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Nobody wants to stomp on your dreams, CourtneyW, but we are trying to give facts and figures that will probably help you, if you choose to listen (or read, as the case may be).
Is it possible that you have bought into the "Hollywood" version of L.A.? That's the one with the scantily clad, tanned starlets walking on the beach - where it's always 80 degrees or warmer. Not to burst your bubble, but today the temperature has been in the 50s all day with clouds and periods of showers/rain. Such is the reality of L.A.!
Also, are you aware that there is a writers' strike going on in Hollywood right now? Depending on how long the strike lasts, you could be feeling the repercussions when you move out here - yes, even in six months. In addition, a year isn't going to be long enough to break into acting. I know people who have lived in L.A. for five years; they're still working at dead end jobs and going on auditions with very little to show for it.
But if you want to go for it, please do so. Just don't think you're that different from anyone else who has ever done this. L.A. gets hundreds, maybe thousands of people like you each year, and how many succeed? Very few. I hope you beat the odds, but honestly, the odds are probably better if you go gamble in Vegas (not that I'd suggest that as a career move, either...).
I can't even tell you how many "actors" we have helped on this site. I mean, we wish you all the best, but we know you're not going to get far. I do hope you can make something for yourself, but the odds are highly against you. Sorry.
How about going to college first, and do some acting on the side? If the acting career doesn't take off, at least you'll have a back up plan.
Actually, it is admirable to see young people have dreams that they like to pursue, so I wouldn't necessarily discourage the OP from moving to LA. The time to make risky career moves is when you are young and single....if you fail, there is still time to make up for it.
That's a good idea. Apply to colleges such as UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, LMU, and USC. If you don't want a 4 year, try Santa Monica College, West LA College, and El Camino Community College. That way, you will have an education in case your acting career doesn't work out. Maybe stick with Cal State Long Beach since it is an easier college and will give you more time to do acting.
Our son moved to Northridge from CO about a year and a half ago when he was 21. He moved with a lot less common sense, and finances, than what you appear to have. He landed a job at a major supermarket and applied himself to get a promotion and is now in the union with benefits. He's making about $15 an hour, lives with 2 roomates in a 3 bd apartment, and is keeping his head above water. He has even started attending a local community college, although he doesn't know what he will major in, but at least he has started.
I've only said this to show you it can be done. You might not get ahead financially, but a smart, hard working high school grad can make ends meet and still have a little fun in LA. And like some has mentioned, you're young and it sounds like you have an escape route- MOM.
There is never a good or bad time to pursue acting. You just do it, if you truly have a passion for it. How real your passion is will define your experience as an actor. You have to ask yourself do you really have a passion for acting and the desire to perfect your craft or is it fame, celebrity, and the Hollywood life you are truly after. There is a big difference between the two and those who are after the latter are the ones who don't last very long and who quickly get discouraged after the rejections, which will be numerous. If you truly have a passion for acting, then it's something you should/could be working on now.
What have you done so far to build your acting resume? How much acting have you done in high and middle school? Have you taken any acting classes or lessons? Do you have headshots? Have you researched or know of any acting schools in LA? Are you familiar with any of the trade publications and actor web sites and other online resources? Do you know the difference between SAG and AFTRA? If your answer is "no" to these questions, then you might want to seriously evaluate what's motivating you to become an actor.
Now if you really haven't done any of these things and you just have this acting bug all of a sudden, I would strongly suggest you do some research on what beginning actors do once they get to LA so to prepare yourself for the significant financial investment you will need to make for headshots, classes, auditions, etc. The pursuit of an acting career is a bigger undertaking than most realize and requires not only a substantial commitment of time, but also a significant commitment of financial resources, most of which you might never recoup. The likelihood of your becoming a working actor who supports and sustains himself solely on acting is very, very slim. That's not a statement about you; it’s just what the numbers tell us. There are many really good actors in LA who don't get work and who get rejected all the time.
You will also have to find a job that is very flexible so that you are available at all hours of the day, literally, to go on auditions or to actually do a shoot; the vast majority of which you will not be paid for because you are not union. And if and when you do become union, you will be paid scale, which is a poverty level wage.
I would not join the chorus of those discouraging you to come, but you have to realize what you are getting yourself into before you come out and fully educate yourself. Unless, you have a nice trust fund, life will be rough for you between holding down a job, pursuing college, and an acting career. You will have to hustle big time. You might try to prioritize which things you can truly handle and accomplish at any given time. I suggest enrolling in college and getting actively involved in the drama/theatre arts program so that you are a part of an artist community. This might be the best thing to do initially to add credibility to your resume as someone who is serious about acting, while also allowing you to earn a college degree so that you have that to fall back on in the event you reach 30 years of age and tire of waiting tables as a struggling actor.
Last edited by TheRealAngelion; 11-11-2007 at 08:47 PM..
