How do you become an actor

How do I become an actor?

also known as actor, stage artist, performer

As an actor, you slip into different roles and try to embody the characters you play as credibly as possible. Your goal is to entertain the audience in the theater, cinema or in front of the TV, but also to touch them and convey your message. Depending on the genre and format, very different demands are made on you - be it on stage or in front of the camera. From comedy to drama to action, in advertising videos, musicals or even feature films - anything is possible in this job. As a rule, you work as a freelance artist from production to production and from piece to piece. There are very few permanent seats, for example in a theater ensemble. These are therefore in great demand and often fiercely contested. Because there are usually a lot of applicants for one place. Both on stage and on set you are always surrounded by a team. In the theater, for example, this consists of lighting technicians, prompts, stage designers and, in television productions, camera operators, stuntmen, make-up artists and many more. If you have a passion for acting and are ready to follow stage directions, but also to improvise imaginatively at the right time, then this profession is the right one for you.


Recommended training


Further training

Direction, dramaturgy

Important school subjects

Music, history, German, art, English

Actor / actress

51% / 49%

Working as an actor

Important skills as an actor

In this job you have to be committed to the cause and show perseverance by practicing texts and scenes independently and being willing to repeat them as often as necessary while shooting. You should approach the matter confidently, but also with the necessary self-discipline. In particular, you must always have your own emotions under control. Because only if you are emotionally flexible and know how to use your voice, facial expressions and gestures consciously, will your acting become authentic. Ideally, you will be able to fully immerse yourself in one role. In addition to the character and behavior of your figure, you should also be interested in contexts and (e.g. historical) background knowledge. "Behind the scenes" it is up to you to demonstrate communication and teamwork skills when it comes to developing a role and the world in which it plays with the director and your entire team, so that the audience can immerse themselves in it. You can do this in a creative, imaginative way with the necessary improvisation skills. As a freelance artist you can usually only plan from one production to the next and usually have to acquire your jobs yourself, self-marketing, time management and willingness to travel are additional important skills in the acting profession.

Important hard skills

Language skills

Important soft skills

ReliabilityTime managementImaginative skillsTeam abilityStress resistanceLinguistic skillsSelf-assured demeanorSelf-marketingSelf-relianceSelf-assuranceSelf-consciousnessRhetorical skillsOrganizational skillsOpennessCreativityPhysical fitnessConcentration skillsCommunicativityIntercultural skillsPatienceFlexibilityEntertainaEngagementCharismFlexibilityEntertainerEngagementCharismFlexibilityEntertainerEngagementCharism

How do I become an actor?

The term “actor” is not protected as a professional title and is not associated with any legally required training. Nevertheless, there are acting schools and some of them enjoy a very high reputation. A distinction is made between state and private (partly state-recognized) drama schools, such as art colleges, technical academies or vocational schools. Graduates from state educational institutions tend to have greater opportunities on the labor market. The standard period of study here is often eight semesters. Studies such as theater, film and literary studies are closely related to the professional field. In addition to drama school, another way to learn to act is through private tuition. However, the hours can be very expensive. A special feature of this profession: Among the actors there are also many lateral entrants who, for example, in addition to studying or working as a hobby, start to play in an amateur theater or in acting groups in a small group and thereby learn. Building on your acting experience, you can train yourself in the areas of directing or dramaturgy or scenic writing, in order to write and / or stage plays yourself. The advantage here is that, based on your own professional experience, you can put yourself in the shoes of your actors in order to develop scenes together and implement them authentically.

High school diploma may be admission requirements for drama schools

  • Drama schools (standard period of study often 8 semesters, sometimes still diploma):
    State school (art colleges, technical academies, vocational schools)
    Private school (vocational school, technical academy - training centers partially recognized by the state)
  • Private acting lessons (e.g. individually with lecturers)
  • University studies helpful (e.g. theater, film, literary studies)

Advanced training and specializations

Specialization in, for example

  • Singing / musical
  • Dance / choreography
  • Movie
  • watch TV

Future prospects as an actor

The culture and entertainment industry is very popular. Some young people locate their dream job here. However, only some manage to realize their plans and gain a professional foothold. Since theater productions always have a limited playing time and film projects are usually completed as quickly as possible, as an actor you have to expect fixed-term or one-off contracts. In addition to acting, however, there are other possibilities: You can work as a speaker on the radio, for example, directly for film production companies or artist and advertising agencies. Networks are the be-all and end-all in this job. Often one learns about projects through personal contacts and thus comes to new roles. To get involved, you have to be able to sell yourself very well - self-expression and self-promotion are a key to success. A broad repertoire also increases your chances. Because it is not uncommon for you to be expected to dance, sing or play instruments and be athletic at the same time. Ideally, you will be able to stand out from the crowd with your special talent or skills.