I’m an ACTOR… Should I Move to New York or Hollywood?

hitchhikerThis is the third in a series of articles about relocating to Hollywood or New York to follow dreams in the entertainment business.

Part II–Actors

If you’re an actor and you’re wondering whether it’s time to move to New York (the home of live theater and a decent amount of film production) or Hollywood (the home of most film and television production), you might want to consider a few things.

In a blog I wrote last week, I detailed information I learned from one of Hollywood’s top stars whom I have the honor of knowing and thus interviewing for my book. Consider these business facts:

  • There are 120,000 SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) actors in Hollywood.
  • At any given time 85% of them are out of work.
  • The average salary of a SAG actor is less than $10,000 a year.
  • Most of them are just trying to earn the required $7,500 a year to keep their health benefits.
  • 18-20% of them fall into star roles and make serious money.
  • Less than 1% are the ones you read about and know, the real stars, the actors who make million dollar and double digit million dollar salaries.

The actor I interviewed falls into that last group—earning $250,000 an episode for his role in a hugely successful show. He’s one of the lucky ones. But it took many years for him to get to that point.

The question that is perhaps most important in making this decision is whether the move will afford you greater opportunities than it will cost you to do it.  Here’s what I mean:  It is obvious that there are many more auditions being held in Los Angeles and New York than in Baltimore, Cleveland, Tampa, Salt Lake City and perhaps the rest of the country combined. But what might not be so obvious is whether that translates into a better shot at becoming the actor you want to be. It would seem it should. But consider this:

  • There are many more actors competing against you for that very reason.
  • Because there are so many actors, there are gatekeepers set up in L.A. and N.Y. to block many newbies.
  • Many of the actors competing against you have far more experience than you may have.
  • If you don’t have an agent (most new actors in Hollywood/N.Y.  don’t), you may not even hear about the auditions for your type.
  • It will cost you far more money to wait for your chance in N.Y. and L.A. than any other place in the country.

Again, I’m not writing this to pour water on your fire. I’m writing this because I believe, as one quote says, “The best way to achieve your dreams is to wake up.” By wake up, I mean recognize the realities of the world you are looking to enter. Too often young actors are lured to Hollywood with dreams of becoming the next Will Smith or Jennifer Aniston. They are lured by the glamour of the less than 1% of actors who enjoy such glamor. Not many have their hearts set on even being one of the 18-20% group—those actors whose faces you may recognize, but whose names you don’t know.

It’s much easier to be a big fish in a small pond. One thing for sure about Hollywood, here you are swimming in the Ocean. Before you move here, make sure you’re ready for the salt water and sharks.

How do you do that? You get big in your town first. You find the theater groups that are active where you live and get involved. If you live in a very small town, you might want to move to a city near you to expose yourself to more opportunities.

Most actors considering a move to New York or Hollywood should have already done these things. If you have succeeded in those smaller ponds, move up to a lake. There are many acting opportunities in larger cities like Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago. You may want to cut your chops in those large cities first. Doing so will get you used to the process so that, when you do get your shot in L.A. or N.Y., you’ll know better what to do to win the role.

But say you’ve done that as well. Let’s say you’re going to get a roommate (or two) and make the costs of living in one of these cities as cheap as possible. What’s the benefit of moving to N.Y. or L.A? Mmm…?  Maybe sharing my story would illustrate it best.

Here’s the set up: I moved to L.A. with my family after placing as a semifinalist the Chesterfield screenwriting contest, getting an offer to purchase my screenplay, and attaining representation as a screenwriter. At our new apartment in Burbank another couple had moved here in support of their son’s acting career. He’d won a major talent contest in New Mexico, had gotten an agent and booked a few TV shows and movies. The mother had just taken a job as an agent with her son’s talent agency.

Within two months of being here, while chilling in the hot tub by the pool, the mother asked me if I’d ever done any acting. As it so happened, I’d been the star of nearly every high school play we’d done from my sophomore year forward. She said she’d like to rep me, my wife and daughter as actors because she believed we’d book a lot of roles. I thanked her, but said “no.” I was focused on writing.

My wife and daughter, however, said, “Sure! That sounds cool.” Soon they were in movies—The Italian Job, The Hulk, Legally Blonde;  commercials for Time/Life, Rent-a-Center and others, and making decent money while hanging out with the likes of Mark Walhberg, F. Gary Gray and Mekhi Phifer—all without having taken a single acting class or having any experience at all. Once my wife took a few classes, she booked more work. After two years of being asked, I finally said, yes. Before long, I too was booking commercials for Time/Life, Papa Johns and others and going on auditions for movies and TV shows including Stargate Atlantis, CSI,  and ER.