SandyCo: I promise you I am not one of those head in the clouds people that come out there with that mindset that LA is full of gorgeous people with perfect lives and everyone knows all the celebrities and yada yada yada. I'm not stupid. I am loving the advice you all are giving me but I promise you I'm not one of those type people. I am fortunate enough to come from a "upper-middle-class" household but my mom has raise me to know that money doesn't equal success or happiness. Most kids at my school got brand new cars when they turned 16..what did i get? A pretty nice 2002 Corolla..and what happened...i wrecked it..next car was a 1996 Mazda Protege'..my friends laugh at me but I am so thankful for that car..it has taught me how to change a tire, check fluid levels, drive a stick shift, etc. I'm telling you all this to show you that I don't expect my life to be glamorous and perfect when I get out there...i expect and want it to be hard...that way i will appreciate it more..I love that beat up car to death because of all it has taught me. I do know about the strike and I'm following it fervently. I think it's great what they are doing and aiming for and I know it could last 6 months...actually i was talking to a writer I know out there the other day and he informed me that by May, when most of the writers contracts are up....the strike will get even more intense, if it is not resolved before then, because those writers who can't strike because of their contracts, will be able to now. And I don't think that i am necessarily better than anyone else who has gone out there and done what I am planning to do but I AM different..I will make it out there. I seriously believe ANYTHING is possible if you are willing to work hard for it!
Ndfmnlf and Jessemh431: See thats the thing..i don't want to go to college while I'm pursuing an acting career..if I'm going to do something I want to give it 110%...and if I fail I'll know i gave it my all and not half because I was busy with something else. I have applied to UCLA and USC and have gotten accepted to both..but like i said I'm not going to go there my first year in LA...I'm just going to pursue acting. After that I will probably go to USC if they accept me again because they have a good Medical Program and my second favorite career would be an Anesthesiologist.
Vfrpilot: Thanks for that story..i always love to hear other people making it in LA...it seems like people always get caught up with the mindset that they can't do it. It's encouraging to hear that your son is doing GREAT!
TheRealAngelion: Ok here we go...My passion for acting is the raw side of it...like i've said before i act..to act. I don't care about fame and glory and all the other stuff high paid actors get..if i achieve that through hard work then great..if not, it won't stop me from acting because it's what i love to do. And rejections are just stepping stones that help you get better. I welcome them! Middle school is where i discovered my love for acting. So far in high school i have had 7 straight semesters (3.5 years) of acting classes. I am having professional headshots taken in April when I come out to LA to sign a lease on whatever apartment I decide on. And for the past 2 years i've researched hundreds of acting schools in LA...my heart was dead set on entering into the American and Musical Dramatic Academy but they don't allow you to audition for anything until after the two year conservatory and I just can't go that long lol so I will continue to search. And yes I am familiar with trade websites and online acting resources, i actually have a file saved on my jump drive and computer of all the websites that i think will be helpful to me when i get out there and I update the file whenever I find a new website or anything helpful. Yes ido knwo what SAG is but I did not know about AFTRA..but i just looked it up on google and saw that it was some sort of credit union for Actors...I will look into it more tomorrow when I have time...thanks for sharing that! Oh and the whole Job thing is a problem that I'm trying to work on before I get out there..I know I need a flexible job to able to go out to auditions but waiting tables just isn't for me..not to sound like I'm better than that or anything but I know that I won't make a lot of money doing that so I just need to find something else. Laura Segura (LucyinLA) got her real estate license and got a flexible job with some real estate company..i just need to start looking. I will take some sort of acting classes once i get there to keep my acting from getting rusty, i just have to find the one for me. I know that it will be a struggle and I'm totally ready for it prepared and looking forward to it!
I have a 19 year old son who had been dreaming of moving to LA after graduation. I encouraged him to do it - because there really is no better time to take such chances. There is no loss if it doesn't work out - dreams change. Then you'll know LA wasn't that "thing" you were looking for. Big deal - YOU TRIED!
Be safe, be wise (as wise as you can be at 18), never forget your way back home or the telephone number there (regardless of what they say - your parents will always be there to emotionally support you if you fall).
Follow those dreams, that's why Hollywood is there. I may also ask, "What makes you so special?" Your agent MIGHT think you are but, what about your head shot is going to stand out? How are you going to convey your individuality in a market that sees hundreds of thousands of people? Bring that beat up old car over with you, you may need it to live in. (seriously). Or try New York, they're a much smaller market, but theatre is also on strike now....hmmmmm. Wait, don't give in. You have a passion for L. A., the big time. The people who make it actually feel sick if they're not a part of it. Do you? Because that's what it's gonna take. Sure you're up for this? Fingers crossed!
move here and if you can't afford it move back. You're a young guy, it's not like your bogged down with a family, you can perfectly find a blue collar job in tuscaloosa if you have to head back. Your eighteen years old, you'll probably not get this opportunity again to travel to such a great city such as Los Angeles. You can move here and move back and still be financially healthy.
I agree. Nothing ventured- nothing gained.
Just go out there and give it your all. Don't let the nay sayers bring you down. Your 18 man!!! Enjoy your youth! See the world!
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