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Actor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Actors Career Video

Plays parts in stage, television, radio, video, motion picture productions, or other settings for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interprets serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Performing Arts pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Studies and rehearses roles from scripts to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed.
  • Works closely with directors, other actors, and playwrights to find the interpretation most suited to the role.
  • Learns about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other to develop role interpretations.
  • Collaborates with other actors as part of an ensemble.
  • Performs humorous and serious interpretations of emotions, actions, and situations, using body movements, facial expressions, and gestures.
  • Attends auditions and casting calls to audition for roles.
  • Portrays and interprets roles, using speech, gestures, and body movements, to entertain, inform, or instruct radio, film, television, or live audiences.
  • Works with other crew members responsible for lighting, costumes, make-up, and props.
  • Sings or dances during dramatic or comedic performances.
  • Promotes productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Overnight travel
  • Overtime work
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Acting Teacher -- Trains students in interpretation of scripts, speech, movement and dramatic theory.
  • Actor Understudy -- Learns an actor’s role and performs in the event the actor is unavailable. May also work as a member of the backstage running crew or be cast in a minor role.
  • Illusionist -- Performs sleight-of-hand tricks or other kinds of illusion.
  • Impersonator -- Skilled at copying the manner or expression of another person.