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Actors perform on stage, on the radio, on television, or in movies. It's hard for most actors to find steady work. Only a few become famous "stars." Some well-known, skilled actors may be in supporting roles. Others work as "extras," with no lines or only one or two lines.

They also teach in high school or college drama departments, acting conservatories, or public programs.

Hours: When performing, actors typically work long, irregular hours. Evening and weekend work is a regular part of a stage actor's life. On weekends, more than one performance may be held per day. Actors and directors working on movies or television programs, especially those who shoot on location, may work in the early morning or late evening hours to film night scenes or tape scenes inside public facilities outside of normal business hours.

Opportunities: Actors, producers, and directors may find work in summer festivals, on cruise lines, and in theme parks. Many smaller, nonprofit professional companies, such as repertory companies, dinner theaters, and theaters affiliated with drama schools, acting conservatories, and universities, provide employment opportunities for local amateur talent and professional entertainers. Auditions typically are held in New York for many productions across the country and for shows that go on the road. Employment in motion pictures and in films for television is centered in New York and Los Angeles. However, small studios exist throughout the country.

Pay: Median hourly earnings of actors were $11.61 in May 2006. The middle 50 percent earned between $8.47 and $22.51.

Training: Formal dramatic training, either through an acting conservatory or a university program, generally is necessary for these jobs, but some people successfully enter the field without it. Most people studying for a bachelor's degree take courses in radio and television broadcasting, communications, film, theater, drama, or dramatic literature.

Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Actors, Producers, and Directors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos093.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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