physical |

expressive |

people orientated |

variety in work tasks |

irregular hours |

prefer working in a team |


casual |

intermediate |

mid level |

senior |

Business Types: 

animation |

audio |

education |

film |

gaming |

performing arts |

radio |

What You'll Get?

Contract and hours:

Money is variable and acting roles can vary in length from one day to several months depending on the role. You will have to be prepared to work evenings, weekends, bank holidays and can be away from home for periods of time.


Most of the British film and TV is made under a union agreement and productions pay at minimum rates from Equity. This is the same with theatre. Acting in TV commercials gets you higher one-off payments, ranging from £2-£4K for well-known brands. In Film and TV, daily rates vary depending on the profile and number of episodes and can range from £220 - £600 minimum. In theatre, usually based on a weekly rate and can range from £497 - £712 plus will get touring allowance and subsistence.

What Would You Do?

As an actor your role is to entertain people by performing as a character in a story, on stage before a live theatre audience or on film, television, or radio. You will use your voice and expression to show certain emotions, mannerisms, and traits of the character you are playing. You will work collaboratively with directors, writers and other performers to develop and refine your performance. A lot of the time you will be working in a studio or theatre, but you may work outdoors, on location on a shoot or from a recording booth doing voiceovers for animation and video games. You are your own boss and need to be proactive looking for work, doing research, attending auditions, and keeping your skills and techniques up to date.

Tasks and responsibilities:

  • Memorising lines and cues and being prepared to adapt to changes to the script and blocking during rehearsals.

  • Studying the script and doing further research of the time period or cultural context of the production to better understand your character’s motivation and behaviour.

  • Preparing for and attending auditions, in-person, and self-tape auditions.

  • Rehearsing lines and working out physical movements with other actors in each scene.

What You'll Need?

Skills and abilities:

Excellent reading, movement, improvisation, and memorisation skills; adaptability; ability to work well with others; persistent and determined; acts on their own initiative and is imaginative.

There is no set entry route to become an actor, but it is recommended to do formal recognised training and there are courses in performing arts, drama and theatre or speech and drama.

What Can You Achieve?

Acting is competitive and it is typically harder to get steady work and salary. It is common for there to be long periods between roles and must be prepared to take on other work to supplement your income. This is a profession that requires you to deal with a level of uncertainty and will require patience and perseverance. It's important not to remember to take it personally; it isn’t necessarily a reflection of your ability as an actor if you don’t get the role.

Where Do These Jobs Exist?

You can look for jobs yourself and most roles are posted on the online platform Spotlight which casting professional’s use. If you are not represented by an agent, it is possible for you to approach the casting director directly. An agent will put you forward for roles, and send you targeted casting submissions.

How To Apply?

You will need professional actor photographs, and a showreel of work when applying for roles. You can be invited for an in-person audition or more commonly now required to submit a self-tape audition for a part. Usually you are only given a 3-day turn-around, and will be provided with a couple of scenes, and a bit of context from the casting director and must decide how to interpret the character from this information. The questions you need to consider in preparation for an audition, are: who am I? where am I? what do I want? and what’s stopping me from getting what I want? You will also think about who else may be in the scene with you. You will need a tripod, 2 light boxes, camera holder and smart phone to record a self-tape properly.

What Else Can You Do?

Acting is competitive so is worth developing your skills by joining amateur, community, or youth theatre, taking part in student drama festivals and competitions, and join an agency to get work as an ‘extra’ for films and TV shows. Also, worth working on accents by yourself, as regional accents are becoming more sought after, and it's important to have a good RP accent and general US one too. It's important to keep up to date, and watch TV shows, films, and theatre performances and determine who is good and why, and take note of the director, and the casting director’s name. This sort of information helps when you come to look for work.

Find external links here for more careers support