By TACP Staff on July 19, 2021

The world of acting offers a wide range of opportunities for the aspiring actor. Talented actors are needed for some of the world’s most respected stages, including theater productions, blockbuster movies, musical productions, commercials, independent films, and more. The vast array of roles and genres within the field of acting ensure that aspiring performers have a place to carve out a name for themselves.

What Is Acting?

Actors are the individuals that perform, or act, in certain performing arts productions. Of all the different types of performing arts, acting is probably one of the most popular. Acting has a long history, and it has been around for centuries. Before individual actors dominated the stage, several members of a chorus often sang and spoke to narrate a story. In ancient Greece, however, all of this changed when, one day, a single actor separated himself from the chorus and spoke lines as if he were the main character in the story. His name was Thespis, and to this day, some actors are still referred to as thespians.

What Does an Actor Do?

Actors are the individuals that portray the different characters in a script. These are the individuals that help bring written scripts alive. Most experts agree that the skills and abilities of the actors will often determine whether or not a particular show is a success or not.

Generally, actors’ primary duties are to act like the characters in different scripts. This includes speaking and walking like the characters that they portray. Actors should also be able to figure out their characters’ mentality and drive in life, and they will often try to imitate their characters’ mannerisms and attitude as well.

Being an actor often takes a great deal of research. Most actors will often study and scrutinize their characters carefully before truly getting a grasp on their roles. For instance, an actor playing the role of a historical figure will often find himself pouring over newspaper clippings, biographies, movies, news stories, and interviews that focus on this figure. This research, although time-consuming, is often a very important part of an acting career.

As a career, acting requires a great deal of patience and dedication. Actors will typically rehearse, or practice before they are ready for their role. Actors are also responsible for memorizing their lines and stage cues. They must also work closely with other members of the production, including other actors, directors, producers, writers, makeup artists, costume directors, and lighting technicians.

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Education & Training Requirements for Actors

Most actors start their careers while they are still in school. They may perform in high school plays, for instance. A formal education is not usually necessary, however, and talent and dedication to are often perceived to be much more important ingredients to become an actor.

Despite this fact, many actors will often try to develop their acting skills by attending acting schools. Some actors may also benefit from enrolling in a drama program at a university, college, or performing arts school.

Actor FAQ

Acting can be a tough but extremely rewarding career with significant financial upside for elite actors, and an opportunity to exercise your creative gifts. Acting is a great career choice for those with the passion and courage to build their skills and balance the highs and lows associated with pursuing a fruitful and successful acting career.

The answer is not easy. You can train at college and take a drama course, sign up for auditions with an agent, attend classes training you to become an actor. After this, you have to go through a lot of auditions to get a part. This often involves learning your lines, practicing your scripts, and working on your skills.

Yes, the employment of actors is projected to grow 32% from 2020 to 2030 per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The competition will be significant but there is a trend where actors are exiting the workforce which will open up opportunities for talented actors. 

Like many art careers,  finding consistent employment and income creates stress. Jobs end and you then find yourself auditioning for a new role. Your income is dependent on the number of jobs you get, especially in the beginning of your career.

Related Careers in Drama and Theater

Consider these related careers in Drama and Theater.