Don't even compare borrowing money for an acting career versus a medical/law degree. Unless they royally screwed up somewhere along the line, doctors and lawyers are guaranteed to make $200k+ a year in salary. Those loans are quickly gone and then some. Acting on the other hand? You're very lucky if you can survive a year on the money earned from acting alone. I DO NOT CONDONE BORROWING MONEY FOR ACTING UNLESS YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO. Debt is a ball and chain and if things don't work out then you're forced to pursue something else to pay it off.
Lawyers are absolutely, positively not guaranteed $200K and the sizeable debts does not take a few years to pay off...more like 10 years +.
As stated you are sadly misinformed. Theres a whole bunch of attorneys even in major markets who make between 50-60k a year. In NYC alone, the average ADA makes 51k a year. Do some homework and stop watching "The Good Wife"
And a loan is the only way some people can come up with fast cash to make a major move like this. If they're not borrowing it from you, don't worry about it.
Guaranteed was the wrong word. You're not guaranteed anything. What I meant is more likely.
Forget the numbers. My point was that you're more likely to make a survivable and decent income doing a different profession.
I am worried about it. Most of the population thinks having a load of debt is no big deal and then they whine and complain about their life sucks and they can't do what they really want to do because they have all these bills to pay and other crap. Once you jump down into a hole it's a lot harder to get back out. If you need the money, go for it, it's your life and I understand - I HAVE borrowed money before. Just realize if you're banking on paying it back with only your acting because you think you're going to make it big as soon as you make the move... well, you will probably be disappointed.
I was reading this one actresses blog and someone wrote in for advice saying they were trying to save 10k before moving. And she wrote "oh sorry to break it to you but you need to save more than 10k" I think it is so unrealistic to have that amount saved. No matter what you have saved you have to get a job when you get to La anyways. Everyone would love to have tons saved but they probably wouldn't ever get to La if they waited for the "perfect" amount.
I was researching this very topic the other day, and came across this youtube video. I'm not sure if this guy is an actor or not, but he admits to doing extra work. It was kind of informative.
I am not in LA as yet, but when I do go, I would like to have at least 5k, but I am shooting for 10k. The one advantage (or maybe it is a disadvantage, depends on your point of view) is I recently went through a chapter 7 last year, so I have no debt load at all, I am just working on building savings and getting a car. I will of course try to have a job lined up before hand. But it is hard to predict something like that.
It is not that hard to estimate expenses since at the very least, you know what you need to live on:
a place to stay (rent)
cost of utilities
transportation expenses (a car in this case)
A-lot of this can be found out with a decent amount of googling. I like to use the city-data forums and simply ask people what they pay for various things.
The cost of moving itself is also fairly easy to get a ballpark figure on. You already know that gasoline costs at least $3 a gallon, and I imagine in many places, closer to $4. So for a car that gets decent to crappy mileage (let's say you are moving from NY to L.A.), something like 22mpg. Any car I have ever drove will have a gas tank of 12 gallons for a small car and 15 for a midsize (we don't have to be super exact)
distance to L.A. from NYC according to google = 2790
mpg = 22
distance to L.A. / MPG = gallons of gas you will need for your trip
2790/22 = 127 (rounded up)
Assuming the price of gas is $4 a gallon then gas alone will cost 508
obviously, if you are towing a trailer, or your car is weighted down more than it normally is, then this figure will be more.
You will also need a place to stay on your trip, since the drive will take 4-5 days (5 days being the safer option). At 100 a night, that adds another 500 to the trip and that doesn't include food. I would imagine the trip along cost about $1200 ~ $1500. That is a very minimal amount, just you and whatever you can stuff into your car.
Moving expenses can be tax deductible if you moved due to work.
My advice? Come out with $5K and a car at a minimum. That should be enough to hold you over until you find a day job.
Before I moved out here, though, a well-established actor told me to save up at least $10K before moving out here and his reasoning was that $10K was a good amount to hold a person over until they start booking some acting jobs. He argued that a person will get used to making a decent wage at their day job, which can make it hard to transition solely to acting.
I moved out here with $5K and a car. He was right, I'm currently stuck at my day job; but it's paying my rent, allowing me train through classes, and I'm saving up for when I CAN finally make the transition.
So I would say there isn't a "perfect" amount or a "perfect" time, but having a gameplan definitely wouldn't hurt
I plan on moving out west by the end of the summer .I'm buying a motorcycle to cut gas cost's in half .I figured i'm going to have to send my bike out there .Then fly out there ,i've got a solid resume and have been working .I also have figured since i'm want to be and actor .I'll probably realistically be living off of part-time real jobs at first .So getting and apartment IMO wouldn't be as wise as renting a room .I've been looking and i've found alot of room rentals between 450-500 monthly .I figured once i move out there .I was going to be without a job for a month or so .Before i found something decent so after the costs of shipping my bike out my plane ticket and first and last .I'm figuring going out there with 5k for living expenses .
