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Old 12-22-2011, 11:31 PM
237 posts, read 596,009 times
Reputation: 234


Waiting tables seems to be the #1 day job of aspiring actors in LA. It is a non-skilled job anyone can get (but I tip my hat to those who can do it really well) The tip money is gonna be what will help you survive, but in waiting tables it is also easier to arrange time off for a casting call or audition since any other wait staff can cover for you and a lot of the restaurants are aware of the arrangement, so they will NOT be put off knowing you are trying to act and may need a day here and there off if others can cover. If you find a 9-5 job where they really depend oh you to be there, forget it.

Hollywood is all about WHO you KNOW. Yes, start making friends, and I would even consider attending schools community college, university for the purpose of meeting people (not just actors, but anyone in film, TV, Radio, those BEHIND the camera or mic because a few years down the road, some really do get hired, perhaps as a production staff in the industry and they can help you get in, as well, and tell their bosses they know of an actor who is "really cool" and that they know you and went to school with you. You'd be suprised how many producers or directors will say, "Oh, yeah, tell him come over, or try out or whatever." Be open to doing any kind of performance ANYWHERE, even if for no money (your waiting job is to pay the bills). I knew of a nice fellow who every year was the announcer for the pig races at the LA County Fair--for no pay--because it was a great way to keep up his skills and do some "work" and even met a few people that led to some opportunities.

It is REALLY competitive here and you have to be willing to grovel and colon crawl up the producer's butt and do whatever because there are thousands lined-up to take your place or debase themselves to get the shot. Don't develop dignity here, and your "resume" or education or accolades mean absolutely NOTHING here, and I MEAN NOTHING! Get that into your head NOW, and you will be better able to cope with how it works here. You are S*&t to them and they will treat you as such as a test to see if you "really want it." Be prepared to take a job in production as a foot in the door to the business and NOT act a single second as a professional for some time. Take parts is student films, agree to MC the Downey Citizen of the year presentation (Google the city of Downey, CA. I trust you get my point; I don't even know if Downey does have such an award or ceremony) for NO PAY, be pleasant, on-time, NOT a prima-dona, don't get all wonky about "the craft" make sure everybody LOVES you when on set or wherever and that you are the easiest actor to work with ever in the universe. Those are the actors who can actually save a production and such actors are the kind the other wise hard-ass producers or directors are eternally grateful to have. Meet people, go to social events and meet and make freinds with all those you go to school with while you are here (for networking purposes). Then you might have a 1 in one-million chance.

Lastly, one poster mentioned looks. Hell YES! If they have to choose between two actors who they feel can do the part, but one doesn't looks so pretty, has skinny arms and a belly while the other has pecs and biceps, guess who they are going to pick? Accept that a lot of actors in the USA are eye candy. So, fix your teeth, if you must, eat right and work out do your best to look damn good and HOT! That may be the one edge, the one bit of difference between YOU getting the part or not. Of course, there are some uglies in acting who do well and are even stars, but those folks are quite special and their looks have held them back until the right person sees their great talent and can use such an actor effectively. But, even the uglies eventually get dental work, nose jobs, and lose weight fix the hair (or lack of it) and build some muscle to look good in those bedroom scenes. Just make sure you look you best with what you got, and if you have bad teeth or nose, fix 'em.

Yes, people here are friendly, but people here are also cynical and jaded and anyone who attempts to be friendly usually has some game to play or something he wants to sell or just mug you or is just mental. Once you get past the first level of how well everyone in the LA metro area can ignore you as if you are in the 4th dimension, once they know you are sincere, then you will find people being nice to a fault.

Please, the best of luck.

Last edited by HarryKerry; 12-22-2011 at 11:42 PM..
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Old 12-23-2011, 09:27 AM
5 posts, read 14,919 times
Reputation: 12
^^^ Thank you sooooooo much! I read and comprehended all of that!!! I read on backstage that bartenders made pretty well out there as well for Aspiring Actors, I have now applied to a bartending school hoping to get a year of experience in that before I come out there that would make me a great candidate for hire! I'm so excited and ready for the journey to take place. I've always considered myself "the chosen one" and pray to never be one of the ones who get to LA and "give up"....Like I said I'm willing to start from the bottom and put in all work needed to be successful in this business! Thanks again for the great advice!
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Old 01-02-2012, 04:15 AM
Location: South of Northern California
378 posts, read 661,442 times
Reputation: 255
Kudos in actually pursuing a degree in theater before coming here. My recommendation is, when you get here, connect. Take workshops--there are tons of them here for every aspect of the industry, and often taught by people you want to get to know you, like casting directors. Join networking and workout groups where you can meet people, learn the particular ins and outs of the L.A. market (so you don't make a fool of yourself in front of the wrong people), and continue to hone your craft.

