grammar-It goes without saying, but watch your grammar. Have a friend or relative read your statement and keep an eye out for any mistakes. Also ask them to pay attention to the flow and narrative of the statement. 

Escapism/Delusion- Do not approach your foundation acting course with any form of statement that talks about acting as a form of escapism. Theatre/Film can have aspects of escapism...for the audience. The actor must be held accountable for their actions when creating the work, and it will certainly be work. If you show up late, you can’t blame the character. In the same vein, beware of flowery statements of wanting to be a “star.” Taking on a foundation course in acting means looking at the here and now. It’s important to have dreams and aspirations, but if your already in the endgame, you won’t be open to all the things you can learn in the present. 

Good Luck, Break a Leg

Michael-Alan Read

Foundation Acting Course Leader

Acting Coach Scotland

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