Actors bring characters to life on stage and screen. While acting usually involves memorising and delivering lines, actors also need strong interpretive skills to understand and bring out new elements in a character, as well as to improvise when necessary. To bring a character to life, actors need to creatively portray emotions through actions, gestures, facial expressions etc.
The ability to sing, play a musical instrument and/or dance well will make actors more versatile performers. Martial arts or gymnastics training will also enable them to take on a wider variety of roles, thus greatly increasing their chances of landing an acting job.
Actors can choose to specialise in performing live on stage or be recorded on film. You can also specialise in voice acting – providing voices for animated and video game characters, and narration for audio books, websites, and documentaries and commercials for TV and radio.
Academic and other requirements
There are no specific qualifications but many obtain degrees in fine arts, performing arts, drama or theatre.
Personal skills and attributes
You should be articulate, self-confident and expressive, and love being in front of an audience. You also need effective communication and networking skills to get along with a wide variety of people.
Actors are typically hired by production companies for the duration of filming a TV series, commercial or movie, or a series of performances in a theatre. Most actors work on a freelance contract basis – either looking for contracts on their own or hiring an agent to do it for them.