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View Full Version : Jumping into the water finally!


javan
01-31-2011, 10:37 AM
Hi guys.

Keeping this simple... I've been writing for close to 4 years now. I'm 21 and knew exactly my freshman year in high school what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and how to approach it... like most of you on here-- write, then write/direct :)

The point of the story -- I've finally decided to move from the Bay Area to LA (probably somewhere in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, or Valley Village).

I'll be writing everyday (like now) and first looking into temping anywhere with film. Never giving up and ready for the rejections and "NO's" and all that... because there's nothing else I'd rather be doing than telling stories.

My question to all you veterans of the city out there:
What advice do you have for me?

Thanks!

NikeeGoddess
01-31-2011, 10:42 AM
ha! basically, just read every thread of interest in this forum. then come back with specific questions. there's even a large thread about "where to live in LALA Land".

javan
01-31-2011, 10:54 AM
I've been doing so and I'm definitely ready..

I suppose my specific questions are:

(1) I might be living in a single or sharing an apartment in either of the 3 aforementioned cities... what's a writer's circle in the area you guy's recommend?

(2) I have both a Honda CRV and motorcycle (cruiser)... which one do you recommend to have in LA? I feel like I could skip the nightmare of traffic with my bike, but then again, it's a car..

(3) I'm going to be pretty conservative with my budget, not going to go out to anything expensive (clubs, places like that)... mainly going to attend free screenings, meet and greets, walk around, maybe throw down for a Kevin Smith Q&A.. but that's about it... any volunteer work around town related to film that would keep me busy and not bored out of my mind?

(4) What is one general piece of advice you'd tell to that guy moving to LA?

BattleDolphinZero
01-31-2011, 10:55 AM
I'd say get a job at a legit production company, agency, management firm. If you have to intern, do that.

There are a few temp agencies that specialize in it.

Good luck, man/woman.

ProBono Writer
01-31-2011, 10:56 AM
I'm in this boat too. It'll be interesting to hear any responses.

When do you arrive?

javan
01-31-2011, 11:04 AM
@ Dolphin: man lol -- and I feel like securing a job at a legit production company is a bit daunting, thinking how many people try. I have "Breakfast with Sharks" by Michael Lent, and there's links to internships and temping.. try online first or do the meet and greet -- always believe it's better to leave them with a smile than a "sincerely"

@ PB: I'm looking at a time frame between 1-3 months to arrive. What about you?

Todd Karate
01-31-2011, 11:08 AM
My only advice is move to Los Ang-- oh, wait...


1. Try out different writer's groups. You can find a shitload on craigslist or bulletin boards at coffee shops or by asking someone with Final Draft open on a laptop. Find one with people who a) are committed and b) you get along with.

2. Bring both the bike and car if you can. The car is mandatory for a lot of jobs, but the first time you have to drive from the Valley to Santa Monica at 5:15 you're going to wish you'd brought that bike. I learned how to ride a motorcycle so I could do afternoon meetings without wanting to kill myself because of traffic. If you only get to choose one, bring the car.

3. What BDZ said.

4. Talk to everyone, and don't be shy about telling them why you're here. And keep writing your ass off.

Todd Karate
01-31-2011, 11:10 AM
@ Dolphin: man lol -- and I feel like securing a job at a legit production company is a bit daunting, thinking how many people try. I have "Breakfast with Sharks" by Michael Lent, and there's links to internships and temping.. try online first or do the meet and greet -- always believe it's better to leave them with a smile than a "sincerely"


I think I've seen a post on this board that lists the different temp agencies that service specific studios. If not here, easy enough to find. Sign up with those places.

ProBono Writer
01-31-2011, 11:31 AM
@ Dolphin: man lol -- and I feel like securing a job at a legit production company is a bit daunting, thinking how many people try. I have "Breakfast with Sharks" by Michael Lent, and there's links to internships and temping.. try online first or do the meet and greet -- always believe it's better to leave them with a smile than a "sincerely"

@ PB: I'm looking at a time frame between 1-3 months to arrive. What about you?

I'll be around starting in May, but I'll be paying rent/working a job starting in August.

jcgary
01-31-2011, 11:35 AM
Do you know anyone in town? Anyone whose couch you can crash on while you look for a place? Anyone you can move in with/share an apartment with?

Get the UTA list or apply to a temp agency. Does Apple even still exist? 13 years ago, they were the temp agency of choice. Tell them you'll do anything in the entertainment industry. It'll be slow at first but it'll pick up and soon you'll get a job, start making friends, and start making connections.

