Fracture, short film by Catalyst Berlin Film alumni Gerard O'Keeffe

Screen Acting BA Hons Degree

Hone your skills and become a truly captivating presence on screen

Overview

This is not your traditional drama conservatory. This is the future of performing arts.

Over three intensive years hone all of the skills required to become a truly captivating presence on screen. Research and think critically about the work you want to make. Make the work, reflect on it, repeat. Connect to the industry by finding work placements to launch your career.

Our Screen Acting degree programme is an intensive, practical, project-based course working alongside a progressive film school. The projects, content, and facilities are intimately shared with students and tutors from our film production, music production, and visual effects courses, making us the perfect home for a future-focused screen actor.

Our courses are delivered by currently practicing industry professionals through workshops designed to give you constant real-world acting experience through ongoing participation in film productions. You’ll acquire a rich mix of actor-specific training for film and related industries, and will graduate with an intellectual and practical understanding of the actor’s craft along with the tools necessary to launch a career in a contemporary, ever-changing industry.

Why screen acting?

At Catalyst you’ll learn traditional acting skills combined with cutting-edge technology. Your work as an actor will have the context of being presented on everything from a 22 metre silver screen to a smartphone. The course is constantly adapting and updating itself to reflect the current state of the industry but with a view to where it seems to be heading. Consequently we aim to provide the industry with highly trained, adaptable performers, who can succeed both in the traditional areas of film and television as well as in emerging areas like green screen, motion capture, virtual reality, animation and gaming.

Degree course structure

Overview

In the first year of this course, you’ll work on what we call impossible briefs. You’ll intentionally be given too little time and too few resources to accomplish a given challenge - forcing you to stretch your creative and collaborative muscles to solve the puzzle. Each week you’ll perform in an original role, rotating teams to work with different crews and new directors on freshly written scripts. It’s a fast, fun, and powerfully accelerated learning environment.

  • Bolstering your portfolio showreel with performances from dozens of film productions
  • Collaborating with film and music students on live productions
  • Featuring in short films, commercials, music videos, web series and more.
  • Training your body and voice
  • Voice Reel Project 
  • Live Performance
  • Improvisation
  • Composition & Performance
  • Acting for Camera
  • Voice & Movement

Overview

Now it’s time to slow down a bit and focus on quality over quantity. You’ll work with a broader artistic range on a major project in which you will collaborate to write, direct & perform in your own artistic work. The second year is more focused, slower paced, and yet even more intense. 

You will be tasked with developing yourself as an artist and creative professional. More emphasis will be given to solid acting skills and technique, providing you a stronger foundation for bigger, more character-driven projects, which in turn will be larger, with more time allocated to development, rehearsal, and production. More thoughtful self-analysis of each actor’s process will be expected.

  • Slowing down, expanding and zooming in on your skills. What are your strengths, and how can you maintain them? What are your shortcomings, and how can you train them up? 
  • Refining and honing the specific skills required to become truly captivating on screen
  • Researching and thinking critically about the work you want to make
  • Connecting to the industry by finding work placement
  • Focusing and reflecting on your learning
  • Analysing yourself, bettering yourself and developing yourself as an artist.
  • Taking on bigger projects, wider in scope and deeper
  • Pulling apart each individual moment in fascinating detail
  • Expanding your rehearsal times and deepen your performances.
  • Pre-Production Studio Production Studio
  • Screenwriting Directing Actors
  • Acting Technique Improvisation
  • Acting for Camera
  • Live Performance
  • Voice & Movement

Overview

Year 3 is your year. You will be given much more freedom - and responsibility - to develop yourself creatively and professionally in the areas that interest you and draw your attention. The training wheels are taken off, and although you are guided and encouraged by our tutor team, crafting your post-study performance career will fall to you. You'll spend your time actively planning projects for the following year in order to launch yourself into the industry. You will introduce yourself to working professionals, both in person and with a strong online profile. You decide how best to showcase yourself to the world.

  • Researching and developing a major, year-long project that foregrounds you and demos your specific skill-set
  • Continue collaborations with the Film Production creatives to fill out your reel
    Leveraging your existing industry relationships and building fresh ones. 
  • Researching agencies that are a fit for your character, values and skill-set
  • Learning about funding proposals, freelancing and how to finance your artistic life
  • Performing comedy and improv in public
  • Working with tutors to draw the roadmap for the next year. 
  • Plotting out your future projects. 
  • Developing your solo work and auditioning like mad
  • Feeling acquainted with your strengths and weaknesses (and drilling them!)

Workshops are designed to run in tandem with your weekly and bi-weekly film briefs where you learn a range of tools to help you rapidly grow skill as a performer and to begin to develop your own professional practice: 

Voice

An introductory class to give you the skills and techniques required to develop your own daily vocal practice. Develop a free, clear, rich and embodied voice that fully informs text. You'll work regularly with a variety of texts to connect thought, word and voice. You'll focus on finding a specific character voice through accent. You will explore the actor's voice at work, extending your vocal range and flexibility, and build a strong, intelligent professional practice.

Voice Reel Project

Create a full voice reel composed of at least 5 different 30-60 second samples; two commercial, one documentary, one audio book and one of either corporate or video game clips. Learn how to use recording equipment and technical tools in the studio to record voice and audio.

Movement

Focus on the fundamentals of effective body and mind integration by addressing posture, body alignment, fitness, coordination, spatial awareness, use of breath, and body knowledge. Develop techniques of physically revealing and expressing character, intention, emotion, and psychology and relate these aspects specifically to acting for the screen.

