What is the best part of being an actor? That’s easy! The perks. While acting can be an extremely demanding job, it also comes with a lot of benefits that can make your life much more enjoyable. Working as an actor means that you are almost always working, because auditions and rehearsals take up most of your time. However, this also means that you might not have as many opportunities to get paid for your acting skills on any given day. As actors, we have bills to pay, so how do we balance this out so that we can enjoy our job instead of just seeing it as a necessary evil? Let’s take a look at some ways actors get paid when we aren’t working.
- Extras Jobs.
- Voice Over Roles.
- Paid Auditions.
- Coaching Sessions.
- Movie Screenings and Show Watching.
- Equity Member Jobs.
If you’re not actively auditioning for roles, there are a few extra jobs you can perform on set in order to make some cash. As a production assistant, you can help with transporting cast and crew, sorting equipment, and even assisting with things like feeding the crew. If you have a background in wardrobe, you can help the wardrobe team by sorting through clothing, keeping track of details, checking for stains, and even tailoring clothes for the cast. Finally, if you aren’t fazed by blood and gore, you can be part of the special effects team, helping with things such as fake blood, wounds, and props. While these jobs don’t typically pay that much, they do add up, especially as you work more and more.
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Voice Over Roles
If you have a voice that stands out or is just plain awesome, you might be able to earn a few bucks doing voice over work. Auditions for voice over roles are typically much smaller than auditions for on-camera acting, but they are also far less competitive. Voice over auditions are often more like tryouts, and you may only be competing with a handful of other actors. While you may not get rich doing voice over work, you can earn a decent amount of money if you have a solid reel of work. You can get paid per hour, per minute of finished product, or even simply per word.
While this doesn’t apply to every actor, some casting directors do offer auditions that are paid. This is almost never the case for major motion pictures, but it does happen from time to time with smaller projects. Depending on the project, auditions can pay as much as $100 per session, which is enough to cover your gas and parking costs at a minimum. Most paid auditions will be for things like corporate videos, web series, industrial videos, or even podcasts. For these types of projects, most actors will be paid either by the hour or by the finished product. To get paid by the hour, you’ll usually have to negotiate this upfront with the casting director or producer. While they may be willing to do this, they may also expect you to work longer than you originally anticipated, so be sure to clarify this with them before taking the job.
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While acting coaches are more commonly associated with young and aspiring actors, many coaching practices also offer inexpensive coaching sessions for working actors. Most coaching practices will have a system for pricing based on how much time you book for. For example, you may be able to book 30 minutes for $50 or an hour for $100. While this type of money won’t make you rich, it can cover your gas money and parking costs while you’re out auditioning, as well as provide you with a little extra spending money.
Movie Screenings and Show Watching
If you have the time, you can earn a few extra dollars by watching movies and TV shows. When a major motion picture or TV show is about to premiere, the movie studios will often send free advanced screenings to both members of the press and industry professionals. Similarly, if a TV show is about to premiere and has a network, they will often send free episodes to industry professionals for review. While these opportunities often go unnoticed because they are not particularly advertised, they do exist and can provide a little extra cash if you’re looking for something to do.
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Equity Member Jobs
If you are an actor who is a member of one of the major unions, you may be able to work a few union jobs during slow periods. Some actors choose to become members of SAG-AFTRA or Actors Equity, but others are also able to get equity benefits without actually joining the union. As long as you are working under certain guidelines and fulfilling certain requirements, you may be able to work a few union jobs without actually joining the union. If you do have to join the union, you may be required to pay a one-time initiation fee, which can be anywhere from $50 to $3,000.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways for actors to get paid even when they aren’t actively working on a project. While it’s true that the best way to make money as an actor is to be actively working, there are still plenty of ways to earn a few dollars in between auditions, coaching sessions, and screenings. Now that you know what ways to get paid as an actor, it’s time to put them into action. And with all this extra cash, you can treat yourself to some perks.