What Do You Want to Learn About the TV Industry?

career, how hollywood works: TV

I was 14-years-old when I started working in restaurants. As I slipped into a polo shirt and pleated khakis, my father gave me his version of a pep-talk, tinged with a sensitivity known only to drill sergeants and Asian fathers:

“Remember: You don’t know as much as you think you know.

“So keep you mouth shut,” he said. “Watch and listen.”

Inspiring! However…

14 years later and the advice stuck with me. What my father meant:

Go into everything with an open mind.

Listen before passing judgment.

And spend the time to learn about people and their opinions. They may know something you don’t.

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The Accomplished Critic

personal stories, random thoughts

In college I wrote book reviews for the university magazine.

It was a lot of fun. It was college. Your opinion vastly outweighed anyone else’s. Especially if it wasn’t hypothesized and percolated within the university bubble. We’d rap on subjects with an assurance that comes from knowing half-formed theories would stand unchallenged by the real world.

When I reviewed books, most of the time I did it with respect. But I clearly remember ripping into a few with spite and mean-spiritedness. There was one novel in particular… It was part of THE CAT WHO… series, by Lillian Jackson Braun.

I spent extra time crafting that review. I wanted people who read it to think I was funny and clever, and could turn a phrase. It’s embarrassing to think about now.

Yesterday, I read a review of Dennis Lehane’s film, THE DROP. The review closes with:

“It’s definitely my least favorite Dennis Lehane adaptation to date, and I believe he should stick to writing books.”

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If It Doesn’t Hurt You’re Not Doing It Right

personal stories, random thoughts, relationships

The other day, I went to a lawyer networking dinner in Pasadena with my girlfriend, Amy. She asked me to be her date: to rub elbows and drink blended margaritas with too much ice and not enough tequila.

She asked… expecting me to decline.

Because most of the time, that’s what I do.

Amy knows me better than I know myself.

She knows what it means when I get quiet… or talk too loudly… she knows EXACTLY what I’m thinking when someone starts talking about what “they deserve” (e.g, a good job, a good salary) after earning a piece of paper after four years of delaying the real world.

So she knows when she asks if I want to go do something (drink blended margaritas, go to the beach, eat froyo) I’ll act like I’m considering it… but what I’m really doing is opportunity cost calculus.

Here’s what that calculus looked like when she asked me to this dinner:

  • “Well, I’ll take an hour train ride into downtown Los Angeles where she’ll pick me up

  • Then it’ll be a half-hour drive to Pasadena

  • We’ll be meeting these people who aren’t in my industry, so it’s unlikely any long-term relationships will come out of it

  • (plus they’ll probably be way older than us)

  • We’ll eat food, make small talk, listen to some speeches for two hours

  • Then get in the car and drive 30 minutes back home

  • At which point it’s 9 p.m., and I know I can’t work after 8…”

“So going to this event = an opportunity cost of 4 hours of work.”

Then I think: “Well, shit, 4 hours is lot, to hang out with a bunch of people I’m never going to see again…”

This happens in the pause after Amy finishes her sentence.

She catches it (and I catch her catching it). It happens in a blink but it’s still noticeable, like flicking on-and-off a light switch.

Opportunity cost calculus is something I do several times a day. It is, without a doubt, the thing I hate the most about myself. [click to continue…]

Guest Post About Haters and Why I’m a Nerd

moving to los angeles, personal stories

I shared my story about dealing with Haters & Naysayers before moving out to Los Angeles on the I’m Moving to LA blog.

This is the first time I’m publicly sharing this story. It’s not for everyone (e.g., haters, trolls, concern trolls, people surrounded by neg self-talk) but here are 3 reasons you should click over to read this guest post:

  • I’m Moving to LA is a great resource run by Justin Resario if you’re planning on moving to Los Angeles.

  • The advice is specific to moving to LA, but can be applied anytime you’ve decided to make some changes in your life: you want to dress differently, eat better, start going to the gym, etc.

  • Packed in that short post are 6 years worth of life lessons… and it’ll only take you 6 minutes to read (that includes finishing this post). Six years worth of lessons for 6 minutes? It’s a bargain, I promise.

Writing the actual post took me about 5 to 6 hours… I even copy edited it so that Justin’s editor didn’t have too much heavy lifting (if you read Fighting Broke, you know copy editing isn’t a strong suit of mine — HT to Heather for catching my numerous typos :)

But learning and capturing those lessons took the better part of 6 years.

What exactly do I mean by that?

First, I must point out:

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Lose Battles, Win Wars: Lessons from Game of Thrones, Nikki Durkin and Miley Cyrus

career, moving to los angeles, personal stories

I’ve been procrastinating by watching a lot of GAME OF THRONES on Youtube. Sometimes it helps to watch Joffrey die — repeatedly — to remind yourself everything’s going to be okay.

“So, fuck you to those people.”

Yes, an actual GRRM quote. Badass.

(Sidenote: Procrastination is underrated. It can be used as part of your productivity once you study your own cognitive dissonance. Cal Newport has also pointed out that procrastination is often a signal from your mind that it’s not fully committed to your process or your goal — for a reason.)

In my tear of GoT clips, I rewatched this video of Tywin Lannister talking about how Robb Stark never lost a battle.

robb stark never lost a battle

 Of course (spoiler alert)… we know how that ends…

red wedding

 It’s possible to win every battle, yet still lose the war.

This idea resonated with me, especially after reading Nikki Durkin’s fantastic article My Startup Failed, and this is What It Felt Like in the Medium. Nikki said:

 ”The startup press glorify hardship. They glorify the Airbnb’s who sold breakfast cereal to survive, and then turned their idea into a multi-billion dollar business. You rarely hear the raw stories of startups that persevered but ultimately failed — the emotional roller coaster of the founders, and why their startups didn’t work out.”

The same thing happens to Hollywood in the media… But what stuck with me is this line from Nikki:

“And yet I failed. I won many battles but I lost the war.” [click to continue…]