According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018 there were 64,500 jobs available for actors. While that might make it sound like you’ve got a great shot and living your dream of being a highly paid actor, the reality is, the median hourly wage was just over $17.50 in May of 2018. Becoming rich and famous as an actor is something that you’ll probably have to work hard for if you hope to beat the odds and the competition.
One of the most important factors, other than luck, is skill, which means you’ll need to be willing to put in the effort to become the best possible actor you can for a shot at achieving your goal.
Observation is key to improving your acting skills, which simply means doing lots of people watching. You’ll need to be a good observer of human behavior to recreate it up on stage. Pay close attention to friends, family, and strangers. Visit sidewalk cafes, parks, and anywhere else people tend to gather. Keep notes of various habits and eccentricities that you might be able to mimic when playing different characters.
Another important part of observing is watching other actors. When was the last time you went to a play? If you want to be a good actor and you’re not watching plays, films, and television, you need to start now. It’s a must to engage with the industry, learning from those with experience. Perhaps you’ll even mind a mentor by searching the term “actors near me” – while you may not connect with a Benedict Cumberbatch or Charlize Theron, you might be surprised at the wide range of talent right in your hometown.
Voice is key for any actor. It needs to be flexible enough to embody any character that you’re asked to take on. Can you play someone who speaks fast? Can you play someone who talks down to people in a pretentious way? Your voice can unlock a world of possibilities with all sorts of ways to bring characters to life. The more diversified your vocal talent, the more roles, and the more varied roles you’re likely to land. Try reading out loud, and often. Everything from poems and short stories to plays and novels. The more you do it, the more confident you’ll be – a huge help when it comes to boosting cold reading audition skills.
Acting as often as you can is the best way to become a better actor, taking every opportunity to perform. Like any skill, improving your ability is similar to a muscle that must be exercised in order to grow. Practice monologues to get better at character study, memorization and auditioning; learn them well and then get anyone and everyone you can to watch you at work. There’s really no other way to refine acting techniques than by doing, from monologues and workshops to plays, films, and television. Always be open to learning – there is no actor who can achieve total perfection.