Actor Job Description | Youth Central

Robert, 21

What does an actor do?

Simply put, an actor is a performer who provides entertainment for others. This entertainment can be delivered in various forms, like dance, theatre, pantomime, musical theatre, television programs or commercials, web productions, voice acting, and feature and short films.

Where do you work? Who do you work for?

Robert usually works for various directors around Victoria. He has been heavily involved with a theatre company called The Hartwell Players. He is working towards getting an agent as he gains more experience and professional credits.

Why did you decide to become an actor?

"I don't know why exactly I decided to become an actor," Robert says. For him, acting and the performing arts have always been a part of who he is. When Robert was five years old he had his first foray into musical theatre in his primary school production. "I've loved it ever since," he recalls.

How did you become an actor?

"It always felt like the natural thing to do," Robert explains. "I was always in the school productions throughout primary and secondary school. I always jumped at the opportunity to audition for short films that my friends were putting together."

Robert "sadly never had the opportunity" when he was younger to be "one of those child actors" because his family wanted him to focus on his studies.

However, since coming of age and doing his own thing, Robert has found that a majority of his work has stemmed from an online casting agency which was recommended to him by a friend.

What do you like best about being an actor?

Aside from the fact that acting is Robert’s passion, there are a few other reasons he loves doing it. "What I like about my job, or any acting job, is meeting new people," Robert explains, "and the challenge of putting together a new show full of energy and passion, no matter which performance night it is or no matter how many takes we've done of the same scene."

What's the hardest thing about being an actor?

Some actors or performers will say that the learning of lines, or memorising choreography, or training to sing a song is the hardest part of their job.

"I agree that memorising and training are hard!" Robert says. "For me, though, the hardest part will always be walking away from an enjoyable role, saying goodbye to the cast and crew, and hanging up the costume one last time."

What does a typical working day involve?

A typical day for Robert will usually involve him arriving on set, heading to the dressing room and then going around and greeting the director, cast and crew.

Robert then gets into costume, applies hair and make-up as required, then warms up. Robert then works with his co-stars and the rest of the crew to rehearse with the director before either going to take (if it's a film/short film) or running the show, incorporating any new ideas or scene structures they come up with while they work the rough edges out.

Once they finish for the day, he'll get changed out of his costume, bid farewell to the director, cast and crew and go home for the day pumped and ready to return when the time comes.

What sort of skills do you need to do your job?

The sorts of skills needed for a job are dependent on the production. For example, a comedy would need comedic timing and improvisation skills, whereas a drama would require subtle emotional delivery and a generally natural performance.

As with any job you need to have people skills. Reading comprehension, the ability to remember lines, the ability to sound natural and believable while portraying a three-dimensional character (even if the writing isn't that good) who can be empathised with - these are all skills needed to be a good actor.

What kind of skills have you learned from doing this job?

"I take so much away from every single job that I've ever been involved in," Robert explains. "I always take away improved skills, new networking opportunities, and an always reinvigorated passion for the performing arts."

What advice do you have for people thinking about doing this job?

"My advice to people looking to be involved in the performing arts is to get training and be sure this is something that you want to do," says Robert.

He suggests that you should never feel like you have to change your body to fit the "acting shape" - actors and performers come in all shapes and sizes. He recommends playing to your strengths and auditioning for as many roles as possible.

When it comes to watching other people perform, Robert recommends trying not to restrict yourself to Australian, British or American content only.

"Quite often, international films will have some of the most genuine performances in the world that are a dream to expose yourself to, like Japanese, German, French or Korean film."

Finally, whenever you walk into an audition, Robert suggests that you always have a character prepared to show the casting panel. This way you're prepared and able to put your best foot forward.

"You should also never ever give up after a single turning down at an audition," Robert adds. "Instead, take away what didn't work and move forward to the next job or audition."

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