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Mike M
12-17-2012, 08:48 AM
Everyone knows that LA is the place to be for a career in screenwriting. I was hoping people who relocated to LA from elsewhere could share their personal experiences. I know everyone has a different path and story.

The more specifics, for example, where you came from, how much you saved, how old you were when you moved, if you moved with anyone, etc., would be extremely helpful. What has been like living in LA? Where did you get started when you got out there?

Also, Iím curious to how people have supported themselves while getting involved in the industry. Most entry-level things I see in NY are unpaid, full-time internships for a meal stipend, which obviously, most people donít have the luxury to take.

Iím a recent grad with a day job, obviously looking to move to LA in the near future. Right now, Iím just working on my writing and saving $$$$.

Thanks.

stainjm
12-17-2012, 09:53 AM
I am also interested in hearing these stories. I have a job in the SF area with an office in downtown LA and have decided to transfer next Winter. Looking forward to it!

JoeBanks
12-17-2012, 10:56 AM
i didn't do the typical just-out-of-college thing, so i don't know how applicable my experience is. i was an attorney on the east coast before moving here six years ago. i had a little bit of savings (four figures) to move my stuff, find a place, and get my feet on the ground.

when i first came, i wanted to find any kind of industry-related job but at my age (mid-30s) i think i didn't understand that wasn't the way things generally work. in hindsight, i probably would have just gotten a legal job, like i work now, and just focused on writing. i ended up at a place on the periphery of the business, but not really in the business, which was the worst of both worlds: slave wages and not making meaningful contacts. unless you're actually in an agency, studio, or production company (to me), the only function of the day job is buying you time to write when you're not at the job.

if you're in your 20s, or even 30s, you might find LA's social scene engaging. i did all that in my youth, so i don't really go out anymore. which is good for my writing, i guess. younger people might be more inclined to party since it's kind of a thing here. YMMV.

LA is expensive, as most big cities are. but if you intend to actually be a working writer in the industry, especially TV, it's where you gotta be. and there are hundreds of new people coming every year who find a way, so it can be done it would seem.

PoMoTy
12-17-2012, 12:19 PM
The more specifics, for example, where you came from, how much you saved, how old you were when you moved, if you moved with anyone, etc., would be extremely helpful. What has been like living in LA? Where did you get started when you got out there?

I moved to LA from SF and have been here for over six years now...

LA is definitely the place for screenwriting and working in the film biz. Every truly successful film person (or their work) will need to pass through LA at some point. If they want that Oscar...

1. Have a plan.

The best advice I can give is to have a plan. Know what your end goal is, your five year plan, and thus angle you want to approach the biz from. You can take the acting route, the agency / business route, the Production route or a digital / social media route, or make your own. Once you know what your angle is, research it, and build contacts for your move. If your goal is to sell a screenplay, think about how you can accomplish it in steps. Then plan your steps and start taking them.

If you have never been to LA, come and visit. Get a feel for the city. It's huge. Find the burrow that you like best, Hollywood, WeHo, NoHo, Westwood, the Valley, West LA, Santa Monica, Burbank, etc. LA can be culture shock, even for native Californians, so mitigating the shock will serve you well.

I also recommend living walking distance to a grocery store and or some nightlife if possible. It'll cost more, but trust me, some days you won't want to drive anywhere and being able to walk will be awesome. Living near economy, friends and potential (film) friends will serve you well and help you network.

2. Save as much money as you can. Come with savings.

I moved to LA with what I thought was six months of savings, turns out is was closer to four. Save money for going out, networking and meeting people. If you are moving to LA without a job lined up, give yourself a minimum of three months to find a job.

Having savings also allows you to work for free as an intern, or to help people with their projects. Give yourself some time to explore what LA has to offer without having to stress about money. If you get a good internship, it could still take a while to get them to pay you. Be prepared for them to never pay you, and be okay with it. Internships are great for learning the biz, meeting people, and helping people help you. They help you see what your skills are and what you really want.

3. Synergize. Explore your options, open doors, and trade up.

If you are coming to LA for screenwriting, and are not already established, consider how your job could help with that. The classic is working for a Lit Agent or manager. But even acting, becoming a Page and NBCU, or a marketing job can be great synergy for your writing goals. If you can't support yourself entirely on writing, try and support yourself on something related to it, or that gives you time to write.

When I moved to LA I really wanted to work on set of movies. I decided the best way to get on set was to do extra work. I had some actor friends and they hooked me up with casting people and I got to be an extra on some big films and TV shows. Being on set was great for watching and learning how movies and TV get made. Within a year I was working in Production. Knowing how to parlay a job or gig into something bigger and better is the name of the game.

4. Engage

These days you need to not only network in person, but you need to build social networks. You need to engage with people and put yourself out there.

5. Have fun and be creative!

Fun breeds creativity. If you are not having fun, what are you doing? Enjoy what you do, and live for the dream until you are living the dream.

LA is like Silicon Valley in that everybody has a project to pitch. Up north they have a "start-up" and in LA they have a script or an idea for a hit movie. Be creative and develop your projects and help others develop theirs. The success of your friends is your success. Helping people's dreams come true will help yours come true as well.

