SEEKING: JOB THAT PAYS MORE THAN MINIMUM WAGE AND/OR PROVIDES LUNCH

Skills include, but are not limited to:

Waking up at 7:00 AM

Refilling copy paper (with the whole sheath…not just the amount I need, Patrice!)

Strategically placing pumpkins and fake autumnal leaves around the office

Placing creepy sad scarecrow next to the copier so you can really take stock of your life multiple times a day

Turning comedians’ 5-minute funny jokes into 2-minute funny jokes for promotional use

Taping receipts to copy paper

Multi-tasking: listening to podcasts while highlighting paperwork

Cutting out credentials

Folding credentials

Inserting credentials into badges

Attaching lanyards to credentials

Fetching hard drives from the vault

Returning hard drives to the vault

Drag and drop

Pouring coffee into mugs

Pouring coffee into cups

Unlocking doors

Loading staples into stapler

Cleaning out the 3-hole-puncher

Calling mail room for copy paper

Ordering gift baskets

Decoding cryptic emails

Packing large amounts of equipment into a Prius

Going through highlighters at top speed

Going through paper clips at top speed

Driving to Netflix

Knowing the task won’t take that long, so there’s no reason to be freaking out Patrice!

Killing trees by making 40 copies of a 20-page document

Finding work when I’ve done everything on my to-do list

Then looking busy when there’s absolutely nothing left to do

Writing pointless blogs

Having 40 tabs and windows open at one time

Retrieving mileage forms

Retrieving time cards

Buying office candy

Eating office candy

Bubble wrapping hard drives

Delivering packages to mail room

Driving to CAA

Starting projects then stopping them halfway through when the project is canceled

Putting things into storage

Retrieving things from storage

Taking pictures of box sets

Typing name signs

Laminating name signs

Calling people with little to no information on why I’m calling them

Calling people via office phone even though the numbers are mostly rubbed off

Counting media cards

Making labels

Checking into flights

Buying gaff tape

Sourcing foam core

Drinking La Croix

Spelling my name over the phone (T-as-in-tango, A-L-L-I)

Pretending to be okay when the order is not under Talli, but rather Cry

Ignoring Mom’s texts about whether everything’s going okay

Telling myself I’m going to write after work but then just watching Gilmore Girls

Eating pizza for every meal

Telling myself I’m going to clean over the weekend but then just watching Gilmore Girls

Eating rocky road ice cream every night

Telling myself I’m going to go to the gym but then just watching Gilmore Girls

Wearing clothes more than once between washes

Watching Gilmore Girls

Musing on whether the end of the world can be delayed until after the new season of Gilmore Girls

Convincing people my life is more than just Gilmore Girls

Re-reading Harry Potter

Not reading the other three books in my rotation

Curling up in bed

Thinking all the thoughts before finally succumbing to sleep

Waking up at 7:00 AM

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Dazed and Confused

I’m not an expert on Hollywood.

But I’m as much of an expert as I believe I can be at this point in my career.

Meaning, I’ve done the research, I’ve asked the right questions, I’ve put myself out there.

So while I’m not an expert, I think I can safely share a revelation I’ve had recently.

I’ve wasted a lot of my time here.

I’ve lived in LA for 482 days. That’s approximately 16 months. In fact, I’ll hit 16 months next Sunday.

When I moved here I felt pretty confident. Four years prior I had moved from Tucson, AZ to Portland, OR where I had no job and I knew no one. I survived that. I could survive LA.

Because I knew plenty of people. And I knew I could get a job (I got a great paying nanny job three days after I arrived in LA.) I also had more money saved up this time.

And I really did know people. I knew people who are pretty well-known in the comedy scene. I knew a photographer who knows pretty much everyone in LA. I knew someone who’d been a writers’ assistant on a show. I had friends from Tucson whom had moved to LA when I moved to Portland. Even though they didn’t work in Hollywood, they knew plenty of people who did.

And I knew people from Twitter. In fact, it’s where I found my mentor. He took me under his wing and introduced me to people; he submitted my resume; he invited me to his writers’ group. He’s been my greatest ally.

It should have been easy. Because I’ve always risen to the challenge.

But this time was different. I’d miscalculated. Sure, I’d miscalculated how hard it would be to break in to Hollywood, but more importantly I’d miscalculated my connections.

I was a Freshman trying to get in with the Juniors and Seniors.

And this meant I would forever be three steps behind. This wasn’t good for my self-esteem and it wasn’t good for my career.

At first glance, it might seem as if I had the right idea (and the right connections), but here’s the thing. It’s great to choose a mentor who’s a Senior, but as for choosing friends—it doesn’t work. At least not organically.

