Quick Tips for Moving to LA

Hi Bonnie,

First and foremost I just have to say how valuable your column is to me and us kiwis! I found you through an American actor’s blog and it’s been a love affair for almost a year now! I have managed to start up a wee group of actors here in New Zealand who also read your column and we talk about things that you have shared, the American industry, our industry, and how we can better manage our careers.

I have been studying the American and Australian markets for the last year (the NZ industry is totally different i.e., we aren’t allowed to self-submit, you have to have an agent) and have found a wealth of knowledge through your column, websites, networks, blogs, LA actors on Twitter, etc.

I am planning to move over to LA within the next year or so and throw myself in the deep end, but what I wanted to know was, in the meantime, how can I connect and network with casting directors, agents, and industry professionals while living in another country? I know that I can’t submit for auditions yet, but what is another way I could get my presence known? Do you have any suggestions?

I know it can be done, but right now my little brain is at max speed! Plus I wouldn’t mind another fresh-zinging mind to share new ideas!

It would be great to hear what you have to say, not just for myself but for other internationals as well.

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

Warmest regards,
Elise McDowell

Hi Elise, and thank you. It thrills me to know you’re gathering with a group of actors and working through the Self-Management for Actors principles on your own, regularly. That — and all the work you’re doing — will be a huge help to you when you relocate to Los Angeles! Now, I’m not going to launch into a sales pitch, because I know you’re on the Bonnie Gillespie mailing list, and that means you’ve already heard that early bird registration for our “Six Weeks To LA” course closes at midnight! Of course, we cover all sorts of strategies for plugging in with your future community of creatives using the Internet, as a part of that curriculum. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for quick tips I can share here, I’ve definitely got a few.

Connect using Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. That doesn’t mean slapping your demo reel on a casting director’s fan page, or tweeting at an agent saying, “Please check out my online profile.” It means using the ninja method of “lurk then lead,” and observing the members of your future in-person community so that you can get to know them, understand what they respond to, and plug in when appropriate.

I cannot tell you the number of actors with whom I have felt I had a great relationship, even before we first met in person, because they did such a good job of laying the groundwork using social networking. But remember, they’re using it smartly. They’re commenting on discussions. They’re sharing tips. They’re not SELLING themselves as actors, or asking for advice all the time. They’re building relationships and putting their brand into the world, without attachment to what may come of it, beyond CONNECTING.

Review the tips I’ve shared about ways in which you can become an expert at understanding your type, the targets for your type, and how to stay on the radar of those targets. Even though you can’t really self-submit on projects just yet, you should still keep an eye on what’s casting, so you can continue to map out Your Show Bible and have more information in place about your new community, when you do get to Los Angeles.

Take a look at everything in my Get Ready for LA column and also check out this site and continue to listen to podcasts and read the blog posts of fellow actors who have made the big move, as their willingness to share their experiences can only help you wrap your brain around what you’re going to experience. Of course, everyone’s road will be different and you’ll never fully be prepared for EVERYTHING you could potentially experience when you make such a huge move, but it sounds like you’re putting yourself into great shape by working with a support group, reading everything you can, and asking smart questions!

Lay the groundwork for being filled with confidence when you walk through the door of one of your target offices, once you’ve arrived here. Even if it’s just a first encounter at a CD workshop, that the person you’ve started a relationship with will feel that you are familiar to them due to your Internet outreach is invaluable. Sure, it may not pay off immediately, but planting the seeds of familiarity now for the long haul of your career is at the core of brand-building. Think big picture, rather than being results oriented. That mindset will serve you well.

Please keep me posted on how it all goes for you! I’ll never forget how thrilling my “prep to move to LA” time was. It’s filled with such promise and excitement and wonder. Hang on to that! And get ready to be in The Super Bowl of Acting. It’s the best game on the planet!


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!


Originally published by Actors Access at http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001513.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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