LA has one of the most vibrant and amazing creative communities in the world. There is an energy in LA unlike anywhere else. If you can tap into it, or if you are so creative that it taps you, it will enrich your art/life and grease the rails on your crazy train to Hollywood success.

Success is the journey, not the destination.

(And by "journey" I mean fat residual checks for life)

Hope this helps!

ducky1288
12-17-2012, 04:27 PM
Everyone knows that LA is the place to be for a career in screenwriting. I was hoping people who relocated to LA from elsewhere could share their personal experiences. I know everyone has a different path and story.

The more specifics, for example, where you came from, how much you saved, how old you were when you moved, if you moved with anyone, etc., would be extremely helpful. What has been like living in LA? Where did you get started when you got out there?

Also, Iím curious to how people have supported themselves while getting involved in the industry. Most entry-level things I see in NY are unpaid, full-time internships for a meal stipend, which obviously, most people donít have the luxury to take.

Iím a recent grad with a day job, obviously looking to move to LA in the near future. Right now, Iím just working on my writing and saving $$$$.

Thanks.

I moved to the LA area from Arkansas at the end of August. So far it's been good, obviously there are ups and downs but that's part of life no matter where you are. I moved out here with my husband and he had a job pretty much lined up so that helped relieve the stress of job hunting. Industry jobs are really competitive I'm pretty sure -- I think jobs in general out here are competitive unless you have a specialized skill/trade/degree which would help you maybe get one quick.

I would have a fair amount saved up if you do move. We moved our cars, furniture, and other stuff out here which was pretty pricey as far as gas, rental, moving crew, apartment deposits. I'd say it cost me roughly $5,000 before I stepped foot into my apartment. If you are just driving out with you and a suitcase you should be good to go with several hundred for gas and then whatever a deposit and first month's rent on your place. Rent is higher. Gas is higher. Food is higher. Utilities are higher -- you get the idea.

I started a part time job non industry related recently just to help my husband out and get out of the house when I'm not writing. The first two months I was writing every day couped up in my apartment and I felt like I was going to go crazy some days. I got a lot done and it was worth it when I took my first meeting here at Sony last week. But I'm enjoying my day job quite a bit, I have to remind myself why I'm actually out here.

Now that I'm here, it's so much more convenient being within driving distance because trying to coordinate flights from out of state gets expensive and exhausting. But at the same time when you set foot out here, it hits you how many people want to work in the industry in some capacity when you walk into a coffee shop to see final draft on every laptop, or run into people who tell you they are here to write or act, or go to meetings and to assistants set up meetings, push them for more important ones, have other writers waiting outside next to you -- the numbers are against you for sure.

The important thing I think is that you and your writing is ready. Living in LA doesn't mean **** if you can't write your way out of a paper bag -- nobody cares because everyone says they are writing a screenplay. It's got to be good enough to set you apart from the wannabes and hobbyist.

So if you want to move, move. Make sure you have $$ planned out, a place to stay, a potential job if you need it, a great script or two to show the friend of a friend who has a friend who works in the industry, and you should be okay :)

CameronAlexander
12-18-2012, 03:06 PM
I agree with everything PoMoTy (http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/member.php?u=9305) said 100%, some great advice.

I especially encourage you to save as much money as possible before moving here. LA is expensive. Many people have a tough time finding a job--and an even tougher time finding a good entertainment related job.

roscoegino
12-18-2012, 03:52 PM
Best advice anyone gave me with regards to surviving in LA's economy: think like an immigrant from an impoverished country -- be happy for and seek all opportunities and act on them quickly.

NYNEX
12-18-2012, 05:07 PM
Best advice anyone gave me with regards to surviving in LA's economy: think like an immigrant from an impoverished country -- be happy for and seek all opportunities and act on them quickly.

That includes housing. As someone who lives in another big city, NY, I've seen a number of people who move here for publishing, fashion, theater, film, tv, advertising, or music fall apart simply because they immediately thought they had to live in the trendiest Manhattan neighborhoods (where a studio can cost almost 3k, and where one must make 40 x one month rent on an annual basis to get an apartment) Be willing to live in poorer neighborhoods, including neighborhoods with lots of immigrants or non whites, and your housing costs will drop dramatically. Be willing to live some distance from the coolest bars and your rents go down as well.

Mike M
12-18-2012, 05:33 PM
Thanks for the replies, everyone. PoMoTy, very insightful post and breakdown. I definitely agree with everything you said. I do have a solid plan of what I want to do, and how to attack it.

This may be a stupid question, but Iíd imagine most of these low-level assistant type jobs are acquired through either personal connections or by simply applying online/emailing when youíre out there? I know about sites like entertainmentcareers.net. Are there any other good online listings for these types of positions?

Also, I'm curious to know how apartment searches have gone. Do places in LA usually rent without proof of stable income, etc.? Iíd assume you need a guarantor.

Looking forward to more posts on others experiences.

ducky1288
12-18-2012, 05:58 PM
It is kind of a catch 22 with applying for an apartment when you need proof of income but you can't get a job until you move out.

I'd suggest maybe finding someone who is looking for a roommate and kill two birds with one stone. Your rent and utilities will be cheaper plus maybe they have a place already on lock down with the paperwork and such and you can just move in and pay.

