Actors bring characters to life onstage. They are independent artists who usually work on a per-show basis, although some theatres have acting companies (called ensembles, or repertory companies) comprised of actors who play roles in several productions each season. Actors spend a lot of time auditioning for roles. If they are cast, they sign a contract that outlines how much they will be paid. In a midsize or large professional theatre, actors are paid for rehearsal time in addition to performances. Many actors attend college to study their craft, and some choose to get advanced degrees in acting or theatre as well. Actors can specialize in areas like musical theatre, physical theatre or clowning, or classical theatre, and some schools offer specialized degrees in these areas.

About the Video: Oscar Camacho, Actor

Actor Oscar Camacho, who appeared in the Center Theatre Group 2017 revival of Zoot Suit, takes us behind the scenes. How does he define his profession? An actor lives truthfully under imaginary circumstances, he explains, which takes courage, imagination, and the ability to bring a little bit of yourself to every role. Camacho talks about getting his MFA in acting at CalArts and going on to secure his big break in his first year out of graduate school: a part on the ABC TV series Wicked City. Plus, he offers his advice for anyone with a passion for acting who wants to pursue a career in the field.

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