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As actors dedicate themselves to studying the craft of acting, it’s important to note that not all classes are the best match for everyone. What may feel like a supportive learning environment for some aspiring actors may feel like just the opposite for others.

Krysten Ritter and Gillian Jacobs are two actresses that suffered from this dilemma at their respective acting schools but were able to power through and achieve success in various movies, tv shows and more.

Krysten Ritter

In an interview with Off Camera, Krysten Ritter, star of Netflix’s Jessica Jones, recalls some lessons from several New York acting instructors she purposefully chose to ignore. She starts by recalling sage acting advice that Breaking Bad star and fellow castmate Bryan Cranston once told her about the audition process.

“‘You’re not going in to try and get the job. You’re going in to do what you do great.’…he talks about that a lot,” she said. “That spoke to me in a really huge way, and I’ve kind of, like, hung on to that. Like, ‘Oh yeah, you just gotta do you’…I even remember when I was in acting classes in New York. I mean, I’m a spaz, and I’m super quirky, and I talk really fast. And everyone was trying to get me to stop doing all those things. And I watched that with other people too.”

Once she embraced her idiosyncrasies instead of suppressing them, Ritter noticed she was landing jobs. For example, her “outgoing and bubbly and funny” personality was great for commercials, which got her foot in the industry doors. Eventually, Krysten would find herself in the cast of Breaking Bad and starring in Jessica Jones, reaping the rewards of her authenticity.

“Sometimes you come out the other end of these serious acting programs maybe without that thing that made you super cool. Without that thing that made you kind of different,” she said.

Gillian Jacobs

Notable alumni of the prestigious Juilliard School include talents such as Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain and Adam Driver. The performing arts conservatory offers a quality education and has an ever-growing list of successful actors to its name. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right school for everyone.

Take Gillian Jacobs, for example. Years ago, the Love actress auditioned for Juilliard on a whim and to her surprise, she was accepted into the distinguished school. But in the Off Camera interview below, the Community actress describes her painful experiences within the school’s cut system.

Juilliard’s cut system — now no longer in place — would nix one student from every sophomore class. To Jacobs’ dismay, the school notified her that she was being placed on academic probation. In turn, she felt judged for her every move.

“So you’re in this office and you sat in a circle and each member of the faculty went around and told you how you were failing in their class,” she told Off Camera. “And it’s essentially like, ‘You’re terrible at voice and speech because of this; you’re bad at movement because of this; you were terrible in this play that we did; you were not good in this acting class; you were bad in your clowning class…’”

And to make the idea of leaving even more complicated, her credits wouldn’t transfer. She said: “So, if you’re cut from Juilliard, you had to start all over again…so it’s essentially three wasted years and starting all over again somewhere else,” she said, adding that it took her love of acting away for a time.

But Jacobs managed to hang in there, graduating from Juilliard in 2004 and getting cast in hit series and films like Netflix’s Love, Community, The Box and many others.

It’s important to train where you feel supported in and accepted for the person that you are. If you ever find yourself in an acting school or class that you knew isn’t supportive of you or your overall acting goals, just know that when there’s a will, there’s always a way to achieve them.

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