February | 2013 | Topher Harless
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Monthly Archives: February 2013

I’m here. Now what?



Most people have no clue what to do when they move to LA.  You likely moved here with no job, no where to live, and you know no one.

Wait, was that just me?

Either way, you probably have one or more of those problems.

The thing people don’t tell you, when you move anywhere new, especially LA, is that you seriously need to spend a large portion of time actually surviving.  Everyone wants so badly to just start in the entertainment industry, but you need to get regular work at first, find a place to live and keep paying the rent.  People will tell you that everything is more expensive out in LA, but that is simply not true.  Really, the only thing that is more expensive is housing.  Whether you’re renting an apartment or buying a condo, it can get expensive.  I already suggested places to actually live, so I’ll move on from where to live and to how much you should expect to spend and how to get a job.

How much approximately does it cost?

Well, it really varies between different cities.  If you’re living in Valley Village, Studio City, Van Nuys, or Sherman Oaks its not too bad.  You could get a studio apartment (Quite a small one) for around $750 a month if you shop around.  If you live in Burbank, or Hollywood, you can usually add $100 to $400 more for those places.

The one I first lived in cost $750 and included all utilities, even elextricity.  It was nice, but annoyingly small.

However, it’s a great place to start.

You can also do what Preston did and look for people searching for a room mate.  He found something for around $400 a month, however, this is risky and you could end up with a psycho.  Preston got VERY lucky.  No one even tried to force a physical relationship on him.

Those are the cheap options.  You could always spend 2 to 3 thousand dollars a month and live in a NICE apartment, but I doubt that anyone who would take the time to read this is looking to spend that much.

Oh, and things no one thinks about…  Finding an apartment with more than one parking spot is EXTREMELY rare.  Even in the expensive ones.  For the first year I parked on the street, which was awful.  Avoid this if possible or find a place with great street parking options.  It pays off in the end.  Trust me.

Also, a washer and dryer is hard to find.  If the unit doesn’t come with them, you need to make sure that there is plenty of washers and dryers and that a thousand people don’t use them.  I almost shanked a guy over a dryer once.  But let’s be honest, he deserved it.  He took my clothes out of the WASHER and put them on the ground, soaking wet.

Dude had it coming.

Now, if you’re looking for something with one bedroom, you’re looking to spend average $1,200 to $1,600.  I found one that was $995, but that’s RARE.  It’s out there if you look for it.

Two bedrooms average is $1,600 to $2,200.

It’s expensive, but if you find a room mate with a job, you can pull it off.

Alright, that’s about what I know about prices out here.  If you have more specific questions, please ask.  I know more, I just can’t remember all of it at the moment.

The Arrival (Part Two)



Ok, so to recap…

Preston and I are in Los Angeles, we have a trailer on the back of Preston’s almost broken trailer attached to his almost broken truck, that has to be returned in a day.  We have one last night in a hotel that has one full size bed that Preston and I are sharing (please no jokes.  I’m married, she’s not my beard, and I hate sleeping on the floor.)  We only have enough money to pay a security deposit on an apartment and for one month’s rent, so if we don’t get one by tomorrow, we have no where to sleep, we lose the trailer, which we can’t afford to rent for longer, which means that we must keep everything we own on the ground at some random park and finally die alone and homeless.

Oh and we just found out that it’s Memorial Day weekend and every place we have visited so far, won’t let us move in until Tuesday, two days late.

So, after considerably freaking out.  We walked away not sure what to do.  Until we looked next door.  Another apartment complex…  Eh, let’s just give it a look.

It was called, “The Reef Apartments.”  The lady showed us around.  It was a carbon copy of the complex next door.  So, of course we loved it.

Afterwards, she asked us if we wanted to apply.  We asked when we could move in and she said…


If we were approved…

I then filled the application out (It was under my name since, I was paying for it to prepare a place for La Nita when she moved here) then left and PRAYED.

We then spent all day waiting.

No call.

We went to bed that night, and had the most nervous sleep ever.  The next day, we checked out of our hotel and went to a Starbucks.  Then waited more.  At this point a logical person would have looked at other apartments, and applied to another place.

If you find that person, please tell me.  I could use advice in those instances.

So, we sat there until 4pm until we finally got the call.  We were approved!!!

We then , frantically moved all out crap into the room, which was a pain and returned the trailer that night.

Suddenly, we had an apartment, and a VERY tiny room with enough stuff in it to fill a Goodwill.

Then La Nita sent some money to help out.  That was nice.  She was a HUGE help.   (Again, tell her nothing.)

OK!  So, then I lived in LA.  I was getting married in a month and a half, I was paying a reasonable $750 a month for a studio apartment (Which is a great deal here) that I had to pay for a year, and wait…  I had no job.

So, the next blog will truly be about surviving as an artist.  When you get to LA with no job, I have some ideas about what you should do.  Everyone moves out here with huge anticipation that as soon as you get here you should dive into your dreams and be a actor, writer, director, etc.  What no one tells you is that most people who move here, blow their wad quickly, then go home.  What you have to do is establish yourself and learn how to live here.  There are affordable places, to shop, live, hang out etc…