Ravenlocks
12-18-2012, 07:34 PM
Also, I'm curious to know how apartment searches have gone. Do places in LA usually rent without proof of stable income, etc.? Iíd assume you need a guarantor.
When I was looking for my place in LA, which admittedly was a while ago, you often needed to show an income along the lines of 3x the month's rent, if I recall correctly. It was something like that. And sometimes you needed to pay first month, last month, and deposit all up front. Move with savings in the thousands. The more thousands the better.

Susanlbridges
12-19-2012, 02:42 PM
We planned to move to LA a few years before we actually did it. I was in retail management and asked for a transfer. In fact, I specifically went into retail management because I knew we wanted to move to LA, and I figured I could eventually get a transfer. I was a manager for three years before we moved.

Be prepared to deal with culture shock. I was from the Chicagoland area, and LA is SO different. People do NOT communicate with each other in the same way at all. So for the first six months or so, everyone thought I was rude and abrasive. Once I settled in and figured out the way people in LA communicate with each other, I landed an office job and things got a lot better.

I think we had about $3000 saved when we left. Some things to keep in mind: shop around for a moving van (I saved THOUSANDS by price checking, no lie), and find an apartment in an affordable neighborhood that isn't too dangerous. I lived in Van Nuys for a few years before I could afford to move to Burbank, but be careful, especially if you're moving with kids. Someone was killed right outside my building so...yeah. If neighborhood is important to you, your apartment will probably be small, so keep that in mind when deciding what to bring with you.

I had friends out in LA who checked on the apartment for us before moving. Everyone makes fun of people who live in the Valley, but there's affordable, safe housing and decent schools. And I've never had a problem getting to where I need to be on time, contrary to popular belief. :)

Also, your whole budget will change because most of your money goes to rent. So here are some ways to deal with that. The 99 cent only chain of stores has a surprising selection of produce and other foods. I often go to several stores to get the best prices on things. Smart & Final is pretty good for meat. In the Midwest, people generally buy everything at one grocery store. In LA, that is a HUGE mistake and I wasted a lot of money before I figured that out!

Also, Goodwill is a great place to shop for work clothes if you have a boring office job like I do, because lots of rich people dump their stuff. :) The Pasadena one is best, but the Glendale one is good too. I can only speak from the female perspective, but I find lots of Ann Taylor, some Banana Republic, and I've even scored BCBG Max Azria on occasion. If you want to pay a little more for used clothes, Buffalo Exchange has some nice stuff occasionally. I only pay retail for a few pieces I really like, and then I mix and match with the basics.

SoCalScribe
12-20-2012, 06:38 PM
Everyone knows that LA is the place to be for a career in screenwriting. I was hoping people who relocated to LA from elsewhere could share their personal experiences. I know everyone has a different path and story.

The more specifics, for example, where you came from, how much you saved, how old you were when you moved, if you moved with anyone, etc., would be extremely helpful. What has been like living in LA? Where did you get started when you got out there?

Also, Iím curious to how people have supported themselves while getting involved in the industry. Most entry-level things I see in NY are unpaid, full-time internships for a meal stipend, which obviously, most people donít have the luxury to take.

Iím a recent grad with a day job, obviously looking to move to LA in the near future. Right now, Iím just working on my writing and saving $$$$.

Thanks.


I moved down to Los Angeles when I transferred from a community college to film school. I lived and went to school off the money my parents had saved for my college education (we saved a lot by doing my first two years of undergrad at a community college while I still lived with them), combined with a job working at a bookstore. I moved into a cheap one bedroom apartment with a fellow film school classmate and got my first internship in the industry during my last year of college. It took me a year after I graduated (during which I was alternately unemployed or worked menial office jobs) to get my first industry job as an assistant, and a slow climb ever since.

Living in L.A. is expensive. You pretty much need a roommate (or two or three) if you want to live in a decent place in a decent neighborhood, especially when you're starting out and working those low-paid entry-level jobs that are so often prerequisites of getting your foot in the door somewhere. I was fortunate in that I was able to complete my free internship phase while I was in college; I know a lot of friends who work full time jobs during off hours (e.g. nights and weekends as bartenders, retail store clerks, etc.) just so they can scrape together a few hours during the week to work for free at an agency or production company to get that experience that will hopefully lead to a paid job.

If you're planning on moving out here, I would recommend estimating your total living expenses and saving up at least three or four months' pay. (Don't forget to factor in extras like a security deposit, any furniture you may need, and whatever other "startup" costs you'll need!) The more money you can move out here with, the longer you can support yourself while you look for a job. I kept costs low by living in a crappy apartment for a lot of years. In fact, my wife and I just moved into a nice "grown-up" apartment a year ago... after spending just shy of ten years living in a crappy one bedroom apartment and scraping by.

