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What skills do actors need?

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Quick Answer

Ideally, actors embody many personal traits and skills, including an understanding of written and nonverbal languages, ability to focus and listen, empathy, understanding of psychology and human behavior and even physical fitness. Actors and actresses develop emotional and physical stamina, as they face long and often demanding work hours. An acting career requires little traditional educational training, but most actors demonstrate good research, reading and memorization skills.

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Full Answer

Actors and actresses typically demonstrate heightened senses of self-awareness. They understand human emotions, demonstrating empathy and sympathy for others. In addition to reading and emulating the emotions and feelings of others, actors spend significant amounts of time studying their on-stage characters. They exhibit superior reading and analytic skills, as actors must detect and convey subtle variations in characters' behaviors.

Actors do not need a set amount of traditional education, but formal academic training helps. Some actors hold bachelor degrees and even advanced degrees. In school, they study relevant subjects like literature, public speaking, psychology and communications.

Actors sometimes demonstrate talent in similar disciplines, like dancing, singing and playing musical instruments. Having additional talents helps, as those actors fill roles inaccessible for others without specialized knowledge.

Most actors attend training schools or programs. These programs take place in universities, conservatories or vocational schools. Programs vary in intensity, duration and competitiveness.

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