Acting : Question for LA actors by Dan LaRoy

Dan LaRoy

Question for LA actors

I live in Salt Lake City, Utah and I had a few questions for actors living and working in the los Angeles area. I would be very grateful if someone could answer these. 1. Can you make enough money working as an Extra to pay your bills, and go to acting classes while you are working on perfecting your craft? How much do you generally make if you are in Sag vs non union, can you work as an extra every day if you want to? 2. I have heard that there are workshops for actors. one or two day workshops that last all day but I can't find anything about that online. All i find is actual acting classes but if I visit the area in the near future I would love to attend a workshop. Do you have any details on how to find them? 3. Do you feel that its harder to get work in LA because of the competitiveness? or easier because of the fact that they film so much stuff there? 4. What acting classes in the area do you reccomend? there are hundreds and i am confused the ones i've looked at are ivana chubbuck, aaron speiser, and clay banks international. any thoughts on those studios? When searching for an acting teacher what do you look for? acting experience? casting director exerience? coaching experience? reputation? 5. Any other tips, or things that could help me about acting in LA would be grateful. Things I should try to do before I get there, if I need an agent in advance, if i should join the union etc. whatever you think could be important for me to know. Thanks

Cristof Boyer

Hi Dan, I just thought respond to your post. Yeah...it's possible you can make a living as an extra here in LA. But you have to register with more than one casting agencies to achieve that and most of them cost money, you can't just rely on one agency. I'm with 3 agencies and the work for me is far and between. But just because that's the way it is for me doesn't mean it's way that way for other people. It just depends on what they're casting for. YES, it is real competitive here in LA, just letting you know. You can research for agents here in LA if you want such as google. Let me say this, a lot of people think when they get here in LA and get an agent, their career is going to take off. Not exactly. I had an agent and he didn't find me anything, I parted ways in 3 months. Even if you land an agent here, you still have to represent yourself and find work. You have to prove to them that you are a money maker in order for them to really go to bat for you and they have a lot of clients. I don't know if you are non-union or union. Me, I'm SAG-AFTRA eligible (basically means I'm still non-union but if I had $3000, then I can become union). You basically can make double the money as union then you can as non-union. For instance, most non-union background work will pay you $64 for 8 hours. Union, you can make $130-150 or even more for 8 hours. That's the difference between non-union and union pay. I hope I answered some off your questions. You want to come here to LA and pursue your passion, I say WELCOME and GO FOR IT! BUT...be prepared to work and struggle if you REALLY want this. I'm struggling big time but I'm not giving up. Hope this helps.

Dan LaRoy

Thanks for answering those questions. I am also SAG eligable just don't want to fork out 3 grand to join the union yet. I have an agent in LA that is interested in meeting with me called 90210 talent. Have you heard of them? are they good? I just don't want to move down there if I can't make a living as an extra because of how competitive everything is there and because its such an expensive city. Which extras casting agencies are you with? I didn't know you could have more than one.

Cristof Boyer

I'm with LA Casting, Actors Access and Sande Alessi Casting. These are casting agencies, not talent agencies. I use to be with Central Casting but my registration expired with them, I have to go back and re-register. I think it's $25-30 to register with them for 3 years. LA Casting costs about $15 per month, Actors Access costs about $65 for a year membership and you can make unlimited submissions. If you don't join their 1 year membership then they will you will have to pay $2 for each submission you make, it's better off if you do the 1 year membership. I do not recommend Sande Alessi Casting, they're a joke. They don't update their casting notices for weeks. The good news is I only paid $25 for unlimited membership with them. As for 90210 Talent, I never heard of them but I will check them out. Maybe I will give them a shot. But yes, you can join as many casting agencies you want. In fact, the more the better. Better chances for finding work. But for me, I can't afford to join every casting agency out here.

Dan LaRoy

Well that's great advice. I will have to join multiple casting agencies. Although it could get expensive joining a lot of them. I knew about central casting. I have heard that it's the best one. I also knew about actors access and there is extras access as well. Is there just as much work for union extras as there is for non union? can you work as a SAG extra if you are SAG eligable but not in the union? It's so different where I live. There are no casting agencies here. There are a couple of extras casting people that have email and they send me emails periodically. and there is no union extras. If you are in the union you cant be an extra because its all non union. The rate here for non union is 101.50 for a 12 hour day

