Updated on August 30th, 2018 | Rachelle is a job search expert, career coach, and headhunter who helps everyone from students to fortune executives find success in their career.
Question 1 of 25
What attracted you to begin a career as an actor?
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The interviewer would like to see the passion behind your career choice. This desire is what will drive you, even on the most terrible days. Let your excitement for being an actor shine!
"I have always found the variety and sense of escapism exciting. I joined a local youth theatre group when I was 13 and always participated in theatrical productions at high school. I suppose I got to a stage when I was about 15 where I couldn't imagine myself doing anything else so decided to try and pursue a career as an actress."
Entry Level Example
"I became attracted to this career path when my father took me to the local theatre. We had a backstage pass where I could witness all of the wardrobes, set pieces in action, and meet a few of the performers. The buzz was amazing, and I caught the bug!"
"I have been an actress for the past ten years. Some days are a bigger struggle than others, but I knew from a young age that this was my calling, and I will never give it up. I love to entertain others and cannot think of doing anything else. The variety keeps me on my toes."
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
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You’ll want to make sure you have thought through this question carefully before the interview. Pre-select some critical achievements from your career and be prepared to discuss how these successes have impacted you. Try not to go too far back. Pick a recent accomplishment. If you’ve included an ‘Achievements’ section in your CV, then this will be a good starting point for you to generate ideas.
"My greatest achievement so far in my career would probably be winning a "
Entry Level Example
"My greatest accomplishment so far has been completing my Bachelor's Degree in Theatre Arts. I learned so much, stretched myself as a professional, and also made some incredible new friends."
"My greatest accomplishment as an actor was landing my first gig in cinema. It was exhilarating! Although it was a small part of just a few lines, this experience changed my career trajectory overnight."
Do you remember rolling your eyes when the girl in your English class would ask a question about a character in a book that she would have known the answer to if she had just read the whole chapter? Well, that's kind of how casting directors feel when an actor asks questions that they could have found the answers to on their own.
'Do you have any questions' is often another way of saying 'Are you ready' Be prepared to get started right away through researching the story, the character, the director and as much information you can gather about the production details.
Sometimes a director takes a story everyone is familiar with and they put their own spin on it. Knowing that 'Romeo and Juliet' will take place in the 1970's and Juliet will be portrayed as the hippy daughter of a wealthy mobster might make a difference in how you play the role. If these kinds of questions are not answered through your prior investigation, ask! However, be prepared to change the approach you had planned to take in the way you play the character.
Entry Level Example
"Here are some sample questions:
- When would you like to have this role filled?
- How long has this position been vacant?
- Is this a replacement search?
- What is your favorite part about being a director?
- What is your primary goal with this production?
- Is there anything from my background and experience that I can clarify for you?
- What do you see as the most significant change in this industry over the past three years?
- Is there any reason why you would not cast me?"
"Thank you for asking - I do have a few questions. What is top of mind when it comes to filling this role? Also, what types of characteristics are you looking for in the actor who fills this role? And lastly, I would love to hear more about your vision for this project."
Think about what you need as an actor to be successful. Do you need a lot of direction or can you jump in and quickly pick up on cues? Depending on your training, you may be the type of actor that does extensive research on your role and stays in character after they call "cut."
Who are your influences? What do you do to prepare? All of these elements factor into your "style." Your style also acknowledges your shortcomings. By defining who you are, you are willing to accept who you are not. You can't be everything to everyone, and you won't be perfect for every part. Think back to your strengths. How do they contribute to the style that makes you unique?
Entry Level Example
"Here are some ways you can describe your acting style:
When you're not busy working on a new role for a production, you are spending your time working towards your goals. If you want to be an actor, you'll need to be willing to put yourself out there. Get creative and be persistent. You'll need to know how to market yourself to gain attention from talent agencies and casting directors. There is always something you can be working on, even if it's just doing research and taking time to brush up on skills you know would help you get the part next time.
