How to Earn a Living as an Actor

One of the biggest stereotypes associated with being an actor is that all actors are starving artists. While it is true that not every actor is able to pull in millions per role like The Rock or Jennifer Lawerence, that doesn’t mean that every other job pays pennies! Keep reading to find out the ways that you can make money and have fun doing it! Don’t forget to visit ClaimFame’s library of paid parts to start bringing home the bacon by performing!


1. Extra Work

Many actors find working as an extra to be an easy way to make money. You can make over $100 a day filling out the background of the movie, and get to see some stars at the same time!

2. Commercials

Commercials pay extremely well, and they often cast all over the country. A union actor can make $600 a day shooting a commercial, and they receive a small amount often every single time the commercial airs! That adds up to quite a lot of money!

3. Modeling

Models get paid for becoming the face of a product or fashion. The average pay is $250 a day for photo modeling, but this increases as the gigs become more illustrious.

4. Theatre, Film, and TV
This is the area with the biggest gap in terms of pay. Many indie films and stage productions may not be able to pay, or offer a small stipend or travel expenses. On the other end of the scale are network shows and blockbusters where salaries can climb into the millions! Check with the casting director to see exactly what sort of compensation you will be receiving.

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Of course, it is difficult to drop everything and become an actor full time. Many performers have found these tips helpful in managing their finances while persuing their dreams.

1. Find a flexible side job.

When starting out, it’s important to find a side job that’s flexible enough to let you get to auditions and rehearsals. Many actors find that being a waiter allows them to make enough to live a comfortable life and perform on a regular basis. This isn’t your only option however! Reception or customer service jobs can utilize your theatrical skills.


2. Utilize your skills.

There are also plenty of ways to creatively utilize your performing skills and make a little money on the side like choreography or public speaking coaching! Even hobbies like photography or video editing can be turned into lucrative side opportunities that will keep you going between acting gigs

3. Budget! Budget! Budget!

Because being an actor means that your income will be coming from many different sources, it’s important to stay organized and keep track of your money. Start a simple budget using apps like Mint or Quicken to know how much you have available at any given moment.

Worried Mature couple doing paperwork with a laptop computer and calculator on the sofa

4. Don’t be afraid to say “No”

Don’t be afraid to start saying no to unpaid gigs as your resume grows and expands. When you make your career as a performer, you are selling yourself. Don’t undervalue your talent! There will always be more opportunities.

Performing can be a hard and long road. Using these simple tricks, you can avoid having to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from and focus on what truly matters: your talent and career goals. Check ClaimFame’s entire library of paid gigs here!

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