12 Things Artists Must Know Before Moving to Los Angeles

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1.  Bring more money than you think you’ll need.   Especially if you do not have a job lined up, but do have an inexpensive place to live.  If renting your own apartment, some LA rentals do not come with a refrigerator, a stove or a parking space.  Be sure to ask if this is the case.  If no parking space, determine what the parking time limits are nearby.   Recommended site:  John August’s Blog Post ‘So You’re Moving to Hollywood‘ and Westside Rentals.

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What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved To Los Angeles
by A.J. Rickert-Epstein

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2.  Plan an extra 45 minutes or more for travel time (one way) on most days.  Between road closures, repair and everyday traffic, nothing is more stressful than trying to be on time when you’re stuck behind the wheel.  Plan lots of extra time to travel via car within the Greater Los Angeles area (even on weekends).  If early to your destination, you’ll be “totally Zen” once you arrive and have a clear mind.  Recommended site: Uber.com

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An_Actor's_Guide_To_Making_It_In_Los_Angeles_FilmCourage_Bill_Oberst_Jr

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Advice To Actors Moving To Los Angeles by Bill Oberst Jr.
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3. Learn surface streets as an alternate the ‘The’ freeway system.  Sometimes you will get places much faster with less stress by taking multiple side street routes rather than ‘The’ 10, ‘The’ 101, ‘The’ 405, etc.  It is advisable that you have your own car.  Public transportation is available (and sometimes even best for big event where parking may be expensive).  However, LA is tricky to navigate on the bus or Metro (underground subway).  It’s not impossible, but tricky.  Certain bus/Metro routes do not run 24-hours a day (for all you night owls), so know when the last one stops running.  Recommended site: SigAlert.com.

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My Filmmaking Life Before I Moved To Los Angeles
by Jason Brubaker

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4. To network, try a few ‘free creative gigs’ on Craigslist or volunteer.  Craigslist can be an amazing resource for connecting with others.  Just be safe.  If you’re able (due to the time versus money quandary) volunteer at film festivals or intern in sectors which you hope to be a part of.  Please do be careful, trust your gut if something feels off, and leave info with others on where you’re going.  Recommended site: Mandy.com

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First Steps Of Making It As An Actor In Los Angeles by Frantz Durand

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5.  If you want a birds-eye view of how sets operate, register for Non-Union extra work via Central Casting It pays minimum wage, you’ll most likely receive a paycheck wonderfully fast, and may even get a free meal and snacks.  In some instances, you may earn SAG vouchers, enabling you to join the union if you have accrued a certain amount.  You may also have your hair/make-up done and wardrobe provided (most cases, you’ll bring your own clothes).  Central Casting even needs cars (which you can sit in during part of the day).   However, just know you are not the show.  There is a pecking order/set protocol to humbly observe and you will have to eat last during meal time.

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‘My LA Story: A Refrigerator Is Going To Cost Extra’ by Ben Pratt

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6. Attend events even if they’re low-cost (if money is not a major factor).   Film Independent, Cinefamily, The Downtown Independent, The Youtube Space, DGA, WGA, Meetup Groups and entertainment industry related classes at UCLA Extension are great places to join or attend screenings/discussions.  You may meet other artists looking to collaborate and get a feel for how Los Angeles operates from engaging in conversation.  Recommended site: LA MakerspaceLA Weekly Calendar, LACity.org – Arts & Culture Section

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‘The First Lesson I Learned About Hollywood’ by Tennyson Stead

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7. Have a business card – take a few with you everywhere. Add your name, a professional photo, website, and social media.  Be sparing with titles if you’ve yet to ‘produce a movie,’ etc.  If ‘producing a movie’ is part of your LA plan, it’s up to you how much to embellish.  Fake It ‘Til you make is good – but people do want some level of trust (as you will quickly come to discover when the shoe is on the other foot).  True some might toss the business card in the trash, but some will actually keep your card and connect.

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Stories From Our First Days In LA by Chad Michael Murray & Herschel Faber of CAVEMEN

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8.  Have an online presence.  Aside from headshots, have some sort of website, home page or blog set up that has your contact info (such as e-mail), bio, a few photos and work that shows what you do.  This goes back to suggestion number 3.  What if the reason you moved to LA intend to put your newly established title into fruition, but you have no work to show for it?  This is where hopefully rule number 4 comes into play and you may have something to add.  Recommended site: Actors Access, BackStage West

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Ideas For Screenwriters To Break Into Hollywood by Marc Scott Zicree_Film_Courage

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‘Ideas For Screenwriters To Break Into Hollywood’ by
Marc Scott Zicree

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9. Find an inexpensive hobby and resort to it once in awhile.  The hobby might be knitting, bird watching, classic car shows, a spiritual organization, Yoga, etc.  Just something to get your mind off of striving for more and yourself for a awhile.  Having an outlet that has nothing to do with the entertainment industry will help bring you back to your goals with a fresh spirit.  It’s up to you if using this hobby as another form of networking as part of your ‘LA Plan.’  Sometimes it’s nice to just tune out, turn off, or however the saying goes.  Let’s face it, the newness of Los Angeles may wear off after a bit.  It’s a city of infinite possibilities, limitless events, and outstanding landscape/culture.  Having a small, inexpensive outlet is a great way to recharge if you feel discouraged from the daily LA hustle.  This will also revive you from fellow artists who feel the same and may act down around you (or project discouragement).

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An Acting Class Changed My Life by Christopher Guckenberger

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10.  Guard your time.  There are tons of fun, engaging people and events in LA.  Balance becomes a struggle when having fun and hanging out becomes the mainstay of what you’re doing in LA.  It’s up to you how to approach it with your new LA friends.  Just make sure you don’t lose track of why you are in this glorious city (with occasional time-outs for yourself).  Yes, LA is definitely who you know, but don’t let who you know rule all of your time.
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‘The Work It Takes to Get The Next Acting Job’
by Actress Leah Ann Cevoli 

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11. Find alternative and creative ways to save money.   LA is expensive but there are creative ways to find cheap alternatives to things such as Trader Joe’s for food and other products (aside from major sales at grocery chains), large thrift stores, finding ways to use your car less and save on gas (like walking to Trader Joe’s?).  One word – PancakesRecommended site: LA Public LibraryOut of the Closet


Motivation For Any Actor Struggling In Los Angeles
by Michael O’Neill

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12.  Have an open heart and a healthy sense of skepticism.  This may sound New-Age/touchy feely (cue the angelic music) – but it’s kinda true.  Remain as upbeat as one can within your circumstances  (“I can’t pay rent, but I feel such amazing blessings in my life!” – maybe not that happy) and do not take things at first value.  Open minds with a healthy sense of boundaries and a strong measure for personal safety are helpful for self-preservation.

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 This Journey Could Not Stop In Tucson Aaron Caine Filmmaker Film Courage

 

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From the creator of I’m Not Matt Damon…

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