"I joined an actors guild to help me network and learn from other actors. Each week we take turns presenting a topic and sharing tips to help each other out. I'm also taking a stand-up class to gain more confidence, help with my writing and comedic timing."
Entry Level Example
"I recently joined a local theatre troupe, and we are currently working on a production of 'Fiddler on the Roof.' It's been incredible so far, and I have learned a great deal about musical theatre. "
"I have a few projects on the go at the moment. Two of which are very significant. One, a commercial for a new beverage product. The other project is a one-man-play that I am producing and starring in. We are opening March 8th."
6. Who is your favorite actor, and why? Will you ever walk the stage of the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar like Marlon Brando? Forget about it! Okay, okay, anything is possible!
Even as you visualize those actors who have awed wide audiences and won those awards, think about the characters they have embodied. What made them believable? How did they make a significant contribution to the film?
When you talk about your favorite actor, talk about their characters, films and the lengths they went through to take on those characters. Show your understanding of how a person's style can make their characters great. Here is an answer example: Here is an entry level answer example: "My favorite actor, since I was a child, has been Audrey Hepburn. She is classic and embodies the idea of effortless acting." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have many favorite actors, in a variety of categories. For comedic actors, I admire Bradley Cooper the most. When it comes to drama, I cannot get enough of Denzel Washington. When it comes to romance, well...Ryan Gosling has it all! I believe the common theme between all of these actors is that, despite their years in Hollywood, they remain level-headed in a challenging industry."7. Of all the roles you have played in the past, which is your favorite? This is an excellent opportunity for you to talk about your experience! You don't have to choose a character that is exceptionally challenging or complex. Perhaps you brought depth to a typically flat character. Talk about how you made them interesting to watch. Maybe you enjoyed playing the character just because of your passion for the overall production. Share what you learned from that role. Here is an answer example: "My absolute favorite role was playing Viola de Lesseps in 'Shakespeare in Love.' Her character was so complicated, and I loved playing a historical character." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am newer to my acting career and will never forget the very first role I was given. It was a local performance of 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley' and I played the character of Mrs. Darcy. The script was challenging due to the flowery language and lengthy monologues." Here is an experienced answer example: "Every part I am awarded is my favorite for a unique reason! It is just so difficult to choose as I appreciate each role for their uniqueness. If I had to choose just one, I would say that the production of "The Humans" was what stretched me as an actor the most. Playing Aimee in this one-act play was an incredible experience for me."8. Do you think honesty is always the best policy? Is honesty always the best policy? Talk to the interviewer about your thoughts on openness in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Sometimes full disclosure can damage someone's self-esteem, and reality it isn't always best expressed in full. Complete honesty can be self-indulgent based on the person's intention. In those instances, honesty isn't always the best policy." Here is an entry level answer example: "I do feel that honesty is the best policy so long as the honest comment does not come with the intention of being hurtful." Here is an experienced answer example: "Honesty is always the best policy. Often, it is just a matter of how you communicate and deliver your message so managing this with each situation is critical to building honest and trustworthy relationships."9. How do you like to encourage ideas in others? Encouragement to others is a great skill to possess. Talk to the interviewer about your ability to encourage creative ideas in your team members or cast mates. Here is an answer example: "I like to encourage other people to be creative in their thinking and present ideas no matter how off the wall they may seem. Some of the most successful actors I have worked with are ones who are confident in their ability to bring forward their unique ideas." Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some ways that you can encourage ideas in others:
- Get to know them and what they like to work on
- Send an encouraging email letting them know you like their plan or ideas
- Publicly praise their efforts
- If you are a leader, then tell them that you like their ideas
- Say things like 'Well done' or 'Nice work' on a regular basis
- Show that you believe in their quality of work before they even deliver it" Here is an experienced answer example: "I encourage my castmates to tap into the best parts of themselves. It helps to ask probing questions to get them to generate ideas on their own. I have found that by painting a clear vision for the project, my team will often jump in with creative solutions to get us there."10. When have you worked with a diverse group of people? Are you accustomed to working with a very large or diverse team of individuals? Assure the interviewer that you can handle an environment that offers diversity. Here is an answer example: "I have worked with diverse groups of people most of my acting career, including my time in University. I am most comfortable, and happy, in this type of environment because it offers a great learning opportunity." Here is an entry level answer example: "In my current role, I work alongside cross-functional teams regularly. Together, we manage our performances very effectively. Diversity is a must in the acting industry." Here is an experienced