Because they already have their friends. Friends who can give help just as much as they receive it. Friends who know what it’s like to worry about your career beyond just finding a job. Friends whom they can vent to and not feel guilty. There’s a symbiotic nature in those friendships that will never exist between Freshmen and Seniors.

They’ve built their social network. And breaking into that is difficult and oftentimes futile. Not that it can’t be done, but should it be done?

I came to this realization when I attended my first mixer for feminist assistants (mostly women, but also people all along the spectrum).

Truthfully, I’d been slowly coming to this realization, but the mixer cemented it for me.

Here were my people. People who knew (and remember) how much it sucks to be at the assistant level. People who had ambition and know-how, but hadn’t quite gotten that break.

Because it is a break.

I heard so many stories similar to mine.

Women who had the experience, know-how, and the references and still didn’t get the job. They nailed the interview but they still didn’t get the job.

They should have gotten the job, but they still didn’t get the job.

It was relief to know I wasn’t the only one.

I still met people who could be great resources. People who hear about jobs, people who could give advice on how to further my career, people who were just slightly further in their career than I am.

But when it came down to it, they were still Freshmen like me.

And man did it feel good to know I wasn’t alone.

Because being surrounded by people more successful than I had the opposite effect. It made me feel more alone than I ever have before. I didn’t have anyone who truly understood what I was going through.

And maybe now I do.

And maybe, just maybe, if I’d figured this out sooner I could have saved myself a lot of time and strife.

So hopefully if you’re reading this and about to move to LA or just moved here or even if you’ve been here longer than I have and you’re wondering why you haven’t gotten further in your career—maybe this can save you some strife as well.

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Doctor Who and Pinto Beans

Here’s what it’s like to be unemployed:

First, you never set your alarm. Sure, you think to yourself I should wake up at seven every day so as to be productive. But then you’re up until two in the morning for who knows what reason and suddenly seven in the morning doesn’t sound so good. And waking up to an alarm is never pleasant, so why do it when you don’t have to.

So you wake up at eight. After a few days of that, you wake up at eight-thirty. And then nine. And since your friend told you it’s not good to put your contacts in within an hour of waking up, you don’t end up getting out of bed until ten.

You actually make a healthy breakfast because you have no excuse not to. Then you eat it while watching 30 Rock or Better Off Ted. Something short so you don’t end up watching TV longer than you need to. But then you like that episode so much that you let Netflix autoplay the next one. And the next one. But it’s okay because you’re also sending pitches to your editor that you freelance for. And maybe you’re paying bills. The point is you’re getting some work done, so you watch another episode. But then it’s noon and you force yourself to stop.

You do yoga. In an ideal world this would happen before breakfast, but if you stayed in bed until ten you’re probably pretty hungry. So you do it before lunch. Since it’s so late in the day you pray for a 15 minute yoga session in your 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene program, but most likely it’s 30 or 45 minutes.

Then you have lunch. And you watch another episode. Good news! It’s the end of the season. No more autoplay. You text some friends you’ve been meaning to text. Then you start your other freelancing job—social media content creation. That takes two hours, during which you watch Doctor Who—Eleventh Doctor—just to get you through the minutia of creating content that’s only slightly different than the content you created the day before. Part of you wants it to be over quickly, but the other part of you knows you get paid per hour.

It’s four in the afternoon and the UTA job list has been updated. You curate the list for positions you’re qualified for—including unpaid internships because you’re desperate at this point—and send out cover letters and resumes. This takes at least an hour.

Somehow you’re exhausted. So you settle in to watch more Doctor Who for the rest of the night. Until it’s 10 PM and you’re hit with this chilling realization that you might not make rent this month. So you apply to every nanny job you can find and every paid audience gig you can possibly do. But come the next day you’re going to say no to the paid audience gig because it’s not worth it and they treat you like cattle. And you might get one response to a nanny application but they want to pay you $8 an hour for four children in Manhattan Beach.

And you think that there has to be a better way.

And these are just the days you’re not working.

Another day you might be a background actor for twelve hours, desperately trying to get your freelance work done between takes.

Another day you might take one of those audience gigs because it’s almost the first of the month. It’s in Van Nuys and you live in Hollywood, but you might get as much as $54 at the end of the day, so there’s that. Of course, you’ll only get two bathroom breaks and they won’t feed you, but who needs any of that anyway?

On a weekend night you’re probably babysitting for that couple that somehow manages to stay out all night even though they were supposed to be home by two. No, make that three. Nope, four. All right, can you just stay until six in the morning? So you spend the whole next day sleeping.

