New to Los Angeles Part Two

August 26, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

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.


New to Los Angeles Part One

August 25, 2011 by cindy  
Filed under Mail Bag

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.

Get experience

I know this sounds like a “duh” but if you can get ANY experience where you are at, do it.  The more you’ve been on sets, in the casting room, in the production office, the better off you’ll be coming out here.

Brush up on your networking skills

You have to understand that Los Angeles is one big networking pool every day, all the time, so if you don’t know how to strike up a conversation with someone in line at the coffee shop or at a party, you could be missing out on some pretty big opportunities.  The great thing about LA is that there are groups set up specifically for networking.  So, when you go to one of their parties or events, there is no awkwardness because everyone knows you’re there to network.  So, research those groups and start attending their events.

Save your pennies

Los Angeles can be a really expensive place to live.  Please do your research before you come out here, have a plan in regards to where you’re going to live, what kind of work you will be doing while you are pursuing your show biz career and have some money in the bank.  The majority of people here work freelance so if you have never done that or don’t know what it’s like to live from job to job, ask people who have, read articles on the subject so that you’re not stressed when you are thrust into that way of living.  Also know that apartments and jobs come up at the last minute.  Meaning, when I moved here from the Midwest, I planned to find a place 3 months ahead of time.  Well, there were no places that had that length of notice.  Typically people here give 30 day notice so you have to be prepared to jump into a place kind of at the last minute.  It’s much less notice for jobs so just be aware of that when you are planning so you don’t get frustrated.

Have a plan

No matter what you want to do in the entertainment business, remember that it’s a business.  Therefore, you are running your own company so make a business plan for yourself.  Every successful business has one and 9 times out of 10, those who fail out here set themselves up for that failure by not having a plan.  If you want to be an actor, research the shows you would be good for, find out who the casting directors are. Do those casting directors do workshops?  How can you get yourself in front of them?  If you want to be a director, can you intern with a director you admire out here?  Do you even know the name of their production company?  It’s a great time in the entertainment industry because information is right at your finger tips so make sure you do the research and create a plan.  You’ll impress those you are talking to that have been here awhile and you’ll feel less stressed out when you get here and everything is going a thousand miles a minute.

Soonami Productions