Making a living as an actor can be challenging due to the realities of the industry. Varying assignment durations, income instability, and intense competition make a career in acting both exciting and unpredictable. For those who feel a passionate calling for acting, the stimulating challenges and ongoing learning involved in acting can be intensely rewarding. Accepting the nature of the industry, being flexible, and budgeting wisely all help successful actors cope with the highs and lows their profession entails.
Accepting the Nature of the Industry
Accepting the reality of the industry can help actors plan for alternative streams of income during dry spells. Earning a living from acting alone, while possible, is rarely a lifelong or stable situation, even for famous actors. TV and theater shows can be canceled. Many acting assignments are of short duration, such as commercials or seasonal performances. Freelance work, teaching classes, or lower-stress, flexible jobs can help actors while they audition and hunt for their next gig.
Thinking Outside the Box
Actors already think outside the box each time they step into a new role. Diversifying your repertoire and being flexible about the types of acting you do can land you more roles, as well as more opportunities to get your name out there. Commercials, print modeling, acting jobs at theme parks and on cruise ships, and even making your own YouTube series are all ways to keep acting, gain experience, and make valuable connections.
Signing with a reputable agent often leads to landing more work. After all, they only get paid for their work when you do! Good agents should also be well-connected and get your name out at important events.
Networking with other actors and those working within the stage or production industry can lend insights into valuable leads and information. Stay in touch with people you work with even after a show or assignment has ended.
Preparing and budgeting for bouts of unsteady employment and income can help avoid the temptation to live beyond your means during high-income periods. Don’t forget to set aside some of your earnings to invest in staying competitive in your craft, including in the areas of promotion and continuing education.
For more great tips on how to make a living as an actor, including how to deduct certain expenses of your craft from your taxes, see here!
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