If you’re lucky you’ll have a light day and you’re able to go to the Writers’ Guild Foundation library and just write. You know, since you’re a writer. Have you forgotten?

You’ll text your friend and tell him you haven’t written since the last writers group meeting two weeks ago. He’ll say to write every day and make it a habit. And you know that and you know it’s good advice. But you’ll wonder how to fit that in between freelance work, cooking, cleaning, yoga, applying for jobs, going on interviews, desperation work, and Doctor Who. You’re watching the Eleven era for the third time in two weeks and you think maybe this time you’ll understand why everyone’s so obsessed with Daleks.

And you will write. But you’ll cheat and journal. And write essays. And technically it helps, but it’s not something you can give to an agent or someone hiring as an example of what you can do. And so you write a script about something you don’t really care about because at least it’s something.

And then your mother texts you: Do you have a job yet?

Not helpful.

So you start your job search with vigor. Applying for anything and everything. Credit card bills are piling up, but you figure it all has to work out. Because everything in your gut tells you this is where you’re supposed to be. This is what you’re supposed to be doing. But it takes work.

And you try to have a social life. You do what you can to not spend money. Invite friends over instead of going out (every Thursday you have a girls’ night at your house). Purchase a $30 NerdMelt membership and go to as many shows as possible to get your money’s worth (if you go every other night you can average $2 a show—$3.50 with parking).

Then one day you’ll be standing in line at Chipotle, which is a special treat, and the girl behind you will be complaining to her friend on the other end of the phone about her job. Her boss made her come in on a Saturday. Her boss made her get him his lunch. Her boss is particular about what is in his lunch.

She promptly pays little attention during the process of ordering to the point the woman preparing the food looks to you for clarification. And since the girl on the phone ordered half black beans, half white beans the woman scoops black beans, looks to you and you say pinto because apparently you can do this girl’s job better than she can.

Then she forgets whether he likes cheese or not and later comes back asking for chips she never ordered. She has a job and later you see she has a fancy convertible and she thinks she’s above it. Sure, maybe it’s not part of her job description to come in on Saturday or to get lunch, but damn it, you’re having a bad day and you were up until 6 AM babysitting and you just want to go home and sleep.

And you want a job.

Because as much as you love the couch, you also like to have purpose.

And eventually that job will come. And you’ll pay off your credit card bills and you’ll know you can pay rent and you won’t have an anxiety attack when your roommate asks for your half of the utilities. And most of all you’ll long for the days when you could do yoga every day and watch Doctor Who whenever you wanted.

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Heroes, Vol. 3: Villains

Volume 1

Volume 2

Warning: Major spoilers for Volume 3 and some for Volume 4.

It’s difficult to distinguish between season two and season three, especially when you’re binging and especially when it’s likely that a lot of the story in season three was supposed to be covered in the previous season. So to refresh your memory and mine:

Volume 2 ended with Peter destroying the virus, Adam trapped in a coffin, and Nathan being shot before he could announce to the world that he can fly.

Volume 3 began with the reveal of Nathan’s shooter. But honestly? Any Milo Ventimiglia fan worth their salt could recognize him, even from behind like we saw at the end of the previous season.

What I appreciate about “Villains” is that it doesn’t really take much time to ramp up. In fact, we’re quickly thrust into the season with Peter and Claire’s standoff in the future as well as Peter chasing his future self after Nathan was shot.

It’s worth it to note that one of my favorite parts of this season is actually one of the slower scenes. As Sylar pokes and prods at Claire’s brain, finally fulfilling his wish that was left unrealized during “Homecoming”, they have an actual heart-to-heart. This sets Sylar’s season three arc up nicely. Ironically, in the volume entitled “Villains”, our biggest villain becomes a hero (for a short time, at least).

While Volume 2 was centered around the virus, Volume 3 was centered around a formula. Because of these thematic similarities as well as the similarities I’ve already mentioned, the two volumes do tend to blend together a bit. Especially since the second half of Volume 3 lost its clear “Villains” theme. In fact, it became unclear who the villains were since the formula was so divisive. The virus was clear. Those who supported the virus supported the death of those with abilities (and eventually the death of those without abilities too). But in the case of the formula many thought the formula would bring everyone on the same level, but something went wrong. So wrong Peter had to come back in time to shoot his brother. This vilified Peter for the first half of Volume 3, and made his agenda murky at best in the second half.

In the end, Peter prevailed, but not before Mohinder accidentally ingested some of the formula and Peter and Ando injected themselves with the formula. Now Mohinder’s body chemistry has balanced itself out and he’s retained his powers, Peter has at least some version of his powers back, and Ando has a new power that he has yet to fully understand (mostly he’s a super charger for other people’s powers, but we know from the future that there is probably more to his ability than that.)