Composition & Performance

Introduction to character, basic script writing, devising and live performance, basic stagecraft and audience engagement, game, focus, training, ensemble, creation, fast turn around performance and improvisation. Prepare for playing in any given circumstance. Build up skill and get performance muscles working, connecting as a class group and forming an ensemble. Play drama games and theatre sports and participate in various group activities all geared to develop spontaneity. Work on actor presence without working off a written text. Build up a repertoire or tool kit of interesting story creation techniques to draw upon in performance work. Through physical comedy, long and short form improvisation and devised theatre, learn how to habitually say yes in a scene and accept the current reality of any situation.

Acting for Camera

An introduction to screen performance, learning a range of skills and methods with a camera in every class. Master the techniques of the close up, on technical essentials such as blocking, performing for shot size, eyelines, continuity, cheating to camera, and the contrast between live performance and screen acting. This workshop is ongoing throughout the year and includes detailed weekly or bi-weekly feedback on the actor’s performance in film projects.

Development workshop - Working with Text

Covers character development, script analysis and breakdown; all fundamental skills for any actor. Work on pre-existing professionally written scripts to create character from quality writing. Delve into what it takes to prepare oneself to deliver a quality performance. How exactly does an actor prepare? What decisions are they making and why? Learn how to break down a script into beats and how to play actions in a scene. Take direction and make bold decisions by creating dynamic, original characters.

Development workshop - Industry

Provides you with what you need to know before entering the film industry, what to expect from an audition, and how to present yourself and your work to a professional standard. Build bridges into the industry so that hit the ground running. Take a step back, viewing screen acting and the course itself from a meta, birds-eye view. A space to answer questions, like: what kind of actor am I? How do we collaborate constructively? What do I value, and how do I live those values through my creative work? Also a place to watch and analyse the work of professionals, as well as launch, develop, and review the academic content and assessed projects.

Our facilities

Our historic waterside Funkhaus campus features state-of-the-art facilities snuggled in a cozy, picturesque retro space.

PROGRESSION

Your success depends entirely on you – what you bring to the course, your approach to learning, and the grit, passion and sheer determination with which you complete the course and start to build your future.

Your initial progression choice will be whether to make your first foray into acting or to continue your self development and opt for further specialised study. We currently plan to validate a Masters degree programme in Acting in 2021 so this will be an option for you by the time you have completed your degree programme with us.

Actors Database

The employment model for actors has been through significant change over the last decade though many elements of the model remain those that have always existed. The range of outlets has increased enormously as a result of the changing television industry and other requirements for online channels.

Ready to launch

In the first two years we provide you with foundations and building blocks. In the final year, you will be expected to take full control. Pool your resources and build a project that stars you and demonstrates your strengths. Continue your collaborations with our film production creatives to fill out your reel with the unexpected. Learn more than you ever imagined by mentoring first year students. Guide them as you have been guided.

Leverage your existing industry relationships and build fresh ones. Research agencies that are a fit for your character, values and skill-set, and sign up with the right one. Learn about funding proposals, freelancing and how to finance your artistic life. Perform comedy and improv in public, develop your solo work and audition like mad.

Set up the professional dominoes, so when you springboard out of the doors of Catalyst you’ll be knocking them down left, right and centre. Plot out your future projects and work with tutors to draw a roadmap for your next year out in the real world.

Our team

Our courses are delivered by currently practicing industry professionals through workshops designed to give you constant real-world acting experience through ongoing participation in performances and film productions.

Student work

In the end it doesn’t matter what we say or do. What matters is what our students are doing during their time with us. Take a look at a selection of our favourite work by our screen actors, directed and produced by their fellow student filmmakers.

Essential info

Academic qualifications equivalent to ‘A’ level, Baccalaureate or Abitur are normally required to enter our Screen Acting degree programme. These may be waived if students are able to provide proof of capability via a portfolio of work. More details can be found here.

For those students who have the capability but no proof of appropriate qualifications or portfolio we have also designed a new accelerated access course (primer workshops) which runs as part of our short course programme.

The most important prerequisite for attending any course at Catalyst is that you must be passionate about building and developing your skills as an acting professional, performing artist and creative.

For more information please contact a member of the team. We love to chat!

More detail

Start - September 13, 2021
Term (year 1) - 13.09.2021 - 21.05.2022
Term (year 2) - 09.2022 - 05.2023
Term (year 3) - 09.2023 - 05.2024

Application deadline: 30th of April 2021 for priority applications

More info

From € 975 a month

More detail

Not for the faint of heart

Our courses will toss you into some of the longest hours, hardest work, and most difficult interpersonal and intercultural situations you’ve ever had to face. But that’s acting for you. It wouldn’t be authentic any other way. And we won’t drag you through it, either; you’ll be expected to meet the bar we keep raising with forward momentum and high spirits. If you can do that, we promise you accelerated personal and professional growth, not to mention an unforgettable experience, lifelong friends and career contacts, and a portfolio that’s full to burst.

Behind the scenes

Take a look at the latest stories from the daily lives of Catalyst Acting students. Rehearsals, performances, shootings, tips, tricks and more!

More courses

Access to Higher Education

For those wishing to join our main acting courses, but lacking either practical experience in acting or the formal education requirements to apply through standard entry, we offer an additional short primer workshop to run alongside any 4 week summer short course.

Screen Acting HE Certificate

Our 1 year acting programme is an intensive, practical, project-based course working alongside a progressive film school.

Screen Acting - Crash Course

A high energy 4 week acting course for beginners designed for budding actors eager to learn the fundamentals of performing for camera.

Journalism & Documentary Performance

A 4 week advanced screen acting course for anyone interested in presenting, narrating or hosting.