How to Become an Actor

Fans of television shows, films and stage productions may think about having a job as an entertainer and wonder how to become an actor. This type of work does seem glamorous, but it is hard work for the people involved.

While you may picture yourself being in the right place at the right time and being discovered by a famous director or a talent agent, it’s more likely that you will spend a considerable amount of time learning your craft, going on auditions and hearing “No” more often than “Yes” as you try to establish an acting career. You may need to work at a day job to support yourself in between acting gigs even after you have successfully landed some parts.

Education Required to Become an Actor

It is possible to become an act or without any formal training, but you will get better at your craft if you have taken acting classes. Even people who make a living from acting continue to learn by taking classes, working with voice and dialogue coaches, and other professionals to help them learn and grow over time.

You can study theater and drama at the post-secondary level at a community college or university. If you choose to pursue an Associates degree, you will may be enrolled in courses similar to the following:

• Acting for Film and TV
• Acting: Classical Works
• Acting: Dramatic Character & Scene Study
• Acting: Skills and Techniques
• Introduction to Theater
• Play Reading and Analysis
• Stage Make-up
• Stage Movement
• Stagecraft
• Voice and Diction

Students enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program in Performing Arts would take a number of general courses in the first two years of study before focusing on courses with titles such as:

• Acting
• Business and the Performing Arts
• Costume Design
• Directing
• Drama of Ancient Greece
• Introduction to the Performing Arts
• Modern American Drama and Theater
• Modern British and European Drama and Theater
• Musical Theater
• Multicultural Drama and Theater
• Multicultural Drama in Performance
• Physics of Performing Arts
• Play Analysis
• Scenic Design
• Shakespeare’s Plays
• World Drama and Theater
• Writing for the Stage and Screen

Relocating to Find Acting Work

If you are serious about becoming an actor, you will need to go where the work is. Depending on whether you want to work in films, television or on the stage, this may mean making the decision to relocate to Los Angeles or New York. Even though many movies and television shows are shot on location, much of the casting is done in California.

Get Acting Experience

If you studied acting in community college or university, you will have had the chance to participate in several types of acting parts. It’s a good idea to get as much experience in different areas as you can, since this will give you more material to draw on when you are auditioning for parts.

Developing a good network of contacts is an important key to success in this business. You may not have an agent right away, so it’s a good idea to go to as many auditions as you can to get work and become an actor.

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