A move to LA?



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I am 22 and I currently reside in Massachusetts, US. I'm contemplating moving to LA to pursue creature/character arts (From foam fabrication/costumery to sculpture, mold making and more)

I am not a makeup person, I would more so be making masks and costumes. So frankly, I could do this art anywhere, just an online presence would be key. But I am enthralled by the idea of being surrounded/in reach of so many shops and artists.

Just wondering if anyone has any experience or opinion on moving to LA in the name of RPF-related industries/arts?


Active Member
Well JK I've kiiinda been (in 07) where you are now.I had plans for the same destination and I was alot older than 22. I researched and applied to Dick Smith's online school and was accepted...and as I progressed and got much better I started peppering him with questions about such a move. First he told me learn as many skills as you can (like his or Stan's course) and gain any experience you can locally...create a portfolio to showcase what you can offer.And most important if you do make the move make sure you have Plenty of Money and try ahead of time to have made some type of contact with possibly a prospective employer or two or three. He said Never go out there blindly....there are too many pitfalls and distractions PLUS you (especially today) will just be A face in a crowd of Hundreds if not Thousands with the same dream as you. Dick was a unique man and I counted him as a dear friend...I do miss him. I also hope you will make smart choices,and be Successful, because the streets of L.A. are littered with people who also had dreams...
God Bless and Good Luck!


New Member
I'll add to what Colossus601 said about having contacts before you come out here, as it will make a huge difference. Interacting with fabricators, sculptors, painters, and mold makers online to get to know them and share your work for constructive criticism that's a great start. Taking Stan Winston classes and interacting with classmates and teachers (I think they do "office hours") is another great idea.

Dig through old issues of Cinefex on the movies that inspired you to find out which companies are making work you love. I'd recommend finding out about the companies and maybe planning a trip out to Los Angeles before the move- a full week of coffee, beers, and meetings to get to know people and make yourself known and show off your portfolio. Making connections is the first step, having the skills is the second, and everything else is PATIENCE.

Additionally, if you can't get into KNB, Legacy, Spectral, or any of the other big shops, there is also a big handful of smaller shops in and around Los Angeles that grow and shrink based on the amount of work going around. But there are a number of other opportunities to look at: Knott's Scary Farm and Universal hire a ton of make-up effects fabricators this time of year, as well as the numerous haunts in the area; there are specialty fabrication shops for museums and art installations, and a host of themed entertainment fabricators making floats, costumes, and animatronics; Robot Chicken/Stoopid Buddy and Starburns Industries do stopmotion, too, which require specialty fabrication. Also, there are lots of opportunities and probably slightly less competitive than LA, in Orlando, or look into puppet fabrication and rapid prototyping for a place like LAIKA in Portland.

Speaking of rapid prototyping, make sure that you've got some digital tools at your disposal while you're working on your classical skills. Sculpting in Z-brush, modeling in Maya or SketchUp, or knowledge of 3D printing are extra skills that will put you above a lot of candidates.

I can't help you with the move, I was born and raised in LA, but I still worked my way into make-up effects and loved every second of it. It's super fun and the people can be great and the work is challenging. I can tell you this- most of the shops are on the north side of the city, in the valley. So if you're looking for a place to land, check out Burbank, Glendale, or Sherman Oaks and Van Nuys.

Good luck!
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