Entertainment Jobs Q&A: Do I Really Need to Relocate?

entertainment jobs do I have to relocate

Do all entertainment jobs require you to relocate and live on the road?

As someone who has moved four times in the last year, I can understand why people are reticent to relocate. The packing, the finding a new home, the cable guy, the forwarded mail, updating credit cards – it’s annoying and moving once is enough to say “ENOUGH”!

Entertainment jobs are not like most careers, there are centralized hubs of activity in certain realms like film, but there are also opportunities in just about every city for jobs in television and radio.

This weeks Entertainment Jobs Q&A comes from Janice in Topeka, Kansas who wants to know if relocation is mandatory in the entertainment industry.

If you have a question for our Entertainment Jobs Q&A column, please add it in the comments below and we will answer it.

The Q:

Hi, I’m more than a little frustrated in my entertainment career search, I love your site and how I can dig into career opportunities based on location and industry – but I am not finding all that much in my area of Kansas. I grew up here and would love to spend my life in this region – is it essential for me to relocate in order to land an entertainment job?

Janice – Topeka, Kansas

The A:

Janice I feel your pain (and I’m glad you are enjoying our site)! I don’t want to give you a generic answer because I hate generic answers… but I’m going to start out that way.

It depends.

If you want to work in film, I doubt there are too many movies or production companies based in Topeka. But if you want to work in Television or Radio, Topeka isn’t necessarily a huge market (#136), but there is a lot of interesting news that happens there. It’s a state capitol which means there is a ton of political and legal coverage. It’s close to Kansas City, which means there are sports teams to cover, restaurants to review and events taking place. It is close to Manhattan and Lawrence, which means there are college events that matter.

Basically there is a lot of news happening, and that means opportunities in content creation in both TV and radio.

But let’s not get too specific to just Topeka, because that might bore everyone reading that isn’t from Topeka (am I right?).

The truth is, most entertainment jobs do require relocation, as I eluded to in my intro, I’ve moved plenty of times…from Boston, to Atlanta, to Seattle and now in Denver. Opportunities in entertainment gravitate towards larger cities so if you live in a rural area, expect to move.

That doesn’t mean Los Angeles or New York are your only options, I’d actually suggest you avoid those for a while and build yourself up in a smaller to mid-sized city first.

Getting back to the specific industries:

Television Careers: Relocation is paramount to advancement. If you work for a production company, when one show is out of season you will have to find another show to work on, which means you could be on the move. If you work in news, sports, entertainment or weather – you may start out in a market like Bangor, Maine but to make more money, gain more notoriety and cover bigger stories,  you’ll need to move to cities outside of the great state of Maine.

Radio Careers: Very similar to Television in that growth depends on relocation. But then again, if you started out working at a station in Reno, Nevada and loved it, there is nothing that says you have to move, it kind of depends on your own personal priorities. Do you want to advance as far as you can? Or do you value a certain quality of life that a city like Reno affords? Only you can answer that.

entertainment jobs in radio

Careers in radio exist is just about every city in America, figure out your career objectives – do you want to grow toward big city, or stay where you are?

Film Careers: This is the trickiest one, because films are truly being shot just about everywhere. Vancouver, BC has been a hub for TV shows and films because of tax breaks and incentives, the south is becoming more of a destination, and obviously there is Hollywood and New York. As I mentioned earlier, I think it’s pretty tough to break into film in NYC or Hollywood. If it were me I’d seriously consider starting in Vancouver or growing film regions like Atlanta and North Carolina.

Start there, build your resume and experience and then consider the big cities.

Music Careers: There are hubs of music that you need to gravitate towards.

The obvious: NYC & LA.

The niche: Austin, TX, Nashville, TN, Atlanta, GA, Seattle, WA, New Orleans, LA

The developing: Salt Lake City, UT and Miami, FL

Where do you fit?

Chances are you will have to relocate for your entertainment career, but if you want to stay where you are analyse where your area stands out, what makes it special and why there should be opportunities there. With reality TV there are more and more shows being developed outside of major cities and as I mentioned major blockbusters like The Hunger Games are being shot in cities like Asheville, North Carolina.

Stay up with the industry by reading trade papers like Variety.

Bottom line, it all depends on your personal objectives. For me, I wanted to grow in my career and figure out a “home base” later. It wasn’t until my mid-30s I figured out where I wanted to call home, up to this point I was just stopping by as I grew my career. For me that was comfortable and exciting, only you can determine what is most comfortable for you.

Do you have any further advice for Janice? If you do add it to the comments below along with any questions you have for our next Entertainment Jobs Q&A!


About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the broadcast media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for WorkinSports.com & WorkinEntertainment.com.

Recently Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, you should.


  1. Kimberly says:

    This article came at the perfect time! I’m looking to get into the music industry and have been thinking about relocating since I live in Boston. I was thinking of moving to New York , however it is so competitive that I feel an opportunity will be hard to come by. I’m kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place, because I want to get my career going, it’s just a matter of getting my foot in the door. Im glad to know there are other cities I can look into though. By the way, would you by any chance know anything about tour management? I’m trying to get into that, I just do not know where to start. Also, I would love to see an article on networking. I’m the absolute worst at networking and would appreciate any advice you can give.

  2. So I am looking to reclaim myself in the field after being away to raise kids. I am willing to relocate but need to find a company that will take a chance and give me an opportunity to prove myself. Any ideas on how to reenter as I have been looking without success…thank you in advance for your helpful hints!

    • Luci – this actually strikes me very close to home. I left my job as a news director at a top market because we were about to have kids and my wives job was more stable. Being a news director is awesome, but it’s a fragile life… (ratings dip and the first move is always to hire new talent and get a new news director!) I spent 3-4 years as a stay at home dad dabbling in freelance jobs here and there just to stay curent and active, when it came time to jump back in I actually went about it a little differently. Instead of trying to get back where I was, I shifted towards digital media, started my own website, built my network on that side of the industry and for the last year or so have been director of content for both WorkinSports and WorkinEntertainment. I felt digital media was a skill I needed to be market relevant, so I dedicated myself to learning all of it, (it’s amazing how much you can learn just reading blogs and trying things). My suggestion to you, see how you can pivot your skills into something market appropriate and needed! It’s hard to go back where you were, it’s in my mind easier to take your skills and adjust them to something new. – Brian

  3. This article definitely helped relax my nerves. I’m kinda in an opposite situation right now. I’m currently working for the television industry in Los Angeles. I know that I don’t want to stay in LA my entire life (since I grew up here as well) but I do want to stay in the television/film industry. I was kinda afraid that I’ll have to stay in LA forever but this article helped open my eyes that that’s not the case. I guess it’s all about growing your network and doing some research.

    • Soken – I’ve personally worked in the TV industry for about 15 years and never stepped foot in Los Angeles (well, I did have some meetings once at Fox, but never worked in LA) there are many more opportunities out there than people think…and in cheaper places to live! – Brian