I receive so many random questions about moving to Los Angeles that I thought I’d make a few posts about them instead of responding individually. Get ready! The answers may not be what you think they should be!
1. How easy is it to get connected with background work in LA?
Becoming a background actor does take effort. You have to sign up with Central Casting, go to the orientation and have your picture taken and then apply for the same jobs that thousands of others are applying for. You have to be dedicated to it or you won’t see results. Even those who work regularly as a background actor are paying for a calling service to help them get jobs.
2. Does my past experience as a background actor make me more likely to be accepted?
No. Background actors do not need any skills to be hired. You are hired for the way you look and how you will fit into the director’s vision for the environment they want to create. You are a prop. If you look like what they want, they will hire you. It’s nothing personal. They will never ask you if you have experience. You don’t need experience to walk down the street or pretend to sip a drink at a bar.
3. Is the rate of pay for background acting the same there as it is here (starts at $88/8)?
Right now the pay rate for background actors is minimum wage, set at $12.50 per hour in Los Angeles.
4. How difficult is it to transition from background to actual speaking roles?
Background acting has nothing to do with speaking roles. In fact, most people who are trying to be speaking actors separate themselves from background actors completely because they believe being a background actor taints their image.
5. How does casting for movies work there?
Casting for background actors in movies works the same way that casting for background actors in TV. You are hired if your look can help the director create the environment they want for their scene.
6. Is having an agent a much better way to go?
For background acting? You don’t need an agent. And for those who are actual actors with speaking roles, I hear that most of them get the roles by applying themselves. I’m not an actor so I don’t know exactly.
7. When I get off the greyhound in a brand new city, what do you suggest be my next step?
I suggest you call a Lyft ride (Use Code MTLA) and it will take you to the place you have reserved for your stay. If you are seriously planning to move to LA without a plan, without money or a place to stay please do not affiliate yourself with me. That is not smart. That is NOT what I am teaching on my YouTube channel.
You have to prepare for this move like you would do anything important in your life. If you were getting married, you wouldn’t show up the day of the wedding and just see what happens. Why is this move less important? There is nothing glamorous about being on the streets. Being on the streets is nothing to be proud of.
Even though I moved to LA with nothing, I have never had to spend ONE night on the streets; I have always paid for every place that I have lived. I have worked since the first day I moved here and only stopped working outside my home when I broke my foot. Even then I had to be creative to find a way to support myself financially without food stamps or welfare. If you are able to do those things; work, support yourself without government handouts and pay for all of your places to live- then I say COME ON TO LOS ANGELES. If not, please stay where you are.
8. How is the process of getting into shelters for out of state people? How long are you allowed to stay at the shelter?
Why would you move to Los Angeles to stay in a shelter? Is that idea romantic to you? Are you a victim of domestic violence and need a safe and quick get away? If not, then why are you wanting to stay in a shelter? Do you understand that Los Angeles has the highest population of homeless people in the country? Do you want to join that lifestyle? Why would you even plan something like that? What do you think you are proving to yourself by coming to Los Angels to live in a shelter? If this is truly your plan you are on your own. I don’t want to have anything to do with someone who thinks this is okay. It’s not. Be an adult and pay your way through life. It feels so good.
9. How did you look for jobs like acting jobs carrying around your bags?
What are you talking about? I never carried around bags for anything. I moved here with nothing and no one but I always had a place to stay and store my things. I was NEVER homeless here. I have no advice for you if you plan to be homeless on purpose. That is not my lifestyle and I don’t advocate for it.
10. For acting, do I need an agent if I don’t have experience, resume, headshots etc.?
You won’t get an agent if you don’t have those things. Experience, a resume and headshots are basic tools that show you are a professional.
If you have any other questions about Moving to Los Angeles, join the Moving To Los Angeles Facebook Group!