If you are not in Los Angeles or New York, will your child get opportunities to work as an actor? Does your child have to be in Hollywood or New York to be an actor?
The simple answer is yes, they can still get opportunities in other cities and yes, they can be an actor anywhere in the world. They also can be from anywhere and get opportunities in LA and NY. However, unless you can drive or fly to auditions, you may be submitting your child actor through taped submissions. No matter what anyone tells you, taped submissions are not as effective as getting into an actual audition room with a casting director.
If you are anything like a lot of the parents I talk to across the world, when their child becomes a more serious actor, and they have been attending classes for many years, they start to consider if they should relocate their family to either LA or NY. This conversation has come up so many times with other parents of actors, that it’s not a shock to me when they bring it up.
I know some parents that recently found a way to pick up and move to LA (both of their children were serious actors wanting to do TV, Film and Commercials). Their 2 kids had been acting for years and loved it so much that being closer to the location of most film and television production seemed like the obvious next step for their family. Yes, it was a big leap of faith for them, but they saw no other way towards their child’s dream. As an aside, they are doing okay and having fun in LA, but haven’t landed any roles just yet, the stakes and competition went way up. They were top of their game in our city here, best of the best. Others have moved to New York City if their child was interested in pursuing musical theater professionally and had dreams of being on Broadway.
We must note, these days, there are other cities besides LA and NY that are starting to get a lot of work for actors. So this post cannot just be about LA or NY. Some of those cities that are seeing an increase of audition opportunities and films and television shows being produced and filmed in their states are:
Chicago, New Mexico, Oregon, Louisiana, Georgia and Florida. (if we’ve left one off, please comment at end of this post)
So, should you move to the big two, LA or NY, to help your child follow their dreams?
Here are some considerations for you:
1) If your child is just starting out, you should first make sure this really is his or her dream. There is no need to pick up and move thinking this is likely what they want to do. Your first step should be to enroll them in an acting academy or acting school that is specific to what they want to do, within your own city or town. Starting with classes and practice over a few years is the best way to go. Over this time period you will be able to assess if this is something they love and dream about, they like, they are just okay with or they totally dislike and want to stop. You will be glad you took the time locally to watch them grow within their acting school before making any life changing decisions, such as moving.
2) If you are near to NY, in any of the surrounding states, you may not have that far of a drive to NY, for example if you are in NJ or PA or MA, a 3 hour drive for auditions is really worth it and it may be worth to train in your own city or town and do the drives for auditions as they arise. Same thing with driving to the LA area. If you live in Las Vegas or Utah or Arizona or any states near CA, it is worth it to just drive to auditions.
3) There are reasons to stay in your own state and drive if you can:
- You stand out being from somewhere else. First, actors that are all from the same city are in direct competition with one another. A lot of them are with the same agents and managers and not all of them can go out on all jobs. A lot of them even know one another and see each other at school or at weekly training or workshops. Your child has the advantage of not being part of that tight-knit sometimes stressful competition. They may of course see similar actors on auditions, but they don’t have to then see these kids at school or in every workshop outside of auditions too. I can tell you from experience, we feel no pressure when driving in from out of state to LA, just because, we are not sensing any pressure along the way, and we are not around it all of the time. When we drive in, our daughter is relaxed, happy and ready to go.
- You may also stand out in your personality, your interests, your skill set, your knowledge and your look. Yes, correct, just being from another state even or country, you may ski instead of surf or you may roller-skate instead of ice-skate. Your child may be blonder in the summer or they may be darker haired, yes, depending on where you are coming from. And the obvious, your accent may be different, which is also very appealing to casting directors looking to find children that are all not the same. I am certain, from experience lately, that casting directors are actually looking for kids around the country to have children of various types, looks, accents and backgrounds.
- In the car ride to the auditions, you get extra practice and time to review. It’s also quite relaxing to travel and clear your head along the way. As an example too, when my daughter and I drive to LA, we oftentimes sing songs in the car off the radio and off spotify and by the time we arrive in LA her voice is warmed up. She has had several auditions in LA now where she sang, and warming up in the car travel was a benefit.
- LA and NY are so over-populated with actors (see #4 below for the stats) on this. If you can drive there, it may just be worth it to not be around actors all of the time. It gives your child breathing room.
- Why not have your child become the very best they can be in the small pond before moving to the big ocean? They will need solid chops before going to the lands of higher level competitiveness.
- As stated on several other blogs by actors, working within a smaller talent pool within their own cities, they have a better chance of being cast. Of course, you do need to be at least near one of the cities mentioned above.
- Casting Directors and Agents often times can tell how committed your child is to acting if they are willing to make the long drive each time for auditions. As long as this is what your child loves in his or her heart, they are attending training consistently, and you, as the parent can get them to auditions on time, every time, then your commitment is so great, that it’s obvious your child is doing this for all of the right reasons.
4) You should know these facts as the parent of your child actor about actors in Hollywood. After reading the below, make sure that this really is what your child wants to do.
- There are 120,000 SAG (Screen Actor’s Guild) actors in Hollywood.
- At any given time 85% of them are out of work.
- The average salary of a SAG actor is less than $10,000 a year.
- Most of them are just trying to earn the required $7,500 a year to keep their health benefits.
18-20% of them fall into star roles and make serious money.
- Less than 1% are the ones you read about and know, the real stars, the actors who make million dollar and double digit million dollar salaries.
So with all of the information above, my personal recommendation is the following:
Can your child be an actor outside of LA or NY? Yes, of course.
1) If you live in LA or NY or any of the other growing Film/TV areas, I would suggest staying put as you start out. You are where you need to be to help your child. There will be plenty of opportunities. If you find the pressure to be too much, you may find yourself wanting to move to one of the other cities that are just starting to grow tremendously in film and tv production.
2) If you do not live in LA or NY or any other growing Film/TV areas and are within 5-10 hours of there, I would suggest driving to those cities for auditions, but living where you live now. You can consider a move down the road, but take your time to make this decision. Make sure you are doing it for all of the right reasons first. The drives can be long, but we’ve found it’s always worth it.
3) If you do not live in LA or NY or anywhere near any of the other new “hot” cities in Film and TV, then you will need to find your child a local agent that can help get your child professionally submitting taped submissions for roles as much as they can. You can also of course fly to LA or NY, but that gets expensive very quickly for you and your child. Once your child has maxed out all options within your town, and you are sure this is their ultimate dream, then it may be time to consider a move.
Please scroll to the bottom of this page to leave any comments or questions regarding whether or not your child has to be in Hollywood or New York to be an actor. Hope this has helped you in your considerations!