My best advice for anyone planning on moving to Los Angeles is to save up as much as you possibly can, and don't be in a rush to get out here. Once you're here, it will be expensive and it's tough to get on your feet, so take as much time as you possibly can to save up and make sure that you're comfortably set up when you get out here. It's also a huge help if you can transfer to a job out here so that you don't have any interruption in employment and can have money coming in within a few weeks of arriving in the city.

odocoileus
12-21-2012, 05:13 PM
Some short term housing options:

http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/showpost.php?p=632993&postcount=4

As for neighborhoods for a newcomer, I'd recommend living w/in a mile of the North Hollywood Metro station. Not pricey, not really dangerous, though stuff happens there like any major urban area. The Orange Line (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Line_%28Los_Angeles_Metro%29) and the Red Line (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Line_%28Los_Angeles_Metro%29) give you decent public transportation options, though you'll still need a car. Lots of little theaters, cafes, nice artsy urban vibe.

http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/blog/getting-know-noho-arts-district?gclid=CLefyK3crLQCFdKd4AodiRMAVw

Terrance Mulloy
12-21-2012, 06:28 PM
God, it all just sounds so...hard.

I applaud anyone who has the guts to move to LA to chase a dream. I really do. Here in Australia our government (as sh!tty as they are) assist you with looking for somewhere to live. That's right, they actually give you money to live on so you don't have to be homeless. The only catch is you need to be actively looking for a full-time job. And it doesn't run out until you find one. In some instances, you can still work part-time and receive some form of social security. You can even get an advance loan of up to $1000 - no questions asked - in your bank account next day - which you pay off fortnightly in small increments. All medical costs are also covered here. So if you break an arm while you're broke (ha!), the government foots the bill. I guess socialism ain't that bad a thing.

I'm so glad I don't have to live in LA.

Butch Jarvinen
12-21-2012, 06:59 PM
Could a person survive in a small motorhome? Any place to park?

Jules
12-21-2012, 07:00 PM
Now everyone's going to move to Oz instead.

Terrance Mulloy
12-21-2012, 07:19 PM
Now everyone's going to move to Oz instead.

By all means, please do. Our government seems to be welcoming anyone with open arms lately.

Southern_land
12-21-2012, 07:50 PM
God, it all just sounds so...hard.

I applaud anyone who has the guts to move to LA to chase a dream. I really do. Here in Australia our government (as sh!tty as they are) assist you with looking for somewhere to live. That's right, they actually give you money to live on so you don't have to be homeless. The only catch is you need to be actively looking for a full-time job. And it doesn't run out until you find one. In some instances, you can still work part-time and receive some form of social security. You can even get an advance loan of up to $1000 - no questions asked - in your bank account next day - which you pay off fortnightly in small increments. All medical costs are also covered here. So if you break an arm while you're broke (ha!), the government foots the bill. I guess socialism ain't that bad a thing.

I'm so glad I don't have to live in LA.

We're very close to that system in New Zealand, and we still got the hobbit made :D

Terrance Mulloy
12-21-2012, 08:10 PM
We're very close to that system in New Zealand, and we still got the hobbit made :D

Yep. Thanks to Mr. Jackson, NZ now has some of the best film making facilities and crews in the world. I wish Australia had half of what NZ has.

I still think it's weird you people like fries with Chinese food, though. ;)

JoeBanks
12-21-2012, 08:50 PM
I still am hard pressed to describe the experience of L.A. better than John Patrick Shanley did in "Joe Versus the Volcano":

Joe: I've never been to LA.
Angelica: You're kidding me! Whaddaya think?
Joe: It's nice.
Angelica: This is a great town. It STINKS, but it's a great town.

Levenger
12-21-2012, 09:40 PM
fries with Chinese food

You just opened up a whole new world to me, sir.

Troy
12-22-2012, 06:07 AM
God, it all just sounds so...hard.

I applaud anyone who has the guts to move to LA to chase a dream. I really do. Here in Australia our government (as sh!tty as they are) assist you with looking for somewhere to live. That's right, they actually give you money to live on so you don't have to be homeless. The only catch is you need to be actively looking for a full-time job. And it doesn't run out until you find one. In some instances, you can still work part-time and receive some form of social security. You can even get an advance loan of up to $1000 - no questions asked - in your bank account next day - which you pay off fortnightly in small increments. All medical costs are also covered here. So if you break an arm while you're broke (ha!), the government foots the bill. I guess socialism ain't that bad a thing.

This should be the norm, not the exception.

stainjm
12-22-2012, 07:25 AM
I'm amazed people still use the word 'fortnightly'

TBEagle
12-22-2012, 11:22 AM
God, it all just sounds so...hard.

I applaud anyone who has the guts to move to LA to chase a dream. I really do. Here in Australia our government (as sh!tty as they are) assist you with looking for somewhere to live. That's right, they actually give you money to live on so you don't have to be homeless. The only catch is you need to be actively looking for a full-time job. And it doesn't run out until you find one. In some instances, you can still work part-time and receive some form of social security. You can even get an advance loan of up to $1000 - no questions asked - in your bank account next day - which you pay off fortnightly in small increments. All medical costs are also covered here. So if you break an arm while you're broke (ha!), the government foots the bill. I guess socialism ain't that bad a thing.

I'm so glad I don't have to live in LA.
I moved down there in July with 2 grand in my name, I wouldn't recommend doing it the way I did lol.

absolutepower
12-22-2012, 11:37 AM
I moved to Los Angeles when I was eighteen -- literally right out of high school. I had a few scripts, one pilot, and two or three contacts that were kind enough to let me intern for free. Obviously, I was lucky to have help from my mother, who was able to cover a very cheap overhead for about three or four months while I worked hard enough to find... well... work.

