You've done it. You moved to LA and some how you've decided you wanted to be an actor. Now what?
Well, the hardest part about making the move and the decision has been made, so congratulations!
But now comes the work and if you don't have friends who are actors or a mentor it can be incredibly daunting and even scary. One thing you can do however is get your hands on everything you can that will help you be prepared for this life and for this career. Here are 8 Must Knows if you want to be an actor in LA.
1. Job Safety
Money comes and money goes. That's a fact of life. This is an acting business so you will have a LOT of expenses. It's very important that you have a job that pays the 'real-life' bills. By 'real-life', I mean rent, utilities, car payments, insurance, grocery, medical bills, etc. You have to have your shit together before you delve into being the CEO of your own business (I.E. your acting career).
Now there are plenty of jobs for actors: freelancers, post-mates, Uber/Lyft, Task Rabbit, babysitting, brand ambassadors, waitressing, bartending, background work, etc. But don't limit yourself to typical jobs. If you have a talent like creating art or you can shoot video, MAKE IT YOUR business. If you have a great camera and lighting, start putting fellow actors on tape. If you can create your own content and are great at makeup, start creating Youtube tutorials. Youtube will pay you if you have enough followers and views!
You may end up have multiple jobs to stay afloat but if this is your passion, then you're going to do what it takes.
2. Sit down, be humble
You will face a lot of rejection in this business. It is personal and most of the time it's not. And if you have a big ego going into this business it's going to humble you really quickly. You can't be fake nice, it reads on camera, and then the people you want to hire you never will.
We all have unique gifts and things to bring to every audition but are not better than anyone else in this industry. It's so important to remember treat everyone you meet with respect and gratitude, first because that's being a good human being, but also because you really don't know who is who. Hollywood is a small town and all it takes is one day of you being a diva to burn bridges.
3. Gratitude is Your Attitude
Be grateful for every win. I can't say that enough. If you have an audition be grateful. It means that you were chosen out of thousands of others who send in their materials. If you did something for your career everyday, be happy you did. You have to change your mindset to that of positivity and opening yourself up to the Universe for good things to happen. It sounds crazy but the faster you get on board, the faster things start opening up for you. One of my favorite books is "You're a Badass" by Jen Sincero. I would read it pre-audition and I booked three nationals (commercials) each time I did. Freaky right?
Being grateful, celebrating your wins (no matter how big/small), and having a mind are keys to success in this industry.
4. Get Smart
If want to be competitive in this industry, you need to know the lingo. If you've never been on set, I recommend doing background work so you know what exactly you're getting into. There are many options for doing background work, sign up at Central Casting or try for Idell James (good for commercials), etc. The point is, the smarter you are about the industry, the more marketable you become. It's like a job interview, you wouldn't show up without doing your research first right?
Classes are another great way to learn what you should be doing and how you should be prepared. Here are the ones that I've taken and liked so feel free to audit a class if they offer it, or go to a meet and greet so you can see if this is a good fit for you.
Also keep in mind that classes can get pricey, so when you have to take a financial break don't be afraid to say so. You can make sure you stay practicing your craft in a group that meets weekly. You also don't have to go for the most pricey class, go for something that fits your budget. Get smart here by looking to see if schools have scholarships, if you can be a TA, if you can be the office manager etc. If you can save yourself money, please do!
If you're in the Union, SAG-AFTRA offers so many classes and resources for getting to know lingo, all about the industry, and things you need to know. The classes are free so do yourself a favor and sign up! If you're not in the Union, there are so many free classes that studios offer so you can learn the basics. Google best acting studios in LA and go to every class you can!
5. Sharing is Caring
If you're new to Los Angeles, you'll want people to help you out. Remember that feeling when you start to become more seasoned. We need to be helping each other out, not greedily hoarding away information, referrals, resources, and information. I'm not saying you give away all your unique trade secrets, but I am saying if you can help your fellow actors and actresses out, please do it. You will always win and get more by being helpful than not doing it. I promise you'll see positive returns.
6. Financial Help
Actors often will find themselves at a point where money is tight or non-existent. If you didn't come from family money or you don't have a sugar momma or daddy you're going to have to finance your career. Sometimes that means taking jobs that are a 'making ends meet jobs' or jobs you didn't get a degree to do. These jobs should not make you feel bad about your yourself or compromise your morals but they are jobs that will keep you a float.
If things have become dire, there are options and don't be ashamed to do it.
Union Members: The Actor's Fund is a wonderful resource that can help you with so many different things from rent to social services. Don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help when you need it.
Should you need unemployment or even food stamps, remember that this a temporary situation and not permanent. Your situation will change, especially if you're working to get out of it.
7. Social Savvy
You are your brand. I can't repeat that enough. As an actor/actress you're going to have to develop some kind of social presence and it'll behoove you to make sure your sites are presenting the best version of you. If you have things on your social media that make you look foolish, clean it up!
We'll have a social media post soon and go over everything you need to know so stay tuned for that!
8. Casting Sites
There are a few acting sites you'll need to be on so that agents, casting directors, producers, and industry people can find you.
Must have sites include: Actor's Access, LACasting, and Casting Frontier. There are other people use, but these three are musts.
Actor's Access also give you access to Showfax which lets you have sides (lines) for currently casting shows.
Casting Frontier is important to be on for commercial appointments.
Hope this was helpful. If you have anything you'd like to add or see in a future blog post, share in the comments below :)