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Newbie
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Seeing it all in writing makes it more real.
 
Posts: 13 | Location: i dont know | Registered: October 13, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Wonderful post about the real side of acting thank you for sharing Smiler
 
Posts: 118 | Location: San Diego | Registered: August 29, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Kevin Bacon
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Nice article.
Appreciate the effort.
 
Posts: 25 | Location: Berkeley | Registered: November 19, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Great post! Does anybody by any chance has an update for these days? I found a lot of costs slightly different, personally.

Here's what it is like for me:
place to stay $550
food $200
gas NO IDEA
electricity+internet $40
miscellaneous $50-100

So it's not $1450, but rather around $850 without gas. And I don't even know where to find a survival job that would pay about $2000 (which you would need on those terms). Does it even exist for a regular non-skilled worker.
 
Posts: 97 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: December 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Well, gas will run you about 160 to 200 a month depending on how far you drive. My car is older, and as such the gas mileage is only about 15 miles a gallon combined city and highway and I spend around 40 a week just local city driving. I'm guessing you have a room mate or rent a room from someone as rent for an apartment in the NYC metro area ranges from 800 - 1200, depending on area. Electricity & internet seems a little low as well.
 
Posts: 27 | Location: Northern NJ (close to NYC) | Registered: July 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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quote:
Great post! Does anybody by any chance has an update for these days? I found a lot of costs slightly different, personally.

Here's what it is like for me:
place to stay $550
food $200
gas NO IDEA
electricity+internet $40
miscellaneous $50-100

So it's not $1450, but rather around $850 without gas. And I don't even know where to find a survival job that would pay about $2000 (which you would need on those terms). Does it even exist for a regular non-skilled worker.



Apologies if I offend, but have you ever lived on your own before? Because your budget is woefully low and I worry that you will get yourself in trouble.

I'm assuming you're renting a small room or sharing with a bunch of roommates to get your rent and electric so very low, but what about a cell phone? Laundry detergent? Toothpaste? Car maintenance? Clothes, even if just to replace/repair what you currently own? Your food budget is really low, too, but I'm again assuming that maybe you just don't eat much or have a very simple diet.

How about health insurance? Are you still under your parents plan? Healthcare in general? Even a bottle of ibuprofen costs money.

It's also my opinion that actors need to have some sort of access to movies and TV. Okay, maybe you can't afford cable, but Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, etc., etc. You need to see stuff!

The 99 cents only stores in LA are fabulous, but $50 to $100 for "miscellaneous" is nowhere near enough to cover all one needs for simple day to day living.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Chicago | Registered: January 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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quote:
Originally posted by Victrola:
Apologies if I offend, but have you ever lived on your own before? Because your budget is woefully low and I worry that you will get yourself in trouble.

I'm assuming you're renting a small room or sharing with a bunch of roommates to get your rent and electric so very low, but what about a cell phone? Laundry detergent? Toothpaste? Car maintenance? Clothes, even if just to replace/repair what you currently own? Your food budget is really low, too, but I'm again assuming that maybe you just don't eat much or have a very simple diet.

How about health insurance? Are you still under your parents plan? Healthcare in general? Even a bottle of ibuprofen costs money.

The 99 cents only stores in LA are fabulous, but $50 to $100 for "miscellaneous" is nowhere near enough to cover all one needs for simple day to day living.


Hey! You didn't say anything that would offend me so it's okay Smiler Yes, I lived on my own for over 6 years now and I didn't really mention what my budget was. I just said what my current expenses are.

Now you don't be offended, but I noticed that Westerners are more spoiled than Eastern Europeans as you're not the first one to say this. I know people on tight budget who still go out to eat and then borrow money, which doesn't make sense to me. Our working class will eat out twice a year, if that, we are very cheap on clothes (not because we're cheap, but because the money is tight) and stuff like that. I'm not really in the position to pick out new clothes or be picky with anything else, and I'm very comfortable on a low budget (I'll buy a bag of rice, mix it with frozen veggies and eat it with ketchup all week and take a multi, no biggie; done that for years). A few days ago I bought that monster sandwich for $7 from Food4Less and it lasted me 3 days with some cookies in between Smiler I live in Sherman Oaks with 2 other actors as roommates, yes.

