Paris is an incredibly exciting place in which to live in and make films. It is the birthplace of the movies, and the city that still loves movies the most. A century after the first experiments with motion pictures took place there, and almost 50 years since the French New Wave changed the way we look at movies, students continue the tradition of capturing this city and the its stories.
France is among the world’s greatest locations for actors, due in part to generous government subsidies for acting schools and productions. If you want to become an actor, there are few better places to do so. Join Backstage to access work from home jobs you can apply to right now! Discover further details on film schools in france.
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How to start an acting career in France
In short, here’s the traditional way of starting an acting career in France:
- Attending drama school or getting acting experience by getting cast
- Continually reading and studying the craft of acting
- Auditioning for everything that piques your interest
- Gaining credits on shorts, student films, and independent features
- Understanding what genres and character types you want to play and are best able to portray
- Getting an agent
More recently actors have started leveraging content creation on social media to build a following, develop their tastes, and sharpen their performance skills on their own without relying on other creatives to cast them in their projects.
Of course, anyone can start the journey to becoming a working actor in France, but few reach the goal: a steady and sustainable flow of acting work. But to build a successful career in the traditional performance sectors, diligence, a focus on craft, and audition skills will serve you well.
Factors to consider when choosing an acting school
Course variety: Do you solely want to become a film actor? Or theater? Or do you also want to try your hand at dance, music, and directing? In France, schools will vary wildly in terms of what their courses entail. No matter your preference, there will be a course out there for you, but you must take time to research the options before applying.
Aside from the traditional school system, each Parisian arrondissement will have an establishment called a conservatoire. These are smaller art schools funded by the government, which are great if you’ve just arrived in the city and/or looking for an intimate, local community to learn the craft.
While there are other opportunities to study the craft of acting throughout the country, Paris is the epicenter of acting opportunities in France. Don’t live in Paris? You may want to reconsider relocating if you want easy access to castings and top-tier training in France.
Cost: School tuition fees are critical to consider as actors’ financial circumstances heavily vary. Most young actors pursuing private education will require additional funding and may not be able to enroll at certain institutions as a result. The alternative is state-funded schooling, which doesn’t skimp on quality admittance is much more challenging.
Prestige: As mentioned earlier, French schools are some of the oldest in the world. Coupled with a rich artistic culture, it’s no surprise that “prestige” is a meaningful factor in choosing a school in France. A school’s alumnus also adds to its prestige as it serves as a predictive roadmap of where you could end up as an actor. It will also often boost your acting credibility for any potential agents looking to sign fresh-faced talent.
Best cities for actors in France
The best cities for actors in France include Lyon, Marseille, and Strasbourg—and, of course, Paris. To determine whether a city is actor-friendly you should look at a few factors: Work opportunities, cost of living, and overall life satisfaction. France boasts quite a metropolitan population with a number of large cities, but considering those three factors, what city tops the list? Paris, of course.
France isn’t like the American film industry where you could live in either Los Angeles, New York City, or potentially Atlanta, and still have a decent chance of making it. In France, the majority of the big casting opportunities are in Paris. However, there are a few other cities where it’s possible to start a career in performance:
- Lyon: The second-largest French city with an effervescent young arts scene. One could describe Lyon as a mini-Paris, so you can expect to still find some acting opportunities here. There also is a new film school called Cinéfabrique, so if you were not able to relocate to Paris, there is a bubbling film community there.
- Marseille: The largest city of the South. Many big productions often shoot here for the gritty urban vistas. Netflix crime drama “Marseille” was shot here and productions like these can offer locals smaller roles.
- Strasbourg: A smaller city of just under 300,000, acting opportunities are not abundant, but the city does boast a very well-renowned drama school in the National Theater of Strasbourg.
Luckily, it’s not just the feature film industry that requires actors in France. The short film industry is a genuine industry of its own and isn’t a mere stepping stone like in other countries. Again, you can thank government funding for this.
The proximity to other major acting hubs like London are also worth considering. This guide will help you dig deeper into the U.K.
Best Film Schools in France
1. CINESTUDIO – PARIS SCHOOL OF FILM AND MEDIA
CineStudio – Paris School of Film and Media provides degrees and short workshops in filmmaking and cinematography, film acting, screenwriting, and photography. Students interested in advanced training can pursue degree courses or certificate courses in filmmaking and cinematography in one of several programs ranging from a few months to 1 year or more. Similar to several other Paris film schools, short summer programs, and evening classes are available to provide working students and enthusiasts with access to formal education. CineStudio also offers online course options, through video conferencing, that are open and accessible to applicants from around the world.
