Do I Have to Live New York City or Los Angeles to be An Actor?
That is a question every actor will think about at one point in their career. The answer is quite simple. The short answer is no, the long answer is probably, depending on where you live. To be a working actor you don’t need to be in New York City or Los Angeles, but if you want to pursue a full time career, you do need to be in a place where there is a lot of work going on. It really depends on where you live and if the state you live in has a large acting market or not. People who live in Atlanta for example, don’t need to move anywhere. Atlanta has a booming film and television industry. Atlanta is quickly becoming the new Hollywood. There are several ongoing television shows that shoot in the area along with a ton of films. If you are in a smaller market like Michigan for instance, you will need to be open to traveling to Chicago if you want to work. If you are in an even smaller market like Oklahoma, let’s say, your best bet would be to relocate to a state that has a larger market. New York and L.A. aren’t the only cities where movies and television shows are filmed. We are seeing more and more productions take their projects elsewhere because of incentives, scenery and budget costs. Aside from Georgia, states like Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Philadelphia and Illinois all have a great television and film market.
Even if you don’t live in a state that has a ton of productions, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a working actor. There are some benefits to starting off in a smaller market and you might even be able to work as a full time actor. If you are looking to pursue acting on the side for instance, there is no need to relocate. It is likely the state you live in has plenty of projects you can audition for. If you want to pursue acting full time in small market, no problem, but you do have to be realistic and open to projects aside from national television series and big budget films. Colleges and schools are always looking for actors to be in their student films along with local television shows. Aspiring and established filmmakers who shoot short films, music videos and company videos almost always hire local talent. If a large budget production comes to town, they tend to hire their extras, featured and sometimes even small speaking roles locally. Local companies and businesses need actors for their commercials so there is an opportunity for commercial work as well. If you live in an area where large companies are headquartered, they may even hire and film locally as well. Every state has local theatres who hire local talent for their productions as well. As you can see, acting isn’t just about big Hollywood films or hit television series.
The plus side of starting your career in a smaller market is although there may be a little less work, there is probably a lot less competition. In Los Angeles for instance, there are thousands and thousands of aspiring actors. While there is more acting work in L.A., there is also a ton of competition. The chances of landing a role in a in a large market is definitely more slim than if you are in a smaller market. If you plan to pursue acting full time and currently live in a state where there isn’t a lot of work, you will have to relocate at some point. Starting your career where you currently are is the way to go. Working locally is great way to build your resume, start your reel and help get your ready and prepare you for a move to a place that will give you better opportunities to take your career to the next level, but as you can see, you don’t have to live in New York or Los Angeles to be a working actor.