As for the other half of the Petrelli family, the parents are more messed up than we originally knew. Arthur is not actually dead, he originally planned to kill Nathan, but Angela got to Arthur first. Arthur then, close to death, faked his death and waited until a regenerator (Adam) could be brought to him so he could heal himself. It turns out Arthur has a similar ability to Peter’s, but when he says “I took your power”, he really means he took the other person’s power. The original owner has no abilities anymore, which happened to Adam, Peter, and eventually Hiro.

For a moment it seems this control over abilities runs in the family when Angela reveals to Sylar that she and Arthur are his biological parents. And it does make sense. For the most part we’ve seen genetic connections in people with abilities. Plus, Sylar looks like a cross between Nathan and Peter. And since we find out that Nathan was injected with the formula when he was a baby, this could prove even further that when left alone genetics plays a huge part in the development of abilities. Meredith and her brother Flint both have fire-related abilities. Arthur and Peter are able to transfer abilities. I’m actually pretty disappointed that Sylar didn’t end up being a Petrelli. In the end it had been an effort to manipulate him, which is what made him who he is today after Elle and HRG pushed him to become a murderer when he first discovered his ability to prove he was dangerous.

Also, it’s pretty clear Elle was supposed to be the mother of the son Sylar–ahem–Gabriel had in the future. Too bad something went wrong in the timeline and he reverted back to his old ways, killing Elle. Well, too bad for Gabriel. Great news for us.

So even though Sylar was supposedly killed in a fire after Clair embedded a piece of glass in his skull, something tells me we haven’t seen the last of him. (Mostly because I’ve already started Volume 4, which is actually the last half of Season 3…it’s about to get really confusing folks!)

Next up: Volume 4: Fugitives

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How to Make the Most of Your Unemployment: Part Two

Part One

Looking for a Job

This is the important part, right? Finding a job while you’re unemployed. But the entertainment industry isn’t as cut-and-dry as other careers. I can’t simply cold call every business and send resumes (though this is a part of it). I can’t look at the classified section or even career websites. I’ve covered this a little bit in previous posts about moving to LA, but never has it been more real than it is now. I’ve set myself a deadline of September 1 to find an industry job before I start looking elsewhere (nanny positions in particular).

Mostly I’ve been procuring letters of reference and recommendation, fine tuning my resume, reaching out to my contacts, and scouring the internet for the few positions that are posted. The day after my job ended I had the opportunity to apply for a position and got really close, but didn’t end up being chosen. One of the reasons being that the other person had more experience. Which is obviously frustrating because it’s an entry level position, so if I can’t even get an entry level position whose way was basically paved for me by certain contacts, how do I fare for other positions?

But at the end of the day I have to accept it wasn’t the right position for me and keep trudging on.

I’ve been lucky enough that a writer friend of mine has kind of been championing me. He’s been sending my resume to shows he’s worked on, to talent agencies (agencies are a great place to start at entry level), to basically anyone he can think of.

Beyond what I’ve been doing, the only thing that’s left is cold calling production offices and asking if they’re accepting resumes. I’ve been putting this off because cell service in my apartment is basically nil. So we’ll see how that goes.

Setting Myself Up for Success

(Honestly, I didn’t know what to call this section, so just go with it.)

I’m a writer.

At least that’s what my business cards say and that’s technically what this blog/web site is called.

More and more, though, I wonder if my skill set is more fit for something else in the industry. My previously mentioned champion has mused that perhaps I’d make a good producer. Which I know even less about getting into.

But I digress.

For now I’m sticking to the writer thing. Because of the cards. And the web site.

So this is a good time to write. I’ve got hours upon hours each day to write. Which is why I’ve started a Wall.

The Wall has six categories: Pilots, Specs, Web, Reviews, Blog Posts, and Essays. Most of those should be self-explanatory, but I will say that Web actually means ideas for web videos. Which could work well to marry the writer and producer goals. Reviews are reviews of books, movies, tv shows, podcasts, TED talks, web videos, whatever strikes my fancy. While blog posts will be more like this post. More the inner workings of my mind (and if you’re still here, more power to you.)

I jot down ideas on sticky notes (that aren’t actually sticky, but they look like sticky notes and I have sticky puddy, so it works out) and it serves as a visual reminder of what my goals are and what I should be working on every day. (Note: one of the notes just says “Aubrey Plaza” and really, what else do you need?)

