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3 Tips for Making Sure You’re Compensated Fully as an Actor

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If you’ve booked an acting role, you may be wondering what all you can be compensated for in addition to your hourly pay that your signed up for when you took the booking.  You’ll want to make sure you save receipts and/or keep a running list of expenses in a spreadsheet, especially if you’re told that you will be able to claim additional expenses.  Here are a a few tips to make sure you’re getting everything you can from your gig. 

Here is the first tip for making sure you’re compensated as an actor.

If the gig is far from home (and sometimes even if it isn’t) you may be able to receive a travel stipend or add the mileage traveled to your paycheck in order to be reimbursed.  You can also ask for travel expenses if you work out of the country.  You may have to collect receipts, so to be fully prepared, make sure you keep a record of your time on the road.  If the casting director gives you a threshold of allowable expenses up front, you’ll want to keep track and count every penny spent so you can submit it after the gig has completed.

actors compensated for travel expenses

Here is the second tip for making sure you’re compensated as an actor.

If you have to stay at a hotel until your gig is completed, or with a friend or relative, this is something you may also be compensated for.  Again, you’ll want to keep track of your receipts showing the length of your stay or make sure you have information about how much you can potentially get from the casting director ahead of time.  If you have to stay somewhere other than home and haven’t been given this information up front, don’t be afraid to ask!  The information isn’t always readily available.

Here is the third tip for making sure you’re compensated as an actor.

You may also be able to write off any expenses you have to prepare ahead of time, such as marketing expenses (i.e., your headshot photo session or a professional resume writer, etc.), acquiring a business manager or signing a contract with an agent.  You can usually write off any non-reimbursable expenses if you have a certain allowable amount offered to you. Although, this is more for your end-of-year taxes, this can also be something to bring up to a casting director.  You can give the receipts to a tax professional to see what you’re allowed to request.  You can also write off your union dues each year. So if you have to pay them, ask your accountant to see if you’re able to be compensated.

These are just a few of the lesser-known ways to be reimbursed in addition to your hourly pay.  If you work any overtime, make sure to track that, too.  You will want to have documentation of anything over and beyond eight hours so you can be properly compensated.  At the end of the day, you’re a working actor and your time is valuable!

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