When I arrived in LA June/July of 2014, I had a rough transitioning period. I left a job in San Francisco that I loved, I was getting lots of paid word as a model and actor. More model than actor though which I really enjoy. I started work as a motorcycle messenger here in LA and quickly realized the traffic is INTENSE. I always believed it when people said the traffic was bad, but now that I experienced it, it's really bad! Almost anytime of the day is traffic. WHY!?!?!?!
During that job, I was looking for agents and trying to get more modeling/acting work. Since I've been in the industry for a long time, I knew how to get around without starting all over, even though I had to. Then I found a job at Arch Motorcycle and met Keanu Reeves. Great guy! Super down to Earth. It just motivated me to do more modeling and acting. When I was working at Arch, it was close to impossible to go to auditions. Work was the typical Monday thru Friday 9am-6pm. This wasn't like in San Francisco when I could just get up out of work, go to an audition and head straight back to work without anyone noticing. The struggle of being an Actor in LA was hitting me hard. I tried looking for jobs that either let me leave early or I was able to leave without people noticing. I found one that let me leave slightly earlier than normal.
Welcome to Disney Interactive. Where I met both great people and shitty people. This is where I learned about the different types of people that lived in LA. Almost every job has someone who's trying to make it into acting as well. In Disney Interactive, I made lots of friends. All the people that were contract workers, like me, were all so very cool haha. They were down to Earth people. They were just getting by with their lives. Some of the full time non contract people, were the not so nice people. NOT saying all of them were bad, but before I left Disney, I had a manager that moved up to our floor from the 2nd floor. Let just say he was my new boss, and I didn't like it at all. My first boss was awesome. He told us everything and was a great leader. He got promoted and I got a 2nd boss. He was a good guy but hate to say that his leadership skills were not there. I heard he got demoted... Now for my 3rd boss. He was a total jerk. That's all I want to say. My hours in Disney were 5am to 1:30pm. I live in Torrance and work was in Glendale. So I woke up at 3:50 to get ready and drive over there. Going there was no traffic, no problem. Coming back was all traffic, all the road rage.
During this time, I believe this is where I found my agency, Tangerine Talent. I interviewed with someone named Michael. Super nice guy. He wasn't the owner but one of the agents. I miss him. He left the company not long after I started. I was then given a new Agent from the company. Having been with them for about 2.5 years, they are nothing like my old agency, Model's Inc. I miss Sherrie, my old Agent back in Northern California. She found got me to a lot of auditions and got me lots of jobs without auditioning. She also told me at LEAST a full day in advanced about an audition to go to. Sometimes she'll tell me 2-3 days in advanced. Not Tangerine Talent though. I'd say 90% of the time, its last minute or end of your day. That doesn't even give you time to tell your manager you wont be in to work the next day! They sent me to a lot of auditions where I don't fit the part as well. I know the reason behind that, but there's also reasons they shouldn't be doing that in my opinion. There was a period of about 6 months where I never got anything from them. Instead, I found everything myself. Things that they should've found for me, I found myself. I'd say in the 2.5 years I've been with them, I found more jobs myself than they did for me. About 4 months ago, from this writing, the owner of Tangerine Talent sent out an email to all their talent saying they are cutting people out of their agency to keep it small and more individualized. Luckily, they kept me, so that was good, but they only kept me in the Commercial department instead of Theatrical. That means he wouldn't submit me for roles on TV or movies but only Commercial roles. I decided to accept that so that way I can find a Theatrical agent on my own.
Time flew by fast! I looked for other agencies and then stopped looking because I was finding auditions on my own. Honestly, you don't need an Agent. They are good to have but if you were to ever think that it's impossible to find auditions without an agent, you'd be wrong. You can go solo and find plenty of work.
LA.... is a place that holds the saying, "time is money". People move fast here. They want or NEED to get to someplace super fast. No matter what is in their way, they'll get there even if its being jerks about it. I don't like it. The atmosphere and vibe of Venice Beach, Beverly Hills, sometimes Santa Monica, is not my taste. I'm sure people love those places but not me. Venice Beach gave me the worst vibe of all. Everyone there seemed very condescending. I'm sure there are hundreds of nice and great people, but for my first time visit, it was not a pleasant one. Beverly Hills is just too busy and expensive for a pleb like me. Maybe I'll return when I make tons of money. Santa Monica is not bad, lots of nice people and jerks. But I see more nice people than the other.
Not all of Southern California is bad. The beaches are nice, Palos Verdes is a great place. Torrance is a very mellow place as well. As long as I'm not in actual LA area, I'm happy. The only time I venture into LA is just for auditions. Traffic, hard to park areas, people that don't signal when they turn or change lanes is my biggest reason for my high stress about LA. I've become angrier as a driver ever since I moved here. When I drive back to SF, all that goes away. I feel a sense of calm. No one is rushing there, at least not a lot of people. Almost everyone on the streets are walking a brisk pace. Everything is calmer in San Francisco for me. LA is hectic.
I won't say LA beat me. I never once thought to myself that I wanted to give up on Acting or Modeling. I probably would have IF I grew up in LA and decided to pursue acting/modeling. I would've felt like it was impossible for me to get anywhere but with my experience in SF I was able to stand my ground. Sure I didn't get as much work as I would like but I was just happy to get auditions and do my best. Sometimes I get it, most of the time I didn't haha.
I start my new adventure in Chicago soon. I may not have liked LA like other people do, but I won't leave with a bitter taste in my mouth. LA has taught me a lot as well. Such as how to cope with douche bags, that when you're friends with people here, they either help you or throw you under the bus. How is this a good thing you might wonder, I can see the signs now haha. Most importantly, I learned a lot about myself. I know what makes me tick and what I can do about it. Sure it took me about 2 years to figure it out, but it's better late than never. I'll bring what I learned from SF and LA to IL. Leaving my comfort zone has made me stronger. A lot stronger.