We all love to watch movies in our Television or theatre. We all have our Star idols whom we adore and worship. They are our role models. I have seen many of my friend who mimic and ape their favourite movie and TV stars like Salman Khan, Amir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ranbir Kapoor, Deepika Padukone,Madhuri Dixit, Alia Bhat, Ronit Roy, Hina Khan, Karan Patel, Siddharth Shukla and many more of our times. We read about them and their lifestyles, their sexual escapades in film magazines and more recently in social media.
But how many of us have ever thought about becoming an actor or actress? Very few of us have dreamt about becoming one or taking an acting career.
Most of us have a wrong notion about these stars. We think that becoming an actor requires just acting and memorizing dialogues. But there is a lot more than that to succeed in this field. Let us discover the skills and career path on how to become an actor and its scope.
What is an Actor?
Actor is derived from a Latin word “Agere” which means “to do”. In modern parlance the word Actor stands for a participant in an action or process or a person whose profession is acting on stage, in films or on television.
An actor or actress is a person who interprets and portrays a character in a performance be it on stage, T.V. or in a movie with the sole motive of entertaining the audience. An actor works in different environments like theme works, production studios,theatres, or at a specific filming location. Acting is defined as an art of performing which includes movement, gesture, and intonation that are used to realize a fictional or real character for the stage, motion pictures or the television.
How to become an Actor?
To become an actor, you have to polish a few talents and understand their strengths. You must have the qualities or skills to become an actor. There are numerous acting courses to become an actor where a lot of acting aspirants can embark on the journey to become an actor in India.
If you are thinking about choosing your career path to become a professional actor in film and television then here are the steps to become an actor.
Step 1 — Get proper training
Acting is a talent that most people possess since their birth. However, training is essential for every aspiring actor. You can train yourselves as early as in your school days by taking part in school plays and drama club. You can even join acting studios outside the school to fulfill your passion.
Also, one can get a degree or diploma in acting which can help them in their acting career. However, it is not an essential requirement since acting is recognized by talent and not by degree. Still getting a BFA or MFA degree helps.
Step 2 – Know the Business
Being a successful actor is like running a successful business. In fact, most of your day-to-day work will be on the business side of things, not the acting side. You will be managing your daily affairs like a CEO of a company. Your every casting decision will be a business decision. The more you know about how the industry works the more you understand your place in the industry as an actor.
Step 3- Start building your Network
In the film Industry your entire career is built on what kind of relationships you have in the industry. It depends on the kind of relationships you have with your team, with your casting, with other actors, with directors, with producers, with crew members, etc. The chances of you getting a role in the films not only depends on who you know but also who your contacts know.
Step 4 – Get Professional Headshots
The first thing that anyone in the film industry sees in your casting profile is your Headshot. It is the actor’s most important marketing tool in the industry. Therefore, you must hire a professional headshot photographer to make a good first impression.
Step 5 – Create your casting profiles
Once you have created your professional headshot, it is time for you to create your casting profile. Casting jobs include searching for casting websites in your location. Once you have done that you can set up your account in these websites and upload your casting profile. Your casting profile will serve as your resume for other industry professionals to see and call you for the audition.
Step 6 – Submit yourself for your auditions
Once you have got your headshot ready and created your casting profile it is time for you to start auditioning for TV series or movies. You can start auditioning without an agent. Make sure that you select the correct location while browsing. Go to audition with an open mind and do not be discouraged if you are rejected.
Step 7—Create a Demo reel
Once you have acted on your first independent film you will probably receive the footage of the film that you can use as a demo reel. You can have more scenes on your demo reel to add if you are lucky to get multiple projects. Your Demo reel must be about 90 seconds as the agents and casting directors are not going to watch more than that.
Step 8- Keep updating your casting profile
Once you have fresh new credits and your first demo reel it is time to update those casting profiles. You must add any new credits to the online resume and upload the demo reel to the respective media libraries.
