I’ve been in LA for three years today. I don’t know what else to say. It’s been a trip. It’s still not a joy ride — living paycheck to paycheck with an uncertain future — but it’s a lot better than it was.
LA feels like home now; Tennessee a distant memory. Fuck ever living there again. Maybe I’ll change my mind someday… but when the most exciting thing to ever happen to your town in 10 years is a super Wal-Mart moving in and an occasional Tornado impaling cows on trees… yeah, fuck that place. I’ll take a big city any day.
12ptCourier also turned 4 years old this month. It’s crazy to think about where I was when I started this blog. It was 2010, I was in Film School, had just fallen in love with screenwriting and had no idea what was in my future. It was a busy year — wrapping up school, going on an excavation in Israel, and writing a slew of horrible and half finished screenplays. But I finally graduated. Chapter 1 was complete. Now what the fuck would I do?
In 2011 I decided to move out to LA on a whim — and it actually worked. 2011 was a crazy fucking year — full of ass-kicking, back-breaking work. 12 to 20 hour days and nights on set — fucking brutal — but if you want to make it in this town you have to pay your dues… at least that’s what THEY say. I quickly learned that the only way to get any attention in this town is to work harder than everyone else. Between that and dumb luck I landed enough gigs to pay my bills and eventually found a place to live on craigslist with a bunch of weird fucks. I peaced out of that joint ASAP and moved in with some people I met on one of my PA gigs — sleeping in the living room just to survive. I learned how to work on set really fast. I also quickly learned what jobs I DIDN’T want to do — which is one of the most important parts of being an assistant. When you finally realize — “Well, I def don’t want THAT fucking job.” — you’re one step closer to finding where you belong. It was a hard year, but I was full of green energy, so I got through it. As a writer, I was still struggling. Trying to find that perfect story… trying to find my voice. Again I wrote a slew of horrible and half finished screenplays. “There’s always next year”, I told myself…
16 hour days for 6 days a week as a Set PA picking up used condoms and dog shit off the side of the road — that sentence basically sums up the beginning of 2012. Another ass-busting shit taking year. I quickly figured out I was tired of working as a Set PA. I didn’t want to be an AD, I wanted to get closer to writers and producers. I wanted to CREATE, god damn it. So I started Office PAing. I did a few pilots and jumped onto a big budget feature in editorial. Things were looking up. Quickly after the feature I jumped on a job that was guaranteed income for a year! I took it in a heartbeat. I felt the struggle was over, but a new struggle had just begun. — Oh, and the writing? … “There’s always next year.”
In 2013 I was very frustrated. My financial situation improved. I even got promoted — TWICE. My title was actually Producer. But I wasn’t happy. I was working in daytime TV. I was working on a TV show that specialized in gardening and cooking. What the actual fuck. Fucking kill me. Stab me in the eyes until I die. I took a step back and realized I wasn’t doing what I came out here to do. I wasn’t even writing stuff anymore — good or bad. Nothing. I had to quit this job. For my sanity. So I did. I was unemployed for over a month. My PA contacts had mostly washed up. But, finally, I scored a PA position on a pilot, the first scripted job I worked in over a year. I was so inspired, I jumped into writing hardcore on my own pilot. When that job ended I landed a job I’ve been seeking out for a long time: Assistant to a writer. A good one.
So here we are. 2014. A job I love. I finished my pilot — the first piece of writing I’ve done that I’m actually proud of. I have no idea what the rest of this year has in store. But god damn you can bet I’m going to end up telling you about it.
This industry will try its hardest to shit all over you. Power through it and keep your eye on the prize. Even if it means quitting a potentially lucrative job. Do what you want to do and never look back.