Sunday, July 25, 2010
You hear it every day. A fresh young actor decides that this small town just can't hold him or her anymore. They need to bust out of this place and make a name for themselves in the big city. New York. Los Angeles. Chicago. Miami.
And for every one of those young hopefuls that gets on a bus with a one-way ticket, there is another bus going back to the small town with their downtrodden doppelganger...a little older, a more world-weary and possibly a little bit wiser.
Where did they go wrong? Well, it might have been that first trip.
Now, if you've already bought your ticket and packed your bags, don't despair. I've got plenty of advice for you. That's a lot of what this blog addresses. How to build an acting career in LA or NY. Don't worry. I'll get back to it.
But for the rest of you, stop and assess before you jump on the nearest west (or east) -bound train. Or for you international types, before you step aboard that 747 or hijack a transatlantic steamer or something. I understand the allure of LA or NY. I get it. But it may not be the best route for you, at least to begin with.
There is a lot of work out there for actors. Local commercials, location film work, student or low-budget films, VoiceOver work, presenters for conventions, etc., etc. And most of that work can be found...guess what?...right where you are. No long trip, no moving trucks, no awkward camp-outs in a friend of a friend's living room.
The great thing about a local market is that there's less competition. Less work? Sure, sometimes, but the percentages may be working more to your advantage in a smaller market like Dallas versus a huge market like Los Angeles. And you get to build up your resume for the time that it feels right to take the plunge.
I'm not discouraging anyone from taking a risk. Let's face it, choosing acting as a career is already a fairly large gamble. But then again, so is life, right? What I'm suggesting is that we don't do things blindly, without considering all of our options.
Take time and assess. You'll ultimately choose what's right for you, if you're staying grounded and connected. And if you're not (or already haven't)? That's okay, too. Life is one lesson after another, and all of them are ultimately good.