Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Actor

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.

Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.

Below is a sample list of ideas to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.

To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)

Occupation: Actor

Overview: This is one of the few professions that is so familiar that it needs little defining. Actors play the roles of various characters. While telling the character’s story, many actors strive to entertain, inform, challenge, or ….

Necessary Training: While there is no formal education required for this career, it’s a cut-throat and oversaturated business, meaning it’s a good idea to gain any advantage one can. To this end, budding actors may take acting classes or attend drama schools to attain necessary skills.

While talent is needed, this is an industry where…

Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: Charm, good listening skills, making people laugh…

Helpful Character Traits:

POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, ambitious, bold, charming, confident…

NEGATIVE: Evasive, extravagant, impulsive, materialistic, melodramatic…

Sources of Friction: Working with pretentious or self-involved co-workers, too many actors competing for too few roles, losing a role to a rival, blowing an important casting call, creative differences among co-workers, working with a difficult or unrealistic director, being typecast, sexual (and other kinds of) harassment…

People They Might Interact With: Other actors, directors, producers…

How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:

  • Self-Actualization: Actors who get pigeonholed into certain roles….
  • Esteem and Recognition: If an actor’s career doesn’t gain traction, he….
  • Love and Belonging: Actors work difficult hours and spend a lot of time traveling, which can cause doubt and jealousy to fester. Successful actors may…
  • Safety and Security: A number of factors in this career contribute to addiction and substance abuse, as well as unhealthy dietary practices. This can lead to…
  • Physiological Needs: An actor’s physiological needs can be impacted if any unhealthy physical or mental practices go untreated and…

Common Work-Related Settings: Airplane, airport, alley, beach, big city street, black-tie event, cheap motel, green room, hotel room, mansion, marina, newsroom, performing arts theater, public restroom, recording studio, small town street, subway train, subway tunnel, taxi, waiting room

Twisting the Fictional Stereotype: So many stories have been written about actors that stereotypes do abound: the vapid bombshell that’s only good for sex appeal; the absent-minded method actor…

To avoid stereotypes…

Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.

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How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?

Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.

Some of your scenes may take place at work, involve co-workers, or even highlight relationship friction between their work and personal life. To convey this accurately, you need to understand key details about what their job entails. Don’t worry, we’ve done the research for you!

Characterize. Add realism. Push the plot forward as the character’s career influences the story.

The Occupation Thesaurus is waiting to help you within our signature descriptive database at One Stop For Writers. If you like, give the FREE TRIAL a spin, or check out our very affordable plans.

About BECCA PUGLISI

Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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