A Career in Acting

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Aspiring actresses face frequent rejections in auditions and long periods of unemployment; competition for roles is often intense. While formal training is helpful, experience and talent are more important for success in this field. Because of erratic employment, earnings for actresses are relatively low.
Although most people associate actresses, directors, and producers with the screens of Hollywood or stages of Broadway, these workers are more likely to be found in a local theatre, television studio, circus, or comedy club. Actresses, directors, and producers include workers as diverse as narrators; clowns; comedians; acrobats; jugglers; stunt, rodeo, and aquatic performers; casting, stage, news, sports, and public service directors; production, stage, and artist and repertoire managers; and producers and their assistants. In essence, actresses, directors, and producers express ideas and create images in theaters, film, radio, television, and a variety of other media. They make the words come alive for their audiences.
Actresses entertain and communicate with people through their interpretation of dramatic roles. However, only a few actresses ever achieve recognition as stars—whether on stage, in motion pictures, or on television. A few others are well known, experienced performers, who frequently are cast in supporting roles. Most actresses struggle for a toehold in the profession and pick up parts wherever they can. Although actresses often prefer a certain type of role, experience is so important to success in this field that even established actresses continue to accept small roles, including commercials and product endorsements. Other actresses work as background performers, or "extras," with small parts and no lines to deliver; still others work for theater companies, teaching acting courses to the public.
Directors interpret plays or scripts. In addition, they audition and select cast members, conduct rehearsals, and direct the work of the cast and crew. Directors’ use their knowledge of acting, voice, and movement to achieve the best possible performance, and they usually approve the scenery, costumes, choreography, and music. Producers are entrepreneurs. They select plays or scripts, arrange financing, and decide on the size, cost, and content of a production. They hire directors, principal members of the cast, and key production staff members. Producers also negotiate contracts with artistic personnel, often in accordance with collective bargaining agreements. Producers work on a project from beginning to end, coordinating the activities of writers, directors, managers, and other personnel. Increasingly, producers who work on motion pictures must have a working knowledge of the new technology needed to create special effects.
Acting demands patience and total commitment, because actresses are often rejected in auditions and must endure long periods of unemployment between jobs.

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