Child actors and actresses are general terms used to describe young people that play kid roles in film or television or on stage. No specific age limit applies, but generally the expression "child actor" refers to someone 18 or under that plays a child or adolescent character. Child actors make widely variable incomes depending on the nature of the work they do and their talent. Some child actors play smaller roles on the stage and in movies and television shows. These actors earn significantly less than those that play more prominent roles.
Jaden Smith, son of actors Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith, is easily the highest-paid Hollywood child film actor, according to "The Richest" website. Smith reportedly has a net worth of £5 million and earned £1.9 million for his leading role in the 2010 remake of "The Karate Kid." His base pay was £0.6 million and £1.3 million was a bonus paid after the film grossed over £97 million at the box office. While Smith's salary shows the extreme of child film actors, the website Simply Hired notes the average salary for child actors as of June 2011 is £33,800.
The battle for television's highest-paid child actor and actress is a bit more competitive. Angus T. Jones, young star of the CBS hit sitcom "Two and a Half Men," earns around £162,500 per episode, according to Donna Kaufman's May 2010 iVillage article "TV's Top Kid Actor Makes How Much?" Miranda Cosgrove is second-highest among child actors on TV, and the highest-paid female at £117,000 per episode of her Nickelodeon hit "iCarly." More typical income for TV child actors working regularly on TV shows is around £6,500 to £9,750 per episode.
Many children get their start in acting on the stage with live theatre, which usually pays much less than on-screen acting jobs. Typical stage productions pay child actors around £32 to £65 per performance. The Actors Handbook website notes that the Seattle Children's Theatre pays £406 to £429 per week for shows six days a week and two shows per day on weekends. Bigger productions on major markets like New York and Chicago may pay more.
Many of the more prominent child actor celebrities make much less from their acting jobs than they do from their celebrity and personal brands. For example, despite only making £9,750 per episode during the final 2010 season of her Disney TV show "Hannah Montana," Miley Cyrus earns millions through her music concerts, endorsements and many other franchise-related earning opportunities. Some child actor salaries may seem extreme, but with agent fees, taxes and trust fund allocations often taken out, young actors typically take home just 30 to 40 per cent of what they earn. California state laws require child actors to have 15 per cent of income saved in a trust until they are 21. Other states do not typically require this, but parents often establish trust funds for their kids even if it's not required.