The Best Temp Jobs For Actors – Compared & Ranked

What is the best temp job for actors in 2020? Here are the 16 most popular part time jobs for actors compared and ranked by income, flexibility, ease and skill with detailed recommendations of the best companies to work for.

The Best Temp Jobs For Actors – Compared & Ranked

It’s a well established fact that only around 6% of actors earn above the UK average income bracket from their craft alone and around 80% of actors would fall below the UK poverty line without a second source of income.

Unless you’re one of the 2% of actors earning over £30,000 a year from acting, chances are you need a second source of income to survive while you pursue your craft.

But unlike Joseph’s amazing technicolor dreamcoat – Any Job Won’t Do!

You need work that is flexible enough to pick up and drop again when job offers come in, that lets you drop or swap shifts at the last minute to facilitate auditions, is low skill enough that it’s pretty easy to get hired but not so low that your earning potential is capped below what it takes to survive life in London or one of the other big cities.

In this article I am going to compare the most popular 16 types of temp jobs for actors and rank them according to how good they really are as a temp job choice for you depending on how much you need to earn and the level of flexibility you really need.

The Method

There are hundreds of potential temp jobs for actors out there that you could do to pay the bills while in between acting work. So I first had to figure out a way of seeing which jobs would make the cut.

The answer was simple: ask you!

The first thing I did here was to run 3 different surveys to my various communities to come up with a list of the most popular job types.

My reasoning was that if the job was already fairly popular among actors there was probably a good reason for that. However I only used popularity to decide what to include, not how to rank them.

Because as much as I trust you to know what you like…

I don’t trust you to really know what’s good for you 😉

So here is the list of the most popular temp jobs for actors.

1. The Most Popular Temp Jobs For Actors (Unranked)

Click any links below to be taken to a detailed review of that job type.

  1. Teaching (Acting Singing Dancing)
  2. Promotions (Leafleting, Sampling…)
  3. Entertainment Events (Weddings, Corporate Parties…)
  4. Bartending & Waiting
  5. Office Temp & Receptionist
  6. Front Of House
  7. General Retail (In A Single Shop)
  8. Run Your Own Business
  9. Call Center
  10. Children’s Entertainment (Princess/Superhero Parties…)
  11. Experiential Promo (Events, Brand Launches, Product Launches)
  12. Teaching Assistant (Schools)
  13. Babysitting & Nannying
  14. Luxury Retail
  15. Show Dresser
  16. Tour Guide

2. The Best Temp Job For Actors (Ranked)

After gathering a list of the most “popular” temp jobs for actors I then had to come up with a system for ranking them against each other so that you could decide on what was most important to you and figure out which job would be best based on that. Below the results I go into detail about the 7 areas I scored each job in.

Click Here To Skip To The Scoring System Explanation >>

Here are the full results for you. Click the title of the column that you are most interested in and it will sort the answers by that criteria. Click again to order the other way around.

The default sorting is by “Total Score” which is a true measure of what the best temp jobs for actors really are.

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3. The Scoring System

I have scored each of the 16 temp jobs above in 7 areas and the total score is added up to rank the entries. This means that the highest overall score is the best job to do if you want to earn the maximum amount of money for the least amount of effort and flexibility. Those criteria are:

Overall Score

The total of the scores in each category. You want to pick a temp job that is as high up as possible on this score system because otherwise it is costing you more energy and time or earning you less money than it could. But bear in mind that this doesn’t take into consideration whether you hate that type of work or not and it doesn’t take into consideration the general popularity of that type of work either because then the results would be skewed towards what is easy but not necessarily what is most effective.

