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How To Decide Which City is the Best

December 16, 2013

There’s New York. There’s LA. There are other smaller cities that also have lots of opportunities (Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, etc). How are we supposed to figure out which city is the best one to pursue your career?  

I’ve been asking myself this question ever since I graduated college. I’ve always been happy that I moved to Chicago. At the same time, there’s always been this small part of me wondering if I made the right choice. A thought that frequently crossed my mind was, “Yes I’m happy now. But am I going to realize this big mistake I made five years from now?”

The wonderful Dallas Travers said something on her hot seat coaching call last month which made me realize I am exactly where I need to be:

“The best market for you to live in is where you are the happiest.”

Sure, there are plenty of opportunities in other cities like New York and LA. However, looking at my present situation, I’m perfectly happy being in the Midwest. I have an agent, I can book extra work when money is tight, I live walking distance to multiple theatres and improv spaces, and I’m still making progress with my goals. Oh, and I love the city of Chicago. Here’s a shot of the skyline from Lake Michigan.

Chicago Skyline from Lake Michigan

All this being said, it’s important to remember that where you are the happiest doesn’t mean that’s where everyone will be happiest. This might sound obvious. But I’ve seen many people on facebook praise their city for its valuable tools available to actors, then proceed to other criticize other acting markets. Remember this isn’t a competition. We audition for that one role against hundreds of other people. That’s competition enough.

In case you didn’t know, I’m a big Red Sox fan. Carl Crawford, who used to play for the Red Sox, doesn’t hide the fact that he hated playing in Boston.  He’s frequently asked by the media about this. I heard a cool story from an ESPN announcer say that a current teammate of his, Nick Punto, told Crawford to stop with the Boston comments. Nick told him that just because Boston was a bad experience for him doesn’t make it bad for everyone. I love this story and remind myself about its message frequently.

We should remember this as we enjoy our living situations. As long as we’re happy, making progress with our goals, and appreciative of our city, we’re in the right place.

The Chicago Actor sig

4 Comments leave one →
  1. The College Theatre Dork permalink
    December 16, 2013 10:40 am

    Thanks for this! I’m wondering where I’m going to be living in six months from now…I needed this advice 🙂

    • December 16, 2013 11:10 am

      Glad it helped, Theatre Dork! I’ve always wondered if someday I was going to have to move to a city I didn’t necessarily want to move to. Now that thought just sound silly. I’m so glad I heard this and more glad that you found it useful.

  2. December 20, 2013 6:44 am

    This is lovely advice, and it applies just as well outside of the US. Did you always have a feeling that Chicago would be a good choice for you, or did you have to live their for a while to know that it was the right thing to do?

    • December 20, 2013 1:10 pm

      I had visited Chicago a couple of different times before moving here. When I visited, a got a great sense of the theatre scene. But I think without knowing people who live in the city you’re looking to go to, it’s hard to get a sense of whether or not it’s the right place for you until you live there for a bit. While I’m happy that I did my homework beforehand, I also admit that I got a little lucky: I knew about the theatre scene. I didn’t know about the film and commercial scene. So to answer your question, I guess I had to live here for a while before I realized this was the right place for me.

      Hope that helps. Glad you liked the post =)

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