New York vs. Los Angeles for Film and TV Career Opportunities

Young woman on set operating a film camera.
•••

bjones27 / Getty Images

 

Many people automatically assume if you want a job in television or film, you should go to Los Angeles. If you're looking for a job in the theater, well New York is the place to be. At one point in time, this was certainly true. However, New York has had a surge of film and TV production over the past few decades and there is a valid argument that both Los Angeles and New York offer up an equal amount of opportunity.

New York vs. Los Angeles Weather

With 72-degree temperature and sunny skies almost year-round, it’s hard for almost any city to compete with the weather in Los Angeles. It’s one of the many reasons why convertibles dominate the roadways and why so many studios set up shop in Los Angeles so many decades ago.

But what New York lacks in year-round sunshine it makes up for with a beautiful change of seasons. New York has very distinct seasons. You know a New York summer from a New York winter with merely a glance. The same of which can not be said for Los Angeles where 90 degree days in December and January are always a possibility.

Studio Locations

With most of the major movie studios based in Hollywood, job opportunities abound. Warner Brothers, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, and Disney are just a few of the studios that have thousands of employees based on the west coast. Additionally, with the advent of internet programming, Hollywood’s proximity to Silicon Valley means new opportunities and job growth in the entertainment sector.

Most major studios have satellite offices in New York that manage their New York-based productions as well as provide additional avenues for content development and revenue generation. Many of these satellite offices are actually becoming larger and larger each year as many high-profile filmmakers and independent production companies base their operations in New York.

Film vs. Television

Many in the industry say that if a career in television development or writing for television is what you're after then Los Angeles is definitely where you should be. Although there are numerous productions currently based in New York, most of the development work happens in Los Angeles.

That said, crew positions such as cinematographers, make-up artists, gaffers, set designers, and other positions were abundant in both cities.

For film jobs, even though the major studios are based in Hollywood, there are still ample opportunities for a wide variety of careers in both New York and Los Angeles. All bases are covered from the production development to production services to production support.

Film and TV Schooling

In Los Angeles, there are three major institutions that have world-renowned film and television programs. They are:

  • The University of Southern California
  • The University of California and Los Angeles
  • American Film Institute

Although there are numerous other respectable organizations, these three have programs that are consistently recognized for breeding highly qualified graduates.

In New York, the three film schools that stand out amongst those in the industry are:

  • Katharine Gibbs School
  • New York Film Academy
  • Pratt Institute

There are many unique advantages that each city has. But remember, the only true way to succeed in any career is to not only enjoy what you do for a living but to enjoy the life you're living as well. So, if you have a strong personal preference towards one or the other, chances are you will find ample opportunity no matter which coast you're on.