Ran into an ex-castmate from a show I did in 2003 at an on-camera audition on Friday. She was preparing to go out to L.A. for pilot season for her second year running after stashing away as much cash as possible this summer in Chicago. We talked for a bit over coffee, during which I surprised myself by admitting that the idea of returning to L.A. sometime in the mid-future was beginning to buzz around in the back of my brain.
Funny thing that. I have SO many reasons not to go back to the West Coast, but the fact of the matter is that the minimums needed for both the union health plans and the pension plans keeps rising each year, and I'm in the uncomfortable position of not yet having enough steady gigs to qualify for both on an ongoing basis. Last year, I barely squeaked by to qualify for health coverage and, for the first time in 6 years, I fell short — by just $400 in earnings — from earning a pension credit. Given that I can expect commercial job opportunities to decrease in Chicago becasue of an increasingly fractured advertising spend (the number of national spots cast out of Chicago has dropped dramatically in the last year), not to mention my age, I can't help but wonder if it's not a smart idea to look to the SAG Theatrical contract to complete my 10-years worth of vesting. Which, of course, means returning to L.A.
Just thinking about it at the moment.