A couple days ago, I was waiting in line to register at Central Casting (an agency for background work- i.e. all the people you see who walk around on screen behind the actors) and I quickly started talking to a guy next to me. We figured out we had both moved to LA about the same time and bonded over the pursuit of our dreams. We admitted we have no idea what this journey holds for us, but it is worth a try!
(Here is where I want to dispel one of the gross misconceptions I had of the people in LA. Not everyone is superficial, selfish, and has had plastic surgery. Yes, they do exist, but they are the minority. The majority of people I have met are generous, kind and interested in helping a fellow artist find their way. It also takes about 5 minutes or less to tell which is which.)
Back to my story. As I continued talking with my new found friend, he mentioned how he has kept a diary of what he has done each day since he arrived in LA. He also noted that he would be including our pleasant and encouraging interaction among his experiences for the day. I loved that. Especially since my schedule hasn’t been clearly defined since I arrived, cataloging my actions is incredibly encouraging when you look back on how far you’ve come. This reminded me that I’d written a blog about celebrating my failures, but not about my successes. So here is my (not daily, but a cumulative) list of accomplishments since arriving in LA:
- Completed the 6 Weeks To LA course with Bonnie Gillespie
- Signed up on LA Casting
- Signed up on Actor’s Access
- Got new headshots
- Got a new edit of my reel
- Got new business cards
- Got new postcards
- Updated my website
- Joined Twitter
- Made many online audition submissions
- Had several auditions
- Attended 5 Casting Director/Manger workshops at Act Now! and Actor’s Key
- Audited 5 acting classes
- Started my Show Bible, an ever evolving catalog of your target shows, agents, casting directors etc.
- Started mailings to agents, managers, and casting directors
- Went to the LA Actor’s Tweet Up
- Went to a play reading
- Have taken public transportation everywhere (except for a few rides and a borrowed car last weekend. Thank you, friends!). Now that’s an accomplishment in LA!
- Registered to do paid on-set research (i.e. background work) at Central Casting
- Helped on the set of my friend’s film
- Went to a performance of Improv at iO West
- Made many new friends!
- I need a job. For the money, but also for the distraction and the focus, if that makes sense. Having another (low-stress, with reasonable hours) job helps me appreciate the time I can devote to acting and use that time more wisely. Taking time away from the acting business is healthy.
- I need my husband. (Duh!)
- I need a supportive community around me.
- Having an acting budget is so helpful. You could easily go bankrupt in this city with all the things that are necessary or helpful for your career. Setting priorities on how to spend your money will clarify all the decisions you make on a daily basis.
- Everyone has an opinion! You can’t please everyone. (A manager just told me she “hates” my new headshots. Huh!)
- Recognize what I can change and what I can’t. Focus on changing what I can.
- Take joy in the little things.
Notice that I haven’t booked a job or signed an agent. Booking the job is such a small part of what is involved in this career. Doing all the other things listed above is what leads to booking the job. This is success! Persistence is the key. Everyone has a different story. Mine is unique to me. Yours is unique to you.