Tips on Relocating to Los Angeles to be an Actor
From Diane Christiansen Coaching
Making the decision to relocate to LA to be an actor is huge. Like any other major life decision, it’s not a commitment you should enter into lightly. In order to make the transition successfully, you need to have a plan. Do your research online. The days of moving out to LA on a whim, hoping to survive on just your dreams and talent are a thing of the past. In fact, it’s questionable whether that was ever really a thing to begin with. Anyone who has attained, and better yet, maintained success will tell you that it did not happen overnight. Even those talent competition show sensations plucked from obscurity into seemingly instant stardom have a few stories to tell about the arduous journey to become great at what they do. And any journey to an unknown land should have an itinerary, unless you want to wind up stranded. LOOK before you leap! So before you book that one-way ticket to the west coast, plan ahead. Save up enough money to support yourself for several months in case you have difficulty finding a job right away. Reach out to any contacts you have in the area. If you don’t know anyone personally, ask for a few friendly referrals from people you do know. Advice from those already in the trenches will be invaluable as you navigate your way through LA. Not only can you avoid newbie mistakes based on nuggets of wisdom from the locals, but you might also find yourself in the fortunate position of receiving an inside referral that makes finding a job, or an apartment, or an agent, or anything else you need, so much easier.
Along with making a plan for how to hit the ground running when you land, you’ll also want to plan for obstacles. Sure, LA is a fun place to live, with great weather and lots of awesome opportunities to make your mark on the industry. But it’s not all lifestyles of the rich and famous. Aside from that, there are thousands of hopefuls in your same position vying to break into the business, which means that the supply of actors is much greater than the demand. With that in mind, you’ll definitely want to plan to be paying your dues for a while…preferably before you arrive. Meaning you will need credits and some experience to launch you to L.A. working status. I recommend student films in your area and anything you can do, local theatre, Improv or Skype coaching with an L.A. based coach prior to arriving. Once you get here, get a life. Of course, devote yourself to improving your craft as an actor and learning the business end of the industry, but if you don’t have something that brings you enjoyment outside of acting then you will burn out pretty quickly in LA. Maintaining balance should be a priority in order to endure the inevitable challenges you’ll encounter while trying to establish yourself in the acting industry.
Now, if you’re still determined to make the move, there’s one last thing: Read “An Agent Tells All” by Tony Martinez. It was written back in 2005, so some of the details are a little outdated, but it provides a fantastic overview to help you cover your bases before relocating to LA. Hope to see you soon!