Recently, backstage.com, one go-to guide for actors around the world, posted two - count 'em, TWO - articles about how local actors could actually land over-5 and guest roles in pilots now - even, dare we say it, lead roles? Yep, we said it, and we meant it! After all, if Backstage is writing about it, it must be truly a trend in the entertainment industry.
So why is it that the industry seems to be making this shift? The simplest answer, in this case, is the most logical: it's easy on the studios' pocketbooks to hire locally. And just how does it save the shows money? Local actors didn't get billing. But now, that's all changing, though, according to Georgia-based Netfilx hit Ozark's casting directors, at a "glacial pace." Series regulars that are locals are getting booked in roles, like recurring guest star roles.
However, unless you're a Barb-on-Stranger-Things sleeper hit, you're not going to want to up and move to LA with just a couple of speaking roles under your belt. In the Backstage article we linked here, titled, "Small Market Acting No Longer Means Small Market Roles," New Mexico casting director Jo Edna Boldin points to seeing actors too many times do this and end up right back in their hometowns, because they didn't give themselves enough time to saturate the local market.
In short, be smart about where you are locally, wherever that may be. Take the time to learn your craft by taking acting classes, and getting several roles under your belt before you make any big moves. It always helps to at least be SAG-E (SAG-eligible) before moving to a bigger market. Remember, you have a ton of competition out there! Be strategic - and, most importantly, have fun!