Feb 14

When Is Pilot Season in Los Angeles?

Pilot Season in LA

Pilot Season in Los Angeles

Pilot Season in Los Angeles

Pilot season is going on right now in Los Angeles  (sort of — keep reading for some caveats). With the economy down and other changes that have occurred in the television industry, pilot season is not quite the same as it used to be, though.

Pilot Season LA — Traffic

During pilot season in Los Angeles, the freeways are more crowded and crazy. This is primarily due to the huge number of people who flock to L.A. to try to launch their acting careers at this time of the year, many of whom are not used to navigating the L.A. freeways.

I can vouch for the fact that the L.A. freeways can be particularly frightening, especially when you are not familiar with them. Refer to my previous posts on that topic (L.A. Traffic) for more information.

The extra traffic during pilot season in Los Angeles is probably also partially due to the increase in auditions and jobs for actors and jobs for other industry professionals involved in the casting and filming of the pilots.

Pilot Season LA — Helps Businesses in the Area

Hotels and motels have more visitors during this time of year. Apartments that allow short-term leases, including places like The Oakwood, are often filled to capacity during pilot season, even with the high prices being charged for rents.

Many other businesses (restaurants, grocery stores, theme parks) are booming as well at this time of year as a result of the increased population, bringing in extra revenue in the Los Angeles area.

So, “When Is Pilot Season in Los Angeles?”

The truth about Pilot Season in Los Angeles is that it no longer exists as it did a few years ago. Pilot Season in L.A. has traditionally occurred during the months of January, February, March, and April, with the most activity from mid-January to early April.

For more information about Pilot Season in LA, refer to “What Is Pilot Season? (Showbiz Term of the Day)“.

Pilots are not just filmed during “Pilot Season” anymore, though. Pilots are now cast and filmed throughout the year. It just depends on who/what network is actually doing the pilot as to when the casting and filming occur. So it is a little more difficult to call a particular time of the year “pilot season.”

While it may continue to be busier in L.A. from January through April than during the rest of the year for pilots, it is certainly not the way it used to be.  A large number of actors still come to Los Angeles during this time of year, but for many, it may not be worth the trip.

If you are thinking of coming to Los Angeles for pilot season, do some research first to decide if this is really the right thing to do.

So will the mass migration to Los Angeles starting in January for pilot season continue with these changing trends?  It will be an interesting situation to watch. What do you think?  Please comment here with your views on Pilot Season in LA!

To your success,

Debbie Sikkema

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  1. Vanessa@Go Pro Cameras

    Can you please share me a link of pilot season of Los Angeles official site and also where else it is situated… ????

  2. Casey@ Criminal Defense Lawyer Los Angeles

    It’s true, the mass amount of people that flock to Los Angeles is great for the economy, but so frustrating at the same time. It’s almost impossible to get anywhere! Especially when the Award Shows coincide with Pilot Season. Any tips to the locals on avoiding the parking lots known as the freeways to get around?

  3. Jonathan Dylan@promotional products

    Thanks for sharing the information. I am interested in reading about the entertainment industry and today I learn this new concept. I want to know that are all struggling actors, who feature in pilots that may be canceled before being aired, being paid. Or is it just a sample shooting and nothing is paid till the pilot gets selected for further episodes?

  4. Carlos@Car Loan

    This is an interesting piece of information. I want to know that do these actors need to make some extra preparations for this festival. And those whose shows do not get aired, do they have the chances of getting the right break during this festival, or only those who get aired have them? Do they get paid for these one or two episodes?

  5. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Carlos,
    Thanks for commenting! Yes, actors typically get paid for the acting they do whether the pilot airs or not. They will get paid a pre-negotiated sum for their work, or perhaps SAG or AFTRA scale for their work as a day-player or a higher rate per day or period of time if negotiated by their talent representatives. Only if the payment is deferred will they not get paid for their time worked. It depends on the contract, and typically there is a condition that must be met with deferred payment before the person will actually get any money from that work. The actor will get paid for any additional episodes created (the same way as I’ve stated above–for the actual work they do), and then when the episodes air after the initial airing as specified in the contract, they will get residuals. Does that help? –Debbie

  6. John Dias@watch sports online

    Hi. I have found the post very innovative and the comments are interesting too. What I want to know is this that how do directors contact the actors they see during the pilot season? I mean, they may see them in a scene that is aired or walking around during the event. How would they contact them? Thanks a ton.

  7. Dean Werchon@Werchy's Movers

    If the traffic is so much and the authorities know in advance that this is going to happen, then why don’t they take steps in advance? Is there any special reason for hosting the event in Los Angeles? I mean, they may host it at some other place that is more convenient to everybody and the problem of traffic could be sorted.

