63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year

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KK
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Post63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by KK » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:43 pm

BBC News wrote:Almost two-thirds of performers (63%) earned less than £5,000 from their profession in the last year, a survey suggests.

That's an improvement on the 77% figure from a similar 2014 survey of actors, musicians and dancers by entertainment recruitment firm The Mandy Network.

But the latest survey found that half of the 3,000 members who responded took on unpaid roles every year.

And 60% had to take second jobs outside entertainment to make ends meet.

One in five had not had a paid job in the entertainment industry in the past six months, while just 13% took home more than £20,000 per year from performing, the survey found.

Actress Annameka Andrade told the BBC she graduated from the Brit School in south London in 2006 and got a job as a film runner as she thought it might be a "back door" into the industry.

But she then found she was "pigeonholed [in production]... so that was a fail".

Annameka then worked in a call centre and later in exhibition sales, which gave her the flexibility to go for auditions.

"I got into this when I was 15, I'm 35 now, and I haven't given up," she says.

"I've changed my agent recently. I'm not ashamed because I love what I do but I don't have the things a normal adult would have at 35. The income is more at the level of a student/internship.

"Every so often you get a commercial, which makes up a huge chunk of your income for the year, but it's never consistent."

Annameka has appeared in films including Payback Season (2012) and in TV campaigns for the likes of Hovis, Heinz, Channel 4, EE and Tesco, along with her theatre work.

She also says the industry is "a perfect breeding ground for mental health issues".

The report's findings also indicate that some people working in the industry have mental health problems, with 63% of women and 48% of men surveyed struggling with anxiety.

It also found that 59% of women and 61% of men suffer from stress, while 37% of women and 36% of men say they have had depression.

Annameka says: "Your family members and friends try to be supportive but you know they're questioning whether you're doing the right thing, they're doing normal jobs, while you're almost constantly unemployed and you have a passion that isn't fully ignited so you feel unfulfilled."

Annameka founded an actors' society in 2009 and "invited a lot of casting directors, which was really helpful".

She adds: "I learned about the industry. The casting directors are the gateway to the jobs. I'm still going!"

Phillip Large, chief executive of The Mandy Network, said the survey showed it's still difficult to break into the industry if you don't have other means of supporting yourself.

"As this industry continues to draw criticism for its lack of diversity, too many of the meaningful job opportunities are still being handed out behind closed doors, while pay levels dictate that only the financially secure or those with other income streams can really afford to remain in the sector in the long term," he said.

Mandy also surveyed film and TV crew members. While pay among crew is higher than for performers, 54% of crew members still earn less than £10,000 per year, 13% take unpaid work every month, and 12% have been unable to find paid work in the past six months.

A spokesperson for creative trade union Equity said: "Access to work in the entertainment and creative industries should be about talent.

"Our industries will only thrive by attracting and retaining professional talent, regardless of background or circumstances.

"An increasingly diverse audience both wants and expects to see and hear itself reflected authentically and its expectations are even higher of publicly-funded theatres and broadcasters."

The report also demonstrated evidence of a gender imbalance within both pay and opportunities.

Eight-two per cent of women earn less than £10,000 per year, compared with 69% of men, while 63% of women have a second job outside entertainment to help support themselves, compared with 57% of men.

The Mandy Network carried out the online survey of 3,067 of its members between 12 and 30 October 2018.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-46356689

'To be [broke], or not to be [broke], that is the question...' (theatre darling, theatre)

Seriously though, what diabolical pay.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Snowy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:45 pm

They're nearly all contractors so is this just what they give themselves PAYE? Ignoring dividend payments from their company?

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Preezy » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:47 pm

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by KK » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:49 pm

In my mind, I can actually hear the sound of Alan Partridge retorting "should have got a real job, then".

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Heskimo » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:59 pm

The "bulk" of my income comes from playing drums and I probably averaged something l like £7000/year from it over the last couple of years. I make up the rest of my wage from working a couple of days on top at Subway but I think I've been around £12000/year in total. Without looking at my records I can't remember the exact figures.

Admittedly that's after you take off the outgoings of buying equipment, paying for fuel etc. When this was just a hobby, I would just buy gear out of my wages and it wouldn't offset anything, whereas now drum-related purchases bring down my total income, so it does balance out a bit. But even then, I wouldn't call it a good wage for a 30 year old man...

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Green Gecko » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:11 pm

It's the result of both performing artists and hiring agents undervaluing. I've said it before but most artists haven't got a strawberry floating clue how to position themselves as valuable consultants, educators and influencers instead of just music boxes, and that's partly due to a lack of business education/noggin and also because it's too easy to play into the hands of employers because they don't consider it a serious expense and also people don't want to pay to enter most venues.

If all those artists simply stopped doing work for free it would help a lot, there's no better way to devalue your skills then offering them up for strawberry float all. And so the professionalism is really poor.

It goes right back to minstrels and gooseberry fool working for the court, although in that case they did actually have a bed and meals and so lived quite comfortably. Nowadays it's nigh impossible to keep a roof over your head if you only perform.

