How to become an Actor

Actor

Actors portray roles in live and recorded or filmed productions. An actor may perform in theatre, opera or variety, film, radio, television, commercials and online material.

Personal requirements for an Actor

  • Determination and commitment
  • Self-confidence
  • Good memory
  • Patience and stamina
  • Clear speaking skills
  • Ability to cope with changing situations

Education & Training for an Actor

You can work as an actor without a qualification, although it is advisable to undertake some formal training to improve your chances of gaining employment. Acceptance into formal courses is linked to your acting ability and interest, demonstrated by prior experience and/or an audition piece. You may like to consider a VET qualification in acting, performing arts, music theatre or theatre and screen performance. You can also become an actor by completing a degree in acting, drama, performing arts, music theatre or theatre studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Competition for places is strong, and an audition, practical test or interview may be required. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements.


Additional information

The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) conduct auditions each November in most states and territories. Contact NIDA (www.nida.edu.au) or WAAPA (www.waapa.ecu.edu.au) for further details. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) usually holds auditions in November and early December. Contact VCA (http://vca.unimelb.edu.au) for more information. Perform Australia (www.perform.edu.au) has intakes in February and July with auditions taking place in the months prior to course commencement.

Duties & Tasks of an Actor

Actors:

  • Study and memorise scripts, learn parts and interpret roles through speech, gesture and performance skills
  • Attend auditions and perform prepared or improvised pieces
  • Rehearse lines, cues and movements
  • Undertake extensive research for roles and productions
  • Act the part of a film, television, stage or radio character in front of live audiences, cameras or microphones
  • Sing and dance when a script or role requires it.

Tasks

  • Prepares for performances through rehearsals under the instruction and guidance of production directors..
  • Reads scripts and undertakes research to gain understanding of parts, themes and characterisations..
  • Travels between entertainment venues..
  • Learns lines and cues, rehearses parts, and applies vocal and movement skills to the development of characterisation..
  • Acts parts and portrays roles as developed through rehearsals into film, television, radio and stage productions..

Working conditions for an Actor

Most productions require long rehearsal schedules and many hours of memorising lines outside the rehearsal periods.


Employment Opportunities for an Actor

To be successful as an actor, you will need to gain recognition from industry contacts, such as casting consultants and theatre, film, television and radio producers. Most employment for actors in Australia is provided by theatre companies, firms producing television programs, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, advertising agencies making television and radio commercials, and film companies. Most actors move from one medium or type of work to another as opportunities arise. There may be times when work is easier to find, or when an actor has a part in a long-term production. At other times, work may be scarce and actors may be out of work for some time. As a result, they may not be able to count on a regular income from acting. Most professional actors hire a talent agent or management agency to represent them and help find them employment. Actors often have to support themselves between assignments with alternative employment. They sometimes form groups and produce their own work. Factors that affect demand for an actor's services include the number and type of films, television programs and stage shows being produced; the level of government, private and corporate funding; and the quality of the individual's work and reputation within the industry.


Specializations

Actor

Actors portray roles in live and recorded or filmed productions. An actor may perform in theatre, opera or variety, film, radio, television, commercials and online material.

Voice-over artist
  • Average age
    Average age
    37 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    46% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    44 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,366
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    Very high skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    35% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,500 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 0.4%
    NSW: 40.8%
    NT: 0.2%
    QLD: 11.2%
    SA: 4.2%
    TAS: 1.5%
    VIC: 36.0%
    WA: 5.6%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 3.2%
    20-24: 12.8%
    25-34: 29.1%
    35-44: 21.8%
    45-54: 17.6%
    55-59: 5.4%
    60-64: 4.5%
    65 and Over: 5.6%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 15.9%
    Bachelor degree: 43%
    Certificate III/IV: 5.7%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 6.9%
    Year 10 and below: 5.1%
    Year 11: 2.9%
    Year 12: 20.4%
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