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Career and Education Opportunities for Actors in Seattle, Washington

If you want to be an actor, the Seattle, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 970 working actors in Washington; this should grow 10% to about 1,060 working actors in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for actors, which sees this job pool growing by about 12.8% over the next eight years. In general, actors 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 $26 per hour or $56,120 per year in Washington, and an average of $29 per hour or $64,430 per year nationwide. Compared with people working in the overall category of Theater, Film, and Television, people working as actors in Washington earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Theater, Film, and Television nationally. Actors work in a variety of jobs, including: comedian, clown, and circus clown.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including five within twenty-five miles of Seattle 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 Seattle include:

  • Artistic Director. Audition and interview performers to select most appropriate talent for parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Dancer. Perform dances. May also sing or act.
  • 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.
  • Florist. Design, cut, and arrange live, dried, or artificial flowers and foliage.
  • 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

Cornish College of the Arts - Seattle, WA

Cornish College of the Arts, 1000 Lenora Street, Seattle, WA 98121. Cornish College of the Arts is a small college located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 815 students and an admission rate of 78%. Cornish College of the Arts has a two to four year and a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated zero and thirty-six students respectively in 2008.

University of Puget Sound - Tacoma, WA

University of Puget Sound, 1500 N Warner, Tacoma, WA 98416. University of Puget Sound is a small university located in Tacoma, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 2,829 students and an admission rate of 65%. University of Puget Sound has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated one student in 2008.

Seattle University - Seattle, WA

Seattle University, 900 Broadway, Seattle, WA 98122-4340. Seattle University is a medium sized university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,560 students and an admission rate of 65%. Seattle University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated five students in 2008.

University of Washington-Seattle Campus - Seattle, WA

University of Washington-Seattle Campus, 1400 NE Campus Parkway, Seattle, WA 98195-4550. University of Washington-Seattle Campus is a large university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 39,675 students and an admission rate of 61%. University of Washington-Seattle Campus has 2 areas of study related to Actor. They are:

  • Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, bachelor's degree which graduated 4 students in 2008.
  • Acting, master's degree which graduated 10 students in 2008.

Seattle Pacific University - Seattle, WA

Seattle Pacific University, 3307 3rd Ave W, Seattle, WA 98119-1997. Seattle Pacific University is a small university located in Seattle, Washington. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,891 students and an admission rate of 84%. Seattle Pacific University has a bachelor's degree program in Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts which graduated eleven students in 2008.

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: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.