Suppose you got your visa and you arrived at the airport in L.A. here is a little first aid kit what you need:
- A car (seriously, that’s the first thing you gotta get): ask around, I got it through a colleague of my sister. Maybe a friend or somebody you met knows something. You can also go to car dealers but you never know if they will scam you or not. What I did was I took the car for a ride, went to the nearest car dealer and let it be checked. It cost $120 but after that I knew that it was a safe deal.
- An apartment: Look up westsiderentals.com and all the major facebook groups (just search for L.A./Los Angeles and apartments, living etc.). Ask around – usually somebody knows somebody who knows somebody… I simply posted on my own facebook page and people responded.
- A bank account and a credit card: As a person from abroad you usually don’t have any credit. What you can do is put some of your money – let’s say $1000 as a credit deposit into your account. With that you always have a credit of $1000, you get a credit card, and if you do it wisely you can build up your credit in the next year (but that’s a whole different story I will talk about in a different post)
- A social security number: Just go to the nearest social security administration office with all your legal documents and you should get your number in about 14 days. Without a social security number you usually can’t get any work. So get one asap!
- A health insurance: Many people have no health insurance, therefore at some point they have to pay a fine which I think is about $75 now. I enrolled in Covered California/Medical to start out in my first you (you can do that as long as you are earning less than $16.000 a year). As soon as you are earning more you have to switch to a different deal (which you can do easily midseason). Then you usually pay about $200 per month for your health insurance. For this info and to get me into the system I called a firm called Beach Financial Group, a Californian Insurance Broker, I got referred to. http://www.beachfinancialgroup.com/ Of course you can get help from any other broker as well.
- A car insurance: progressive or geico are good ones. Get a quote with all your details (car and area you live at) and see which one is better for you.
- Headshots: Check out some headshot photographers
- A printer: To print out your headshots and resumes or print them at a FedEx print shop.
- A mobile phone + plan to have internet everywhere – you will need it!
- The uber/lyft app
- A fan: for hot days in your apartment & a heater: for the cold days (seriously!)
- An emergency contact: Sometimes you have to fill out an emergency contact sheet at productions. Ask around who would be your emergency contact.
- A good car dealership/garage: If something happens with your car. Kevin from Advance Auto Repair is the absolute best!
- A manager/an agent
- A daytime job (alert: you can just work the stuff that is shown on your visa!) Look up: utajobs.com, hollywoodtempdiaries.com, facebook pages, extra work, singing waitress job, a kids party Disney princess, whatever is possible, you need the money
- Acting training in:
- On Camera Audition
- Commercial Audition
- Contacts! Network! No matter where you are, talk to people and once you hit it off ask if they are on Facebook or Instagram to stay in touch!
- An Accent Reduction Coach: You need to fully get rid of your Accent to play a standard American role if you are not from here.
- A plan:
- If you don’t have an agent/manager go to agents showcases: You have to prepare a monologue or scene and maybe somebody liked what you did. But definitely stay in touch with everybody! You never know! OR call/email managers/agents and see if you can make an appointment to audition for them.
- If you already have an agent/manager: Go to Casting Directors workshops. Find out who is casting for your favorite TV shows and try to find a workshop this Casting Director is attending. Do your monologue or scene and stay in touch!
- Self-submit and let your agent submit you to all the vacant roles out there! Give your agent the feeling that you’re working together and you want to be as proactive as possible!
- Get new demo scenes if you need to! (All in American English except for the other languages or accents you can speak) all in all 3 min max.
Follow your plan – I WISH YOU THE BEST!!
Categories: Stars & Lifestyle