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Moving to LA with $3K and a Job; Can it work?


JayR

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Don't send him to Philly!! That place sucks. The people there are horrible. Lots of crime. Worst city I've ever visited.

 

And Chicago with all the recent homicides? Really?

 

Well maybe not Philly. But any major metro area has local production work.

 

If someone is serious about theater and don't want to go to NYC, I know people that have really made it big with theater there. If he is serious about film, then not so much.

 

But bottom line - you can't expect to work in film and tv in LA just because you have a dream. You have to back that up with talent, drive, and experience. If you have a bad worth ethic- you won't thrive.

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I've lived in L.A. I have friends who just fled from there, because they could not find affordable housing after their landlord sold the property and they lost their rent-controlled protection of $1,400 a month for a one-bedroom bungalow. The new owner is now renting that same property for $2,000 a month. Sorry, but $400 a month won't even cover your food and utilities and transport. Not even close. L.A. is notoriously expensive to live in and the rent has gone out the roof since I lived there roughly 10 years ago.

 

This article might give you a good view of what you'd need to make just to be able to afford something halfway decent there. link removed

 

And apparently the outlying areas are equally expensive now. Yes, you can find cheaper places in the rougher neighborhoods, but you'd better be prepared to deal with everything that goes with that including late nights getting home after riding buses and subways for hours if you don't have a car.

 

Honestly, your'e better off to stay where you are and focus on getting your video content produced online and build up a following, maybe get your script entered into contests and do things that create a buzz about you before you even go there. Then go there on trips if you can garner some invitations to meet and greet and network to see if you can parlay all of that into something more solid. I had a friend who wrote some truly excellent original scripts, who thought if he moved there he'd get snapped up in a heartbeat, because he was already an award-winning documentary producer. And he couldn't get arrested. No one cared unless he could bring money to the table to get his content produced. One producer was nice enough to tell him if he had access to money then he could buy a seat at the table, but otherwise nope.It just didn't happen for him at all, because they wanted a sure thing, not unknown. And the viewpoint very much was that documentaries don't make money.

 

Not trying to discourage you, but abitbroken is right and dead on with the advice. You need to have something that will make you stand out from the rest of the herds of potentials and gets you noticed and "I've got a script" is simply not going to do that. Everyone there has a script, even yes the homeless guy down the block has one or three. Create a buzz, a name for yourself, get that before you go and you'll have a much easier time of it.

 

P.S. If you're still living at home and you're an adult you need to be contributing to the bills. You will definitely not be allowed to not pay the bills in L.A. People are beyond ruthless about that. I've had friends tossed into the street for being two days late on the rent. Sorry, wrong place to not have a seriously strong work ethic. I only made it there by working three jobs and having family help me out now and again. And I wasn't even in the entertainment industry per se although I did do some commercials and extra work to pay bills. I just wanted to live next to the ocean.

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If you don't mind me asking, what's your race and do you speak Spanish?

 

West LA I'd probably nix altogether. Ladera Heights is tricky and probably not worth it if you're white. Not saying you'd get harmed in any way, but you most definitely will NOT fit in and be happy in the areas you could afford.

 

Inglewood is a mixed bag. The rule of thumb is to stay within the Latino areas, preferably near LAX.

 

If you can do the commute, then suburbs might be a more comfortable fit. Just remember that public trans in LA more or less blows.

 

With $3,000 and only $400 a month set up, finding a place that balances of poor, safe, and comfortable enough not to hate life is a challenge I wouldn't put on anyone. Definitely hustle your ass out there for that second job.

 

I'm Black. I don't speak Spanish.

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So given what I have - $3k, a job that pays $400/month in a good month and no transportation (not even a bike yet) - can I pull this off?

 

That's not a job, it's a hobby. Get a second job where you are and save up enough for a car and a far, far bigger emergency fund before attempting a move.

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So JayR,

 

What kind of education do you have and how old are you? Diploma? Any community college or trade school? What?

What is your job experience? And what general area are you in? State? And urban or rural area?

 

I agree. These are good questions.

 

If you have a degree in the tv/film production area you might have better luck. If not....why not look for a program you can enter?

 

I think your profile says you're in TX....maybe a college in Austin would have a good program....or you could find one further away so you can take a break form your family situation. Go to school to learn more about this industry and then be ready to dive in with a wealth of knowledge under your belt.

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Sorry to inform you that your plan, with that amount of money and no car, has zero chance of success in LA. I know a kid whose parents subsidized him, to the tune of rent, car insurance, health insurance. He worked two jobs and did independent film projects...until the turned off the spigot and he got a real job. And left LA.

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So JayR,

 

What kind of education do you have and how old are you? Diploma? Any community college or trade school? What?

What is your job experience? And what general area are you in? State? And urban or rural area?

 

I have a Bachelor's of Science in Economics from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas where I currently live still. It's about an hour north of downtown Dallas. There's 100k people who live here. I graduated in 2009. I'm 28 years old.

