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How to Save Money as an Actor

Have you ever dreamed of being on the silver screen? Well, it’s not as easy as it seems! On top of that, it can be very expensive if you don’t have the money and start getting into credit card debt. Advance your career and manage your money with these tips to be a successful working actor!

Follow ACCC's advice to save money as an actor.

Follow ACCC’s advice to save money as an actor.

4 Tips to Save Money as an Actor

  1. Opt for TFP shoots.

    If you are just starting out, opting for a TFP shoot, or “trade for print” may have both its pros and cons. Trade for print means that a photographer will do a test shoot with a model or actor. In exchange, the actor gets free photos. So for an aspiring actor, this may not be a bad idea. Headshots can range anywhere between $150-$400 and upwards, depending on the photographer and caliber. However, if you do decide to do a TFP shoot, make sure whoever you’re working with is a legitimate photographer. You may also want to bring a friend with you on the shoot if it makes you feel more comfortable.

  2. Take cheaper classes. 

    Again, the classes you take should be a personal preference. But if you’re a working actor on a smaller budget, taking top-notch acting classes may not be the right step for you. Our credit counseling advice is to never spend more than you can afford. Larger markets, such as NYC or LA, offer more expensive classes than other cities. You should pick and choose your classes by doing your homework on who the instructor is, his or her style & method, and what level you’re at. Remember, it’s not just about the classes you take. You should be actively honing your craft by practicing every day, reading scripts or acting books, and watching quality films.

  3. Don’t pay for a reel. 

    Although choosing to get a reel done has its obvious benefits, it’s not necessary. There are full-service companies that will direct you in designated scenes and produce your reel in-house, but it may cost you a pretty penny and some consumer debt along the way. A cheaper alternative is using clips that you have already shot from student or indie films. Then, either have a reel developed or, if you know how to do it yourself. Although having a professional reel is vital to actors at all levels, how you get it done depends on your preference and budget.

  4. Do your research. 

    As with anything else in life, always do your research beforehand. If you’re trying to stay on top of your finances, ask yourself whether you really need to spend more money on the best services. Comparison shop between classes, photographers, and other services. Take private coaching sessions only for important projects or if you need to prepare for a big audition. Do talent showcases if you know it will truly benefit you.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.


Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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