Do you remember the last time you made thirteen dollars an hour? I do: today at my temp job. And this is good money for LA– most stuff I’ve seen is eight bucks an hour.
Breaking into entertainment industry is SO. HARD. And I’m not even talking about going the acting route. I’ve gone on crying jags twice in the past two weeks, once in an embarrassing display on my couch and again today at a gas station. Money is a huge stress point. It’s an expensive city and you aren’t paid accordingly. As my wise neighbor put it, “This town breaks you.” It truly takes an iron constitution to commit yourself to establishing a career here.
The problem: too many people want the same job. The result: Hollywood newcomers work for free or for very little. Or they pick up sketchy jobs from Craigslist to supplement their income.
“We Don’t Need No Education!” A high school dropout and an Ivy-educated MBA grad will BOTH start in the mailroom or as someone’s assistant. Your education doesn’t matter. Your job experience doesn’t count for anything unless it relates to the entertainment industry.
We now interrupt your regular blog post to bring you a hilarious sign specific to Southern California:
(Who can tell me where the missing hyphen should go?)
At Least Everyone Else’s Life Sucks As Much As Yours
Consider quotes from the delicious Temp X site, dedicated to the circle of hell reserved for those who are new to the industry. In Temp X’s blog, there is a fill-in-the-blank sentence: “My life in Hollywood sucks because…” Some entries:
“I was earning $1500/week 6 years ago as an assistant and now make $350/week as an AP. Furthermore, when money got so tight that I had to re-apply for assistant jobs, a coordinator 1 year out of college told me that I’m underqualified. I’ve given up trying to figure out the logic.”
“I moved from the East Coast with five years of experience and a load of LA contacts. Irregardless, it’s like I’m starting over. I’ve worked three days since February.” (I didn’t write that one, but I could have.)
“I have to play with my boss’s dog who just pooped right by my desk, and if I quit this job I get deported…”
“I have management experience in an office setting and personal assistant work on my resume, but can’t even get a job offer washing dishes, much less temp work.”
And finally: “I made more money when I was 16 years old.”
A Goal… And I Do Have One
Over the weekend, I met a girl who works in development at a major production company. Her advice: put in a year at a big talent agency, and then you will be able to work anywhere. Think of The Devil Wears Prada. Talent agencies are notoriously like this: low pay, long hours, and people who scream at you. I hope it won’t be like this.
Not my idea of a dream job, but I guess it’s a necessity, as I’ve heard this advice over and over since I got here. So now I’m changing my aim in networking and seeing if I can get my resume into an HR dept. (Note: it’s a dumbed-down version, per the request of my temp agency. Example: My previous fancy title at a government agency has been reduced to “Assistant to Directors.” Apparently people will not hire you for assistant positions if they see your fancy experience.)
A friendly reminder: if you know anyone in LA, send their contact info my way! I ❤ networking!