Close this search box.


Exploring Career Options

Your Career in Acting for Film, TV & Theatre 

About This Job

Actors study scripts, develop characters and then perform in front of live audiences, or a production crew for pre-recorded works. It is not uncommon that actors may have to participate in numerous auditions before landing a role. Once they have earned a part, they may conduct research to help understand and create their character. An actor’s job is dynamic, as this profession requires one to work closely with the director and other actors to deliver the best performance possible. One of an actor’s strongest assets is the ability to adapt to feedback, as changes are often based on the director and/or producer’s suggestions. Some actors may be required to dance, sing or learn a new skill to perform on the job. 

Ultimately, the actor is the vessel requiring the use of all their senses. It requires concentration and physical prowess. Therefore, it is essential the actor not only understands the rigors of the profession but also maintains the skills necessary to sustain a lengthy and viable career. It requires the actor to be able to research time periods and styles and adapt to meet the needs of each role they play.  

Studying Acting for Film, TV and Theatre will provide you with the necessary competencies and skills to work anywhere in the world. The profession is ever-growing, and Toronto Film School is your pathway to this dynamic career.  

A Career in Acting for Film, TV & Theatre 

Key Duties​

  • Requires skills in script interpretation, analysis and delivery 
  • Requires skills that hone the voice, mind, and body 
  • The actor must be able to respond to constructive critique and be able to shape their performance in accordance with the director’s wishes.
  • Understand the various terminologies that correspond to the film and theatre. For example, in theatre the terminologies are, stage right, stage left, up stage, down stage. In TV and Film, it is camera right, and camera left.
  • The actor must have a suitable resume and demo reel highlighting their abilities and accomplishments. It is essential that any social media, resumes, and websites be updated regularly.

Critical Skills​

  • Physical Stamina – Working long hours on one’s feet 
  • Memorization – Remembering lines, stage directions 
  • Creativity – Developing characters, conveying emotion, brainstorming 
  • Reading – Understanding and interpreting scripts 
  • Speaking – Projection and pronunciation for audience 
  • Teamwork – Working closely with cast and crew for a production 
  • Improvisation – Adjusting to different situations 
  • Dedication – Seeing a project through, persisting through rejection 


Work Environment

  • Actors work in various settings, including production studios, theatres, and events, or on location  
  • Work assignments are usually short, ranging from one day to months 
  • Productions can be indoors/outdoors or both 
  • Part of the work may be done from home: auditions, self-tapes, meetings, etc.
    • May require access to suitable lighting, backdrop, filming equipment (iPhone/Camera, microphone, backdrop, etc.)  
  • Travel across locations, provinces or countries may be required 
  • Actors may also choose to work on touring productions and cruise ships 

Professional Development/Training

  • Toronto Film School and other accredited professional theatre and film programs 
  • CFC – Canadian Film Centre 
  • Banff Centre for the Performing Arts 
  • Acting, singing, movement, and voice coaches located throughout the city 
  • Improv classes at The Second City, Vancouver Theatre sports, or others 
  • Bachelor of Creative Arts (BCA) – Yorkville University 
  • ScriptLab – has a variety of films free to download to read, read, read! 

There are 27,000 members of ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) in Canada. The CAEA (Canadian Actor’s Equity Association) has 6,000 members. It is a $2 billion + per year industry in Canada. In 2020, Canada's vibrant film and television production industry generated over $9 billion in production volume, contributed $12.2 billion to the GDP and created approximately 244,500 jobs.

Job Search Tips - Where to Focus Your Time

…and local theatre companies 

Salary expectations vary from project to project.  

Co-operatives share in profits garnered from make-work projects such as Webisodes or Fringe productions.  

An ACTRA principal actor on a film or television shoot earns a base salary of $804/day with a maximum buyout of 130% for 4 years of international broadcast. It scales according to the type of production being filmed.  

Source: ACTRA

In theatre, the base scale is determined by the size of the theatre and revenue. For example, an Equity actor member in an A list theatre earns $1,208/week as a base salary. In a G house, the base salary is $675/week. 

Source: CAEA

These fees are subject to agent commissions of 10% for theatre and 15% for film. There are pension, insurance, and union dues deductions as well. All these fees are base fees and can be negotiated upwards.