Working in the entertainment world in a secondary market means that you will work with and come across a lot of people who eventually move to either New York or Los Angeles. Sadly it’s kind of a given as there isn’t enough work in a secondary market to financially sustain most people full time. So most will make the move to the factory town, either New York if they are interested in theatre or Los Angeles if their goal is film or television. Even voice artists may have to make the move. While being able to work anywhere due to advances in technology, if you wish to pursue voicing animation, gaming or looping, you kind of have to be where it’s being created and that means LA.
What it means for me is I have a lot of friends and colleagues who now reside in LA. I had the chance to catch up with one recently. She made the move 2 years ago after graduating from college and was living the stereotypical actors life, waitressing to sustain herself while pursuing auditions and meeting with managers and agents. You know the drill.
She updated me on what was going on in her life as we hadn’t spoken for quite a while. She’d just left a long time waitressing job at a chain to move to a different restaurant. It was a difficult decision as she truly felt like her co-workers were her family. But this chain didn’t support her idea of living responsibly which included only eating what you really need and not serving huge portions that either go to waste or to waist. Instead she found a place that supported her lifestyle choices of sustainability. Even then, it wasn’t an ideal situation as she was being over-scheduled and she hadn’t as yet established many solid relationships with co-workers. But she felt this was a temporary situation that was getting better every day.
It made me think about my last corporate job I held. I was there for 12 years which is almost unheard of these days. I stayed for various reasons, first because I liked and respected my co-workers. Then because the environment was so healthy. After all there weren’t many places that actually treat you like a grown up and let you do your job without second guessing every move. Finally I stayed because once I started acting, I realized that my longevity and seniority gave me the flexibility I needed to pursue this new passion without sacrificing the quality of work I did for my day gig.
Hearing my friend discuss her decisions helped me to realize that everything we do, every choice we make about how we live, work and even eat, comes into play with our careers. If we have a good paying but toxic job that sucks energy and passion from our quest, we may pay the rent but our progress will be slow or maybe even stalled. If we work at a place that encourages overeating, you may find yourself being not so camera ready before long. Taking care with all of the choices we make, even the seemingly non-important or non-related ones will serve us well as we go forth.