Do I have to live in London to be a 'proper actor'?

  • Vinnie Bremner

    Actor

    Hello!

    Im an actor who's currently living in Northampton (I trained there ) and it's been under a year since I graduated and I must say it's treated me well, but obviously I can't stay here for ever as there are more opportunities elsewhere which has got me thinking where it is best to move next?

    One of my friends in London keeps saying I need to move there, though all the people who have moved to London from my course have been doing tours, so no point living in an expensive London house as they're away all the time.

    l've been looking up North as well, specifically Manchester as there are lots of oppurtunities up there as well for acting, plus it's much cheaper than the capital.

    Would really like to hear people's thoughts on it and any advice they could give!

    • 1st Jun 2018
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  • Jade Smart

    Actor

    Hello!

    I'm not London based either but seem to be doing ok. I think it depends on whether you're getting work. If you are then great! As the competition is higher in London. But if your not then I would say move. I can get an easy direct route into London so it's not to bad for me.

    But I would say if you are looking to get involved with a touring group then it might be a waste of time, effort and money. Perhaps keep it in mind, but for now if you're getting good work then stay put.

    Hope it helps!

    Jade :)

    • 22nd Apr 2014
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  • Keith Hill

    Actor

    No.

    • 22nd Apr 2014
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  • Keith Hill

    Actor

    I would say you should have access to a London address, and be able to afford to get here sharpish for auditions, at least for so long as anyone still holds face to face auditions. What you do need, urgently, is a showreel.

    You have worked very hard, you have an interesting breadth of life and professional experience and have been trusted with difficult and leading parts, and asked back, but you need to have something to hand to allay any doubts in the snobbier minds that your what some horrible people think of as 'provincial acceptable'. Not my choice of words: don't shoot.

    You have chosen wisely to have an agent in a major film and television ( and theatre ) centre.

    London is a very expensive toy. If you can easily prove that you as good as you look, you can live just about where you like (though I imagine choosing Muckle Flugga might slow you down a bit).

    On a side point, I would be fascinated to hear how you make membership of a co-op in Manc. work while living in the East Midlands.

    PM me if you prefer.

    K.

    PS Jade puts the London predicament politely. The competition in London is not just higher. It is out of all proportion. You are competing against not only every actor based in London, but all those else where who want to be. A friend of mine has just worked that 80% of UK male Spotlight members in your age range say they live in London (as opposed, say, to 5% in Manchester). I was amongst actors of varying ages a few nights ago. More than half had not worked AT ALL in the last two years. Compare that to your last two years.

    I think you're doing OK.

    • 22nd Apr 2014
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  • Nigel Peever

    Actor

    Hi Vinnie,

    I think you need to define for yourself what you consider to be "a proper actor"

    Regular lead roles at the national, constantly being seen by London based casting directors for TV work etc?

    Then ask yourself is it all milk and honey? How many actors actually achieve that status, Long runs, a year or more in the same play? It's all horses for courses. Balance your personal life with your professional life don't be blinkered into thinking that acting is your life! There is so much more to it than that, especially if in the end you aren't lucky enough to achieve your goal.

    Many many many actors leave the business to have families for example and I'm sure none of them regret that decision. Is it worth setting yourself a time limit to achieve a certain level in the profession?

    Think about what you will have to do in London to maintain the dubious title of "Actor", how much waiting on tables, telesales, promotional jobs you'll need to slog away at just to pay the terrifying rents. Can you concentrate more valuable time and money on your goal by staying put?

    Many London actors will have access to performing quality productions on profit share systems that us provincial actors can't consider. Do you think that will help you achieve your goal or will it just mean you are working for nothing? As an actor based outside London my workload is less artistically notable but mostly profitable is that a good thing or a bad thing? It is a business after all.

    There are many many questions, many many decisions, not least which jobs to take and which jobs to accept. The business is a different labyrinth for each and every one of us, there is no map, no easy answer.

    Just get out there and fight for the work, put yourself foward for everything you think you are suitable for, scour these sites to find the leads, find an agent you can trust to find the ones we are kept in the dark about and if it's not working have the courage leave them and to move on. That in my opinion is where the opportunities are, not in a city paved with gold.

    • 23rd Apr 2014
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  • Vinnie Bremner

    Actor

    Thanks for all the advice!

    Thanks Jade, I would like to move out of Northampton, it has been good to me and I'd like to move to a place with more opportunities.

    Yeah Keith, I have been trying to get around to sorting a showreel as I can imagine a lack of one is really holding me back but being on long tours has stopped me from some film work as I'm busy all the time. New head shots are a must for me as I'm looking a fair bit different now :)

    Thanks Nigel, I think the 'proper actor' term was just a tongue in cheek thing as some of the people I've spoken to about it have been rather snobbish about living in London, saying it's the only place to be. While others have replied helpfully and understand why I've been apprehensive to move to the capital but have talked highly of it.

    My sights have been set to moving up north and have done a fair chunk of research and it's just been a more appealing place to live for me, at my current stage of my career that is.

    Once again thanks for all the advice, really helpful.

    • 23rd Apr 2014
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  • Jade Smart

    Actor

    Good luck :)

    • 23rd Apr 2014
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  • Cia Allan

    Actor

    I live close to Manchester and there really is very little here to get excited about despite all the hype about the BBC moving to Salford. So unless you're up for any Children's TV opportunities, I wouldn't race here too quick.

    There are some good theatres and some equally good actors but the amount of opportunity is comparatively small in TV and film. Occasional period dramas like Foyle's War and The Mill are cast both in the north and in London, and then of course there's Corrie, Brookside, Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, but not much more. Even commercial castings are few and far between.

    I'm always having to go to London for auditions and it costs a fortune!

    • 23rd Apr 2014
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  • Alan Blyton

    Actor

    To be honest, these days I think Northampton is near enough considered part of the commuter belt.

    There are people living similar distances from London, like Cambridge and Oxford who travel in and out of the capital every day.

    For now, I would stick where you are for a little while and see how you get on with travelling. Renting a flat in London WILL take a massive bite out of your finances.

    • 1st Jun 2018
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