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Acting Studio Business Loans: Financing For Drama Schools

Acting Studio Funding

Great actors such as Robert De Niro, Jessica Lang, and Marlon Brando all attended acting studios sometime in their careers that have now become extremely competitive while facing rising cost and shifting cultural attitudes. There was a time when theater-trained movie stars attended independent acting schools that shaped them; now these schools are threatened by rising rents, decrepit buildings, well-funded university programs, and instant internet stardom, are now struggling. Luckily, In the heart of movie town—L.A., there are a variety of acting studios that fit the needs of today’s incoming aspiring actors and actresses and are also home to some of the industry’s biggest stars. Here are some of the best currently operating.

Quick-jump to the following sections:

Andrew Wood Acting Studio run by the Yale MFA director Andrew Wood offers intensive, intimate acting classes in Hollywood. Thus founded in 2004, his approach originates in the work of Stanislavsky, as with most major approaches to acting today. Briefly, the Stanislavski method is a system set of techniques used by actors to portray emotions on stage by putting themselves in the place of the character. Stanislavski developed the technique in the early 1900s, and they have been used ever since. In that approach, acting is understood as the process of bringing the actor’s own visceral need for deep connection and significant relationship to bear on a role. Done mainly through partner work with another student—a working relationship that lasts for the duration of the session and wraps with a performance night for friends and family.

3-2-1 Acting Studio is another company providing the way to great film acting with its acclaimed in-studio and online acting program for kids, teens, and young adults have brought up some of the brightest young faces of film and television. Their priority has been to ensure that students complete their program to express themselves clearly and confidently in any situation from auditions at significant networks to an interview with a casting director. They take pride in preparing their younger actors to arrive on a professional set feeling relaxed, excited, and ready to showcase their talent in front of the camera. Some notable alumni include actors currently working on popular television networks such as Showtime, Disney Channel, FX, MTV, ABC, and Fox.

The Speiser/Sturges Acting Studio includes an alumni list of actors like Will Smith and Jennifer Lopez. Aaron Speiser has been Los Angeles’ premiere acting teacher and coach for over thirty years. He has experience with training Tony-nominated actors, but they find that people come to Los Angeles to work primarily in the film industry and the necessitates a different way to prepare. Thus, shaping actors that are pursuing film and television work, the studio covers varying skill and levels of scene study, technique, and voice while forcing students to react in the movement—literally. Just as with a real film and TV set, students are not given the opportunity to work and run lines together at home before workshopping. Paired with course in interviewing, auditioning, casting, and more the studio teaches ways to not only develop the craft but to succeed in the real-world Hollywood.

Lifebook Acting Academy, run by Allen Levin’s acting academy prides itself on being more than just a school; it’s a community built by the dedication and dreams of each student. Cultivating a collaborative creative atmosphere, Lifebook establishes lasting relationships both on-and-off-camera, borrowing from Stella Adler in that it places importance in authentic day-to-day moments and teaches actors not just to act, but how to be people. Additionally, from first-day beginners to seasoned acting veterans, Lifebook is all about exploring, creating, and training actors to grow within their acting talent. It also proves to be an excellent place for writers, directors, producers, and other industry people to further their path as well. They own two theatres and operate out of three (Santa Monica, Studio City, and LA).

Lastly, Los Angeles is home to the Elizabeth Mestnik Acting Studio explicitly located in North Hollywood teaching the Meisner technique in an invigorating and challenging atmosphere. They do so, to help mold fearless, talented actors for all mediums. Meisner is one of three core curriculum along with scene study and beginning acting. They also offer some workshops throughout the year such as speech, Shakespeare, the business of acting, and many more that aim to teach students lifelong skills for a prosperous career as a thespian.

Types Acting Studio Loans & Working Capital

Getting financing for an acting studio isn’t necessarily easy, but there are still plenty of options out there for working capital purposes. Whether you have good credit, bad credit, or somewhere in-between, there are multiple financing options available to your acting studio. Below we will take a look at the various financing options, and compare each so that you can make an informed decision.

