Moving To LA Is Hard Enough So Bring A Friend

When I first moved to LA, waaaayyy back in 1989, I came by myself. I was moving there to be part of the USC Masters in Acting program, so I knew I’d meet new people. But I have to tell you... it was a very lonely first year. I’d wake up alone in my cute little apartment, and look out the window into the (always) bright blue sky, and instead of saying, “Yeah! I’ve made it!” -- I’d think, “God, not another boring cloudless day!” I felt so alone. I’d spend many hours crying myself to sleep, wondering what in the hell I’d done, running around the Fairfax High School track, to keep in shape, saying, “I think I can! I think I can! I think I can!” But I was pretty lonely.

If I had to do it over again, I would have tried to either find a roommate to live with from the first week I was there, or I would have moved there with a friend. As it just so happened, the second year I was at USC as a Master’s student, I did have my old friend Joel move out from Arizona, and in with me. Having an old High School friend there with me, in my new LA environment, was a blast! I had lots of new friends from USC, but now, I also had an old friend who new the real me. And that gave me a new self confidence I had lacked my first year there.

For those of you actors or actresses that are under 21 or still in High School, I think this is an important lesson. Don’t think you are so mature that you don’t need support. I made that mistake, and I was 22 when I moved to LA from the Midwest! I have taught so many talented, gorgeous, gifted young actors and actresses who have money, and support from their parents, to move to LA to make it -- kids as young as 16! But they land in the big city alone, and then wonder why they can’t make it after 6 months. Please please please -- listen to this post and take what I’m saying seriously! You still need someone who cares about you, and worries about you coming in late, and helps you think about your career -- not just an agent or manager. Most people think that your agent or manager will really spend time with you and help you get settled in LA. They won't. You'll be lucky if you see your agent or manager once or twice a month, for a half hour in their office.

If you’re under 21, you might want to think about coming out for a few weeks at a time, with your mom, dad, older sister, or aunt or cousin. When you're still young, nothing can replace real trusted family members who know and care about you. They can really make a difference when you’re moving to LA. Moving out with a boyfriend or girlfriend is the second best thing. Unfortunately, breakups can happen, so don't rely on them to always support you and your dreams. You're the only one in charge of your own career. Just work hard to make the right choices, and you'll be fine!

About Kirsten Tretbar

Kirsten Tretbar is an acting teacher, filmmaker, and former actress. She received her MFA in Acting from USC in Los Angeles, where she acted professionally for many years.

Los Angeles + Kansas City