5 Tips for International Actors Looking to Move to Los Angeles
Known worldwide as the place to be for working in TV and film, many budding actors make their way to Los Angeles to secure work and make connections. Home to some of the largest production studios in the world, it’s no surprise that international actors have been making the move for decades.
While Los Angeles has a worldwide reputation for being the place to be, to put things bluntly – it’s expensive. Despite a high standard of training, training as an actor in the US doesn’t come cheap. For this reason, many actors complete their training in other countries (where training is cheaper or subsidized) and then venture to the US. Alternatively, some actors choose to refine their skill and rise to the top of their game in their native country, before trying their luck abroad. Actors such as Tom Hardy, Monica Bellucci and Penelope Cruz all came to Hollywood after considerable success in nationally.
While the gravitational pull of LA to many actors is clear, there are a few things to consider beforehand. From knowing the US immigration system, to personal finances – we’ve put together a list of some key considerations if you’re going to make the big move.
With sky-high rental prices and expensive travel costs – expenses soon mount up. Add to this that you may not have landed an acting job, and it’s easy to see how being unprepared could lead to a financial ruin.
To make it big in LA, it’s important to invest in yourself (and your career!) before you can step on set. From getting high quality headshots, to coaching sessions and even a membership to SAG-AFTRA – these are all important steps to consider.
Whilst a given, it always pays to do your research. Spend time researching the industry and avoid any common pitfalls.
Keep it professional
Whilst the fierce competition can be daunting, it’s always best to keep things professional. Beginner’s luck and being in the ‘right place at the right time’ will take you so far, but unwavering professionalism and a thick skin are invaluable. Be prepared for rejections and always present yourself in the best light. After all, gossip can spread fast in the film industry.
Start the immigration process early
If you’re looking to move to LA and act for money, you must be accepted by an agent of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. To be accepted for work, you’ll need to be granted your green card.
To do this, it’s recommended to hire an experienced immigration attorney who will put forward your case to the USCIC. By hiring an expert that knows the ins and outs of the immigration system, you are much more likely to be accepted, so you can focus on your Hollywood acting journey.
Hit the ground running
Don’t sit back and let opportunities come to you. As soon as your flight touches down in LA, consider putting yourself out there in the acting world. From joining a community group of actors, to a yoga class – the more ways you can networking, the better.
Being an actor can be tough, and it’s certainly not for the faint hearted. But with the right drive, determination and tenacity – budding actors can make their dreams a reality by moving to LA.