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How do I break into the entertainment industry in L.A., do i need to move to LA

I'm in grade 8, I take performing arts classes, such as vocal training, dancing, acting classes, film classes, choir and i want to become a performer in LA. #acting # LA #usa #canada # College #university

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John’s Answer

Achieving a career in Hollywood might be a dream Dara, but it's not a challenge for the faint of heart. Part of the problem is that there's a massive amount of competition for the same jobs; everyone's looking for the same opportunities. As in many types of work, connections are all-important and you'll need to be willing to start at the bottom.

So, you want to work in the entertainment industry, right? Not everyone can be an influencer, actor or a director. Do be open minded and dig deeper and look at all the different opportunities that the industry has to offer. Find out about different careers in each field, the skill sets needed and what jobs are emerging. The more you know about the industry and the field you are in as a while, the more you’ll be able to identify potential opportunities. Once you find a job you are interested in applying for. Research some more. There is nothing that impresses a potential employer more than someone who has true knowledge and understanding of the industry, company, and role.

Few people within the entertainment industry are natives to Los Angeles, and it may take time before such a big move can be made, but this does not mean, you can’t start pursuing your dreams now. Seek out local opportunities, to get your foot in the door. Obviously every city has a local news station and theatre production house, EVEN Canada and all of them are in need of help. Get started by asking about an internship, or a part-time job and familiarize yourself with the industry in your own area. Hands-on experience will resonate with potential employers in the future, and local experience beats no experience all the time.

Social media platforms such as; LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram have become important tools to help you connect with other professionals within the industry. Take time to find other companies, that you are interested in or professionals with careers that you would like to emulate and reach out to. In addition to social media, start to put yourself out there and attend events that interest you. Share your experiences with others and ask people you meet for advice. Networking events could potentially get you a life changing opportunity.

Be true to who you are, find your passions and rock them. Whether you’re a musician or an actor/actress, be passionate about it and let the world know. Don’t try to become what you think people want. Individuality is what truly makes the entertainment industry thrive, and not just for those who are on camera. The business side of the industry is filled with people with amazingly creative and diverse interests and it leads to success. Who knows, maybe you could land a gig because you’re the man/woman who “always knows what concerts are in town”. Each person has a passion for something, so why not express yours and make sure you stand out from the rest.

Be confident. You have to show that you have what it takes. Even if you have little to no experience, you have to prove that you have what it takes to succeed at the role. There is so much competition and so many people are fighting for their way in, so stand out! Never give up and be persistent. Keep bugging those contacts you have and attending workshops. Keep perfecting your portfolio. Keep calling back places you have interviewed at. The entertainment industry is tough and only the thick skin people will make it! Also, always be nice :) You never want to burn bridges or be rude to a stranger that could be your way in the business.

See you in the Movies

John recommends the following next steps:

One of the fastest ways to get the experience you need to break in is to sign up with a temp agency. Temp agencies place you in a wide variety of positions within entertainment. Most of these positions are administrative in nature, such as working as an assistant for a few days or weeks. While the glamour may be missing, it's often the best route to get yourself onto a studio lot.
One of the easiest ways to get experience is to offer to work for free. Almost everyone in the entertainment business could use an extra pair of hands, and if you can afford to forgo a paycheck for a short period, you'll receive hands-on experience and networking opportunities. From the camera department to the makeup department, most movie sets are often shorthanded and more than likely, you'll sign a waiver and be working the same day.
Most major networks and studios offer a wide variety of internship programs. The good news is you don't necessarily need to be in college to take advantage of them. To find out about these programs, visit the various corporate websites and search under their "jobs" section for a list of available internship programs.

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hi Dara!

So awesome that you have a passion for the entertainment industry :). Like many industries, entertainment is very competitive-- that's wonderful that you're taking those performing arts classes, they will not only help you hone in on which part of the entertainment industry you like, but they'll also get you started with a few basic skills that are sometimes needed for entertainment. Like John's answer-- be confident-- confidence as you may have learned through your classes, is very important. Also I'd like to add that you need to be open to feedback, not all feedback is positive, but it is a gift; you might get more harsh feedback than positive at times, but you just need to learn and grow from it. I'd also recommend that you keep pushing yourself, it's going to get really tough with a lot of people competing for the same roles you might like to have-- just keep pushing and if you don't get certain parts, keep trying for more! While you are still in grade 8, you have plenty of time to start volunteering at your local performing arts center-- I'm not in the entertainment industry so I don't know if volunteering is necessary, but you'll definitely learn some behind the scenes things, you'll get to network with professionals, and you'll help out your community :).

Good luck, you got this!