How to become a Actor

Actors portray roles in live and recorded or filmed productions. In the live performance area, an actor may perform in theatre, opera or variety. In the recorded medium, an actor may perform roles in theatre, film, radio, television, commercials and online material.

Personal requirements of a Actor

  • Determination
  • Self-confidence
  • Good memory
  • Stamina to perform at peak level
  • Ability to cope with changing situations

Education & Training for a Actor

You can work as an actor without formal qualifications, 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. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. 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. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Actor

Actors may perform the following tasks:

  • study scripts, learn a part and interpret the role through speech, gesture and various other performance skills
  • attend auditions for parts in productions, performing prepared or improvised pieces
  • rehearse parts by memorising lines, cues and movements
  • undertake extensive research for certain roles and productions
  • under the guidance of a director, act the part of a film, television, stage or radio character in front of live audiences, cameras or microphones
  • attend costume fittings
  • sing and dance when a script or role requires it.

Working conditions for a Actor

Actors need a great deal of patience and commitment, as most productions require long rehearsal schedules and many hours of memorising lines outside the rehearsal periods.

Employment Opportunities for a 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 easy to find, or when there is 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.

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.
Related careers