Write when you aren't working. Write some more. I've met a lot of fellow writers while I write in cafes, and some of those chance meetings have turned in to close friendships and even jobs. One (non-writer) turned into my wife. Get out in the world and meet as many people as you can. Help them out. Be nice to them. Take them out to lunch, or coffee, or buy them pie. Let them do the same for you. Ask to read their scripts. Ask them to read yours.

Go see movies. Watch a lot of movies at home. Read everything you can get your hands on. Be disciplined and work harder than the guy to your left and the girl to your right. Stick with it.

Where you live doesn't quite matter -- look for less expensive and central. Westside Rentals was always worth the extra few bucks. Craigslist never seemed to be successful for me, but I haven't rented in 7 years. I'm an east side kind of guy: if you wanna know about Echo Park or Silver Lake or Los Feliz, let me know. Glendale can be affordable. Burbank, a lot of people live there. It's definitely well-situated if you're working at a studio in the valley, but man, there is NOT a lot going on there. North Hollywood is a little more interesting (that's in the valley, not the north side of Hollywood). Valley Village, Sherman Oaks, and Studio City might stretch your pocket book more.

You'll have a great time. You'll meet tons of people who want to do the same thing as you, and you'll end up with a career that might be what you plan on it being or it might be something completely different. You'll be fine.

snwrist
01-31-2011, 12:16 PM
If you're looking into Sherman Oaks(BTW, out of the three you named, I recommend S. Oaks), check out Dickens St. TONS of apts. and condos...some affordable, some very expensive. But, it's south of Ventura, great area, lots in walking distance(Whole Foods, bars, grocery, Sherman Oaks Galleria, an Arclight movie theater, etc.).

Good luck with the move!

Geoff Alexander
01-31-2011, 12:47 PM
Hi guys.

Keeping this simple... I've been writing for close to 4 years now. I'm 21 and knew exactly my freshman year in high school what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and how to approach it... like most of you on here-- write, then write/direct :)

The point of the story -- I've finally decided to move from the Bay Area to LA (probably somewhere in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, or Valley Village).

I'll be writing everyday (like now) and first looking into temping anywhere with film. Never giving up and ready for the rejections and "NO's" and all that... because there's nothing else I'd rather be doing than telling stories.

My question to all you veterans of the city out there:
What advice do you have for me?

Thanks!

Can I just tell you something--just based on the attitude that you display here, you are already way ahead.

1. Get a job in the business. If you want to be a writer, get a job at a prodco that develops a lot of material, or at a management company or agency. Do whatever you need to do that falls within the law to make this happen. Seriously.

2. Read a thousand scripts. Produced, unproduced, whatever. You should be able to do that in three years or less.

3. Write two commercial specs a year.

4. Network like crazy and build your contacts. Help people when you can. Don't ask for anything for the next three years.

5. At the end of three years, show your two best pieces of work to a trusted group of core people in your network. Rinse. Repeat.

javan
01-31-2011, 01:13 PM
Thanks for all the advice and and info so far!
It's definitely helped me put together the game plan for moving.

Dickens St. huh? Sounds solid, I'll look around for any place near there.

@ SB: That means a lot, thanks man. Glad to know I'm on the right track with putting out movies for everyone to watch Friday at the theatre :)

Any more advice would be greatly appreciated. All ears!

javan
01-31-2011, 01:25 PM
Oh, and I know this is off on a side note, but I thought it's important to not leave out..

I was planning on finishing my 21 unit semester up here at community college and attending CSU Northridge for a screenwriting degree... but after careful consideration and research, I've come to the conclusion that a film degree will do very little for me and the best approach to becoming who I want to be is to just move to LA, saturate myself in the environment and focus on film while interning or working towards a part-time position at a production co that will pay the bills..

no degree needed for that right? ;)

Todd Karate
01-31-2011, 02:23 PM
Oh, and I know this is off on a side note, but I thought it's important to not leave out..

I was planning on finishing my 21 unit semester up here at community college and attending CSU Northridge for a screenwriting degree... but after careful consideration and research, I've come to the conclusion that a film degree will do very little for me and the best approach to becoming who I want to be is to just move to LA, saturate myself in the environment and focus on film while interning or working towards a part-time position at a production co that will pay the bills..

no degree needed for that right? ;)

Film school can be useful for teaching discipline and creating a solid network of like-minded people. Don't discount it entirely.

