Do you dream of moving to Hollywood and becoming an actor? Many people do, and the critical and commercial success of the movie La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, proves that the allure of Hollywood is as strong as ever. Every year, thousands of people move to Los Angeles from all over the world with dreams of seeing themselves up on the silver screen.
In the film industry, the beginning of the year is called pilot season: this is when networks get scripts and pitches, green light the ones they like and begin filming pilots for new shows that air in the fall. Therefore, January to March is a busy time for studios and people trying to break into the industry. It’s a time when dreams of Hollywood stardom glitter with the greatest possibility.
Here are some tips for people who want to move to LA and work as an actor.
Consider Moving Somewhere Else
Or, just stay where you are. Before you think this is harsh, hear me out. Backstage explains how many international actors and actresses would do better performing well in their home country before moving to Hollywood. Nobody here is going to welcome you with open arms, so if you can find success in your home country, do it.
If you do come, know how to market yourself. Currently, there is some demand for middle eastern and south Asian actors, but that’s really it.
And if you’re from the states, consider moving to the south. George has a budding film industry and many of the LA studios have offices out there. It’s incredibly cheaper, there is far less pollution. The Walking Dead, Captain America, The Vampire Diaries, and The Hunger Games were all filmed in Georgia.
LA Isn’t The Friendliest City
Every year, thousands of people move to Los Angeles county–which is huge–and pursue their dream of becoming an actor. But what does that mean for the people that live here?
More traffic, more pollution, higher rent prices, more clueless tourists, and more problems.
Some film industry coaches even advise transplants to leave their film degree off their resume, because nobody cares. People care about what your professional accomplishments have been.
The same goes for looks. Maybe you were the prettiest girl or the best-looking guy at your high school, and you just know you can make it in Hollywood. Guess what–the prettiest girl and the best-looking guy from every other high school in America also moved here, and they’re taller than you.
LA Traffic is a Beast
Let’s just get this out of the way before you show up: the right lane is for driving, the left lane is for passing (don’t drive slowly in the left lane.) LA traffic is dependent on two cars turning left per green. If the light is yellow, GO! And yes, you need a car.
Look For Work
Once you’re sufficiently humbled and know your niche, it’s time to work hard and start booking. You can sign up for services like Backpage, Actors Access, and LA Casting that will tell you about casting calls and auditions. You can work as an extra at Central Casting in Burbank, the company which has been casting background actors in LA since 1912 and get to see what a real set looks like. Start sending your headshots out to agents and managers.
Look For Money
Before your big break you’re going to need to make some money, luckily California has generous minimum wage laws compared to other states. Working as wait staff and bartending are particularly good prospects for actors because of their flexibility and unlike some other states, you get to keep your tips on top of your wages. LA is such a large city that there are opportunities to dip your toes in just about any industry.
Don’t Forget Where You Came From And All The Little People That Got You Here
When you do get your big break, don’t forget everyone that helped you out get there. Being cast on a TV show can be a humbling experience. Of course, the actors are the stars of the show, but working on set puts you face to face with the hundreds of people who work together behind the scenes to make a movie happen.
[Featured Image by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]