LA to ATL
I won't get into all the tedious details that go into actually moving cross country. But here are some tips I have for LA actors that are either considering, or have already decided to make the move to The A!
1. You should already have a place to live. Some people move here without doing that beforehand. For me, that's too much added stress. If you're looking at getting an apartment, I recommend Midtown/West Midtown. Cute little area, lots of bars, restaurants, essentially: Places you could be working.
If however you are like "I moved to GA, I better be paying way cheaper rent" then check out Vinings or Smyrna. Also cute areas just with less of a city vibe. Things aren't as close together. But maybe you're looking for a change in scenery anyways!
I work and live in Midtown. I didn't want to have total culture shock by not living in the city. Driving through other parts of Atlanta feel very Midwest to me and I don't want to feel like I completely moved away from the hustle and bustle. Ya feel?
Check out any apartment you're looking at on Yelp, if they have multiple similar reviews, believe those reviews. I will say if you're terrified of the idea of having cockroaches and you see a review that says "roaches" just know, you're moving to a big city and you're moving to the South. You're going to have a roach or two in your apartment at some point. I wasn't thrilled about this either, but it isn't an infestation so it's pretty harmless. Welcome to Georgia, we have more bugs here! :)
2. Get a job. I don't know why this one is so hard for actors. Quitting your job to "focus on your career" is going to backfire immediately. How will you survive? Unless your parents are supporting you, then by all means, I guess?
You need a "day job" to survive. No, it doesn't literally need to be a day time job. But you need something to pay your bills. Acting won't pay your bills until you're well into your career. I know working actors that have a long list of credits that have day jobs still. Because they're smart, and acting doesn't pay the bills until you're basically a series regular.
3. Join an acting class. This is another biggie, actors. You need to always be working on your craft. Plus, you're immediately meeting other people in this industry. Friends! Yay!
I recommend Drama Inc. It's run by wonderful people who are also working actors. They have a ton of ongoing classes and awesome workshops to choose from. They also do career consultations if requested. I did an hour consultation with Catherine Dyer (Stranger Things). She helped me with my resume, headshots, and reel. I had all of the pieces, they just weren't quite put together properly. I credit her for getting my Atlanta agent so quickly. Thank you Cat!
I have many praises for Drama Inc., they'll get their own post soon enough. A majority of their students are currently auditioning, and many of them are working actors. Plus! They're producing plays, along with feature films in which they hold auditions for and cast their students. What more could you ask for people?!
4. Registering your car: I know this sounds crazy, and also not of the law per say haha. Put off registering your car literally as long as possible. That means not switching your insurance to GA insurance beforehand, and not getting a GA license until you have to either. Car registration is insane here and it will cost you, especially if your car is on the newer side. If you can find a way to keep your CA registration I would, just say you're working in Atlanta for a few months or something. My boyfriend and I both lease our cars and we were charged $1200 each for registration, all due that day, not in payments.
Now, our cars are newer, but GA taxes you based on a percentage of the value of your car when you first register it here. Every year after that is like $20. But ours is a lease so we just get screwed out of money, yay! Don't register yet!
5. When you're home sick; you're gonna be home sick.
I'll be honest, and I know this from experience and from talking to numerous other people that moved here from LA. You're going to hate Atlanta at first. You're going to miss LA, and compare it constantly. You're not going to believe me or anyone else when we say; I swear that's only temporary. It's part of moving or any big life change really. People hate change whether they say they do or not.
It's hard leaving your perfect weather, your routine, your friends, your 30 min drive to the beach or hike, your favorite vegan spot, that taco truck in North Hollywood. It's hard. But we've found some favorite spots here without even realizing that they were becoming our favorite spots.
There are a lot of cool breweries and bars here. You remember Henry's in Studio City with all of the boardgames? Well that's every bar here. Every bar has board games, shuffle board, bocce, you name it. I'm a little biased here but I'm gonna give a shout out to Torched Hop Brewery, they won gold in the US Beer Open, they definitely have the best beer in Atlanta. Go there!
Revery: It's a Virtual Reality Bar! The future is here, people! So much fun! $20 for 30 mins of playtime or $40 for 60 mins. Definitely check it out!
The Painted Duck: They have every game you've never heard of. Feather bowling? Soccer Pool? What are these things? Super fun is what! You can spend an entire night there and probably not get to every weird original game they have. It's huge, great for groups or birthday parties, and for all of those friends you're about to make!
Ponce City Market (not a grocery store) has a variety of cute spots inside. From bars, restaurants, shops, a cookie dough shop where they scoop it like it's ice-cream but it's totally just cookie dough yummm. On the roof is 9 Mile Station, where you can wine and dine while overlooking the whole city. They also have mini golf up there!
Everyone will tell you to do the belt line. Rent a bike or scooter, don't walk it. It's too humid or it's probably raining. Oh yeah, it rains every day here. What are we in Seattle or something?
Piedmont Park is a great place to just be and relax. You can take your dog there, (they have an off leash dog park!) go sit in the grass and read a book, or just walk around and take in your surroundings. Piedmont also has random festivals throughout the year that you should also definitely check out! Seriously, HUGE performers come through these festivals! Pretty cool!
The Battery: Where the Braves play! There are numerous places to eat, drink, play, shop, whatever your little heart desires to do here! You wanna go bowling before the game? Have at it!
There are places to hike, but I haven't done that yet so I can't quite give you any deets on that. Sorry!
Trader Joe's! There are some here! They may not be just down the street like in LA, but you'll definitely find yours. There's one in Midtown that we frequent. :)
Whole Foods? No idea, haven't seen one. Heck I just finally saw a Chase Bank in Buckhead the other day so maybe they do exist. The search continues!
Well this wraps up my newcomers tour to Atlanta! There will be more to come on this topic.
If you're a native here or have lived here for a while now; What are some places for good authentic Mexican food? We're dying out here!