How to become an Actor- A step-by-step Guide with education, skills, and colleges.

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Have you tried putting vermillion on your forehead and said “Ek chutki sindoor ki kimat tum kya jaano ramesh babu?” Have you answered your friend when they asked “tumhare pass kya hai?” with “Mere paas Maa hai”? When faced with challenges of life have you said “All izz Well” to your heart? 

I did too. Growing up, almost all of us have dreamt about becoming an Actor/Actress. Dressing up with our Mom’s dupatta, getting our hair and makeup done, trying out the action scenes with our siblings/friends, trying the hero entry. And if you are in India, it is impossible for you to not get influenced by Bollywood. 

But unlike me (who just ended my acting career before really getting into the field), very few people have actually made it in the industry. This is because becoming an Actor/Actress requires a lot of patience. And it is usually very difficult to get information about how to become an Actor compared to other careers.

This is exactly what we don’t want you to suffer from and hinder your journey into Acting as a career
Hence, in this blog, you will be provided with information on how to become an Actor, the education path you can pursue, the skills you need to become an Actor, the earning capacity, and much more. 

Who is an Actor? 

An Actor is the one who acts right? Duh! But there is a lot that happens in the background. 

Many young actors/Actresses think that an actor pretends to be the character. We even say “Stop acting” when we see someone faking something. However, in reality, an Actor should not pretend.

An Actor’s job is to live the character truly and genuinely to experience their pain, excitement, joy, and anger, and portray this convincingly to the audience. 

Learn more: How to become a Celebrity Manager

How to become an Actor? [4 Step Guide]

Step 1: Stream to Choose 

Unlike a scientist, who requires a BSc/MSc/Ph.D., Actors don’t usually need a degree to get a job. Thus, you can choose any stream that you might like studying. Humanities prove to be a good choice simply because of the people you might be surrounded by with similar interests and passions

Step 2: Certificate Courses and Project Courses

Enrolling in a few online courses by Alison, Udemy or any other vocational course providers will allow you to see if Acting is the correct choice for you. With the help of such courses, you may more rapidly determine your preferences. Additionally, there are no prerequisites for these courses, so you can enroll in them after your tenth grade as well:

Certificate Course Duration 
How does Acting Industry work 1.5-3 hours 
Acting Industry basics 1 hour 
Exploring Movie Construction and Production1.5-3 hours 
Acting 101 for adults 7 hours 
How to book Acting jobs 3 hours 
The complete Acting Course 5 hours 
Acting made easy: Perfecting your audition speech 39 mins 

Step 3: Educational Qualifications 

How to become An Actor after the 12th?  

A) Undergraduate/ Diploma programs in India to become an Actor:

Although to get a job as an Actor, a degree is not mandatory, great actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Manoj Bajpayee, Amitabh Bacchan, etc. of them have gone to Acting schools. Thus getting formally trained is a good way to start your acting career. 

You can opt for a conventional college degree or a degree from an acting school. The name of the degree might be the same. However, the environment of education parted will differ. Names of the courses that you can check out include: 

Undergraduate CourseDuration 
B.A. in Acting 3 Years
BMM (Bachelors of Mass Media)3 Years
Bachelors of Fine Arts 3 Years 
B.A. in Mass Communication 3 Years 

You can even opt for a Diploma/Certificate Course if you want to start early. Here are some colleges that offer diploma courses: 

Diploma CourseInstitute Duration 
Diploma in Acting Actor Prepares 3 Months 
Diploma in Acting -Fasttrack Indian Academy of Dramatic Arts 6 Months 
Diploma in Acting- Intensive Indian Academy of Dramatic Arts 1 Year 
Certificate in Acting Livewires- The Media Institute4 Months 
Certificate Program in Acting Institute of Creative Excellence, Kolkata3 Months 
Diploma in Acting Roshan Taneja School of Acting4 Months 
Acting Program Mumbai Digital Films Academy3 Months- 1Year 

Also read: How to become a Film Director – A complete educational guide

B) Top Colleges/ Acting Institutes in India: 

  • Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
  • Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares – Mumbai
  • National School of Drama, Delhi: 
  • Barry John Acting Studio – Mumbai
  • Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute – Kolkata
  • Asian Academy of Film and Television
  • Whistling Woods International
  •  Ramesh Sippy Academy of Cinema and Entertainment
  • Zee Institute of Media and Arts
  • Centre for Research in Arts, Film, and Television   

A) Undergraduate/ Certificate programs abroad to become an actor: 

Acting abroad also has similar criteria. No specific degree is required. However, some of the degrees that might help include the following: 

Undergraduate Degree Estimated Duration 
B.A. (Hons) In Acting 3-4 Years 
B.A. (Hons) Screen Acting 2 Years 
B.A. (Hons) in theatre and Performance 3 Years 
Bachelor of Fine Arts 3-4 Years 
B.A In Theatre and Dance 3-4 years 

The name of these courses or duration may differ depending on the country you apply to. You can also opt for diploma/Certificate courses if you don’t want to invest so many years. Some of them that you should check out include: 

