It’s springtime, when a young actor’s fancy used to turn to thoughts of pursuing a career on one of the coasts. For some it was the lure of the glamour of LA: the Hollywood hills, the waves crashing on broad beaches; for others it was the draw of old New York: Shakespeare in the Park, the history of Broadway, and the iconic filming locations that sound a siren song.
These days however, for many a savvy and adventurous actor, that call comes with more of a southern twang.
Welcome to Y’allywood, y’all! Atlanta is a relatively new, but booming production hub that somehow still falls off the radar of actors – and doesn’t get the respect it deserves as a rival to LA and NYC.
In other words, if you’re an up-and-coming actor looking to take your career to the next level and find yourself plenty of opportunities to work, you might want to consider hitting up the 404!
Atlanta is the production home of numerous blockbuster series and films, and as every actor knows, success begets success. Starting with the breakout hit run of “The Walking Dead,” dozens of other production companies and studios saw the draw of shooting in Georgia. Given the tax breaks the state offers, the area’s diverse geography, and of course the massive talent pool to be found in Atlanta – a city of 450,000, but hub for the 9th largest metro area in the US with nearly 6 million people – setting up shop in Atlanta is a no-brainer for many production companies.
Aside from “The Walking Dead,” Atlanta is home to “Stranger Things,” “McGyver,” and of course, Donald Glover’s Emmy-winning “Atlanta,” along with dozens more shows. That’s not even counting all the films that have shot or are shooting there, including “The Fast and the Furious 8,” “Baby Driver,” and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” along with tons of other Marvel films. We’re talking hundreds if not thousands of available roles every year for all levels of actors here.
Use Your Outside Voice
And don’t forget about voiceover opportunities. If you’ve been thinking about expanding your palette from on-camera and stage work to voiceover, Atlanta might just be the perfect place to get started. While the industry is fully-fleshed out and has been rolling along for many years, heading south for voice work still means less competition than in New York and LA (although it is growing every day!)
A great example of the Atlanta vibe is the breakout madness of “Archer” which somehow made the jump to the mainstream. But Adam Reed, the lunatic mind behind much of the animation style and writing came straight from Atlanta’s Williams Street studios, where most Adult Swim shows are produced. They have a constant stream of work for voice actors – especially those with quality comedic chops – on shows like “Black Dynamite,” “The Venture Brothers,” and “Rick and Morty.” Not all of those shows tape in Atlanta, but you could do worse than to be associated with the Williams Street brand if you want to get into voice work.
And it’s not just actors who love living and working in Atlanta. As a veteran casting director who went to school at UCLA and cut her teeth working her way up the casting ladder in LA, Cathy Reinking (“Fraser,” “Arrested Development”) has opinions about living and working the Peachtree City, where she’s been based for the past several years. Having spent many years in LA and also Denver, the author of “How to Book Acting Jobs in TV and Film” has a broad base from which to compare.
“It’s a perfect city for me,” Reinking said in a recent interview. “There’s culture, it’s diverse, I can live in the city and it’s affordable, people are nice, it’s clean–it’s like a perfect city. People here complain about the traffic, but it’s NOTHING compared to L.A.”
Okay I’m Convinced. Now What?
So your bags are packed, and you’re all set to hit the road and head to the old south to make your fortune in Hotlanta. Now you’re just wondering: how am I going to get started?
Before You Leave…
First off all, don’t go anywhere before you check all the casting notices and self-submit right here at NYCastings! Don’t let the name fool you – NYCastings has all the latest audition notices and the best and brightest CDs, agents, directors and producers locked in and seeking talent across the country – including Atlanta. Wouldn’t it be nice to book a job or secure an interview with an Atlanta-based agent before you ever even get in your car to head south?
One great advantage of this modern age for the adventurous traveler is that you can do a whole lot more research on where you’re going before you ever get there. Not only looking for apartment rentals, area maps, and job prospects – you can also start building your network before you ever leave home, and help ensure yourself a smooth landing when you arrive. Get on social media and search for actor’s groups and casting agencies in Atlanta. Get on Twitter and follow Atlanta-based actors, CDs and agents. For sure check out CastingGA, and Big Picture Casting, as well as Cathy Reinking on Twitter. You never know where a simple email or an inquiry via direct message might lead!
Once You Arrive
While it’s always stressful moving to a new city – finding a place to live, a new job, learning new roads and social mores and just adjusting to a whole new life – it’s also tremendously liberating, if you adopt the right mindest. This is a chance to metaphorically toss out all the old, dusty boxes in the basement of your life and start anew. Find yourself some classes and workshops, and get started on building yourself a new network of acting buddies.
Or, if money’s too tight at first to shell out for a solid class, that’s okay too. If there’s one thing people in the creative arts are constantly looking for its help. Volunteer at one of the many theaters in Atlanta’s burgeoning scene working as an usher in exchange for a free seat. Help out backstage with building sets or strike. Look for workshops and seminars on acting and auditioning, and make sure you hit all the industry nights and opening night receptions. There’s no opportunity for making friends quite like talking with an actor just coming off the stage with that successful opening-night buzz and a cocktail in hand! You’ll make all kinds of friends and potentially valuable business contacts at these kinds of events, even if you are a total newbie.
And remember, Facebook is your friend. There are countless FB groups for actors, scene study, performing improv groups, open mic nights – you name it.
The bottom line is there’s never been a better time to jump into the Atlanta scene with both feet! Eat a peach and get Georgia on your mind, and you may well jumpstart your acting career in a big way!