Step 9—Create your IMDb account
You must create your IMDb Pro account. That will allow you to add photos and demo reel to your public profile, add contact and representation information, research other industry professionals (agents, casting directors, managers). You must have an IMDb account in case you are serious about a career in film and television.
Step 10—Submit to your first agent
Now it is time for you to submit to talent agencies and sign with your first agent. Agents sign people who have already completed the above steps and have proven themselves to be ready for the industry. One thing you must remember is that you still have to do 90% of the work yourself and leave only 10% of the work for the agents.
Step 11—Go for bigger market
Now you have got an agent. And you are getting big auditions. You are also making money. Now it is time for you to expand your business. In case you are from a small time you move to the place of the film industry which is most likely to be Mumbai, Chennai or Los-Angeles.
Step 12— Repeat
Once you have moved to a new and bigger market it is time for you to start the process all over again. You must take classes in your new city, learn about the business there, build your network, get new head shots and casting profiles, audition for local projects, hire a new agent and so on.
How and where can you get a formal degree in acting?
Formal education that includes Degree and Diploma has become necessary if not sufficient conditions for you to achieve your professional career goals.
You must be creative and must show interest in drama,acting,singing,dancing,cultural heritage etc.
You can pursue a 3-year full time acting degree or diploma to become an actor in India. All you need to do is to complete your higher secondary education and then take and clear the entrance exam for Bachelors of Arts in Acting or Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting.
You can even go for higher studies that is a 2-year full time course in Master’s in Film making.
There are a lot of interesting courses being offered by institutes and colleges from across the country.
Here are the top courses for acting in India:
- BA in Acting
- Bachelor of Performing arts
- BA Hons in Drama
- Diploma in Acting
- Postgraduate Diploma in Acting
- Master of Arts in Acting
- Certificate Course in Acting
BA in Acting
You can take admission in acting in an undergraduate program in acting, dance and drama. The National Council accredits this degree for Drama Training, which automatically allows students to enter the actor’s union in India. It is the most intensive process which requires curiosity, courage and commitment on the part of students to become a successful actor.
Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA)
Bachelor of Performing Arts (BPA) is an undergraduate degree program that introduces the students to entertainment and its related techniques. This course is three or four years in duration. It is offered across different universities, institutes, and colleges in India. It focuses on three main aspects of the performance and entertainment industry, namely music, dance and drama and provides specialization to students in any one of these.
BA Hons in Drama
BA Hons in Drama includes acting, voice and movement techniques through the unique blend of theory and practices. This degree turns graduates into a thinking,expressive,informed,and creative actor who will be able to work across genres, media and performance cultures.
Diploma in Acting
A diploma in acting is a 3-year diploma course for students who are keen to become an actor. They can take this course right after completing their high school education. Diploma in acting is suitable for those who are self-determined, creative and have intellectual capability.
Postgraduate Diploma in Acting
PG diploma is a one-year program. It offers students a comprehensive acting training program for the screen. You learn about current industry practices as well as practical and theoretical training.You also learn about the history, craft and techniques of acting while building a solid foundation for a career in film and theatre arts. Students are also involved in various film making projects, including a short film professionally shot and produced.
Masters of Arts in Acting
Masters of Arts in Acting is a program that involves learning and mastering techniques that transfer to acting on stage, in film or on television. In addition to acting techniques, students have the opportunity to study the business of film and theatre, script analysis, stage movement and speech.
Certificate Course in Acting
The Certificate Course in acting is a one month to a six-month introduction program. It acts as a foundation course for building your career by gaining industry experience and acquiring further education.
What are the Courses in Bachelor of Acting?
In BA acting you mostly focus on drama,acting,singing,dancing etc. Here are some of the courses that you study in your graduation.
- Advanced Editing
- Sound Recording
- Ad Making
- Digital Photography
- Personality Development
- Script Writing
Entrance Exams for Diploma in Acting
Here are various entrance exams for the students who want to pursue a Diploma in Acting.
- NSD 2020-21: NSD entrance exam is conducted every year by the National School of Drama to recognize the acting talent of a student.
