Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Getting to Los Angeles, Part 2

We’d never thought of creating a base in southern Nevada, or of splitting the year between two (or more) locations, but the minute we got home I was online and looking into it. The distance (about 300 miles depending on the route) was about the same as from my current location to New York, so even when I wasn’t physically in Los Angeles I could still make it to scheduled call times and classes, and there was still the option of uploading audition tapes.

Taxes? Nevada has no state income tax, check.

Apartment costs? A two-bedroom in Las Vegas can be had for around $1,000 a month. In some of the small towns to the south, like Laughlin, it drops to $550. So rent for a whole year in Nevada is roughly equal to the cost of one or two months in Los Angeles, which eases the pain of paying rent for a year when we may be away for long periods of time.

Pets? We didn’t see any massive up-front pet fees, but breed and number limits are in place in some places, but not all.

Location? The desert is beautiful in winter and the temperatures are sublime. You have the whole Lake Mead Recreation Area, including Lake Mohave, which is mentioned in several episodes of my favorite old radio show, “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.” Mountains and snow are as close as an hour away in Arizona, or two hours away in California at Big Bear Lake or Lake Arrowhead. Lots of beautiful country in the southwest, once you get away from large urban areas.

But how to be available in Los Angeles for in-person auditions during the prime months of the year? (Actor friends in LA have told me that it's slow during August and from about mid-November through mid-January.) The couples we’d met at the ball game had found short-term rentals, but that option was still costly and might actually involve moving stuff.
Didn’t want to do that.
Matthew McConaughey in front of his Airstream in 2009

Then I thought, what about a travel trailer or other recreational vehicle (RV)? Musicians often travel in RVs, those huge, bus-like things. Still, when I think of RVs I usually think of old folks touring in their Winnebago. Do actors live and travel in RVs too?

As it turns out, yes, they do. Actors like Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, who lived in a customized van before taking to an Airstream travel trailer at Malibu (the RV park is right on the beach). You can read about it here.

Actor Jeff Daniels both vacations with his family and tours with a band in a Class A bus.  He posted a funny song on YouTube about driving away from a truck stop minus his wife, as well as a series of videos on taking to the road on a band tour to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in winter. His series about the band tour begins here. His comedy song video is below.

Now to choose the magic vehicle that will get us to LA for part of the year on a budget. We were pretty sure right off that it would NOT be a 42 foot bus. That's in Part 3.






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