3 Reasons Every Aspiring Actor Must Learn to Code
I’m about to make a bold statement (no pun intended).
Every aspiring actor must learn how to code.
Why? For many great reasons. But first, let me explain what I mean by learning “how to code”:
There are many computer languages one can learn, but I am speaking specifically about HTML, CSS & jQuery. They are key languages in building websites and web applications. The great thing is, they’re quite easy to learn; within a couple months of dedicated effort, one could already be applying those skills.
Now, let me give you 3 solid reasons actors must learn how to code in these languages.
1. You can design your own website
If you have a working knowledge of HTML & CSS, you can bypass those free website services, where everybody’s website looks and behaves the same, and code your own custom website the way you want it. This is an incredible benefit for actors, because by having your own website where your resume, showreel and contact information can be easily found online, you will stand out from the thousands of other actors competing for the attention of talent agencies, artistic directors, theatre companies, etc.
2. You can stop waiting tables
Unless you really love it, you can stop working at [insert local chain restaurant here] and work from home (or your trailer) as a web designer instead. When you’re equipped with HTML, CSS, and even jQuery, you have access to thousands of remote-based jobs with sites like Authentic Jobs, Krop, Coroflot, and so many more. Remember Danny Pudi, a.k.a. “Abed” from Community? He worked a home-based job and never had to do the whole “struggling actor thing” like waiting tables, or getting temp jobs. So, instead of trading your valuable time for minimum wage + tips at a job that doesn’t further your acting career, you can work from home as a web designer, and make $30 – $60 / hour. You’ll never call yourself a “starving actor” again.
3. You can live anywhere you want
When all you need is a laptop and WiFi, you can work from anywhere. Many aspiring actors move to film & theatre hubs like New York City, Toronto, Vancouver, or Los Angeles. All of these cities are hubs for web design & development as well, so there is an abundance of jobs—whether it’s full-time, part-time, or freelance.
Where do you start?
There are so many ways to begin learning HTML, CSS & jQuery. However, I’ve been there and done that, and I can save you searching time and get you started right away.
Enroll in a College program
This is the most direct and expensive option, however, if you’re shopping around for a school anyway, I’d recommend enrolling in a college that offers a Web Design-related program. Be sure the program has a website (wouldn’t it be ironic if a web design program didn’t have a website?). I’d avoid private institutions as they often charge exorbitant tuition fees and offer the same (if not less) than the college program that costs a fraction of the tuition. If you’re in the Vancouver area, I’d strongly suggest the
Interactive Design Program at Capilano University (unfortunately, the executives at Capilano University like to make big mistakes and cut incredibly successful programs).
This is my absolute favourite way of learning. I’ve spent the past 3+ years putting together world class learning material for those who want to learn how to design & code. You can check out all of my courses at CodeCollege.ca — some are free, some are paid, but by far the best value option is to subscribe to the entire library for a low monthly payment.
More online resources
nycda.com — If you’re an aspiring actor and living in New York City, check these guys out. The New York Code & Design Academy offers hands-on, intensive courses designed to teach aspiring programmers and designers how to build their own fully functioning websites and mobile apps
What are you waiting for?
One of the great things about this is you can start today! You don’t need to wait. Spend a few hours a week learning how to code, or hit the ground running and acquire some new skills ASAP—you’re investing in yourself, you’re learning skills that can allow you to further your career as an actor.
So go ahead, start coding!
Even the New York Film Academy backs me on this one!
— NY Film Academy (@NYFA) April 9, 2013