Interview with Actor Ron Bush – Moving from Atlanta to LA, Part 1

Interview with Actor Ron Bush – Moving from Atlanta to LA, Part 1

685 455 Amy Tallmadge

When I watched “St. Vincent” a few years ago, I enjoyed the movie thoroughly – if you haven’t
seen it, I insist that you do. At the time, I had no idea I’d just watched a future classmate go
toe-to-toe with Bill Murray and Naomi Watts. I’m talking about actor Ron Bush, a guy who
came to acting almost as an afterthought, but is now tackling one of the biggest challenges an
actor can face – he just moved to Los Angeles from Atlanta. I talked with Ron recently about his
career, how he decided to leave the “Hollywood of the South,” what his plans are for the future
in Tinseltown, and what his advice is for other actors who are considering the same move he’s
just made.

I met Ron a couple of years ago when we were both students at the Kristen Shaw Acting
Studio. I realized pretty quickly how dedicated and serious he was about acting, something
that some of us in Atlanta can take for granted. He was fairly quiet in class, but always
engaged in what was going on, fully prepared, and excited to work. I remember seeing him in a
casting director workshop, and the CD heaping praise on him after he read his prepared scene
with her – he came across as confident, focused, and self-aware. After KSAS stopped teaching
in-studio classes, I kept up with Ron over social media, watching him book different projects,
living the life of a working (and hustling) actor. A few months ago, when he publicly announced
his plan to move to Los Angeles, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. Atlanta is a booming film town!
We’re practically tripping over LA actors who are moving here in droves! But after talking to
him, I think this is the absolute right decision for his career. He has thought this out, planned
carefully, and seems to have the right balance of practicality and idealism needed to be an
actor in LA. The rest of us can learn a great deal from his decision about when and if we should
follow a similar path.

As I mentioned earlier, Ron started acting almost by accident – a fraternity brother of his at
Georgia Tech convinced him to submit to be an extra for “Sweet Home Alabama.” Ron
recalled, “He dragged me to [the open call].” After working three days on that set, Ron moved on to do background work in a couple of Tyler Perry movies. Like a lot of artists-who-don’t-yet-
know-they-are artists, Ron went on pursue “normal work”. He moved to D.C. and started working in finance at the Smithsonian. “I didn’t really like the job, but remembered how much
fun I had on set.” Before he knew it, he was acting in Baltimore on the weekends, commuting
90 minutes each way. After a year, he quit his 9-5 job in order to pursue acting full time,
eventually landing in NYC where he appeared in “St. Vincent” and other network shows.

By this time, the market in Atlanta was growing stronger, and Ron decided relocating to more
familiar territory was a smart career move, though he kept his sights set on Los Angeles. He
told me “The plan had always been to stay in Atlanta for a few years, build up my credits and
demo reel and then head West.” So, build his resume he did, landing roles on “Your Worst
Nightmare”, “Bloodline”, a recurring guest star role on Tyler Perry’s “Too Close to Home”, and
much more. After just three years of working in this market, Ron made the choice to head to
California. “My lease was about to end and it was decision time…It was tough to go. Atlanta
had done me well, but it was time to take the next step.”

Just to clear up a common misconception that only teens and 20 year-old starlets should move
to LA, Ron is about to turn 40 and he has no hesitation admitting that. “Yes, it is true that there
are fewer opportunities for older actors, [but] I don’t think there’s a ‘right age’ to get started. I
think the right age is the age you get that passion for acting. If you can’t imagine not being an
actor, then it’s the right age.” For what it’s worth, I completely agree with him, and if his
continued success is any indication, the industry concurs with us both.

Ron’s optimism doesn’t mean he hasn’t carefully planned out this choice and prepared for it.
His current agency, Littman Talent Group, has offices and agents in both Atlanta and Los
Angeles. His manager, Eileen O’Farrell, has an office here in Atlanta, but is based in LA, and he plans to maintain all of those relationships. “For any actor thinking of moving to LA,” Ron
advises, “I think it is imperative to already have an agent or manager lined up.” He points out
that the tax incentives around the country make it necessary for most agents to have
presences in multiple markets. He even says that if the need arises, he could come back to
Atlanta for specific castings. “While [casting directors] do cast a lot of locals in Atlanta, it looks
like they are still casting the bigger roles out of LA and NY.” His move out west is part of his
strategy to book larger roles and work in bigger projects.

Ron also recommends that actors who want to move to LA already be a member of SAG-
AFTRA, or be prepared to join as soon as they can after moving, which is a big difference from the market here in Atlanta. It ties into already having representation when you arrive in that
market. “LA is a union town. If an actor has aspirations of working on network TV shows or big
feature films out of LA, they need to be in the union and have an agent. It is very difficult to get
an audition for a union job if you don’t have an agent or manager.”

I asked Ron if he could give only one piece of advice to an actor considering what he’s done,
what that would be. His reply was something that I think a lot of actors struggle with, despite
the fact that it’s absolutely necessary for building one’s career: do your research. “Where are
you going to live? Where are you going to work? How are you going to get around? Do you
need to find an agent? And then there’s the personal stuff. Do you know your brand or type?
Do you know what shows you’re right for? Do you need to find classes? Do you need new
headshots?” If I were to broaden his answer, I’d say there’s a lot of self-reflection needed,
clearly something at which Ron excels.

Ron gave me so much amazing insight in this topic, that I am going to have a part two to this
story in the coming weeks. We’ll also check back in with him in a few months time to see if
anything has changed for him. The next time we hear from him, we’re going to delve into some
more personal aspects that go along with moving out west to pursue acting. Until then, we’ll
end with just one more bit of wisdom from Ron. “LA isn’t going anywhere. I’d say it’s better to
be properly prepared to be in LA than to move there prematurely and flounder.”

 

If you want to keep up with Ron, here’s his IMDB page, website, and reel.