I have a confession to make--I've been obsessed with the map you see here for a while now. Back in 1927, the most popular magazine about Hollywood was Photoplay, and they published a series of articles about the girls coming to Hollywood to try to make it in the motion pictures. One of the illustrations they included was this map--it shows the major locations girls would have to go to auditions, and the distances from the Hollywood Studio Club (a boardinghouse for young actresses). It absolutely kills me that not a whole lot has changed.
CUT TO: PRESENT DAY
Over on the Taking Fountain Community Facebook group, member Alexander Hero had a question. He's thinking about moving to LA to pursue acting, and wondered where he should live in the city. I started typing up a really long response and then realized...y'know what would be WAY more helpful? A MAP!
I get to make a Taking Fountain version of the Photoplay map! Lucky for me, Google Maps now has a feature that allows you to CREATE YOUR OWN. You can add layers that have different bits of information, then you can toggle the layers on or off to see only certain things at a time--or turn all the layers on and see them all at once!
So, I started with a general map of Los Angeles, and I created the following layers:
- General Areas
These are color-coded and denote the general areas of the city (for the really confused new Angeleno). So when someone's complaining about having an audition "on the Westside," you'll have an idea what that means.
I used my own experience and the LA Times' amazing Mapping L.A. project to draw in general boundaries of the myriad neighborhoods that make up this city. THERE IS A LOT OF DEBATE OVER NEIGHBORHOOD BOUNDARIES, it turns out. I'm not trying to court controversy here--I drew these more with a mind to what someone might see in an apartment listing on Craigslist. The Mapping L.A. project is FAR more specific and involved a LOT more research, so if you want to get really specific about where a certain neighborhood begins and ends, check there. If I was familiar with the neighborhood, I added a little blurb to the description--no offense to the neighborhoods I don't know at all!
- Landmarks for Actors
Alexander specifically asked about casting director workshops and networking events. I haven't done casting director workshops in a long time, and they are another wildly-debated hot topic (read an incredibly nuanced and well-reasoned article on the controversy by patron-saint-of-actors Bonnie Gillespie here). For that reason, I've only listed two workshop places on the map. The SAG Foundation offers absolutely free casting director workshops to SAG-AFTRA members in good standing, while Actor's Key (and their new partner Actor's Take) were recommended and vouched for by friends of mine (I have no personal experience there). I also think networking events are happening literally all the time, in every corner of the city. Mostly, I've marked what I feel is a representative sample of places you would have to go for commercial and theatrical auditions. This is maybe half of the places that are consistently casting, but it gives you a good idea of which areas of town you'll need to be in a lot.
- My Favorite Places
This is the layer that is still very much under-construction, and I'll continue to add to it as this blog grows! Currently, I've mapped all the places I've talked about elsewhere on Taking Fountain, as well as some of the highlights I'm looking forward to covering soon. I would love to hear what places you think I should check out and add to this map--leave me a note on the Facebook group page!!
This is just a screenshot--click through for the real deal on Google's My Maps!