Bank Loans

Acting studios that are seeking conventional financing for the lowest rate and long term often seek out large and small banks for financing. Bank term loans are almost always the preferred choice of financing for acting studios because of their low rates. But banks are only capable of offering low rates because they will not subject themselves to much risk. Therefore, to qualify for a bank loan you will need to show plenty of business documentation as well as personal documentation. You’ll need to show that you have good credit and that you’re acting studio has multiple years of profitability to get approved for a bank term loan.

Rates 5-15%
Terms 1-30 years
Funding Amounts $50,000-$5,000,000
Collateral Required
Fees Medium costs


SBA Loans

SBA financing is very similar to bank financing in that you will need to show that you to have good credit, as well as strong acting studio revenue and profitability. Additionally, as with conventional bank financing, SBA lenders will require acting studios to provide lots of business and personal documentation during the underwriting process. While SBA loans are used for virtually any business purpose, acting studios generally use SBA financing only for working capital purposes.

Rates 5-8%
Terms 3-25 years
Funding Amounts $50,000-$5,000,000
Collateral Required
Fees Medium costs


Unsecured Line of Credit

While a secured line of credit is an excellent option for virtually any acting studio, in order to qualify you generally have to have lots of business-to-business invoices that are used as collateral for the line of credit. But with an unsecured line of credit, the funding will be almost solely based off of the business owners personal credit. Additionally, an unsecured line of credit will not require using business or personal assets as collateral in order to get funded. With an unsecured line of credit you will be able access financing whenever you need it and only pay interest on the amount of money you draw.

Rates 0% for 12 months
Terms 1-2 years
Funding Amounts $10,000-$500,000
Collateral Not be Required
Fees Medium costs


Alternative Loans

Not every acting studio will be able to qualify for a conventional bank loan or SBA financing, but if you have good credit and you’re acting has good revenue, alternative financing may be a good option. Alternative lending is the middle ground between conventional financing and high-interest cash advances. Unlike with conventional bank loan, an alternative loan can fund in a fraction of the time. While alternative loans may be used for virtually any business purpose, they are also shorter term. Therefore, alternative business loans for acting studios are generally used for fast working capital purposes.

Rates 8-25%
Terms 1-5 years
Funding Amounts $10,000-$500,000
Collateral Not required
Fees Medium costs


Merchant Cash Advance

Cash advances are you form of alternative financing that involves an acting studio selling a portion of it future revenue to a third-party funding company in order to access immediate cash. Cash advances or either the sale of future business bank account revenue or future merchant credit card revenue. Of all the financing options available to acting studios, none will fund faster than a merchant cash advance, in that it may fund in as little as a couple of hours from the time that the application is submitted for approval. Additionally, a merchant cash advance is perfect for business owners who have bad credit and cannot qualify for other types of alternative financing.

Factor rates 1.10 – 1.50
Terms 3-24 months
Funding Amounts $5,000-$2,000,000
Collateral Not required
Fees Low to High costs


While the number of funding options available for acting studios are not tremendous in volume, there are still plenty of quality conventional and alternative business solutions available. The key to obtaining the best acting studio loan is to know all of your options and then shop for the best rates and terms available. If you need help understanding your options and finding the best rates and terms, please reach out to one of our funding specialists and we’ll help you get the best loan available.

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About the author
Domonique Cox

Domonique is a Minnesota native that earned her bachelors from The University of Arizona with a degree in English and Film Studies. Though books and writing are not her only interest, you can find her engaging in nutritional sciences, environmentalism, vegan cuisine, filmmaking, old school dancing, tennis, running, sound engineering, and enjoying satirical dark comedies or listening to the poetic lyrics of Bob Dylan. She is now based in Los Angeles as a content writer for GUD Capital where she spends her spare time honing her writing and directing skills. 

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