I’m excited. Tomorrow (December 8, 2013) will be the day marking a significant change in my acting career. I’ll be landing in Los Angeles, and launching (or re-launching) my acting career in Tinseltown.
I’ve been told many things about the City of Angels previously. Most of them bad. But what do the haters know? It’s not about the city itself. It’s about the combination of things. Mostly, it’s about having the right attitude and a healthy ego.
I’ve been in LA for a few days before during my small 2-week trip across the US a year ago. I loved it then, and I know I will like it now, if for no reason other than because people seem to hate it.
“I do actually like Los Angeles. Partly because I was told I wouldn’t.” – Hugh Laurie
My First 30-day in LA Plan
So let’s talk plans then. Everybody loves the planning phase, especially the neurotic in me. I don’t want to overextend myself, so I only plan for a month ahead and then see what happens.
Here are the small goals that I give to myself to accomplish during the upcoming 30 days.
1. Start acclimating
I will need to setup the room and arrange things around there. Even though this will be a temporary space, coming back somewhere that feels like home seems somewhat important.
There’s a bunch of small to-do items on my list right now:
- Get a gym membership
- Start researching classes
- Look for a permanent place to move to
After having moved to LA, it’s going to be a pretty busy few months.
For those of you planning to move to Los Angeles for acting, I highly suggest reading a book called How to Get Arrested. It’s about staying productive and taking all the right steps the minute you come to Tinseltown packing show business goals.
2. Start working on my accent
This is my first priority, ironically placed second on the list.
I’m not an American, and I’m moving to the US with a green card. My weird accent is a mixture of several different accents. That’s a problem.
If you’re moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting seriously, and you cannot speak with a Standard American accent, you better make that your first priority. It’s essential.
Actors who cannot do a Standard American accent are limiting themselves to a much smaller market. You’d be losing most of the acting opportunities, and that’s me right now.
3. Get headshots
Ask any industry professional what’s the most important thing an actor must have/do, and the majority will say headshots.
A headshot is an actor’s business card. Even though most aspiring actors in Los Angeles have actual business cards, your headshot (with the resume attached in the back) is what every casting director, talent agent, director and producer will want from you.
I’ve done some research before, but I’ll go through this again and find a headshot photographer in LA that’s good for my very first session. Normally, decent photographers charge about $200-$400 per session of several looks, and really good ones charge anything from $500-$700 per session and into the thousands.
Since I know I’ll have another headshot session in about 3-5 months after I acclimate, I’ll budget my headshots around $400 right now. I’ve seen some great work for that price.
4. Explore the city
While I’m going through the stress of moving, dealing with a massive jetlat and researching everything for my November’s to do list over the next 30 days, I will need time to relax. I think exploring the great City of Angels is a decent way to accomplish that.
If you’re moving to Los Angeles, or have just moved here, I would say get to know the city. LA will become our home now, possibly for a very long time. It’s only natural to get a proper introduction.
I’ve looked around and there are many suggestions on things to do in LA. Google isn’t short of these. Aside from that, I’ll try to fit in some visits to acting and other classes, and see if I can sign-up for anything to begin in November.
It’s going to be a busy October.
5. See some plays
This is what I definitely want to do, and can’t wait to. I love plays, and from what I’m seeing, Los Angeles is big on intimate theatre productions that are cheap and common.
GoldStar.com always have some great deals on tickets to plays anywhere from North Hollywood, to Burbank, to Silverlake, to Hollywood, to Santa Monica. Prices range from $5 to $100 per show, with most of them priced in the range of $5-$20. That’s a fair deal in my book.
The entertainment aspect of it aside, watching plays is a good idea for most actors, but definitely not a necessity. Even if it’s not your medium, absorbing acting from the stage will help you see many aspects of performing in a different light. Watching a good play can also be empowering and inspirational for an actor.
Having said that, I personally know actors who do not enjoy most stage work, and that’s completely fine. You can be a film or TV actor and dislike plays; the two mediums are different.
6. Start writing something
I love writing. I’m not good at it, but I love the process.
Writing is something that brings me joy but I’m far from being adept. One of the reasons I started this blog is to fit in an extra day of writing as training in my weekly routine. On top of that, I have long believed that writing and acting go very closely together.
As actors, we write in our heads all the time. It only makes sense to hone the skill of writing further by deliberately focusing on the process of writing.
With that in mind, I’m still pondering on what to do in October. I have some story ideas written and I wanted to begin implementing them. It’s possible that I’ll try to flesh those out more and only then decide what I’m going to do with them.
That’s it for my October plans. I’ll update you at the end of November and we can see how good the first month went.
Let me leave you with a couple of quotes on writing from established actors.
“I never woulda made it this long if I wasn’t a great fucking writer.” – Jack Nicholson via Matt Damon
“I always encourage people to, if they want to really work on getting into this business, to be writers first. Don’t worry about being an actor first, be a writer. Create something.” – Don Cheadle on NPR