When should I move to LA to act? 4 ways to leverage your minor market
Many actors, at certain points in their careers, ask themselves the question: When should I move to LA to act? This is a very important question to consider, especially if you are serious about acting and committed to a career in TV and film. Only you can know when and if you are truly ready to make the big move. What we can tell you, here at 3-2-1- Acting Classes in Los Angeles, is that there are several things you can do in your minor market to better your changes of success once you arrive in LA. Here are 4 ways to leverage your minor market before you move to LA to act:
- Take acting classes and perform in your home town
In minor market cities all over the country, you can find really quality acting classes at regional theatres, colleges, and performing arts schools. Start doing some research into local theatres and schools; see what you can find. Taking classes will help you to develop your skills and gain confidence in your abilities.
At 3-2-1- Acting Classes in Los Angeles, we actually work with child, teen and young adult actors who are new to the industry. There are similar such programs for both child and adult actors in schools across the country.
And even if you are in the smallest of towns, chances are you have access to a community theatre. And barring that, you could try an online acting course from the comfort of your own home, such as 10 Lesson to Great Film Acting.
- Build credits on non-union projects
Build your credits and gain on-set experience while you are in a less competitive market where you can have frequent opportunities to work on low budget films and web series. Once you arrive in LA, it will take some time to adjust, find a place to live, find a support job, etc. So maximize your opportunities where you are.
Of course, if you are set on moving to LA, there should be cut off point (don’t get too comfortable working in your minor market), but gain as much experience where you are, while you can!
- Assemble a demo reel
As you are building your credits and gaining experience, you should start to assemble a reel of clips of your work. This reel should communicate the essence of who you are as an actor and person, and should only contain your very best work. The clips should focus mostly on you, and no demo reel should be longer than two minutes (for more info about demo reels, check out this article.
- Build contacts in Los Angeles
It is very possible that you can connect to people living in Los Angeles through your local networks. Chances are, there are actors from your town or area who have already moved there—or that some of your acting classmates have friends who live there. Put a note out on Facebook. Email your friends. Ask if anyone knows anyone living in LA. Get in touch with these people so that you have acquaintances to meet for lunch once you arrive. Having a community of friends and supporters in Los Angeles is so important, and you can start building your network right now.
- Recognize the market differences
Know that your “place” or “niche” in your minor market will be very different than that of the Los Angeles market. Hollywood is an industry of specialists. Wheres you may have been called in for every red haired character in Portland (from a serious nurse, to a cheerful cheerleader, to a frazzled mom, to a pageant queen), your “niche” in LA will end up being much smaller. There are so many more actors in LA, and that means that there are many more nuances in the category of “red head.” You will end up caring out a much more specific wheelhouse of types of characters that you play. For more information about branding and specificity, check out Bonnie Gillespie’s book Self Management for Actors.
Enjoy the moment
Often times, actors who are preparing to move to Los Angeles can be so focused on the future and the move that they lose sight of the beauty, opportunities and fun right in front of them. Minor markets such as Atlanta and Albuquerque are booming right now. Have fun exactly where you are, and enjoy the ride!