Actors, producers, and directors create dramatic presentations for media like theater, film, television, and radio. Actors read and perform the drama, directors arrange the performance, and producers handle the business of the presentation. All of these professions are extremely competitive and require persistence and patience. They are appropriate for men and women who love the arts and have a good work ethic.
Everyone knows what an actor is, but many people would be surprised to find out how much of the profession takes place outside of the spotlight.
Actors must take excellent care of their bodies, and indeed must often change their appearance in order to portray a role.
Taking on a difficult role can require an actor to research and study for a long period.
Many actors say that the psychological toll of the profession is the greatest.
The work of a director is likewise challenging.
Directors take a script and translate it into a performance.
A director must consider every aspect of the show, from costumes to lighting to the way the lines will be spoken.
The director must select the cast and handle the rehearsals. The credit or blame for a performance is usually given to the director.
A performance must be funded, of course, and so it requires a producer.
The producer finds investors and ensures that a performance will have all of the resources it needs to succeed.
A producer stands to gain or lose a great deal of money based on how the production is received.
There are no specific credentials required to enter this field. However, many actors earn bachelor’s and even master’s degrees in their craft. The coursework for an acting student usually includes playwriting, stage design, and an intense focus on technical aspects of performance. More important, however, is to gain as much experience as possible in productions. Aspiring actors usually begin by taking small roles for very little money. Over time, actors develop their skills and build up a network of contacts, both of which factors contribute to better jobs.
Producers, meanwhile, rarely begin their careers with this job title in mind. Indeed, many of the most successful producers began as actors, screenwriters, or business managers. Working in a theater or motion picture company is good training for would-be producers. It is also useful to acquire some formal education in areas like business and arts management.
The path for directors is similarly free-form. Many directors go to film school, where they learn about the history and techniques of television and motion picture production. However, other directors have found success simply by studying on their own and making informal productions. Almost all directors started by making short films for very little money.
It is difficult to describe the earnings of actors, producers, and directors with any precision. Obviously, those who have become household names in television and film production make extremely high salaries. Actors tend to move from project to project, and so their wages are tracked by the hour. For all actors, the average hourly wage is about $16.50. Those who work for performing arts companies make a little bit less, and those who work in the motion picture and video industries make quite a bit more. Of course, many actors struggle to maintain full-time employment year-round. Most acting projects only last a few months at the very most.
Producers and directors are more likely to be full-time employees of a particular studio or other business. As such, their annual income can be tracked. On average, producers and directors make $65,000 a year. Wages are considerably higher in the motion picture and video industries, and a bit less in radio and television broadcasting.
The demand for actors, producers, and directors will increase along with general economic growth. Most industry analysts predict that there will be more demand for American-made television programs and films worldwide, which will increase the market for actors, producers, and directors. In addition, some of these professionals will find good work in emerging forms of media, like mobile phone or online production. If the economy is strong, the box office receipts for theaters should remain strong.
Despite these optimistic predictions, many men and women will be driven from acting, producing, and directing by the intense competition for jobs. Making it in this business requires almost superhuman persistence, and even the most diligent job seekers may lack the talent to survive. Large population centers provide the best chance of success for individuals in these fields.