Actors

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Also known as:
Actor Understudy, Actress, Dramatic Reader, Elocutionist, Monologist, Vaudeville Actor, Voice-Over Artist

ABOUT ACTOR CAREERS
Video transcript

Actors are entertainers; they bring a writer's world to life by portraying characters on stage, screen, and radio. Though the career can be glamorous, the road to success is often long and difficult.

Most actors have to compete for parts through auditions. They need to be able to handle criticism and rejection. Once hired, actors spend hours memorizing lines and rehearsing.

The work days can be very long, especially on film shoots. Stage productions usually require work in evenings, weekends and holidays. In addition to reciting lines, actors need to be able to impersonate a real or fictional character, often right down to particular mannerisms, even regional accents.

Besides roles in movies, T.V. programs, and on stage, actors are employed in commercials, theme parks, and even teaching. Some roles call for singing and dancing.

No formal education is required, although training at a university or dramatic arts school can refine important skills such as diction and movement. Actors can get performing experience in school or community productions as well as in summer stock.

Many struggle for years to make a living. Often, they need to take on part-time work to supplement their acting income. It can be helpful to have an agent. Working on commission, talent agents promote their clients to directors and producers and may have an edge in getting you auditions.

Although few actors ever achieve stardom, this can certainly be an exciting and financially rewarding career - what Shakespeare called the "passion to play."

SNAPSHOT
Play parts in stage, television, radio, video, or film productions, or other settings for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
MED
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Prepare and perform action stunts for motion picture, television, or stage productions.

Read from scripts or books to narrate action or to inform or entertain audiences, utilizing few or no stage props.

Attend auditions and casting calls to audition for roles.

Promote productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies.

Tell jokes, perform comic dances, songs and skits, impersonate mannerisms and voices of others, contort face, and use other devices to amuse audiences.

Study and rehearse roles from scripts to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed.

Work with other crew members responsible for lighting, costumes, make-up, and props.

Sing or dance during dramatic or comedic performances.

Collaborate with other actors as part of an ensemble.

Work closely with directors, other actors, and playwrights to find the interpretation most suited to the role.

Learn about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other to develop role interpretations.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Thinking Creatively Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Fine Arts Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Communications and Media Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Sociology and Anthropology Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Sales and Marketing Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.