So far most of my writing has been for this blog because that’s easy. It’s casual, it’s mostly off the cuff, and it’s low pressure because not many people read this (okay, it’s mostly me and my roommate and I think my roommate reads it more than I do).

Exercise

Before unemployment, I had set a goal for myself. I jumped on the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. I cannot recommend her videos enough, particularly the 30 day challenge. Outside of this challenge, I didn’t set any other goals for fitness. I bought a rebounder and used that intermittently, but it was never a part of any goal during the 30 days. I didn’t do any extra cardio either. Just the yoga. The idea was I wanted to get more in tune with my body and more control over my body. And I wanted to finish this challenge, so I removed all other possible fitness obstacles.

And it worked! I finished the 30 days a few days ago and now I’ve moved on to setting some new goals. That’s what’s great about having so much free time. I can mess around with different fitness techniques and ideas. I can sign up for free trials at gyms and really devote time to exploring what they offer.

Or I can do what I did today: I can go for a walk just before sunset around my new neighborhood that I know little about. And now I know more about it and I got 30 minutes of cardio in. The sad part is half the steps I’ve taken over the past few days (according to fitbit) were taken during that 30 minute walk.

Basically I’m taking advantage of all this free time and implementing better habits. Because that’s definitely not going to happen when I’m working 12 hour days.

How to Make the Most of Your Unemployment: Part One

No, this is not a guide to beating the unemployment system. Because that would be wrong. Plus, I don’t know how to work the system.

Instead, this is a place for me to document how I’m taking advantage of this time of unemployment. If it gives other people ideas, great. If not, I can look back and see what I accomplished (or what I need to do better next time.)

To give context, the job I procured when I first moved to LA two months ago was a summer nanny gig. The summer is now over, so my employment is over. This was great. This was just what I wanted. Low commitment. Something to tide me over until I get a job in the industry. This was perfect.

Yeah, not so much.

Sure, I was able to save a little more than one month’s rent (after already paying this month’s rent) and I have a 0% APR credit card for the next year or so, but I don’t like uncertainty. I don’t do well with uncertainty. So everything I do on a daily basis is my attempt to distract myself from the uncertainty. From the negative aspects of unemployment.

So what are the positive aspects of unemployment?

R & R

It’s forced rest and relaxation time. There’s nowhere to be, no excuses not to exercise, hang out with friends, eat well, read, and better yourself in general. This is going to look different for everyone. For me, an introvert, I took about 3-4 days to do absolutely nothing. I placed no expectations on myself. I ate whatever I wanted. I watched two-and-a-half seasons of Heroes. I played The Sims. I spent 16 hours every day in the same spot on the same couch.

I call this my detoxing.

What happens after the detox?

Cleaning

Today I cleaned like mad. I cleaned my bathroom (everything looks gorgeous now!), I vacuumed, I took the trash and recycling out, I organized my room, I did laundry, dishes, anything I could think of got done. It’s almost 5:00 and I’ve only watched 30 minutes of television. And those were TED talks (more on that later).

Food

When you’re unemployed, it’s important not to overspend. And now you don’t have any excuse not to make food at home. Supposedly it’s cheaper, and I guess it is, but when I go to the store for “a few things” and spend $50, that’s hard for me to rectify. But I digress.

It is cheaper. And it’s healthier. And the best way I’ve found to do this is to choose a few recipes for the next few days, shop for them, then come home and make them right away. Or at least make the things that are possible to make ahead of time.

Today I went to the store (see? I got a lot done between cleaning and food), spent $60 (but that included toilet paper, so really it was the usual $50), came home and immediately set up stations.

Like most apartments, my kitchen is pretty small. There’s a tiny bit of counter space to the left of the dish drainer, a large space to the right of the sink, and a small space on the counter that holds the microwave and toaster. So this got complicated. Regardless, I set up space to mix some tuna salad together, another space to make an avocado cilantro sauce, and another space to cook my breakfast because I broke all the rules and went to the store hungry.

Additionally, I made some fruit juice popsicles and froze some grapes.

So now I have enough tuna salad for a few meals, a great sauce to use with raw veggies (enough to last at least a week), and some healthier dessert options. Plus, I had extra gluten-free pancakes, so tomorrow’s breakfast is taken care of. If I pair these options with the remaining oatmeal, eggs, salmon, chicken, and veggies I already had, I’m good for the next few days at least. In the end I’ll have probably spent less than $100 for a week’s worth of food.

Bonus, I got to feel productive for the first time in a while.