Suffice to say, it is brutal and difficult, but if you show enough passion, the work will find you. More importantly, I had saved up nearly six-thousand working through high school, and another three from the state of California through a bicycle accident. Basically, I was set up, but be prepared. It's everything.

Terrance Mulloy
12-23-2012, 05:50 AM
I should probably add: if I was 10 years younger and single, I would totally be living in LA. Not being there does make it a million times harder than it already is.

Ire
12-24-2012, 12:58 PM
PoMoTy and Roscoegino and others have given/related good advice...

But here's one thing I will write in caps because it's so very very important:

HAVE A SOLID SUPPORT SYSTEM

Unless you come here and straight out of the gate get repped and or get a great paying industry-related job, you need FRIEND(S).

The folks here at DDP can be a decent support outlet, but you need to have FRIEND(S) real people, not just contacts, that you can relate to, bitch to, whine to, commiserate with, and hopefully celebrate with. Writing is a LONELY ROAD. And LA is filled with crowded, but lonely roads and wonderful vistas that dead end, and winding vistas that lead nowhere. If you have the fortitude to walk those roads alone, God bless. You most likely will need someone to kick along the stones on the road.

For guys you'll need a drinking buddy(ies) coffee or alcohol, wing men. The kind of friend that you'd send a text "hey I just saw Eddie Murphy and his new girlfriend at a Starbucks", but even better, a friend to confess: "I'm getting nowhere with this story." And VICE VERSA it's a two-way street. That wing man and career-issue whining to person might be wrapped up in one individual, that's rare. They might be your buddy for one set of issues, or your girlfriend or wife (then you don't need a wing man, you can be the wing man) for another subset of the rejection and whatnot. But you need real friends, people. A support system who support you and whom you support.

For women, it's not much different, you'll need other women whom you trust, with whom you can share a glass of wine, and discuss the other BS you encounter over dinner. A support system who support you and whom you support in good and bad times.

Either way it's give and take.

Also, wives, husbands, girlfriends and boyfriends should not be your sole support system. That's not healthy for any relationship. And for girlfriends and boyfriends, it may shorten the life of your relationship sooner than expected.

For any city it's tough to develop a support system, but for LA it's impossibly quintessential.

Realize that a greater majority of people in LA in the industry see you for what you can do for them, and you may have the same attitude, so barter, negotiate with your contacts. Talent helps. Competition placements help, but personality is key. People want talented, bright people, and positivity. Those initial contacts that may help you or who you might help won't want to hear the bitching/whining. Managers, agents want to meet/rep the best you. The best most positive you is what you need to project. Not selling, but mirroring, be "real." It may seem like I'm digressing, but it leads back to having people around you with whom you can be a little down, have a bad week, bad day, let down the barriers, and not worry about editing one's words.

Managers and agents: not friends. They're not enemies, they can be part of a support system, but they do not constitute a real support system.

If you have friends there, or other friends moving there, that's the best way to start.

But if not, LA is a lonely place, so networking and circulating is a good way to start. It can come from working on short film projects, or taking classes, writing or acting classes etc. Find folks with whom you identify, share the same sensibilities, and aesthetics i.e., genre, favorite movies, directors, etc. It's like finding a romantic partner except harder.

Finding a support system, developing one is so key to surviving LA that I cannot stress it enough.


Good luck.

JoeBanks
12-24-2012, 01:33 PM
eh, i've been here going on seven years and haven't made a circle of friends. i've met people through work, and i have a great writers group of three. mostly, if i'm not working, i'm writing (which is what i came here to do). i've met people through my jobs and at events like AFF who know people in the industry that i can potentially call on when my stuff is ready. but until it's ready, no sense burning those bridges with half-baked work.

Susanlbridges
12-24-2012, 01:47 PM
eh, i've been here going on seven years and haven't made a circle of friends. i've met people through work, and i have a great writers group of three. mostly, if i'm not working, i'm writing (which is what i came here to do). i've met people through my jobs and at events like AFF who know people in the industry that i can potentially call on when my stuff is ready. but until it's ready, no sense burning those bridges with half-baked work.

I agree with you. ETA: I've been here about six years.

My husband and I don't have a huge support system either (in fact for a long time we were our only support, really), and while sometimes it's been lonely, it hasn't really hindered us, mainly because we weren't ready to actually be represented until now. We probably moved to L.A. a little too soon. I don't really regret it though. There's a lot we learned simply from attending industry networking events and talks geared toward new writers that are all over the place, and while I did occasionally collect business cards and I stay active with many industry people on Facebook and Twitter, I didn't seriously network (taking working writers to coffee or lunch, for example) until the past year or so.

It's better to wait on serious networking until you're really ready, because Hollywood is so small it's scary, and from my own personal experiences, I now know exactly how small it is. And let me tell you, you do NOT want to be the writer that everyone knows isn't ready. I know some of those writers. It's sad because instead of actually writing and improving, they think the key is ONLY networking, and they end up with no writing samples to back up what they say they can do.

