How much can you make in your acting career depends on a lot of factors. This is because not every film made is a box office hit which is why the earnings of some are erratic and these individuals have to supplement their income through other means.
In 2006, the median hourly salary of most actors was close to $12. Majority earned around $8 to $22 while those in the higher levels earned a little over $51. Because most of these projects are short term, it is difficult to determine how much you actually learn on a given year.
If you are in demand right now, producers and directors will call you up while you are working on a current project.
The one who sets the standards in terms of how much a stage actor earns depends on the Actor’s Equity Association while the Screen Actor’s Guild will cover those working in movies, television and commercials. If you happen to be a radio studio performer, the one handling that will be the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
In short, you have to join a union in order to have an acting career. But this does not mean that you can’t negotiate for a higher salary if you feel you deserve it. Some are members of two or three of them at the same time because they work in several media.
Actors who are members of either SAG or AFTRA earn a minimum daily rate of $759 or $2,634 for a week. They will also receive contributions to their health and pension plans as well as compensation for reruns and foreign telecasts of the productions in which they appear. There will also be paid vacations and sick leave which is something you contributed to.