Actor

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Agent - Business Manager (Culture, Music & Performing Arts)

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Artistic and CreativeSkill level 1Skill level 2Skill level 3
Skill level 4Skill level 5

Actors portray roles in both live and recorded or filmed productions. In the live performance area, an actor may perform in theatre, opera or variety. In the recorded medium, an actor may perform roles in Future Growth Strong theatre, film, radio, television, commercials, webisodes, mobisodes or other material distributed via the internet.

Actors use speech and body language to play characters in live and filmed performances. They must do a lot of preparation before a performance. They must read scripts and research subject matter,memorise lines, perfect characterisation and hone acting techniques.

Actors may perform in centuries-old tragedies for live theatre, contemporary drama in television and film, and much more. Many require other skills for their performances, such as singing or dancing. All actors work to entertain, engage and make people ‘think’ by using performance.

Alternative names: Also known as Film Star, Movie Star and Performer.

Specialisations: Mime Artist, Voice-over Artist.

Actor on stage

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • determination

  • self-confidence

  • good memory

  • stamina to perform at peak level

  • ability to cope with changing situations.

 

Duties and Tasks

You may be acting alone or as part of a cast of actors. This will depend on the production. Your performance is just a small part of the work.

Actors may perform the following tasks:

  • study scripts, learn a part and interpret the role through speech, gesture and various other performance skills

  • attend auditions for parts in productions, performing prepared or improvised pieces

  • rehearse parts by memorising lines, cues and movements

  • undertake extensive research for certain roles and productions

  • under the guidance of a director, act the part of a film, television, stage or radio character in front of live audiences, cameras or microphones

  • attend costume fittings

  • sing and dance when a script or role requires it.

  • preparing for and going to auditions

  • contacting actors’ agents and finding the next job.

Actors need a great deal of patience and commitment, as most productions require long rehearsal schedules and many hours of memorising lines outside the rehearsal periods.

As an actor you will need to become familiar with your own lines and those of other cast members so that your timing is right. You will also need to understand stage positioning so that you are in the right position on set/stage during the production. You will normally work with other professionals such as make-up artists, camera operators and directors.

Some roles may require you to work with the director and other cast members to interpret the script. This involves using your voice and expression to portray different emotions. It could even include deciding how the character will look and behave. You will also need to very adaptable as you could be asked to play a number of different characters with different personalities.

In smaller theatre companies, other tasks such as administration duties, publicity and staging the performance may be part of the role.

Working conditions

Actors work in varying conditions, depending on the work they are doing. Some work in designated performance spaces like theatres, concert halls, and television or film studios. Others may work outside, sometimes in harsh weather conditions. Rehearsals tend to be repetitive and multiple takes are often required in both television and film. Contact with the public is necessary for actors who perform in front of live audiences. Many are required to travel for work, and may be away from home for long periods of time. Work can often be stressful due to strict deadlines, and the high expectations of audiences and directors.

Tools and technologies

Actors use stage and studio props, which can differ between performances. These range from everyday objects, to other devices created specifically for a production. Sometimes they may use voice-amplifying equipment like microphones. Actors are frequently required to wear costumes and make-up, which can completely change an actor’s appearance.

Les Miserables
(Source: Daily Review)

Education and training/entrance requirements

You can work as an actor without formal qualifications. There are courses available that specialise in acting and it is advisable to undertake some formal training to improve your chances of gaining employment. Acceptance into formal courses is generally closely linked to your acting ability and interest, demonstrated by prior experience and/or an audition piece.

The Certificate IV in Aboriginal Theatre and Diplomas in Acting, Screen Performance, Musical Theatre and Aboriginal Performance are offered at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

You may like to consider a VOC qualification in acting, performing arts, music theatre or theatre and screen performance. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

You can also become an actor by completing a degree in acting, drama, performing arts, music theatre or theatre studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12 with English. Competition for places is strong, and an audition, practical test or interview may be required. A number of institutions in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Institutions have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Playschool
(Source: ABC Playschool)

Additional Information

Each November, the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) conduct auditions in most states and territories for their courses. Contact NIDA or WAAPA for further details and application forms. The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) usually holds auditions in November and early December. Contact VCA for more information.

Employment Opportunities

To be successful as an actor, you will need to gain recognition from industry contacts, such as casting consultants and theatre, film, television and radio producers. Most employment for actors in Australia is provided by theatre companies, firms producing television programmes, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, advertising agencies making television and radio commercials, and film companies. Most actors move from one medium or type of work to another as opportunities arise.
There may be times when work is easy to find, or when there is a part in a long-term production. At other times, work may be scarce and actors may be out of work for some time. As a result, they may not be able to count on a regular income from acting. Most professional actors hire a talent agent or management agency to represent them and to help find them employment. Actors often have to support themselves between assignments with alternative employment. They sometimes form groups and produce their own work.
Factors that affect demand for an actor's services include the number and type of films, television programmes and stage shows being produced; the level of government, private and corporate funding; and the quality of the individual's work and reputation within the industry.

