I lived in LA for 7 years and had a few successes and many more failures. One of the successes I had included doing a commercial for Procter & Gamble which allowed me to get into the Screen Actors Guild. I remember during the orientation they told us this is the only union in the world where 2% of the union works. At that time there were 98,000 union workers in LA and another 200,000 + non-union actors going after these roles as well.
Competition for parts was incredibly tough, challenging and, in a lot of ways, almost impossible to get. If you had money, connections, or an incredible talent you may have had a shot to audition for legitimate paid productions. Otherwise, you were auditioning for student films and low budget independent projects. I left LA almost 10 years ago and here is what I have learned looking back at this experience:
• You are competing against thousands and thousands of actors from all over the country
• College degrees mean very little in Hollywood
• Most likely you will make just enough money to get by
• You won’t have insurance
• Odds are you won’t “make it”
And yet… it is one of the greatest times of my life because I did what I loved. I and only I wanted to be an actor and that is what caused me to move to LA to pursue a professional acting career. While living in LA I was broke, rejected countless times, un-insured and yet, this was one of the happiest times of my life. Success doesn’t ensure happiness, rather, doing what one is passionate about does.
*Quote by Andre Gide
** Photo by Matteo Paganelli- Venice Beach, CA (minutes from LA)