My point is that none of us had any intention of being actors, yet we fell into it in Hollywood. However, none of us are famous, nor have we made a career of acting as the less-than-1-percent actor I mentioned above. He too fell into acting—in college—in a small town. He moved to medium city—got big there in the local theater groups, then moved to N.Y. where he did Broadway and off-Broadway shows. Finally, he moved to L.A. where he struggled for nearly 20 years before he became a less-than-1-percenter. But he succeeded at making a career of it because when he got to L.A., he knew the game thoroughly. He pursued his dreams wide awake and understood it might take many years. He was ready to swim in the ocean.  The question is, are you?

Now tell me what you think. Do you agree? Disagree? Please share from your experience in the comments below and share this article with others. Also look for my next article on Singers and Musicians in the next few days and please check out my book for the complete stories and all the other advice from this actor and many other successful celebrities.

Good Luck


Update 3/7/2013: (The 2nd edition of  What I Wish I Knew Before I Moved to Hollywood available now exclusively on Kindle for only $4.99. Get yours now. Click here. Kindle e-books can be read on I-phone, I-pod, I-pad, Android, Mac and PC with the free Kindle App.)

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    • 1.) This is true. But if you’re dedicated and wilnilg to work crummy restaurant jobs while you go from interview to interview on the side, you never know what’s going to happen.2.) You can’t even let this be a possibility. If you are serious about this then not making it isn’t an option. Period.3.) Make a schedule and figure out when your free time is so you can apply for auditions within that frame. Also if you can afford an agent, they should be able to give you dates of auditions far enough in advance that you can find people to cover shifts or take notes for you in class.4.) First, write up a resume/portfolio. You’re going to need it eventually anyway so why not start now. Search for a local theater that does open auditions. Practice writing your own scripts and perfecting your personal technique. Memorize your favorite movie scenes and then try and outdo the actors in them.5.) Look for testimony to the sites or better yet, go to the phone book (there is one online). They are sure to have stuff6.) Stop focusing so much on the fame part and more on the art of acting itself. Major in theater arts or something along those lines. If you keep at it, the fame will come in time but (and not to sound totally cheesy here) all things worth having take work. This field is definitely no exception, but if you’re wilnilg to do it and BE PERSISTENT, you can make your dream come true Best of luck to you and I look forward to seeing you on the big screen!!

      • I like your spunk Maribel. As Scriptwriting Secrets said of my book when it first came out:

        “The book isn’t intended to stop people from following their bliss, but it is intended as a wake-up call. If you decide you can’t take the kind of treatment described in these pages, it’s probably better to stay away from Hollywood. On the other hand, if these stories don’t scare you off or, better yet, help you see a way to exploit the system, you may well have what it takes to survive and even prosper there.” –Scriptwriting Secrets

        I think your “whatever it takes” attitude is exactly what it takes. The goal is to make sure anyone who comes here knows what they are getting themselves into. Thanks for your comment. TRL

  3. “The best way to achieve your dreams is to wake up”–excellent advice. i think i’ll make that my FB post of the day, lol. But this was indeed a great article, not just for actors, but for anyone aspiring to be in the business. Thanks for sharing and keep ’em coming.

    • Thank you, Ebony. I’m glad you pointed out that I’m not deterring people. I’ve had some say on my FB page that you follow your dreams no matter what because you only live once. I agree. That’s why it’s so important to not blow it by doing things that don’t help or lead to discouragement. Thanks again for the comment.

  4. I agree with this 100% ,I’m 17 and trying to be a actor but now I realize success can come overnight or it can come in 20 years .I got to want it and I want it .I’m still taking a few acting classes to build my craft but you lol

    • @Sherman–What happened? You comment got cut off. Hopefully you’ll finish it. Please do. But to your point–yes, you do have to really want it. Acting classes will help a lot. Mainly, you need to figure out your type and get clear just on what it is you present to the camera and audience. I’ll wait for the rest of your comment/question before I finish.

  5. Hi TR. Great article. I read your book and I find myself coming back for more information from your website and blogs. I can’t recommend you enough to other moms of child actors and readers. Thank you for providing such a wealth of information about the behind-the-scenes life of Hollywood dreamers.