My job experience is mainly entry level. I worked at a grocery store for over 3 years, spent 2 months at another store, 2 months at a warehouse and it's coming up to a year with the Event Security firm I'm with now which operates all over the country (including LA which is all mine if I can just give them proof of my new address there).

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I have a Bachelor's of Science in Economics from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas where I currently live still. It's about an hour north of downtown Dallas. There's 100k people who live here. I graduated in 2009. I'm 28 years old.

My job experience is mainly entry level. I worked at a grocery store for over 3 years, spent 2 months at another store, 2 months at a warehouse and it's coming up to a year with the Event Security firm I'm with now which operates all over the country (including LA which is all mine if I can just give them proof of my new address there).

 

You live in a large enough area to get a job that pays more. You need the motivation. Had you ever pursued an internship in your field while you were in school? Can you go back to your college and check out the job boards? Do you have professors or parents of classmates who can put a good word in for you somewhere? Do you own a suit and tie to wear to job interviews? Do you tuck your shirt in, make eye contact and have those soft skills? I would go to the job center/career center and learn how to polish your resume so you can get a job in the greater Dallas area or in town. Then when you have the money, find a studio apartment or find a roommate who is another young professional guy and get out of your parents' house. When you are making it independently you will feel better.

 

Then part time at night try to break into stand up or shoot videos. Network with other people working on productions.

 

I am not trying to squash your dream - but you have to get out of the house and get some confidence. 28 is way overdue to make it out on your own. Dad probably sounds unsupportive because he doesn't want to see you still living with him at 30 or 35.

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Ok - if you were getting call backs at auditions and were so busy with films and tv and standup gigs that you had so many that you were turning things down because of your day job, then I would say its time to let one of your two jobs go, etc. I have a small business now I did on the side, and then I got so busy i quit punching a clock. So - I am not saying you have to punch a clock forever, but you have to have more to go on than one video and working on one film set to justify that you are in demand enough or motivated enough. But botttom line, if you move ANYWHERE you have to show that you can manage your bills and your business on your own without your folks helping you.

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How about this? I hedged my bets by applying for school at an LA-area community college. My plan with that is to use the refund from Financial Aid to fund my housing, transportation and living expenses. I'm confident that with that money I can buy the time needed to get settled and find a good job.

 

Can THIS work?!

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Are you using any of the money to pay for your education? Don't they expect you to use that money to pay for classes and books?

 

Community college tuition doesn't cost much, so I'm not sure how much you'd get. A couple thousand will fund you for about a month, maybe two months.

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How about this? I hedged my bets by applying for school at an LA-area community college. My plan with that is to use the refund from Financial Aid to fund my housing, transportation and living expenses. I'm confident that with that money I can buy the time needed to get settled and find a good job.

 

Can THIS work?!

 

Ok - a few things.

 

Nope. Won't work. You have to be going to school full time to get financial aid, most of the time. Financial aid should cover books, tuition, lab fees. if you get a package that would cover some housing, its minimal. If you are in a dorm, it might pay for that, but it won't pay for a luxury apartment and won't pay for transportation. I believe in some cases some financial aid would be paid directly to the school, no? and remember, if tuition is low, you are not going to get much and you most likely won't qualify right away as an out of state student coming to a community college that makes no sense to go to if you already have a bachelor's. If you were going for a master's or second bachelor's maybe that's different.

 

I highly, highly urge you to look into your alma mater or another school in Dallas/Ft Worth that offers technical classes for tv and film. Or broadcasting classes. I urge you to go to an acting class, seek out talent agents and get their critiques of you. Lots of lifelong contacts have been made in film departments of schools. There are also career type trade schools that help place you.

 

There are no short cuts unless you want to live in a car. If you want to shoot videos, you need equipment. Anyone that I know that has gone to NY or LA did so because they were cast for a few things in a different city and then were offered a role and followed it out there. There are more affordable cities with a good entertainment market.

 

Anyway - you have to separate out your issues. Your dad might end up being a good relationship if you move out, transform the relationship in one of two adult men instead of the guy who is a little old to be living with dad and talking about ditching everything for trying to be a star in LA and at this very minute not working in the field dad might have paid for college for - unless you did it on your own. But if you just run off to LA and are living on the streets - be sure you are not just running away and you have skills that make you employable.

 

There are lots of different types of jobs in the industry, but you have to get some more skills to stay in the industry.

 

I get it, I moved far away from my folks - but I had a job to go to.

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I was thinking that if I spend as little as possible the difference between the amount granted to me and the cost of my tuition would be great enough for living ecpenses for a maybe 6 months.

It's got to be possible.

 

I liken the whole process of leaving a toxic family (even with little money) as similar to getting the necessary emergency surgery to repair an infected appendix while being penniless and without health insurance.

Sure, your credit is gonna take a huge hit and you'll be in immense debt but, you gotta do it.

 

That's the way I'm kinda seeing it.

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I was thinking that if I spend as little as possible the difference between the amount granted to me and the cost of my tuition would be great enough for living ecpenses for a maybe 6 months.

It's got to be possible.

