Actors entertain and communicate with people through their interpretation of dramatic roles. Actors often prefer a certain type of role—whether on stage, in motion pictures, or on television—and experience is very important to success in this field. Even established actors continue to accept small roles, including commercials and product endorsements.
Drama curricula usually include courses in liberal arts, stage speech and movement, directing, playwriting, play production, design, and the history of the drama, as well as practical courses in acting. Students will have opportunities to gain experience in productions both on and off campus, depending where they attend school.
On-campus activities and productions provide you with not only a chance to meet new people, but also build your portfolio and learn from the experiences.
Depending where you decide to obtain your degree, there can also be opportunities for you to gain acting or directing experience within the community. Local theater companies, children’s theater and workshops, and other performances provide you with opportunities to perform with or direct actors who have more or less experience than you and gives you the chance to experience a variety of audiences.
A large number of employment opportunities on stage are in New York and other large cities, many of which have established professional regional theaters. Employment in motion pictures and films for television is centered in Hollywood and New York City; however, small studios are located throughout the country.
Actors can work as extras, in theater companies, and as teachers who teach acting courses to the public. In summer, stock companies in suburban and resort areas also provide employment. Actors, directors, and producers can find work on cruise lines and in amusement parks. In addition, many cities have small nonprofit professional companies such as small theaters, repertory companies, and dinner theaters, which provide opportunities for local amateur talent as well as for professional entertainers.