I was talking to a friend the other day, and he said something so insightful, I had to share it: “You can’t move to LA risk-free.” It’s simple, scary, and spot-on. (Thanks, Adam!)
I know moving to a new city is scary enough. I know you don’t want to add lack of job security, or really any security for that matter, on top of your fear. But this is how Los Angeles works. Don’t forget, you can find security in your decision to pursue your dreams. Dreams aren’t risk-free, but that’s the beauty. If you don’t risk anything, you won’t gain anything.
Let’s get specific. Why should you move to LA without a job or apartment lined up ahead of time? Here are 4 reasons:
1. YOU CAN’T GET AN APARTMENT WITHOUT BEING HERE.
Apartments in LA go super fast. If you see something online, it may be rented in a day or two. Many landlords require a background check and security deposit—if they get an offer from someone who is local, they will take that over someone who isn’t. Would you want to rent out your place to someone who lives far away? Also, it’s really important to drive by any place you are considering because almost every neighborhood in LA has a shady part, and a good part. If an apartment looks too good to be true online, it probably is. It’s usually a safety indicator. And I want you to be safe! Oh, and I love when Craigslist ads say “close to shops and metro and minutes from downtown, beverly hills, santa monica, and hollywood”. LIAR, LIAR, PANTS ON FIRE! There is no such thing as close to all of those places. Hollywood to Downtown could be a 15 minute drive, and Hollywood to Santa Monica could be a 40 minute drive. Just get your butt to LA and find an apartment in person!
2. YOU CAN’T GET A FILM INDUSTRY JOB WITHOUT BEING HERE.
You know how I just said that apartments go fast? Well, film jobs go even faster. If someone is fired or leaves their job in the industry, there are hundreds of people lining up to fill it. In an instant. Sometimes you only get 1-2 days notice to start a job. People who are here in LA are able to fill those jobs tomorrow. And unless your mom is BFF with the Executive Producer, a show won’t hire a newbie who doesn’t already live in LA. Being geographically challenged will scream that you are green (no experience), which isn’t attractive to employers. Oh, and if you would like to be an Office/Writers/Art PA (Production Assistant), you will need to run around town picking up lunch and dropping off dailies and scripts, so you need to know your way around the city. So just get your butt here and figure it out!
3. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT TO GET A NON-INDUSTRY JOB, TOO.
A very wise teacher once explained this theory: companies don’t want to hire you for a permanent (as opposed to temp) position if you are not already living in the city in which they are located because they don’t want to be responsible for the emotional repercussions that come along with uprooting your life to a brand new city. What if you take the job, make the move, and end up hating LA? Or can’t stand to be away from your family or significant other? A company doesn’t want to deal with that fallout. They just want to hire someone reliable. They have a company to run, and that is their priority. So get your butt here and prove to them you’re in for the long haul!
4. YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN NEW NETWORKING RELATIONSHIPS
If you make contacts online prior to your move, they will only remember you so long if you wait, wait, wait. LA is full of big dreamers, so there are countless people who will seize your professional mentor when you are not here. Finding work in LA relies so heavily on who you know, so you want to be in their face, not 3,000 miles away in an email. A personal connection is much more meaningful and productive. So get your butt here and wow people with your sparkling personality!
Moral of the story? Get your butt here! The perfect time does not exist, so don’t wait for it. Hey, if I can do it, YOU can do it.
Leave questions and comments below, and I will answer them!