 

Did You Know?



Mia Wasikowska
Mia's website

Mia Wasikowska (1989 to present) is an Australian actress who was born and raised in Canberra, Australia.

When Mia was 9 she was a promising ballet student, however, due to an injury her dreams of becoming a professional dancer faded when she quit at age 14. Mia then turned her focus towards acting as acting explores imperfections of life and people and she wanted to explore these real life issues through acting.

Mia landed her first role in the movie Suburban Mayhem in 2006 and broke through the acting market in 2010 when she was cast as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.
(Source: IMDb)

Mia Wasikowska - Screen Test
https://youtu.be/7X_gjhZNGaI



Mia Wasikowska: Career in Four Minutes
https://youtu.be/7A-FbbtuaKo



Agent or Business Manager
Leisure and Entertainment

 

Service or Persuading Clerical or OrganisingArtistic or CreativeSkill Level 4Skill Level 5
Skill Level 6

Agents or business managers represent and promote artists, performers, and professional athletes in negotiations with current or prospective partners or employers. They handle contracts, tours and other business matters for clients. Future Growth Strong

Agents are the absolute charmers who represent actors, television presenters, authors, scriptwriters, directors, producers, musicians, voice-over artists, singers, models and other professionals in the entertainment industry.

Acting as a liaison between talented individuals and casting directors, film studios, production companies, ad agencies and photographers, agents help their clients to build a successful career in the entertainment industry.

Essentially, talent agents use their knowledge and network of contacts to promote the talented people on their client roster to different film studios, record labels, production companies, theatre companies and other organisations in the entertainment industry. They also negotiate financial deals and contract terms on behalf of their clients.

Agents put in the legwork to make things happen: arranging auditions, submitting headshots, show reels, demos, comp cards and portfolios, and generally spending time on the phone and attending meetings to strike deals and promote their clients to potential employers.

Networking is a huge part of an agent’s job, which means attending swanky parties and other events. Every job has its perks!

Agents also spend a lot of time scouting for fresh talent, which means attending gigs, going to shows and tracking down new, exciting performers.

Finally, agents act as mentors to their clients, offering advice and guidance on decisions that will potentially change their career, e.g. taking certain jobs or not.

When offering advice like this, agents must be honest and make sure that the credibility and reputation of the artist is taken into account, even when there is the potential for massive financial gain.

Agent Business Manager
(Source: Daily Mail)

Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become a business manager or agent, you would need:

  • exceptional communication abilities

  • strong negotiation skills

  • financial management capability

  • organisational and time management skills

  • thorough familiarity with, and an interest in, the sports or form of arts for which you represent clients.

Duties and Tasks

Agents or business managers:

  • collect fees, commissions, or other payments, according to contract terms
  • discuss strategies with clients for their careers, and explain actions taken on their behalf
  • develop networks of individuals and organisations, and use these contacts to ensure client success
  • book promotional media slots or performances for clients
  • negotiate with managers, promoters, or media companies regarding clients' contractual rights and obligations
  • follow industry trends and deals.

 

Working conditions

Talent agents tend to work long and unsociable hours. Agents thrive on networking opportunities. Therefore, you may be required to schmooze with potential clients in the evenings and at weekends.
You may also be required to travel, both domestically and internationally, on a regular basis.

Your working week may vary. You might generally work standard office hours although you may often need to be flexible, for example to attend performances or speak to contacts in other time zones.

You would be office-based, but would often need to travel to meetings and events. If you represented major clients you could travel internationally. The work can be stressful, as there is strong competition to win and keep the best clients.

You might work in a management agency, or be self-employed, with your own clients in your area of expertise.



Education and training/entrance requirements

There are no specific academic requirements for entry into this industry. However, it may help if you have an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as PR, marketing, business studies, management studies, law, performing arts or economics.

A bachelor's degree with a concentration in business, accounting or sports administration usually is a basic requirement to start a job as a business manager or agent. Often, a master's degree or extensive experience is preferred.

Most people get their foot in the door via an internship and then by working as an agent’s assistant.

The majority of your training will be done on-the-job, and it’s likely that you will be dropped in at the deep end. You will either sink or swim.

If you are able to work with a rising star, it can be a quick route to the top; if not, you will need to prove you have consistently good judgment in the clients you choose and you must provide a steady stream of work for them.

Artist representation and management is full of confident people who have a mastery of communication in all forms. If you can understand the needs of your clients and you have top notch communication skills you will be in a great position to go far in this line of work.

Many successful agents go freelance once they have gained sufficient experience and have established a long list of industry contacts. You might even start your own talent agency and employ other agents to work for you.


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