Nov 29, 2011

Life Plan #682

Like most other plans in this non-existent series, this one has been floating around in seriousness for only a few weeks or so and is subject to change. Allow me to talk it out, though.

We are planning on moving to Chicago in a year. A year give or take a few months, because this would be a terrible time of year to move.

Why move?

As you know, my darling and hilarious husband is pursuing a career in comedy. Because we're still young and starry-eyed and unattached enough to shoot for it. And he needs to make people laugh and I need to go to a ton of free comedy shows because I'm with him.

In order to take this thing seriously, though, at some point we need to get out of Utah. It's not exactly a state that's in good touch with the entertainment industry. Short of starring in a Halestorm Entertainment LDS comedy feature (are they even still doing those? I can't think of anything since Church Ball...), Trevor's already about as Utah Comedy Famous as you can be. He's in ComedySportz and has done stand-up at Wiseguys and The Complex...what else is there for this state?

As improv and sketch are Trevor's main comedy loves (stand-up is a distant 3rd), the best next step is going to be to study at one of the big improv schools (Second City, iO, UCB or Groundlings). This leaves us with four options of places to move to: New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Chicago.

Why Chicago?

Toronto won't work because it's in Canada and that just makes moving more complicated. Also, it's scarier because it's the one option I haven't been to before, which is enough to cause me to never give it serious consideration. (Trevor has never been to any of the four cities, but he doesn't matter, he's just the talent. What really matters is what I, the logistics person, feel comfortable with. Also, the ComedySportz International Competition for 2012 is in Chicago, so at least he will have been there once by the time we get there?)

Los Angeles has the best weather and the most TV/film opportunities, so there was definitely some debate about moving there, but cost of living, lack of good public transportation, and the general superficial vibe ultimately ruled the city out. Public transportation is definitely necessary for Trevor to get to/from classes/auditions/performances without relying on me. Also, the Second City location in Hollywood isn't wheelchair accessible. Groundlings would probably be the first choice improv school in LA anyway, but yeah, I just wanted to say how lame that is.

New York is the most expensive and doesn't have the best options for improv schools (it's more of a stand-up-centered town, comedy-wise).

Probably the biggest factor is cost of living. Statistically speaking, Chicago means only a 13% cost of living increase for us, which is more easily done than the 35% for Toronto, 43% for Los Angeles, or 55% for New York.

So yes, Chicago. And if we're going to Chicago, we better get Trevor enrolled with the mecca of improvisational comedy, Second City. The list of ComedySportz alumni that you've head of is pretty small (Jason Sudekis, Dan Harmon, Nick Swardson...uhh, there are probably others, but no way there are more than like, five). Second City is a much more established outfit and far more likely to get industry recognition for their performers. The list of Second City Chicago alumni that you've heard of is insanely impressive (Dan Aykroyd, Steve Carell, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Bill Murray, Jane Lynch, Stephen Colbert, John Belushi, Mike Meyers, etc., etc., etc.). Of course, most people who have studied comedy at Second City don't go on to a life of wealth and fame, but it's still definitely a good next step for trying to make a career out of making people laugh.

Why in a year?

The plan is to save up enough money to survive (and pay for Second City classes) for six months in Chicago without employment. Realistically, we won't be able to do that in less than a year.

Hopefully, once we're out there, we'll find employment quickly and most of the saved money will remain saved, but that remains to be seen. The unemployment rate has typically been higher in Chicago than Provo (currently 9.7% vs. 6.8%), so there is some worry about that, but I think six months should be enough time to find something. If we don't find work and just run out of money, we don't deserve life in the city and will run home to family or something. I don't know. I don't want to worry about that yet.

Second City requires a year of progressive improv training before you can audition for their professional-level classes. Trevor will have reached that point with ComedySportz in January, so that'll be no problem. However, we are also in the process of starting a sketch comedy group with a first show planned for January and we'd like to see that project through for at least several months before leaving. (Yes, I'm saying "we" for this one, as I'm doing a little writing and performing myself).

So yeah, that's the plan. As I discover flaws, we'll adjust. Or come up with something completely different. Doesn't hurt to save up to move to Chicago even if we don't, right? But we will. Because I'd hate for you to have wasted sweet minutes of your time reading this post for nothing.

That's right. It's all about you. Just like you thought it was.


fortitude_north said...

Yes! Chicago wins! Obviously it would be super exciting for me (it IS about me) for you to move here because we could throw awesome parties! And, um, do friendship things, and provide love and support, and, um, stuff. But mostly the parties.

Before you even got to that part in your post, I was saying "Chicago has the best cost of living in all those cities!" (well, I can't speak to Toronto, but, visas, ick). One of my friends says that Chicago has an excellent cost of living to quality of life ratio, and I totally agree. I have a way nicer and bigger place than my friends in LA and especially in NY, and I pay equivalent or less. Granted, I live in a so-so neighborhood (I like to describe it as ghetto-adjacent) but still, what I'm saying, is, it's totally possible to live frugally-ish and still enjoy the city. Eating out is reasonable, and I guess you don't care about this, but drinking is super cheap.

Ok, that's all for now but if this becomes a serious plan of course I would be happy to answer whatever questions you have about this fair city.

Hillary said...

I think it's great you're going for it. Utah will be less cool without you.

Say hi to Oprah for me.

mom said...

Does this mean you are giving up on the radish farm? Good luck with this. I was voting for LA of course - you could live in Lancaster and commute! Go Trev!

Andrea said...

Yeah I've spent enough time stuck in traffic between Lancaster and LA to never ever want that to be part of my daily routine. Nice try, Mom!

Betty said...

just wanted to say that sounds like a solid plan! and i had no idea that chicago was that affordable...i hope it works out!!!