Acting is a profession, which calls out to a person. It has the interpretation of an author’s work and its communication to an audience. Actors play parts or roles in dramatic productions on stage, in films (motion pictures) or on television or radio. They impersonate or portray, characters by speech, gesture, and song and dance.
Stories of the hardships and struggles an acting career entails can never dampen the enthusiasm of the real actor or actress. Such a person has to be in front of an audience and just cannot be happy.
Nature Of Work
Acting is an intensely competitive field. More than in any other, it is in acting that the demand is really insignificant in proportion to the supply. Luck of all kinds plays a major role in establishing a person in this profession. To be known to the right agent/producer/director/talent scout at the right time under favourable circumstances is as being talented.
Actors typically work long, irregular hours sometimes under adverse weather conditions that may exist “on location”. Evening work is a regular feature of a stage actor’s life. Flawless performance requires tedious memorising of lines and repetitive rehearsals.
Despite its obvious drawbacks, the work is uniquely satisfying and few actors would contemplate doing anything else. People usually enter this career out of a love and desire for acting. The urge to perform is something you are born with and if you have it you will not be put off by warnings about overcrowding in the acting world, the cutthroat competition and the precariousness of the life.
Actors have to contend with the heat of stage or studio lights, often heavy costumes and make-up, extreme weather conditions ‘on location’.
On television, actors are usually expected to deliver a good performance with very little preparation.
Acting has been called n up-and-down profession both where employment and emotions are concerned. It is the memory of the ‘up moments’ that kept keeps most people in the profession.
The workplace is usually chaotic, but once you understand how things move, you adjust to it and evolve your own way of dealing with the environment.
Physical and Psychological Requirements
Outstanding acting talent with a ‘stage’ personality is a natural pre-requisite. Other important attributes for the profession are good health; an iron constitution; innate grace; coordinated movements with a good sense of rhythm; an arresting countenance rather than beauty or balance of features. They should possess a good memory to help them learn lines quickly. A high degree of imagination and sensitivity to get the ‘feel’ of a role and to interpret it; versatility; abundant self-confidence; lots of energy; unbounded enthusiasm are other useful qualities. Aspirants should have the resilience to ounce back from trying times and the harsh criticism from colleagues, producers, directors, mentors and critics. An aptitude for dancing and singing; a good, well-modulated voice with proper diction and intonation could be the ‘icing on the cake’.
Entry into the profession is through various channels.
If you happen to move in the right social or professional environment, even as an untrained aspirant you may get noticed by interested parties. A mentor in the world of theater, film or television may be able to obtain a call for an audition for an untrained beginner.
Significant amateur performances in local events (college/school/ university/ cultural) may lead to a talented potential actor getting an opening. There are absolutely no guarantees of such things happening in every aspirant’s life and even if they do, it may not lead to a sustained tenure in the profession at all.
Modeling is a popular mode of entry into the acting world. Many of our actors and actresses have gained entry into film and television work by being noticed on the modeling sense. The requirements of modelling and acting are not really identical but the element of a ‘stage’ personality, a good sense of rhythm, being photogenic, an arresting face and figure, poise and professionalism are noticeable and important traits which lead to offers of acting assignments. After that it is up to the individual to acquire or develop other important trains, show interest, motivation and gain acceptance from the audience.
Complete exposure, training and education in acting are possible through degree/diploma courses n drama/acting available in the country in many important universities and institutes. Such courses are available or approached through aptitude tests, provided the candidate fulfils the minimum educational requirements.
Educational requirements for these acting/drama courses are successful completion of the Plus Two or equivalent level of education. A good command over language is essential, preferably Hindi and English or regional languages and English or Hindi. In certain cases, admission into the Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA) is after matriculation.
Full-time formal acting courses normally last 2 to 5 years depending upon the level of entry.
Admission is through audition, interview and aptitude testing. Previous participation in drama productions at the school level and/or with amateur organised groups is either preferred or a prerequisite depending upon the institution.
The entrance test may include a written component to assess an applicant’s knowledge and awareness of the world of theatre, films, television, as well as his/her power of expression in a language. The practical component of the aptitude test would call for an oral analysis o plays provided, enactment of dramatic passages, display of skill in dancing, singing, playing of instruments, yoga, etc.
These are indication to help you to be mentally prepared for the selection to drama courses. While a formal course is helpful to understand and study techniques, refine skills and learn the ropes of the profession, it is in the actual workspace that real education starts.
During the course students are trained in voice production, diction, movement, mime, verse-speaking, play analysis and play construction techniques for the various media. Initially this background work is given more emphasis than actual acting. Later on in the course more time is spent on acting and stagecraft such as stage designing, scene painting and carpentry, scenery changing, light designing and set designing. Students are trained in the art of makeup and also learn about different types of drama and acting techniques. Those who plan to do a full-time course should endure that the course provides a good blend of theory and practical training.
Although one can learn the techniques of acting, star quality possessed by great performers cannot be acquired.
Prospects are not very bright expect for the exceptionally talented and lucky few. The sudden invasion of the satellite television network, however, has widened opportunities significantly. Our film industry is also a very big one. Recently there has been a noticeable revival of interest in theatre too. Innumerable opportunities exist but the number of aspirants is so high that there are very few who are well established and have good luck and timing are so important, that there is little point in trying to give an idea of salaries.
