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Part 2: When to Travel to Los Angeles

August 03, 2016

When to Travel to Los Angeles

Do you have to live in Los Angeles for your child to develop an acting career? No! “Book some projects locally (if you live in markets close to New Orleans, Atlanta, Florida, Vancouver, etc.), get comfortable with auditioning, learn your craft, train, take some casting director workshops, build a résumé, and then come out to Los Angeles,” says Talent Manager Annet McCroskey.

However, taking a trip to Hollywood is highly recommended even if it is only a temporary trip or short vacation.  Educate yourself and your child about Hollywood, participate in some events in the area, and simply experiencing Los Angeles will prove to be an asset to your child's career. When done correctly, you will make vital connections which will help you once you return home.  Consider, for example, planning a trip around a CIF networking event, and using the Member Directory to set up meetings with agents and managers before you arrive in L.A.  You might also consider taking a class with a well-known Hollywood acting coach.

When is the best time to travel to LA? That depends on experience.

Summer Season: for beginners.
The best time to come out for someone brand new to the industry, with little or no experience under their belt is usually the summer season. Take classes with Hollywood pros, meet with potential representation, and get an overall feel for Los Angeles as a city.

Episodic, Cable Pilot Season, & Pilot Season: for Managed and Experienced.
If your child has experience or has secured Los Angeles representation (or a local agent/manager with excellent L.A. contacts), the best time for your visit is August-December for Episodic and Cable Pilot Season and/or January-April for Network Pilot season.

"Pilots and films are shot year round," explained McCroskey, "but we have a higher concentration during those times.  I like Episodic Season because there are many co-star and guest-star roles for kids, but they usually are not accepting tape for those roles, so you are missing out if you are not here."

Don’t make the mistake of bringing your children to L.A. for a first-time trial during Episodic/Pilot season if you do not have representation.  You might think this would be a great time to make connections and land auditions.  But for children who are not yet represented, Agents and Managers are going to be focusing their attention on their working talent and won't have a great deal of time to meet with or commit to new talent.  This is why the summer season is best for newbies to find representation and get their feet wet. It is slower during Summer than during episodic and pilot season but on the other hand you also have less competition from the extra 4,000 kids in town during pilot season.

"Most kids have to build up their résumé from 'under 5', to co-star, to guest star, to recurring and then series regular," explained McCroskey.  It does happen that brand new kids get their own series on the first try, but the vast majority has been working for several years before they get a lead."

Ultimately: Commit to a month-long LA trip, twice yearly
McCroskey also points out that after you've built up a strong local résumé in your home town and/or surrounding areas, "you must have the money to be able to come out at least twice a year and stay for at least a month, ideally three or longer each time so you can build some momentum, meet casting and make an impression, so when you go back home and we send in a tape, chances are some casting directors like your work and will make sure to watch your taped audition.  Many kids make the mistake to come out for one week and then think they will become a star overnight."