Arts, Audio/Video Technology & Communications

How to Become an Actor in India | Where Do You Start?

Do you like theatre plays or are fond of movies and TV shows? Then why not enter this career line as an actor? Full of fame and prosperity, this could be an awesome choice for those who are free of stage fear and are confident! Anshul Awasthi, a Jaipur-based actor and writer talks about the qualifications, his acting journey, and everything you need to know about how to become an actor in India.

Anshul-Awasthi-closeup-actor-look how to become an actor in india

1. Role of an Actor

As we talk about a career as an actor, people think that it is only about acting and memorizing dialogues. But no, there’s a lot more to succeed in this field. Let’s discover all you need to know about how to become an actor in India.

Basically, an actor depicts a character in a film, drama, or TV show through their physical appearance or voice. Acting offers various types of roles to a person; it does not limit to one. Though the actor can choose his or her desired role but that too after some point in time. Otherwise, you have to do as per the cast demand. It includes researching every factor of that role, remembering dialogues, representing the character’s emotions needed to give an authentic performance.

preparing for take acting career

Contents: Jump to Section

1.1 Is Acting a Good Career Option?
2.1 Courses Taken: Subjects
2.2 Entrance Exams
2.3 Academic Qualifications/ Options
2.4 License Required
2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required
2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training
2.7 General Age to Start Professional Career for Actors
2.8 Governing Bodies
3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions
3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Actors
3.3 Growth Prospects
3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities
3.5 What is the Salary of an Actor in India?
4.1 Top Universities in India
4.2 Top Universities in World
4.3 Famous Personalities

1.1 Is Acting a Good Career Option?


Yes, definitely, it is a very interesting career option, mostly for those who want to live their life playing different roles and who love to be at the centre stage. Choosing your career as an actor can really make your life full of suspense and adventures. After working as an actor, you can become a producer, director, screenwriter, etc. and can come up at the highest position in the field of cinema.

2. How to Become an Actor in India?

In order to know how to become an actor in India, let’s see what necessary steps are needed to take an acting degree. In fact, when you aim to enter the acting industry, real-life experience matters the most.

So let’s discuss those first. You need to have people skills and how you are dealing with all the difficulties you face is very important. There are some important points that you can take care of while working or looking for your dream job in this industry. Let’s see what they are:

  1. Maintaining a positive attitude with everyone is really important. Plus, you should respect your work as well as your co-workers, no matter whether they are in a smaller position or higher. Your attitude should be the same for everyone.
  2. Don’t try to copy others. Be yourself and show your uniqueness to everyone without losing your confidence. In this industry, if there is glamour and fame, so is criticism and politics as well.
  3. When looking for your first role, self-promotion is the key to your dream. You can start by creating your own portfolio where you can include your acting skills, other required skills, photo-shoots, and other experience if any. To apply in the industry, you can contact casting agents or modeling agencies, and they can help you to get ahead. Also, do share your portfolio on social media sites to get attention from people and other casting agencies.
  4. Also, have a learning attitude always and try to grab opportunities from everyone you meet in the industry and gain knowledge from them. Have self-confidence and love your work, but don’t be over-confident no matter how big a star you become.

2.1.1 Subjects Required in School

In order to become an actor in India, you must first complete higher secondary education. There is no specific stream you need to take up, so you can complete high school in any of your preferred fields (science, commerce or arts).

2.1.2 Courses Taken: Acting Subjects in College

Dramatics, screen acting, dancing

When pursuing a profession as an actor, you do not need to be particular about your stream of graduation, since you may study anything you want in college as long as you are focused on what you want to accomplish.

One needs to be creative and should know their interest as while entering the field of cinema, there are so many different careers that are interconnected to each other. Though, one can take BA Acting for their graduation which ideally focuses on drama, acting, singing, dancing, cultural heritage, etc.

lights, camera, action first scene preparation

One can go to other acting colleges after completing school, which provide different courses of all the subjects through which you can choose your interest. Also, there are other degrees as well like drama, musical theatre, film, stage management, and many more.

Some of the courses offered in acting colleges are:

  • Acting
  • Direction
  • Cinematography
  • Advanced Editing
  • Editing
  • Modeling
  • Dancing
  • Sound Recording
  • Ad Making
  • Digital Photography
  • Personality Development
  • Script Writing

2.2 Entrance Exams

Depends on college

No, there are no entrance exams as such that you need to write in order to become an actor in India. However, it depends on the institution. Some colleges have merit-based admissions or private entrance examinations. So, there are no set criteria, if one needs to go for an acting career.

2.3 Academic Qualifications

B.A. Acting or BFA Acting

You can pursue a 3-year full-time acting degree or diploma as well to become an actor in India. One should have a minimum qualification of higher secondary education and based on their merit or entrance result, they can take Bachelors of Arts in Acting or Bachelors of Fine Arts in Acting.

After completing the undergraduate program, you can also go for higher studies that are 2-year full-time programs like MA in Film Studies or an MA in Film Making. Though there is no such need for advanced studies as one can get good jobs by their dedication and experience in this field.