TED Talks

The last thing I want to talk about is TED talks. If you have a computer, or even better an Apple TV, TED talks are easily accessible these days. Most videos are about 15 minutes, which makes them perfect for watching while you eat a meal, or even while you prepare a meal. And since they’re largely auditory you don’t even need to be looking at the screen most of the time.

Over the past few days of unemployment I’ve watched a variety of talks ranging from how to make choices (this was chosen once I realized I was having difficulty choosing a TED talk), lexicography (the act of compiling dictionaries), and tapping into our brain to experience the world around us in a new and different way.

These were fascinating, I felt more well-rounded and knowledgeable after watching them, and I even got a few ideas for characters and story lines.

I’ve been watching TED talks for years, but rarely with such a determination (usually only after being recommended I watch a specific video), so I encourage everyone to be more intentional in watching TED talks, particularly if you are currently unemployed.

Upcoming in Part Two: looking for a job, working towards your goals, exercise, and more.

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Moving to LA: Finding a Place to Live

Renting is practically impossible when you first move to LA

I knew buying was only for the super rich and/or really stable. But I’d thought renting would be easier. Because that’s what everyone does–they rent. Struggling actors rent. People who work odd jobs rent. Comedians rent. Writers rent. How difficult could it be?

Very difficult, it turns out.

Most landlords in LA are pretty strict about making sure your monthly income is three times rent. This makes sense on some level, but it’s hardly realistic. Especially for those of us new to LA. Even if I’d had a job lined up, it most likely wouldn’t be bringing in more than $3000/month (the lowest rent you’ll find in the area is around $1000) and I definitely wouldn’t be able to provide two pay stubs to prove I make that much per month. Even if you have a roommate, your rent will probably still be a minimum of $700, meaning you have to be making over $2000 per month. Also pretty difficult.

So what are your options?

Until you can find a place hostels, couch surfing, AirBnB, and sublets are your best bet. If you really luck out, you can find house sitting gigs and just move from gig to gig. I imagine this way is a bit more difficult and nerve-wracking. I moved here during summer, so I’ve found plenty of sublets. This is a good route because there’s no deposit involved and low commitment. Fortunately, though, I haven’t needed to go this route.

Instead, I found some friends who were willing to let me stay with them for a few weeks with the understanding that after that I should have a place lined up or find a sublet. This can get awkward, especially in my case where there was a lot of miscommunication, but as long as everyone’s talking and honest it can be a good option.

How about finding a permanent place?

Your best bet is to find a room in an apartment that already exists. For example, a 2 bedroom place where one roommate is moving out and the other is staying.

Another option is to find someone else who needs a place and finding an apartment together.

I’ll admit, I don’t know all the different options for finding a roommate. I don’t particularly trust craigslist (rightly so, I believe). A quick search led me to roommates.com, roomiematch.com, and roomster.com. I can’t speak as to the quality of these sites, but they’re the first that showed up.

Instead, I’m lucky in that I have a sort of built-in community that I’ve turned to. The friends I’m staying with are planting a church in the area and I attended two local bigger churches and a community group meeting early on in my time in LA. Both those churches have fantastic online resources for finding jobs and a place to live. Though it’s no guarantee that these roommates will be better than any I’d find on craigslist or other sites, at least through these more intimate communities many people come with personal references that are easily accessible. This has provided me with no small amount of relief.

This ended up being the option that worked for me. At first I started looking for people who had a place but needed a roommate. This seemed easier than finding a new place with someone. This didn’t end up working out, though. So I “settled” for someone who was looking to move from Glendale to Hollywood to be closer to work.

This has been by far the best decision I’ve made since moving to LA. My roommate works in the industry and we have enough in common that it’s easy to live together, but enough differences so that we complement each other well. The apartment we ended up in was actually the first one we looked at. We looked at a few others, but ran into some problems like I stated above. Together we made three times the rent, but I couldn’t show that. So we lucked out in finding someone who cared more about how good our credit is. Which I think makes sense because that shows that I pay my bills. Just because I make enough money doesn’t mean I know how to manage money.

So in the end everything worked out for the best and we’ve settled in nicely here in Hollywood, which is a great place for me to meet people in the industry and look for a job. Much better than my original preference of Studio City.

What does this mean for others?

Your best bet will probably be to look for a roommate through social media. If you’re open to room shares, that’s even better. I’ve lived in that kind of situation for the past 4 years, so I was really wanting a more traditional apartment situation (hey! I even have my own en suite bathroom!).

So let your friends know you’re looking for a roommate and an apartment. Ask if anyone knows of any good groups or resources. Tap into your community. For me, it was church, but for others it might be a comedy group on Facebook or an online book club or a group for amateur ornithologists. Take advantage of the world you’ve constructed for yourself and be ready to pounce on the first available opportunity. I went through at least three or four almosts before I found the right one. And it happened in a matter of days.

