28 August 2014

so, you want to move to LA and become an actor...

I interviewed a potential barista today who I convinced to go after her dreams instead of pursue a job in my coffee shop. So, if you're also itching to try your hand at acting in LA, here's the same unsolicited advice I offered her:
Good for you. It takes a lot of courage to go after one's dreams, and I wish you luck and joy as you bravely venture forth to pursue acting in LA.
Here's some unsolicited advice from someone who was there and what I wish I knew when I arrived, naive and idealistic. (Note: these are just my opinions, and I don't benefit from any of these recommendations.)
- Find good people. They are out there. Spend time with people who make you feel good and who make you better.
- Don't ever pay anyone until they make you money-- that goes for agents, managers, etc.
- Don't go into debt. It's tempting to run after the superficial labels of success, to dine in the fancy restaurants, to blow money on expensive nights out. But don't fall for it! Live beneath your means, and you'll never be a slave to money.
- Stay focused on your goals, but also remember to take care of your soul and your body. Go to the beach. Take a hike. LA is a dry, concrete city, but it is also full of beautiful nature if you look for it.
- There are many acting schools in the city, and one I loved was the Joanne Baron/DW Brown Studio, which offers a respected two-year acting program and is an amazing place to hone your craft and meet other like-minded (i.e., crazy) aspiring actors. Seriously, though, you can't be late, you can't miss class, you're not supposed to date your classmates, and there's no nudity in class. Instead, you'll work hard and connect with others who are serious about their craft.
- Samuel French is a little bookstore that will be a great place to start researching everything related to acting.
- There are also a million (approximately) headshot photographers in LA, and my favorite was David LaPorte. I liked him so much, I even hired him to take my wedding photos (which he never does... but was nice enough to do for me anyway). He is also a great resource for all things related to the industry, and I trust him completely.
- Be grateful and say thank you for the smallest of favors. It's a town built on relationships, so be nice, humble and gracious to everyone at all times. As they say, the foot you step on today may be connected to the ass you're supposed to kiss tomorrow.
- Most importantly, have fun. Enjoy the struggle. Follow your heart. And put yourself out there.
Feel free to ask for help or advice as you move forward. I'm always happy to help.

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