answer example: "I would say that pretty much every group I have worked for has valued diversity. Working with people from all walks of life helps shed different perspectives and identify new characters and storyline possibilities."11. How do you show your cast mates the importance of communication? As an actor you know that 'telling,' and 'showing' are two very different things. Talk to the interviewer about how you put communication into action during your projects and scenes. Here is an answer example: "I show my cast mates the importance of communication through my willingness to ask questions if I do not understand the first time. I do not pretend to know something just to save face. By creating an environment where questions are encouraged, we have increased communication greatly, and have seen a great result because of it." Here is an entry level answer example: "I show the importance of communication through actively getting to know my cast mates on a personal level, and letting them know early on that I am open to feedback all steps of the way." Here is an experienced answer example: "Many communication issues stem from a lack of understanding when it comes to the end goal. When we have a dispute, I work with my team to explore other alternatives. We often role play and discuss ways that we could have reacted better. This practice has greatly improved our practices and performances."12. Have you progressed in your acting career as you have expected? Career progression can be a touchy subject, especially if you feel that your acting career hasn't progressed as well as you would have liked. Talk to the interviewer about your career progression and what you would like to see in the future. Here is an answer example: "Overall, my career has progressed a touch slower than I would have liked. I have held a couple of roles that didn't offer the growth and learning that I was expecting; however, I have bounced back nicely. I feel that this particular opportunity would take my acting career exactly where it should be." Here is an entry level answer example: "I am thrilled with the progress of my acting career. I am proud of my accomplishments and the path my career has taken so far." Here is an experienced answer example: "Overall, I am satisfied with my career progression. Everyone, including me, hits roadblocks or setbacks, but I have been able to push through them and stay on track. I have met some incredible people in the acting industry, and this network has helped me succeed in a tremendous way."13. Think about a demanding director, professor or cast mate. What made him or her difficult? How did you successfully interact with this person? Show the interviewer that you work well with most personalities even though you recognize there are some folks out there who are quite difficult to please. Think about that one person at work who is seen as hard to satisfy. Perhaps there is someone at work who tries to intimidate others. Maybe it's a director who is a total perfectionist.
Talk to the interviewer about what made this person challenging and what their relationship was to you. Avoid speaking poorly of anyone and be sure to end your response on a positive note. Here is an answer example: "I once worked at a local theatre where the director was very demanding. When he would walk into the building, everyone stiffened. The director had great intentions; however, his people skills were a little rough. I could see that he meant well, and I recognized that he wanted to do a lot of good things. When we interacted, I always took his feedback with the understanding that he didn't mean things as harshly as he might say them." Here is an entry level answer example: "I once worked on a group project with a very brash person. I took it upon myself to help this person interact better with others. When she would bark orders, I would reiterate what she was trying to say to the group more professionally. It took some time, but she learned to behave in a way that made people want to work with her." Here is an experienced answer example: "The most difficult person I ever worked with was a cast-mate in a play I performed in, a few years back. She was unwilling to listen to my ideas. I believed she felt personally offended that I did not think her processes and ideas were superior. I sat with her for a one on one meeting, and we had a nice chat about the positive changes she made to the play. I then expressed my need for acknowledgment as an acting professional. She softened after that. I don't think she realized how she was emotionally railroading everyone."14. When you suffer a setback, how does that emotionally affect you and your work? Everyone handles the stress and disappointment of setbacks differently. Discuss with the interviewer how you typically cope with delays in the workplace. Here is an answer example: "Experiencing a setback is always disappointing, and can be a bit disheartening, but I understand that it happens from time to time. If I experience a major setback, I will take a few moments to debrief with my director and discuss what I could have done differently. Then, I move on!" Here is an entry level answer example: "Setbacks happen for a reason, and they do not affect me emotionally in the least. I am a very pragmatic thinker and stay focused despite the challenges that come my way." Here is an experienced answer example: "Setbacks can be trying, but I find that you have to learn how to lose before you learn how to win. While I never enjoy a setback, I use them as a stepping off point to improve my acting skills."15. Tell me about an organization or group outside of work that you contributed to. Many hiring managers will choose one candidate over another because of their volunteer experience. They feel that it shows strong character and selflessness...all qualities that make a great employee. Talk to the interviewer about your willingness to give back to your community in some form of volunteerism. If you do not have formal volunteer experience, you can draw on things you do in your spare time to assist friends, family, or even your current employer.
