Actors and actresses are the embodiment of any film or theatre production - theirs is the public face, which represents many others' work and efforts: they present a visual interpretation of the script. They embody the people with their story with all emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, love, pain. They are happy or cry, are scheming or good-natured, gentle or disgusting. They make the life story, the social and personal habits visible through speech, body language and movement.

They work with the Director to create believable, natural characters expressing the appropriate emotions, based on the Scriptwriter's words, but built upon in order to convince the audience of their veracity. Some work may require the actor to devise a character or improvise the reactions of a character to a situation. Part of it is the textual work and to read up on the social and historical background of the role. Very important for the work of film actors is the changing of camera settings, which is tried in acoustic rehearsals. An actor should be able to depict human emotions in a convincing manner while at the same time memorising lines and technical instructions. Work varies enormously, from live stage performances of the classics and community theatre to soap operas, radio work and film parts. Work activities vary from actor to actor and even for the same actor, depending on the contract.

Narrators addresses directly to the viewer, revealing to them a part or the entire story that is unfolding in the film. Presenters are comparable to narrators however; they appear on screen and talk directly to the camera. It is essential to realize that, on average, actors spend about 80% of their working life 'resting' (i.e. not employed as an actor), so it is important to have other ways of being occupied and generating an income.

Aspiring performers should study speech, voice, pantomime, dance and movement, period styles, improvisation, and a variety of other skills like fencing, juggling, or playing a musical instrument. A knowledge of theatre history and of play and film production is important. Courses in psychology may also be helpful. In general, the more training and practical experience an actor has, the wider the range of employment possibilities.

Job/task description

  • Explore and carry out research for some roles
  • Prepare for and attend upcoming auditions
  • Learn lines for upcoming roles and retain their meaning and inflection
  • Give the film character a face
  • Performing for a live audience
  • Performing in a studio or 'on location' for film, television, internet and radio broadcast
  • Create artistic views by means of scenic drama: speech, visage, movement, feelings
  • Suspend own personality and step into the skin of the character
  • Portray the range of human emotions in a convincing way
  • Memorize technical instructions
  • Discussing interpretation and delivery with other members of the company and the director
  • Liaising with an agent
  • Doing voice-overs for advertisements or recording audio books
  • Managing the performance area, costumes and props
  • Liaising with venue managers and accommodation providers
  • Keeping records for company managers
  • Must be aware of the professional etiquette and traditions of working on film sets and locations.