    You are right that in LA you will get many more opportunitites. My son has auditioned at least 50 times since last September. That’s 48 more times than we auditioned when he was signed up at a modeling/talent agency in Miami Beach, FL several years ago. But you are also right that the competition is that much greater, that the pool of talent is that much better, and the living costs are exponentially higher. My son, who is a newbie with a B-list Hollywood agent, has managed to land some really big auditions on his look alone – Tim Burton’s next feature Frankenweenie, Disney FX’s Zeke & Luther, Nick’s iCarly and Big Time Rush, Lifetime movie Amish Grace, several feature films and national commercials. Of the 50 auditions, he has only booked two commercials — one as an extra and another as a principal kid — and one film — also as an extra — and has made a grand total of $500. Many parents don’t realize that non-union roles no longer pay. They expect you to work for the standard credit/copy/meals. And good luck getting a copy of the work after production wraps! I still have to hound directors for a copy of my son’s work for his demo reel.

    As a parent of a child actor trying to break into Hollywood, the best advice I could give is to see living here as a VERY expensive acting school (with “tuition, room and board” averaging about 35k to 50k a year), with the rewards being that you get a chance to rub elbows with real industry people and not just your local theater acting coaches. Hollywood can also wreak havoc on marriages, which your book depicted so well, and I am personally experiencing. My husband could not find work here so he returned to FL, meanwhile he is underwriting our adventures out here in LA.
    Needless to say, this contract will expire soon, as he cannot keep up with this very expensive arrangement.

    Most acting coaches, casting directors, agents and managers in the industry want the actors (and the parents of actors) to have a life outside of the acting world. Many will ask the children what they want to be when they grow up, and usually they will reject them if they say “acting.” They usually want to hear something else, like lawyer, doctor, tennis star…. anything BUT actor. They realize that most children won’t make it in the business (and those who do make it as child actors wind up unemployed as adults) so they emphasize the need to get involved in other activities outside of Hollywood. The problem is… once you have an agent, they OWN you. They want you to be on call 24 hours, and you simply can’t say “No” or they will drop you as a client. Its a troubling dichotomy and only the most emotionally stable people need sign up for that kind of tension and suspense. It can be quite gut wrenching to be at an important meeting for your job or school (bravo for having a life) then…. get a call that the director wants to see your polished kid in 30 minutes. That’s what happened to me this past Monday, except I couldn’t answer the cell phone because its prohibited in class. It was the first time since we signed with the agency that I refused to go to an audition at all. It would have been impossible anyway, but it is not beyond these folks to expect the impossible from us. The agency is now considering dropping us because of it. That’s Hollywood.

    • @F Newman–Wow, thank you for sharing this. (And, of course, thanks for reading the book, too.) I really appreciate your insights into the world of child acting. It is truly amazing what they put parents through out here. We were just watching old In Living Color episodes on TV and saw this skit about the mother of an child actress. They made the mother look crazy. But what they didn’t tell you is that she wasn’t crazy before she started dealing with Hollywood. LOL.

      I spent a couple years running my daughter around to auditions as well. She had a theatrical and commercial agent. She booked an extra spot on Legally Blonde 2 and got call backs for “Are We There Yet,” and a couple other parts, but in the end, I think the metaphor of Hollywood as a “very expensive acting school” is just about right. You learn things being here that you will not learn anywhere else, that’s for sure. But oh the cost of that education. That’s a very good point about expecting actors to act for food, credit and a copy of the reel–reels are very hard to get. It’s amazing how they get away with that here.

      And great insight into the agents and managers too. I remember one point I hadn’t gotten a call from my acting agent in 2 months. I went out of town for a trip and suddenly she called. I told her I was out of town and she hit the roof. I thought, “You got some nerve–You don’t call me for 2 months and now you’re mad at me?” People are a trip. But their jobs are high stress too. They’re all subject to the same nuts who make the movies–the directors who “want to see your polished kid in 30 minutes.” I’m sorry to hear about them threatening to drop you for prioritizing, but that is also true. So much of what I write in this book, as you know, is exactly the kind of insight you’re bring in this comment. In fact, I’d love to quote you directly in the new edition I’m working on now for the digital device release. That will then flow into the new edition of the book as well. I’ll contact you by email to set up an interview if you’re cool with it.

