How to be an Actor or Actress ?

Yashwant Kale Career Guidance Leave a Comment

A career in acting is the dream of many a young girl or boy who has visions of becoming a film star, stage actor, acting in advertisements, or in television serials and reality shows. The profession is glamorous and has scope to turn the talented performers into much sought after social icons.

Industry prospects

The Indian entertainment industry is one of the largest in the world with estimated revenues of US$ 17.50 billion in the year 2015;
Revenues are projected to reach the astronomical figure of US$ 100 billion by the year 2025;
Television is the largest segment and, with growth of 13.20%, revenues touched Rs.60,000/- crore in the year 2015


An educational qualification is not essential for becoming an actor. However, a course in acting would help in case you wish to pursue the option of becoming a film or TV serial critic or enter the educational field for teaching in a college or institute. In the educational sphere, acting is yet to acquire mainstream status. Generally, Short Term and Certificate Courses are for 3 to 6 months and Diploma Courses – 1 year to 2 years. A B.A. in Arts and Drama takes 3 years. These courses cost anywhere between Rs.35,000/- to Rs.1,50,000/- depending upon the type of course and the standing of the college / institute.

Leading institutes and colleges

i. Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune – 1-year Post Graduate Courses in Feature Films Screenplay Writing (films), Direction (TV), Electronic Cinematography (TV), Video Editing (TV), Sound Recording and TV Engineering (TV); 2-years Post Graduate Courses in Acting and Direction; 3-years Post Graduate Courses in Film Direction, Editing, Cinematography and Audiography; and 1 ½ years Certificate Course in Computer Graphics and Animation;
ii. National School of Drama (NSD), New Delhi offers Diplomas in Classical Indian Drama, Modern Indian Drama, World Drama, Voice and Speech, Mime and Movement;
iii. The Barry John Acting Studio offers Certificate Course in Acting (week-end) and Diplomas in Acting and Film Arts. The studio also organizes customized film workshops;
iv. Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Mumbai offers 3 months full time Diplomas and 1 month part time Certificate Courses and personalized training programmes;
v. Whistling Woods International, Mumbai offers Certificate, Diploma and Degree Courses in Screenwriting, Editing, Direction, Acting, Production, Animation, Visual Effects and Sound. Degree courses available are B.Sc. in Film Making, B.Sc. in Digital Film Making, BBA (Media and Communication), MBA (Media and Entertainment);
vi. Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT), Noida offers Diplomas in Acting for Film and Television, Acting and Presentation, Visual Effects, Camera and Lighting Techniques, Multimedia, Electronic Media, and Post Production; B.Sc. (Cinema), B,Sc.(Electronic Media), B,Sc. (Multimedia Production), B.A. (Film and TV Screenwriting), B.A. (Film Production), BBA (Media and Entertainment), M.Sc. (Multimedia), M.Sc.(Cinema), M.Sc. (Cinema Direction), M.Sc.(Cinema Sound Recording), M.Sc. (Cinematography), M.Sc.(Cinema Post Production), Post Graduate Diplomas in Multimedia, Electronic Media, Cinema, Media and Entertainment, and Film and TV Production; Certificate Courses in Screenplay Writing, Camera and Lighting Techniques, Sound Recording and Radio Production, Video Editing and Sound Recording, Production and Direction, and TV Graphics and Animation;
vii. Zee Institute of Media Arts (ZIMA), Mumbai offers Certificate Courses in Acting, Cinematography, Ad Film Making, Executive Production, Direction, Script Writing, Editing, Sound Engineering, Voicing and TV Presentation, and Bachelors and Masters degrees in Film Making;
viii. Centre for Research in Art of Film and Television (CRAFT), New Delhi offers 3 months course in Acting and Modeling, 1 year courses on Non-Linear Film and Video Editing, Cinematography, Sound Recording and Audio Engineering, and Film Direction;
ix. R.K. Film and Media Academy, New Delhi offers Diploma and Certificate Courses in Film Acting, Non-Linear Video Editing with Special Effects and Animation, Sound Recording and Dubbing, and Anchoring and Boradcasting.

Job profile

There are multifarious roles that could be played in the industry. These include the primary role of actor / actress, supporting roles, villain, crown scene actor, and junior artiste. Aside of the mainstream industry, other options include anchoring, advertising actor roles, compering or hosting a chat show, TV serials and reality shows. The work is extremely demanding. Directors are known to have several takes before canning a shot. Drama rehearsals are also extremely exacting as the director looks for perfection. Unlike in films, there is no possibility of a re-take in theatre performances. Rehearsals of drama scenes and film shoots can take place at odd hours. Film shooting can also be dangerous depending upon the scene and may require travel to either scenic or inhospitable locations.

Employment Skills

Clarity of speech and good voice throw (20%);
Expressive body language, ace language and gestures (30%);
Imagination, visualization and emotional displays (25%);
Ability to sing and dance (15%);
Improvisation and imitation skills (10%)

Prospective Employers

The bulk of the employment opportunities are from film studios, TV production houses and advertising companies.

Leading Employers

The leading employers in this field are:
i. Mukta Arts;
ii. Star TV;
iii. Balaji Telefilms;
iv. UTV Software Communications Limited;
v. Pritish Nandy Communications;
vi. Reliance Big Entertainment;
vii. Saregama India Limited;
viii. R.K. Films;
ix. Cinevista;
x. Yashraj Films;
xi. Sahara One Media and Entertainment;
xii. Viacom 18 Motion Pictures;
xiii. Dharma Productions;
xiv. Rajshri Productions;
xv. Shree Ashtavinayak Cine Vision Limited

Compensation Packages

A first time actor in a TV show can expect to earn anywhere between Rs.2,000/- to Rs.10,000/- per episode depending upon his calibre and the production house with which he strikes the deal. With experience, a TV actor could command between Rs.20,000/- to Rs.2,00,000/- per episode depending upon his career history, popularity and negotiation skills.

Pluses and minuses

i. Excellent compensation packages for talented performers;
ii. You can perform as long as you are in good health. There is no retirement age;
iii. Popularity could make you easily recognizable and enhance your status in society;

i. Work schedules are usually very demanding. There is little or no time for personal life;
ii. Your life is constantly intruded upon by media;
iii. There is tremendous, almost cut-throat, competition

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