Hey, new mentees! Here are some LA tips from the 2016-2017 cohort:
There is always something happening and there are so many opportunities to jump start a career here. Be open, be curious, and be willing to follow the path wherever it takes you. Your goals and aspirations are ever changing, and that is okay! We are so young and these things take time, so enjoy the journey!
It's going to be hard. It's going to take time. It's going to be ok. Get involved in a lot of groups, get out of the house, you will make friends. It won't happen right away. It won't happen for longer than you think. But it will be ok.
Give it time, that's what I've been told by numerous guests of mine at my restaurant, that it takes time to really fall in love with LA. And also, reach out to any contacts that you may have. When I came here and reached out to contacts of people I hadn't seen in YEARS, everyone welcomed me with open arms! They were so kind, and then you kind of find the people you like to spend your time with or that you want to work with. And it also takes time to find your group socially, and if that's important to you, definitely get out there and get a part time job and be open and patient. Also, grab at any opportunity you can. People out here can be flakey, so if they flake, that's just another opportunity for YOU. There are people here who take it very seriously, and there are people who do NOT. Meet as many people as possible and do as much as you can that is offered, you'll never know what can lead to something else.
First: Have money saved to buy a car!!
Second: Things WILL fall into place, but you must be willing to be open to things falling into place out of order and in different ways than you planned. Each step you make comes with its own complications (my agent is not solving all my problems, being SAG-Elig isn't booking me gigs left and right) so stay humble and become not only a working professional but a STUDENT OF THE INDUSTRY! There is seriously so much to learn. And there are so many people involved in production. You will do yourself a huge favor if you learn to walk in other people's shoes!! People are collaborative here, and kindness goes a long way. Being qualified isn't the only thing that will get you far--being reliable, organized, and having a great attitude is essential to making yourself indispensable.
Find people doing the things you want to be doing at roughly the level you want to be doing them at in two to three years, and become useful to them. (This includes how you want to be doing those things--if someone is doing cool art, but treats people cruelly, get out of there, or at least work around that person. Ambition is important, but compromising human dignity, your own or another person's, isn't worth it.) Also: never get angry in traffic; always have sunscreen with you. Assemble one earthquake kit for your car and another for your bedroom.
Always make time for what you’re passionate about. Especially if you are not working in the industry, make sure you are writing, watching movies, keeping updated on what is happening in the industry, et cetera. With that, don't settle -- push for what you want!
Attend Tisch West Events and reach out to NYU Alumni. They will give you invaluable information and might even introduce you to more people who can help guide you towards the direction you want to head.
Triple check those parking signs.
Buckle up. Getting your foot into the door takes time, and maybe more time than you expected at first.
Remember why you moved here, and make sure that whatever you do is helping you move towards that goal.
You're not as powerless as you think you are. A genuine conversation with your normal personality can go a LONG way in this city. Just be a damn thoughtful person and you'll get a lot from LA
Cultivate a zen-like patience, and lead a balanced life. Build things in your life outside of your career and artistic work that gives you meaning and makes you feel good, whether that is a hobby, charity work or even a positive personal relationship (friends, girlfriend, boyfriend etc.), because you will get your ass kicked and be let down on a daily basis, and will find yourself desperate for something, however small, in your day that gives you a win.
Don't let other people's successes deter you. Everyone is on their own path and the way your success will manifest itself will be different from the next person. Be patient.
Never stop trying and work hard, make mistakes and learn from them with humility. People will give you a second chance if it's handled properly. Try to live relatively close from work as traffic is bad and commuting past 45mins each way can get gnarly. Socialize as much as possible.