Friday, June 13, 2014

If I move to Los Angeles or New York, how long should I give it in order to “make it”?

I was at an audition today for a commercial and got to talking to a young actor after we had auditioned together. He was talking about the fact that he had moved here (Los Angeles) over two years ago and was wondering if he should move back home, to the Midwest, because he still hadn't "made it." On my drive home I got to thinking about what we talked about.

I usually advise actors to answer some other questions in order to arrive at the answer to this one. These questions include:

What does “make it” mean to you? How important is the craft of acting to you (versus fame and fortune)? What do you expect to get out of living and pursuing work in LA or NY? What have you done to prepare for furthering your career in one of these cities? Have you exhausted all the resources where you live now? How much time and work will you put into your craft? Are you prepared to spend most of your money (after basic expenses) on classes, seminars, headshots, acting and resource books, website expenses, etc., or will the desire for a new car and a nice apartment become your goal? Will doing theatre and student films take up most of your extra time, or will it be spent socializing with new friends?

Ultimately, only you can answer these questions, and your answers will go a long way to determining how long you should pursue your career goal. But I will say this: To move to one of these cities and expect to become a working actor within six months is unrealistic.

Even if everybody in your hometown says that you should be a star, remember that their opinion is a relative one: You are being compared to other actors in your local area, not to well-trained professional actors in LA or NY.

What about giving it two years or even five years? If you truly love to act, would you be willing to turn your back on acting at the end of that time? Many well-known actors spent ten years or more struggling before making a full-time living at their craft.

No matter where you live, pursing a creative life can be a demanding roller coaster of ups and downs. So, love the journey and remember - acting is a wonderful choice. Find your own joy in it, and you will be rich.



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