New to Los Angeles Part Two
I want to do something different for my next two posts. In the past two weeks, I’ve sat down with several “transplants” new to LA. I noticed they all had similar questions so I want to point out some things you should know if you are thinking of making the move to Los Angeles to pursue the film business.
Have business cards
Please take this business seriously. If you owned your own accounting business, it wouldn’t even be a question that you would have business cards. Show biz is the same way (maybe even more so). We are networking crazies. I, personally, love it! I love meeting new people but I tell you what, if they don’t have a business card, part of me thinks a little less of them just because I don’t think they are taking it seriously. If you are an actor, please have your picture on your card. It’s the easiest tool for you to use to get jobs out here.
Expect to work for free
The people that work in this business and have been doing it awhile more likely than not, have a group of people they trust, they’ve worked with before and they know can get the job done. If you expect to get into that inner circle, you’re going to have to prove yourself and not many people are willing to take a chance on someone they don’t know unless that person is willing to bust their ass for free to prove they are reliable and worthy of the person’s time. It’s just a reality of the business out here. I’m not saying it will be forever, but there is truth to the saying “it’s all who you know”. You have to be able to do the job when you get it, but getting it is in who you know. So, if you don’t know anyone then you need to mentally and economically prepare to work for free so that they can get to know you.
Don’t put a time limit on it
Honestly, the statistic I’ve heard is that it takes 7 to 10 years to make it as an “over-night” success in Hollywood (so imagine what it takes to just be a “success”. So, if you’re one of those people who thinks they’re going to come out here for a year and try to make it big and if you don’t then you’ll go home, then I say, please don’t bother. The highways are crowded enough and it’s an insult to those of us who have busted our asses for years out here.
Don’t give up!
It’s a tough business and you have to be able to find joy in the little parts of it like auditioning, networking, taking classes, reading, studying, all of that. If you don’t, this town can surely eat you alive. Most importantly, find a group of people with similar aspirations and support each other. I often hear people say that LA is “fake” and “dog eat dog”, and it certainly can be. But, for me, I have never been in a more supportive, understanding and loving environment. Make sure you surround yourself with good, positive people and enjoy the ride because it can be quite a ride.