Who gets paid more actors or directors?

“People who take the time to put their talents on the line get paid more than those who don’t,” said Mark O’Toole, founder of the Talent Institute. “We’ve seen this in the film industry, in the acting world, and in virtually every other field. This idea of taking this on as a profession is what’s happening,” he said.

In addition to the high rates of pay, most of the biggest stars are now self-employed. The rise of self-employment is also giving Hollywood the ability to retain more talent without paying them any more than they would normally earn, said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst with Hollywood & Highland Capital Advisors.

“Self-employed actors are often just acting out of necessity. They’re often trying to make a living,” he said. “They’re doing what they need to do and they’re making some money doing it,” he argued.

The only real “bad actor” in Hollywood, according to some industry analysts, is David Caruso. He is still employed as a movie producer by MGM but has also had a handful of notable roles including Peter Graves in ‘The Truman Show’ and in the upcoming ‘Crimson Peak.’

The one guy who is always coming up short is “Pete Holmes.” He’s the director/producer of ‘The X-Files,’ which opened on Aug. 3, 2014. He took home $12 million for his work on the series. But critics and public relations experts have called him “dumb as a drum.”

Holmes, along with a handful of other actors on large and small film and TV productions, is among a small group of actors who are self-employed. Others are actors without a manager/producer who work as independent agents. Other actors, such as Mark Ruffalo, who was a film/TV producer for the last decade, use their production company, Creative Artists Agency, as a producer.

A handful of other actors, including John Travolta and Kevin Costner, were former producers themselves before going independent.

Some of the actors and directors who are self-employed don’t have much choice. Their employers are forced to pay higher payments to attract talent because the industry “is a business where the bottom line is everything.”
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One of the biggest factors in determining who gets paid more is the salary structure of the producer or director and the kind of film it produces. This is a critical difference