Category Archives for "Music Business"

Apr 01

How much can you make in Hollywood?

Acting Business , Music Business

How much can you make in Hollywood?

Hollywood Salaries

So you wanna get into showbiz to make the big bucks? Here’s how the money in Hollywood breaks down.

FILM STAR – $60K – $75M A FILM
How bad is the decline in actor salaries over the past decade? A Lot. Most “Big Name Actors” are making more money off the backend of the movie as a producer than taking in actual salary. For example, Robert Downey Jr’s $75 million came from the 7% stake he had in Iron Man 3.

Major stars still roll in the dough, but everyone else on set gets peanuts to their millions- for example, Leonardo DiCaprio made $25 million for The Wolf of Wall Street, while co-star Jonah Hill got paid $60,000.

Even mid-level stars like Jonah Hill are better off than most other actors. According to the Screen Actors Guild, the average member earns $52,000 a year, while the vast majority take home less than $1,000 a year from acting jobs.

It used to be when movie stars did a TV show; it was seen as slumming. Now it’s considered moving on up. Oscar winner Halle Berry is on CBS’ Extant, and Tea Leoni plays a better-dressed version of Hillary Clinton on CBS’ Madam Secretary. Each of these actresses is being paid $150,000 an episode, the going rate for bringing a big-screen name to the tube, that $3.3 million for 22 episodes. Way more than the $15,000 to $25,000 per episode an unknown actor is offered a series regular role. Established TV actors with virtually no big-screen experience can do very well. Jim Parsons, Johnny Galecki, and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting make $1 million an episode on The Big Bang Theory— or about $45,000 a minute.

More and more top stars are lending their voice to TV and radio commercials. Big names like Morgan Freeman and Queen Latifah can command more than $1 million for an ad, which usually requires only a day’s work.

But major stars account for only about 20 percent of the voices you hear in commercials. The other 80 percent — non-celebrity voice actors — don’t make nearly that kind of dough. Typically, they’ll earn scale, which works out to about $3,000 to $5,000 an ad.

If you’re a Kardashian — you can make millions (like Kourtney and Kim’s reported $40 million, three-year deal with E!. Even D-list celebs who go on Wife Swap can make decent money: $10,000 to $20,000 an episode. But for the vast majority of reality show performers — Bachelor contestants and other run-of-the-mill reality hopefuls — jury duty pays better. You’re given a minimal stipend to compensate for missed wages, and that’s pretty much it.

The real money, in reality, comes with an entrepreneurial spirit the way Housewives star Bethenny Frankel managed to land that $100 million Skinnygirl deal in 2011. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino spun six seasons on MTV’s Jersey Shore into $9 million from endorsements of products including vitamins, clothing, jewelry, and sunglasses. If you’re a young hot-ish reality star, you can pick up an easy $5,000 to $10,000 just for showing up for paid “appearances” at bars and nightclubs.

But there’s a “bump” of $50 a day for wearing a hairpiece, or if you’re working in challenging conditions (rain, smoke). There’s also overtime — a full day of pay for every hour after 16 hours — which has been known to happen on movie sets.

Quiz masters make between $25,000 a week (for a syndicated show) to upward of $75,000 a week (for a primetime program). Unless, of course, you’re Jeopardy!’s Alex Trebek — in which case you take home the $10 million-a-year jackpot.

Late nights hasn’t changed the pay all that much —The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart remains the top earner at $25 million to $30 million a year. Seth Meyers barely can afford an applause sign at $3 million.

When Swedish gamer PewDiePie — YouTube star, with 48 million followers — revealed he made $4 million in 2013, it seemed like a lot of money for an internet personality. Today, he’s probably earning three times that much. Elite online talent makes up to $15 million a year nowadays, partly through advertising but also through brand sponsorships, with companies paying as much as $75,000 for a single video that features its product prominently. More complex deals, with multiple videos or cross-platform promotion, can reach high six figures. And new moneymaking opportunities are constantly popping up — like Facebook recently paying YouTube star Ray William Johnson $224,000 over 5½ months to provide video content for its new Facebook Live feed.

How much would you charge to jump a motorcycle over a wall and into a swimming pool? How about driving a semi tractor-trailer 65 miles an hour off a ramp and 30 feet into the air? Tom McComas, 44, who has done all that and much more as a stunt person in The Dark Knight and Mission: Impossible movies, earns about a half-million dollars a year, and some make even more.

The AFTRA rate for stunt work is $889 a day. That’s about $50,000 a film, assuming one works every day during a three-month shoot. And work, by the way, is getting harder to come by in L.A. thanks to productions moving to Louisiana, Georgia and other low-cost states, where local stunt workers grab most of the jobs. The average working stunt person makes only $50,000 to $100,000 a year.

MANAGER $250K-$300K
Bonuses are the name of the game in the management business. They’re tied to commissions — one big client can be worth millions. Starting managers make $50,000 to $60,000 and are expected to bring in two to three times their pay in commissions. Top partners can pull in seven figures. And unlike agents, managers can produce projects, bringing in additional fees.

