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Which is better for an actor, New York or LA?

This morning I had a very talented actor ask me this question. If you ask an L.A. actor they will defend their city in the same way that a New Yorker will go toe to toe for the big apple. Other actors, if they are unhappy in the city they are in, will long for the days when they were in sunny L.A. or miss the theater scene in New York. Each city protests that they have better work or more of it. While L.A. has about 4 times the amount of television shows, it also has about 4 times as many actors living in the area. The same is for theater in New York. While there is much more theater in NYC, the majority of actors in NYC are theater actors.

So it levels out in some aspects. So what to do? If you have only lived in one market then is it worth picking up and moving and almost starting over? What’s an actor to do? Can I work in Film and TV in NYC? Does LA have Theater to keep my soul alive?

Usually as an actor if you are doing a great show you’re not as upset about where you’re living. You could be doing a lead in the Midwest but if the show is great and the pay is good you can deal with the town, apartment, lack of night life- anything. Most people try to decide to move based on if they will book more work in another city. I actually believe that you should ask yourself these questions before you move.

Are you moving for personal or professional reasons?

Be honest with yourself. Either is a perfectly valid reason for moving or changing locations. Just make sure it is a strong enough reason to uproot your life. Are you moving because of a break up? Are you moving because you have really exhausted all the avenues to try to find work? Are you missing your friends or family? Be very very honest with yourself. When you know this, truly know, then ask yourself-

Are you ready to make the commitment to reestablish your business in a new location?

Remember that you are the CEO of your own company. You have spent time and money in the city you’re currently in. Moving to a new location is just like any business moving. There are risks and possible rewards with any move, so when you know why your moving then ask yourself if you can commit to moving your business. Sometimes you need a new plan of attack and not a move. Other times you need to just great over the break up of your last boyfriend/girlfriend and then ask yourself again. Moving should be an upgrade for whatever your reason is, not an avoidance of your problem.

Where do you feel you would rather struggle or survive when you are not booking?

Would you rather struggle in LA or NYC? When you move, it can infuse you again to reinvent yourself. A fresh start with a new city can do wonders but anyone who knows this industry you can be hot one day, and cold the next. So for me the most important question is when its rough where do you want to be. You become very aware of your surroundings when your not booking or when your in between jobs.

When your working an acting job, you will probably be too busy to actually do things in the city your living in. When your in those tough patches and rough spots though… that’s when you put your city to the test.

Alberto Bonilla teaches the Film and TV class at the Maggie Flanigan Studio. This class is for actors who are serious about working in film and television. For more information about classes at the studio, you can visit the studio website: Maggie Flanigan Studio

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