Hello, New York! If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere!
Growing up in a small town in Texas, I had no idea what I would need to make it in NYC. After doing theatre endlessly my entire childhood, and from college experiences, I imagined that I would just continue to do theatre non-stop. Reality can be a little bit different when you reach adulthood.
So in the spirit of paying it forward, I’ve created an article series called New York Newbie to share my “wish I knew then” advice for actors making the move to the Big Apple. This time, we’re taking a good, hard look at expectations versus the reality of what to need to do when you first arrive in the city.
First, you gotta be ready to NOT be performing all of the time.
You will most likely be auditioning more than you are performing. Then there will be the time you need to set aside to be able to make money to eat, unless you are lucky to have money set aside. I always say, “You can’t win a Tony if you can’t eat.” Catering, waiting tables, tour guide, retail work, temporary jobs are all great places to look for a job, but set hard boundaries. You are here to be an actor. If your employer isn’t behind that 100%, it’s just going to cause more stress for you in the long run. Keep looking; you can find an employer that is supportive.
Finding a place to live is paramount.
So, you should consider having roommates to ease the cost. A great resource is the Gypsy Housing group on Facebook. Realistically, you will want to have around $5,000 available for first and last month’s deposit plus extras.
Immediately join a class of some sort.
I don’t mean casting director workshops; I mean an on-going acting class. Your work is just beginning, and if you want to have a handle on what’s happening in the industry, finding a tribe is vital. For musical theatre, Jen Waldman Studio is a great community. For acting, there are several studios to explore, such as Scott Freeman, Karl Bury, and ESPA. Test them all out to find your fit.
Don’t forget to “feed the human.”
Start to do things that have nothing to do with your career. Go to museums, parks, workout classes, join a gym, or a meetup group. Basically, do something that’s going to help you discover what makes you more than just an actor. You are MORE than what you DO!
Did you find these tips helpful? Then share this blog with your friends and fellow newbies by clicking here. If you want to be notified when the next part in the New York Newbie series is available, be sure to subscribe to my mailing list below.