AGENT $200K-$10M
Like everyone in Hollywood, the talent agencies have been tightening their belts. Salaries commonly tied to what an agent brings in. Generally starting agents can expect to earn $50,000 to $65,000; while senior agents make around $200,000; partners make $400,000 to $700,000; and board members can earn as much as $10 million. Tracey Jacobs at UTA is said to be earning upward of $9 million repping Johnny Depp.

At most agencies, you start in the mailroom, hope an assistant’s desk opens up, then dream of ascending the assistant ladder so you can be on the receiving end of middle-of-the-night email rants from top agents. At CAA, though — where Richard Lovett has five assistants and Kevin Huvane has four — you start as an assistant and move up to the mailroom agent-training program.

Top directors of photography, of which there are probably about 10 to 15 in the industry, can command $25,000 to $30,000 a week on movies that shoot up to 12 weeks — maybe even a little more. According to insiders, on a big-budget studio movie — say, $80 million or more — an experienced cinematographer can expect to earn $10,000 to $20,000 a week. On a low-budget indie fare, DPs often take home $2,000 to $5,000 a week. On TV productions, the range is $5,000 to $8,000 a week.

“The middle range doesn’t exist anymore,” one studio executive says of the current financial landscape for feature film directors. “Either you’re paying for a modern master, or you’re paying a lot less. Mid-level directors like Paul Greengrass or Ridley Scott make between $7 million and $10, more if the film is considered a hit. Christopher Nolan made $20 million against 20 percent of gross for Interstellar. The backend is otherwise rare these days for the non-A-list. On the other end of the scale, emerging directors can expect $250,000 to $500,000 for their first big studio feature.

TV directors, of course, are an entirely different species, and get paid differently. The base DGA rate is $25,145 for a half-hour episode and $42,701 for an hour. Some big-name pilot directors get an executive producer credit and a stake in the show, which is how Bryan Singer is said to have made tens of millions for directing the pilot of House M.D.

Maybe more, if you’re Skip Brittenham, who is rumored to take home $10 million a year. After a practice builds up, a lawyer can receive 30 percent of what the firm earns from his or her clients. With a big enough list, that easily can add up to millions. But even first-year attorneys can do OK, earning $135,000 to $165,000 (enough to pay off law school).

The number of producers whose fees top $2 million — such aces as Jerry Bruckheimer, Scott Rudin, Brian Grazer and Neal H. Moritz — can be counted on two hands. Moritz now tops the list, with his rich Fast & Furious 7 deal. Rudin is said to have a quote of $2.5 million against 7.5 percent of first-dollar gross. The PGA does not share producer salaries, but a newbie typically earns $250,000, while a famous actor making a foray into producing earns $500,000 to $750,000 with some backend.

Established actors with successful producing track records can take home considerably more — like Adam Sandler, who earned $5 million to produce Grown Ups 2 (not nearly as much as the $20 million he received to star in the film).

Unlike agents, managers, and lawyers, PR reps typically are paid a monthly fee, not a percentage of income. That makes a big difference. A partner at a large firm makes $200,000 to $300,000, though some of the bigger flacks are rumored to pull in nearly $400,000. Publicists with A-list clients earn $100,000 to $150,000 (though fees vary depending on how many clients are “on,” or paying monthly fees), while midlevel reps (five to seven years of experience) take home $50,000 to $80,000. The entry-level flack at the red carpet and premiere parties who can’t find your name on her clipboard makes $27,000 to $35,000.

Feature film writers’ incomes continue to slide. According to the WGA West, screenwriters in Hollywood earned a combined total of $331 million last year, down nearly 25 percent from 2009. But some of them are doing pretty well. A screenwriter who sells a draft to a major studio can earn about $100,000, and a hot writer can score $1 million or more. Super scribes such as Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Simon Kinberg pull in as much as $5 million annually in writers’ fees (more when you add in residuals and producing earnings), while other top screenwriters earn closer to $2 million.

In a gloomy Hollywood climate, the WGA says things are looking relatively bright for TV writers, who took in a combined total of $668.5 million last year, down just 6.2 percent from 2012. And TV residuals are booming: Last year, WGA members received $233.7 million in TV residuals, up 55 percent since 2012. Most staff writers work on 20-week contracts, at a rate of about $3,800 a week, though more senior writers earn about $6,000 a week. The real money is in writing an entire episode on one’s own. That pays $24,788 a script, and considerably more if you create your own series.

GRIP $102K

Apr 01

Why do I need lessons to be an actor or singer?

Music , Music Business , Singing

Why Do I Need Lessons to Be an Actor or Singer? 

Natural talent can take you a long way. TV shows like American Idol, The Voice, and X Factor prove it, but the odds of winning are a bit like winning the lottery. Even getting past the first round of auditions is a grueling race. Not prepared to spend days in line waiting for maybe a minute and a half of screen time? Can’t blame you, but there are alternatives.

A long-term career in singing or acting often starts with lessons. Much like top athletes, actors and singers spend many more hours in preparation for the big day then they spend on stage. Natural talent can take you far, but to become a professional, you need training. Fast runners get faster with consistent training, and actors and singers get better with the right feedback and exercises.