Be vigilant and be prepared.

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Heroes, Vol. 2: Generations

Volume 1

Warning: Major spoilers for Volume 2.

Let me preface by saying this: I got so wrapped up in my re-watch I ended up watching “Genesis” (23 episodes) over the course of two days. So I was relieved to see that “Generations” was only 11 episodes due to the writers strike of 2007/2008. I ended up finishing this season in about a day.

Because the season was shorter and because there was a lot of backstory, this ended up feeling like a filler season.

We learn a lot about the previous generation of heroes and how their actions (still largely unknown) have shaped this new generation. From what I remember this is explored more in season 3 (which I’ve just started), but this just further shows that “Generations” served as a filler. I’m sure it wasn’t always meant to be this way, but plans had to be reworked to accommodate the strike.

Again, I felt as if there was story line that seemed to drag on unnecessarily. Hiro stayed in the 17th century for way too long. It was under the guise of love, but for someone who so strongly believes in morality and saving the world, it was a huge mistake not to leave simply because he wanted to spend more time with someone who wasn’t available. This mistake affected history. Whether this always happened or not, it was a huge risk. However, this mistake was necessary in order to set Adam up as the villain. It could have been done more quickly, though. But Hiro’s story needed to match up with everyone else’s, so it dragged on.

The other major problem I had with this season was the infusion of new characters. Maya and Alejandro were insufferable, particularly because it seemed as if we were supposed to care about them and to care about them immediately. West, while I never completely warmed up to him, he was at least introduced more gradually. Don’t even get me started on Caitlin.

A side note about Elle. I’m torn on this character. I love Kristen Bell and will watch anything she’s in. And I appreciate how Elle represented Noah’s fear of what would happen to Claire if The Company ever got ahold of her. But it was hard to warm up to Elle, because she came across as cheesy, especially in the beginning. But like I said I warmed up to her and she really developed into a strong secondary character. It doesn’t hurt that Kristen Bell asked to be on the show because she loved it so much. That gives her major points in my book.

But overall, the new characters this season were weakly developed and often annoying. I don’t appreciate being expected to care about characters right away when I already have characters I care about. I think back to “Genesis” when Candice was introduced late in the game. But her power made sense to introduce and we weren’t asked to care about her, particularly because she was basically a villain. This worked well and will continue to work, especially when it comes to villains.

After “Genesis”, the show doesn’t need anymore heroes, and from what I’ve seen of Vol. 3: Villains, the writers have figured that out. So if this season could serve as a learning curve for the writers, I’m all for it. There were some really good moments this season, but they didn’t outweigh the weaknesses, in my opinion. It was still worth it to watch, but mostly to figure out what happened after Peter exploded and where the heroes were headed next.

Also, can everyone stop being amazed that Micah “talks” to machines? Yeah, thanks.

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Heroes, Vol. 1: Genesis

Warning: Major spoilers for Volume 1.

In preparation for the new series (season?) of Heroes (Heroes Reborn) I’ve undertaken the somewhat daunting task of watching the entire four seasons of the original series as a refresher, and in the case of the last half of season 4, a catch-up.

“Genesis” was, as always, delightful. I’ve re-watched parts of this season off and on over the years and I’m never disappointed. It’s the most highly touted season of Heroes, and often thought of as the only season worth watching. But we’ll get to that later.

This won’t be an episode-by-episode review (partly because I’m already on season 3, so season 1 feels like a distant memory), but rather a musing on how “Genesis” fits in with the rest of the series, and how the rest of the series measures up to the first season.

The first thing to note about this season is that you can tell the season was well planned out. I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers knew from the get-go who Claire’s biological parents are and yet they managed to delay the reveal until nearly the end of the season. The way the different characters crossed each others’ paths was masterful and at times even poetic.

The only complaints I have about the season have to do with Mohinder and Hiro/Ando.

Mohinder’s journey, while important, felt disjointed. He was perhaps the character with the most information, but often seemed to be the most lost. He traveled so much that it never felt as if his storyline should be matching up with the others. It’s as if travel time didn’t come into play. For someone whose father was mysteriously killed, he seemed to trust easily. And sometimes his story was just plain boring. Though I will say one of my favorite moments is when Mohinder unexpectedly turns on Sylar whom had been masquerading as Zane. That was unexpected, even on the second viewing.

As for Hiro and Ando, I know Hiro is a fan favorite, and I appreciate him as well. However, it was a little slow going at the beginning. They fought a lot, especially for grown men. Ando was selfish and Hiro was self-righteous. While I understand the desire to show significant character growth, it doesn’t make their early behavior any more digestible.

