What does an actor do?
Actors convey their ideas to create images in film, motion picture, theater, television, radio, stage, and other media of performing arts. They review and interpret the script written by the writers to provide information, instruction, or entertainment to the audience. They portray the many different characters and often research the traits and characteristics of characters and the situations so they can demonstrate a more realistic performance.
Actors are cast in leading, supporting, and minor roles in a variety of productions. Some are the stars of the entire production and some only have brief appearances with one or two speaking parts. Some work as “extras” where they are extra bodies in a production, but have no speaking lines. Some also do narrations or voiceovers for animated productions, advertisements, books on tape, and other forms of electronic media.
What kind of training does an actor need?
Actors typically complete formal dramatic training through a bachelor degree program or acting conservatory program. They usually complete coursework in film, drama, theater, dramatic literature, communications, and radio and television broadcasting. Many stage actors pursue advanced education and obtain a Master of Fine Arts degree. Majority of actors gain experience by participating in plays in high school, college, and in their communities. Many actors also attend workshops through acting conservatories for additional experience. Some hire a drama coach to help improve and perfect their skills.
What are the prospects for a career as an actor?
Employment of actors is projected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Growth will be driven by the expansion of satellite and cable television operations and the growing demand for major films around the world.
Job prospects are expected to be favorable with keen competition. Actors with extensive experience that have great talent and stamina will have the best prospects. Job opportunities will also arise in live entertainment venues such as theaters, touring productions, resorts, and theme parks.
How much do actors make?
As of August 2009, the middle 50% of actors earned annual salaries between $40,329 and $59,753. The highest 10% earned annual salaries of more than $69,598 (2).
A career as an actor is an excellent choice for individuals who have creativity and talent to portray a variety of characters. A wide variety of performing skills are essential to be competitive such as dancing, singing, acrobatics, miming, skating, and juggling. Actors must also have good stage presence, patience, poise, ability to follow directions, and the ability to have an effect on an audience. Actors must also be able to work independently and as part of a team and work efficiently under pressure and stress.