So it should come as no surprise that every actor who is unhappy with their career now has Atlanta on their radar. Can you feel it, fellow artists? The satisfying feeling of control over your destiny? A chance to DO SOMETHING about all those closed doors, all those minutes ticking by without progress? Because what an actor is best at is imagination, and Georgia's burgeoning film industry has been crowding the trades with Big-Fish/Small-Pond success stories. If an untrained yokel can book a gig on the Walking Dead, imagine what an LA-seasoned actor could do!
So I'd like to offer some perspective from the inside. Before you pack your bags and give up your rent-controlled duplex. Before you toss your Starbucks apron on the floor, break up with your yoga teacher and call your cousin in Macon who said you could crash there anytime:
Only move to Atlanta if you are ready to QUIT ACTING.
|As Glinda at Agatha's Murder Mystery Dinner Theater|
The LA model: Success is defined by the number of credits on your resume. If you have enough, 'they' let you get more. Someday you get enough credits to regularly be offered more credits. Then you get a house with a pool and take care of all your poor friends who haven't gotten enough credits yet. If you are talented enough and work hard enough, this will eventually happen for you. In the meantime, you must make yourself miserable wondering why it hasn't happened yet.
The ATL model: The Film/TV industry doesn't need you. No matter how talented you are, no matter how hard you work, you are not necessary. (Unless you are crew - then you are DESPERATELY needed.) The Atlanta pond has plenty of actor fish. There are plenty of people available to play Vampire #3. It has way less fish than LA or NY and even so there are way too many fish. Those untrained yokels that got small roles that became medium-sized roles that became a series regular role after 4 seasons? Actually, they've been working here in Atlanta for MANY years, have been on camera countless times prior, as well as on stage or in other industry jobs, and have earned their "credit."
|Performed this for one night in November.|
When Out of Hand Theater calls, I always say YES
It's an incredible feeling when you go where you're needed. When you finally stop insisting that people who don't need you include you anyway. Find a community that needs your skill-set, and start taking control of your business. My business earns me a comfortable living, but only about 5% of that comes from film and television work. Where does the other money come from? Two dozen other acting-related jobs that I usually don't have to audition for, and that use my skills in a myriad of creative ways that keep me interested and busy. I teach, I do voice-overs, I write and perform live theater pieces, I improvise, I coach, I entertain.
|Dad's Garage Theater. Oh yeah.|
I won't get famous. And being at an Oscar party was fun, but the party we're going to throw next year when my new theater opens is going to be EPIC. I can't define my happiness by random uncontrollable acts of fate. I get my fulfillment by being where I'm needed. Like any good plumber.
** Want to read more? Stages of L.A. is my experience of moving to Hollywood **