Getting Around Los Angeles

The first tool you will need is the latest edition of the Thomas Guide Street Maps Book for Los Angeles County.

Rand McNally's UPDATED Thomas Guides

This book is widely used in the entertainment industry for giving directions to studios, location shoots, etc. Agents and Casting Directors are often extremely busy and don't have time to give out detailed step-by-step directions over the phone, so by using the Thomas Brothers Guide, they can just give out a quick map coordinate thus saving quite a bit of time and avoiding confusion.

One important note about commuting in the greater LA area... LEAVE EARLY! The horrific traffic situation in LA is a well known fact of life. But it is never an excuse for showing up late on any interview, audition, or call time. You are expected to leave early enough and give plenty of time to compensate for traffic jams. If you want to burn bridges fast in the entertainment industry, just start showing up late for appointments. You will be back on the bus to Timbuktu in no time.

Speaking of buses.... having a motor vehicle to get around Los Angeles is a huge advantage, but one can use the public transportation system, as I did when I first moved to LA. The public transit system in LA is called Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Their website has everything you need to get from point A to point B on time, including an easy to use trip planner. Here is their website:

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Short Term Housing For Actors


Most popular complex and very expensive since it is most widely known and referred to by agents. Furnished studios are about a $1,500 per month, 1 bedroom about $2400 per month. Location is isolated on top of a hill so only place to walk is around the complex. Heated pools, party rooms, etc. One plus is that during pilot season they offer a lot of acting classes for kids. Some areas of complex may be noisy -- long-term tenants include a lot of young adult actors and musicians. There has also been problems with drugs and bugs in past. Just make sure you get a unit in newly renovated building away from the party crowd.

(800) 942-2787


Several locations throughout L.A. area. Mostly furnished studio which is basically like a Motel 6 with a kitchen. Swimming pool, laundry facilities, some off-street parking. Rents are $600 - $700 per month including utilities depending on location. You will need to bring dishes, bedding, phone, and a fan -- air conditioning is usually not sufficient in these during summer. No microwave or television. Usually limited to one adult and one child, maybe 2 kids. Month to month rentals, $350 deposit.

(818) 764-8358 North Hollywood. There are also other locations.


Deluxe furnished studios in nice neighborhood. Very large heated pool and hot tub, gym, rec room. Usually furnished with a queen size bed, a small sofa or chairs in sitting area, television, dining table and chairs, chest of drawers. Galley style kitchen. Cost is about $1200 per month without dishes, linens, phone or about $1600 per month with extra amenities. (you can easily buy or bring bedding and basic kitchen stuff and save $400 per month!) Secured parking in rear. Large enough for two moms and 2 kids but they don't encourage it so be discreet. Rents month to month & weekly. BURBANK near ice skating rink, bowling alley, riding stables. This has been a favorite for Young Performers families ! The best value and location for least money

(818) 843-2441


Studios, 1 and 2 bedrooms available. Must rent for minimum of 6-8 months. Studios about $900, 1 bedroom $1000, 2 bedrooms, $1200-$1400. Some pets okay. Most units have dishwasher, some have microwaves, some are gas ranges, others electric. Part of a large complex with several pools - some heated, some not. Laundry room in each building. Fitness gym and party rooms. Great neighborhood with small shopping center within block or so, excellent elementary school 3 blocks away. Burbank -- great location near studios and misc.

(800) 582-1968
(818) 845-8000


Between Van Nuys/Sherman Oaks. Rents month to month furnished or unfurnished. Pets allowed. Fitness center, indoor racquet court, pool / spa. Secure, gated parking. Unfurnished rates: Studios: $900, 1 bdrm about $1000, 2 bedroom about $1300. Add $200-$500 per month for furnishings.

(888) 319-4855


VERY deluxe accommodations available on monthly basis. Over $3,000 per month for a large 2 bedroom furnished with everything including art objects. Pool, hot tub, large gym, espresso bar, homemade cookies in the lobby, a library, full equipped office with computers, fax, etc & conference room. Washer and dryer in unit, maid service once a week. If shared by 3 moms and kids it could be a real treat to stay there! Studio City location.

(818) 506-6000

THE PREMIERE of Sherman Oaks

Very deluxe, similar to L'Estancia with more outdoor amenities. Pool, 2 hot tubs, tennis court, volleyball sand court, fitness gym, billiards, putting green, theater screening room. $2,000-$3,000 per month. Excellent location in the valley



This is a new facility that has opened on Glen Oaks Blvd a bit south of the Burbank/Glendale line, just east of I-5. It's a corporate suite hotel so rooms are like hotel rooms with a small kitchen equipped with stove,refrigerator, microwave, toaster,coffee maker and some dishes. Maid service twice a week, laundry room on premises. No pool or amenities. Two queen beds for $1641 per month or king bed with sleeper sofa for $1770 per month. Weekly rentals are about $460.

(818) 956-6665


Room with 2 beds, complete kitchenette, weekly rate of $419 , no monthly rate.

(818) 567-0952

Side Jobs For Actors

Depending on your financial situation, you may or may not need to find a job to pay your bills and rent in between acting jobs. Jobs with the flexibility to take time off for auditions and acting jobs are in high demand in Los Angeles due to the extraordinarily large number of aspiring actors in the area. Also, many employers in LA avoid hiring actors because they usually end up taking off too much time for auditions, etc., or quit with no notice when they do get booked on an acting job. So sometimes it is not a good idea to tell a prospective employer that you are an actor!

Doing extra work on TV shows and Films is an option, but there is a certain stigma attached to extras in LA. The saying goes, "Once an extra, always an extra!" For some reason, casting directors do not like to call in extras for acting work. Also, talent agents do not like their clients to do extra work. But it is a good way to get used to being on a set, learning about the different protocols of filming, etc. If you are interested in doing extra work, please visit the following blog:

Become an Extra

As I mention in the "Housing" section, Craigslist and Recycler are also very good resources for job listings:

Temp work is another great was to pay your bills. It can involve anything from answering phones, filing, delivery, warehouse work, Xeroxing, etc. Apple One and Kelly Services are two national temp work chains.

The company "Labor Ready" is a really good place because you can work on any given day, and you also are paid on the same day worked. Here is their website:

Labor Ready

There are also opportunities in child day care, dog walking, substitute teachers, house cleaning. And of course there is always the classic stereotypical Waiter/Waitress jobs for actors!

Housing For Actors

When arriving in Los Angeles, you will see that it is a huge city that is spread out far and wide. Determining the best area for you to live can be a daunting task, and there are certainly areas to definitely avoid.

Obviously cost will be the biggest determining factor in where you are able to live. The vast majority of filming is done in the Hollywood, Studio City, and Burbank areas. Generally speaking, the farther out from the inner city that you go, the nicer the neighborhoods are.

If you decide to live right in Hollywood, I would recommend staying away from areas south of W. Pico Blvd. and east of Western Ave. If you decide to live in the San Fernando Valley, I recommend the Encino, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Universal City, Toluca Lake, and Burbank areas.

Another great option is just a tad northeast in the San Gabriel Valley areas of Sunland, Tujunga, and La Crescenta. It is only about 1/2 hour - 45 minutes from the studios. I lived in Tujunga for 5 years and liked it there. The rent is cheaper than most of the other areas within this distance to the studios, plus it is just outside of the rat race of the inner city. It does get a bit hot in the summer months, so I would recommend getting a place with air conditioning.

All of the areas near the beaches are great but you pay the price in rent. Anything from Malibu to Long Beach is within "striking distance" of Hollywood.

The two best free places to find LA area housing is Craigslist and Recycler: