Is there any kind of market? I mean, I lived there for three years and it seemed like there was barely any theatre (outside of ACT) but of course, I could have just missed it. Film? TV? Commercials?
San Francisco native here!
Post-college and post-post-college-living-abroad, I moved back to SF and tried my hand as an actor there. There is work there, but a limited amount indeed. Then again, I didn't have an agent and was limited to SF Casting. The most paid work I got was a print job. I probably had only one legitimate commercial audition there in 9 months.
There is a ton of theater, but you'd also have to expand to the rest of the Bay Area and places like Berkeley Rep.
I know people do somehow build a few credits in SF, but that was not me.
For anyone out there, does anyone find it helpful to have an agent in SF if you're based in LA, granted you can make it back to SF for an important audition? Or would an SF agent be able to assist in getting LA auditions?
Yes, there is a small professional market. Many local theaters in the Bay Area, a few in SF, many indy/student films in SF like Scary Cow.
I was a TA for a Theater Appreciation course. The classroom was at the local theaters. We watched the performance, then we had a Q&A with the cast and producers afterwards. Most of the small theaters (blackbox, basement) are in the East Bay. The few in SF are friends who pulled together and rented a space for themselves.
There are agencies. Stars. Nancy Hayes.
An agent can give advice. But you'll need an LA agent for LA auditions.
Union merger means a greater chance of joining via industrial and TV ads. Few blockbusters are filmed there, so even background requires SAG. A lot of LA actors go to pasture in SF and snag an industrial here or there. They work other careers unless it's an A lister or a visiting actor from LA.
The same group of teachers are at all the schools. I studied acting in SF. They're usually the same actors at different theaters in the Bay. Some are awesome, and some are best avoided.
SF is a great place to get started. I moved from Sunset District to LA.
There actually is background non union work for bigger films a few times a year.
You could get started in sf, but there is not anything really good, or a lot of ways to get recognizable real credits in SF. Pretty much there is NO WAY you can be a working actor, with few exceptions. Yea most people have other jobs or are retired and just act as a hobby. Most of the work os low paying.
Also people say it's less competitive in smaller markets than La. But I disagree, yea there is less people, but FAR LESS work for actors, so it is even more competitive for those few jobs that come around that are actually worth it. For training, there is not really anything that great. Only a couple places to choose from, and not very rocognizable for those in La. Even getting an La agent from San Francisco, is next to impossible. It's still not close enough for an agent to risk it with you.
I stand corrected on background work. It's simply not what I do.
Austen sums it up well. I believe it's better to start in SF because there's plenty of film shoots. There are good teachers there.
I'll chime back in and say SF is only a good place to start if that's where you originally live or are currently based. In no way should you just move out to SF to specifically be a film/TV actor . That being said, theater is still strong in the Bay. But I should have cut the months in SF and have moved to LA sooner.
I totally agree with AustenCA about there being far less work in SF. SPYDOG, you must have had better luck!
There is a decent amount of commercial work in SF right now. A couple weeks ago there were a few SAG commercial spots that cast 54 principal roles in total. There is more now and in the next few weeks.
And if there is non-union BG work on big films that of course means there is union work too as the first 60 spots must be union, since SF is in the zone.
SF is a great place to begin, absolutely. And it's a great city. Albeit, it's not for everyone. There are other great places to learn and grow. And SF, as coveted as it may be, is not the top market.
I consult and work on productions sometimes. For indy/student films in LA, one day of casting online can yield around 100 actors, including SAG. In SF, it's quite the opposite.
Unless we're only talking about money?
As for me, I decided to stay in Chicago to build my resume and get top-notch training. I'd far, far prefer to live in San Francisco, but pragmatism won out!
Pssst, Victrola, over here.
Sign me up!
Sadly, I am not in lovely San Francisco but in gray & brown & dirty off white Chicago.
I just have to keep telling myself this is where I need to be right now!
SF I think is mostly a print market, with some commercial opportunities and nearly nothing for TV/Film. Hell, when TV or film DOES shoot up here, they STILL cast out of LA anyway.
I agree on there being extra competition with less opportunities. This is from the perspective of an actor, and also the mom of a child actor. Kids' work opportunities are minimal, and they will have cattle calls when anything big is casting that can go 1-2 days for a handful of roles. I kind of feel like they only cast in SF when they have no idea what they really want..
The student films I can't take seriously anymore, having worked with so many flakes. I did a bunch in an attempt to build a reel and ended up with next to nothing footage-wise. And most of what I DID get from the student films I had to fight for, and call, e-mail, threaten to involve the school, etc. Also, almost every breakdown for a female role starts out with "sexy" or "beautiful" and it's just funny to me that they always specify. No normal actresses need apply! Side note on student films: They don't adhere to CA labor laws for child actors, from what I've seen. No set teachers, no understanding of set hours, etc.
You also have to watch out for all the little groups of "production companies" who basically think they can do everything and really excel at nothing. Although I guess that's an issue in LA, too.
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