Regardless, “Genesis” really held up to its name and its reputation, as well as my memory. To see all these characters deal with their own genesis story, eventually coming together to save the cheerleader and save the world. In later seasons, though, we’ll wish it was as simple as “Save the cheerleader. Save the world.”

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Moving to LA.: Setting Down Roots

Sometimes I can be a little selfish. (Aren’t we all a little selfish?)

So I hesitate to post this bit of advice, but what’s this blog about if not a record of my experience and hopefully a guide to others in my position?

The real secret of surviving in LA is….

Setting down roots.

Okay, so that wasn’t actually a reveal because that’s the title of this post, but whatever.

The most common and helpful piece of advice I’ve received from friends is to set down roots. A year ago while visiting the area, an old friend of mine told me, “Don’t move here with the idea that you’ll be a writer in a year. Move here because you like the area and you want to be around people who have the same interests and passions as you.”

Then on my second day in LA I attended a community group through a local church (Reality LA–I highly recommend attending this church if only because their services are held at the Glee high school). The host of the community group turned out not only to work in the industry but happened to have worked as an AD on The Fosters. This is important to note because I’d recently had a conversation with The Fosters EP Peter Paige at ATX where I’d viewed the season premiere on the big screen with none other than Peter Paige and actors Teri Polo, Sherri Saum, and Kerr Smith sitting directly behind me. As fate would have it, my new friend was the AD on that particular episode which was written and directed by Peter Paige himself. This is where I say it’s a small world. Because it is.

Anyway, this new friend gave me a lot of advice that night and when we had coffee a few days later, but the thing that stuck with me the most was when he said, “You’re doing everything right. You’re setting down roots. And that means you’re more likely to stay here and stick it out.”

How do you set down roots?

I’ve detailed a lot of this in previous posts, but some of it bears repeating.

Work. Work as much as you can, make sure you can afford to still live here. The closer the work is to what you eventually want to do the better.

Live with people you like. This doesn’t have to be your best friend. But if you live with someone you like in an area you are at least okay with, if not prefer, then you’re more likely to stick around.

Make friends. Whether this be in the realm of “contacts” or actual friends, a mixture of both is good to have. Keep up with your friends as much as possible, go to their shows, support them. This is another area where I hesitate to reveal my secrets, because I don’t have much going for me (having no experience in production and not being a terribly charismatic person), but I’m good at making and keeping friends. But then I remind myself that if someone isn’t good at making and keeping friends, my telling them this is the secret to success is not going to make them any better at making and keeping friends. Instead, this bit of advice might point out something that a reader might not have put much thought into or not realized is a strength. This is a strength, especially in a place like LA where so much of the culture is independent living. I’m an introverted hermit, but even I realize how important it is to not live completely independently. Which leads me to…

Build a community. This is only slightly different from making friends. Obviously, it involves making friends, but it’s also about building a community of people that support and encourage each other. This is where going to friends’ shows comes into play. Support your friends and they’ll support you (or at least that’s the hope). Beware of one-sided relationships, though. The goal of any relationship is never to be selfish and expect support, but it can also be unhealthy if a friend is happy to take your support but not offer any of their own. This is an important life lesson for anyone, not just those trying to make it in Hollywood.

Tangentially related to the last two points, meet up with friends of friends. These people come with built in personal references, and actually that’s most of the friends I’ve made so far. Depending on where you’re moving from, you might have a wealth of people in your immediate network that you can meet with and see if you click. I’m about 2 for 2 right now, but I’ve met a bunch of people through those 2 people I clicked with, so it’s been fruitful.

Get to know the area. Go to restaurants, walk around, go hiking, find some good hangout spots (coffee shops, creative workspaces, etc), visit neighborhoods, anything that will endear you to the area. I still have yet to do this, but I’m excited to start.

Go to live events. Outdoor movies, podcast recordings, conferences, festivals, concerts, tapings, anything that will get you out into the world. Here are some resources I’ve used to find fun things to do in the area:

wgfoundation.org

nerdmeltla.com

sunset.ucbtheatre.com

franklin.ucbtheatre.com

laweekly.com/calendar

Please comment below if you’ve found additional helpful resources.

In the end, it doesn’t matter how you set down roots, but just that you do. I loved living in Portland and didn’t want to leave, but I couldn’t let myself dwell on this. I needed to accept that I will be living in LA for the foreseeable future. Probably at least the next 10-20 years. So this is my new home. This is where I will achieve my goals. This is where my roots are now.

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