Actors move to Los Angeles every day from all over the planet. They come here with training, contacts and maybe even a decent reel and resume. I believe they mean it when they say that a career in Hollywood as an actor means everything to them. So, what happens?
We all know actors that used to live here. Or maybe they still live in California but they work in production now or they teach acting or work in a totally unrelated field. I personally know many examples of each of these situations. Many, many examples. Let me tell you what happens.
Some people think it can happen in weeks or months. People who have been here years might laugh at that thought. The first step you need to accomplish upon arrival is creating a life that can sustain you. The move was pointless if you have to fly home in a year or two. Move here with the idea of being here for the rest of your life.
A big part of that idea is money. Please include putting some money aside every week into your budget. Plan for the unexpected. You don’t want to have to abandon Los Angeles and your dreams because you are bad with money. Very few people admit that they left Los Angeles for this reason yet I see it every year.
Some actors move out of Los Angeles because of their birthday. Nope. We are not on your clock. You are on ours. We will hire you when we think it’s the right part and the right fit. Not because you turned thirty and your family gives you that look. You know the one. The one that says, “when are you going to grow up, move back home and take some soul-crushing job like the rest of us.” Giving yourself a deadline like your 30th birthday is like putting one foot out the door and it can become almost a relief to know that there is an end in sight. Plan to stick around and live here for the rest of your life.
The exception to that rule would be anyone that decides acting isn’t actually what they want to do with your life. In that case, go. No judgment, no shame. Start pursuing another dream. Just be sure. And here’s why.
People almost never come back once they move out of Los Angeles. Not if it was a big deal to move here in the first place. When I moved out here from Springfield, Massachusetts I didn’t know this. I thought I would give it a couple of years and then see how things went. Dumb. This takes as long as it takes. Assume that it’s going to be a one-time, one way move and if that isn’t appealing then maybe stay where you are.
And don’t think people with money have it easier than you. They do not. If anything they have it harder because there is nothing stopping them from leaving on a regular basis and coming back each time. Until they don’t.
So, come up with a long-term plan to stay in Los Angeles. You can’t just save up your money and jump in the car. Part of that plan should include a job that will pay the bills while keeping your days open to audition, train and work. If you discover a great class during the evening, simply make sure you have that one night off of work every week. Naturally, a job with flexibility is going to be very advantageous for actors.
Only when you develop a sustainable life here can you truly focus on your acting career. That’s when success can happen for you.