Specialist Accountants for Actors

Tax Return for Actor

As an actor, you’ll use speech and your body to tell a story and bring characters to life, while entertaining, informing, and enlightening an audience. It can be an exciting and varied career, bringing with it opportunities to work in such diverse areas as TV, film, theatre, and radio.

What does an actor actually have to do?

A career in acting brings a lot of opportunities, but in general, most acting jobs involve:

  • Researching your role
  • Learning your lines, and the lines of the other actors so you know when to react
  • Taking part in auditions
  • Contacting agents
  • Rehearsing

What skills and qualities does as actor need to have?

Acting can be hard work, with long hours, and years of developing your craft. Having these skills and qualities will give you the best chance of making a career as a freelance actor:

  • A love of acting: Like most fields of art, such as music and painting, you’ll need to work extremely hard and face lots of rejections. You’ll only be able to endure it if you really love to act.
  • A natural talent: You’ll need to always work hard to improve your acting, but it’ll only work if you already have lots of natural talent.
  • A good memory: You’ll need to learn parts correctly and quickly.
  • An ability to take criticism well: Just like in all fields of art, as an actor you’ll receive lots of criticism over your career. You need to be able to accept it gracefully and use it to improve your acting.
  • Fit and healthy: Actors have to work long hours, often at weekends. You’ll need to keep fit and healthy to make sure you have enough stamina.
  • Versatility: The ability to play a range of character types, in a range of formats, such as TV or theatre, means you’ll get more job opportunities.
  • A team player: You might dream of being the star who everyone has their eyes on, but every successful production is the result of teamwork. You’ll need to be able to work with lots of different people, from fellow actors, to directors, producers, and writers.
  • Becoming a better actor – drama school or university

Though a few actors manage to become successful without having had any acting training, most do. You can study at drama school or university for diplomas or degrees in various subjects related to acting, including:

  • Acting
  • Drama
  • Musical theatre
  • Performance studies
  • Contemporary theatre

Since acting is such a competitive profession, you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you do not have a relevant qualification.

Equity and Drama UK

Taking a course that’s recognised by The Federation of Drama Schools can help towards becoming a member of Equity, the union representing artists.

How to find work as a freelance actor

Acting is an extremely competitive profession, so you’ll need to put a lot of effort into looking for acting jobs, and marketing yourself. Here are a few ways to market yourself as a freelance actor:

  • Find an agent: Most professional actors use the service of an acting agent to help them find work. The agent will usually take a percentage of your pay in return for any of the jobs they find you. Avoid any agent who requests that you pay them money upfront.
  • Get experience: Usually, only child actors will secure an acting job without prior experience. If you’re new to acting, you’ll need to find acting experience. This could be community or youth theatre, college or university drama societies, drama festivals and competitions, etc.
  • Use the internet: Add your details to casting directories such as The Spotlight, and look for audition opportunities on The Stage or Casting Call Pro.

Finding other work – the life of an actor

Unfortunately, most actors don’t become millionaires. Most actors work on acting jobs for less than half the year, so have to find other work in between.

Accounting as a freelance actor

There are various benefits to freelancing as an actor, from the freedom and flexibility to work with a variety of businesses and individuals to more take-home pay. But there is one downside – accounting. As a full-time employee, your tax is usually taken care of on your behalf in the form of PAYE. As a freelancer you’ll have to keep a range of financial records and then prepare and pay a Self-Assessment tax return at the end of each business year. Accountancy can be very confusing and can distract you from acting.

Getting tax and accountancy advice

With most accountants, you’ll pay them to do your year-end accounts, and then they’ll forget about you until the next year. But for your business to be run smoothly and successfully, you’ll need advice on tax and accountancy throughout the year, especially in the early days.

Pearl Accountants is different

Pearl Accountants provides an affordable and specialist accountancy service designed just for freelancers. Throughout the year we’ll be on hand to give you any tax and accountancy advice you might need, including things like:

  • Take-home pay
  • Which VAT scheme to register for
  • Expenses
  • Tax allowances
  • Choosing between sole trader and limited company
  • Running your business in a tax-efficient way

We charge for our accountancy services in a clear and simple way, which means you’ll never receive an unexpected bill, and you can get in touch for advice whenever you want without the worry of being charged a fortune like you would with many other accountants.

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Accountants London
Company Registration No. 07078392