I can’t tell you how often this comes up in conversations since I started this site, and even before that. I have never been bothered by this question because to me it means I must come off as knowledgeable in some way….cool.
In our awesome Broke Actors Facebook group (if you’re reading this and you’re not in it, heres your sign) one of our members asked this question really eloquently, so I thought I’d tackle it in a full post.
Q: Hey, everybody! I’m getting ready to make my move from Nebraska to LA at the end of March, and I am trying to be as best prepared as I can be! I wondered if anyone here could offer any advice?
What are some of the best LA cities for actors?
-I was really lucky that my first job was with an awesome friend named Ashley. She had been in LA for many years by the time we met and became fast friends. One day during a lull at our restaurant, she made me a list on an old menu of the places I was “allowed” to live (at the time I was in a bad part of Lincoln Heights). It included: Studio City, Toluca Lake, West Hollywood, Los Feliz, Korea Town, Sherman Oaks, Silver Lake, and Echo Park in no specific order. I think these are still really good options. Auditions are spread out all over town, so I think being in the middle makes life easier. The closer you go to the beach, the more expensive it gets. The west side (anything west of the 405 highway) is a nice side of town, thats for sure! But it tends to be more expensive than these areas. I would avoid downtown (that’s a personal choice, it’s not my vibe or convenient for living OR parking) , Beverly Hills (in my opinion, one of the most over priced yet bland sides of town), or any place farther than 10 miles from Hollywood…it’s just too far.
What’s the best way to go about finding an apartment?
–Westside rentals is a great option, and a lot of times you can find a friend in town who already has a membership (you pay for the membership to look at places in depth, something you definently want, but usually people find a place and still have membership for another few months they aren’t using). Facebook groups are also increasingly popular, people move in LA a LOT, so there’s a lot of rental groups and even actor groups who will have rooms to rent, etc. I HIGHLY recommend you sublease some place for a few months to get started. You just don’t know what side of town is going to be for you, so sampling a few is a necessity. I moved 5 times in my first 4 years.
Are there any specific acting classes that you would suggest?
-I obviously selfishly will suggest a fantastic acting coach and mentor who was in the first episode of Season 1 of the podcast, my own coach Sara Mornell. She is based in ATL however, so in terms of a local class I would stress doing some improv first, if only for the practical reason that the majority of your first auditions will be for commercials and they LOVE improv experience. Beyond that, you have to audit audit audit classes. Check out this post for my opinion on what makes a good class.
How have you found auditions without representation?
-La Casting, BackStage, and Actors Access list pages and pages of auditions you can self-submit for. They cost a small fee (and another fee for photos and reel/video posting) but are worth it. I got my own theatrical auditions for my first 2 years in LA. I learned a LOT from these and also made some money.
What’s something surprising that you found you were not prepared for before you moved?
–This post will cover a small amount of these things. Beyond that…keep in touch, I learn these lessons every. Damn. Day.