What You Need to Know to Become an Actor

by Mary Pratt

Hand holding magic marker

Aspiring actors need to be aware of factors that go into the making of a successful acting career.

A career in acting is perceived as one of the quickest ladders to success, fame and big bucks. Very few people realize that behind all the glamour and glitz of actors who make it big in the film industry is sheer hard work, perseverance, discipline and continuous training. The path to glory is a tough one and a performer has to put in a great deal of hard work.

The career in show business is not without competition, an actor needs to compete with almost all his co-performers to win accolades. It is also important to note that an actor with a plethora of exposure and experience in various performing arts like stage performance, plays, television series, commercials and feature films possesses the dexterity to handle any kind of role, however challenging.

It is imperative for a person aspiring to become an actor to be aware of factors that go into the making of his/her own successful acting career.

Acting - A Career
Contemplate the acting career as your future and not as a glamorous and fanciful idea. It is a fact that most of the successful actors entered the industry wanting to be a success and not due to a choice made out of impulse.

Acting - A Dedication
As an actor you need to be wholly dedicated to the profession. You may also have to sacrifice many of your personal needs, likings and lifestyle to exhibit the required dedication to make it big. When you approach acting with this dedication and hard work there is a great deal of certainty in you succeeding sooner than you can ever imagine.

Here is what is required of you if you wish to become an actor.
  • Break down the scene. When you do so, you would get to analyze the scene part-by-part to get the finer details which may be helpful in performing better.
  • Dig deeper into your role to understand the character better. You should be clear on what role your character represents, the protagonist, the antagonist, etc. On learning and fully understanding the character you can develop the character. In addition also understand how the character would interact with the other characters.
  • Know more about human psychology, good actors are jugglers of various emotions.
  • Rehearse the different techniques of acting like Stanislovsky, Meisner, etc. after learning them.
  • Get an insight into the various ways of physical movement. The way actors move on stage would widely vary from the way they do so, on the camera.
  • It is pivotal to talk the language that the film industry speaks. Ask around about terms you do not understand and get to know deeper about the subjects. An actor who understands technical terms spoken by the crew is preferred to one who is a novice to the subject.
  • While communicating effectively is important, it pays to talk when you need to, and listen when you must. This is more so during rehearsals.
  • It is good to have a little fun while at work but it important that you don't goof off on the sets.
  • During rehearsals on a set or on stage, know when to talk and when to listen. You may sound obnoxious talking at the wrong time and may affect your personality negatively.
  • Make it a point not to talk to crew members who are busy working. It is ok to socialize when they are relatively free. Most crew members would oblige to clear your doubts on the equipment used and their purpose.
  • It is important to do as you are told to. While on the sets, stand where you are asked to stand and wait when you are told to.
  • As an actor, it is crucial that you show up on time. The production looses huge amounts of money if the team is made to wait for an actor.
  • Another important thing is to know your lines. It is expensive to do repeated takes when the actor messes up with the dialogue.
  • Know about film making from a business perspective and it would help in the long run. It is very important to learn and keep learning. You can probably learn all your lifetime by reading, attending classes, seminars and listening to tapes.
  • Keep acting. Put to practice all the knowledge you harness and act for the passion and not for the pay.
Mary Pratt is an actress and voice talent who can be seen performing at various theatrical venues in and around Los Angeles. Her acting and career advice column "Expert Acting Advice" can be found on Actingland.com. For more career advice, acting jobs, casting calls, and movie audition notices visit www.actingland.com.

Copyright © Mary Pratt and Actingland, Inc. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced or distributed.
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Reader Comments

Hi. I would like to become one of those really young actresses, like Judith grimes on The Walking Dead. That’s my goal and I’m not giving up until I reach it.

Posted by Leah (2020-06-03) 13215

I'm a teenager with passion in acting . I love acting because acting is not only what I love doing but also it's who I i'm . I've loved it since I was little and I've grown to love it up to date.

Posted by Lorna (2019-04-02) 13097

I am Carji from Zambia, I have always wanted to act

Posted by Carjishadrach (2019-03-11) 13082

I really love acting, it is my dream

Posted by Tamilore (2019-03-08) 13081

Hi my name is shaneka im only 15 years old I have very little experience on acting but i did take drama which I loved I just feel like acting would be my passion and i would be very good at it please let me be an actor

Posted by Shaneka (2018-12-10) 13024

Hello, I'm Dengiz 23 years old since as a kid, I had big dreams I act for fun, I never done that, but I would like I'm really into it my acting skills are very good in into it very deep and emotional and take it very serious living currently in Kosovo hope to join something and start a small carrier

Posted by Dengiz (2018-10-19) 13000

I also want to become an actress i know it's a really tough job but i can really work hard to to become an actress help to find out any online form or any portfolio shoots out there and i'll make everyone proud with my acting skills
Thank you.

