Actors form the link between the director's vision, the screenwriter's words and the audience. Being an actor requires an awareness and control of one's movements and expressions that can take years of formal training. The most successful actors, however, look like they're not acting at all. They inhabit the minds and bodies of their characters completely.
Unfortunately, most actors can't earn a living through their acting work alone. The average member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) makes only $5,000 a year. A lot of actors take restaurant jobs that allow them to work at night and be available during the day for auditions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage of a film actor is $10.69. The minimum wage for a SAG actor with a speaking part is $782 a day or $2,713 for a five-day week [source: Bureau of Labor Statistics]. Of course, the top handful of actors can command salaries as high as $20 million for a single film. But only about 50 of the nearly 100,000 SAG members would qualify as stars [source: BLS].