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Grab eyeballs

Television has become the most demanding medium for an actor as there is much less time to rehearse and you may not receive your lines until just before the shoot.

education Updated: Jan 15, 2013 17:23 IST

The lowdown

Television has become the most demanding medium for an actor as there is much less time to rehearse and you may not receive your lines until just before the shoot. “If you have the talent, passion, sincerity and are ready to work hard, TV can be the ideal showcase of your personality and a doorway to openings in all sorts of new cinema, including mainstream Hindi films,” says Yashraj Jadhav, dean at Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares institute in Mumbai. This profession also requires knowledge of some aspects of filmmaking and sound and light use. Acting is first and foremost a craft, therefore, you must constantly improve upon it. Acting not only allows one to play a character for a period of time, it also gives one the opportunity to contribute ideas to scripts, learn new skills or research. In the initial phase, acting often does not offer people financial security, but you tend to grow as more years get added to your experience. Some of the major production houses include Balaji Telefilms, UTV Productions, Endemol and Optimystix.

An average day of a TV actor:
10.30am: Wake up
6.30am: Gym/yoga/dubbing
8.30am: Report for shooting
1pm: Lunch break
2pm - 10pm: Shooting continues with a break around 6:30 pm

The payoff
“At the entry level, a TV actor can earn Rs. 15,000 to Rs. 20,000 per month, depending on the number of days of shooting. The pay increases as per the job profile, experience and the type of roles one gets. TV actors with recurring roles often make around Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2 lakh a month. This can increase substantially once an actor switches to a per- episode package,” says Salim Arif, HoD, Actor’s Studio, Whistling Woods International, Mumbai

* Mastery over acting skills, diction is important
* Presence of mind
* Should be able to take directions well
* Basic skills for action scenes
* One should be comfortable with dubbing and speech variation
* Ability to stay calm and focused in high-stress situations

Getting there
Though there is no specific educational qualification that can help you become an actor, there are several courses that can help you pick up and refine acting skills, understand the profession and its technicalities. An acting course from a renowned institute will also help you gain a foothold in the entertainment industry. Students from any stream can opt for courses at the undergraduate or postgraduate level

Institutes and URLs
* Film and Television Institute of India, Pune
* National School of Drama, New Delhi
* Whistling Woods International Actor's Studio, Mumbai
* Anupam Kher's Actor Prepares, Mumbai
* Barry John Acting Studio, Mumbai

Pros and cons
* Steady work (recurring roles) and consistent money
* Stepping stone for films
* Entry is easier than films
* TV industry is a cut-throat world. It’s difficult to get a foothold
* Long working hours

Talent and the ability to portray every emotion associated with your role are the only skills that can take you places -- Ronit Roy, TV and film actor