Studies & Degrees in Acting
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Acting Study Programs
Acting involves the playing and portraying of various roles in live and filmed productions, such as movies, theatre plays, opera, or variety. An actor can also participate in radio or commercials.
Usually actors have to attend an audition to earn a part in a certain production, and this often involves researching and preparing for the role they are auditioning for. Once they get a job, actors have to study the script and interpret the role they are given through the use of speech, gesture, and other performing skills. For more complicated roles, actors may need to gain new skills like dancing, martial arts, etc; this can also involve extensive research and additional training while filming or preparing the production. Finally, actors need to memorize a good amount of text, often combined with specific gestures and mimics.
Acting is often accompanied by an artistic nature and an inborn talent to re-create speech and characters. You would also need to have a very patient personality – not only is it a difficult task to earn jobs, but once you land a role in a production, you have to rehearse and repeat your lines many times in order to reach the final result. Here is a list of additional qualities:
- Commitment and discipline
- Excellent memory
- Self-confidence and determination
- Remain calm under pressure
- Good physical condition
To be an actor, you do not necessarily need a degree or any other special education. It is quite possible that you get discovered while pursuing a career in singing or modeling. Still, if you wish to dedicate yourself to acting, it would be a good move to do a major in a degree such as theatrical arts, or undergo some form of intensive training.
Most successful actors have started with attending drama classes in high school, participating in plays and other school productions, such as musicals or concerts. You could also concentrate on studying literature, getting familiar with different texts and plays. Furthermore, most universities offer drama and theatrical classes or courses as part of their ‘activities’, so you could definitely do that while studying Psychology, or Literature, for example. Last but not least, there are certain colleges (i.e. Julliard in New York) with an exceptional reputation for the training programs they provide in disciplines like Bachelor or Master of Fine Arts degrees.
The career path that would most probably turn out successful for you would be to undergo intensive training, and then research talent agencies that can represent you in the professional acting world. Others decide to directly move to big cities like Los Angeles or New York, auditioning for a great variety of roles, and probably even undertaking another job until they manage to gain success in a major play, movie, or production.
Overall, as we already discussed, a great deal of patience and commitment is required for actors while pursuing various roles. You can always start by working for a small dinner theatre, for an improvisational comedy troupe, participate in commercials, or try to get a role in a major Broadway production. The paths are very diverse, and there definitely is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer.