It’s no secret that casting for major film and television roles happens largely in Los Angeles for projects that actually film everywhere else: Atlanta, Vancouver, New York, Toronto, New Orleans, etc.
To be cast in the larger roles an actor needs to be seen by the casting director of that project somehow, either on tape or in the room, and that inevitably favors actors who live in the LA area, and whose agents are based in LA.
However, there are two factors that favor local actors, or “local hires,” as they are called in the industry:
- Tax incentives that reward production companies for hiring local talent
- Direct cost savings for production in hiring local talent
What does this mean for actors who do not live in the LA area, but might live near one of the productions hubs like Atlanta, Vancouver, New York, Toronto, or New Orleans?
It means that you have an opportunity to build your resume without leaving home!
One of the major reasons that productions shoot outside of the home base of their production company is to save money. The cities with booming centers of production have seen the economic benefits that filming can bring to their area, and so have made it as inviting as possible via various rewards for production, including rewards for hiring locally. This means that a certain number of supporting roles will be reserved for local actors.
It also saves production considerable expense to hire locally, as they do not have to pay airfare, hotel, or per diem for actors to be flown in and set up in temporary housing. A local hire is assumed to be local enough that they can sleep in their own bed at night, and therefore also do not need per diem or transportation. These expenses add up, and make hiring local more attractive on top of the tax incentives.
Logistically it also makes no sense to audition and fly costar or background players in from outside, so those roles typically go to local hires as well, via a local casting office.
While none of the roles cast from local hires will typically be lead roles, economics mean that there are still decent-sized roles that will go to local actors.
How can you get these roles?
Have an agent. Other than background work, most roles with lines will still require a proper audition process that goes through standard channels: the casting director sends out the breakdown for the roles needed, and agents submit their clients for consideration to audition.
These are the kinds of opportunities that can help a young actor build their resume, get valuable experience, and see if the business really is what they want to do, all before incurring the expense and upheaval of moving to Los Angeles for the bigger opportunities.
The more prepared an actor is before entering the LA market, the more likely they are to find success, and the shorter the time before they do.
Coming to LA with several legit projects on your resume that you were able to book and work locally (remember, background/extras work doesn’t count!) can help a prospective LA agent to take you more seriously, and increase your odds of signing with a good one.
Do you have questions about knowing if and when your child is ready for representation? Or how to approach helping them start a career?
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Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.
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