What Qualifications Do You Need to Be an Actor?
Whether on stage, in a movie or as a voice on the screen, acting can be a difficult career. The benefits of this profession--including the income--are exciting, but there there are many hurdles you'll need to consider. Sustaining yourself as an actor requires some specific qualifications, both innate and acquired.
Appearing before any audience, or even a camera, requires a certain measure of extroversion, or an outgoing nature. While being an extrovert is an innate trait for some, for most people it is a cultivated skill. In fact, many actors have learned to turn their extroversion on and off. Even Marlon Brando, listed on the American Film Institute's 50 "America's Greatest Legends" list for male actor, struggled with the camera. Extroversion is learned through the process of repeated trial and error. Many actors learn this skill by getting involved in their high school plays or by joining local theater groups. If mainstream options are not available in your area, learn to be extroverted by talking to strangers, attending improvisational acting courses and taking acting lessons.
Acting is one of the most competitive professions to enter. Being competitive may mean working when you are sick, taking parts you may not like, and most of all taking multiple rejections in stride.
Actors must cultivate complete emotional control. While acting requires the learning of dialogue and performing different facial expressions, if the emotion behind the lines or the faces is wrong or not present, the audience will not respond. Emotional control is a learned skill and different actors use different techniques. Some people find that meditating or performing mental clarity exercises help them empty their own emotions, making room for the character’s, while others simply stay “in character” during the entire time they have the part.
While exercises can help you prepare to emote, emotional control is best learned in a professional acting class taught by a seasoned actor.
Sean Russell has been writing since 1999 and has contributed to several magazines, including "Spin" and "Art Nouveau." When not writing, Sean helps maintain community gardens in Silver Lake and Echo Park, California. Russell also worked extensively on the restoration and rejuvenation of public parks in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi after damage from 2004-2005 hurricanes.