‘Iron Fist’ actor reveals how little money most non-celeb actors make in heartfelt video

‘Iron Fist’ actor reveals how little money most non-celeb actors make in heartfelt video‘Iron Fist’ actor reveals how little money most non-celeb actors make in heartfelt video
via Giullian Yao Gioiello
Ryan General
July 14, 2023
Taiwanese American actor Giullian Yao Gioiello, known for his roles in popular shows like “Scream: Resurrection,” “The Carrie Diaries” and “Iron Fist,” recently took to social media to share his reasons for participating in the ongoing Hollywood actors’ strike. 
About the strike: The Hollywood actors’ union, SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) officially went on strike on Thursday, following the breakdown in negotiations with the AMPTP (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers), which represents the heads of major studios.
Negotiators from SAG-AFTRA are advocating for residuals tied to streaming viewership levels, but major studios, including streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon and Disney, are unwilling to disclose this information. Another significant point of contention is the ownership of an actor’s likeness if it is reproduced using artificial intelligence (AI).
Heartfelt message: Gioiello uploaded a short video on Friday to shed light on the financial struggles many actors face in the industry, revealing the harsh realities behind the perceived glamour of Hollywood.
“If you’re lucky, you lose your health insurance,” he wrote on the Instagram post’s caption.
“Hey, my name is Giullian. I’m a film and TV actor and musician, and I just want to give a little context on what’s going on right now,” he says in his video.
“I was in an A24 movie that came out this year on Apple TV, which I loved being a part of, and I lost my health insurance. Some people might know me from ‘Carrie Diaries’ on CW and Netflix. And when I was doing that, I also was passing out flyers in Times Square in a f*cking polyester suit dressed like a beetle because I had no money because they don’t pay us.”
Making ends meet: According to Gioiello, he was making so little that he had to work multiple jobs, such as wallpaper installation, computer repair and music creation just to make ends meet.
“I was on a Netflix show called ‘Iron Fist,’ the 30-year-old actor shares. “It was Marvel, and they paid me the minimum scale, which was $900 a day, $3,000 a week, which after taxes was something like $400 a day and $1,200 after taxes… I even led a show on Netflix with Julie Andrews, and they paid me so well that I made under the poverty level after taxes as the lead of the entire show.”
He then went on to highlight the lack of job security and adequate benefits for actors, particularly those who don’t have regular projects.  
“So, yeah, there’s a reason why we’re on strike,” he explains. “It’s because we literally cannot survive, even if you’re—I’m part of the 1% of actors that gets to work once in a while. And even then, it’s so hard to make money and so hard to survive that you just have to do other jobs, and that’s not right. Now they are trying to replace us with AI.”
Supporting the strike: Gioiello’s heartfelt account resonated with many social media users, who expressed support for the strike and the need for fair compensation in the entertainment industry.
“Thank you for sharing your experience,” one commenter wrote. “Now it puts it into perspective for me. I hope they hear you loud and clear and this whole issue gets resolved sooner rather than later!”
“The people who do the most work get paid the least,” lamented a user, “I’m a physician assistant starting my job in Brooklyn and I feel like I’m barely breaking even. I hope things get better and people in your field get the respect and pay they truly deserve!”
Still thankful: In a comment on his own post, Gioiello published a follow-up clarification, expressing gratitude for his career while emphasizing the need for a livable wage without the burden of additional jobs.
“This is not about comparing to anyone else’s salary,” he wrote. “I absolutely agree it is a ridiculously unfair world we live in—only to give context to what’s going on with the SAG strike today and what the experience for me has been practical. they severely underpay the 99% (co-star, guest and recurring actors, writers’ room, crew, etc) who are not the lead celebs or the showrunner or studio head, bc of antiquated contracts they refuse to update.”
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