One of the first pieces of advice I received in Los Angeles came from Benjamin: “Only do this if you can’t picture yourself doing anything else,” he warned.
“It’s too hard otherwise.”
It was poetically noble, and offered with such sincerity I almost didn’t notice the bullshit stewing beneath the soapbox.
Who lives by this heuristic?
If everyone followed suit, why would anyone bother trying anything new?
How about this instead: someday you’ll be looking back at your life, and you’ll see all the things you did and did not do. You’ll see all events transpired, and the only metric left by which to measure them is: Do I regret doing it or not doing it?
There are activities I’ll never try, which I’ll safely file away with “no regrets:” grand theft auto, heroin, fantasy football leagues.
Moving out to Los Angeles (or wherever) to pursue art, to pursue something that may or may not work out? No, that would not make my regrets list.
I moved to Los Angeles two years ago to pursue writing. Right now, I’m a Hollywood assistant, and I’ve done everything from waiting tables to freelance script reading to casting.
Most of the time I never pictured myself doing any of what I was doing. Which can be hard, emotionally, spiritually, when everyone around you seems to have such an innate sense of their own personal and professional trajectory (hint: they don’t.) Or if they didn’t, they left Los Angeles after six months.
I’ve seen a lot of people come and go.
Some arrived, looked around, and realized this wasn’t for them. But plenty of others showed up, and left before they were ready, because they failed to plan. They weren’t prepared for the grind, and ran out of money, or the loneliness got to them. Making it in Los Angeles, (or anywhere, as an artist) is a war of attrition.
I’m not still here because I’m smarter than anyone else, because I knew the right people, or because I knew my exact trajectory. I’m still here because I was ready for the grind. This isn’t a Hollywood career blog. It’s not about networking or breaking into entertainment, or how to get your first internship. There are plenty of great resources out there. This is a blog from a guy who knows a few things about fighting broke.
If you’re looking for the ins and outs of entertainment, what you should be reading, where to send your scripts, or the best way to land your first internship, this isn’t for you.
It’s for people debating on moving to Los Angeles (or wherever) to pursue passion and art, but you’re overwhelmed by the monstrosity of the undertaking, or lack the financial means. It’s for people who understand that long-term success is rooted in strategy, not tactics, and that success isn’t about any single sale or job, but how we live our lives.