Have you ever considered moving to a different market? Maybe you’re ready for a change of scenery. Or perhaps you’ve heard that more opportunities await in other markets.
It’s true that the days when LA was the only ‘movie town’ in the country, let alone the continent, are gone. Virtually every corner of North America is ripe with productions and every city has its own draw and appeal.
But before you take the plunge, pack up, and load out, here are a few things to consider:
1. Where do you want to go and why?
Do you live in a remote small town that feels isolated and disconnected from the industry? Are you in a big city and feeling lost or overwhelmed by the constant buzzing energy? Does the appeal of a change of scenery excite you? Is the FOMO real? Asking yourself some real tough questions and getting down to the brass tacks of it is vital to understanding what is inspiring your itchy feet. Setting yourself up with a clear intention will change the way you approach the process entirely!
After spending almost a decade in London, I found myself reluctantly back in Toronto, my home turf. Within the first few months of being back, I struggled to feel settled. Work was landing but something still didn’t feel quite right. It was on a blustery winter day that I realized I needed to head south and explore LA. Toronto just wasn’t the right place for me anymore and I wanted to be in the place where the decisions were being made. Truthfully, though, I‘d hit my threshold for the cold. So, I decided to do a little recon mission and check out the city for pilot season. If nothing else, I could escape the dreary winters!
For three years, while my Green Card was being processed, I came down with dozens of other Canadians and every year, I learned to love LA even more. Every year, I took classes, met new people, and got to know the city better, eventually making it official and moving down. If it wasn’t for the first recon mission and the network I started building then, my formal move would have proven to be a lot more difficult, I’m sure of it. Most importantly, I knew LA was where I wanted to be.
2. What do you know about the place you’re interested in going to?
Have you ever paid the city a visit? If you’ve never spent any time in the city of interest, do yourself a favor and go check it out. A week or two is all it takes. Sometimes the idea is better than the reality and you won’t know til you spend some time there.
Do you have the right to work in the place you want to move? Or do you need to apply for a visa, work permit, or residency? Without the right to work, well, you can’t work. If you’re dreaming of moving countries, this is definitely something you’ll want to consult a lawyer on. The moment I knew I wanted to be in LA, I consulted an immigration lawyer to discuss my options and see what would be the right course for me.
4. Do you know anyone who lives there?
Is there a community you can connect with? Your experience moving to a new city will be informed by the people you surround yourself with. By taking classes and going to events, I was able to meet so many new people and then basically choose who I wanted to be in my inner circle. In a new place, friends really do become the family we choose.
5. Research the industry of the place!
What shoots in town? Are there local Film Festivals or events you can tap into? Get to know the players and decision-makers so when you make your entrance, you’re well equipped.
Taking the time to reflect on these points and asking yourself some specific questions can offer you some great insights into how best to make a life-changing decision. One that you’ll be proud you made and feel good about!