By Allen Levin
If you want a career in film and television there truly isn’t a contest. You need to be in LA. If you want a career in modeling or theatre go to NY. Can you do some modeling and theatre in LA? Yes. Can you do some film and TV in NY? Sure. If you are serious and want the best career possible, stick to LA for film and TV and NY for theatre and modeling.
When you ask someone on team NY (anyone that’s lived in NY for a few or more years or was born there) if you should live in LA or NY, they will always say NY as a gut response. They will say “New York just has this energy. People there are honest. LA is too laid back.” I’ve heard this so many times from so many New Yorkers. Are they lying? No. But is there as much film and TV opportunities in NY? Not even close. It’s little league VS the pros.
I think it’s awesome that people from NY share this team spirit. I wish we had that here in LA. It’s unimportant however. What is important for those of you angling for film and TV is that the best agents, managers, producers, directors, casting directors, and every single slot necessary for film and TV is in LA. There are tax incentives that keep these producers coming back again and again, but the reason the mecca will never leave here: the weather. You can shoot movies here all year round! You don’t have to worry about risking your investment due to major rain storms (almost never happen in LA), snow storms or billzards (never in LA), or much unpredictability when it comes to weather. The weather is usually: sunny.
I find it charming how many people on “Team NY” live in LA. If you ask them they will stand up for NY. Everyone should move to NY. NY is the only true American place. There is nothing better! Will they be moving back to NY? No. They want to work in film and television. They will badmouth LA (many of them) and it makes them feel closer to their chosen team. They will wear clothes demonstrating how much they love NY (and hats). I love that they love their home. I’m going to tell you, I love LA. I’m excited that we have 2 football teams now. I’m hoping the Clippers and Lakers kick some ass. I think we could all use a dose of home spirit! Let’s take a page from the NY’ers. But we can’t move. We also shouldn’t express to people how much we hate it here. If we do that we are a flight risk. We will not be hired for leads as we can’t be relied upon (we might up and move).
So, in order to work more, you love LA. You aren’t leaving LA. If I were you, LA wouldn’t be my favorite place (don’t be a forgettable acting drone). Your favorite place can be anywhere else that you love, but let people know you aren’t leaving LA. You’ll be here for the long haul. You’ve got work to do towards your dream. You want to play in the big leagues. That’s what this place is. If the bulk of film and TV ever moves to another city (Miami, Chicago, Atlanta, etc) that’s where I’ll move. That won’t happen however. I’ve been here 2 decades and we always have the most. Lately we’ve had even more than we usually have. So, drop an anchor and learn to love it here.
We may never have the home spirit of NY, but let’s have some home spirit. Let’s love the Ocean! Have you been to Malibu? What about the Venice canals? Let’s love Griffith Park! Let’s love Disney Hall. Let’s love MGM and the WB. How about SONY in Culver City? There are so many things in LA to love. We’ve got Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood’s walk of fame (where one day you’ll have your own star!). We’ve got so much here to love. Love it. Drop anchor. Don’t let NY people talk you into leaving (while they stay here and book your roles!).
Onward and UP.