Do I need to move to LA or NY to get regular and traveling AC work?

edited January 2017 in Camera

Hey All!

I'm currently based out of Salt Lake City, UT. I get a decent amount of work here, especially PA work, but also the occasional Tech PA, AC and DIT positions. I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of full AC work, however, as most productions seem to travel their own. In your experience do I need to be based out of LA, NY or another big market to get on one of those traveling crews? Or is there a precedent of productions traveling people from other cities? I feel like at this point I know my farfegnugen on all varieties, sizes and types of crews and equipment and would love to start traveling more consistently.

Any thoughts and or tips for networking would be much appreciated!

Thanks Fam!


  • Hey Galen!

    I'm Chicago-based and have worked with a small number of traveling productions. I know that not everyone is adept to travel life. I pose another question: What kind of resources are out there for those of us who love to pack more gear than clothes? :smile:

  • Hi Galen,
    I work as an AC in Denver and would also love to get on a traveling AC gig. The only problem is... a lot of shows won't travel an AC. The shows that do often like a local (NY or LA) so they can get all the gear in order before hitting the road (or pick up gear from rental houses first). It's definitely not impossible though.


  • Hey Galen, as a Producer for those travel shows, we typically don't travel an AC. Too expensive. Most DPs can AC their own shows. Unless you get on a feature...

  • Hey guys thanks for the responses. Maybe the better question then is do I need to look to get to Cam Op first?

  • Don't forget Atlanta. I am currently interning at a rental house here in Atlanta, and on average there are more shows on the ground here than anywhere else right now. It's worth a look. Cheers!

  • In my experience AC's don't get travelled that often. Ultimately what you are looking to do in order to increase your travel options is to find a good DP to build a relationship with. If you can become a key element of a DP's process, then he is going to be more likely to push to have you travel with him. It's going to be rare to convince a UPM to travel you on a regular basis, when they can hire locals. A DP though will have a much better chance of convincing a UPM to bring you along in whatever capacity you work for him as

  • edited February 2017

    It also depends on the kind of AC work you want to do. I used to be an AC in commercials in Indianapolis, not a great situation I'll tell you. In commercials, from my experience, traveling DP's almost always travel with their firsts and both are always from LA or NY.

    I know reality is different though.

  • Torrey Rogers, interning at a rental house?

  • Galen, have you heard the saying, "If you want to make cars, move to Detroit"? it's the same in our biz. There is a glass ceiling that you are bumping against.
    LA, NY, Chicago, maybe Atlanta (due to the tax deal there). Otherwise you will not be taken as seriously by the bigger producer. Sad but true.

  • Most all of my AC'ing friends have lamented that moving was the hardest, but ultimately most necessary change for their careers. I would agree with the others and say that depending on your goals, LA, NY, or Atlanta would be the top three choices. If you're more focused on getting as many quality credits as possible, go to Atlanta - way easier to get gigs there.

  • In talking to an AC on Survivor who travels, he said that he made contacts in LA. Eventually people knew him enough so he didn't have to live in LA anymore. It may be the way to go.

  • @Tom Coleman -- that could work for a while, but eventually the people you knew would move on to others they meet in LA. And new people would not be meeting you there since you moved away. It's a Catch-22 for sure.
    I think if you want to do bigger shoots, live in LA. otherwise, you can live somewhere else.

  • I've been having this same issue. I live in St. Louis and love reality AC work, and have worked on a couple of traveling shows, but nothing big yet. Most of the shows that come through town have a traveling AC. It makes no sense to me why they would only hire LA locals for a traveling position.

  • Traveling ACs may seem odd, but we like to have ACs come in and prep the gear. They are the ones who are most familiar with the gear and how it is packed when working on a traveling production. ACs also tend to get the opportunity to shoot. Depending on the size of the production. But like everyone else stated, LA, NY, or Atalanta. May have luck in Nashville......Good luck!

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