Should I Move to LA for Pilot Season

A good friend of mine recently went on a Facebook rant about people who move to Los Angeles for Pilot Season, so I thought I’d put in my two cents. The answer to the question, “should I move to LA for pilot season?” is simple.

Should I Move to LA for Pilot Season?

No.

Some people think they can just breeze into town and BAM! They get an Agent and they’re going on auditions right way. Uh, no. It takes time to settle in to Los Angeles. Agents are super busy. Casting Directors are super busy. It may take months before you’ll even get an Agent to see your stuff and it’s going to take some time for Casting Directors to  start seeing your face pop up and become interested in seeing you.  Agents probably won’t sign you (or even look at you) during pilot season (unless you are a very specific type they are looking to fill) and Casting Directors don’t know who the hell you are and they’re too busy casting pilots to waste time calling in someone they’ve never seen before.  And, if you don’t already have an Agent, you won’t even get submitted to Casting Directors in the first place.  Yes, moving to LA for pilot season is a bad idea.  Should I Move to LA for Pilot Season

I moved here in October 2015 with no expectation that I would be loaded with auditions for the 2016 pilot season (which typically runs from January-ish to April-ish). I made the move under the assumption that it would be permanent and that it would take a few years before I would start gaining traction. Sure, I have a few credits (which you MUST have before moving to LA), but that only counts for so much. I auditioned for just one pilot during the 2016 season and, quite fortunately, booked it… but one pilot does not a career make. And they’re re-shooting the entire thing, by the way, and I haven’t been called back. So there… pilot season 2016 was a complete bust. But I fully expected it to be. By 2017 (or later), the Casting Directors (hopefully) will have seen my face a few times and know what I’m capable of and start call me in for pilots.

So, should you come “test the waters” in LA? Sure. The cool thing about Los Angeles is that this is the hub of the entertainment industry. There is something really inspiring about being surrounded by so many iconic things. How can you not feel a little tingle when you’re standing at Hollywood and North Highland and look up to see the Hollywood Sign?  My last audition was on the Sony lot and there were people I’ve seen on TV in the room with me!  Scary, but also very inspiring in that I was at an iconic studio competing with other people who are booking!  That’s a super feeling.  This town is also home to so many amazing coaches and so many resources — it’s almost overwhelming. So, yes, if you can afford it, come to Los Angeles and spend some time (you need a month or so — it’s hard to get a feel for this town in a week), take some classes and see if it’s your kind of town. Soak it all in!!!  There is such a great energy here and so much support that being here will inspire you.  But, don’t come expecting to be auditioning and booking right away. Sure, some people get lucky, but for most of us it takes time, work, and patience.

Should I move to LA for pilot season?  Well, on second thought.  Yes.  Pilot season is probably the time to think about moving to LA for pilot season.  Not this pilot season, but the next one (or the one after that).  You’ll need a year or so to build up some credits and make some connections before you have a chance of being seen.  So, come here and plan on being here for the long haul. I think if you come planning to spend less than a couple of years, you’ll likely leave disappointed.  You can’t come here for a few months hoping to win the jackpot, you have to be prepared to stay, commit, and work if you want anything in return.

On a somewhat unrelated note about living in Los Angeles… there are a lot of people who have been here and have been chewed up and spit out by this town.  Perhaps they moved thinking they’d make it sooner than they thought.  There are also a lot of people who hold the opinion that LA is filled with arrogant, cut-throat, superficial people.  Yes, like most big cities, there are certainly a number of people like that here, but I’ve found Los Angeles to be a very welcoming place, especially if you are an actor.  People here have been amazingly supportive and inspiring.  They are in the trenches with you!!  They get it.  In LA you can be or do anything you want and people don’t really judge.  In fact, they may just help move you in the right direction.  For an actor, this is an amazing place to be!  Sure, my tune may change a few year’s down the road, by right now, ba da ba ba ba, I’m lovin’ it!

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