I'm very resourceful when looking for a job i even started looking for work out there from where i'm at now .Just to test the waters a bit ,if your confident .I'd make sure you had car and at least over 4grand and .Didn't mind living frugally for that first year .It's not what you have it's what your willing to go without .Whether you have 5k or 15k it wont make a difference if your constantly spending money .It goes quick no matter how much you have .
Years ago I arrived in New York from Virginia Beach, VA with $200. I had a no job prospects, but I did have a place to stay in Hell's Kitchen; splitting the rent between 4 people. I also had a talent manager in my corner.
It took a few weeks, but I finally begged, borrowed and stole my way into a job bussing tables in a theme restaurant...making less money than I did in Virginia.
I was able to get on my feet after a while with the steady restaurant job and acting gigs.
I stayed in New York for 3 1/2 - 4 years before moving to Los Angeles with about $2,000. Again, I had no survival job set up, but I did have some residuals coming in from a few commercials. I had gotten approved for a studio apartment during my trip to LA for agent meetings before actually moving.
I ran out of money twice in the first 8 months and went back to New York...long story that starts here...
I eventually found a better job at a hotel her in Los Angeles, first valeting then serving and was able to improve my situation.
Looking back now, one of the biggest things missing in my arsenal was solid money management skills. Back in August '06 I entered all of my financials into Quicken and focused on becoming debt-free. One of the smartest things I've ever done. It could have made transitions a lot easier over the years.
Good luck to you all!
I just posted the same question a week or two back. I am currently in Maryland right now, me and my boyfriend are planning on moving before the year ends. I have about 7K saved but im being laid off from my full-time job in another week (see how life happens?) I have a waitress job as well as backup (thank the Lord!) but Im trying to get all my ducks in a row before the move. I know its going to be extreamly rough. Im fine with going without cable, living off or potatoes and ramen noodles. I keep telling myself I have to keep my eye on the prize.
Im going to be going from living comfortably to very tight.
But I have another question....Is it really as hard as everyone says it is to get a server job? Im worried about that. I have almost 2 years experience as a waitress/bartender at a nice resturant right now (tray service,boxing up food at the table, that kind of stuff..) with all the people trying to get a food service job, I can see how this is possible.
Yeah, it can be difficult to find a server job, but it can also be easy...ish. Just depends. People are always coming and going. I had a server job and I resigned back in the Fall...somebody got that job.
I can tell you that at some places there is a lot of money to be made. Where I worked just okay, but they offered medical benefits and a 401(k) retirement plan.
I recommend NOT being deterred at all and just go for it!
Love hearing everyone's responses. I've gone back and forth between "ok I'm moving" and "I need to save more, I have to have 10k and/or a job lined up" A lot of people say you HAVE to have 10k or more. I might try getting a waitress job here then transferring, or I might just go and try to get a job. I still have about 7k, I have a car, and I only live in Northern CA, so I don't have to worry about moving expenses too much since it's only a 5-6 hour drive. I feel like I have been held back most by fear of not finding a job and having to come back. I have been trying to move for a couple years and it is frustrating, because I just want to be there.
I moved with $3k from a completely different country, never lived in the US before. No car, not a single person that I would know, nobody to help out financially, no job lined up, nothing, and an accent on top of it all. I have to tell you, it was somewhat stressful at a certain point because I couldn't find a job for 2,5 months (although not the worst, I still found time to chill), but I survived and everything is fine now. Would definitely do the same again, I didn't have time to save up $10k, I'm 24 already.
So AustenCA, with 7k and a car, and the fact that you're from this country, and have background history, and credit history, and driver license, and a bank account, and people closer to you... yeah, you'll be fine, I think.
People are right in saying that you need a GAMEPLAN. But sometimes that planning goes for so long that you wake up and oh you're 87 already.
Wow that is really impressive toonaive! Good for you! What kind of job(s) did you end up finding? I really like your outlook on moving. 24 is not old either!
You have to remember that money goes quickly here, so it's a matter of how good you are at handling it, so that the money can go towards essentials -- headshots, union dues (if relevant to you), living expenses (rent, gas & electricity, water, car, etc.), food. And remembering to have a LIFE in between all of that is very, very important. As actors we draw from life, and if you're not enjoying it while you're pursuing this career, it's going to make the struggle worse.
I guess the best thing I can say with regards to this is to find a number that works for you personally, once you've factored in all those costs. A lot of people say $10K or more, for starters; if you can get that put together, GREAT. Perfect. You'll be in better shape than a lot of people that come down here, and you'll have more buffer time between moving and having to get a job.
If you have less than that, remember you're going to have to work harder to make ends meet, for sure -- that goes without saying. But at least you'll be moving with an awareness. If you have less money, TRY to make up a game plan. If you have more money, you have more time to focus.
In the end, though, what toonaive said. Too much planning, not enough doing, will become an obstacle in your career. Best of luck!
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