December 10, 2016 at 2:04AM

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Australian wanting to move to the USA. Advice please!

G'day mates!
So I am a relatively young (23) year old Australian bloke currently living in Melbourne, an amazing city by the way! With incredible standards of living, culture and people. (population of 4.3mil)

I've freelanced the last few years full time in and have built a good name for myself in Australia as a young up and coming advertising photographer and director. Been published a few times and have a pretty great list of my own clients and contacts. Never have troubles getting work in the last 12 months. I am wanting to take the next step in my dream witch is to direct my own independent feature next year, witch is looking like it's all happening, we are currently just finishing up our script.

Like many of you my dream is to make films full time and to also eventually be a part of the hollywood system. It may put many off but I'm actually really attracted to that world and work.

From there though and where my question actually lies is in moving to the USA!
I really want to move to the states for opportunity reasons, Australia and Melbourne are incredible but our film industry here is lacking and really a bit out of date. Not a lot of actors and other film related talented live here in an effort to collaborate and "make it". So I am looking and wanting to try to move over in maybe 12-15 months time.

I'm looking for advice on:
-What city to move to, L.A, N.Y.C, Atlanta, Toronto, Austin ? ( looking into L.A and Toronto right now )
-How do I go about moving as a full time freelancer? Does that make VISA stuff any more difficult if I don't just have a 9-5 job behind me.
-Where would be a great place to start job wise in an effort to get closer to the film business? Gaffa, indie DP, Assistant. Open to anything here guys!
-Anything I could do in that 12-15 months prior that would really help me with the move or getting started once there?
-Is it super hard to set up a job before getting to LA?
-Is it worth it?
-Any Aussies on here who have made the jump?

Thanks so much guys, hopefully a few answers pop up. I'm really open to anyones advice here so please don't be shy :)

Here's my photography website also just for anyone who is curious:
www.jackhawkinsphoto.com

1 Comment

I'll swap places with you! Melbourne is one of my favorite places. I've never seen so many great, friendly people in such a dense, busy city. Plus, I never needed a car the entire time I was there. :)
It's fairly easy to get P.A. work in major markets here, but the pay is terrible and the cost of living is really high. You'll find jobs pay a lot less here in general. As for being able to establish yourself in Hollywood; are you related to or are friends with people in "high places"? Hollywood is a pretty closed system, rightfully so, because there's tens of thousands of people looking to get into it but crews are getting smaller due to economics. Most of the people I know who have moved there wound up getting regular day-jobs, some of whom are VERY talented. There's way more people trying to get "film" work than there is available and they didn't have the personal connections. I'm in a much less crowded market and it took me years to get into a full-time position. What got me noticed wasn't my skill, it was knowing the right right people who were willing to offer me positions when they opened. Still, my job in Australia would pay 50% more (accounting for the exchange rate) in a similar market. I realize you have higher taxes and goods/services are somewhat more expensive, but there's also less hidden fees (your food is higher quality too). Actually, my position was technically eliminated this year (along with many others) by corporate suits but my boss's boss's boss figured out a way to keep me on staff by creating a fake title and job description. Otherwise, there'd literally be nobody here that knows how to light a set or set up/run cameras in a professional way. In corporate America, getting a job done well doesn't really matter; it's mostly about eliminating costs to drive up stock prices.

P.S. moving to the U.S. isn't particularly difficult. The laws are a lot less stringent than Australia. I could crack a joke about the illegal immigration here but it might get me banned. ;)

December 12, 2016 at 8:39AM, Edited December 12, 8:42AM

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