How Much Does an Actor Make?

The classic Hollywood dream of achieving fame and fortune is pursued by many, with only a small fraction reaching celebrity status – along with the payday that comes with it. But that doesn’t mean trying to advance your career in acting is all in vain. You can still make good money even if you don’t become a superstar. And if you have a genuine love for the art, you can still find joy in acting even if you don’t get a large check.

How Much Do Actors Make?

The wage an actor earns largely depends on the prominence of the role and the medium of the production. Even in films, background actors often earn minimum wage starting out. But when close-up shots, lines, and other elements are added to an actor’s role, the earnings can jump significantly.

But how much does an actor make, exactly? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top 10% of actors earned an average of $89.08 per hour. Since actors often don’t work regular hours, and getting to a living wage working full-time as an actor is highly competitive, many actors only act part-time and have other jobs.

Earnings for Different Types of Acting

Of course, the type of acting you pursue will have a large impact on your earnings. For instance, actors who work for theater companies earn an average of $17.05 per hour. But actors on Broadway, which is often the goal for theater actors, earn an average of $2,034 per week.

Another popular type of acting to get into is commercial acting. Many commercial actors find that they can support themselves working full-time, with the average hourly wage for shoots coming in at $89 per hour, with residual income being earned with each ad play. All things considered, the average commercial actor earns between $57,000 to $85,000 per year.

Of course, as mentioned before, film and television wages vary widely. While starting wages often reflect minimum wages of the shooting locations, actors who break out into leading roles earn millions. And those who routinely land supporting roles can find themselves earning enough to live comfortably in desirable locations.

How to Boost Your Earnings as an Actor

The key to earning more as an actor is having a good agent who can land you more prominent roles. Acting agents have connections to casting directors looking for new talent and they’ll help you weed out the junk so you spend more time following promising leads.
Getting in touch with acting agents isn’t always easy, which is why attending an event hosted by Discovery Spotlight can help simplify your search. We invite agents and casting directors looking to discover new talent to our auditions, giving you a chance to get reliable representation and to move your career forward.

Apply to Become an Actor