One of the major concerns of actors that are just starting out is the town they reside. Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, is often considered the showbiz capital of the world. However, LA is not the only location in the US where you can find a wealth of auditions. In no particular order, here are the top 10 cities to consider moving to if you wish to jump-start an acting career.
The Big 3 of the Top 10 Cities
The three major cities with the largest chunk of opportunities for aspiring actors are Los Angeles, New York City, and London.
Los Angeles, California
Being the showbiz capital of the world, Los Angeles, California, houses a whole lot of film production studios and casting/talent agencies. It is home to a great number of actors and celebrities and plays host to thousands of acting auditions per year as well. Because of this, it has drawn a great number of aspiring actors who want to make a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.
The city is now called the Creative Capital of the World. It is said that one in every six locals works in a creative field. According to the USC Stevens Institute for Innovation, “there are more artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, dancers, and musicians living and working in Los Angeles than any other city at any time in the history of civilization.”
New York City, New York
New York City is best known for Broadway, where theatrical performances are done in 40 different professional theaters that are situated along Theater District and Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center alone offers more than 500 seats. The history of Broadway started in the year 1880, when the theaters in New York began featuring a new kind of stage act, which later became known as the Broadway musical. Broadway shows earn billions and billions each year. NYC is also a popular filming location for movies and television programs.
There’s a reason why we’re seeing more and more Brits dominating American screens over the past few years, and it has everything to do with training. Aside from being the land of Shakespeare and the famous Globe Theatre, London is a hub for theater lovers everywhere as the West End rightfully rivals Broadway. Along with New York City’s Broadway, West End is usually considered to represent the highest level of commercial theater in the English-speaking world. Seeing a West End show is a common tourist activity in London.
The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has announced that 2017 was a record year for the capital’s theater industry, with attendances topping 15 million for the first time since the organization began collecting audience data in 1986. Box office revenues also exceeded £700 million. Famous screen actors, British and international alike, frequently appear on the London stage. Theatreland, London’s main theater district, contains approximately forty venues and is located in and near the heart of the West End of London.
The Other 7
Coming in fourth of the top 10 cities is Chicago, the third-largest media market in the US after Los Angeles and New York City. Four of the biggest TV networks in the United States own and operate high-definition TV stations here. These are CBS, ANC, Fox, and NBC. Talk shows like The Oprah Winfrey Show even broadcast here.
Chicago also has their own Broadway-style entertainment featured at five different theaters: the Ford Center for the Performing Arts Oriental Theatre, Cadillac Palace Theatre, Bank of America Theatre, Broadway Playhouse, and Cadillac Palace Theatre. The city also hosts the annual Joseph Jefferson Awards, an event that gives recognition to outstanding theaters within the area. Audiences also from all over the world flock to Chicago to witness how its streets and landmarks are portrayed in films and television.
Miami, Florida, is home to lots of entertainment venues, performing arts centers, and theaters. The latest addition to its arts scene, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, is the second-largest performing arts center after New York City’s Lincoln Center. The city is home to other performing arts venues and film and TV productions. It is also a favored filming location because of its climate. And because a large portion of the city’s population is Hispanic, Miami has been a major center for Spanish-language film and television production. As a result, plenty of Spanish-language programs are filmed here, including game shows, reality shows, variety shows, and the so-called telenovelas.
Within the city, there are approximately 3,000 films and entertainment companies, and thus, employing around 15,000 locals.
Arguably the biggest emerging market in the US, massive incentives, expanding production studios, and an international airport with easy access to California make Atlanta a major hot spot for actors pursuing film, TV, and commercial work. As the numbers of Atlanta-based independent and studio productions go up each year, local actors are enjoying a lot of work opportunities.
There are rumors spreading around that a few years from now, Atlanta might become the next Hollywood, so if you’re anywhere near, consider it to be the best location for an acting career in your case.
San Francisco, California
Los Angeles isn’t the only place for Californian actors to advance their careers! San Francisco is home to multiple commercial and theatrical shoots each year and has the added advantage of an active theater scene. Being one of the greatest American cities, San Francisco will not disappoint actors in the amount of opportunities it offers. Complete in both stage and film work, San Francisco also provides great acting coaches and acting classes. It also has a drama school listed on Acting in London’s top 20 best acting schools in the world.
Known for being a vibrant city for artists, Texas’s tax incentives have made Austin an attractive city full of opportunities in commercials, film, television, and voice-over work over the past couple of years. Austin is also known for being a thriving college town (University of Texas–Austin filmmakers and actors) with great opportunities for local actors to network and work in a number of diverse fields such as video games, animation, film, and television.
Climate, scenery, access to professional crew, and financial perks draw productions and actors to Austin and the surrounding areas
New Orleans, Louisiana
The film and television industry in New Orleans experienced both a notable rise in incoming projects. Today, New Orleans is home to tons of talented film professionals, from filmmakers to professional crew to on-camera actors. Like many other booming film markets, Louisiana’s tax incentives, beautiful locations, and right-to-work labor laws make it an attractive destination for major networks and indies alike.
Dubbed the Hollywood North (alongside Vancouver), Toronto is a major hub of film and TV productions rivaling that of New York and Los Angeles. Local actors have tons of training opportunities at their fingertips. The Toronto Film School and the Toronto Academy of Acting both have on-camera focused programs. Groups like the Toronto Association of Acting Studios bring many other resources to the community. Thanks to the low Canadian dollar, enticing tax incentives, and their proximity to Hollywood (just a quick three-hour flight!), Canada has an extremely lucrative film and television market, which boasts the “third-largest film and TV production centre in North America.”
Should You Really Move?
If you aren’t living anywhere in these top 10 cities, chances are that you also have your head wrapped around on packing your bags and moving out to any of these top 10 cities. Thing is, you don’t have to do this. Or at least not yet. It all comes down to your goals.
If you are an aspiring actor who is just starting out, keep in mind that saving money is a lot easier in a smaller town than it is in an expensive city like New York City. Actors living in smaller town markets should take advantage of that. Not only are the top 10 cities extremely expensive, but the pressure that newcomers receive during the first year of staying there can overwhelm you and get you in a crisis. The upside of taking first acting career steps in a smaller town? There’s less competition, and it’s easier to climb to the top.
If you’re from one of the top 10 cities above, then good for you. But if you’re from a smaller market, don’t fret. Use everything available to you. Do not rush, do not panic, do not think that you’re losing on opportunities. Get more experience, more training, and knowledge while you’re in the small town, and then either take your chances and move to one of the top 10 cities or move your own town up. Your choice.