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Career and Education Opportunities for Actors in Vancouver, Washington

There are many career and education opportunities for actors in the Vancouver, Washington area. There are currently 970 jobs for actors in Washington and this is projected to grow 10% to 1,060 jobs 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. 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 $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. Jobs in this field include: comic, vaudeville actor, and motion picture actor.

There are forty-eight schools of higher education in the Vancouver area, including six within twenty-five miles of Vancouver 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, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become 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 Vancouver 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.

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.

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.

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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.