CColoredClown
12-25-2012, 12:56 PM
As an LA native, let me just say that there are other places to live that are quite affordable on the southeast side of LA county. It's also not as cold or hot as it is on the other side of the hill (aka the Valley). I'd recommend Long Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood, Downey, etc.

NYNEX
12-25-2012, 02:56 PM
Having a support system in place is beneficial for other reasons. I just went through my second hurricane (my third major disaster) and lost all my possessions and apartment. Fortunately I had relatives in the area I could stay with, and even a few friends offered for me to stay with them.

Disasters such as natural disasters, or even economic disasters can have you out in the streets homeless if you don't have a strong support network of friends and relatives. As the east coast is hurricane prone, California is earthquake prone. What would you do in case of disaster? Here in NYC, the hotels that hosted hurricane victims did so for only a couple of days at a time, leaving people drifting here and there. FEMA gives rental assistance, but doesn't help with broker's fees or security deposits (Thank god I had renters insurance).

But my point is that you definitely do need a support network, and you may very well find yourself needed friends next week. Don't put off having friends for some far off date when you may be successful, because the stock market could collapse next week, or an earthquake could hit town tomorrow.

Not to

BurOak
12-27-2012, 08:56 AM
Having a support system in place is beneficial for other reasons. I just went through my second hurricane (my third major disaster) and lost all my possessions and apartment. Fortunately I had relatives in the area I could stay with, and even a few friends offered for me to stay with them.

Disasters such as natural disasters, or even economic disasters can have you out in the streets homeless if you don't have a strong support network of friends and relatives. As the east coast is hurricane prone, California is earthquake prone. What would you do in case of disaster? Here in NYC, the hotels that hosted hurricane victims did so for only a couple of days at a time, leaving people drifting here and there. FEMA gives rental assistance, but doesn't help with broker's fees or security deposits (Thank god I had renters insurance).

But my point is that you definitely do need a support network, and you may very well find yourself needed friends next week. Don't put off having friends for some far off date when you may be successful, because the stock market could collapse next week, or an earthquake could hit town tomorrow.

Not to

Well said.

montevideo
12-28-2012, 03:27 AM
...

It's better to wait on serious networking until you're really ready, because Hollywood is so small it's scary, and from my own personal experiences, I now know exactly how small it is. And let me tell you, you do NOT want to be the writer that everyone knows isn't ready. I know some of those writers. It's sad because instead of actually writing and improving, they think the key is ONLY networking, and they end up with no writing samples to back up what they say they can do.

Agree with you on the networking thing. How could you possibly master your craft if you're out networking all the time.

Some people have a warped sense of what it is to make it here. If you're after that corporate job with fox, then networking all the time is for you. But if your out to hit it big in a creative field, talent comes first!

I know of an actor that works in the studio system, networking all the time, knows everyone but gets no acting gigs, having a large roller-deck doesn't necessarily apply.

I think knowing one or two solid contacts and hyper-focusing on your creative talent will get you further then hitting open bar events at every chance you get.

on a food note:

Black cat on Fairfax has the best multigrain pancakes you will ever have! Delish

Landis26
12-28-2012, 01:45 PM
Be prepared to deal with culture shock. I was from the Chicagoland area, and LA is SO different. People do NOT communicate with each other in the same way at all.

Not sure where you're from in Chicago (I grew up on the northside), but when I came out to LA I felt people were even friendlier. Friendlier to a fault. They kill you with kindness as the saying goes. And encouragement! It's the ones who are blunt that you should listen to, i.e., "Is it hard to get a job on a movie set?" "Yes!" "How hard is it to get an agent?" "Real, real hard." "Even if you're talented?" "Yes, again." "What about PA work?" "Forget it. There are 2 million ahead of you." "What if I work for free?" "Then, maybe." "Do you think I'll make it?" "No."

Those are the sad truths... But if you stick it out and really want it, at least some... some of your dream will come true. :)

Susanlbridges
12-28-2012, 02:16 PM
You're absolutely right, they are friendly to a fault. That's what I found frustrating! :)

It's very difficult to find people who will be truthful with you about your work and where you are. Writing in a vacuum for many years is frustrating, especially when you can't find people willing to share their unvarnished opinions.

I was too straightforward and honest when I first came to LA, so that was interpreted as unfriendly behavior. I've since learned to tone it down quite a lot, and I've found other professionals willing to read our work and give us their honest opinions. It really, really helps diffuse the frustration that tends to build up because encouragement, while nice, doesn't make you a better writer in the long run.

yesac
12-28-2012, 03:04 PM
Next year I will be relocating to LA from Melbourne, Australia. I can get a one-year working visa due to my recent student status.

Gotta say, I'm terrified and absolutely excited about the move. But so much to think about and organise (like any move).

I'm just thankful I know a couple of working writers in LA.

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 03:17 PM
"Avoid the backslap" should be the only advice a writer needs. :)

Next year I will be relocating to LA from Melbourne, Australia.


Melbourne to LA? Now there's a culture shock. At least with the weather.

Good luck, man.

yesac
12-28-2012, 03:41 PM
Melbourne to LA? Now there's a culture shock. At least with the weather.

