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Best Cities for Actors

One of the most important decisions actors make when getting started in the business is deciding the best place to work, play, and to live. Luckily, the U.S. is a saturated market with a thriving entertainment industry in pockets all around the country - not just in L.A. and NYC!

Here is a brief guide of some of the major cities for actors in no particular order:

New York City

New York City is home to a number of great acting schools and programs (Juilliard, NYU Tisch, Pace, Columbia, etc.) and filmmaking schools. This thriving, bustling atmosphere makes way for plenty of opportunities for up and coming filmmakers and actors to collaborate on students films galore, take advantage of NYC's Made in NY program with the vast number of television and film productions that film in the city, and is of course, home to Broadway, haven for theater enthusiasts everywhere. 

Pros: Film, Television, Theater, Improv, Acting Studios and schools, networking, plenty of survival jobs

Atlanta 

Atlanta is making a name for itself as the new place to be for television and film. Aside from being centrally located in a thriving metropolis with a lower cost of living than NYC and LA, the number of film and television productions have increased exponentially since Georgia introduced it's new attractive tax incentive program in 2008. Georgia is also home to a number of Marvel and Disney productions. 

Pros: Film, Television, talented production crew, cost of living, great place to build your resume

Chicago

When it comes to improv, Chicago takes the crown. Home to some of the more infamous comedy clubs such as Second City, UP Comedy Club, iO, and more, Chi-Town is the perfect place for budding comedians to train and grow. Chicago is also known for being a great training ground for theater actors as it is home to DePaul University, which is widely considered to have one of the best theater programs in the country. Thanks to the NBC's well loved Chicago franchise, there is also a wealth of television gigs and opportunities for Chicagoans. 

Pros: Improv/Comedy, Theater (Steppenwolf!), Commercials, Television, great training ground for theater and comedy students, great place to build a resume, great art scene

New Orleans

The film and television industry in New Orleans experienced both a notable rise in incoming projects for the last couple of years. Due to Louisiana's generous tax benefits, New Orleans has been a popular and attractive destination for location shooting. Some of this progress for NOLA declined in mid 2015 when the state's tax incentives were capped up to $180 million a year, but NOLA is still a flourishing city for actors on the rise with a brand new movie studio that opened in September 2017. 

Pros: Films, cost of living, access to local CD's, a diverse and culturally rich work/life balance, home to one of the offices for Central Casting, large local background/extra pool, talented production crew, voiceover work

Austin

Known for being a vibrant city for artists, Texas' tax incentives have made Austin an attractive city full of opportunities in commercials, film, television, and voiceover over the past couple of years. Austin is also known for being a thriving college-town (University of Texas-Austin filmmakers and actors) with great opportunities for local actors to network and work in a number of diverse fields such as video games, animation, film, and television.

Pros: Plenty of background/extra gigs, film, television, commercial, video game, animation, student films at U of Texas-Austin, location shooting, networking, cost of living

 

Boston

Boston is one of the leading cities for acting students thanks to an abundance of prestigious acting conservatories and schools in the area: Boston University, Emerson College, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, American Repertory Theatre at Harvard, etc. Students who graduate from any of these programs can take advantage of their extensive alumni networks and go on to work with Boston's many reputable theaters such as the Huntington Theatre Company, the American Repertory Theater, and more. 

Pros: numerous prestigious acting schools and conservatories, great local theater community, networking

 Los Angeles

Film, television, the best Mexican food - you name it: Los Angeles has it all. Famous for its perfect weather (and therefore the ideal location for shoots), Los Angeles is every actor's rite of passage. L.A. is understandably the hub to a large number of film and television productions and still holds the world's largest group of production studios than any other city in the world. After more and more competitive cities such as Atlanta and New Orleans started to move productions away from L.A., California recently introduced a new tax incentive to move productions back to La La Land.

 Pros: Film, Television, Improv, networking, great acting schools, plenty of survival jobs, recently named Zagat's most exciting food city for 2017

 

Cities outside the U.S.

Vancouver and Toronto 

Vancouver and Toronto may be in a smaller market, but they were dubbed Hollywood North for a reason. Thanks to the low Canadian dollar, enticing tax incentives, and their proximity to Hollywood (just a quick 3 hour flight!), Canada has an extremely lucrative film and television market which boasts the "third largest Film & TV Production Centre in North America". 

Pros: Television, Film, Commercials, Animation, training, cost of living

London

There's a reason why we're seeing more and more Brits dominating American screens over the past few years, and it has everything to do with training. Aside from being the land of Shakespeare and the famous Globe theatre, London in itself is a beloved city with a rich history. London is a hub for theatre lovers everywhere, as the West End rightfully rivals Broadway.

 

Pros: Theatre, Television, Film, training, vibrant city, survival jobs, networking

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