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:

Food & Drinks

Residuals is a Bar & Grille in Studio City that will accept your talent residuals check and give you double the face value on tab! The writers, directors and producers who opened this Studio City bar back in 1986 envisioned it as an entertainment industry locale where aspiring artists, established stars and studio suits could toss back a couple of cold ones while talking shop.

Although new owners took over in 1998, the same spirit still pervades. The homey interior is spotted with modest wooden furnishings, leather booths, a serviceable bar, televisions and a fitting autographed picture of Ted Danson as Sam Malone. Live blues, rock and cover bands take the tiny stage on the weekends, as do karaoke singers on Sundays. Residuals is located on Ventura Blvd. at Vineland in the Sushi Dan Plaza, across the street from 7-11.

11042 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604-3546
Phone: (818) 761-8301

Happy hours are a great way to get a cheap meal. Just show up, buy a Coke, and go for the cheap or free all-you-can-eats! Here are a few of my favorites:

The Cat & Fiddle Restaurant & Pub
6530 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90028

The large patio sees its share of party animals, tourists, sports fans and the occasional celeb, but the happy hour here is only inside at the bar. Complimentary snacks might be shepherd's pie or cheese and crackers; the house wine, well drinks and draft beers are $3.50


Pig 'n Whistle
6714 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood CA 90028

This Hollywood classic is a popular meeting spot for folks heading to the Egyptian or one of a million other nearby attractions. The term "no frills" applies to the d├ęcor, service and food in equal measure. During happy hour, beer and well drinks are $3.


Mc Cormick & Schmick's
111 N Los Robles Ave
Pasadena CA 91101

One of the most expansive and tasty happy hours in the entire valley. Between the hours of 3:30-6:30PM McCormick and Schmick's features a feast of literally everything that lives in the ocean, while featuring beers and wines that complement any selection.


Cabo Cantina
11829 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90025

daily happy hours extend across the better part of every evening (from 4-8PM), when two-for-one drinks are doled out. There are booths inside, but it's exclusively a seat yourself first proposition. The most popular place to hang, however, is the outdoor terrace, where the young and nubile get in touch with themselves, and each other, on a patio ogled by Wilshire Boulevard drivers.

Leisure and Entertainment For Actors In Los Angeles

Aside from time spent working a regular job to pay bills, acting classes, and auditions, you will undoubtedly have plenty of spare time for leisure and entertainment. And what better place for that than Sunny Southern California and the Entertainment Capital of The World!

An obvious choice for fun is the wonderful beaches. You have an unlimited choice of sun and sand starting with the star-studded Malibu, to the artsy liberal boardwalk of Venice Beach, to the amusement park atmosphere of Santa Monica Pier. An awesome day trip to the north is my beautiful hometown of Santa Barbara, which has a much more toned down, laid back atmosphere that the larger beaches in LA.

The sports scene in LA is among the best in the world with teams and venues such as the LA Lakers & Clippers, LA Kings, Ducks, Angels, Dodgers, Staples Center, and NASCAR at California Speedway.

You can also see TV shows filmed and taped for free. Audiences Unlimited is a great place to get free "seat filler" tickets:

And why not see as many plays and theatre productions as possible! The following are great venues to see fantastic live Stage Productions:

Ahmanson Theater
Greek Theater
Great Western Forum
Henry Fonda Theater
Kodak Theater
Pantages Theatre
Royce Hall
Shrine Auditorium
Universal Amphithter
Walt Disney Concerts Hall
The Wiltern

There is truly an endless abundance of activites in the area, from amusement parks, zoos, hiking trails, snow skiing, water skiing, museums, skydiving, cycling, and horseback riding. Again the "Lonely Planet Guide To Los Angeles" is a great resource for these activities: