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Career and Education Opportunities for Actors in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for actors. About 300 people are currently employed as actors in Oregon. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to about 340 people employed. This is better than the national trend for actors, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.8% over the next eight years. Actors generally play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction.

The average wage in the general category of Theater, Film, and Television jobs is $23 per hour or $50,960 per year in Oregon, and an average of $29 per hour or $64,430 per year nationwide. Incomes for actors are not quite as good as in the overall category of Theater, Film, and Television in Oregon, and not quite as good as the overall Theater, Film, and Television category nationally. Jobs in this field include: wire walker, actress, and aerialist.

There are fifty-nine schools of higher education in the Portland area, including eight within twenty-five miles of Portland where you can get a degree to start your career as an actor. Given that the most common education level for actors is less than a high school diploma, it will take only a short time to learn to be an actor if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Actor

Actor video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, actors play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. They also interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience.

Actors study and rehearse roles from scripts so as to interpret, learn and memorize lines, stunts, and cues as directed. They also attend auditions and casting calls so as to audition for roles. Equally important, actors have to work closely with directors and playwrights to discover the interpretation most suited to the role. They are often called upon to learn about characters in scripts and their relationships to each other in order to optimize role interpretations. They are expected to portray and interpret roles, using speech and body movements so as to entertain or instruct radio, film or live audiences. Finally, actors coordinate with other crewmembers responsible for lighting and props.

Every day, actors are expected to be able to speak clearly. They need to articulate ideas and problems.

It is important for actors to promote productions using means such as interviews about plays or movies. They are often called upon to sing and/or dance during dramatic or comedic performances. They also construct puppets and ventriloquist dummies, and sew accessory clothing, using hand tools and machines. They are sometimes expected to read from scripts or books to narrate action or to inform or entertain audiences, utilizing few or no stage props. Somewhat less frequently, actors are also expected to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Actors sometimes are asked to write original or adapted material for dramas or other performances. They also have to be able to introduce performances and performers so as to stimulate excitement and direct smooth transition of acts during events and perform original and stock tricks of illusion to entertain and mystify audiences, occasionally including audience members as participants. And finally, they sometimes have to ready and perform action stunts for motion picture or stage productions.

Like many other jobs, actors must be reliable and believe in an agile approach to problem solving and deal with change.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Portland include:

  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Director. Interpret script, conduct rehearsals, and direct activities of cast and technical crew for stage, motion pictures, or radio programs.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Producer. Plan and coordinate various aspects of radio, television, or motion picture production, such as selecting script, coordinating writing, directing and editing, and arranging financing.
  • Program Director. Direct and coordinate activities of personnel engaged in preparation of radio or television station program schedules and programs.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.
  • Technical Director. Coordinate activities of technical departments, such as taping, editing, and maintenance, to produce radio or television programs.
  • Writer. Create original written works.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Actor Training

Lewis & Clark College - Portland, OR

Lewis & Clark College, 0615 S W Palatine Hill Rd, Portland, OR 97219-7899. Lewis & Clark College is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,650 students and an admission rate of 58%. Lewis & Clark College has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated six students in 2008.

Willamette University - Salem, OR

Willamette University, 900 State St, Salem, OR 97301. Willamette University is a small university located in Salem, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,720 students and an admission rate of 66%. Willamette University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts.

Reed College - Portland, OR

Reed College, 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd, Portland, OR 97202-8199. Reed College is a small college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,471 students and an admission rate of 32%. Reed College has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated two students in 2008.

University of Portland - Portland, OR

University of Portland, 5000 N Willamette Blvd, Portland, OR 97203-5798. University of Portland is a small university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,666 students and an admission rate of 79%. University of Portland has 3 areas of study related to Actor. They are:

  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree and master's degree which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Directing and Theatrical Production, master's degree.
  • Dramatic/Theatre Arts and Stagecraft, Other Specialties, bachelor's degree.

Linfield College - McMinnville, OR

Linfield College, 900 SE Baker, McMinnville, OR 97128-6894. Linfield College is a small college located in McMinnville, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,721 students and an admission rate of 79%. Linfield College has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated one student in 2008.

Pacific University - Forest Grove, OR

Pacific University, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove, OR 97116. Pacific University is a small university located in Forest Grove, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,135 students and an admission rate of 78%. Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated three students in 2008.

Portland State University - Portland, OR

Portland State University, 724 SW Harrison, Portland, OR 97201. Portland State University is a large university located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,959 students and an admission rate of 80%. Portland State University has a bachelor's degree and a master's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated fifteen and two students respectively in 2008.

George Fox University - Newberg, OR

George Fox University, 414 N Meridian St, Newberg, OR 97132. George Fox University is a small university located in Newberg, Oregon. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,382 students and an admission rate of 83%. George Fox University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts.

CERTIFICATIONS

AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon
Portland, Oregon photo by Fcb981

Portland is located in Multnomah County, Oregon. It has a population of over 557,706, which has grown by 5.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Portland, 103, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Portland are priced at $194,700 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Portland, down from 1,205 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Portland are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 32.6% of Portland residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.4%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Portland is 10.7%, which is greater than Oregon's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Portland residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.7%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Portland is home to the Barnes Yard and the Haig as well as Cottonwood Bay City Park and Wallace City Park. Visitors to Portland can choose from Motel 6, Shilo Inns & Resorts and Comfort Inn Portland for temporary stays in the area.