Diploma Courses Institute offering the course Duration 
Diploma in Acting for Screen and Stage Fanshawe College, Canada 60 weeks 
Acting for Media Program George Brown College, Canada 2 year 
Certificate in Acting Essential Vancouver Film School, Canada 4 Months 
Diploma of Screen and Media: Acting for Film New York Film Academy, Australia 1 Year 
Acting for Film, TV, and Theatre Diploma Toronto Film School, Canada 18 months 
Foundation course in ActingRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art, UK 6 months 

B) Top Colleges/ Acting Institutes abroad: 

  • Carnegie-Mellon School of Drama
  • The David Geffen School of Drama 
  • UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television 
  • East 15 Acting School
  • NYU Tisch School of the Arts 
  • London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
  • Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
  • The Juilliard School 
  • USC School of Dramatic Arts
  •  Northwestern University

Step 4: Job preparation required to become an Actor 

After getting formally trained, it’s time to present yourself in different ways, depending on the role. Here are some tips that might help you to bag your first role: 

  1. Prepare your headshots and acting resume: 

Casting directors usually ask for headshots and resumes before they call you for an audition. These two determine your first impressions and your personal brand and therefore should be selected very carefully. Headshots are 8’X 10’ colour photographs with clearly visible faces and an Acting resume should contain relevant information about yourself in a one-page format. 

  1. Get some experience: 

Local theatres are a great place to begin as a fresher. These experiences teach you about how to face an audience, the kind of synergy that is created between co-stars, the backstage chaos, and improvising on the spot. Learning the fundamentals of lighting, costume design, script writing, direction, etc., is another advantage. 

Auditions is all part of how to become an Actor
Be prepared to face such situations. (wink emoji) 
Source
  1. Keep going for Auditions: 

Actors like Vicky Kaushal used to carry a pair of formal clothes, traditional clothes, and a trimmer, during their audition journey.  Depending on the character requirements he would change the look and then give his audition. Therefore, be mindful that the process of Auditioning is tiring and will require a lot of hard work and patience.

  1. Hire an Agent:

As you move from your acting gigs to an actual job and have the resources to invest, you can hire an agent. These agents will help you in connecting with big production houses and better projects

Skills required to become an Actor 

  • Listening 
  • Communication 
  • Memorization 
  • Script Analysis 
  • Body Control 
  • Voice control 
  • Resilience 

Salary of an Actor 

Salary of an Actor in India

The most volatile industry in terms of pay is the acting industry. This is because a lot depends on the kind of role you get cast for, which production house it is, whether is it a new show or an ongoing show, how much budget the film has, and how much experience you have in the industry. 

On average, a fresh actor can make up to 3,60,000/ year. With a few years of experience, you can expect to get 5,00,000/ year. And once you have your place made in the industry, you know there is no cap. 

TV Actors like Kapil Sharma earn around 1 cr per week. Hina Khan and other such actresses charge around 2 lakhs per episode. On the other hand, film actors like Akshay Kumar charge a whopping 135 crores per film. 

Salary Abroad for an Actor 

Even abroad the situation is the same. Earnings for an actor do not have a cap. But an overview of the starting salary that you can expect to earn is provided in the following table: 

Country USA UK Canada Australia South Korea ChinaIreland Spain 
Entry-level salary per year $36,897£21,392 $30,713$62,571 ₩43,027,831¥195,620€45,96234.587 €.

Top Recruiters in India

  • Yash Raj Films 
  • UTV Motion Pictures 
  • Eros International 
  • Dharma Productions 
  • Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd.
  • Vinod Chopra Productions 
  • Balaji Motion Pictures  
  • Rajashri Productions 

Top Recruiters Abroad 

  • Universal Studios 
  • Walt Disney Company 
  • SAG-AFTRA 
  • Universal Orlando Resort 
  • Freemantle Media 
  • Merlin Entertainments 
  • Creative Artists Agency 
  • Central Casting 

Acting is a serious job. Everyone who aspires to be an Actor is deeply passionate about their art. Though it is misunderstood to be a glamorous profession, it does require a lot of patience and hard work. I hope the information provided will help you to make a choice about your career. 

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FAQs related to how to become an Actor: 

How do I get into acting with no experience?

Most Actors do not have any experience in acting before they bag their first gig. However, they do get trained, join a local theatre, get their headshots and resumes ready, and go to various auditions every week. 

Is it hard to become an actor?

Definitely! Like any other job, acting is hard with a lot of rejections on the way. However, if you are passionate and determined, it becomes a slightly easier process- at least mentally. 

What is the salary of an actor?

Depending on a lot of factors, the average salary can be anywhere around 3-12 lakhs per month. With experience, it keeps increasing. 

What is the best age to start acting?

There is no particular age set to start acting. However, empirical data suggests that most actors get their major roles between the ages of 30-39. 

Can you start acting at 18?

There is no age bar in acting. So yes, if you are good, then why not? 

What education do actors need?

There are no mandatory subject combinations that you need to have for acting. However, formal training is helpful in getting you more opportunities to network and audition for the role.

Is acting a good career?

It is definitely the most high-paying and lucrative career option if you are good in your art. If you love meeting new people and learning new skills, it is a good career. 

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Not so sure of Acting as a Career? Check this blog out and get all the information required on how to become an Actor- education, skills, salary- in India and Abroad.
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