Working as an actor can offer exciting opportunities to portray interesting characters and work in unconventional environments. Many people become actors because they have a passion for storytelling and enjoy taking part in creative performances. If you want to become an actor, it might be helpful to consider the pros and cons of the career path so you can know how to prepare yourself for the industry. In this article, we consider what an actor does and explore some key pros and cons of being an actor.
What does an actor do?
An actor is a performer who portrays characters in television shows, films or live theatrical shows. Actors often find work by securing an agent who can represent them and book them for auditions with potential employers. Many actors specialize in a particular genre of acting, such as film or stage, but most actors have training that allows them to succeed in almost any performance environment. The exact job duties that an actor has can vary depending on the project on which they’re working. Here are some of the most common job duties for an actor to have:
Attending auditions for new projects
Memorizing lines from a script
Rehearsing their lines and scripted movements regularly with other actors in their cast
Portraying a character in a performance, either recorded or live on stage
Using various technical performance techniques
Accessing personal emotions to bring depth to their performances
Interacting with audience members during live shows
Applying makeup and styling hair with the help of the costume department
Taking instruction from directors about performance and inflection
Attending fittings for costumes
Pros of being an actor
Here are a few pros to working as an actor:
1. Enjoyable job duties
One of the biggest pros to being an actor is the fact that their job duties are often fun to complete. Portraying different characters and acting out scenes can be a very enjoyable process, especially when an actor has positive relationships with their cast members. Some actors also take part in stunts, such as jumping from high places or standing on top of moving vehicles, which can be exciting and fun when performed safely.
2. Exciting work environments
Another pro to working as an actor is the variety of work environments they can have. Because actors often work on film and television sets, they sometimes travel to different filming locations, which can be an exciting experience and allow them to see the world. Actors who primarily work on the stage can also have interesting work environments, such as historical sites and classic theaters.
3. Multiple choices of performance styles
Actors also have the benefit of being able to work on several types of projects and performance styles. For example, an actor can secure a role in a film, a television show or as a live performer. Actors can also use several styles, such as dramatic acting, voice acting and comedic acting. This can allow actors to build diverse resumes that can help them get jobs in many areas of performance.
4. High earning potential
Earning potential is another pro to working as an actor. This is because some actors can earn very high salaries, especially if they work on high-profile projects or projects with extensive budgets. Actors can also often earn more money as their careers progress, as they can secure more jobs after learning different performance styles and building experience.
5. Opportunities to collaborate
Actors typically work with large groups of people on each project they take on, including directors, producers, costumers and other actors. Because of this, actors spend much of their time collaborating with others. This can be a large pro for people who enjoy working together with a team. Some common ways that actors collaborate with each other is by synchronizing movements, engaging in dialogue and developing ways to interact onstage in the background of scenes.
Some actors can even take part in workshopping scripts and scenes, especially if they have a few years of experience. This can allow them to collaborate with writers and directors and use their creativity to give input on the characters they portray.
Cons of being an actor
Here are some potential cons to being an actor:
1. Subjective audition processes
One potential con to being an actor is the subjectivity that’s involved in the auditioning process. As most directors have clear visions of what they want their casts to be like, they often try to hire specific types of actors in terms of looks, abilities, accents and other distinguishing characteristics. There are also typically high volumes of competition for any role, especially those in high-profile projects, which can present even more options to casting directors.
However, actors often navigate this process by attending as many auditions as they can. It can also be helpful to understand that an actor might sometimes simply be perfect for a different role than the one they initially read at an audition.
2. Inconsistent job security
Another potential con to working as an actor is the level of job security. This is because actors sometimes finish a job without having another role to take on directly afterward. This can result in unexpected time off, and it can sometimes take time for actors to secure their next role. To prepare for this, many actors maintain side jobs they can use to ensure they pay their bills and cover their other expenses.
3. Low pay at the start of their career
Actors can also experience the challenge of earning little money when they first begin their careers. As many production companies and directors prefer to work with actors who have experience in the field and proficiency in specific acting techniques, the number of jobs available for new actors can be limited. However, many actors earn higher salaries once they complete a few acting projects and make connections in the industry.
I hope you find this article helpful.