If you do have volunteer experience: "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time." Here is an answer example: "For the past eight months, I have volunteered every Wednesday evening at our local animal shelter. I will help with grooming the animals, feeding them, and walking them. It's been an enjoyable experience and rewarding at the same time." Here is an entry level answer example: "If you do not have volunteer experience: "I have not formally volunteered in these most recent years, however; I spend a lot of time helping my sister who is a single mom. I will babysit on weekends, cook dinners for her and drive the kids to appointments when necessary. I feel that it is essential to take care of the needs of the family." Here is an experienced answer example: "For the past three years, I have volunteered as an acting coach for at-risk youth. The classes take place every Saturday morning. It's been an incredible experience for me, and it's volunteer work that I hope to continue for the long-term."16. Are you a union member? Are you familiar with actors unions? A union is designed to protect you as an actor, ensuring fair pay, hours, and working conditions.
In the past, unions have passed legislation that brings work to areas where actors are struggling for employment. Casting directors and producers look highly upon those who join unions because your membership shows that you are a professional and take your career seriously. If you aren't a union member, check to see what is available in your state. Your membership could get you your next audition! Here is an answer example: Here is an entry level answer example: "I just became a union member, yes! I am happy to have joined Actra International recently." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have been an Actra member for eight years. It's the best decision I have made for my career in the acting industry."17. In which area would you like to improve as an actor? To become a well-respected actor, you will need to have the self-awareness that you can always improve, and know what you can improve upon. Auditions are one way to learn these things. So is feedback from other actors and directors.
As you learn your weak points, learn how to talk about them and describe how you seek to improve. You may have recently discovered that your British accent is not believable, so you have been watching Jane Austen films repeatedly and speaking with an accent around your friends to improve. Be specific. Make a list of any areas you know you stand for improvement and think of what you can do. Here is an answer example: "I would like to expand on my range of accents and dialects. I recently enrolled in a 4-week workshop dedicated entirely to this craft. This workshop starts in 4 days. I'm excited to see what doors this training will open for me!" Here is an entry level answer example: "I am passionate about being an actor which means that I am always open to new training opportunities. There is always room to improve. If I had to choose one particular area today, I would choose to learn more about method acting." Here is an experienced answer example: "Training and continuous improvement are critical to me, as an actor. I would like to improve myself in the area of Stanislavski’s System. This method is so widely used, and I cannot get enough of it."18. Do you have any special skills that you can demonstrate for me? Unique skills could be anything from funny voices to acting techniques that make your style unique. You may have a character that you made up that shows your creativity and comedic skill. If you can cry on cue, that's a skill!