      Appreciate the comment. I know a lot of readers will find it very helpful. Thank you.

    • Okay i know that drama schools and tanicg classes and all that are wonderful, i’m already in a speech and drama academy. But what i want to know is how to improve at home, every single day. I love tanicg it is my passion and my talent and the greatest feeling in the world and i don’t mind working hours on end! What i need to know is how to improve. I am 12 at the moment, but my family is too busy and my friends aren’t allowed round my house whenever so getting someone to watch is difficult, plus i would prefer something other than great, i would prefer to get some constructive criticism. So what can i practice. I have come up with doing something different every week, for example-Voice-working on articulation, pronunciation, accents, emotion, projection ect.Lines-coming up with effective ways to remember scripts and such.Body language and gestures-like it sayacting-doing monologues, short plays, maybe a tv episode.Knowledge-Getting to know stuff like blocking (already know that but won’t hurt) fourth wall all the drama tech talk stuff.Of course i will merge it in together if the topic doesn’t really cover a whole weak, and i will be doing other stuff aswell. So how can i practice this. If you could explain the drama tech talk stuff, how to work on voice and that and certain pointers and help in everything. Also help with how to remember lines would be nice, in fact do that!! Even just giving a website would be helpful!! Thanks!!!

      • It appears this comment is in response to another reader comment, so I’ll wait and see if she answers. Just know to be very careful with acting sites for children. Sites that are affiliated with quality acting schools are great, but it would be best to get involved with local theater groups or groups in your school rather than trying to find something online. Either way, watch out for fees. Have your parents look carefully into this for you. Good luck.

  6. No problem TR…. By the way, since I posted the last comment, the agent decided to keep us around a little longer. Turns out the director of Spy Kids 4 is very interested in seeing my son this Friday. So we are back to rearranging priorities this week again (setting up private coaching, rehearsing, clothes shopping, hair styling, etc). Interesting how this works. I would rank threats right up there with criticism of one’s artistry and craft. As newbies, its hard to tell the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat — between being on the verge of losing an agent, and an agent just venting their frustrations on you. Either way, its a pressure boiler and no one has captured the experience as well as you have. Your book, and lots of prayer, have kept me sane. Thank you.

    • @F Newman–That is very cool. I’m very glad to hear it and I wish you son the best. Agents can be a handful and tremendously insensitive, but I guess sometimes they may get rejected 100x more a day than artists do. Thank you so much for you positive comments. It really encourages me to know that I reached my goal with this book–to help folk to not to give up but to understand how it works better so that they can make sure there’s enough in the tank for the journey. Good Luck!

      • I am currently 17 and i live at home with my prntaes and i am currently in 6th formI would love to progress into the TV and Film industry and have found 3 courses which i want to take at the London film and tv academyAll 3 courses are going to cost a32500 and then my accommodation is going to cost around a32000 and then food and drink and travel expenses is going to cost me around a3500So that basically means i need a35000 for the 80 DaysI only work Part time due to already being in education so i only earn roughly around a3600 and month which isn’t a lot of money and this would mean that it would take me around a year to pay back the loan in decent settlements as i have just passed my Driving test and my car insurance has cost me a32700. I am really wanting to progress into the acting career and this would be a big opportunity.What should i doI spoke to my prntaes but they have said it isn’t worth it as i might just change my mind in a future career path and then that’s a35000 down the drain. I really want to progress into this and it will be worthwhile as i gain a diploma in all 3 of the courses and a quality showreel which i can then present to agentsWhat should i do ??

        • My filters tell me this is a spam comment, but I’m going to risk answering it anyway in case it’s real. As former president Bush famously says, “Fool me once, shame on…me…you. Well, point is you can’t fool me twice.” If I’m understanding you right, the correct answer to your problem is to drop out of school and spend the next year paying your car insurance. Once you’re done with that, reconsider school. Hope that helps.

  7. FANTASTIC ADVICE!!! As a parent of a child actor we are ready and willing to uproot to LA to enhance our child’s career-he is already establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in TO(2 feature films,tv episodes,commercials and his musical career as the First Justin Bieber Tribute Performer). He has a current talent agent(which was a great starting point but I am searching for higher representation in our hometown which has contacts to NY and LA and he also has a music promoter. I am 100% actively involved in my son’s career and act as a secondary agent helping him find work. I think your advise is spot on-we are in limbo right now(renting a house in TO) with aspirations on moving but only when our ducks are lined up(LA representation,work and housing readily available to make the move smooth). No sense in making the move and going in blind!!! Thanks for the article which helped reassure my decision making!!!:)

    • You’re welcome, Barbara. Thank you for your comment.