  8. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Dean,
    Well, pilot season is not actually an event! It is the just the time of year that L.A. studios are the busiest with television casting and filming. Many studios are in the Hollywood/L.A. area, so that is where this occurs. More and more filming is all around the US now, though. Can’t really solve the traffic problem unless the studios move elsewhere… Thanks for commenting! –Debbie

  9. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi John,
    Most actors are actually contacted through their talent agents or talent managers. While they can be contacted through casting sites or by looking at a postcard that an actor sent out or from previous contacts they have had with the actor and their talent representatives, typically, the talent agents and managers receive the information about the casting that is taking place through breakdown express. (Read my post on breakdown express for more on this topic!) Then they submit actors who are right for the part from those they represent, and then the casting director decides who to bring in for the auditions. Sometimes the casting directors, producers, and directors just call in actors that they remember from other projects or that they see in various productions. Thanks for commenting! –Debbie

  10. Cynthia Ramirez

    Do you know a specific management of where I can go for a talent agency or talent manager? If you are a talent scout would you be able to help me out personally?

  11. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Cynthia,
    I am not a talent scout, a talent agent, nor a talent manager. Where are you looking for a talent agent and/or talent manager? Are you in the L.A. area? I can certainly help point you in the right direction or give you other advice on how to go about finding someone. Warm regards, Debbie

  12. lindsay

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if many Australian actors arrive with a holiday visa and land roles in the auditions? Do they even get auditions without greencard/agents?

  13. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Lindsay,
    Thanks for reading and commenting! That is a very good question. I wish I could tell you more on this topic! I know a lot of foreign actors come here to pursue acting careers, but I really don’t know what is required of them. I suspect if they can come here and attend auditions while visiting, if they get a job, the production company should be able to handle that sort of paperwork. If an actor is offered a good job, finding an agent should not be difficult at that point. Any Australians or other foreign actors out there who can comment on how all this works?
    Warm regards, Debbie

  14. Danny

    Hi Debbie-

    Thanks for the information. I was planning on moving to LA to pursue acting after my studies abroad in Europe (subsequently during the time of “Pilot Season”, which I just found out about through you, should I be completely concerned? Is moving in the summer/ fall to LA a pointless venture? Should I just wait till Pilot Season in, *gulp*, 2013?

    Thanks so much for the advice!

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  16. Debbie Sikkema

    Hi Danny,
    Sorry I just noticed your comment here! This does not mean you should only come during pilot season and not any other time during the year. There are more opportunities now during pilot season than at many other times during the year, but the changes in pilot season mean that activity is spread out a little more evenly throughout the year than it used to be.

    There are many films being done all year with slightly greater film activity often in the summer (though it is typically a relatively slower time of year for auditioning), and fall is episodic season which is when casting is done for many of the episodes of various shows and is a very busy time for auditioning in Los Angeles. Coming in the summer will allow you time to learn the area, make sure you have representation lined up, headshots ready, and good acting classes/coaches to help prepare you so you can hit the ground running in episodic season.

    Just be prepared for the possibility that you won’t get auditions right away, and it is best to try to get representation lined up before you come if possible. You will need some funds to cover your living expenses and perhaps a backup job to make sure you have money for rent and acting classes and coaching and headshots. Good luck, and please keep me posted and let me know if I can answer any questions for you.
    To your success,

  17. Tyler Mitchell

    How do u go about looking for a good kids talent agent. My son is 12 years of age.

    Thank you
    Marisa Mitchell

  18. Rebecca

    Hello Debbie,

    (coping an earlier question>) Do you know a specific management? Where I can go for a talent agency or talent manager? I have recently decided that I’m going to put my all into trying to become an actress. I hadn’t decided before because living a single parent home where our economical situation is not at its best… I figured that without money I’d get no where. But my mother said she didn’t care and if this was what i really liked then i should go for it. Problem is i don’t know where to start I have no experience beside musical theater in high school. I am currently 19 and I don’t know how and where to find a legitimate talent agency and thought you may be of help. I live in Miami, Florida but I know that if it would be necessary to move to L.A I would. I just figure I would need a talent agent, here in Miami, first to tell me how to go about with everything.

    Utterly confused… Rebecca

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  21. Jacqueline Lopez

    Hello Debbie!

    I currently live in Houston, Texas and I have been interested in starting to go on some auctions but I don’t have the slightest idea of where to go or where to start or who to even speak with! Is there any tips of sort that could help me going in the right direction? I’ve been wanting to do this for a while now and I’m just starting to get comfortable to actually pursue this dream.

    Anything will help!

    Thank you!

  1. What Is Episodic Season? (Showbiz Term of the Day) | Your Young Actor

    […] the year in the entertainment industry is episodic season.  The other is pilot season (see “When Is Pilot Season in Los Angeles?” and “What Is Pilot Season? (Showbiz Term of the Day)” for more on pilot […]

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