Written by Theresa Pickett
Before moving from a small town to a major market, serious actors need to make a business plan. Three main points are clear. First, get finances in order before the move. Next, create a budget to follow after the move. Finally, as you build your talent and expertise, maximize your potential in your small town before you jump into a large market. While moving across the county, use strategic thinking and planning to get the most opportunities from your big chance.
Budgeting For An Actor’s Expenses
Before moving to a major city, become financially savvy. New York and Los Angeles have a way of creating debt for people who strive to make financially smart decisions. Reduce your debt before moving. Develop a plan for becoming debt free. If you have $3000 in debt, and have decided to move to Hollywood in six months, you need to put about $500 toward your debt each month. Begin by cutting back on expenses. Stop purchasing fast food, cigarettes, and alcohol, as an actor’s body is an instrument. Reduce your cost of living by getting a roommate. Save an emergency fund, which would help you survive for three months if you lost your job and landed no major acting work after the big move. While cutting back on your expenses, supplement your income with a side job to pay for your move in cash.
Financial Planning For Moving
As you plan, develop a budget for after your move. Budget with pen and paper, or use personal finance software. Plan to live frugally. Cut back by moving in with several roommates or couch surf. Forget splurging on fancy sushi and daily lattes, unless you have an income that covers your budget. Determine the income you will have after your move. Analyze income you could get from part time and temporary positions. Wait for a full time job offer to better survive in a major market, as many actors go home when money is gone.
Maximize Your Potential
While you plan your move, develop your credibility as a local working actor. Show up to set prepared with lines memorized. Read screenplays as a hobby. Get training with the best coaches in your town. Always act professionally on set to build a positive reputation, as your reputation as an actor will follow you to Hollywood and New York City. Develop a reel of acting work shot with a working crew and live quality cameras. When you arrive in the big city, bring your reel and headshot to open calls at talent agencies, and submit via e-mail. Get on the set of major productions with any position you can get. Work hard from the ground up to attain your dream of working in a major market and to eventually become a bicoastal actor.
As a Vanderbilt University graduate, Theresa Pickett has freelanced on camera and as crew since 2007. Gaining multiple credits, Theresa’s favorite project was working as an associate producer/lead actor in six-time award winning short movie Look shot on the RED One 4K. Now, married to movie director/actor Ryan Pickett, who played Young Oscar Bluth in TV series Arrested Development, Theresa co-owns and is a freelance writer for Yahoo! Voices.