      • I just recently alavreueted my career choices (after many years of wanting to be a singer and writer) and after much thinking noticed that i would be a much better actress and comedian. I have always loved being on stage and I am always thinking about acting or making my own films and wnat to get better at what I do. I remember one particular play (out of many lol. I was always prone to dramatics) i did when i was younger and the whole place was packed and I did a GREAT job. It was a lead part and it was so exciting. I’m so happy to finally know what my TRUE calling is in this life and what personality traits and characteristics of myself would be SO much better suited for being on stage acting or making people laugh rather than singing. All that being said I really want to get started with practicing the craft of acting. So does anyone have any tips for someone just starting out? I really like learning at home by myself so i can challenge myself to try to embody the character without the help of a mentor or teacher. Because I like to learn on my own and challenge myself it would be great if someone could suggest some monologues or characters that would be challenging to learn. I’m open to the idea also of taking acting courses or classes. Which is something I’ll be doing at college as well. However it’ll be tough if i don’t have any acting courses in my town so someone can take me so i can take additional classes after school. But I will try to as SOON as possible so i can take courses or get involved with plays and films. Sorry I’m rambling lol. But if anyone can give me any good tips for a beginning actor and also some challenging skits, characters in plays or monologues it would be a huge help to me to get some great tips from other actors and actresses. Thanks for the help if you respond to these questions!

        • Maik, congrats on figuring out what you want to do. Acting a social thing, so there isn’t a lot I would say you could learn at home on your own. You’re going to need to get around people and interact with them to develop your skills. I strongly suggest local theater groups. One place to start would be a local community college–often a single acting class there is connected to local theater groups where you can branch out and develop your skills for free. Check out local theaters and see what they offer in terms of training. Continue to develop where you are. You sound like you’ve gotten experience, so what you want is more of that. If there is a local improv group, you can do that as well. Check out the Vlog I did on filmmakers–it suggests that actors get with filmmakers and do shows for Youtube to help get their reels developed and get used to working on a regular schedule. Here’s a link to that Vlog. Good luck. TRL.

  8. An actor is merely an idiotic and willingly exploitable cog in an unfathonably cruel capitalist machine that delights in having no other agenda other than chewing up and spitting out. It’s been built that way since the dawn of time….fixed, unyielding, permanent, Orwellian. It rewards only those whose soulessness can be faked for decades.

    However, if you manage to sleep with as many peeople as possible while pretending to uphold the false moral pretense of “romance” you’ll be allright for at least six weeks in either city. After that, the jig is up. Your acting prowess is then to be honed cosiderbly more off-camera than on.

    • @Barf-O-Rama–
      I see you’ve had some pretty negative experiences in one of these towns. Thanks for the comment. I know quite a few people who feel that way. And well written by the way.

