Actors must understand they need to invest in their acting career to have a shot at getting cast in commercials, television shows, or film projects. Those who live in other markets and want to live in the Los Angeles area should save and then budget for living expenses and local travel.
Headshots One year = $ 400.00
Color headshots for commercials and dramatic roles are the calling card for actors. Make sure the eyes are captured reflecting moods and emotions like joy, suspense, and confidence.
Photographers in Los Angeles will charge from $250 to $500 per shoot. Some offer to have stylists on the set for additional fees. This isn’t necessary, especially for commercial headshots.
Get a picture that represents you and what you will look like when you walk in to a casting office for an audition.
Simply because a photographer charges more money does not mean your satisfaction level will be higher. I know of a highly recommended photographer who charges less than two hundred dollars per sitting.
Actors and models are usually out within ninety minutes with a CD full of headshots. She uses mostly natural lighting and keeps costs low for the clients.
This allows the actor to have a couple of sessions and develop a portfolio of looks. Headshots are usually good for two years unless there are major physical changes.
Photo Reproductions One year = $ 200 (varies widely)
Online services will reduce the cost of copying pictures but it’s still necessary to have different photos on hand.
Workshops One year = $ 1,100.00 minimum
Attend acting workshops to keep honing the craft so the emotions are ready to be used. There are acting workshops that charge as little as $25 per class; the classes are paid for one session at a time so there is no need to tie-up $400 or more and pay for several weeks at a time.
Plan on attending workshops for a month at a time and up to eleven months out of the year.
There’s no need to spend more than $250 dollars a month on workshops–on a regular basis. There may be times to attend extra sessions or pay privately for a coach if a key audition is looming. In addition to workshops, seek to get cast in graduate student films from USC, UCLA, AFI, and other schools.
One month = $ 100.00 minimum up to $ 250.00
Auditions One year = up to $400 in audition-related expenses
The main cost is parking. You should never, ever pay to attend an audition. Anyone who asks you to do so is not reputable.
Even if a start-up production company is shooting a short film and they say the fees will help them produce the material, I say stay away. Ask for some type of credit if you pay anything. Actors in those situations understand they’re not going to get paid any upfront money.
Small, independent productions find ways to borrow equipment and editing facilities.
But the cost of auditions includes parking of $1 to $5 at a time-especially in Santa Monica. Let’s hope that you’re having to pay for lots of parking because that means you’re going on a lot of auditions!
Auditions increase the use of your car so budget in the cost of gasoline and mileage.
Going on auditions frequently may mean you have to eat out more often.
One month parking = $5 to $15
One month gas = $25
Online Services One year = $250 (varies)
Actor’s Access and Casting Networks will cost up to $75 each to post pictures and resumes. The more pictures with different looks the better. Uploading videos may cost an additional $75.
Producing own material
Actors should get used to producing their own material and uploading to key sites like even YouTube, MetaCafe, or other sites. They may be short comedic or dramatic sketches. But it’s an avenue that should not be overlooked.
Borrowing equipment for no cost is possible. However, having up to $2,000 saved can help secure a talented cameraperson, lighting, make-up and other essentials. It may cover several episodes.
To have an acting career in Los Angeles, plan on spending at least $4,000 annually during the first year. The costs may be off-set by income from acting as an extra, sponsorships for productions, or other means. But plan on having cash on hand to make life more comfortable and to be prepared for necessary and unexpected expenses.
Knowing this reality and planning for it will make focusing on acting more feasible.
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