What does it mean to be an actor in America?

How hard is it to become a successful actor in America? Well,  getting the big bucks and being a big name actor is difficult anywhere. Here, I will guide and show you the way to a triumphant acting career.

In the video above, it will give you advice for becoming an actor with no experience. We all have to start somewhere, right? This video tells you how to do it correctly and efficiently.

A lot of professional actors will live in Hollywood because that is where all of the legit agents will be to set off your career.

How much will it cost?

In the economy, sometimes, becoming an actor can cost more than you actually get paid. You have to be smart when it comes to an acting profession. According to the book Your Film Acting Career by M.K. Lewis, the must haves are: a telephone, which will cost about $40 a month with installation which in total will cost about $500. You need a headshot session will cost $200, headshot printing (500 printed for theatrical and commercial) which will cost $250 total. You must have a résumés (typing and printing 500 copies included) will cost $100. You need AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) initiation which will be $800, equity initiation will be $800, and SAG initiation will be $932. You must have Union dues (assuming you have two unions) will cost you $165. Postage will cost $145 for 500 copies at $.29 per 100 copies. Envelopes (some manila and some regular) will cost $50. The Academy Players Directory listing (one year) will cost $60. An answering machine will be $100. You need good stationary and that will be $75. You need thank-you notes and that will cost you $25, you need an SAG agency list (free to members) which will be $.25. You need a datebook which will cost $20, and you need theatre, showcases, classes which will cost $2,500. The overall total of the "must haves" is approximately $6,722.

Some other items that you might want to get are: a card file and notebook which will be $20, directories which will cost $150, a Working Actors Guide which is $35, trade subscriptions which will cost $195, and postcards which will be $250. You might want to get a typewriter and that will cost $200, labels (blank or pre-addressed) will be $35, a beeper ($90 initial and $15 per month) will be $270, a videocassette (including air-check, stock, editing) will cost $150, and a passport will be $65. Totally, the cost for the "other items" will be $1,370.

Some stuff that you don't need, but will probably get anyway, are: a desk which will be $100, a computer which will cost $1,500, a DVD player will be $300, a camcorder which will cost $900. Overall, the total cost for the "fluff stuff" will be $2,800.

To remind you, the total for "the musts" is $6,722, the total for the "other items" is $1,370, and the total for the "fluff stuff" is $2,800. So overall, the grand total is $10,892.  

How much will i earn?

Being a professional actor can get you a lot of cold, hard cash. According to the article "What Are the Typical Starting and Average Salaries for an Actor", on average, an independent movie actor usually earns about $45.39 per hour. If you are hired for a week, you will earn approximately $2,921 and being hired for the day will get you about $842.

If you are a television performer, you will most likely make the same amount of money as a movie actor, unless you are given a major role. If given such role, you will most likely earn $4,631 per week for half an hour shows and $7,410 for one hour shows. If you are hired from 10 to 19 weeks, you will receive about $2,506 per week, and if you work for 20 or more weeks, you will make about $2,087 per week. (Average Salaries for an Actor).

If you work on Broadway, as of 2012, the pay per week was about $1,754. If you work in a Hollywood theater, the approximate pay per week is based on how large the theater is. For example, if you work in a  theater with 199 seats, and the production earns about $25,000 or less per week, you will make a minimum of $343 per week. If you work in a theater of 400 to 499 seats, and the production earns about $70,001 per week, you will make about $666 per week. (Average Salaries for an Actor).

Historically, What Effect did actors and performances have on society?

Way back when, being an actor had a lot of meaning. Actors did what they did to make a difference. For example, in the musical Showboat, (music by Jerome Kern, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, produced by Florenz Ziegfeld, and based on the novel by Edna Ferber) premiered on December 27, 1927, was the first musical where the music moved the plotline forward. It was also the first musical to be socially relevant, addresses issue of racism in the plot (this was not allowed before that time), it had an inter-racial couple for the primary role, and had African-Americans in major roles. Showboat was was the first musical to be a drama instead of a comedy. It was the first epic musical; multi-generational with 3 generations of one family dealing with love. It inspired more than one movie and was performed by opera companies. (The Discreet Bourgeois).

Another example is West Side Story (music by Leonard Bernstein, concept by Jerome Robbins, book by Arthur Laurents, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins). This musical is a modern day version of Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The importance of this musical is that it was socially relevant including topics such as racism, immigration, and teenage gangs. During that time period, this musical was very daring. Parents had called for a closing of the show because it was so "disturbing" or "scary". Fun fact, this was actually Stephen Sondheim's very first show. (West Side Story: Musical That Broke Rules).

Finally, another important performance that had a major effect on society was Porgy and Bess. On October 10, 1935, Porgy and Bess premiered on Broadway. This was an all African-American opera (music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, and book by DuBose Heyward based on the novel Porgy).  This opera is important because it broke down stereotypes. George Gershwin used jazz and blues music that collaborated with the opera tone. At first, the musical/opera didn't do so well. At least, not until the revival that took place in 1976. There were many popular songs that took place in this performance that are still heard today. (Porgy and Bess).

to put it all together...

To put it all together, acting is a very difficult job to become professional with. To be an actor in American, you have to be 100% willing to put everything you've got into this career if you are that passionate. Acting costs a lot of money and if you really, really want to be in this occupation, you have to have the money and supplies that you need to be successful. You need to be prepared for disappointment, but just remember to not give up. Actors do make a difference and without them, we would have no entertainment and life would be completely different.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

I feel like you spent too much time talking about money, compared to the history. The first paragraph of the How much will it cost part seems to drag on and on.

2 years ago

@thisthefuture is such a critic!