 

I liken the whole process of leaving a toxic family (even with little money) as similar to getting the necessary emergency surgery to repair an infected appendix while being penniless and without health insurance.

Sure, your credit is gonna take a huge hit and you'll be in immense debt but, you gotta do it.

 

That's the way I'm kinda seeing it.

 

They are not going to give you financial aid for community college as a nonresident just rolling in to town. Its not like a scholarship to a college where you would live on campus where they pay for your room to attract an awesome student. Also, they want to give aid to people that not only need it, but have a chance of completing their classes. I found out that if I made a very modest amount of money - enough to pay for a place to live and food but not much else, I had a better chance of getting financial aid then if I made nothing because they wanted students to pay SOMETHING towards their schooling. it's Aid meant to supplement so that you can go to school, not a free ride.

 

Also, if they give you financial aid, you are going to have to go to school full time and financial aid won't pay your transportation costs. When will you have time to both audition or work on video projects AND have a job?

 

Seriously, if you want to get away from your family, move to the city - move to Dallas. Research the neighborhoods. There is probably an area where people who are creative or are in the creative industries are more likely to live or hang out. Start interviewing for jobs in you bachelor's field. Decide to keep that job for awhile while you gain skills in the industry - taking improve classes at night or on weekends, taking classes at the local tech school for camera operating or whatever it is you want to do as a backup thing, and making connections. When you can use your main income to pay for a place to live, and can also save a little money, you will get to the point where you can break away from it and get a talent agent - or work behind the scenes.

 

I don't know if your family is truly abusive or its just that you have not been able to break free of being treated like a child because you have never lived outside of your parents' house and really been on your own. Its hard to say. I thought my folks were tyrants before I moved out.

 

I know when you are 28-30, its a time you feel you need to prove yourself or settle into your career - I think moving out into a place that is marginally familiar is a better move for you, honestly. You don't have a realistic idea of what is needed to move accross the country, so going somewhere like Dallas would probably be better. You could still keep any support network of decent friends you have, too.

 

I am not opppsed to cross country moves but if you have no friends to crash with or any other resources in LA OR if you didn't, more savings, you are not prepared. If you are really serious, I would prepare pictures, clips of your videos and make appointments with casting agents ahead of time and go out there for a week. I guarantee you will blow through a good chunk of your savings doing that. But first, try that in your local market. Put yourself out there so you at least have a safety net.

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I'm reasonably certain that, being new to CA, you'd have to establish residency in CA (which means living here for a specified period of time -- with proof of residency) before you can get financial aid. I teach community college in CA, and my understanding from having out-of-state students arrive at my college is that the are charged out-of-state tuition -- which is much higher than CA resident tuition -- at least until they've lived her for a certain period of time (can't recall what that period of time is off the top of my head, though).

 

I'm concerned for you because it sounds like you haven't logically thought this through -- that you're operating almost solely on emotions here -- and that you might be making a really impulsive decision. First of all, to "make it" in film, TV, music, etc. -- and I don't even mean being famous, but rather just making even some money from your craft -- you need talent (which you very well may have -- I don't know); experience (usually pretty extensive) and connections. Even with those things, nothing is guaranteed, and these professions don't tend to pay much unless you're a REALLY big name. You will HAVE to have another job -- maybe even two or three -- to survive. Coming to a place like LA with little money, no connections, no job, and no transportation is a recipe for disaster. The cost of living is VERY expensive in most of CA compared to other states, and LA is one of the more expensive parts, and it's place where you will most likely need a car. For any decent apartment, you're looking at well over $1000/month; I doubt you could get anything for less than that. One of my students just moved back to Northern Cal from that area, and he told me lived in a part of LA that was rather dicey, and he paid $900 (for a place that had cockroaches, bad plumbing, sporadic Internet connection, and lots of crime in the adjacent area).

 

No one wants to crush your dreams, but with little money, no connections, and no resources, it will be extremely difficult for you to get by, if you even can. Why not work on moving to a different place in TX, working hard, saving up more money, and heading out to CA once you've got more funds and a stronger foundation? LA isn't going anywhere; it'll still be there when you're ready.

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Interesting read here ---

 

link removed

 

As far as the casting agent comment. if you want to go to LA, you kind of need one. You will make a better daily or hourly rate.

 

No one wants to crush your dreams, but with little money, no connections, and no resources, it will be extremely difficult for you to get by, if you even can. Why not work on moving to a different place in TX, working hard, saving up more money, and heading out to CA once you've got more funds and a stronger foundation? LA isn't going anywhere; it'll still be there when you're ready.

 

Yup. Look for work in Dallas first if you are an hour from downtown. Then, take little trips to Austin and other cities to see if they suit you better. Bottom line, you need a lot more money saved and good credit, and/or a good friend or family member who will let you stay with them until you find a place or some money and a solid opportunity (a full time job that you can transfer with or land an interview, or you get cast.) If you want to go to LA, give yourself a time limit to make it or break it or go just for a week at first to see if you even like it. But bottom line, you can't just go there to escape your family and expect to make it.

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