I’ve been living in this grand city of Los Angeles for almost 6 years now, and one of the most important lessons I have learned is this: no half-assing allowed.
What is half-assing? I’m sure you’ve seen it. The student in class who hands in assignments late, or doesn’t participate. The coworker who slacks off, or the family member who regifts your birthday present. Putting in very little effort, just to skate by. It is also commonly referred to as “lazy”.
I know people think that LA is very laid back; in a sense it is—we have the beach near by (which people hardly ever go to, by the way), the sun is almost always shining, and the city is filled with out-of-work actors who are home in the middle of the day. That being said, Los Angeles is also home to one of the most difficult employment industries: film and television. Not only do you have to work harder than you ever imagined to break into this industry, but you also have to continue that hard work every day in order to stay in this industry. “Hustle” is the understatement of the century in this business. So, while a few people might be lounging at the Santa Monica Pier on a Tuesday afternoon, the rest of us are making cold calls, networking like crazy, and creating projects for our portfolios.
If you’re half-ass about trying to make it in this industry (or any industry for that matter), it will most likely not happen for you. I know a lot of people take a step back once they realize how much work is really involved. And that’s OK. There is nothing wrong with making that decision, and knowing this isn’t for you. But, don’t decide that it IS for you, and expect it to fall into your lap. You have to be willing to work hard. Period.
In a town where success is so dependent upon personal relationships and networking, it is SO important to follow through and prove that you’re serious. If you are half-assed about anything regarding employment, people will see right through you and move on to the next—and there will ALWAYS be a next person waiting for your job.
If you really want to make it in Los Angeles, or anywhere for that matter, give 100%. There have been many times when people have approached me for help breaking into the industry. I love to pay it forward because people helped me when I first started. But anyone who is half-assed about it, doesn’t get my help. I’ve come to that new conclusion the hard way. It’s pretty simple: show genuine gratitude, take action, and you will be on your way. Don’t sit on information. Jump on it. Be excited! If you’re flaky, or cocky, or non-responsive, you make the person helping you look bad to their colleagues. And that’s a terrible foot to start on in any business.
If you’re willing to work hard, you can make things happen for yourself. Jack Canfield suggests “The Rule of 5”: do 5 things every day towards your goal. So, if you’re an actor, try practicing 5 monologues, or reaching out 5 to agents, or any 5 things that are productive. Just think, you’ll be 5 steps ahead of your competition!
So, please, no half-assing allowed! Work hard and let all the half-assers fall behind, while you soar to the top.