By Aliah Teclaw

What is an Actor or Actress?

An actor or actress is someone who performs in plays, musicals, movies, comedy skits, etc. The basics of being an actress include having the talent to act, having a desirable passion for acting, and being able to kiss some butt to get what you want. In the industry of acting, you have at least some kind of talent to make it through the business. You also have to have a thick skin because you will get rejected a lot.

A Hillary Christmas - SNL

About Me!

My name is Aliah, I am 15 years old and I attend Joliet West High School. I've bee inspired to be an actress since I was in 7th grade participating in speech team. I was doing comedic acting and I found a love for it. I got praised for my skill and I’m always trying to make someone laugh by being silly. I believe that I’m a good fit for this career because I love to act and I’m very confident when it comes to performing in front of audiences. I’ve been performing with dance since I was 5, and it’s not that scary or terrifying now that I’m used to it. I’ve also been in three musical productions which really showed off my skills as an actor and I was a part of speech team for three years and plan on joining speech team again next year. My hobby of dance does connect with my career because dance really branches out to many forms of music and theater. With my dancing experience, it really helped me out with my confidence to be on stage and to express myself in different ways.

Research on My Career

The acting business is no joke what so ever. Being an actor on a movie or TV show seems glamorous, but those people who you see on big screen, had to go through a lot to get what they want. Sounds weird right? But that's the real world unfortunately. You need to have the thick skin to not only handle being rejected a bunch of times, but to deal others who do get what they want, even if they don't deserve it. And you also need to learn how to communicate with others. If you know a lot of people in the industry, the better chance you’ll have at getting a part in a play, musical, movie, production, etc. And when it comes to this job you have to keep on trying and never give up in order to become strong in your career. In the magazine article, “Presenting Yourself in the Industry”, it explains “‘Even those actors with talent, training, and experience are finding that it's not enough,' notes Stark. ‘Actors need personality and marketing skills in a way that they never did before.' 'Years ago,' she continues, 'actors who had agents were taken care of by those agents. Agents had fewer clients and were hands-on in a way that they no longer are. They represent more clients and face more demands on their time, which means actors have to be more prepared than ever. They have to be able to present and promote themselves and many of them don't have any idea of how to do that.' Adds Binder, 'Even those actors who come out of the conservatory-especially those actors-have absolutely no idea of the business. And that background is really necessary today.' “(Horwitz 1). This quote explains that you need to have be theatrical outside of the stage. The clients of agents used to have the agents find them gigs for them to perform at. Now that a lot more people want to be actors, there’s a lot more politics to be played and the new and upcoming actors have to fit things for themselves now. The life of an actor isn’t easy and this is one of the hardships you have to go through which I am willing to take. Show biz changes the type of person you are, in good and bad ways.

Actors can make a lot of money, but sometimes, they can make nothing at all. It depends on what kind of job you get or if you get any job at all. The income of a full time actor can be very high or nothing at all. Starting actors obviously don’t get a high pay check right when they get a part. You have work your way up the ladder to success, so actors would honestly start out with $17.57. And then once you get bigger parts, work in better venues, it will probably go to $37.28. So money wise, yes, it will be a struggle. But actors who love what they do, will go through anything to live the dream. In the statistic “27-2011 Actors” they said, “Employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation. Employment: $59,210, employment RSE: 11%, mean hourly wage: $37.28, mean annual wage: 4, Wage RSE: 6.3” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1). This quote shows what the estimates are for the average actor in different forms. This gives me a good idea of my earing will be once I graduate high school. The income of actors is low but can grow over time if you work hard at your job.

The education of an actor is very different from your average class. In high school, a good start is to take the original drama class. Take that for four or three years of high school and that should give you a lot before college. There also speech where you compete against schools in your area. You perform skits, monologues, duet acting, group acting, improv, etc. to help with your acting skills. There’s also school plays, and musicals which you participate in, which can prepare you for performing in front of live audiences. There’s a lot opportunities for you at high school. After high school, I’m looking for a college who will teach the little details about acting that makes an actor for great to outstanding. In a normal class like math or history, you’re always going to be given facts. But with drama and acting, it can go anywhere. The possibilities are endless. So there is a lot of training to be done in high school and college. In the article, “MOMENTS OF TRUTH” Miller explained, " 'One thing Juilliard really helped me with was understanding that long passages cannot be a speech-it has to be a joy for him to say, like a delicious meal," he says, adding that the Meisner technique he learned from Bill Esper further refined that idea. "The other person is the most important person in the scene. So even though you've got all those sentences, you can't just play the punctuation the way it looks on the page. You are looking at the other person for a reaction; you want what you are saying to have an effect on him.' “(Miller 1). This is a statement from a student from the top notch performing arts school, Juilliard. He explains how they teach the students to treat everything you read important. It’s a great skill to have as an actor and one I intend to learn one day. Training to become a great actress takes a lot more than most think and high school activities can prepare you for that future you choose to have.

Source List

Horwitz, Simi. "Presenting Yourself in the Industry." Back Stage. 01 Oct. 2004: 30. eLibrary. Web. 15 Jan. 2016. This source explains how casting directors and agents are comparing type of actors. The lazy types, the only prepared types, the impassioned prepared types and the just passion types. Giving the reader a clear view of kind of actors are in the world. This will help my project because it tells me a little more of what casting directors and agents want. And having that will most definitively help me with this project.

Konhiem, Orrin. "How to Get on Saturday Night Live." Mental Floss. N.p., 21 Sept. 2012. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. I love this source because I want to become an actor, but I want to become a comedic actor on Saturday Night Live. That is my ultimate goal in life and this article talks about how the cast member of SNL got onto the show. It describes how tough it can be to get on the show. Which will help me in a lot of ways. This will help my project because it relate to what I want to do when I graduate college. It will make my essay a lot more detailed about the career I want to do.

Miller, Stuart. "MOMENTS OF TRUTH." American Theatre. 01 Jan. 2016: 34. eLibrary. Web. 13 Jan. 2016. My career goal choice is acting and this source is about training and auditioning for roles and the harsh realities and struggles of an actor. It follows Coon, an actress who won a Tony award for her role as Honey in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? And her experiences getting to the top. It also talks about how teachers and professors teach their students for their futures as actors. It also describes how competitive, harsh, and mean show biz is. You might not get roles just because of how you look which can be very harsh for some actors. This will help with my project because it goes right with my research question and it can be really helpful describing how an actor's life is.

"27-2011 Actors." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2016. This source shows me the hourly wage for actors across the country. This source will help me show where actors get the most jobs, and how much they are payed. This source is related to the criteria of what I need for my essay. With this information it won't only help to prepare my essay but to help me as well when I try to become a great actress.