Approach it all from the desire to take everything in and learn, and you'll get a lot out of it. More often than not, those who approach it as being God's gift to the industry get a purty big shock.

And as I've said a million times on this board (or maybe a hundred, according to my posts, lol)--cultivate your reputation. Be the person that directors/agents/actors like to work with. The one who knows their stuff, is professional, dependable, and plays well with others. Being that person who really desires to learn goes a long way toward building that reputation.

And if you end up waiting tables, you have my admiration. I wouldn't have stood a chance, I'm too much of a klutz to carry plates of food. I would have been the world's most incompetent waitress!
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:56 PM
65 posts, read 121,507 times
Reputation: 52
One thing you can do if you don't find a job bartending or waiting tables is sign up with Central Casting and/or their lesser competitors and work as a background actor/extra. I did this for many months when temp work dried up. Literally anyone can do it, anytime, though work is slower in summer.

It is minimum wage (often with overtime that makes the paychecks decent) but if you are really aggressive about booking yourself you can pay Cheap rent (look for odd deals on craigslist; I always went with the "live in a room of some old lady's house" arrangement) and at least eat (also you are fed on set so that reduces food expenses).

This is NOT a cushy lifestyle and can be exhausting and demoralizing, but I know real people who eventually got SAG cards this way (better pay and the chance to get real acting jobs in union productions) and it is a great way to meet people, some of whom are other professional actors, screenwriters, filmmakers, etc.

Of course, a lot of them are also vagrants and scumbags too, but this gives you more of a chance to stand out.

I must reiterate that this is not a cushy job, but it is a way to survive if you are having trouble getting other work, or if you want to be able to choose not to work for a little while. You have a lot of control over your own schedule.

The amount of work you can find varies, but you will get more work as a background actor if you have upscale wardrobe (business attire) and if you are ethnically ambiguous or at the very least not bleach blonde. I am blonde and when I dyed my hair brown I got scads more work; got to work on the West Wing and ER and so forth. ER was the best gig ever; I got to lie in a hospital bed the whole time.

One last word of advice for extras: never, ever ever work on a movie directed by Nancy Myers. Ever.

If anyone wants more info about it I can point you to some resources.

Last edited by xmasevemom; 01-02-2012 at 07:05 PM..
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:15 PM
Location: South of Northern California
378 posts, read 661,442 times
Reputation: 255
lol! I can understand why you'd LOVE the ER gig!
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Old 01-02-2012, 07:17 PM
65 posts, read 121,507 times
Reputation: 52
Originally Posted by Vary View Post
lol! I can understand why you'd LOVE the ER gig!
The only challenge was not drifting off to sleep (they really frown on that!)
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:24 AM
Location: Glendale/Los Angeles
571 posts, read 1,752,972 times
Reputation: 239
Los Feliz, Glendale, Burbank, Studio City.
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Old 02-08-2012, 05:19 PM
1 posts, read 1,554 times
Reputation: 10

My youth pastor's wife has a cousin who married an aspiring actress.
Her name is Jenn Lilly. Look her up. She had NO expierence before she moved to L.A.
She is now in the Actors Guild, and has been on Hannah Montana, IParty with Victorious, Disaster Date, CSI, and has landed a temp role on All My Children. I have met her, so this isnt bull either.

This is proof that if you stay dedicated your dreams can come true.
My advice to you: DONT LET PEOPLE TEAR YOU DOWN. No matter what they say. These are YOUR dreams. You only have one chance to live. Live, I say.

Im currently saving up for LA as well for Pin Up modeling. I wish you all the best and goodluck!
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Old 01-13-2013, 12:22 PM
1 posts, read 1,334 times
Reputation: 10
I am also hoping to move to Los Angeles after graduation in May 2013 to start teaching, so that's why I'm here! Where are you moving from? You will probably need a car, so the first costs you should consider are the costs of getting there (i.e. hotels, food, gas, WATER (if driving through the desert). It might be worthwhile for you to ship your car and fly (shipping- at least $650 + $300-400 for a plane ticket= $1000-$1500. I'm not sure what living costs are like in Los Angeles; best of luck!
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:57 PM
385 posts, read 644,286 times
Reputation: 125
I would say save about 10 to give you about 3 months to find some income an live okay, it goes quick. Actors, dunno about that. Are people nice in hollywood? Nope, they are all from out of town, so are fake and will say what they need to get ahead and cut you off if they think you will make it before them. Find friends from other areas who arent in the acting thing, wont see you as competition.
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