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Topic: OT: California living expenses -

  1. #1

    OT: California living expenses -

    I'm a Philadelphian....but basically every 10 seconds I hear "you can't get a real film gig unless you're in LA" or "we would hire you...if you were in town" or "call us when you get to LA" or "if you're in the Bay Area, gimme a call" and so on, and so forth. I'm starting to get the message

    I'm planning on making the move right once I get my driver's license (yep, I'm 22 and licenseless, make your jokes), and I'm just wondering if anyone could give me some idea of the living expenses? I'm trying to decide between San Jose and Los Angeles - LA seems like it might be cheaper just to live there, but in SJ I wouldn't have to have a car. On the other hand, LA would have more potential job opportunities in film...but SJ is a lot better for games, where I have a little more of a foothold.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!!
    Wilbert Roget, II

  2. #2

    Re: OT: California living expenses -


    get a car before you come to California. This is NO place to be to rely on public transportation.

  3. #3

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    Yeah exactly, well I'll probably have to get one right once I'm there somehow though... I don't think I'll be driving all the way across america

    But yeah for LA I'm sure public transportation would be out of the question. In the Bay Area though, public transportation seemed pretty good (especially San Jose, I was just there for the Game Developers Conference). So as long as I'm not too far away from the train system in SJ, I could probably get away with it. Oakland and San Fran seemed to be pretty accessible too, especially considering how tiny SF is. The flipside is cost of living though, with rent and other expenses.... so yeah, I'm still really unsure of what to do.

    I think my ultimate destination will inevitably be LA, I just don't really have a sense of how much life would cost in each area. Does anyone here know much more about San Jose?

    Thanks again!
    Wilbert Roget, II

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Roget
    I just don't really have a sense of how much life would cost in each area. Does anyone here know much more about San Jose?
    At moving.com there is a Salary Comparison Calculator Let's say you make $50,000 in Philly. Here is what you would have to make in Califorinia to have the same standard of living:

    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania $50,000
    Los Angeles, California $87,349
    San Jose, California $128,313

    The cost of living in LA is 74.9% higher than Philly and in San Jose, California its 156.6% higher than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A salary of $50,000 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has the same buying power that a salary of $128,313 has in San Jose or $87,349 in Los Angeles.

    Gary Garritan

  5. #5

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    Yikes, I didn't realize SJ was that much more expensive than LA! Maybe the cost of car+insurance might balance out when it's that much "cheaper".
    Wilbert Roget, II

  6. #6

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    Honestly, I don't know how anyone could move out here "cold" these days. The better half and I came out here *only* after I landed a job, which took several flights back and forth and lots of phone interviews. That said, if you can find a way to split expenses with someone (or with several someones) then the living overhead can drop precipitously - as rent is a large part of the budget here. It's good that you're scouting things out now, because it would be foolish to come out here without a plan.

    The COLA from east coast to west is not that much of a surprise (it's about the same ratio as when I moved out here 2+ years ago), and the San Jose area is one of the most expensive places to live in the US with no signs of changing.

    Also consider that you'll be eating out more here - and paying more for meals (both your own and the meals for the folks you're schmoozing). Have you ever paid $12 for an apple martini? Well, get ready... that's just for the cheap stuff "from the well". Premium drinks will cost you even more.

    Bottom line - budgeting for living in the entertainment business in LA is not the same as budgeting the move from Philly to Miami.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  7. #7

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    The cost of living in LA is 74.9% higher than Philly and in San Jose, California its 156.6% higher than Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Sheesh, if you think THAT'S bad, check out the difference between Santa Barbara, California, where I used to live, and Tucson, Arizona, where I live now. Yipes!

    ...like a buddy of mine says, "if you didn't buy a house in Santa Barbara, you paid too little!"

    EDIT: P.S. Will, do you know where Easton is? I spent a (very) short time at Lafayette. My dad grew up in Bangor and graduated from Lafayette, mom was born in Bethlehem...

  8. #8

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    You will need a car here. Things tend to be spread out.

    Saying "LA is this much compared to this place" is misleading, because it depends on what sort of neighborhood and place you live, and how far out in the burbs you are. There are ways to survive for relatively cheap, but you get what you pay for. Actually, you get much LESS than what you pay for in socal, all the way up to Fran Sancisco. It's a crazy expensive place to live, not because there aren't cheap stores and so on, but because rent is astronomically high.

    Keep in mind, wages are often higher in pricey places, so it evens out to some extent. Kinda. Having some kind of degree or certification in something would help.

    Ugh, money sucks.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: California living expenses -

    I did some online apartment hunting and neighborhood comparisons for LA a few months ago, and was able to find some vaguely reasonable places... that and I might hopefully be able to hit up some friends at USC/UCI for a place to crash while I hunt for a place of my own / a more permanent roomate. I guess the San Jose thing won't happen then, if it's really that much more expensive - it's good for games but there's not as much potential for film, games don't require you to be on-site as often, and even though the public transportation seemed acceptible it probably won't balance out.

    I guess I was just a little freaked out when I found out how much car insurance costs!!! (I honestly had no idea). So... when can we start taking up a collection for dear old me?

    Thanks again for all the input!

    (btw Doug, I've "heard of" Easton and Bangor / Lafayette, but never been there. I did have some friends from Bethlehem though, but basically as you can probably tell, Philadelphians don't really know anything about their surrounding geography b/c so many of us don't have cars )
    Wilbert Roget, II

  10. #10

    Re: OT: California living expenses -


    As you make your plans to head out west remember the phrase "Quality of Life" I have chased my industry around the country upping my wage, buying bigger houses, (getting further in debt!) and "still haven't found what i'm looking for"

    Maybe the dude that lives in an inexpensive part of the country has more free time and a clearer head to "write great music" because he's not dealing with the BS and headache that may come along with the stressfull life of a Hollywood composer.

    Great music will not go unheard because it wasn't written in California.

    Good Luck with your music my friend!

    "Every time you play a wrong note God kills a kitten."

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