But of course you're correct about some other stuff I didn't budget for yet: car maintenance cost, gas, I forgot cell phone bill, but insurance is provided by employer. As for miscellaneous, what would I need? Toilet paper, toothpaste, detergent, some other little things and that's it. Definitely below $100.

Anyway, my question wasn't about that. I just wanted to point out for other aspiring actors that original post had really HIGH numbers and I have absolutely no idea how an actor in LA can afford to lash out $2000 per month (including acting costs) + additional yearly expenses when most survival jobs pay $8-10/h. I wanted to say that it is possible to live of a slightly lower budget without a problem. Also I thought maybe someone can provide an update on today's ACTING COSTS that miss stone has posted, as I have yet to dip into those. I'm sure a lot of newbies on these boards would appreciate it!
 
Posts: 97 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: December 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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I actually find the living expenses in the original post to be on the low side. The acting expenses seem about right still for my market. Headshots are cheaper here than in LA. Classes are about the same, averaged out.

I wouldn't call it spoiled, actually. You are living a very austere lifestyle that is working for you, great. I remember being 22 and sleeping backstage using curtains for blankets.

I couldn't/wouldn't do it now.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Chicago | Registered: January 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Yeah, I guess it has to do a lot with age. I might not be able to do the same in 5 years.

Anyway, if you find those costs accurate, what jobs to actors in this town work that earn them $2000 + savings per month? As far as I know, most actors who ACTIVELY audition can only temp or work in hospitality industry, which is like $1400-1600 at most, except for maybe a few better gigs like a bartender. Am I wrong? I'm just really curious and worried, too.
 
Posts: 97 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: December 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Flat out, you just have to find a job that makes you better money. Working one minimum wage job, even full time, flexible or not, will only just barely give you (and I'm speaking you specifically with your very low expenses)enough money to live on. You will not have enough money for classes, fees, headshots, etc. You just won't.

A good serving or bartending job will make you much more than $1600 a month. Well, not MUCH more. But over $2000, sure. A good admin gig (with flexible bosses), if you have excellent skills, should pay at least $15 an hour.

Look to improving your workaday job skills so you can get those better jobs. Or look for side jobs. Focus groups. Product testing.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Chicago | Registered: January 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Oh, and some work for themselves. Some work from home. Some have flexible hours.

Some work 60 hours a week at multiple but low paying flexible jobs, leaving themselves just enough time for classes and auditions.

There are different ways to it, but you just have to make more money than 40 hours at minimum wage.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Chicago | Registered: January 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Oh okay, thanks!

I understand Servers in LA are also being tipped well, not just bartenders?
 
Posts: 97 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: December 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sean Penn
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Serving jobs can pay very well (with tips) if you're with the right restaurant.

The caveat is that those gigs are very hard to get and if you have no experience, you'll likely be starting at not great restaurants where they're not busy enough to equal enough tips.

Check out the jobs thread in the other section. You might get some ideas.
 
Posts: 95 | Location: Chicago | Registered: January 07, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Johnny Depp
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Dont be in an acting class *ALL* the time, that reduces your expenses. I take acting classes right before i am prepping to workshop with someone (and i get called in all the time).

Dont agree with taking headshots after 2 years again. Actors change headshots faster than their acting techniques and business etiquette.
 
Posts: 43 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: July 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Johnny Depp
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quote:
Originally posted by bukowski:
Great post! Does anybody by any chance has an update for these days? I found a lot of costs slightly different, personally.

Here's what it is like for me:
place to stay $550
food $200
gas NO IDEA
electricity+internet $40
miscellaneous $50-100

So it's not $1450, but rather around $850 without gas. And I don't even know where to find a survival job that would pay about $2000 (which you would need on those terms). Does it even exist for a regular non-skilled worker.


This is actually pretty good minus the cell phone bill and car insurance, and maybe add a bit to the misc. section.
 
Posts: 43 | Location: Los Angeles | Registered: July 04, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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