I’m sure all of us here would agree that most actors’ dreams begin with the image of them working in one of the major film and theater cities. If you’re not already there, moving to London, LA or NYC is a big decision that requires careful planning and knowledge on every aspect of this pursuit. Let’s quickly cover what exactly do you need to mark on your checklist before you abandon your hometown for fame and fortune.
What You Need When Moving to London, LA or NYC
You need a solid plan. It was said many times before that such thing as “overnight success” do not exist outside of celebrity magazines. Therefore, in order to start from the right foot after moving to London, LA or NYC and get somewhere in this big pool of talent and competition, you need a great business plan for yourself.
Consider what are you actually going to do when you’re here (or there). Think of ideas how you can start working immediately if any auditions don’t come along. Maybe you can write a short film or a web series and find people to produce it with. Do plenty of research so that you could include as many details as possible, like in this case, where to go look for like minded associates or how to raise a little money for your project. Revise your business plan before the actual move so that you spend less time thinking and have more time for action when you’re at the location.
Gain some experience. If you’re just thinking about moving to London, NYC or LA, then consider gaining some real acting experience first. Get into an acting class or join a local community theatre or a drama club. Not only, on the basis of these activities, you will truly understand whether acting is something you want to dedicate your life to — you will also gain the knowledge and hone your acting chops so that you’re ready for your big move towards success.
Make connections whenever possible. In these times when everybody is on the social networking platforms, and emails are the primary form of contact, it’s fairly easy to make connections. Find like minded people and fellow actors or filmmakers from the city you’re moving to and discuss the opportunities. Ask them questions and usually people are more than happy to share their own experience and knowledge. Sometimes, such conversations might lead to more valuable connections, like a filmmaker who’s currently producing a short film and would like you to audition for.
Join the union. In the UK, get yourself into an Equity; in the US, you’ll have to become SAG-AFTRA eligible. Making this one of your priorities before moving to London, LA or NYC will benefit you in at least two ways. First, you’ll have one less thing to worry about when you’re in a bigger city and already struggling and worrying about too many other things (there’s always less pressure in your hometown). Second, pushing through everything just to be able to become a member of the union (which requires acting experience) will make you a better actor and you’ll understand how much effort it takes to actually make it in this business.
Save up as much money as you can. This could be either a tough one or an easy one, depending on how rich your siblings or parents are. Unfortunately, money is a big factor for a newbie actor who’s just started pursuing this career. Don’t buy into all those stories of actors coming to the city with just $300 in their pockets. If you do this, you will most likely go broke in a week, starve for another week and then go home with tears in your eyes and this is where your dream will meet its end point.
Do not be too naive; be one of the few smarter actors when it comes to pursuing your lifetime goal. Prepare yourself properly. Money, experience, connections, business plan is something you should strongly consider before making the big move. If anything else pops into your head what you can do before packing and leaving — do it! Nothing will hurt your career, every preparation will benefit it.
Be a clever actor, make smart choices and prepare yourself for that “overnight success”. It will only happen if you make it happen.