  9. Barf O Rama failed at life and wants everyone to join them. Great advice Loser.

  10. In 2004, at the urging of my then boyfriend, I flew to LA from my midwest town to attend an open call for a new reality show that was to air on a major cable network. The participants would compete against one another in singing/performance then the winners chosen by popular online vote, much like american idol. I’d been a paid singer and done plays all throughout my childhood and young adult hood so I thought I could at least try. I got off that plane at LAX with my suitcase, naiveté and no idea what I was walking into. A few weeks later my head was spinning; I had made it all the way to the final round and the winner was between myself and one other woman. The winner would win $10,000 and shoot the pilot of the new TV series with me in one of the starring roles. Well, I didn’t win, and the show turned out to flop and disappear. But no matter, I was energized beyond hesitation and I immediately went back to my little town, packed up my stuff and drove to LA to pursue my new career in acting. 7 years later, I drove away from Hollywood exhausted and exhilerated to be escaping. My experience in LA was not all bad; I’d had lots of fun, made some great friends, life was not bad. And I had worked in the business somewhat, too. During a time when few other people were booking anything, I was a booker of national commercials. But the suffering I endured, the crummy jobs, the hustle, the traffic, the financial fight to stay alive in a town with 10,000 other versions of me was not worth it. In comparison to most of my friends, I was a success story. I had been pegged early on by those in the industry that even knew who I was as a commercial actress, and so that’s all I did. And 3 or 4 times a year I’d book a national that brought in some dollars. But it wasn’t the career I’d dreamed of, nowhere near it. Even after 5 years of struggling upward in the industry, Film/tv agents wouldn’t even meet with me because I didn’t already have a thick resume of tv credits (chicken before the egg syndrome, how do you get credits without an agent, how do you get an agent without credits??). This is not to mention working blistering food/drink service jobs in bars & restaurants until I had callouses from drying glasses, driving for many hours a day on clogged freeways, doing this all on my own, no rich parents to send me money to help pay my rent or bills…LA is a town full of actors and dreams and spending time amongst these people was really awesome sometimes. So much talent going unnoticed though is depressing. And unless you have unlimited funds, a very strong support network from friends and family, the ability to not work a couple of jobs to take your time away from acting, a pretty face and industry grade thin, great body (sorry, this is just the plain Hollywood truth), basically all good fortune smiling in your favor going in, your chances of “making it” (and by that, I mean having a recognizable famous name) in Hollywood are so very slim. You may work sometimes, but the JLaws and the LiLos have been at this way longer than you, and have advantages you probably haven’t even considered. Have you even been to LA? It is like being on Mars. It’s a different world. If you want to understand why you are probably already at a disadvantage going in, please take a couple days and ready the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, it explains why some people are so much more primed for success than others just due to simple truths about their lives, their location, their income, etc. Fascinating and completely applicable to Hollywood success. By the way, like I said the show that I was on was to be a remake of a prior very successful TV series. And one of the other characters was a teenage girl, who won her role?…a then unknown Emily Stone. Who is now called Emma Stone. She was probably about 14 at the time. That show was a good break for her but it was still a couple more years before her name started getting big. And she had started acting years before that, when she was just a kid. Her parents wealthy, owned homes in two states and were financially willing and able to fly her back and forth for auditions. Unlimited parental support, private tutoring, years of childhood acting experience, and a hollywood face…please, don’t think I don’t believe in following your dreams, I live in a smaller market town and work now more than I ever did as an actor in LA and in many more various capacities. Just understand that fame doesn’t just land on your head because you’ve had some success in Boise or the local talent people tell you your kid is talented. He/she is special, no matter what Hollywood has to say about it. But take it from me, when you get to the “ocean” (LA talent pool), you will be one of many thousands who think the same thoughts as you. And the letdown for you or for your child if he/she’s the talent, is potentially devastating. LA is turning into the land of broken dreams and cheaply made reality shows. It’s full of talented wonderful people who will most likely never see their dreams realized. This is not pessimism, it is a sad truth.

    • DaisyMae,
      Thank you for sharing your story. I think it’s great that you were able to see the fun and good times you had here while persuing your dreams. One thing you will always have with you is the fact that you went for you–you tried–you succeeded to a certain level too. So many people never give their dreams a chance. Way to make it happen. I think your advice to read Outliers is on point as well. It certainly makes clear how much luck is involved in any great success–especially here in Hollywood. TRL

      • I’ve taken a lot of acting classes since 2009. Also I have done about four commercials and print work. I live close to Atlanta and was wondering…is this a good place to actively pursue an acting career? I know Atlanta is blowing up and having a lot of new acting opportunities and production studios. I’m wanting to know 1…Is this a good place 2…How to find an agent and do you have any suggestions 3 what type of work should I be looking for while I’m actively pursuing an acting career. I’m looking to do more, well, right I haven’t did any so I guess I should say I want to start pursuing Film/Television

        • Hi Nate, Thanks for writing.
          Atlanta is doing a lot more film work lately, especially Tyler Perry’s studios. I know about a half dozen filmmakers who have left Hollywood and gone to work with him in his new studio because they couldn’t find work here but were able to find it there. Every one of these people I keep in touch with brag about the cheap cost of homes and living in the Atlanta region. Certainly it is not the center of the film industry that Hollywood is, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ample oppotunities for you to do your thing there. In addition, you can afford to live quite well while you’re doing it. I always advocate staying local until you blow up. Become as big a fish as you can in Atlanta and then come here to get to the next level. As far as finding an agent, there are a couple articles on that here on my blog. You can find the one most relevant to actors here. I’m not sure if you can find work that relates to acting as you pursue your career. If you can find work on a film set, I think it can be good to see how the world works. If not, make sure you have work that allows you the flexibility to make it to auditions. Some fulltime jobs won’t understand your need for flexibility, so a part-time job might be best. Still, there are careers in sales–especially outside sales–that might give you that kind of freedom. Good luck. TRL

