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Old 07-17-2009, 05:05 PM
 
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We all hear of strugglilng actors. Is it possible for an actor to make it in NYC at all especially if they live with another person?
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:13 PM
 
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Anything is possible. It's highly unlikely, but possible.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:14 PM
 
19 posts, read 80,053 times
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anybody have any numbers they would like to offer me
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:28 PM
 
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You'll get the best information from the various actors' unions:

SAG
AFTRA
Equity

They can tell you the employment rate for their members (seems to me that, on average, typically less than 20% of union members actually earn a living wage).

If you're non-union, you'll be hard-pressed to find enough paying gigs to support yourself.


So, let me clarify -- yes, you can support yourself. Just not as an actor. However, there are thousands of actors in the city who DO support themselves by other means (clerical, waitstaff, etc.) while they persue their theatrical dreams.
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Old 07-17-2009, 09:07 PM
 
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Basically, like anywhere else its all about being the right person at the right place at the right time. But don't hold your breath that your dreams will come true. Pursue it if your serious about it, but keep in mind a plan B that would become a full time alternative career.
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Old 07-18-2009, 07:11 AM
 
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It's a struggle anywhere. It seems, at times, that most waitstaff in NYC restaurants are aspiring actors.
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Old 07-18-2009, 10:16 AM
 
Location: The Present
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of course you will have to struggle if you really want to become an actor.

It'll be tough getting in the union but if you pay your dues long enough you will. When I was putting myself through school a few years ago while working every odd job or dangerous one time job there was ALWAYS someone there who was aspiring to be an actor or musician (my field). This is a great thing though, because eventually your going to create a huge network of all these actors/artists/musicians you work with in these jobs and although right now there in the same boat as you, eventually down the line there career and your career will progress. When they need to call someone for an employment opportunity they WILL call you, you never know. I say this now because I see it happening with many of the friends i've worked with over the past 7 years, and its a great thing in a time like this to get a call from a friend offering you some employment or extra $$$ vice versa.

but YOU have to put in the work also, you need to have tough skin and a hard work ethic.
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Old 07-19-2009, 06:27 AM
 
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Try www.backstage.com and go to the message boards there.

Acting is a VERY tough profession and even those who have great skills, great looks, etc don't make it. They say you "may" get one job for every 100 auditions you go on. And let's not forget how hard it is to get an agent or manager ---- they get 1000s of submissions per week and you're lucky if your headshot happens to pop out at them and they call you.

I know people who make a living off doing background work (you only make $75/day for non-union or $125 for union) but background work is not easy. It's typically a 10-12 hour day of standing around and waiting. The good part is, they feed you well. LOL! The people who I know who do it share an apartment in Queens and it's subsidized housing, so their rent isn't all that much. I don't think a person could make a living off background work otherwise.

Getting into the unions is crazy. You can get SAG eligible by doing background on 3 or more union jobs. However, union fees are EXPENSIVE and, once you're in the union, you can't do any non union work, so it limits you.
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Old 07-20-2009, 12:18 PM
 
Location: New York City
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What do you mean by "make it in New York"? Do you mean being able to pay your bills and have a fulfilling life? Or do you mean being able to support yourself entirely by acting?

The first is a definite yes. The second is almost a definite no. The only theater jobs that pay a living wage are Broadway. Unless you do musical theater they are nearly impossible to get. Most of the actors doing plays are bona-fide stars or are already somewhat famous.

It's sometimes possible to get an Off-Broadway role, but the union scale is very low. Most people I know who do Off-Broadway have day- or a least part time jobs. The thing is, if you're in an Off-Broadway show you've reached a very high level of success. Those are not easy jobs to get. The problem is the economics of Off-Broadway make it very difficult for anyone (producers included) to make money.

Most actors who make a living at it do a combination of jobs: New York stage work for prestige and credibility, and then the odd small TV part (soap opera walkons and Law and Order), regional theater and summer stock to make a little money. You can make a tremendous amount to money doing commercials (I've known people who've made $100k off of a single national commercial) but they're very, very hard to get.

If you're on the creative end: acting, directing, writing, designing, your chances of making a living solely from creative work are very, very low.
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