I want to write for television
Writing for television has always been a dream of mine. Working as an actor, it’s fun to watch stories come to life on set. My first spec is for a new show called blackish. At the time of this writing, blackish is still in its 1st season but I have a gut feeling Abc will order a second season. The show is a single-camera thirty minute family sitcom. I won’t tell you what it’s about, if you don’t already know I’m sure you will look it up.
My spec writing class is challenging and it’s interesting to see what other writers watch. Some of my fellow students are working on Brooklyn 99, Bobs burgers, It’s always sunny in Philadelphia, The Middle and Parks & Rec. I like the class there are about 12 of us and everyone is helpful, friendly and knowledgable.
if you are interested in reading my spec, let me know and I just might send you a copy.
I’ve been in California now for 6 months and I want to share a bit about my entertainment industry experience. Since arriving in LA I have been on a handful of shows doing background work. I have also done a commercial for lovebeginsat.com and I have been in my first play, Voices, a re-telling of Joan of Arc at the Underground Theatre. I’ve been making friends and learning the ins and out of the industy. It really is a great place to be. Los Angeles is all about connections, and I’ve been working on creating them while gaining experience on set. Being on set is lots of fun, you get to be around the magic of film making. You get to work with some of your idols. You start to understand the process of what it takes to put a show together. I am on ground zero and my life is exciting, for good and for bad, more on that later.
I have worked on shows for Fox, ABC, NBC and HBO just to name few. I have worked beside Jack Black, Jessica Biel, Zoey Deschanel, Tim Meadows, Ken Marino and Jay Chandrasekhar. Like I said, I’m on ground zero. I’m not trying to brag, I’m just sharing my experience so far.
Do some background work with Central Casting
Let’s get to it. When you arrive in LA and you want to start working on set, it’s easiest to start as a background actor, you have a few options. What I did was sign up with Central Casting. You have to visit their office in Burbank and it’s quite painless. You listen to a presentation about the rules, and they take your picture. Make sure you arrive presentable. Once you do that you, are in the system and you can start to look for work as a Non-Union Background actor. Everyone at Central is really nice and I find working with them quite pleasant. There is a downside. The pay is not that great and you will have to find other work to stay afloat. Lucky for us, LA is the land of side-gigs so you should not have trouble finding a few other jobs.
Union vs. Non-Union
If you wish to be an actor, your goal should be to go Union one day. You can still get by as a Non-Union actor, but the rules changes once you go Union. Suddenly you will have the opportunity to go through the “glass roof” as I think of it. Going union means becoming a member of Sag-Aftra. In order to become Union, you need three yellow vouchers. These are rare but do come up once in a while if you are lucky enough. There are other ways such as being on a reality tv show or know a director who really wants you on a show and is willing to help you with the paperwork. Go Union when you can. Currently I am non Union, but that will change soon.
Actor’s Access is another cool site that allows you to look for Union and Non-Union jobs. That’s how I booked my commercial and auditioned and got a part in Voices.
There are other ways as well of finding jobs, these are what has worked for me so far.
Let me know if you have any questions, I would be happy to help out!
What is LA really like? Charlotte and I have been in Los Angeles for a little over a month now. As far as I can tell, LA is nothing like what you see in the movies. Could it be that growing up in the Tampa Bay area has just spoiled me? Perhaps it’s just my neighborhood? Why do I feel cheated?
Before I go any further, I just want to say that I am not writing this post to put down the city of LA. This post is merely a comparison of my previous life in the Tampa Bay area and my new life here in LA. Consider it therapy for me.
Los Angeles is crowded.
I live in East Hollywood where the streets are small and crowded. In Florida, you almost never have to parallel park or every worry about not being able to find parking. I highly advise you to get an apartment with a parking spot. Street parking is like a lottery, you will be lucky if you find a spot on your block. If we come home late at night, there will be no parking anywhere. You will be forced to park illegally or at a metered spot. Just be sure to pick up your car before 8 am when they start ticketing. That’s the other thing about parking, parking tickets!! I have been in LA for one month and I already got $200 in parking tickets. Yeah lessons learned here and there. Make sure you read every single posted sign on your block to make sure that it is absolutely ok to park.
Los Angeles is dirty.
The street sweepers come twice a week to my neighborhood but for some reason, there is still garbage everywhere. East Hollywood reminds me of a 3rd world country. (yes, i’ve been to one.) Why is that lady selling food from a shopping cart? Why is this other lady knocking on my door trying to sell me blankets? Why does the sidewalk smell like piss around the corner?
Los Angeles is expensive.
Everytime you leave the house, you can expect to drop at least $20 for your trip. You have to pay for parking everywhere. You have to wash your car constantly. Your bumpers will get scratched. Gas is around $4.50 to $5.00 a gallon. The gym is super expensive. In Florida, $3o a month for a gym is expensive, in LA it’s a bargain. Our Florida apartment would be considered a luxury apartment in LA for what we are paying for.
So why am I here? The same reason everyone else is here, to somehow make it in the film industry. Competition is so high in this city. One hiring manager told me that i was one out of 80 applicants to a graphic design job. This is where the money is.
I do not see living in LA for any other reason than that. Wish me luck in my job hunt!