Meet Michael D. Finley from Chicago, IL who moved to LA to act, produce, and live.
Happy New Year! ...This is my first warm winter ever and I think I can get used to it…I grew up in Arlington Heights, a suburb of Chicago, studied Theatre, Film, and Anthropology at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, and after earning my Bachelor of Arts I lived in Chicago for eight months while performing in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Four months ago, I fulfilled part of the goal I’ve had since age 14 by moving to Los Angeles, and now I’m in pursuit of the second part of the goal: making a career out of acting in television, film, and on stage. You can catch me at the end of February in my first episodic costar role as “Riley” on ABC’s The Middle (ep. 613)!
How did you hear about Brits in LA?
I learned of Brits in LA a little over four years ago after meeting Craig on set of the independent feature, Return To The Hiding Place (set to release in the near future after making a hugely successful festival circuit), of which Craig stars and I have a supporting role in. Craig and I became fast friends, and while I was in the middle of my undergraduate training I spent a summer in LA interning for Brits in LA. Now I’m a member for life…and an honorary Brit, right?
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
I suppose many: 1) I’ve always wanted to live a part of my life away from the place I grew up, especially after spending my first 22 years in the same 30 mile radius; 2) Although my passion for acting started from a young age it didn’t stem from my family being a theater-going family, so Broadway and New York City weren’t ever first on my list - my family loves seeing movies together…so I figured I’d move to where that industry was; and 3) The weather and geography of Los Angeles and California beat Chicago’s hands down - and I love outdoorsy activities like skiing, hiking, and rock climbing.
What’s one thing you miss from home?
From my childhood home, free food and rent ;) But actually, my friends in the city!
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus Chicago?
So far, I’d have to say that the accessibility of public transportation and general size and layout of the two cities is what has made my experience differ most so far. Los Angeles feels far vaster due to the amount of time spent in your car traffic. This has made it difficult for me to figure out where “my spots” (restaurants, parks, bars, clubs) are as quickly and while Uber is a godsend, being responsible on a night out still doesn’t come cheap.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
As I said before, I think it may take me some time to find the hidden gems. But two of my favorite places to visit when I’m in their area are:
1) Rockreation (http://rockreation-la.com/)- a climbing gym tucked away near Bundy and Olympic in West LA where I became a member. Climbings my favorite way to get a work out and have fun at the same time. I’m always making new climbing buddies.
2) TGS (Tortoise General Store) on Abbott Kinney. Every-day use products such as housewear, kitchenwear, stationery, books, something for kids and camping etc. All Japan related.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
Give yourself time to make Los Angeles your home, but that being said, get out there and undertake the trips to DO THINGS to make it your home. There seems to be more and more I’m discovering that the city offers for its inhabitants if you just do the research or have a well connected friend. Not everything is exclusive to those with the funds…just keep digging.
How can we find out more about you on the Internet ?