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Artistic Training Gap


On the set of the Red Riding Hood fi lm


arAntist’s way


Sara McDonnell fi nds that even painters can do a “useful” gap year these days


is as much about “being in the right place at the right time” as it is about talent. But leaning on luck is a somewhat dated way of landing a job and nowadays even the artist can further their cause with a well-planned gap year. Incorporating activities that will help you network as well as gain experience in your chosen fi eld – and develop your talent – are clever ways of impressing future admissions offi cers and employers alike. “Showing evidence of being pro-active


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really counts,” says Astrid MacKellar, assistant registrar at The Arts University College Bournemouth, who advises students to ensure they’re already qualifi ed and then do something to keep their interest alive during a


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areers in artistic subjects, be it fashion, photography, the theatre or as a playwright are notoriously diffi cult to get into. Many will tell you that success


gap year. “If possible, try and work in the industry, be it as a runner on a fi lm set or work experience “Industry experience is a huge plus point, especially from a networking aspect.” The fi rst point that MacKellar mentions,


about getting the right qualifi cations for the course you are interested in, is an important one. Many arts courses – photography, fashion or fi ne art – require an Art Foundation Diploma for entry. This year-long course is


There are a


number of short courses designed to help actors hone their skills


worth doing straight after school, as the course fees are not charged to students under 19 (although independent colleges may charge, so do check fi rst). While some undergraduate art courses accept students on the basis of a strong portfolio, many will ask for a Foundation Diploma as a minimum requirement and consider it the best preparation for undergraduate study. A foundation course is not a pre-requisite


for entry to drama school. However, there are a growing number of short and year-long courses designed to help talented actors hone their skills for the rigorous audition process. The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), for example, auditions all applicants and each one is solely judged on their audition performance. While talented students can get in simply on merit, there are many who have benefi ted from taster courses off ered by the Academy such as the


✏ Autumn 2011 FirstEleven 31


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