What does a Movie Actor do?

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  • Written By: Cassie L. Damewood
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Images By: David Stuart, 1950Sunlimited, Warren Goldswain, Jilt, Oneinchpunch
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2019
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A movie actor portrays different characters in films. His role may require him to be humorous, serious or a combination of the two. His ability to play a wide range of parts generally increases his success in the industry. The roles he plays may be large or small, shot in a studio or require him to travel to remote locations.

A career as a movie actor is typically a difficult one. It is traditionally known as a fickle job that offers fame and accolades one day and venomous criticism the next. The tiny percentage of actors who make a decent living practicing their craft customarily warn others considering the profession to choose another job.

The path to acting in movies is normally hard and long. It often begins with roles in high school, college and community theater productions. A person who desires to become a movie actor generally migrates to Hollywood, California, where many movies are conceived and produced. It is often considered an obligatory destination for aspiring actors.

A common approach to this career is to study acting, get an agent and land a small role in a successful film. The plan is normally to use that small role as a stepping-stone to larger roles and ultimately be cast as a leading man and “discovered” by a producer or director. Subsequent to being discovered, an aspiring actor typically hopes he will be steadily employed as a legitimate actor.


When this plan generally fails to develop as intended, a movie actor is often compelled to use his talents elsewhere. He may work as a movie extra, which means he will probably not have a speaking part and will be paid minimum wage or lower. Exploring opportunities in television is sometimes seen as an alternative, as is working as an actor in commercials or modeling for print ads.

To be a successful movie actor takes more than talent and a well-connected agent. He must be unwavering in his desire to succeed and be persistent in the face of repeated rejection. Working long hours and having his life dictated by schedules imposed by others are typically commonplace for an actor.

A movie actor ordinarily has professional training as well as a college degree. He may have a bachelor’s degree in theater arts, music, acting or another artistic concentration as well as specialized training at an acting school. Another common educational resource used by an actor is one-on-one training with an acting coach. Acting experience normally carries more weight than education for a person who desires a career in this field.


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Post 4

Best advice is to be an extra in a major movie as they will pay you well and if you are on set for a few days, then it's well worth it. If you have special skills, like being able to ride a horse, etc., you will get more money.

Casting directors hire people in three ways: 1 They employ extras casting agents to provide extras from their database. 2. They have an open casting close to the actual location of the shoot. 3. They send out casting breakdowns (who they need for the shoot) via companies. Good luck.

Post 3

I cannot believe some of the money that actors make for each movie they do. Twenty, thirty million, sometimes even more. I know that they have special skills and that if you want Brad Pitt there is only one Brad Pitt, but still, lets be realistic guys. All these people do is smile into cameras and look pretty. What kind of society are we living in where we feel like this kind of work deserves premium compensation? I am all for artists, but lets give the big bucks to thinkers, inventors and humanitarians, people who actually make the world better instead of just making popcorn taste good.

Post 2

I would love to be an actor in films but I have to be honest, I am not the best looking guy. My hair is thinning, I have had a paunch all my life and I am definitely on the south side of 6 feet tall. I am no George Clooney.

But I know that there are other kinds of roles. Hollywood may be mostly about beautiful people but it is not all beautiful people. There have been all kinds of average and even ugly looking guys that have made it in Hollywood, or that have at least found work. How do I position myself to make my own success? How does an ugly guy get noticed in Hollywood?

Post 1

My brother has acted in several movies but you would probably consider him a D list actor or below. All of his movies have been very,low budget and they have been seen by very few people besides friends, family and festival audiences. By and large they were small productions made by friends and distributed in very limited runs.

Still, he was the star of a few of them and he has a page on IMDB with real credits on it. He is not exactly your leading man type, there was never any real hope that these movies would lead to gigs out in Hollywood. Still, he is in rare company. How many people can claim to have stared in a movie before?

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