  11. Hi, I’m a 16 year old Irish girl and I’ve always wanted to be an actress. I am part of two local drama clubs and I’ve starred as an extra in two short films, Vanner, which went on to be shown in the Chicago Irish Film Festival and Lost Cause, which was shown at Galway Film Festival. I have found that I am much more comfortable in front of a camera than on stage. Unfortunately, film opportunities don’t come around much in rural Ireland and there is no acting to camera courses in Ireland. I have always dreamed about living in America. And I’ve been looking into courses at the New York Film Academy. The only thing about America is it is very costly to live there and I’m not sure how easy it is to get a Visa. I could also go to England as I could live with my mother’s friend. Another thing I have been considering is taking a gap year and going to America or England and try and get some credits or an agent, then start a course for university. My family is not supportive of me at all. They want me to settle here and marry a farmer but there is nothing I would hate more. So any advice? America? Ireland? England? Gap year? Give up?

    • Hi Caoimhe Mee, Thanks for writing. I always suggest that people develop their chops where they are first. In your case, it would certainly mean staying within your country. If there is nothing you can do there, then England would be your next best choice. Having a family member to stay with is helpful. There should be plenty of opportunities for you to gain exposure to the film industry in England. There are many different acting schools, film schools and stages to perform on all over the United Kingdom, so I’d strongly suggest you develop your chops there. I never advocate anyone give up on their dreams, by the way. Good luck. TRL

  12. Teri patrick gama

    Hi thks! I just received a call from a young relative that lives in Colorado wanting to be an actress, im going to give her the advice you gave, for her to do some plays in her own first. I have been a background actress for 8 yrs. as soon as I became a SAG union actress, there was no more jobs available. Hollywood film making are leaving to Texas because of the high taxes to film, thats a real downer for us already with semi scarce to null work. I once had an agent an soon thereafter I fired him, its rediculous to me. When you go to an interview theres 100 more people auditioning also. As far as im concerned either you are rich an can do this all day, an or get a job here an there, or its not going to work. The traffic here is so sick that to go to the studios I have to drive for 2 hrs. just because of the traffic. Its almost a must to live near or in hollywood to get to alot of the studios without too much trouble. I would say that I can work background only because my husband supports me, otherwise I would not be able to do it. thanks so much for your openess. Teri

    • Thanks for the comment. It certainly sounds like things are getting worse instead of better out here. Good luck and give my luck to your niece as well. TRL

  13. sair i am study acting. plz give me a chance for a film acting

  14. HI TRL! I am a co-founder of “ACT Like a Child Magazine” and we are always searching for quality content. Would you possibly give us permission for a re-print of this article for the upcoming fall issue (Aug/Sept) for ACT Like A Child Magazine? It is great information! Our deadline is July 31, which is quickly approaching.

    For your efforts we would like to offer you a free download and a 1/4 page display ad with the article submission. There are a lot of readers who would love to hear advise from you. We would also love to give your book a review. I am sure our readers would love this! We hope you will consider this offer and we hope to hear from you soon!

    • Hi Jennifer,

      Looks like I missed your email. Sorry. I’ve been away from my blog and that’s what happens. I’m more than happy to accomodate you though for your next issue. Yes on all the above. I’ll be in touch. TRL

  15. Sean Santa Webster

    I am a actor that lives in New York and I want to star in Hollywood movies

    • Well, you’re certainly not alone, Sean. Good luck. You’ve come to a good place to start that journey.

  16. If your goal is simply to act, then any city in the world with a local theater will do fine. However, if your goal is to earn money as an actor, then you’ll need to move to a “big” city. But which of those cities we should go? I have read an article about the top 5 major cities for acting here https://www.exploretalent.com/articles/top-5-major-locations-acting-auditions/. What do you think about it?

  17. One would think planning and research would be mandatory for such a move, but I see actors come out here every day in search of “the dream” only to have those dreams dashed. Come check L.A. out beforehand. Make sure you thoroughly understand the lay of the land. Think of it as a reconnaissance mission for your future.

    • Thanks for you comment, Ben. I hadn’t thought about people coming here without visiting first. I certainly visited a few times and still got hit with realities later. But I think it’s good to mention. TRL.

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