Level Of Skill Required

The skill required to do the job is one of the main factors in how much you are likely to earn from it. If a monkey could do your job, they’ll likely be offering peanuts in pay. If you can find a job that requires a reasonable level of skill, either that you already possess or can learn and improve at, then you are more likely to receive a higher rate of pay and earn more in total per month. This is especially true for jobs where you are capitalising on a specialist skill that you already have. If it is something that requires a fairly high or practiced level of skill then you can expect to pull in more dosh in general. I am classifying “skill” here as skills beyond the ability to perform in front of an audience because if you don’t already have that skill… then you’re reading the wrong blog 😉

Pay Rate (Hourly Average)

The rate of pay is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding what type of temp job is best for you. For obvious reasons the rate of pay has the biggest impact on the amount of money you can expect to earn but also the rate of pay is also the biggest contributing factor that impacts each of the other elements. The higher rate of pay per hour, the less likely the job is to be flexible, the more skill is likely required to get hired and perform the job etc. For each category I have come up with an approximation of the usual rate of pay per hour for work of that type, taking into account usual time at work vs the typical pay whether that is usually a day rate, one off fee or an hourly rate. I have then scored each job out of ten relatively against each other, this will allow the jobs to be easily compared against each other.

Earning Potential (Monthly)

To add further clarification to the rate of pay, this is the total amount of money that you are likely to earn in a typical month of working in this job. This takes into consideration that the job may have a very high day rate, for example; Event Performing, but only be one or two days a week work maximum. Great if you just need a little cash injection, not so good if you’re relying on just this to pay the rent.


After rate of pay, this is probably the most important factor in deciding whether to work in a particular sector or not. You need the right balance between good potential to earn money but enough leeway to take a day off for an audition here or there. In practice, I find that most actors actually overestimate the amount of flexibility they need on a regular basis! Sure, once in a blue moon you might get an audition through last minute but that should be a fairly rare occurrence. If you have an agent then you should make them aware of your general working schedule so they can try to only arrange castings for you with a few days notice which gives you plenty of time to let your work know that you can’t come in. If you are self represented then you should be much better placed to arrange auditions only on days that suit you. Flexibility then, is a measure of how easy it is for you to cancel work you have booked in, choose not to work on a specific day or time, and how easy it is for you to leave and rejoin a job because of performing commitments.

Ease Of The Work

A very important but often overlooked criteria for deciding what type of work you want to take up. The worst type of work you can do is the work that is physically tiring, mentally draining, or both. If you are in a job that has you working all hours of the night, on an irregular schedule and the work itself is physically or mentally taxing then you are going to expound all your energy on simply keeping up with that job. You won’t have any energy to put into your acting, you will come home wrecked every day, eat if you can be bothered to cook, go straight to bed and wake up tomorrow to go back to work. At that point… you are not actually an actor at all! The easier the job is the more energy you will be able to spend on the upkeep and progression of your actual career. Scored out of 10, 5 for physically easy and 5 for mentally easy.

Consistency Of Work

How much can you rely on getting paid from this work? I don’t mean in terms of them skipping out on what they owe you, although that happens far too often. What I mean here is – If you need to work 7 days a week to earn some quick cash, can you? Are you likely to only have a couple of shifts a week, or are you guaranteed any shifts at all?

Wait To Start Earning Money

This has two components to it. Firstly; how long after you apply for a job does it take for you to actually start getting work? And secondly how long does it take for you to see the money in your account? Do they have a long recruitment process? Do they pay weekly or monthly? How far in arrears? 7, 30, 60, 90 days? This is important if you find yourself in financial hardship, or need some quick cash to cover an unexpected expense. It’s no good paying £100 a day if it takes 90 days to clear your account, you’ll starve by then.

The Verdict

As each new result is added I will update this with the latest winner in the top spot and show you where you can get more information on the best temp jobs for actors.

What Do You Think Of The Best Temp Jobs For Actors?

Were you surprised by the results above? Do you have anything you want to add? Comment below and let us all know what you think?

Jason Broderick

I graduated from Central School of Speech & Drama and signed to my incredible agent; Hatton McEwan Penford. I am an elected Equity Rep and run the largest online community for performers in the UK; The Hustle, with over 45,000 members. All while maintaining a fulfilling career as an actor.

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