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How much money does an actor earn?

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It very much depends on the actor. The stars of the hugest TV series may get 1 million per episode, and the top movie stars can earn millions of dollars for a few months' work on a movie, but they're very much the exception to the rule. Very few actors get paid that much, and the vast majority of actors don't earn anywhere near that.

Actors in a tv series, especially if they aren't famous yet; get "scale" based on the rate Screen Actors Guild (SAG) or AFTRA (American Federation of Television & Radio Artists) for the size of the role.

The FRIENDS cast, all unknown at the beginning, were paid about $5,000 per episode.

An actor who's a member of the Screen Actors' Guild is generally guaranteed a minimum of about $800 per day of working on a movie (except under certain special low-budget contracts, where they may get as little as $100 per day); actors who aren't members of the union may work for much less, or even nothing (or the promise of payment when and if a movie finally airs). (Keep in mind, though, that that's only during the days they're actually working acting on a movie; most actors won't be actually working on movies most of the time, so they won't be making this money every day.) For TV shows, the rates are slightly different (and there's another union that may be involved), but it works about the same way. It's very common for beginning actors to not make any money at all, just working on low-budget projects for free in order to build up their resume and reel.

I have an actor friend who played a co-star role in his first film, with one legendary celebrity. For the days he worked on this film, he was paid $30,000.00 for his very first movie role. This was, of course, a motion picture that had Universal behind it. Now, several years later, and he has a great reputation in Hollywood (among casting directors); he makes about $50,000 a film for a co-star role. Thus, only $20,000 gain. His salary is average for most actor (with good reputations but no huge fame).
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