Yesterday's Chicago Trib had a big spread on actor income (hat tip to the nice director gent who sent it along). The intro's pretty obvious, though I suppose the overview of pay structures might be new to the general public.
(And Tboy wonders why they didn't explain how some theaters find creative ways to pay more than Equity minimum, without bothering about things like, y'know, taxes and pension contributions. Tboy has heard such interesting things about one local theater and untaxed per diems, for instance--per diems, y'hear, even for local actors. Though that was a coupla years back, and maybe they've reformed.)
But the real fun, in the Trib story [free reg. required] comes in the little one-paragraph artist profiles that follow. Ferinstance: Actor/co-artistic director, 27, Non-Equity, single; earned $4000 from theater and $3000 from TV in 2006. Ack.
Theater blogger Don Hall is one of the others in the roundup, but Tboy has to say he doesn't surrender much in the way of financial detail.
Then there's Joel Hatch (at left in the photo, rehearsing for The Adding Machine at Evanston's Next Theatre); he tells the Trib he made $40K-$50K last year.
"There are very few cities anywhere ... where I could do musical theater, Shakespeare, straight theater, comedy, dramas, all those things, and be booked throughout the year in the same city and live in my own house. That is a rare thing."
Now, Tboy knows from 12 years of talking to you all and watching you work that D.C. is one of those "very few cities." But of course the range is every bit as broad as Chicago's: He knows that some of you do pretty well. And that some of you are eating cat food and cardboard. And he admires you for sticking with it; God knows if there's a worse (relatively entitled) life than that of the freelance writer, it's gotta be that of the struggling actor.
So feel free to commiserate with your Chicago brethren in the comments here. Or to count your blessings.