So, a year has passed since graduation from college and my move out to LA, which is weird because it has felt like a decade. Sure, there have been disappointments, I mean, the best I could do in one year, three screenplays, a plethora of sketches, countless query letters, and a ukulele band (just kidding on that last one) was a positive read from a producer and another read from a fledgling production company.
The stand-up comedy career fizzled after my girlfriend walked out of the open mic that one Saturday night last October. I would continue, but she was the last audience member in the audience at one in the morning.
The screenwriting isn’t on hiatus, but it hasn’t picked up. I found freelance journalism more meaningful this past year, and after a couple of commissions, I even made some money. Not enough to, you know, make it a living, but it’s something I want to pursue more of in the future. I mean, if I have even encouraged my mom to pitch article ideas to me, I know that it’s not in vain.
I have heard the next year in LA is much easier. I hope so.
1. A couple of credits via imdb (more to come): Here
2. A writers group that is actually pretty helpful and—through the group—an equally cool short film collaborator.
3. One successful blog that has gotten upwards of thirty-thousand hits.
4. Multiple articles published for print and online periodicals.
5. Three screenplays: “My Father the Agent,” “Da-ad,” and “Truly Desperate,” all of which I am very proud of.
The list will be longer next year, I promise.
Some things I learned:
1. If you have sixteen items on a fifteen item express line at Ralph’s—expect to be yelled at in West LA.
2. All pedestrians west of the county line should be required to wear body armor.
3. Your mechanic is your best friend.
4. “You can have anything you want but you can’t take it from me,” truer words have never been spoken (Axl Rose: “Welcome to the Jungle”).
5. The people who are mean to you are generally mean to everyone—don’t take it personally.
6. Life without learning isn’t worth living.
7. If you see Mel Gibson holding a puppet and emoting, run the other way.
What have you learned this past year? Please tell me in the comments.
Love #5 and #6 in particular. So true, so wise.
Hey you, congrats on a year out! (GAH YOU’RE SO YOUNG!) You’re doing great, by my standards, and you’re on IMDB, so you’re obviously awesome. 😀
Kristan: Thanks, as always, for the kind words.
As someone who just relocated to LA on a permanent basis a few days ago, this is so helpful/inspiring to read! And thanks for the shout-out to the writer’s group!
I learned a lot this year and not to sound horribly reductive, but I think the most important thing I learned was from watching Little Miss Sunshine and hearing Alan Arkin say: “You know what a real loser is? A loser is someone who is so afraid of winning, he doesn’t even try.” I use that as my inspiration when I wonder why I’m in this city, pursuing a difficult career, etc. etc.
Liz: Such great advice. I’m going to remember that Alan Arkin quote. When am I seeing you?
I think the toughest thing is to have and maintain patience. Things are happening slowly, and you have to maintain the perfect balance of gentle prodding and pursuit, while knowing when to lay back and let things develop.
Kevin: Thanks for the comment. You’re right, it’s all about the waiting game–ugh.
I’ll have to agree with patience. That is one of the hardest things to balance.
I would also add:
– Don’t compare yourself to others. It only brings frustration and depression.
– Get rid of your sense of entitlement. A lot of people feel they are deserved something in this town but the truth is, you don’t deserve anything until you’ve earned it. This is a hard thing to realize, but an easy one to keep once you do.
– Never, ever, ever give up. Just keep trying from different angles. If an opportunity presents itself but it’s not “exactly” what you want to do – take the chance and run with it. See where it takes you. If you find you’re heading down the wrong path, at least you’re going the right direction.
Really appreciate your blog, hope you keep going strong for the next year (and longer).
Eric: Thanks for the reply and the points. I love this one: – Don’t compare yourself to others. It only brings frustration and depression.
It’s so true. There are too many Johnny Depp and Paris Hilton wannabes. I want to be myself.
It think you accomplished a lot in one year. Keep writing, keep hustling, keep dreaming, and you will get there.
And Kevin, you are a genius! I need to remember that.