Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesTheater & Acting · 3 months ago

What is a New Tv actor’s salary gonna be like?

I had to retype this question because people were saying random things that had nothing to do what I’m talking about. And I tried to delete it but yahoo won’t let me anyways.  I’m a young actor and soon I will receive my MFA which is master’s in fine arts in acting. And well when I start my career I’m hoping to be in TV. And well I’m not sure how much a new TV actor gets paid. Like will it be enough to pay off my bills? I do hope to be on movies one day but for right now I just wanna be on TV.

8 Answers

  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    'Salary' is not the right word, since it implies regular monthly payments.  Did nobody running your course leading to the MFA tell you the likely employment and payment conditions in acting?

  • Mark
    Lv 6
    3 months ago

    The SAG-AFTRA website has minimum fees for actors.  It's all negotiable from there..

  • ?
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    TV actors don't have a salary.  Actors aren't hired by a company to get a salary and benefits or anything like that.  Actors are basically contract workers - every acting job is temporary and  you go from gig to gig.  For professional acting, you're basically starting and running your own company where you are the product to be marketed and sold.  Most actors have a side gig to make money while they work on their acting careers.  (A little more details in my response to your other question.)

    So it's fine to have a MFA - you understand the craft of acting.  Now you need to focus on learning the business end of the industry.  Industry websites like backstage have helpful articles to get you started.

    It appears that you don't even understand the casting process.  Like I said, actors don't get a salary.  There aren't a bunch of open auditions that anyone can go to.  For most professional work you have to be invited to audition, usually through an agent.  How it works is that a production company hires a casting director (CD) to find qualified actors to audition for a role.  If the CD knows of an actor they think would be good for a role, they can invite that actor to audition.  A CD can also write a "breakdown" (a description of the project and the roles to be cast).  They provide that information to agents who then submit the appropriate actor for a role.  To submit means to send in an actor's head shot and resume listing the actor's training, education, special skills and links to a show reel demonstrating an actors previous screen work.  If The CD is interested, they invite the actor to audition.  If the actor is cast, the agent negotiates the payment for that one job.  Again - every job is temporary so getting one job does not guarantee you'll get anything else, anytime soon.

    In the US, the actors unions (for TV/film it's the SAG-AFTRA union) negotiate with production companies the base pay (lowest amount) paid to it's members. (Just like any other unions who participate in collective bargaining.)  The rate of pay (aka "scale") depends on the type of role and the type of production.  Since most work is union (the production company has an agreement with the actor's union) preference is given to actors who are members of the union.  And you can't just join the union, you need a specific type of experience to be eligible to join.  

    Now, you can't just hire an agent, it's more like they choose you. Agents are paid a percentage of what an actor makes (never pay an agent up front). So agents need actors who have demonstrated that they have the skills, training, and experience to work at a professional level and be hired.  Frankly, it will be hard to find an agent for TV/movies if you're not already a member of SAG-AFTRA.  The best way to get an agent is through networking -- getting to know industry professionals who can refer you to an agent.  But effective networking takes time and effort.

     And yes, I know, it's a vicious circle.  You can't get hired without experience but can't get the experience you need without getting hired.  Acting is an EXTREMELY challenging career.  In the end you need to take responsibility for your career.  Even just getting an agent isn't enough.  They don't run your career or take care of everything for you.  An agent's only submit you for jobs and negotiate a contract which, in reality, that's jus a small part of running your acting career.

    So again, you really need to start to research and learn the business end of the industry to understand not just the casting process but legal issues (contracts, unions, taxes), marketing (head shot, resume show reel, website, social media) and networking.  Just getting an MFA is not going to be enough to get you an acting job let alone an acting career.  It'll be up to you to figure out the best approach for you.

    Good luck.

  • Cogito
    Lv 7
    3 months ago

    Surely they explained all this to you at the college?

    Actors don't get a 'salary' and typically, will have to work an 'ordinary' job alongside acting throughout their lives just to afford rent, bills, food and clothes. Every acting job you get will be temporary and could easily be your last.

    To get even a one-line role in a small production you'll have to apply for an audition through a really good agent - and good agents are very hard to find. If you get an audition, you'll then have to compete with hundreds of other actors who want the role just as much as you.I'm told that typically, an actor with years of training and even more years of unpaid experience will only get one or two auditions out of every 100 they apply for, and will only win one or two very small roles out of every 100 auditions they get to attend. The pay for any role is likely to be minimal, and on average, a professional actor will never get more than one or two weeks' paid acting work a year.

    When you said "I wanna be on TV" that immediately made me think that you're never going to make it as an actor at all. Actors just love to act. Wanting to 'be on TV' indicates that all you want is attention. I may be wrong about that, and you just phrased your question poorly, but you DO need to be realistic about the life of an actor and how competitive it is.

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  • 3 months ago

    I don't know. But it seems to me if YOU don't know, then you're not ready to be making it.

  • Anonymous
    3 months ago

    I think you need to adopt a more realistic approach if you want to be an actor.

    To answer your question, you need to understand the realities of this business. First, the way it works is, when a project starts casting a casting director is hired. The casting director creates a character breakdown specifying the roles they're looking to fill based on their age-range, looks, special skills, ethnicity, etc. Then they approach the best agents in town. The agents go over their client database and submit (resumes and headshots) to the casting director the clients they believe may fit those said role(s). Out of those, the casting director will invite to audition the handful *they* believe may fit those said roles. The actors will then come in and audition as many rounds as needed till only one gets each role - sometimes not the role they initially auditioned for (and sometimes they're replaced afterwards, for various reasons).

    So, theoretically, you may be invited to 100 auditions a year (for movies also and other stuff, such as commercials and theater, you can't afford to be picky) or you may never be invited to any auditions at all. There's no way to know. Either way, on average an actor will land 1 (minor or major, speaking or non-speaking) role for every 100 auditions they're *invited to*.

    It is rare for professional actors to get more than a few *minor* roles, on minor productions (including things no one's ever heard of), their entire career, let alone big parts on a big production. That's a few days of work per year - max. Only a very small percentage of actors (maybe 1%) land a role that pays well enough to allow them to pay their bills. And even then, every acting job is temporary. And you never know when your next one will come or IF it will ever come at all. It is an extremely unstable and competitive field. Almost all actors hold at least another "regular" day job or two because you can't support yourself by acting alone unless you're an A-list star - and even then you might at some point fall out of it.

    So realistically, the chances of getting any role on TV (or a serious movie) are pretty slim And the chances of getting a *serious* role on a serious production are even slimmer and it might take 10 or 20 years of working as an actor and of  taking on much smaller gigs... And the chances of getting enough well-paid gigs to be able to pay your bills again and again every month are extremely small. Maybe 00.1%. So you WILL need a day job alongside acting. That's not even a question. Ideally you'll need something flexible. There's a reason why actors-waiters is a cliche.

  • 3 months ago

    So, this place where you're "gonna" be getting this MFA thing........... can you also get ordained as a Supreme Priest in a religion of your choice, and all that sort of thing? It's just that you sound a bit.....well....... challenged. No offence. Hope this helped!

  • 3 months ago

    As an actor myself on television, we dont necessarily have a salary. Its all contract. Your pay depends on your role, length of contract (is it a series or one episode appearance?). Theres no set figure unless your playing a reoccurring role. You negotiate with your agent how much but I always take what im offered because i find payment is quite fair ln my experience.   

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