If you missed part one of our interview with Ron, you can read it here.
Ron Bush has been in Los Angeles a few weeks now. He moved from Atlanta to LA back at the beginning of April, his belongings stuffed in a rented moving truck, and his eyes set on a longtime goal – to work as an actor in Los Angeles. He is now settling in nicely with his new surroundings. The last conversation I had with Ron talked about how he became an actor, his reasons for moving, and some of his strategies for making sure this is the right path for his career. In this next part of our interview, we discussed some more personal aspects relating to his big leap to the west coast.
Having the flair for the dramatic that I do, I wondered if there was any specific, “lightbulb” moment in Ron’s life that led to his choice to move to LA, but he’s much more deliberate and thoughtful than that. He said “I never just jump into things…LA was always my final destination.” Each move he has made – from Baltimore, to NYC, to Atlanta, and now to LA – has been meant to take him further in his career. He even revealed that he almost didn’t come to Atlanta: “I lived in Atlanta for 12 years…so I knew the area and had friends down there. If I hadn’t been to Atlanta previously, I probably would have gone straight to LA.”
It was that network of friends that led Ron to come to Atlanta before making the trek to LA. Many actors have to contend with discouraging family or friends, whatever market they’re in, but Ron says he’s been fortunate to have people rooting for him. “Everyone has been very supportive of my decision to move to LA…While I’m sure my parents don’t really understand what it is that I’m doing, or why I keep moving, they’ve always supported me.” He credits one person in particular for being in his corner. “The biggest champion of my move has been my agent, Danita Florance. She thinks I can do very well in LA and is very excited to finally have me out here. I certainly agree.”
That optimism and confidence has carried Ron through this entire decision. He doesn’t seem to be afraid the way many actors in his situation would be. “I had some fears when I first decided to make the move, but I alleviated those by planning everything out…I had a place to live, saved up enough money for emergencies, classes, headshots, etc., was already in the union, had an agent for the LA market and had a job waiting for me…I had everything I needed set up before I arrived.”
All that being said, it’s not as though Ron has absolutely zero concerns. On the subject of whether he has fears in relation to his actual career, he astutely replies, “Hell yes.” He’s got a lot going for him, but even he admits that many things are out of his control. “You have no idea how your career is going to go. I’m in a new city, with new casting directors. I had three years in Atlanta to audition for all the casting directors. They knew me and continually called me for auditions. Now, no one knows me. I’m starting from scratch, so I’ve got a lot of work to do and that scares me.” Still, he knows exactly how to manage those fears – working with his agent and doing his research. “I asked my agent which were the best classes to get into and which headshot photographer to use…I’ll find the casting directors for the shows I’m right for and see if they have any workshops going on. I’ve also got a meeting on the books with my LA manager to see what else I can do to get my face out there…Mainly, I keep myself busy so that I don’t have time to worry about where my acting career may go.”
Ron also hasn’t moved to LA completely blind; he ventured west during last year’s pilot season. It’s not an option he thinks everyone can pursue, because, in his words, “it can be tricky and expensive,” but for him, it made sense. He was able to temporarily transfer to the LA location of the company he was working for in Atlanta (Dave & Busters, if anyone’s wondering) so he had a way to support himself – and maintain his Atlanta residence – during this trial run. I suspect the fact that’d he’d worked for his employer in Atlanta for a year and built a reputation as an excellent worker helped his case (Ron didn’t say this, but come on, after all this, does anyone doubt that he’s a model employee?) Ron also tempered his ambition with a healthy dose of realism. “I honestly wasn’t expecting to book anything or get many, if any, auditions.” He treated it as a test for his permanent move – he explored new classes and made use of union resources that aren’t available in Atlanta. “I wanted to be sure I was really ready to make the move.”
When we last talked to Ron, his main advice to actors considering the same path as he has done boiled down to being diligent about research. However, that wasn’t all that Ron had to say on the matter. He stressed the importance of planning such a big change. “Too many actors think that…all they need to do is move to LA, agents will be clamoring to sign them, and they’ll be famous in no time.” This also feeds into another bit of advice Ron has: “Forget everything you know and check your ego at the door. Don’t lose that confidence, but also don’t forget that you are in a new city with lots of other actors just like you.” As for what he thinks about the “overnight success” possibility many performers dream of, he thinks that what the public might see as instant fame isn’t quite the truth, pointing out that those actors have actually “struggled for years, but then something clicked and they got their breakout role.”
Some actors in doubt of their own abilities might ask Ron, “But how will I KNOW I’m ready to move to LA?” Ron gives the answer a lot of experts would: “You’ll know.” He helpfully expands on how an actor can get a better feel for that kind of realization. “I’d say that after you’ve either joined the union or gotten yourself eligible and have at least a few network/cable TV credits or feature film credits, you’re ready.” In case that sounds too intimidating, Ron can offer some reassurance. He feels that since there are so many thriving smaller markets around the country, it’s not a requirement for actors to move to LA before they’re truly ready. “Take your time. Get the credits. Take the classes. Work on your craft.” Every question I lobbed at Ron could pretty much be summed up by that last quotation.
If we can judge Ron’s career trajectory by how well he’s prepared for it, I think he’ll only continue to grow. I’d like to take this moment to thank Ron publicly for his honesty, enthusiasm, and openness. If you’re an actor in Atlanta, LA, or anywhere in between, pay close attention to his advice in both parts of our interview. Part one concluded with a really great point he made and I feel is worth reiterating here in the second part: “LA isn’t going anywhere.” It definitely isn’t. But I’d wager Ron will be going places in LA.