moving to los angeles

I Moved to Brooklyn

How do you write a blog about moving to LA and breaking into the entertainment industry…

When you no longer live in LA or work in entertainment?

***

Last year I watched someone close to me shuttle back and forth between LA and the east coast for six months. Cancer swept through his family like a twister, then disappeared just as quickly, leaving three dead and a lot broken.

It made me think about my own family. We’re close, but I was always so eager to leave town I never gave us a chance to grow closer. To this day, I’ve never made it to one of my siblings graduations, or a single 21st birthday.

When the family needs me, would I be the person they need me to be?

Or would I be the distant relative who shows up every other Christmas? Someone who never forgets to send birthday money but only makes it back home for funerals? The thought breaks my heart.

So I took a new job, outside of the entertainment. I packed up (again) and drove cross country (again) and now live in Brooklyn.

brooklyn bridge

Brooklyn… the new digs. P.S. Are we friends on Instagram? Follow me at: christopherming and I’ll post pictures of the cutest dog ever

Did I fail?

I moved out five years ago to become a screenwriter. I worked with amazing people, got close on a few TV projects, and fell short.

On the black and white scoreboard, yes, I failed.

Once I went to see Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town) speak at a Writer’s Guild of America event. He told a story about back when he was unknown, he worked in landscaping. A co-worker was another writer. Bill said he’d love to read his stuff.

“What have you written?”

“Nothing yet,” the guy said.

“How long have you been in LA?”

“Seven years,” he said. “But I got ideas.”

Everyone sees themselves as Bill in that story: the hardest working artist in the room destined for greatness.

From any objective point of view, moving to Brooklyn puts my foot solidly in the “other guy’s” camp. The also-ran.

But I see is a slightly different path. Not as clear, not as obvious. Still destined for greatness.

Can you write about LA and Hollywood if you no longer live there?

The marketer in me says no way.

It’s an uphill battle. The positioning is awful (“dude in NYC who used to live in LA writes about making it in LA”). Who wants to listen to that guy?

Then there’s the teacher in me. Who says if you have knowledge that others want to learn, you should teach it. More importantly, if you have the ability to teach — not everyone does — then you have an obligation to teach as many people as possible.

And I still have things to teach.

Could you do me a favor?

If you’ve learned something from this blog over these last few years, could you leave a comment and let me know what it was?

It’d be a big help to know what people come here to learn. I really appreciate it.

*****

Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker

Guest Post About Haters and Why I’m a Nerd

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

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…]

Is Los Angeles the Unfriendliest City in the US?

I asked myself this question after a reader (living in Los Angeles) emailed me and mentioned how “unfriendly” LA seemed.

I haven’t visited every major city in the United States, nevermind lived in many of these cities. So I can’t say how friendly/unfriendly LA is, relatively.

(I bet that’s true for the participants of this survey that decrees LA as the least friendly city (out of a list of 35), thought that obviously didn’t stop them.)

The survey above — along with these listicles below…

…all missed a particular detail about living in Los Angeles…
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Best Guide for Moving to Los Angeles – Part 8: First Month in Los Angeles

So far in this Best Guide to Moving to Los Angeles, I’ve covered:

  1. How Much Should I Save?
  2. Minimization
  3. Getting to LA
  4. Road Trip
  5. Finding Your First Apartment
  6. Transportation
  7. Getting Your California License

It’s been really awesome to write this Guide.

I set out to create something that included all the tools and resources you’d ever need on the topic of moving to LA. There were so many things I didn’t know, and over the last three years, I had my share of moments where I was just ready to give up. A little insight would have gone a long way.

Yet for all the people that move to Los Angeles, why weren’t there tons of resources detailing people’s experiences?

Why wasn’t there even just one definitive guide?

So I set out to write it.

It was a lofty goal, and I hope I came close to realizing it. Thanks for reading.

Best, Chris 

First Month in Los Angeles – Case Study

This case study is my own, when I first landed in LA, more than three years ago. Note: I’m glad I’m a note-taking fiend, or I’d have a hard time believing the numbers below:

We looked at five apartments: in Venice, Los Feliz, Echo Park, and Long Beach. Ultimately, we settled on Culver City. There were three guys living in a 2-bedroom apartment…

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