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Actors express ideas and portray characters in theater, film, television, and other performing arts media. They interpret a writer’s script to entertain or inform an audience.Duties
Actors typically do the following:
Most actors struggle to find steady work, and few achieve recognition as stars. Some work as “extras”—actors who have no lines to deliver but are included in scenes to give a more realistic setting. Some actors do voiceover or narration work for animated features, audiobooks, or other electronic media.
In some stage or film productions, actors sing, dance, or play a musical instrument. For some roles, an actor must learn a new skill, such as horseback riding or stage fighting.
Most actors have long periods of unemployment between roles and often hold other jobs in order to make a living. Some actors teach acting classes as a second job.
Many actors enhance their skills through formal dramatic education, and long-term training is common.Education
Many actors enhance their skills through formal dramatic education. Many who specialize in theater have bachelor’s degrees, but a degree is not required.
Although some people succeed in acting without getting a formal education, most actors acquire some formal preparation through a theater company’s acting conservatory or a university drama or theater arts program. Students can take college classes in drama or filmmaking to prepare for a career as an actor. Classes in dance or music may help as well.
Actors who do not have a college degree may take acting or film classes to learn their craft. Community colleges, acting conservatories, and private film schools typically offer these classes. Many theater companies also have education programs.Important Qualities
Creativity. Actors interpret their characters’ feelings and motives in order to portray the characters in the most compelling way.
Memorization skills. Actors memorize many lines before filming begins or a show opens. Television actors often appear on camera with little time to memorize scripts, and scripts frequently may be revised or even written just moments before filming.
Persistence. Actors may audition for many roles before getting a job. They must be able to accept rejection and keep going.
Physical stamina. Actors should be in good enough physical condition to endure the heat from stage or studio lights and the weight of heavy costumes or makeup. They may work many hours, including acting in more than one performance a day, and they must do so without getting overly tired.
Reading skills. Actors must read scripts and be able to interpret how a writer has developed their character.
Speaking skills. Actors—particularly stage actors—must be able to say their lines clearly, project their voice, and pronounce words so that audiences understand them.
In addition to these qualities, actors usually must be physically coordinated to perform predetermined, sometimes complex movements with other actors, such as dancing or stage fighting, in order to complete a scene.Training
It takes many years of practice to develop the skills needed to be successful as an actor, and actors never truly finish training. They work to improve their acting skills throughout their career. Many actors continue to train through workshops, rehearsals, or mentoring by a drama coach.
Every role is different, and an actor may need to learn something new for each one. For example, a role may require learning how to sing or dance, or an actor may have to learn to speak with an accent or to play a musical instrument or sport.
Many aspiring actors begin by participating in school plays or local theater productions. In television and film, actors usually start out in smaller roles or independent movies and work their way up to bigger productions.Advancement
As an actor’s reputation grows, he or she may work on bigger projects or in more prestigious venues. Some actors become producers and directors.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Actor
Top Careers After Actor
Hispanic or Latino10.7%
Black or African American0.6%
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New York University10.7%
University of Central Florida7.4%
University of Phoenix6.4%
Florida State University6.1%
Columbia College Chicago5.8%
University of California - Los Angeles4.9%
University of Northern Colorado4.6%
Savannah College of Art and Design4.0%
Virginia Commonwealth University4.0%
Santa Monica College4.0%
Appalachian State University3.7%
Middle Tennessee State University3.7%
University of Arizona3.7%
Pennsylvania State University3.4%
James Madison University3.4%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Actor||Second Team Productions||Allen, TX||Jan 15, 2011||$156,525 -
|Actor||Henderson Romeo Incorporated||CA||Oct 01, 2009||$104,350|
|Actor||Second Team Productions||Allen, TX||Nov 15, 2010||$90,000|
|Actor||360 Casting||CA||Jun 29, 2011||$78,263|
|Actor||Second Team Productions||Allen, TX||Feb 01, 2011||$70,000 -
|Film Actors||Sky Trading LLC||OH||Nov 04, 2013||$62,610|
|Actor||D L White & Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 15, 2009||$50,985|
|Actor||D L White & Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 01, 2009||$41,740|
|Actor||D L White & Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 01, 2009||$39,653|
|Actor||D L White & Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 01, 2009||$37,566|
|Actor||The Wooster Group||New York, NY||Oct 01, 2014||$35,000|
|Actor||George Street Playhouse||New Brunswick, NJ||Oct 01, 2010||$33,914|
|Actor||Fusion Collective LLC||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 09, 2014||$32,000|
|Actor||Fusion Collective LLC||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 11, 2014||$32,000|
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