What is an Actor?

To be or not to be an actor, that is the question...

Do you dream of seeing your name in lights? Have you performed in plays in school and college, and loved everything from learning your lines to soaking up the applause when the curtain falls? Can you slip into new characters like other people put on clothes? Have you got bags of determination (you’ll need it) and a thick skin to cope with any audition rejections that come your way? If you’re persistent enough to follow your dream then maybe you could make it as... an actor!

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What does an Actor do?

Actors have the exciting job of playing characters in a number of different traditional and non-traditional formats. The goal of most actors is to become a well-known, household name. The reality for most actors is a tough, competitive environment, which comes with a lot of waiting around and auditions. After leaving drama school or other forms of education, most actors get extra work, small roles and act in adverts or indie productions. Not everyone makes it in the acting world, but some actors do get that sought after lucky break.

Actors normally spend their time:

  • Auditioning for parts
  • Securing an agent who’ll help them get parts and manage their finances
  • Performing in everything from TV ads to short films, plays (hopefully) TV shows and feature films... whatever gets them their big break!
  • Doing a day job for living expenses while they explore roles to boost their acting CV.
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What skills are important?

  • Performing arts

    Need help?
    Recommended: 100%
  • Dependability

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    Recommended: 95%
  • Artistic

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    Recommended: 95%
  • Adaptability/Flexibility

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    Recommended: 94%
  • Cooperation

    Need help?
    Recommended: 92%
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How much could I earn?

Average salary


Example: Actors, entertainers and presenters, 2013

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How to become an Actor

To become an actor, you will need:

  • A talent for acting
  • An ability to understand emotions and feelings
  • Dedication, determination and ambition
  • Some drama training (although this is not always essential)
  • A thick skin for surviving auditions (and demanding directors!)
  • A genuine love of the performing arts

You don't need any qualifications to become an actor, but most actors do have some professional training. There are lots of different types of drama schools (many of which lead to a university level degree) but most have one thing in common - they want to see that you really love acting. So, before you think about auditioning or committing yourself to a course, it's a good idea to get some practice by joining your school's drama club, or your local amateur dramatic society (Google it). 

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