Professional Acting and Singing Is Work

The first thing to remember about the job of an actor or a singer is that it is work. That means getting to the top requires dedication and a lot of prep time. Regularly scheduled vocal lessons, acting classes and assorted time spent learning about entertainment in all its forms is the foundation for getting work as a professional. You wouldn’t walk into an interview without a resume, so why would you walk into an audition without preparation?

Do You Really Need a Teacher?

There are lots of online tutorials and activities out there that can enrich your learning, but for real progress, you need an instructor. It’s almost impossible to objectively judge your own performance. For instance, when you film your own scene, you finish the scene and then go back to look at things. In contrast, when you work in a formal lesson setting, you get corrections as you go, and the invaluable experience of working with a director in the form of an excellent teacher.

Critiquing your own singing is another big challenge. Until you develop hundreds of studio hours and hear your own raw sound, making improvements can be overwhelming. You just can’t hear yourself correctly. It’s a design and biology issue. The way your body works, you hear a very different sound from an objective listener. To figure out where and how to improve your sound, you need an expert listener. Also, voice lessons can help you avoid injuries that could cut your career short. The voice is a complex machine, and you want it well-maintained heading into a big audition.

A Coach Good Coach Is a Must

An experienced industry expert for a coach can do a lot more than just give you voice lessons or assign acting homework. They can help you prepare for auditions, smooth out any performance issues and tell you when something isn’t in your wheelhouse. The last thing you want from a coach is someone who just says “Yes.” Yes, men might be a nice confidence boost, but they don’t help you land roles. Of course, finding the right coach comes with its own set of hurdles.

How to Find a Coach

There are thousands of people and services out there offering acting and singing coaching. So how do you separate out the scams from the quality coaching you need? Start with a price comparison. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. That’s the rule of thumb when shopping for anything, including coaching services. Also, be wary of promises of success. No coach can guarantee you fame, only access to their knowledge and expertise. Always ask for references. With a coach, you’re signing on for a long-term relationship that could directly impact your employability for years to come. A few references are the minimum that you should ask for.

At Shaun Royer Talent Development and Soundcheck Artists, I routinely work with many professionals who come in for a catch-up lesson when they’re not on tour or filming. Why? Because it pays to keep up with your skills and stretch your development, even after you start working professionally

Apr 01

Guitars on a Plane

Music Business

I’m working on my own performance (coming sometime soon), so I decided to take my guitar with me to a work convention. At this convention, there’s always a party where the participants have some fun and do a bit of karaoke, after a few drinks. I decided to take my guitar with me and perform a ditty or two.

When I went to check in my bag at the airline counter, the agent asked me to check in my guitar.


According to the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 section 41724 LAW.

“An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if

(A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and

(B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.”

There it is. The law… signed by the President.

If you have an instrument that doesn’t fit in the overhead compartment (like a cello), you can buy a ticket for it. They cannot charge you an additional fee if it’s less than 165 pounds and is in a case.

Make sure you can board the plane EARLY. If you get to the gate early, the gate attendant will usually let you board early.

And make sure you print this section out and carry it whenever you travel.

Safe travels.

Apr 01

Singers and Actors- When is the right time to get a manager?

Acting , Acting Business , Music Business , Singing

For actors, this is an easy question to answer. After you get a few projects on your own, you get an agent. Once you start booking with an agent, you start looking for a manager. Managers have to put in a lot of time and effort with each client so a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. I will repeat this: a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone on unless the talent is already making money. Every once in a while, if the person has a very specific look or special talent, a manager will take them on because of their niche and the prospects of making a profit off of it.

For singers and musicians, it is a little bit different. Many times early in a singers career they need to have someone manage all the moving parts of tours, contracts, shows. There are no agents to do this like actors have. But still, a REPUTABLE manager will not take someone unless the talent is already making money. If you don’t have a huge social media following and have at least 50 people showing up to your concerts and you get approached by a manager, chances are they will get you for a lot of money in the long run.

They will tell you how wonderful you are but you need new pictures, or you should get a new video or produce new music. They may even get you some gigs that are pay to play. You can bet the farm that this “manager” is managing to get a kickback on all the dough you’re shelling out.

In my 25 years of teaching, keeping the sharks away from my clients has been the hardest part of my job. Unfortunately, these type of people tend to be master manipulators and prey on the dreams of performers and their families. My former business partner, a retired FBI agent in charge of political and mafia corruption once told me show business was absolutely dirtiest business he’d ever been involved in.

How do you know who’s safe? How do you know when you’re ready?

Once your making a bit of cash and are ready to share the 15 to 20% the manager takes for his or her services, there are several websites and resources you can go to to find a reputable one. Once you find someone you’re interested in, then you need to check out their references. Don’t base your decision on a website or who they say they’ve worked with. Anyone can make a great website nowadays.

When you do find the right manager, that relationship will become one of the most important connections in your career and will hopefully take you to the next level.

Hope this helped. In my next blog post, I’ll talk about the different types of agents and managers.