Good luck, man.

Thanks Terrance. Except I'm a lady ;)

Been to LA a couple of times, but only in their winter. Will be interesting to see how I handle their summer months.

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 03:43 PM
Thanks Terrance. Except I'm a lady ;)

Been to LA a couple of times, but only in their winter. Will be interesting to see how I handle their summer months.

My apologies. :o

Seriously though, LA has some amazing restaurants, but you won't find food or dining as good as you do in Melbourne. You guys are spoiled for choice and quality.

I've only ever been in summer. So from my limited experience, it's a dry desert heat. Gets really hot, but there's hardly any humidity. Nice sea breezes in Santa Monica or any beach areas. Which is great for me as I live in Brisbane and the heat sucks here - especially around this time of year.

yesac
12-28-2012, 03:47 PM
My apologies. :o

Seriously though, LA has some amazing restaurants, but you won't find food or dining as good as you do in Melbourne. You guys are spoiled for choice and quality.

It's a dry desert heat. Gets really hot, but there's hardly any humidity. Which is great for me as I live in QLD and the heat sucks here.

Foodwise, I'm not fussy... unless I can't find a cafe to sit out in and watch the passers-by... then I get a little crazy.

And glad to hear there's a lack of humidity in LA. Qld drives me nuts on that front. I'm just hoping my pale white skin doesn't singe under their sun. Although, we're the ones with the hole in the ozone layer, so I doubt anything could be as bad as Melbourne on that front.

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 03:53 PM
And glad to hear there's a lack of humidity in LA. Qld drives me nuts on that front. I'm just hoping my pale white skin doesn't singe under their sun. Although, we're the ones with the hole in the ozone layer, so I doubt anything could be as bad as Melbourne on that front.

If you can handle a hole in the ozone layer, you'll be fine under the cali sun in summer. Most of the time their weather is gorgeous. Hardly ever rains, which I'm sure will be a nice change from Melbourne. ;)

yesac
12-28-2012, 04:01 PM
Hardly ever rains, which I'm sure will be a nice change from Melbourne. ;)

:cool: Although, I rather enjoy the rain. Unless I'm trying to get somewhere and the city streets are ankle deep after a flash flood :eek:

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 04:02 PM
:cool: Although, I rather enjoy the rain. Unless I'm trying to get somewhere and the city streets are ankle deep after a flash flood :eek:

Yeah, you guys can get some nasty weather. Both hot and cold. Brisbane is just hot. Soupy hot, most of the time. Really hate it sometimes. I'd love to actually see snow before I die. ;)

Hey, I'll be in Melbourne later next month. If you're around, let me know. We'll grab a coffee. I'll PM you my deets.

yesac
12-28-2012, 04:07 PM
I'd love to actually see snow before I die. ;)

Hey, I'll be in Melbourne later next month. If you're around, let me know. We'll grab a coffee. I'll PM you my deets.

Snow is awesome. I remember seeing it fall for the first time when I was in my early 20s... I was at Niagara Falls at the time. I think I remember squealing and running outside.

And I'll def be around. Coffee it is :)

montevideo
12-28-2012, 04:08 PM
@yesac

LA has weather patches. It's not dry during Nov to say april, not saying it rains all the time, though there are a few days of rain per week, on average, during those months, just saying the air is more moist.

Summer doesn't get really hot until it hits late aug and sept, from my experience.

There are some very good restaurants here as well, chefs from NY as well as other parts of the world.

I've spent time in Melbourne so I get what you're sayin, yeah, Melbourne rocks(!), no joke.

The thing about LA and food is that you have to pay for great food as opposed to NY or Melbourne where you could go to a hole in the wall and get five stars of delishesness and not dig deep in the pockets.

Also, if you're into staying in shape, this is the town for you! Volley ball followed by a hike in a number of canyons then a bike ride or mountain downhill ride then...

Just enjoy it... people are great, and people are weird and people are strange and it all depends how you approach it. surround yourself with clean hands

yesac
12-28-2012, 04:11 PM
Cheers Montevideo. All good stuff there.

I'm hoping that the A$ being so strong will work to my advantage and that LA food will at least seem cheaper.

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 04:12 PM
Just enjoy it... people are great, and people are weird and people are strange and it all depends how you approach it.


That's exactly what makes it such a great experience. The people and the places. Although I would never live in LA permanently, I always enjoy visiting.

Heck, I just love star spotting. That's almost an activity unto itself for us tourists. ;)

Cheers Montevideo. All good stuff there.

I'm hoping that the A$ being so strong will work to my advantage and that LA food will at least seem cheaper.

That's the thing. I remember when my folks first took me to Disneyland when I was a kid - like in the early 90's. America was so expensive because of our crappy dollar. Now it's actually reversed and evened out. I think the Aussie dollar is hovering around $1.04 USD.

montevideo
12-28-2012, 04:16 PM
Cheers Montevideo. All good stuff there.

I'm hoping that the A$ being so strong will work to my advantage and that LA food will at least seem cheaper.

LA is dominated by he Mexican culture. Historically, it's their land.