- FTII 2020-21: This entrance exam is jointly conducted every year by the Film and Television industry
- AISF 2020-21: This entrance exam is conducted every year by Annapurna International School of Film.
- SRFTI 2020-21: This entrance exam is conducted every year by Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute.
Top colleges for Acting in India
All of us who want to become an actor share a common dream to become a successful actor in Bollywood or on Television. This is attributed to the increasing job opportunities,glamorous factor, and high pay scale. This has resulted in many prominent colleges offering specialization in film and acting across the country.
Here is the list of a few of the top colleges that offer a degree or diploma in acting programs in India and help you in making your career in professional acting.
National School of Drama
National School of Drama is an autonomous theatre training institute located in New Delhi. It was established in 1959.It is government recognized and promotes a three-year full-time diploma course in dramatic arts.
Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
FTII was set up by the government of India in 1960. It was then known as Film Institute of India and later renamed to its present name in 1971.The Film and Television institute of India courses include 11 full-time courses in various disciplines and short-term courses which are taught in both on-campus and off campus across India.
Whistling Woods International (WWI)
Whistling Woods International (WWI) was set up in 2006 in Mumbai. It has been acknowledged among the Top 10 Best Film schools all over the world. WWI has partnered with numerous international and national corporations for academics and innovation.
Barry John Acting Studio, Mumbai
Barry John Acting Studio was established in 1997 in Delhi as Imago Acting School and later shifted to Mumbai in 2007.The studio is one of the best acting schools in Delhi and Mumbai for 20 years. It offers various acting courses with different timelines such as 4 month or 6-month diploma and 3-month certification. It also offers summer workshops, corporate workshops and pre-production acting workshops.
Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Mumbai
Actor Prepares is supported by Film Welfare Trust and is located in Mumbai. The Institute boasts of several state of art facilities. It offers a one-year course in acting
Institute of Creative Excellence (ICE)
Institute of Creative Excellence (ICE) is located in Mumbai. It offers 21 programs in filmmaking. The training period ranges from 3 months to 1 year. Some of the programs are certificate course are given below
- Film direction/Production and T.V. Journalism for 3 months
- Advance Diploma in Film Direction for 1 Year
- Advance e Program in Digital Film Making for 1 year
- Certificate course in Video editing and Sound Editing for 3 months
- Certificate course in Acting
- Certificate course in Cinematography
Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT)
Asian Academy of Film and Television (AAFT) is located in Noida. It was established by Marwah studios in 1993. It is affiliated with the International Film Television Research Centre and is approved by AICTE. AAFT has trained more than 17,000 media professionals in a span of 25 years. AFT provides media education in the field of film making,Journalism,Performing Arts, Advertising, Acting, Interior design,Dance,Digital Marketing, Animation and Fashion Design. It has more than 14 studios and theatres where students can take practical and technical education. AFT is recognized as the world’s leading media arts organisation.
Zee Institute of Media Arts (ZIMA)
Zee Institute of Media Arts was established in the year 2006 in Mumbai. ZIMA offers courses in communication, digital media,journalism,animation,screenwriting,acting and many others. The institute offers more than 14 courses at undergraduate and diploma level.
Centre for Research in Art of Film and Television (CRAFT), Delhi
Centre for Research in Art of Film and Television (CRAFT) is a non-profit organisation established in March 2006 in Delhi. Its mission was to strengthen education,training,creativity,research,documentation, dissemination,criticism,distribution, and collaborations across disciplines in the field of film and television. It is mainly an academic institution that imparts autonomous short- and long-term courses in the film medium like
- Acting & Modeling
- Direction & script Writing
- Documentary Filmmaking
- Radio Jockey
- Creative Writing
- Production Design
Roshan Taneja School of Acting, Mumbai
Roshan Taneja School of Acting is a private institute offering 4 months course in acting. The top courses offered are
- Diploma in Acting
- Diploma in Yoga
Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata
SRFTI was established in 1995. It is an autonomous society funded by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India.It has been named after acclaimed Indian film director.In 2019 SRFTI was ranked among the best film schools in the world along with FTII, Pune and National school of Drama, New Delhi.
