Land Your First Job in Los Angeles: 30 Jobs and Where to Find Them

career, first hollywood job

I asked 2,000+ people who want to move to Los Angeles, “What’s your biggest struggle, and what are you doing about it?”

Today I want to talk about one of the most common struggles: Finding a job in LA before you move.

It’s normal to feel this way, especially when we’re surrounded by doubters asking:

  • “How are you going to find a job in this economy?”
  • “What are you going to do when you run out of money?”
  • “Do you really believe you’re cut out for LA?”

We start believing our only option is to land a job first, then move. So you start cold applying to every job posting you can find. You send hundreds of resumes.

The few who reply only want to hire people who already live in LA.

The one job you’re perfect for wants you to fly in for an interview … but you can’t afford to drop everything and buy a plane ticket for a job that’s not a sure thing.

If you’re honest with yourself, you knew this is what would happen. Look at it from the employer’s shoes: Of course they want someone who lives in LA! Of course they want to meet you first!

You can keep trying this method, but chances are slim you’ll land something this way.

You have a much better chance of success if you move to LA first, then find a job.

I know it feels like a big risk. Doubly so if you have a family, or if you’re still just trying to save money.

Here’s the silver lining: It’s never been easier to get some kind of work to get started. To give you an idea, I created a list of 30 jobs you can land when you get to LA.

These jobs will help you get started while you’re looking for ways to start your career. If you’ve already started your professional career, you may feel like you’re “too good” for some of them.

Good — that’ll make you work harder to get out of it. I know from personal experience, nothing makes you want to stop waiting tables than spending hours folding napkins or getting stiffed on a tip.

But I waited tables first, before I found a job in the entertainment industry because I knew I needed time to learn the game. Why would anyone hire me when I literally had nothing to offer and no connections yet? I wasn’t just paying for rent and groceries with my tip money — I was buying time.

Where you already live in LA or you’re trying to find a job in Ohio, it’ll probably take time to land a job in your desired field. Moving to LA first is how you put some skin in the game.

And as my boy Lin Manuel Miranda says:

“When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game. Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it. You get nothing if you wait for it.”

So think of this list as a guide to help you think about those jobs. You can find many of these jobs on Craigslist, Indeed, or LinkedIn. Even better: When you get to LA, walk around. Talk to people. Ask about openings or opportunities.

Here’s the list: [click to continue…]

Break into Hollywood: 4 Secret Weapons to Get Interviews, Jobs, and Representation

career, first hollywood job, work
Black Mirror

I completed my internship and one of the executives asked me, “What do you want to do next?”

I told him I was thinking about going to an agency.

He picked up a phone. He said to someone on the other side, “Have I ever asked you to meet anyone? Okay, well, I got someone I want you to meet.”

He hung up the phone. “You’re all set, you’re going to interview at WME.”

I interviewed with Carole Katz — not her assistant or her junior executive. Her. You’ve never heard of her, but she’s been head of HR for WME since 2001.

She told me (like they tell everyone) all the reasons I’d hate the job. Minimum wage. 12-hour days and weekends. No life. Think carefully, she said.

I said I’d let her know first thing tomorrow.

I emailed her the next day: I’m in. She said she’d put me on the consideration list.

I never heard back.

And it’s 100% my fault. Because I never followed up. Instead, I was waiting for her to “give me my chance.”

All the mistakes I’ve made in my career have come from waiting for my chance.

Fortunately, if you’ve moved to Los Angeles and you’re building your career (or even if you’re still working on getting out to LA) there are dozens of things you can do to create your own chances — even if you don’t have experience or connections.

I call these your “secret weapons” for breaking into Hollywood.

So let’s talk these secret weapons. (Btw, yes, you’ve got to have skills, too. If you’re a writer, actor, director, whatever, I’m assuming you got chops and every day you’re working to get better.)

Secret Weapon #1: Prepare Like You’re Going to War

With basic preparation, you’ll outshine 90% of your peers competing for the same attention, meetings, and jobs.

Because you know what preparation looks like for most people? 10 minutes of Googling on their phones 15 minutes beforehand. And it shows.

That’s why most people ask terrible questions, like, “Uh, so what advice do you have?”

Or when they’re asked to talk about themselves, they launch into a 10-minute rant about how she’s loved film ever since her parents took her to the $3 budget cinema next to Lechmere’s.

You’re different. Here’s are your rules of thumb: [click to continue…]

Should I get my driver’s license before moving to Los Angeles?

moving to los angeles, personal stories

Angel writes:

So I am currently living in NYC but it has always been my dream to move to LA. At this point in my life I am so miserable here and I feel like it’s Groundhog’s’  day, I feel like if I stay here my life will be the same and never change. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that I will move to LA and things will be perfect but I just feel like staying here I know how things will be.

My job told me that I can transfer to LA (I would work from home) which I think is great but here is what’s stopping me: I have been trying to get to LA since 2013 and yet here I am in NYC, it all boils down to money. Every time I think I have enough something goes wrong and I don’t know if it’s a sign telling me to stay where I am or a sign telling me to fight for where I want to be.

My current dilemma is I don’t have a driver’s license or a car and if I moved I think I would have to get my own place since I currently have a studio apartment with a bunch of stuff ( I’m attempting to sell some things but I still have a lot of stuff and kitchenware). I recently got hit with another money issue and now when the time comes for me to move to LA I will probably have a little over $9,000 saved. Also I would have to live in Hollywood (I saw some decently priced apartments for like $945, $1025, $1100) or somewhere near West Hollywood because work events typically take place in that neighborhood.

Would it be wise for me to get my license before I move out there? Should I stay in NYC for another year and try to save more money? I just feel so miserable here like I’m wasting my life.

[click to continue…]

Why they never break in

career, moving to los angeles, personal stories, random thoughts

That first decision to move to Los Angeles is thrilling.

You dream. Gorgeous weather. Warm sand stretching on the shore from Malibu to Redondo, curling between your toes. Finally the right environment to grow and find people like you.

Then you look at the practical details to actualize this dream…

  • How much to save
  • Your skill level at your chosen craft
  • A network to build your career

It can be hard to believe you can actually do it.

Every day can feel like you’re pushing a boulder uphill. The dollars never add up. Your skills don’t stack up to the professionals and despite sending dozens of emails, you still haven’t connected with anyone who can help you.

To the untrained eye, it looks like you haven’t done much at all.

But here’s what I see:

  • Steady progress towards reaching a savings goal that you’re inching towards everyday
  • Someone improving their craft each minute they work
  • Every email sent building a relationship — whether you get a response or not

It takes time.

People don’t make it not because they weren’t good enough.

They just didn’t work for long enough. [click to continue…]

How to get agents to ask YOU to read your script

how hollywood works: TV, representation, writer's room
quality time

Last week, I showed you a note requesting help from my friend, Jeff. Jeff’s friend wanted his contacts, so he could pitch a script for representation.

Jeff is a good dude. Instead of telling him to spend 4 years of his life building his own contacts (as others would have) he decided to help.

He showed him how to get agents to read his script.

Jeff’s email I’m sharing below is specifically about screenwriting, but the same principles apply to acting, music, photography, etc.  

A little context: Jeff moved to LA with no contacts, no car, and no job in 2010. Today he’s an associate producer on Vanderpump Rules and writes and produces the web series “Quality Time”. He drops A LOT of knowledge in this email, so I hope you enjoy.

Here’s his response. [click to continue…]