About a year ago, as many of you are already aware, I uprooted myself from Nashville, Tennessee and traveled across the US to Los Angeles. That trip was a huge adventure, as was the idea and meaning of the move. I wanted to move out to Los Angeles to act.
Sure, acting is available in plenty other states and cities. Chicago, New York, "Atlanta", and others are all booming mecas for actors and their skill sets, but Los Angeles was where I chose to be. Film is what I wanted to be a part of. Don't get me wrong, I love the stage and would work gladly there, but film was what my overall idea was when I traveled those many miles out to plant myself in Los Angeles.
So, I did just that. With some savings, I moved out here. I bounced from couch to couch, using my savings as a lifeline while I did nothing but build my reel. I've worked on about 28 films since I've been out here in Los Angeles. Some of them I've never seen (and probably never will), some of them are completed and online, and a couple are supposed to be making circulation through the festival circuit. I've been in music videos, a few commercials, and short films galore.
Now I've been out here a whole year. I've met good friends, tasted good food, found a place to live and call my own (albeit its pricey to live out here and I'm eeking by) and I've even got my survival job at a coffee shop. Life is going, and I'm planning on making sure it keeps going, as smooth as possible.
Here are 3 rules I've learned about Los Angeles this past year that has helped me maintain my trajectory as well as my financial well being.
1) This city kicks you when you are down, so it's best to get up as soon as possible.
What I mean is, if you lose your job, your car will break down. If your bike gets stolen (which inevitably, it will) you'll find it for sale at the pawn shop a month later. If you're cast in something too good to be true and pays well, or something you're excited about, it will almost always get canceled last minute. These are things I've learned. Los Angeles takes no prisoners. You got to have a thick skin to make it through this place, and a good idea of why you're trying so hard.
2) For every actor in the city, there are two people trying to separate actors from their money
This one is self explanatory. You need to keep your eyes on the prize, but also on your wallet. This entire city is built around an industry of film and television. Thousands of people flock to this place to every day to be a part of that industry. So, it makes sense that, thanks to the millions of "actors" in this city, there would be a sub-industry devoted to preying on them. Classes for $300, headshots for $500, that "showcase" for $150, the actor's "symposium" for $300, UPDATING headshots on all the websites cost you about $15 each (with 6 new headshots you need to update) and those websites yearly fees which run you between $79-$150. These numbers are all within the reach of someone working a low paying job, but they're not cheap. And they add up. You need to be smart with your money out here.
3) There is ALWAYS something happening
This rule is much more fun. Somewhere in the city, every day, at any time of the year, there is something going on. A masquerade, renaissance fair, the County Fair, movies in the park, and s forth. This city contains so many people and is so big that there is no end to the activities available to be had. You need to keep your eyes open and your group ready if you want to get to them. (Traffic is another whole post) but, if you're willing to risk traffic, you can find something to do daily! And oftem times, they're free.
I miss home desperately. I find myself wishing I could have some home cooked meals with my family, some Nashville hot chicken, a night at the Sounds stadium, or a Monday night swing dancing with my friends back home. I want to sit on the patio of Tennessee brew works and relax with a Basil Ryman. I want to see all my friends and family I've left there in Nashville, but I moved out here to act. If there was enough work back in Nashville, I would have stayed, but I go on more auditions here in LA in a week than I was going on in a year in Nashville. This is where the work is, this is where I need to be.
I miss home, but I'm making another home here, surrounding myself with friends, establishing my own space, and working on making a name for myself in this industry.
Thank you for all your support this past year! Thank you for believing in me and wanting to hear more out of me. Thank you for finding my life interesting. It is both humbling and a massive ego boost to know that my life out here is something worth reading about. So, I will try to keep living a life worth reading about(and hopefully worth watching on the big screen). Lastly, I'll try to keep writing about it so you can keep reading about it!
Thanks for your support!