Trying to Make It Outside LA

It seems a bit odd for me - a FiCore actor originally from, and working in Los Angeles, to write about the struggles of making it outside of LA. Perhaps people outside of LA have already noticed this difference, and that's why everyone flocks to Los Angeles.

In LA, actors are a dime a dozen, if not cheaper. You throw an event in LA, and you're bound to hit an actor, musician, writer, or a combination of all three. People outside of Los Angeles seem to think you just come to LA and find success through the grind, but there isn't always a major audition to put on that grind. So, what do we do in LA? We create! I feel like much of the issue with finding success outside of LA is not a matter of geography but of mindset.

The mindset in Los Angeles is very much empowered by the notion of being your own creator. We don't sit around waiting for work to come to us, we make our own work while we're waiting. For whatever reason, this ideology hasn't seemed to trickle down to other cities. Aspiring actors are waiting for opportunities, or they are working far too hard on a magnum opus when they should just be creating content regularly.

I've found it extremely difficult to find peers in my current home of Boston. Professional work is good but scarce in comparison to the movie Mecca, it all but disappears as the cold and snow starts to come in. Non-professional acting and film work seems to follow an exclusively weekend warrior approach here, perhaps the creative population is just too tiny, but finding collaborators to work on more abstract, more continuous content driven ideas appears to have been devalued with the dissolution of Vine. The value in creating silly sketch pieces seems lost to people outside of Los Angeles.

From ideation to a finished product, the pipeline in Los Angeles is very short. It starts with someone's idea and is written, shot, and edited within a matter of weeks at most. In LA, we're excited and ready for production just about any time. We're not bogged down in obtaining permits for tiny guerilla style shoots. We're not waiting for the script to be just right. No, in LA, we do - more creatives in more locales would do well with that mentality.

Perhaps Boston is too rigid in its thinking. I was taught by CalArts alum and prolific indie filmmaker Mike Ott that it's easier to get things done by begging for forgiveness rather than asking for permission. No one wants to get in trouble, but no creative wants to drive drunks and yuppies in an Uber all their life. You take chances and risks, that's how you try to make it in one of the most competitive industries you will ever choose for yourself.

If you're not making content regularly, do you even really exist in this business? Do you disappear from consciousness when you aren't on a project? If you're not actively acting or directing, can you really call yourself an actor or director?

Other than the ocean of actors, there's nothing that different about Los Angeles. If you're aspiring to a dream and living outside of LA, why not chase the dream wherever you are? Why not take chances, build up your skills, your profile, and your material. Why is it that you think you must be in Los Angeles to be serious about your career?