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How to Become a Professional Actor or Actress

Updated on April 2, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

Stars Changes
Stars Changes

Acting

Actors, of course, perform in front of the cameras rather than behind the scenes, but it's important to know about the jobs that actors do -- especially as some very famous ones have become writers, producers, and directors (and combinations thereof). It is, in fact, becoming quite commonplace for actors to take on multiple roles in film, both behind and in front of the camera.

But, we can never forget that actors are professional liars as well. They bring the unimaginable to the front and make it real.

Prime examples of these "Renaissance people" include stars such as Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, John Travolta, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, and Ryan Gosling.

Actors entertain and communicate with the audience through their interpretation of dramatic roles.

How Much Money They Make
How Much Money They Make

Acting Auditions

Only a small number achieve tremendous amount of recognition in motion pictures. Some start as "extras" (the people in the background of the film) with no lines to deliver, while others are cast in supporting roles or as walk-ons. A "feature extra" may be used for the same film over and over again, with no lines but lots of camera time. Stunt people take on the more dangerous work, performing such stunts as driving cars in chase scenes, falling from buildings and other high places, or "fighting" in place of the principal actors.

Acting Agents

Most acting jobs are found through an agent. Beginners and lesser-known actors and actresses, if they are non-union, usually will register themselves, for a slight fee, with several casting directors, who invite them to auditions, which may lead to acting assignments.

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Collider

Professional Actor

Although a few actors and actresses find parts in feature films straight out of drama school, most spend many years supporting themselves by working at jobs inside or outside the industry. To learn the ropes, some actors and actresses have gotten jobs at talent agencies or casting companies. Here they learn the process of setting up auditions and casting for commercials, film and television.

What kind of actor or actress do you want to be?

See results

© 2016 Kenna McHugh

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