It has the following departments in the Film Wing:
- Department of Direction & Screenplay Writing
- Department of Sound Recording and Design
- Department of Editing
- Department of Cinematography
- Department of Producing for Film & Television
- Department of Animation Cinema
It has following departments in the Electronic & Digital Media Wing :
- Department of Electronic and Digital Media Management
- Department of Writing for Electronic and Digital Media
- Department of Direction & Producing for Electronic and Digital Media
- Department of Cinematography for Electronic and Digital Media
- Department of Editing for Electronic and Digital Media
- Department of Sound for Electronic and Digital Media
Cost of training in acting colleges?
The average cost of training for BA in acting in most of the top colleges for acting ranges from Rs 200,000 to Rs 400,000 per annum.
What is the Scope of an Actor in India?
India is the largest film industry in the world as it produces the maximum films (approx. 1100) films every year. The total business is estimated to be around Rs 20,000 crores or 4 billion US Dollars. Similarly Indian has seen a surge in T.V. channels in past few years especially in the entertainment section. We have come a long way from the TV serials in Door Darshan in 1980s like Hum Log, Buniyaad, Ramayana,Mahabharat, Yeh Jo Hai Zindagi etc.
You have acting jobs in the Television industry, voice acting jobs in Radio and movie acting jobs.
Few of the top TV entertainment channels in India are
- Star Plus
- Sony Entertainment Television
- Colours TV
- ZEE TV
- Sony SAB
- & TV
- ZEE Cinema
- Star Bharat
- Dangal Channel
- DD National
Therefore, as an actor, you have a number of choices to work like in Films, Television, Theaters and other public performances (traveling and theater groups). The Indian film and TV industry is booming and there are bright prospects for budding actors.
As an actor you are not just acting but representing the industry as a whole. Your role is much more than an actor. Some of these are:
- Brand Ambassador
- Stage Show Anchors
- Television Show hosts
- Stage Performers
- Acting Trainers
What are the career options for an actor in India?
As an actor you have various communication mediums where you can perform various roles. Here is the detailed information of some of the mediums where an actor can work.
- Over the Top Media services like Netflix and Amazon Prime
- Social Media
Salary of an actor
A Successful Television actor in India can earn about Rs 1 lac to Rs 1.25 lac per episode. If you are a struggling actor you are earning about Rs 2000 to 20,000 per month. Successful Film Stars in India can earn about Rs 10 crore to 150 crores per film. However, the salary of an actor is not fixed. It varies from the role they play. For example, a character role commands less salary than a lead role. Also, there is no job guarantee. It all depends on the luck factor.
Here is the salary per episode of the top TV actors.
- Kapil Sharma – 50 lakhs
- Sunil Grover –10 to 12 lakhs
- Rupali Ganguly – 3 lakhs
- Hina Khan – Rs 2 lakhs
- Ronit Roy – Rs 1.25 lakh
- Ram Kapoor – Rs 1.25 lakh
- Karan Patel Rs 1.25 lakh
- Sakshi Tanwar – Rs 1.25 lakh
Few of the highest paid actor’s wealth in Bollywood as per Forbes is given below.
- Akshay Kumar – 45 million USD
- Salman Khan- 39 .5 million USD
- Aamir Khan – 37 million USD
- Shah Rukh Khan—36 million USD
- Hrithik Roshan — 29.4 million USD
The Future of actors in India
Acting is a profession that draws most of us due to its glamour and money. But acting as a career is not what it seems. Many of our great actors have struggled a lot in the early stage of their career. Many of the top actors just vanished from the industry despite reaching great heights. Success in acting is unpredictable due to the whims of the movie goers. Many of the predictions for a hit movie have gone wrong.
Bur still acting is a wonderful career where one learns new skills and has the chance to meet new people. Actors are not paid just for the acting but for bringing the human condition into light. Actors are paid so much that they are always in the limelight. Acting career is worthwhile if one is willing to put his time and effort into this profession.