Thursday, August 4, 2011

Guest Column: A reflection on life in Hollywood

And now a guest editorial from one of my readers.  Got something you want to say about the state of Hollywood? Send it to tempx@tempdiaries.com. 

I came out here with a mission: not to fail.

I knew it was going to be hard.  I didn’t have a lot of experience in production or writing, but I knew enough and did enough to where I thought I would do just fine.

My first thoughts in Hollywood were simple -- if I could get my foot in the door and learn at any production company, show, movie, online magazine or otherwise, life could go on from there.  But the problem was I never grew up knowing anyone remotely connected to the industry.  I had a good internship at a Fortune 500 TV and movie company in college, but when it was over, they showed us the door.  Used up and spit out.

I met random people here and there, but nothing concrete.  I would talk to alumni from my school who offered to help, but in the end, they would say, “Sorry I really can’t do anything for you.”

I continued to feel like a beat-up ball in the Hollywood game.  I was being crushed over and over by people with more heft and connections than I.  Day after day, I would put myself out there to the best of my ability.  I’d surf the job sites for hours, go out and look, talk to people.  But the end result was always the same.  Nothing.

Undeterred, I pushed forward and did what many of us unemployed do -- live off savings and just keep going.  I've done an odd-assortment of jobs to make ends meet: worked as an assistant at a college, boxed junk for the elderly and even signed up to be an extra (for exposure to the production process and free food).

It's been eighteen months since I moved here and life has never been so scattered.  I’ve always known what I wanted, but this industry has taught me I can’t always get what I want.  I’ve come to a point where I want to be in this field so badly, but I no longer know what I want to do because I've been told “No” so many times.  I do know now I must shut down the past of mistakes and regrets and declare open season on my future.  I must find whatever I can to simply stay in this city.  As daunting as all of this has been, it no longer terrifies me.  I fight, I push, I yearn, I claw, I research for the next new opportunity that presents itself to me.

I might not have won yet, but I'm getting there.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a lovely and hopeful post. Thank you for sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Someone should help this poor person. I feel bad. I don't have any connections, but you can see the hope yet at the same time desperation here. Sounds like a fairly young person, in my opinion, and we should do what we can to help this generation, they have it much worse off than we ever did.

Can anyone help?

Kelly said...

Kinda whiny, no? Not fit for Hollywood it sounds like. Place is going to eat you up if you have this kind of talk.

Matt H. said...

I like this person. They have drive. I hope you find what you're looking for, dude.

Anonymous said...

It's been 18 months for you? It's been 4 years of the same stuff for me except I'm out every day trying to make connections while temping and also trying to pay my rent. Toughen up and stop whining!

Anonymous said...

I've been dealing with the same problem for years. Have to work in a shitty place for really low money to be able to survive. It's frustrating but hang in there and keep doing it! Make it happen for you, don't wait. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

To the Anonymous that said, "Toughen up and stop whining!" we don't know exactly this person's stance and their life. They might not have the same skills or what have you as you do. Or they might be in something just as hard in some other aspect of this business. We've all been there, we wouldn't come back to this blog every day if we didn't think back to that time and see out own hardships. Maybe they're too young to see all the possibilities we eventually have later on or maybe they keep getting rejected who knows, but to be fair we all struggle and are better for it. This is just this person's way of expressing us all when we first try or try for a while and just don't know what's next.

Not defending the author, don't honestly care, but remember it's hard and cruel so if they want to write, I say why not express it on a blog that's tailored for it.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't any aspiring Hollywoodite get a marketable education/career before doing the Hollywood thing? There is no law that says you guys have to work menial jobs while writing/pitching/selling anything. Why not get a decent paying job in a professional field and live like a human being while pumping out screenplay instead of working a shitty job while pumping out screenplays?

Anonymous said...

My recommendation would be to film your story with the help of the many talent-rich people that you can become friendly with throughout town.

Anonymous said...

I think if it was that easy to get a marketable job and still pursue your passions out here, we'd all be doing that. I've been out here a few years trying to do my thing, I have office experience behind me, but no one really cares out here. They want someone with 5-10 years experience off the bat it seems like. So, I pay my dues working less than stellar jobs because the marketable ones don't want just anybody. Sometimes all we have are the crappy jobs to keep us afloat.

Anonymous said...

Calling this person whiny just shows how heartless some clowns in this town are. The fact that she's still trying shows she's not whining, just sharing her experience. I thought we were here to support each other. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

18 months????? Yeah, if you're this whiny after 18 months you better find a different industry.

Anonymous said...

It's all about meeting the right person at the right place and right time. You also sound too scattered, mentioning writing, working for a production company, acting (or so I interpreted the reason for extra work). Find your focus and go for that.

Taryn said...

You guys are so evil towards this kid (well seems like a kid to me). Didn't you guys feel frustrated starting out? Or did you all MAGICALLY find perfect entry-level jobs days after school was over. This person is just frustrated and a bit lost it seems like. Jesus. I wanted to punch everyone and everything when I couldn't find work for more than a few years. It's just an opinion and experience of trying this business out so far and what it's like at the beginning. How desperate and hopeless you feel. Give them a break and think about how annoying it all was when you were unemployed. I for one want this person to do well. We all deserve it if we have a decent enough resume and a school degree behind us.

Now the rest of you just go crawl back into your hole of mean-spirits and wither away.

Anonymous said...

I can totally relate to the poster. I've been here 4 years going through the same thing. And I agree with Taryn. I'm surprised people on this board are so hostile. Some of you sound like the same jerks I run into every day when I interview for jobs occupied by people who don't belong there. Just remember that you got where you were because someone had the kindness and decency to see something in you. Or maybe you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth or your parents knew someone. Well, it's not the same for everyone. Sometimes the most wonderful and talented people are treated like crap. But we keep trying. And Karma's gonna get some of you. You're not good for the site either, because the site is for people like the guest writer. Most of you is what's wrong with Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the employee of the week feature?

Anonymous said...

yeah man, agree with the anon above. this sucks. who cares about some loser. talk about the real people. f*ck the pansies of the world.

Post a Comment