Think about some of the skills you have perfected that you can act out on the spot upon request. If you're not sure, list off some examples to jog your memory. Reflect on some of your past roles and productions you did in the past. Here is an answer example: "Yes, I sure do! I have a great British accent and am also able to cry on cue. How could those two skills be used in the same scene? I don't know, but I am ready!" Here is an entry level answer example: "Here are some special skills that you could mention:
- Multiple accents or dialects
- Singing abilities
- Dancing abilities
- Strong projection
- Makeup Artistry
- Wardrobe specialty
- Set design or building" Here is an experienced answer example: "I have found through my years as an actor that I have a strong flair for the set and wardrobe design. I enjoy incorporating those skills into the projects that I take on. It never hurts to bring more to the table than your director expects."19. What sort of acting roles will you be seeking in the future? Now that you know your type and can talk about your style, it will be easier to identify the roles the best-fit roles. As you develop a broader range, meaning the ability to create a higher depth into a full spectrum of characters, you have more options. Practice makes perfect! You may need to challenge yourself by trying something new. Share how what you've done in the past has prepared you. Here is an answer example: "Since I have been playing 'the girl next door' quite often, I want to challenge myself by going after more villain or temptress roles. I've been watching Betty Davis films and working with my acting coach to take on this darker style of character." Here is an entry level answer example: "I would like to land my first role in a musical. I think it would be very challenging for me as an actor. I am trained in classical music and voice, so I see a potential fit." Here is an experienced answer example: "There are so many roles that I would like to try in the future, including roles that are on the emotional and dramatic side. I tend to be cast in a lot of comedic based roles and would like to change that."20. Tell me something I may not know from reading your resume. Don't get caught in the trap of telling them your life story! The interviewer wants to get to know you, but is most interested in how it will help you be successful in acting school or their next production.
Sharing your training, acting experience, and a few hobbies is a great place to start. When talking about hobbies, think about the ones that could be relevant to your job as an actor. You'll need to focus, study and research, so speaking about how you enjoy reading poetry or how you have played on a successful sports team is valuable information.
You'll be working with a lot of different personalities, so talking about how much you love people and enjoy going out to concerts or other public places where you get to meet new people shows that you are outgoing and friendly.
Try to keep this answer brief, but give the interviewer reason to want to know more about you. The way you talk about yourself is also essential. Be enthusiastic and composed. Show that you are prepared. Here is an answer example: Here is an entry level answer example: "“I have a B.A. in Communications and Journalism from the University of Michigan. I am also a professional pianist and classically trained vocalist. I’m currently looking for a change in professional acting." Here is an experienced answer example: "With pleasure! I have over ten years of experience in commercial acting and am interested in growing my career to the next level. On a more personal note, I love to read classic novels, go hiking and spend a lot of my extra time volunteering with the humane society."21. How do you motivate your fellow cast mates? You don't have to be a director or official lead to motivate others. Offering a listening ear or providing words of encouragement can make a world of difference to your cast mates. Sometimes, just being a positive influence and showing up consistently can also make a difference.
If you have worked in a leadership role, think of ways you helped set clear goals or helped individuals cultivate a new skill. Reflect on your experience and share some ways that you have helped encourage others to keep up the good work! Here is an answer example: "I motivate my fellow team members by coming to work with an exceptional attitude every day. I won't allow anyone's bad mood to let me down. That influence alone has helped many of my cast mates get through their day on a more positive note." Here is an entry level answer example: "I motivate others by complimenting their work, asking them their opinion, and making them feel like a valued part of the team." Here is an experienced answer example: "I motivate my cast mates by telling them the many ways in which they inspire me! When you know that you inspire others, you tend to be more motivated to keep going, even on the toughest of days."22. What was the biggest audience you have performed in front of? The interviewer wants to know how comfortable are you with performing in front of large crowds. If you're going to perform in front of hundreds of people, you have to reach some of those smaller goals, like starring in the latest adaptation of Peter Pan in a small mountain town theater.
