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Stepping into the Spotlight: Navigating a Career as an Actor

Career as an Actor

Probably the biggest dream of any kid in India has been working for Bollywood. Few will deny that at least once in their lifetime, they have imagined themselves as a star actor in a superhit movie. There are many ways to work in Bollywood but acting is always the first choice. But do you know that Bollywood isn’t the only place where you can show your acting skills? In fact, if you can speak any regional language, then you might work in Marathi, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayali, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Punjabi or even Gujarati movies too. You can work in television, drama, theatres, etc. But, is being an actor all about the fame that aspires to everyone?

Actors are professional who enacts someone’s role in a feature film or in theatre (drama/ play). As an actor, you will be required to memorize the lines of your character and speak them in front of the camera or live audience confidently as if you are that character. While actors in movies or TV series have the opportunity of a retake, the theatre and drama actors do not have this advantage so they can’t retake a scene. Apart from acting, you should also be good at dancing, some level of fighting (being fit), singing (an advantage), etc. These skills will give you more opportunities than your competitors.

Why become an Actor?

As an actor, you depict a character given to you as per the demand of the script. You visualize, interpret and perform that character either for entertainment purposes or informational/educational purposes to the audience. You may work in films, theatres, television series, live events, theme parks, radio, and operas while performing on the stage or sometimes backstage producing voice notes or narration work for animated characters for movies or other electronic media. As an actor, you will learn various skills such as dancing, playing instruments, horse riding, martial arts, stunts etc. as per your role. Many actors get training to improve and develop their skills. An actor brings life to the character by using their facial expressions, voice-overs, and body language while using proper costumes and props under the guidance and support of a director. You will perform various roles such as comic role, serious role, action roles etc. while living these roles in real.

However, it must be noted that you will be cast in a role on the basis of auditions given to the directors or producers.

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What does an Actor do?

As an actor, you will be responsible for fulfilling the following roles and responsibilities.

  • You will memorize your character’s lines and dialogues.
  • You will interpret the script and research the character you are going to perform by reading the material or following the attributes of the person similar to the character.
  • You will collaborate with directors, producers, co-actors., and other crew members such as cameraman, dress makeup etc.
  • You will prepare for the auditions.
  • You will perform action stunts and comic roles for motion pictures and television productions.
  • You will rehearse on and off camera with other actors and rehearse your solo performance while managing costumes and props.
  • You will work under the director and seek their guidance and advice.
  • You may either play the role of the main character or a supporting role.
  • You will prepare for live performances and productions.
  • At the theatre, you will be required to work at the stage while giving performances in front of the audience.
  • You will involve in promoting productions work through various plays or movies.
  • You will communicate the character to the audience using emotions, expressions, and actions and influence them to see or feel like a real character.
  • You will attend the auditions and seminars related to improving your acting skills.

How to Become an Actor – Educational Requirement

Structured and formal education is not necessary to become an Actor. Very few Actors in the industry today are graduates. However, it is advisable to complete at least a senior secondary level of education (Class 11-12) to become an Actor as you will have to interact with journalists, reporters, interviewers and various other media personalities being in the acting industry.

While continuing with your education, you can sign up for modeling contracts or take acting classes simultaneously. Even children in the age range of 5-12 years can become Actors today and work in commercials, films/television series to become acting professionals. However, parental supervision is necessary for this age range.

After class 11-12, you can go for:

  • Training courses.
  • NIOS courses.
  • B. Voc courses.
  • Bachelor degree courses.
  • BPA courses.

To become an Actor, you can train yourself by doing a course in Acting right after your higher secondary school studies. You may also do an undergraduate degree in Performing Arts with a specialization in Dramatics / Dramatic Arts or Theatre. There are options to do a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre in foreign universities.

Alternatively, you can do a Bachelor’s degree in any subject and then do a Master’s degree or a Diploma in Theatre Art/ Dramatics / Dramatic Art / in a similar field. You can do a Master’s Degree or Diploma in Cinema/ Cinematic Art and concentrate in Acting. There are Diploma courses also in Acting.

Educational Fees

Becoming an actor in India is often seen as a glamorous and lucrative profession, but it also comes with a significant cost. Pursuing a career as an actor requires a substantial investment of time, money, and effort. Here’s a breakdown of the cost of becoming an actor in India:

  1. Training and Education – One of the first steps in becoming an actor is to get trained in acting and theatre. Several acting schools and institutes offer courses and training programs in acting, but they come with a cost. The fees for acting courses can range from a few thousand rupees to several lakhs of rupees depending on the duration, reputation, and location of the school.
  2. Auditions – Auditions are a crucial part of an actor’s career, and attending them requires investment in travel and accommodation expenses. Actors often have to travel to different cities and states to attend auditions, which can be expensive.
  3. Headshots and Portfolio – Actors need to have a professional headshot and a portfolio to showcase their work and talent to casting directors and producers. A good quality headshot and portfolio can cost anywhere between Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000.
  4. Networking – Building a network is essential for an actor to get noticed and land roles. Networking requires attending events, parties, and functions, which can come with additional expenses.
  5. Miscellaneous Expenses – Actors also have to bear additional expenses such as costumes, makeup, and other production-related costs, which can add up over time.

Job Opportunities

As an actor, you will get various job opportunities at studios, television, theatres, feature film, radio channels, etc.

You can start your career as supporting roles in short movies or radio channels.

Some of you might go for the option of opening your private channels at social media such as YouTube videos.

Many television productions will hire you as a lead or supporting role actor.

In the film industry, you will get small roles at starting or may get bigger roles if you have a reference in the industry.

Salary of an Actor

There is no fixed salary for an actor, as it would depend on your skills and experience.

  • As a junior artist, working at the theatre would earn Rs. 500 to 5,000 per day. After gaining experience in this field you may earn anything between Rs. 5,000 to 10,000 per show.
  • At the initial stage of your career on TV, you may earn Rs. 2,000 to 10,000 per episode depending on your role. After gaining experience, you may earn anything between Rs.  40,000 to 1,00,000 per episode.
  • Short film actors or YouTubers may earn anything between Rs. 8,000 to 80,000 per show/video at the start of their careers. After getting success and experience you would earn anything between Rs. 10 lakhs to 50 lakhs or it may extend to crores.
  • A film actor at the start of their career would earn anything between 1 crore to 10 crores. After getting success and fame you would earn anything between Rs. 25 crores to 100 crores or even more.

Career Progression in Acting Industry 

An actor moves forward in his or her career based on experience and success. Once you get fame, nothing can stop you to reach the highest point of your career provided you do hard work to maintain that level.

  • As a junior artist or junior actor, you would become a senior actor after gaining experience.
  • A TV actor may get a chance to work in films based on their talent and skills.
  • After many years of experience, a film actor may continue their journey as a Director/Producer.
  • Some of you might open your schools or colleges to teach acting and drama.

Employment opportunities for an actor are expected to grow as the domestic film industry produces the most number of movies in the World. Also, with the fastest growing services of cable and satellite with increased usage of 3G and 4G along with portable devices, it would lead to the growth of the Television and Film industry. Other factors include rising of regional cinema, digitalization, growth of multiplexes, and increasing income of people would drive the growth of the entertainment industry and more opportunities for actors. Though, small and medium-sized theatres and performing arts companies might face a decline in demand.

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