While many consider actors to make a decent amount of money, that couldn’t be farther from the truth for many actors working in Australia.
According to a recent University of Sydney study, 56 percent of actors in Australia earn less than $20,000 a year from their profession. An additional 36 percent earn less than $10,000 annually. One in four actors in the country are currently living below the poverty line.
“Actors as a group are extremely low paid,” Zoe Angus, director of the entertainment industry union Actors Equity told Perth Now. “Most have to earn supplementary income from other sources, but even then, one quarter still live below the poverty line.”
In Australia, the set union pay rate for an “established, experienced performer” on a television show is roughly $600 a day. While this may seem like a highly substantial paycheck, most television actors who aren’t very high-profile are only working around one or two days a month.
What Australian actors are experiencing represents the current plight of actors on a global scale. According to Equity, an acting union based out of the UK, 56 percent of its members earned less than £10,000 between November 2012 and 2013.
“The industry is driven by dreams,” Macquarie University economics lecturer Dr. Jordi McKenzie told the Courier Mail. “People see actors like Liam Hemsworth, who’ve come through the local industry and go on to become some of Hollywood’s biggest names. Of course, those are the exceptions and not the rule. For every actor who makes it, there are probably 1,000 who don’t.”
– Alexander Khalid