Acting: Salary and Requirements

by admin on September 19, 2019

It's one of the hardest lines of work to make money in—but it is possible. Though it may take a little more creative problem solving to get your footing, if you have incredible tenacity and a thick skin you'll find opportunities for acting jobs. Laying the foundation for a longer-term career is key. Even if this longer-term career doesn't make up the bulk of your income, it still takes a lot of work to be successful.

Becoming an Actor

There are many schools of thought regarding what it takes to become an actor and then find acting jobs. Along these lines, it helps first to decide what your over-arching vision is. Are you looking to be an actor on the stage, giving a slightly different performance each night before a live audience?

Or are you more keen to get in front of the camera and create an opus piece by piece? Maybe it's improv or sketch comedy that you want to act in because of how spontaneous and enlivening that work can be. Besides these forms, there's also physical theatre and musical theatre which require different skill sets.

Acting Onstage

Acting for the Camera

Acting in Other Forms

The Question of Training

Getting Acting Jobs

Once you're confident that you've explored what makes you, you, through training and commitment to a craft (even if it's a combination of a few of them) you can start looking for acting jobs. One quick note: it is possible to find acting jobs without first getting training, however, it may be harder and you may not have the same level of confidence in your ability. There are a variety of outlets you'll want to explore to find acting jobs. We'll get into a few of these below.


Actors Access

Casting Networks

Casting Frontier

Sleeper Service: Casting About

Actor Salary and Job Security

person writing on clipboard

Photo by from Pexels

You'll find that as you get further and further along into an acting career that it's hard to gauge your income from year to year because the business is so unpredictable. If you have good agents and managers going to bat for you, this is a much easier process. The step of even approaching these professionals requires groundwork. Ideally, you have a body of acting jobs that you've found yourself or through your networking efforts and effective relationship management.

Actor Salary

If you are a regular on a television show, you can look forward to making thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per episode (especially if the show makes it beyond the first season). For smaller roles, your payment will be less than this. Actor film contracts are negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Finally, in the world of stage, you'll usually be making a weekly salary for however long the rehearsal/performance process is. The stage is generally considered less lucrative than film/television unless you're working at the highest levels.

Job Security

The following statistic deters many: only 10% of actors are employed at any point in time. This means it's a good idea to do something in addition to acting that gets you through dry spells. If this other work is also creative and feeds you, so much the better. Then again, in certain parts of the country, it is possible to join the 'company' of a respected regional theatre. This may offer more job security than if you were to bounce from contract to contract to work for different entities.


Man holding a camera while reviewing the scene done by an actor

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Deciding to become an actor and find acting jobs can be a daunting journey. But if you have the passion, talent, and drive to put all the pieces together, you can find yourself in a very rewarding line of work. It should be mentioned that when acting, you'll ultimately be inhabiting the full spectrum of the human experience. So if you're uncomfortable with change or experiencing a variety of complex emotions or states of being, it'd be wise to choose another avenue for your creative expression. Now go get 'em and knock 'em dead!

Featured Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

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