Location: Administrative office
67 Rue Saint-Jacques
75005 Paris, France
Email: [email protected]
2. ESRA INTERNATIONAL FILM SCHOOL
ESRA International Film Schools offers summer programs, 1-year degree programs, and 3-year programs to support students seeking formal education in the film industry. Touting themselves as “the Most Important Film School in France,” ESRA features a 1200 student Campus, community, and advanced active professionals in the industry who work as teachers providing stellar curriculum in filmmaking and arts. Courses are composed of a rich mix of lectures, workshops, short film projects, professional internships, and traditional training. Graduates receive degrees in Cinematography, filmmaking, or directing.
Phone: +33 (0) 144-252-525
135 Avenue Felix Faure
75015 Paris, France
Email: [email protected]
3. EICAR INTERNATIONAL FILM AND TELEVISION SCHOOL PARIS
EICAR features 150 active film instructions that train an estimated 850 students on a regular basis for roles in the industry. Programs range from short summer workshops that immerse students in everything film to Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs. Much like other Paris film schools, the school offers practical degrees in Directing, Production, Editing, Screenwriting, and Cinematography to guide students in their professional development.
Phone: +33 (0)1 49-98-11-11
50 avenue du President Wilson
Batiment 136-BP 131
93214 La Plaine Saint-Denis, France
4. NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY OF PARIS
The Paris New York Film Academy location provides students with advanced training in media and fine arts to support roles in cinematography and production. Prospective students are encouraged to apply early as demand is high for this prestigious school. Upon acceptance, students will take part in film workshops, writing, and directing, all while learning to communicate both in English and French. Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree programs are offered as well as Doctorate level programs for advanced training.
5. LA FEMIS
La Femis offers students several different degree programs that provide training in the core elements of media and film production, including cinema management, television series development, screenwriting, editing, cinematography, directing, and sound production. Students experience a hands-on approach that allows them to interact one-on-one with teachers and other students to immerse themselves in the film community, learn, and grow. In addition to the undergraduate programs offered at La Femis, a doctorate program is also available for advanced professionals.
Phone: +33 (0)1 53-41-21-00
6 Rue Francoeur
75018 Paris, France
6. AMERICAN SCHOOL OF PARIS
The film programs at the American School of Paris, similar to other Paris film schools, provide students with advanced training in digital filmmaking. Active students learn technical production and cinematography skills as well as editing, lighting, and computer-based special effects techniques. Programs at the American School of Paris offer aspiring filmmakers in grades 9-13 with technical training for entry-level roles in digital filmmaking.
Phone: +33 (0)1 41-12-82-82
Location: 41 rue Pasteur
92210 Saint Cloud, France
France has a number of thriving performing arts institutions with esteemed alumni working on Broadway, touring theatre, local theatre, TV and film! Below, BroadwayWorld rounds up the top performing arts schools in France. Check out the list below!
Top Performing Arts Schools in France
Ecole Internationale De Theatre Jacques Lecoq
The education offered by the school is spread over two years, during which students move along two parallel paths: on the one hand the study of improvisation and its rules and on the other movement technique and its analysis. These dual journeys are supplemented by “auto-cours” through which the students’ own theatre work takes shape.
The aim of the school is to produce a young theatre of new work, generating performance languages which emphasise the physical playing of the actor. Creative work is constantly stimulated, largely through improvisation, which is also the first approach to playwriting. The school’s sights are set on art theatre, but theatre education is broader than the theatre itself. It is not just a matter of training actors, but of educating theatre artists of all kinds: authors, directors, scenographers as well as actors. One of the school’s Unique Features is to provide as broad and as durable a foundation as possible, since we know that each student will go on to make his own journey.
The teaching at the school brings meaning to an artistic path and has an impact on every field of knowledge. It is not just a method which is being handed down, but also proposes permanent references and values.
Every year, young actors from some thirty countries enroll at the school, which is a focus of exchange and cross-fertilisation, where the spontaneous blend of cultures contributes its own resonance to the teaching, extending the quest for a shared poetic wealth.
Conservatoire de Bordeaux Jacques Thibaud
The Conservatoire de Bordeaux Jacques Thibaud is a public artistic education establishment that offers training in music and performing arts. Whether they intend to practice as an amateur or a professional activity, students are encouraged to express their passion and to experiment with different forms of art.
Cours Florent Paris
Discover the world of Cours Florent and its program: Acting in English! Get into a drama school in Paris. Training with us, students will not only have the chance to refine their dramatic acting skills for theater and films but also to experience full immersion in the cultural and artistic life of France.
Cours Florent – Drama School in Paris
Cours Florent is an internationally-renowned, multidisciplinary school with 46 years of experience.The Cours Florent is a private French Drama school in Paris created in 1967 by François Florent. The school is located on three nearby sites in the19th arrondissement of Paris, France rue Archereau, rue Mathis and Avenue Jean-Jaurès. The Cours Florent is also located in Brussels Belgium and in Montpellier, France. The Cours Florent is known as one of France’s most prestigious drama schools, offering a three-year program to learn acting as well as theatre classes for children and teenagers.