The more comfortable you become with larger audiences, the more opportunities you have to perform. With that experience, your confidence grows, and you can take on different challenges. As you talk about your experience, even if you have only performed in small plays, talk about your goals and how you are working towards them. Here is an answer example: "The biggest audience I have performed in front of was during my time in the off-Broadway play 'The Pill.' The theater held approximately 250 seats, and we were sold out for six days in a row." Here is an entry level answer example: "I've performed in front of an audience of 30, and I am currently auditioning for larger theater troupes." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have performed in front of audiences of all sizes. If I can recall correctly, the largest audience was likely around 800 individuals. That was while performing at our city's annual holiday production. I love performing in front of large crowds. It's exhilarating!"23. Tell me about a time where you had difficulty with a character. What was the role and why was it challenging? There are many reasons why you will have difficulty with certain characters. Sometimes it's because you can't relate. Other times you can relate too well. Perhaps you are reminded of an estranged relationship with a family member because the character is so similar. Or, maybe you have never met anyone like that character in real life. Here is an answer example: "I was playing the role of Lurch in The Adams Family and it was difficult because I had to maintain the exact same expression for the entire play. I've never played a static character like that before." Here is an entry level answer example: "Last month I auditioned for a role where the character was the opposite gender of myself. I wanted to audition for the challenge but knew it would be incredibly difficult." Here is an experienced answer example: "I have experienced this numerous times in my acting career. The greatest challenge of my acting career so far was to play the character of an abuser. I am gentle by nature, so it was incredibly challenging for me to play someone directly opposite of me. Getting out of character was equally challenging. I had to spend time meditating and doing yoga after a day on set so that I could shake the character a bit."24. Can you read through a scene from the script for me? The interviewer or casting director would like to be assured of your confidence! By asking this question, they get to see just how prepared you are when the pressure is on. The best way to answer this is to say yes, and offer to jump right into the scene. Here is an answer example: "Yes! I have memorized Scene 4 in full because the character monologue jumped out at me. May I read through this scene for you?" Here is an entry level answer example: "The best way to prepare for an audition is to memorize the lines of the role you intend to play. You can hold the script in front of you, but don't hold it too close to your mouth! Hiding behind your script will make it difficult for you to be heard. If you are on video, they can't see the expressions on your face either.
Learn as much as you can about the character, the story and how the director intends to portray the piece before you go into your audition. Understand the tone, dialect, and style. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to read in front of another professional, but take heart!
The more you audition, the more opportunities you have to practice! So, when you are asked to read through the script, be prepared to jump right into character." Here is an experienced answer example: "I would be happy to read a scene with you. I have prepared the monologue from (character name) on page 18. If there is another scene that you prefer me to perform, I am glad to do so."25. When was your first role as an actor? Perhaps your first role was when you were in a school play at eight years old. Or, maybe you were cast in a local commercial for which you have tried out. For some, acting is in their blood. They have molded themselves into characters since early childhood. You may reflect fondly on your first role or, you may not. Your example merely gives the casting director historical context and insight into you as an actor. How have you grown and improved? Here is an answer example: "My very first acting role was a commercial for a local candy store when I was just five years old. I recall memorizing my lines in my bedroom and being nervous for the big day. I don't even remember if I was paid for the gig! Regardless, it gave me the bug for acting, and I haven't looked back since." Here is an entry level answer example: "I just started pursuing my acting career which means that my list of experience is short. I recently played a minor role in a community play. Not only was the experience fun, but it also taught me a great deal about discipline. I am excited to get the ball rolling on my career as an actor." Here is an experienced answer example: "I started my acting career in my grade 7 school play! I cannot recall a lot of the details, but I remember how I felt. Like I was on top of the world! Ever since that day, I knew I wanted to be an actor."
Author of Actor and Actress Answers and Questions
Rachelle Enns is a job search expert, executive headhunter, career catalyst, and interview coach. Utilized by top talent from Fortune companies like Microsoft, General Electric, and Nestle, she helps professionals position themselves in today's competitive digital marketplace.
Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume and Executive Resume Solutions, two companies focused on helping job seekers get their edge back. She helps everyone from new graduates looking for their first placement, to CEO's who want more out of their career.
Rachelle coaches students to executives on how to master the toughest interview questions and how to handle the most bizarre interview situations; all with confidence and poise.
Rachelle trains other career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers, globally. A big part of her job is also spent coaching HR professionals on how to bring the human touch back into their interview and hiring process.
First written on: 05/22/2013 Last modified on: 08/30/2018
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