Answer by Balaji Viswanathan:
The assumption is plain false. I will bring you labor force statistics from the US Department of Labor.
The median earnings for actors, directors and producers is about $22/hr. The reason why the mean shows up high is because it is skewed by the top 1% actors. But, even that mean is lower than most categories of scientists.
The median wages for most categories of scientists are well above $35/hr and there are far more jobs at that level. That is a lot of peanuts
if you are a scientist. [I saw a couple of bad answers on this page with bull shit information on Stephen Hawking’s earnings. At $20 million plus in net worth he is no poor – ]
Scientists also often enjoy plenty of other non-wage benefits [better work environment, lower stress levels, steady flow of wages, paid vacation, retirement benefits/401k match] and have longer career spans [most actors would find it hard to sustain after 10-15 years]
And this doesn’t even include the fact that most people who want to become actors don’t even end up in the tables above. The table is for people who have made it and made acting as a profession. The rest of the acting aspirants wait tables and do other menial jobs. On the other hand, most people who end up doing their graduate studies can get jobs better than waiting tables, even if they don’t become career scientists.