This post is intended for those non-Los Angelino, non-industry folk out there. You may have heard that (compared to life in the Midwest) or really any non-major city, life in Los Angeles, and in the film and entertainment industries in general, move at the speed of lightning. There’s something to be said about the need to live in a city like LA to actually truly get anywhere as an aspiring artist. SO much can happen in a day, a week, in LA that it’s honestly just hard to even comprehend it if you’ve never lived here or actually worked daily in the biz. I meet new crazy awesome people every day, work on different shows, develop new projects, new prospects with new and old friends and co-workers. The crazy thing is that a great deal of amazing things happen here (seemingly) completely on a whim. I get phone calls (or texts) every week from different people, writers, producers, whatever saying “lets meet up in 20min…” and we start a new project, or they bring me on for some new thing they’re already working on. Deals are made here in minutes, not weeks, not years. Deals are measured in projects, not time-frames. If I say no to a random spur of the moment meeting, I may never know what I missed out on (could be nothing, or could be a career-changing opportunity). The fact is, as much as this industry likes to tout it’s “rules” and the “do’s and don’t” of what it takes to “climb” the so-called ladder to get where you want to be in the industry… the true fact is that (at least in my experience) the single most wonderful thing about this industry is that there really are NO rules. Studios and agents and marketing companies want you to THINK there are rules, but when the rubber meets the road, anything is possible, it’s just a matter of who you know, and who you meet that can make it all possible. Just about everyone who’s ever made it “big” in this industry (regardless of their profession or current title) has some crazy (or wildly simple) story to tell as to how they got there. I can’t tell you how many times people told me that they “just met this one guy a few years ago and everything changed… that’s how I got to where I am now”. Even people who started out in the mail-rooms at studios (and are now major executives) have similar stories, for at least one I’ve meet, it took less than 5 years to get there. It’s always a struggle in the beginning, and its rarely “quick”… most if not all of the stories I hear (and am personally experiencing) are stories of broke, struggling artists who refuse to let go of their passions, through the years of living with little to nothing, and one day, everything just started to change. To make this very clear, there may be the amazing “miracle” stories out there, but most of these “miracle” success stories in this biz (and most of the stories people won’t tell you) started out with years of long hard work… the fact is, just to say it bluntly… there are hundreds of thousands of people who want to “make it big” in this industry, and 98% of them never will. As fast and as tough as this business can be, through it all it’s the people who are 100% passionate and 500% dedicated that succeed… and I don’t mean “Strike it rich”, or become famous… far from it, I mean those are the people who become working members of this industry, the people everyone looks up to, the people everyone trusts, everyone first call’s when a new opportunity arises and in the end, some are the people you may eventually recognize in the credits of all those movies and shows you see every year.
Passion, complete dedication, and personality are what set apart the “wannabe’s” from the success stories. Don’t forget there’s always a thousand other people just waiting in line to take your place, so be yourself, go above and beyond the call on every job, and don’t ever give someone a reason to think twice about you or your work and you’ll always be the first one they call.
This city, this industry moves at the speed of light, if you blink you may miss your opportunity, if you’re not here, you may never get one, but most of all, if you half-ass anything, people will know it. It’s 100% all the time or nothing. Take it or leave it. I can’t tell you how many times I hear about would-be actors or directors, writers, musicians or whatnot, whomever, moving out here expecting to “make it big” or “be a star” only to move back home to the “comfortable” Midwest to live with their parents after just a few months or even a few years because they “ran out of money” or it was just simply “too hard”. You can’t forget that working in entertainment is a JOB, it’s long, hard work, and rarely pays well (sometimes, not at all). This industry has a way of weeding people out, but it’s not through some secret program and it’s usually even less about talent… true passion, honest personality, and complete perseverance is where it starts and the lack thereof is exactly where it ends.
I may not be an expert on the matter, I am still, and always will be learning… but if there’s one thing I’ve experienced and truly taken to heart over the past several years, it’s that.