Building a Presence in LA: 7 Quick Tips for Actors

Picture courtesy of imgur

Picture courtesy of imgur

Moving to LA is never easy, especially if it’s anything like my story of getting to LA. I had a decent job and made just above the average entry-level income. Things were fine and great, but I wasn’t completely satisfied. I felt I had more to offer to the world, in particularly the entertainment world.

No, I never wanted to be an actor or any profession of that nature in the, mostly because I’m not talented in that field, but I knew I had a knack for entertainment PR and marketing.

After leaving my job, I decided to move to NYC first and give entertainment PR and marketing a shot. Within months of persistent networking, I was able to land a gig doing publicity for Def Jam/CAA recording artist, Jeremih, which was the most amazing experience of my life (and still is).

However, after a year in NYC, I realized I needed to be near a broader market that was centered around entertainment. So, I made a bold decision to relocate to the entertainment capital of the world, Los Angeles, California.

LA is a crazy (not for the faint of heart), yet fantastic place. I love the people and their superficial attitudes, the nice cars, the amazing weather, and most of all, the opportunities.

When people ask me, “What do I need to do to be successful in LA?” I tell them they need to be motivated, work hard, and keep an optimistic attitude, with a touch of pessimism. I say that because there are people who can (and will) take advantage of you in this city, while you do need to be open to opportunities always be present and aware in each and every situation.

Here’s my checklist for actors moving to LA:

1) Living situation: Find a place that’s within your budget and is comprised of people with similar mindsets as yours. You’ll be surprised how draining some people can be, especially if they become jealous of your success.

2) Have a good headshot: Get a professional headshot. There are many places where you can get them done and they often have discounts for referring a friend or two. Get one that displays your absolute best image and use different ones for different jobs. It will be easier for agencies to reach out to you for an audition if they can see your range, even through photographs.

3) Subscribe to Backstage or any other actor’s casting site: You’ll want to have a heads-up of who’s casting for parts (you may even have a friend or know someone who works at the studio). It’s always good to be in the know.

4) Join Press Harvest: Press Harvest is a site that, as a Publicist, I wish I had thought of first (because it’s genius). They use your headshot and credentials and pitch you for red carpet events around the city, as well as get you press and searchability on Google images.

5) Work on your website and IMDB page: Backstage will help you get booked and Press Harvest will help you get images for IMDB. In addition to Backstage, Press Harvest, and IMDB, having your own website will also help you gain an online presence for Casting Directors. You can make a free website with Wix and get started immediately, if you haven’t done so already.

6) Network: Always surround yourself with people who are Assistants or are currently working in your industry of choice, regardless of their job title. They’ll know things that aren’t displayed on casting sites and may also be able to give you an “in”. Also, it’s good to be “out and about” meeting people (you never know who you’ll bump into in this city).

7) Keep going!: Never stop pursuing your dreams and always have a positive attitude, no matter what circumstances come your way. Whether good or bad, your experiences will make you stronger and smarter as you pursue your ultimate quest for achieving your goals in LA.

Garrett O.

Garrett O. is an entertainment Publicist based in Los Angeles. His clients have received press on Yahoo!, CNN, BuzzFeed, Vibe Magazine, Billboard, XXL and many more.


  • Reply August 12, 2013


    Hello! Your website has been so inspiring and helpful! I’m 50 days from moving to L.A. and tying up loose ends here in Minneapolis. I was planning on getting headshots here with a photographer I like, however, now I’m wondering if I should wait and get them in L.A. That way I’m starting my networking by meeting a photographer there, and getting on an L.A. website. Do you think that matters? I found the person I’d like to go with isn’t that much more expensive than it would be here in the midwest.

  • Reply February 12, 2015


    This is so great! I love all the these things you listed. I needed head shots and a demo reel and took care of it for me. Being an actor is amazing.

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