If you're looking at it strictly in the interest of "learning how to write", you'll learn about as much if not more if you just, you know, write.

javan
01-31-2011, 02:28 PM
@ Todd: True, true. But I feel confident in my writing, and, of course, am always willing to keep expanding and adapting myself to write my voice as explicitly as I humanly can... but I feel that that the discipline is there, I don't take screenwriting as a hobby.. it's work, it's a passion, but above all, it's my lifeline.

jcgary
01-31-2011, 02:57 PM
no degree needed for that right? ;)

A bachelor's will be hugely beneficial for acquiring a job, even as an assistant. Without a bachelor's, I'd guess that interning will be your best route to getting a full-time paying job.

Geoff Alexander
01-31-2011, 03:09 PM
Oh, and I know this is off on a side note, but I thought it's important to not leave out..

I was planning on finishing my 21 unit semester up here at community college and attending CSU Northridge for a screenwriting degree... but after careful consideration and research, I've come to the conclusion that a film degree will do very little for me and the best approach to becoming who I want to be is to just move to LA, saturate myself in the environment and focus on film while interning or working towards a part-time position at a production co that will pay the bills..

no degree needed for that right? ;)

Maybe. There are arguments both ways. The degree itself won't do much for you, but if you go somewhere with some smart people in your classes and you cherry pick them for networking purposes and leverage the hell out of any alumnae society connection to people working in the business and possibly use that to get an internship and maybe even a job...it's worth it.

I would say, if you don't have a job in the industry then don't quit school. If you do have a job, maybe there's a better argument for it. Neither Scott Rudin nor Harvey Weinstein finished college.

Bunker
01-31-2011, 05:36 PM
I know the words "networking" and "meet people" are being thrown around a lot, but just know that you should never go around with the attitude of, "What can he/she do for me?"

DON'T get a job with the hope of, "If I work here a month, I'll be able to pass my script to my boss!"

DON'T strike up conversations only with people you know are agent assistants while ignoring the Art Department PA who's actually pretty cool.

DON'T ever ask someone you just met to read your script. Always wait until they ask you if they can read it.

DO be nice and professional to everyone you meet, regardless of careers.

DO work hard at your day job instead of coasting until you "hit it big."

DO make real friends instead of just "contacts". Your real friends will help your career in unexpected ways.

javan
01-31-2011, 05:47 PM
I know the words "networking" and "meet people" are being thrown around a lot, but just know that you should never go around with the attitude of, "What can he/she do for me?"

DON'T get a job with the hope of, "If I work here a month, I'll be able to pass my script to my boss!"

DON'T strike up conversations only with people you know are agent assistants while ignoring the Art Department PA who's actually pretty cool.

DON'T ever ask someone you just met to read your script. Always wait until they ask you if they can read it.

DO be nice and professional to everyone you meet, regardless of careers.

DO work hard at your day job instead of coasting until you "hit it big."

DO make real friends instead of just "contacts". Your real friends will help your career in unexpected ways.

Can't believe I'm about to use this as a response, but... "word".
Honestly though, really great advice. I'll take it to heart.

Mark Somers
01-31-2011, 09:26 PM
Here's a temp list.


http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showpost.php?p=710169&postcount=98

javan
02-01-2011, 12:09 AM
Here's a temp list.


http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showpost.php?p=710169&postcount=98

Perfect, thanks so much :)

Ravenlocks
02-01-2011, 06:48 PM
You probably don't want to hear this, but if you're getting a bachelor's degree, I strongly advise getting it in something non-writing-related so you have a fallback if you need one. I sincerely hope you never need one, but many people do.


2. Bring both the bike and car if you can. The car is mandatory for a lot of jobs, but the first time you have to drive from the Valley to Santa Monica at 5:15 you're going to wish you'd brought that bike. I learned how to ride a motorcycle so I could do afternoon meetings without wanting to kill myself because of traffic. If you only get to choose one, bring the car.

This. Every time I'm stuck in traffic and some motorcycle whizzes by me between the lanes, I wish I had one. But if it's one or the other, the car is preferable.

javan
02-03-2011, 11:57 AM
Was thinking of what people have been saying around here about "sticking out" and giving that producer or exec you just had a meeting with something to remember YOU over the hundreds of other writers they met that month...

Maybe I should go into each meet and greet / script talk with a prod or exec by my motorcycle and not car... I'd bring in my golden/colorful-light reflecting helmet in with me and maybe that'd be enough for a prod to think "Oh yeah, that writer with the gold motorcycle helmet! We could use him on that assignment!"

http://img145.imageshack.us/i/0203111050.jpg/

... of course I still have to know what the hell I'm talking about and spit game, but.. that could help yeah?