Those who are able to make a place for themselves are generously compensated – this is a major attraction for aspirants.
Many of our talented actors/actresses who could or could not become big names have diversified from acting to comparing for shows, contests, awards ceremonies, anchoring and hosting television shows and film-oriented entertainment programmes as well as anchoring even educational programmes and have been highly successful and popular. Some have gone into direction, production, coaching or celebrity management.
In acting growth or existence of opportunities does not mean much since there are always many more actors than are roles whether in theatre, television, films or radio.
The imitation or basic development of a character for presentation to an audience often seems like a glamorous and fairly easy job. In reality, it is demanding, tiring work requiring a special talent and to be contemplated by those who fell they could not possibly be happy doing anything else.
Being an over crowded profession almost all actors require a second source of income.
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), 62 Gower Street, London WC1E 6ED
The Central School of Speech and Drama,
The Embassy Theatre, 64 Eton Avenue, London NW3 3HY
The British Film Institute, 21 Stephen Street, London W1p 2LN, www.bfi.org.uk
National Council For Drama Training, 5 Tavistock Place, London WC1 9SS
Screen Actors Guild, 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90036-3600
American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – Screen Actors Guild.
4340 East-West Hwy., Suite 204, Bethesda, MD 20814-4411
National Association of Schools of Theater; 11250Roger Bacon Dr., Suite 21, Reston VA 22090
LIST OF TRAINING INSTITUTIONS
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University,
Maharashtra [estd. 1958]
Fax: (0240) 334291
Cable: Marathsity Aurangabad
BD 3 years duration
Also: Certificate and Diploma course in Dramatics
Film and TV Institute of Tamilnadu,
1 year Acting
After Pass in Secondary School Leaving Certificate/equivalent examination with eligibility for admission to Plus Two.
University of Hyderabad
P.O. Central University
Hyderabad 500046 [estd. 1974]
2-years MPA in Theatre Arts
After graduation in related subject
Andhra Pradesh [estd. 1918]
1-year PG Diploma in Theatre Arts
After graduation with 40%; having knowledge of Telugu and Stage Experience
University of Rajasthan,
Rajasthan [estd. 1947]
Fax: (0141) 511799
4-years BFA in Dramatics
Certificate in Dramatics
PG Diploma in Dramatics
After Plus Two
After Plus Two
Aimed at Graduates
Faculty of Fine Art,
Rabindra Bharati University
Emerald Bower Campus
56/A, B.T. Road,
West Bengal [estd. 1962]
Phone: 25568079, 255673028
3-years BA Hons in Drama
2-years Spl Hons course in Drama
2-years MA in Drama
After Plus Two/HSC
After BA (Pass)
After BA Hons in Drama
Bhartendu Academy of Dramatic Arts (autonomous Training Institute, Dept. of Culture, Govt. of U.P)
A-2/58, Vishal Khand 2,
2-years full time Diploma Course in Dramatic Arts Professional Training in Theatre
(i) Graduate from a recognised university
(ii) Good knowledge of Hindi and English
(iii) Minimum 2 years experience of active theatrical work of acting in least five plays/direction of two plays/back-stage work in three plays, familiarity with dramatic literature having read at least ten Indian full-length plays
(iv) Age limit: 1-35 years
Ashok Kumar Academy of Dramatic Arts,
Mumbai [contact 47 Union Park, Cembur 400071]
Different courses for adults and children
Children-no specific qualification required.
For adults: 12th pass unless exceptionally talented.
University of Mysore,
Karnataka [estd. 1916]
Phone: 421555, 420677
Diploma in Film Acting
2-years Diploma in Dramatics
National School of Drama,
New Delhi 10001
3-years BA Hons in Dramatic Arts;
Seats: 20, unreserved for SC/ST
(i) Graduation in any subject from a recognised university in India
(ii) Participation in at least 10 productions
(iii) Working knowledge of Hindi & English
(iv) Between 18-30 years (upper age limit relaxable by 5 years for SC/ST candidates)
Sound health with medical fitness certificate from the NSD doctor and insurance people is one of the important prerequisites and preconditions for admission since the training provided here is rigorous and demands physical hard work to acquire professionalism.
Selection: Preliminary Test usually conducted at Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi.
Candidates qualifying in this test have to attend a Workshop of 3-5 days in the NSD premises for their final selection.
Payable: DA, II class train/bus fare from residence to Delhi and back by shortest route.
Rs 2000 as Monthly scholarship to all selected students.
Imago Acting School,
3 months full-time Diploma course
Part-time Certificate Course
Asian Academy of Film & Television,
Marwah Studio Complex,
FC-14/15, Film City, Sector-16A,
3 month Acting & Presentation
Pondicherry 605014 [estd. 1985]
Phone: 655177, 655184
After class Xth
Jyoti Vihar, Burla,
Sambalpur 768019 [estd. 1967]
5-years BA in Drama
Faculty of Performing Art, M.S University of Baroda Opp. Drug laboratory, Shastry Bridge Road, Fatehganj,
Gujrat [estd. 1949]
MPA in Dramatics
MPA in Acting & Direction
After 12th Standard (HSC) and aptitude test
After BPA in Dramatics