Almost five months ago I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I moved to LA! For me it wasn’t on a whim, I spent at least a year planning for it. As an Actor I think you want to hit the ground running when you get out here. So in this article I plan to share some of the things I’ve learned about making the move.
That Budget of Yours
So you’ve calculated your living expenses and you’re proud of the budget you’ve established. That’s awesome! Now, I encourage you to also factor in things like acting classes, workshops, marketing materials, monthly service memberships (LA Casting, Backstage, IMDB Pro, etc.), software, books and more. These things add up fast and you will want to know how much you can spend each month in this category. Classes are a great way to meet new people and I highly recommend researching ones that will develop your skills. One class can be anywhere from $150-$500 a month so this really should be part of your budget!
Finding a Pad
Knowing people out here is a huge advantage. I was able to get good recommendations on where to live from people who’d been in my shoes a year before. Don’t know anyone out here? Today that can be easily remedied. There are so many groups on Facebook where actors are having conversations and helping each other. Simply search combinations that involve LA and Actors/Acting and you can very quickly make new connections. In my experience you’ll always have at least a few helpful people respond. If you want to be close to where the majority of auditions happen I recommend the following neighborhoods: Studio City, North Hollywood, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Burbank and Glendale.
Paying the Bills
Even if you’ve saved $10,000 before moving here you’d be surprised how fast that can go when you’re paying upwards of $700 a month in rent, in a shared apartment. Start researching jobs way before you get here. Get familiar with the temp agencies in LA and make sure that resume is in prime condition. In LA it’s more often than not a numbers game, unless you have solid connections that can open doors for you. For example, you may find an open call for Serving positions on Craig’s List and think you’re a perfect fit. Please realize that it’s not uncommon to show up at that open call and have over 100 other people there for the same job. Patience and professionalism go a long way here and you will want to get very comfortable with patience. Some people show up and have a job that will pay the bills in a week, other times in can take a few months. You could end up needing two jobs for awhile, so having that resume ready to go is key!
Many actors who are new to this market show up thinking they need an agent ASAP and they need to be in the union yesterday. What I can say is that both these accomplishments have a time and a place. You really need to research these, a lot. Make good friends, learn from other people who are out here and having success. You’ll quickly learn that there are career moves that you should probably take your time with.
LA Actors Tweetup (Meet other Actors)
One last note, Google Maps is your new best friend! Learn this city and where everything is! I got here and new every town surrounding Hollywood and it helped me out in major ways. Trust me on this!
Good luck and see you out here!