Posted by Harshita Thakar (2018-05-22) 12935

Ooh my God I please I wish to act in Nickelodeon because its my passion, I won't disappoint you..

Posted by Takinta (2018-04-07) 12917

hi im maria im 17 and will be 18 this july im a great actor i love it i like doing it so much that it hurts im from the caribbean and acting is not really a big thing my country im still obtaining my education i would like to be a doctor and a actor what should i do

Posted by maria (2018-03-02) 12905

Ey my name is Maria and I want to be an actor. I am 17 years old and I like to inspire people so that they can stop judging their self when it becomes to their talents, please help me to grasp my dreams.

Posted by Maria (2018-02-16) 12899

Being an actor was actually my dream and am looking forward to rebuild the new me. I like to take out that me in front of people and also to be someone else who educate young ones to grasp their dreams.

Posted by Maria (2018-02-16) 12898

Hi, I really want to become an actor it has always been my dream and that's the only thing I want to be so please will you help?

Posted by Harrison (2017-12-20) 12875

I want to join film industry

Posted by Lakshya Dhekane (2017-10-02) 12849

Hi im jullianah dalisay im 13 years old iwant to be a artista because of my family need my help

Posted by Jullianah (2017-09-15) 12841

I wanted to become an actor and I am living in kannur(kerala)

Posted by sayanth morrison (2014-01-28) 6619

hi, i want to take up an acting major in college in about two years.i actually love acting so much, i wish it was the main thing in high school and subject like math were optional extra-curriculars. i want a college that does not only specialise in the performing arts but a liberal arts college. at the moment , im thinking of majoring in forensic psychology as well. I just need advice, basically.

Posted by Shirley-gh (2011-12-12) 5282

heyy :)i love love love music, drama and everything that has to do with performing arts. I grew up not knowing anything about this because i live in a small town and i had a very simple life. But i practised acting and singing alot. And i realise that acting is what i really really love and its what i want to do. I am 15 years old and i have been looking for opportunities everywhere. But there is no drama club or acting classes anywhere. Its all ballet, hip hop or ballroom dancing. I want to study performing arts when i graduate but i dont know if i have the money or if my parents will allow it.

i want to be an actress really bad.
and im not giving up.

Posted by allie (2011-06-15) 3378

no offense but i red nearly everything well didnt reed but sunk into but nuthin helps me they all say the same thing. i need a free sine up sheet. but no1 seems to b helping me. so i ges im a texan makin my movie. i no im good cuz wen i went for a chekup at the doktor, he sed actins n my hed im cursed to b awesome at actin singin and not bein embarassed,nervous, but i am totaly random and funny. spunky,original. i cot my hare on fire once. yep so i really need help. just gime a chance plees. itl b wroth it. totally. plees email me! call me! txt me! mail me! well wen i gt 1 proly tomorow!

Posted by Violet (2011-03-15) 2958

Hi I'm in the 8'th grade.I really want to be a actor um I'm planing out a goal.I'm saving up a whole lot of money so when i graduate i can move to California and find a agent and get a hafe time job um please email me do you think that is a good idea or is it wack...(thanks for your time)

Posted by alexis (2011-01-08) 2826

Hi my name is Lakota. you said that you will alwaysneed to remember your lines, while i know ths is true i still need to know something,
how much are you supposed to remember? are you supposed to remember the whole script? but if you do wont you probably get it mixed up? or are you just supposed to remember part after part each day?

also how long will you have the script before you are supposed to audition, and are you supposed to try and remember it then or only if you get the part? how long do they give you to remember the script before the movie/tv show/ commercial starts filming?

do you need to know lines for the audition? or just for the part once you get it?

and 1 more thing, cant you study your lines when your at the filmming studio waiting for your part to be taped?

please email meand answer my questions


Posted by Lakota Cloud (2010-05-16) 2530

I want to be an actor so wher do i have to study

Posted by Motsumi mphikelele (2010-02-18) 2368

I am 13 year old and i want to become a actor. I don't know how to begin being a ACTOR. I want to become a actor all my life and ever will not will give up!

Posted by Anthony Bonilla (2009-11-18) 2192

Natalia my name is gemma sharma and i am 13 years old and i dnt think it is to late when you finish school to become an atress! i love to act and sing and dance and i am going to go to collage and do perferming arts which is going to help me follow my dreams ! but if anyone tcan help then please do!x

Posted by Gemma Sharman (2009-06-20) 1615

is it to late to start a career after you finish school because i dont have another choice. i live in uk in a very small town and thers no acting classes so i was thinking of finishing school move to a bigger town and then go to acting classes what do you think ??? give advice please

Posted by natalia (2009-05-18) 1459

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