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Working Actors Are Sharing What They Actually Make From Residuals In Light Of The SAG-AFTRA Strike, And It's Shocking

"While we’re talking about residuals for streaming/physical media, found out I was 'paid' a NEGATIVE PENNY on a check — taking the measly one cent I was previously given for a full episode airing back."

Working actors are taking to social media to share what they really make amid the SAG-AFTRA strike, and it’s incredibly shocking.

It’s easy to assume that any actor or writer from some of the biggest TV shows and movies is raking in millions, but that is far from the truth, as reflected in this New Yorker story about the actors from Netflix's Orange Is the New Black.

orange is the new black

Actors Alysia Reiner, Beth Dover, Emma Myles, Diane Guerrero, Taryn Manning, Lea DeLaria, and Kimiko Glenn told the publication that despite the Netflix show’s success, many had to keep their day jobs because of pay disparities and receiving minimum residuals.

orange is the new black cast

In 2020, Kimiko shared a TikTok that revealed she received only $27.30 in overseas royalties, a meager compensation confirmed by her costars Matt McGorry and Beth, that sparked a conversation around the pay disparities for actors on streamable content.

kimiko with peace signs thrown up

And now, the unfair residuals working actors receive are one of the many harsh realities that led to the SAG-AFTRA strike.

actors and writers at the strike

And yes, SAG-AFTRA is joining the Writer’s Guild of America, which has been on strike since May. It's the first time both unions have been on strike together in over 40 years.

Here’s what some working actors have to say (many in response to Disney CEO Bob Iger’s controversial statements) about how much they’re actually making from their residuals:

And here’s a hint — it’s a very unreasonable number.

Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3) revealed to the Hollywood Reporter that he received almost zero residuals from one of the most popular shows on Netflix. “I was on a television show called Gilmore Girls for a long time that has brought in massive profits for Netflix. It has been one of their most popular shows for a very long time, over a decade. It gets streamed over and over and over again, and I see almost none of the revenue that comes into that,” he said.

closeup of sean gunn

Jana Schmieding, who plays Bev on Reservation Dogs, shared receipts for the three cents she received “each quarter for unlimited worldwide streams” of the show from FX, Hulu, and Disney.

Twitter: @janaunplgd

Mandy Moore joined other working actors on the picket lines, revealing she received “very tiny, like, 81-cent checks” in Hulu streaming residuals for her leading role in This Is Us, which illustrates that the success of the show or popularity of the actors does not always affect the size of residuals.

Brandee Evans shared three checks she received from her leading role in the Starz show P-Valley — $3.99, $4.67, and finally a check for only one cent, despite the show being one of the most popular shows in Starz history.


Happy Birthday week to me!!!! #VoteYes @sagaftra I’m about to turn up on Friday with these checks! 🫠 #SagAftra #SagAftraStrong #SagAftraStrike @SAG-AFTRA

♬ original sound - Brandee Evans

Biff Wiff, who’s been “an actor for a thousand years” and most recently Steve on Jury Duty — shared a photo of a bunch of one-cent residuals with the caption, “I’m just another lazy actor, laying on my back getting rich off residuals.” Apparently, it’s a message to critics who suggest working actors receive livable wages from their checks.


Actor Rachel Leyco, who appeared on “multiple shows across multiple streaming platforms (Netlfix, Peacock, & more),” including Bel-Air, shared four images of 14 payments that only totaled $18.89.

Twitter: @rachelleyco

Brock Powell, a voice actor for popular animation, video games, and anime, shared he only made a “grand total” of $58.49 for 48 episodes of a Disney show produced early during the pandemic. Even more shocking, Brock said he was once “paid” a negative penny, essentially taking back the one cent he was paid for an entire episode.

Twitter: @brocktocks

Constance Marie revealed that streamers are still playing her show, Switched at Birth. Although the series remains popular, she only receives two, three, or no cents for those episodes viewed. "They're still making money, but I cannot make a living and pay rent and pay my insurance off of these residuals," she said, referring to the streaming companies.


#greenscreen Sadly, the negotiations with #AMPTP have not gone well. They are unwilling to adjust our antiquated contracts to the new business model of streaming. Here is an example of how my show SwitchedAtBirthcontinues to make money for the studio, but for me? Not so much! If they’re making money off my likeness, my work, so should! WE ARE NOW ON STRIKE! #FairIsFair#ActorsStrike#ActorLifeActor@@SAG-AFTRA#payafairwage

♬ original sound - Constance Marie

Heather Matarazzo responded to a TikTok user who questioned, "What are you elites doing for the struggling Americans that contributed to your wealth?" Her response showed the "elite numbers" of residuals that equaled six to nine cents per episode.


Replying to @Derek Scheller greenscreen

♬ original sound - HeatherMatarazzo

Luke Cook responded to another TikTok critic who assumed it was "millionaires striking to be even bigger millionaires." Luke said that he was on a billboard for Dollface last year, receiving "zero" dollars for his likeness, and the amount he was paid for the show "was not much better." He received $7,500 per episode before its spent on taxes and paying managers and agents, while series regulars made more than $100,000 per episode.


Kamil McFadden, a Disney actor who starred in K.C. Undercover and other shows, shared a video of all the residuals he made from his appearances, which only netted $2.77. Actor Kellee Stewart shared she once made 13 cents from five separate payments for her work.

Twitter: @Kamil_McFadden

Stephen Glickman from Nickelodeon’s Big Time Rush
revealed he made zero in residuals from all the times the show was played on Netflix for two years before moving to Paramount+.

Twitter: @StephenGlickman

Desmond Chiam shared he made $2,000 (three times that amount in residuals) from Bones on network television, but for any streaming production, he made “fractions of [his] pay.”

Twitter: @deschiam

Derek Russo, who was Hunter U-92 in the first episode of Marvel’s Loki on Disney+, grossed less than $1,000 in residuals, despite the series being one of the most-viewed shows on the streamer.

Twitter: @DRusso97

Jack Bensinger from Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News joked that he felt like he was “OVERpaid” for seven episodes of residuals totaling a whopping 19 cents.

Twitter: @JackBensinger

Armen Taylor, an actor who lent his voice to popular animated shows, received “a year’s worth of residuals for four episodes of a made-for-streaming show" that totaled 31 cents.

Twitter: @ArmenTaylor

Kylie Sparks shared they were in one of Netflix’s “most loved series this season,” and they received zero dollars in residuals in addition to being paid a 10th of their guest-star quote.

Actor Kris Lofton shared a photo of a SAG-AFTRA direct deposit showing he only made $31.86 in residuals for an entire month.

Twitter: @RealKrisDLofton

Working actors sharing their residuals is eye-opening. Not every performer is earning big numbers like the handful of A-listers. Many spend their careers "surviving" off residuals, even before they receive their big break, as Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick) illustrated in this tweet.

closeup of glenn

For more information on what TV and movies will be affected and how you can support the strikes — check out this article here.

UPDATE: Additional actors were added to the list. As the strikes continue, more people are sharing their streaming residuals.