Taking the Leap!
Charlotte Price takes the leap: From Dancer to Actor, London chick to LA chick. This is her story…
5 years ago I made a decision that I knew would change the course of my life, dramatically. Not only did I change careers, from Dancer to Actor but I also moved half way across the world too! I was happy living in London…. Taking the tube, complaining about the weather, going home to Wales when I could. However, I wasn’t being pushed anymore so to mix it up I went and took an acting class. I was petrified, as a dancer you’re extremely expressive and vulnerable but you have a huge distance between you and your audience and you also rarely use the power of your voice. Before the class even finished I knew I was hooked!
I was faced with a big decision, go back to school for another 3 years or apply for an O1 Visa to work in the US. I asked myself what do I really want to get out of my career? What are my long-term goals? I think starting with a vision of where you want to be can help you set short-term goals in order to reach your final objective. So I decided to jump in at the deep end and after the visa was approved came to the states.
Los Angeles is vast. Divided into more than 90 districts, I have come to compare it to ‘The Hunger Games’. With a population of around 3.8 million, the City of Angels is also the most populous city in California. It’s an overwhelming change for many reasons but the hardest adjustment was the Car situation. Los Angeles has a well-deserved reputation as a very car-dependent city, with an extensive network of freeways (which resemble a scene from wacky races) and a historically underdeveloped public transit system. I never thought I’d say it but I missed London buses! After living here for a while you understand why LA folk talk about “The 405” and “The 101” often! To anyone making the move my advice is this; learn how to drive before coming to America because you can drive for a while on a UK license. Secondly, just bite the bullet and start driving right away. Take it slow, quiet mornings and with a friend in the car. The longer you leave it, the more fear grows around it and before you know it months have past and your wasting time and money on Ubers and feeling like you’re brooding teen waiting to be picked up all the time. So, with all that being said I can say, wholeheartedly that being with AAA (www.aaa.com roadside assistance) and having a great car mechanic are two vital elements to surviving in LA. My gift to you-Rod’s Auto Repair Shop of West Hollywood. Jose, is my guy, ask for him and he’ll be honest and fair on the price! One more link that will be of use is for the DMV, The California Department of Motor Vehicles. You can register your car and deal with all that thrilling stuff here. It’s a hellish experience that everyone has to endure at some point. To make your life easier, always go online and try to book an appointment, the lines at these offices are worse than Disneyland. https://www.dmv.ca.gov/
I’ve traveled a lot in the past especially when I was dancing professionally, so rarely deal with “homesick” feelings anymore. However, this move really challenged me. The size of the place alone, made me feel very small and lonely at times. Coming from a city like London where human interaction is a way of life, to LA where it’s you and your car the majority of the time. It is a hard adjustment. One of the blessings that I, still to this day, could not live without is SKYPE! I’m not sure I would have lasted that first year without it. To anyone making the transition or have done and are in the first year, my advice is, give it time. It’s such a huge city that you do have to make the effort to meet like-minded people. There are also groups like Brits in LA that are extremely supportive and have weekend activities. There are little British gems about the city that also help when craving the homeland. Ye Olde Kings head is an adorable pub/restaurant in Santa Monica. It also has a gift shop next door where you can get your standard British chocolate fix too! http://www.yeoldekingshead.com/
The Pikey, is a fun bar/pub that has a great happy hour and also quiz night on the weekends. http://thepikeyla.com/.
Life really made sense when I focused on what I came to LA for and that was acting. LA is filled with hundreds of acting studios and coaches so the only way to find your match is to do your research and audit classes, to eventually find the teacher you want to train with. There are millions of aspiring artists in LA but because of the epic space we have to live in, at times it doesn’t feel like it. This gives people a false sense of security aka laziness. If you want to have a career as an actor, you have to work hard at it every day. You can’t leave it all to your agent and manager. You are your own boss so you have to be the one to keep yourself in class, watch plays, visit art galleries. It’s your job to be evolving as a human being. Don’t fall into the trap of becoming complacent. Time is moving forward. You don’t have the trusty seasons to remind you of that. Its sunny all year round, you don’t see that time is passing you by. Before you know it, 2 years have gone by and all you have to show for it is a killer tan.
One element that you can’t get away from when changing careers, is the fact that you have come from the top of one ‘food chain’ and now you’re at the bottom of a new one. It’s most definitely a humbling experience and there is no room for ego if you want to move upwards and succeed! I had many moments of crazed frustration and melt downs mainly because I wanted to have it all figured and be on my way to the Oscars already (haha) But that mentality does nothing for you! It will not make the process move any quicker, if anything it delays the growth. What I do when I feel these kind of moods coming on is remind myself of where I’ve come from, what I’ve already achieved and the epic amount of support I have from family and friends. This alone will make you feel like you can take on the challenge ahead.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride, changing careers and living here in LA. I’ve had moments of questioning whether or not it was the right choice and if the sacrifices I have to make daily like not seeing family and friends is worth it! But then I perform or fulfill why I’m here in some format and everything makes perfect sense. One of the many reasons I now love living in Los Angeles is because the majority of the people here are incredibly brave and inspiring. We’re all taking the chance, maybe going against family and friends opinions, to follow our dreams. If you love what you do, you will succeed so it’s just a matter of hard work and patience. It’s a marathon not a sprint! I love the journey I’ve had so far and I know its only just begun…..watch this space!