2.4 License Required

No

There is no government license, but everyone working in cinema or theatre has a professional ID card issued by that particular production house.

explaining scipt theatre plays

2.5 Internship/ Work Experience Required

Yes

Doing an internship or having some prior experience in the acting field can give you a proper real-life know-how of how the cinema industry works. Just gaining college knowledge can’t give you the true experience. Also, if you are doing an internship, make sure to work in the casting team as well to know how all the screen direction is done.

2.6 Cost of Tuition and Training

₹ 2-15 lakhs

Of course, it depends on the type of college you choose. If you are looking for famous and huge institutions where Bollywood actors have studied from, then it will cost you big but if you are planning to go for small acting colleges, then it will not cost you much. Though, acting colleges in India will cost you between ₹ 2-15 lakhs. Also, you can take small courses like diploma or workshop training, as real-life industry experience matters more than any college degree in the field of cinema.

Plus, if you wish to study abroad then you should definitely go to countries like the USA or Germany. Their complete tuition fees will be approximately around ₹ 20-35 lacs.

2.7 Competition & Scope for Actor in India

When choosing the acting path, there is little to no competition while getting admission to acting colleges or institutions. Though, when entering the film industry, you’ll face tough competition while looking for a good role, as there are so many students and aspirants who are trying to be an actor, especially in India.

2.8 General Age to Start Professional Career for Actors

As you must have seen child actors, youngsters, and elder actors/actresses. So, basically, there is no particular age group to become an actor. You can start as soon as you decide to enter this field.

2.9 Governing Bodies

CBFC

The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) is a statutory body where films for public display are being managed under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, which was established in 1952 in India.

3. Professional Opportunities/ Career Growth for Actors

3.1 Specializations/ Sub-Professions

Actors, producers, directors

Once you enter the field of acting, there are so many careers that you can choose from. Like, actors/actresses, lead actors/actresses, co-actor/actresses, acting instructors, scriptwriters, producers, directors, comedians, dialogue instructors, villains, stuntmen/women, etc. As you move ahead in this field, you can get a clear idea about the particular profession and can go for your interest accordingly.

become an actor in India

3.2 Companies & Institutions that Employ Actors

Production houses, OTT platforms, theatre

When you become an actor, there are multiple options where you can work after you have gained some experience in the industry. You can work for production houses in films, TV shows, web series, short dramas, brand endorsements, other advertisements, etc. Some of the famous recruiters in India are Balaji Telefilms, Dharma Productions, PVR Pictures, Eros International, T-series, and many more.

3.3 Growth Prospects

Lead Roles, producers, brand ambassadors

As you gain experience and fame in this acting industry, you become a successful actor/actress, where people come directly to you to give work. After a few years of acting, you can get a lead role in movies, TV shows, and so on or you can become a producer or director. Also, if you love any product like sportswear, cars, or fashion, or your personal brand values match those of another brand then you can also become a brand ambassador.

3.4 Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Surely

Yes, after having excellent years of experience, one can start his/her own production house and he/she can also start some other business as well, like cosmetics or fashion brand. Many actors have also collaborated with fashion brands to create their own clothing lines. Or started side ventures like promoting the IPL teams or startups. You can use your other creative skills to start your own business while being in the cinema or theatre.

3.5 What is the Salary of Actors in India?

Not fixed; depends on your demand in the industry

In the acting field, the salary is not fixed, it depends on the episode or hourly income is there. So, if you are a struggling actor, your income will be somewhere between ₹ 2000-10,000 per episode. And if you are a successful actor, then your income will be around ₹ 10,000 to 1,00,000 per episode. And for film, it depends on the shot an actor does in the movie accordingly.

different roles various expressions

4. Further Resources

4.1 Top Universities in India

These are some of the top colleges in India for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in acting:

  1. Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
  2. National School of Drama, New Delhi
  3. Barry John Acting Studio, Mumbai
  4. Institute of Creative Excellence, Mumbai
  5. Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute, Kolkata
  6. Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares, Mumbai

4.2 Top Universities in World

There are numerous institutions to choose from, but these are some of the best ones for gaining knowledge to become an actor with experienced mentors.

  1. Macromedia University of Applied Sciences, Germany
  2. University of Southern Mississippi, USA
  3. DePaul University, Chicago
  4. Southeast Missouri State University, USA
  5. University of Regina, Canada

4.3 Famous Personalities

Akshay Kumar, Deepika Padukone, Rohit Shetty

You can understand more about how to become an actor in India by looking at a few famous people. Some well-known actors/actresses and other cinema personalities are Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Rohit Shetty, Akshay Kumar, and many more. These are some famous people from the Bollywood field that are in different professions like acting, producing, directing movies, etc.

famous personalities charlie chaplin

So, we hope you found our complete guide on how to become an actor in India helpful. However, we all know that in order to be successful in any career, continuous effort, focus, and dedication are necessary. And being an artist is a job that not only rewards you but also offers you notoriety on a daily basis with full of surprises. Maintain a strong goal mindset, work hard with consistency, and you will succeed!

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Curated & Edited by Aayushi Berawala (CareerNuts Staff)

Read next:

Acting Career Path: All You Need to Know

Are you good at acting and have the ability to express your emotions in front of people? Let’s have a look at all you need to consider before choosing your acting career path from a Jaipur-based actor/writer with over 10 years of experience.

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