The hours are also strawberry floating insane, I know a session drummer who plays something like 330 nights a year including international travel, recording, drum clinics, music videos and promotional appearances and on top of that he was recently diagnosed with early stage cancer but is still touring anyway. But I guess that's what it takes to play with people like Bruce Dickinson, faith no more and sham 69.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Meep In Heavenly Peace » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:05 pm

This is pretty much the same with all the arts though. Most novelists make less the minimum wage effectively, if they get published. If you want to make money, don't start a career in the arts! A bog standard office job will usually pay much more and offer far better benefits.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Mafro » Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:09 pm

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Gemini73 » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:25 am

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by lex-man » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:47 pm

Not much of a surprise really. I tried to get into to TV work and after doing a ton of unpaid work and a degree, I got offered a job on 7.5k a year back in 2004. They said I could make a load more by doing overtime, but decided to look at different options.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Frosty the Clarkman » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:19 pm

Meep wrote:This is pretty much the same with all the arts though. Most novelists make less the minimum wage effectively, if they get published. If you want to make money, don't start a career in the arts! A bog standard office job will usually pay much more and offer far better benefits.


Can confirm this. Writing is fundamentally a middle class activity, meaning those of us who need to pay bills have to relegate it to a hobby/side-hustle.

I stand to make under 5 figures on my next novel (due September 2019, available in all good shops :shifty: ), and it has taken 4 years of work.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Snowy » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:24 pm

Clarkman wrote:I stand to make under 5 figures on my next novel (due September 2019, available in all good shops :shifty: ), and it has taken 4 years of work.


What's it called? I'll buy it in an attempt to get you over the 5 figure threshold, even if it's gooseberry fool. :)

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Rudolphin » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:16 pm

Soros is obviously a skinflint, then.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Green Gecko » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:21 pm

I would say if you want to make money from a career in the arts, you should learn to make money.

It doesn't matter what you do if there absolutely is a market for it.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by lex-man » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:28 pm

Green Gecko wrote:I would say if you want to make money from a career in the arts, you should learn to make money.

It doesn't matter what you do if there absolutely is a market for it.


The problem is that there are a huge number of talented people trying to get into the arts so it's actually easy to pay very little on the grounds that people will use it as an opportunity to put something on their CV to use to get better paying stuff.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Green Gecko » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:46 pm

That's because people are usually pitching themselves poorly as an employee rather than a consultant who offers better value and has multiple clients. Also various digital selling opportunities. There's a fundamental lack of business skills which includes working for free, there's no better way to strawberry float things up than do that, and I have done that.

I say this as opposed to the comment that if you want to make money don't have a career in the arts. Because that 81 billion pounds of annual GDP is being paid by someone.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by lex-man » Thu Nov 29, 2018 3:09 pm

I don't really agree. I just think that the market is over saturated with talent. It's the same in other areas like computer games development. The pay is lower because more people want to do it.

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Green Gecko » Thu Nov 29, 2018 7:21 pm

Yes, but you're probably looking at the lower quotient. Also let's not conflate the performing arts with all arts in general, which is massive chunk of various sectors and interdisciplinary practice. There is good pay to be had in any area, you just have to position yourself correctly, and, well, pursue better clients/pay. Arts administration and creative direction have very good salaries. So does exhibition sales for example, and marketing/advertising.

A lot of people fail to position themselves and accept low paying jobs doing grunt work, and that reduces the value of the market. They depend on finding the source of money dripfed by one person or organisation rather than looking at the market as a whole. It's bloody stupid that people do it and I wish they didn't. They can make the same money selling themselves effectively with 10-100 clients instead of one dipshit one who only pays them the minimum wage, and they accept that.

I don't think the market is over-saturated with talent either. It's very very hard to find professional, "talented" creatives who actually think independently and innovate to drive sales for the businesses they work for i.e. to make more money from their work. The trouble is there are too many people who are "quite good" that accept low paying jobs doing stuff most people with adequate training can do. This brings the upper ceiling of salary down, but in some cases actually increases it and makes it easier to differentiate from the rest. The people who are truly excellent, obviously there are less of those jobs. Also there is huge competition overseas for things like graphic design and animation. You have to specialise and improve business and economical skills to make good money in a career in "the arts", which is why for example the top art/design university UCA opened its Business School to award MBAs in Arts Administration/Production Management and in response to that was awarded The Time's "Modern University of the Year" award this year along with best university for the arts in the country to help tackle this skill shortage in creative professionals.

Creative professionals inevitably need better management and negotiation skills specifically because they are undervalued or undervalue themselves by people that don't understand the work being done. So it's not because art does not make money (it does), but because people are terrible at getting it.

(And it also doesn't help that everyone is telling them to give up because they're stupid and can't possibly make any money because painting is for babies and you can only sell it if you work for your long lost millionaire uncle and attend auctions and fancy galleries, which is total bollocks and proven factually incorrect by various business models utilised by artists over the past century at least, and ignores so many potential media to practice in to be borderline delusional.)

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Frosty the Clarkman » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:52 pm

Sandy wrote:
Clarkman wrote:I stand to make under 5 figures on my next novel (due September 2019, available in all good shops :shifty: ), and it has taken 4 years of work.


What's it called? I'll buy it in an attempt to get you over the 5 figure threshold, even if it's gooseberry fool. :)


The Art of the Body, published by Dialogue Books (imprint of Little, Brown - Hachette). I promise it isn't gooseberry fool...

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PostRe: 63% of actors and performers earn less than £5,000 per year
by Ecno » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:29 pm

Clarkman wrote:
Sandy wrote:
Clarkman wrote:I stand to make under 5 figures on my next novel (due September 2019, available in all good shops :shifty: ), and it has taken 4 years of work.


What's it called? I'll buy it in an attempt to get you over the 5 figure threshold, even if it's gooseberry fool. :)


The Art of the Body, published by Dialogue Books (imprint of Little, Brown - Hachette). I promise it isn't gooseberry fool...


Out of interest how does it work? What % do you get on sales, do you get a flat fee etc?

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