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Actor: tasks, training, salary + application

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Standing on the big stage, taking part in series or films in the cinema - Friedrich Schiller already spoke of the boards that mean the world and even today, being an actor is a profession with great fascination. However, few actors achieve wealth and fame. For some, acting is more of a breadless art, but it doesn't slow down passion and enthusiasm. Do you want to pursue a career as an actor and do not allow yourself to be put off by possible obstacles? Then we will show you here which paths can lead to acting, what to expect and what opportunities there are on the job market ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Actor duties

As an actor, you bring a role to life and present it on stage or in front of the camera. You have to put yourself in the shoes of the role, portray its character and learn a lot by heart. While individual scenes are shot on television and then edited together, in the theater the entire play runs from beginning to end: You must therefore know your entire text and, for the most part, the entrances of your fellow actors at all times. This is the only way to know when it's your turn again. Rehearsing, practicing and repeating the role is therefore part of the actor's job. Again and again you go through scenes and passages with your colleagues or prepare yourself for the performance.

That can be very varied, when actors slip into different roles. However, as a stage actor, you may find yourself taking on a role over the long term, playing exactly the same thing over the course of months at every performance. In addition, flexibility is an important part of the job description. When you accept a new offer, production is rarely in your home town. Maybe filming will take place in a different city or country. Or the theater you are hiring at is far away. If you are firmly rooted in one place and do not want to travel or move, it is difficult as an actor.

Actor jobs

Actor training

The requirements for training as an actor are very different, as they are not regulated by law. That means: On the one hand, this profession is suitable for career changers. On the other hand, many actors put their skills on a solid foundation and you should have the talent for that. Without that, you will hardly pass the entrance exam for one of the numerous drama schools. There, the film, television, theater and musical protagonists of tomorrow are prepared for work on the stage and in front of the camera.

A middle school leaving certificate is usually required for this, however, the requirements can vary depending on the school and training. For some courses you need a university entrance qualification. You should therefore always check at an early stage which requirements you have to meet. Experience from acting groups or already existing acting lessons is usually important. You should also have a rough idea of ​​the direction in which your future career should go - do you see yourself more as an actor in the theater or on television? The training to become an actor contains corresponding focal points in order to prepare the mimes for the various tasks and challenges. The knowledge and skills that aspiring actors learn in their training include:

  • Camerawork
  • Stage work
  • Play (etude and improvisation)
  • Classical dance
  • Artistic dance
  • Singing, music and choir
  • Speech technique and language training
  • Coaching

During the training you will learn about different areas and techniques of acting. However, it is a school-based training that lasts four years in total. Above all, this means that you will not receive any training allowance during this time. A long time without income, during which you have to pay additional school fees. To improve their financial situation, many would-be actors have part-time jobs. You should also check whether you are eligible for BAföG.

Actor salary

The salary range for actors is as wide as it gets. The ranges are similar to those of politicians. Everyone knows the big stars from Hollywood who make millions with every film and also series actors who get a fortune for every episode. However, there is also the other extreme among actors. In the apprenticeship there is no salary at all, afterwards the payment depends on which roles you get. Actors in public theaters are covered by a collective agreement, but the starting fee is only 1,800 euros gross. That's not a lot, but at least a steady income.

Those who do not get such a permanent position as an actor have to accept various assignments and earn several salaries. It depends on experience and the role itself. Those who get a leading role can expect up to 900 euros gross per day, small supporting roles and extras, on the other hand, have to be content with significantly less and sometimes only get 60 to 80 euros per day.

80 euros per day corresponds to an hourly wage of just 10 euros. However, you should not forget that you are a freelancer - from these ten euros, social security contributions as for the health insurance (usually the artists' social insurance) are deducted. In addition, if an actor is only booked for three days, numerous jobs per month are required to get a good salary. And this is exactly where a great difficulty lies.

Actor Jobs: Career Opportunities + Prospects

Many actors dream of making a name for themselves and being asked for important projects, films or performances. However, the reality is very different for most. Unfortunately, competition and disappointments are part of everyday life. Thousands of candidates apply for coveted apprenticeships and roles. If only a single role is awarded, thousands of actors will also be rejected.

The market is hugeThere are many talents among the actors. As an actor, you work as a freelancer. It is up to you to find your next engagement - even as an ensemble member in the theater, the employment is usually limited to one season. Success mainly depends on these factors:

  • Perseverance
    To be successful as an actor, you will need to go to tons of auditions and auditions. This requires great persistence and a high tolerance for frustration. Not everyone can handle receiving rejections on a regular basis.
  • luck
    Sometimes it takes a bit of luck to find the right role, to serve as a stepping stone or to make the right contacts. Because vitamin B can also be of great help in an actor's career.

In this profession, a lot depends on attractiveness, so older actors and actresses in particular often have to struggle. Many therefore develop a second mainstay and, in addition to acting, also work as voice actors. Sometimes they work as directors in theater, film and television productions themselves. Others take on a teaching position as a lecturer at universities.

Application as an actor: tips + templates

Applying as an actor differs in some areas from the process in other jobs. Especially in your later professional life, you do not submit traditional application documents, but apply with an audition or receive new roles through contacts, recommendations and your reputation.

However, if you want to train to be an actor, you have to apply for it - correctly, in order to receive one of the coveted places at the state drama schools. Only around six percent of applicants each year get a place. In order for you to be one of the chosen ones, there are a few things to consider.

Pay special attention to the requirements. The minimum age is often 17 years, but some schools also require you to be of legal age. To apply, you must submit an application with various documents such as your curriculum vitae and your last school report. Schools ask for a classic letter of application less often; instead, interested parties register for an aptitude test.

If you are invited, you will not expect a typical interview. Rather, most drama schools want to see what they're made of. You will be given acting tasks in advance for which you should prepare. For example, you should play a classic theater role and show a modern role. Since actors have to put themselves in the shoes of many roles, you should show here how changeable you are. These selection processes run over several stages in which you have to prove yourself.

Free templates with sample text

Benefit from our free templates to the application letter. You can download these individually as a Word file by clicking on "Cover letter", "Cover sheet" or "CV" - or as a complete application set by clicking on the preview image. You will then receive all three Word templates combined in one zip file.

➠ Template / sample: cover letter, cover sheet, curriculum vitae

Application templates: 120+ free samples
Use our other professional designs and free application templates to apply. More than 120 professional templates for CV, cover letter and cover sheet as WORD files including sample texts can be found here:

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