Cristof Boyer

Yes, you can work union gigs if you are SAG eligible. But the reason why I don't submit to union work is because then I would have to become a "must join" and that means I would have to fork out $3000 for the initiation fee and I don't have it (I think they give you 30 days after booking- Taft Hartley). I wish there was an easier way. I have to admit, the other reason why I'm having trouble finding work is because I don't have any wheels. You MUST have a car here in LA. I use public transportation and I have gotten to gigs that way but then there were times I had to turn down work because of the distance and not being able to get there. A car is essential. That is also a factor with me trying to find another agent (I'm looking for commercial one by the way). God forbid, if an agent decides to represent me and then he/she calls me up about an audition that I need to get to in 30 minutes and it's going to take me an hour to get there by bus. That may be my only opportunity and I could blow it. Last minute auditions really isn't a norm but it can happen. You have to be prepared. Yes it seems to me if that you are serious about this, you have to leave Utah. You can't go far if you're not living in a market that doesn't cater to you acting career. You need to come to LA or New York. But there are other places- Austin, Tx; New Orleans and Atlanta. There is a rise in filmmaking in those places and cost of living is cheaper.

Dan LaRoy

There are some successful actors in Utah like Michael Flynn he's been in 85 films and he's never left utah or christopher miller he's been in 51 and he's done hundreds of voice over things. Utah isn't as small of a market as people think. This is where the sundance film festival is held and Because of the mountains and cheapness it attracts film makers. But its nothing like LA. The problem is right now I don't think I could get work in LA. If I can't get it here LA is probably even harder. But If I went there I could possibly take some acting classes and improve at a faster rate. I just don't want to go until i'm SAG and maybe have a couple films on my resume. i'm aiming for about a year from now. Luckily I do have a car. But its kind of an old one. I didn't think LA was like that. I thought a city that big would have lots of public transportation like new york does.

Cristof Boyer

LA does have plenty of public transportation, I rely on it. BUT it does take a lot longer to get to where you're going and some buses stop running in the late hours. Plus alot of projects do shoots outside of the LA area and that's where the lack of a car becomes an issue.

Dan LaRoy

Oh geez. You should get a car. I might need to get a newer more dependable one before I move there. It will be so expensive to get there. 3 grand to join sag, plus buying a newer car, plus moving expenses. I better start saving up.

Gary Kent James

Central casting no longer charges to register. Extra access is kind of a joke. They want you to pay monthly fee to submit for work. LA Casting has a monthly fee too and sometimes the same projects are listed on here too. Why pay for both.

Gary Kent James

You want an agent and you are not union. Casting will have no interest unless you got film credits. Unless your a special type they are looking for. Get lots of info at SAG-Aftra site.

Dan LaRoy

I already have an agent. I'm young, very attractive and i'm really not worried about getting an agent. It's the other questions I had that are more pressing.

Jamie Newell

you should be worried about getting an agent as that is the place where you will get hired and finding a good agent who has excellent relationships with working casting directors is not as easy as you might imagine. They have little time or interest in preening talent these days. My suggestion is to get a reel of lots of different work together before you go. Work with any independent film people in your area now. Your day job should be your last thing on the list before you head out.

Jeff Osborne

first of all do you have any credits second a agent will find you if you get out there and get on some movies also about extra rolls yes you can I have many acting friends that only do background and extra work I don't know everybody says get a agent right away get a website get on LA casting actors access central casting Katz and network like crazy don't listen to people that try to discourage you my 2 cents

Dan LaRoy

Jeff that is great advice thankyou. to answer your questions Yes I do have a couple of credits including two lead roles. I have an agent where i live in salt lake city, utah and they have a sister agency in los angeles that I think I could get to represent me. Why do people say not to get an agent right away? I never understood that. Is it just because they usually turn down inexperienced talent? or is there other negative reasons to getting an agent too soon?

Jeff Osborne

well there can be if you get a agent to soon then your paying him or her 10% what ever you earn and when you not sag you don't earn a whole lot but you can pay your bills if you get out there and go to everything you can or get its good to get at least a dozen credits leads are good plus agents some agents don't really do anything for you maybe send you out to some gigs that you could of got yourself ive gotten everything my self I regularly work either on short films indy feature music video ect.. but if you already have a agent whch has a sister agency out here then awesome

Dan LaRoy

Well I haven't done a lot. the two leads i did were really low budget independent films that were both non union. I'm SAG eligable but i'd still like to puff up my resume a bit before heading out to LA. The sister agency in LA would be a big help but I think you are right. they'd send me to stuff i might be able to find myself but i'm not too worried about paying them if they get me work i'm ok with that. but i'm not too worried about the agent situation. I've always been able to get an agent easily even without experience. Because I have a background in modeling and also martial arts they just want to sign me and I could always do stunts in LA while i'm looking for acting gigs. Do you reccomend any acting classes? there are hundreds there.

Gary Kent James

You can"t make enuff money doing background work unless your 18 to look younger. And this is for union work.

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