With that said, there are some really great tacos, burritos in this place. Some great taco trucks like the the one on Olympic and La Brea...

there are some sweet eating spots that won't bend the wallet but you have to search for them, try yelp... i know of a few

Terrance Mulloy
12-28-2012, 04:23 PM
With that said, there are some really great tacos, burritos in this place. Some great taco trucks like the the one on Olympic and La Brea...

there are some sweet eating spots that won't bend the wallet but you have to search for them, try yelp... i know of a few

Pinks hotdogs!

Oh, my god I love that place. I'd never had a real hotdog until then.

yesac
12-28-2012, 04:27 PM
LA is dominated by he Mexican culture. Historically, it's their land.

With that said, there are some really great tacos, burritos in this place. Some great taco trucks like the the one on Olympic and La Brea...

there are some sweet eating spots that won't bend the wallet but you have to search for them, try yelp... i know of a few

I'll be actively avoiding Sprinkles (addiction, anyone?), but everything else is fair game for my stomach!

Even better if there's good beer to wash it down with.

Australis
12-29-2012, 07:22 PM
Ennnnvyyyyyyy...

It'll be at least a year, more like two, until I get over there even to visit. But this is a useful thread, it builds up a more accurate impression. And fun too. :)

WaitForIt
12-31-2012, 04:11 AM
I was from the Chicagoland area, and LA is SO different. People do NOT communicate with each other in the same way at all. So for the first six months or so, everyone thought I was rude and abrasive. Once I settled in and figured out the way people in LA communicate with each other, I landed an office job and things got a lot better.

Please elaborate on this. Examples? I can't wrap my head around this. I'm in the Midwest and I think people here are generally very nice (unless they're driving an SUV in a Target parking lot in December; then they become a-holes).

Susanlbridges
01-02-2013, 11:14 AM
OK. Mind you, this is just my perspective.

The communication style in Southern California is... very soft and polished, you could say. Very nonconfrontational. I find that people get offended quickly if you're not extremely polite, and sharing anything less than complimentary will get you into real trouble. I was always taught to work hard and be honest, but when I transferred to So Cal I realized I was expected to be a lot more social. There are a lot of these tenuous, barely-there relationships that have to be maintained, which is not something I'm used to. Yes, that's true of many fields, but it's especially true of the entertainment industry. And since practically everyone in So Cal knows someone in the entertainment industry, it seems to have permeated the whole culture to a degree.

So, if an industry person doesn't want to talk to you or thinks you're not talented, they'll ignore you rather than politely turn you down or tell you the truth. That's why you've seen people on these boards say that you should follow up a few times and then move on. A non-response IS a rejection in most cases. Also, people will say they like you and your work when they haven't actually read any of it. They'll go by what others have told them. Or they'll say they've heard of you and your work when they actually haven't. Or they'll be really complimentary in person and you'll think that everything went great, and then they'll reject you quietly from a safe distance over e-mail. Also, people you don't know well will hug you. That surprised me at first too.

If I happen to come across someone who's REALLY honest, chances are they're not from So Cal. The last totally honest conversation I had with someone in the industry was with a former New Yorker. :) Even still, she was very complimentary for not knowing much about me -- she's been living here for many years. It rubs off on you.

NYNEX
01-03-2013, 06:15 AM
OK. Mind you, this is just my perspective.

The communication style in Southern California is... very soft and polished, you could say. Very nonconfrontational. I find that people get offended quickly if you're not extremely polite, and sharing anything less than complimentary will get you into real trouble. I was always taught to work hard and be honest, but when I transferred to So Cal I realized I was expected to be a lot more social. There are a lot of these tenuous, barely-there relationships that have to be maintained, which is not something I'm used to. Yes, that's true of many fields, but it's especially true of the entertainment industry.

So, if an industry person doesn't want to talk to you or thinks you're not talented, they'll ignore you rather than politely turn you down or tell you the truth.

What you said is true of the entertainment industry, even here in NY. There are practical reasons for it. You come across someone, and you don't like their work. You just don't see it happening. If you tell them their work is awful, the problem is you don't know what goes to happen in the future, and then you have egg on your face.

A more extreme example of this is when Simon on American Idol thought Jennifer Hudson was an awful singer. She went on to get an oscar for her role in Dream Girls, and has had other film roles as well. Simon had big egg on his face, and was actual hurt when Jennifer Hudson didn't mention Idol in her thanks or credit it for having any influence on her career.

So its safer simply not to respond at all, and no one will hold a lack of response against you. You could have been so busy you merely overlooked something.:)

Susanlbridges
01-03-2013, 09:21 AM
Yeah, now that I'm here, I totally get why it's like that, but it's pretty surprising when you're first experiencing it. I was just listening to a podcast too about how simply asking an industry professional to read your work is really backing them into a corner and can make them think badly of you. So you have to say, "If you have a chance, I would really appreciate your notes and feedback," rather than "will you read my script?" If you want them to pass it on to someone, you could say, "Do you know of any agents or managers who might be a good fit for my material?" Then if they say, "I'm sorry, I really can't think of anyone" -- that's the rejection.

So yes. Careful, careful, careful. And you are SO RIGHT about not knowing who could help you later on. I never in a million years would have guessed that certain people would be so helpful to me later. You just don't know.