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Paulby Paul Russell

Changing Coasts for an Acting Career? – 7 Must-ask Decider Questions before Moving

An actor recently posted on a social media network:

“Sometimes I wonder if I have accomplished everything that I can on this coast at this time… and I wonder if there is more for me on the West Coast than there is here.”

Oh, the grass is always greener… elsewhere.

A better agent awaits…

A more active career beckons beyond…

A tastier pizza bubbles down the street…

A hotter passionate lover sizzles somewhere…

Oh yes, the grass is always greener for all of us… elsewhere.

We tire of the routine. “Hey! What about a change?! Change will bring me what I want.”

But will it bring you what you need? ‘Want’ and ‘need’ are two vastly differing goals and motivators. (But I digress.)

Change can be beneficial.


A statement within that prior social network status, “I wonder if I have accomplished everything that I can on this coast at this time…” is a potential career-ender for the poster if dismissing their own potential from what they have already established.

Is ‘everything’ ever truly accomplished?

An actor may have worked through the regionals, then stood in the shine of Broadway’s spotlight moving up to day player and guest star in an episodic but then—as is human curiosity—the actor begins mulling a ‘grass is always greener wanderlust.’

In our cooking a career that is within entertainment, which is either feast or famine, actors often starve for a change: Dismiss their prior baking a batter which is their career. One painstakingly mixed and thickened but boredom spurred by a temporary lack of momentum has the actor wanting a new menu.

If you begin to wonder what pasture may be greener for you, do yourself well and mull seven must-ask questions before making a change:

  1. “Do I abandon all advances of which I’ve labored to achieve?
  2. “Will I unintentionally be dismissing all present networking connections and contacts while seeking new relationships?”
  3. “Am I willing to venture to uncharted environs where I’m not as well known?”
  4. “Do I have viable connections, an extended network, plus a solid resume that will support my transition?”
  5. “Will I have to begin completely anew? Start again as I did before I had what successes now exist?”
  6. “Am I ready for change?”
    and most importantly…
  7. “Would a change truly benefit my needs…? Or be a distraction to ignore existing challenges?”

I’m no abolitionist to change. But as I’m traveling my journey, I’ve noticed a growing impatience for change among my brethren entertainment travelers.

Too many artists have become jealously restless while resentfully watching reality programming rocket the likes of Honey Boo Boo into undeserving stratospheres of celebrity. And that envious toe tapping and teeth grinding by entertainment sojourners has increasingly jittered into our modern disposable civilian lives.

Before seeking possibly greener pastures be certain that the soil potentially deserted is truly devoid of nutrients. Don’t abandon fertile ground in which you can continue to grow and harvest a bountiful career.

Far too often, good is mistakenly disposed for that which is no better than what already existed. New Coke anyone? (under 40 readers ask your parents who survived the day the cola died.)

But… if the need (again, not want but need) for change continually beckons, go forth and develop new ventures that will prosper for you. Don’t lazily assume that engaging the act of change or journeying on differing avenues will alone make change happen for you. You create change.

My best,


Paul Russell’s career as a casting director, director, acting teacher, and former actor has spanned thirty years. He’s worked on projects for major film studios, television networks, and Broadway. Paul’s taught the business of acting and audition technique at NYU, and speaks at universities including Elon, Yale, Temple and the University of the Arts. He is the author of ACTING: Make It Your Business – How to Avoid Mistakes and Achieve Success as a Working Actor. For more information, please visit