Many members of the Figment community want to make a career out of writing. One of the most obvious ways to do that (aside from writing your own seven-book-fantasy-series on a bunch of napkins) is to move to LA to become a writer for movies or TV. Upon graduating college, that’s exactly what I did, and I’ve been working as a TV writers’ assistant, sketch writer, and humor blogger ever since. Seeing as my four years makes me a wizened native by LA’s transient standards, I thought it might be helpful to provide an insider’s perspective for anyone thinking of moving out here. The six kinds of people you’ll meet in Hollywood are:
You know those people that seem to be talented at whatever they decide to try? For some reason, LA is a HAVEN for those (frustrating) individuals. But rather than simmer in jealousy, befriend! Befriend! Wunderkinds are the people who will help get your writing on its feet. If you find one of these all-in-one producers/set designers/editors/development execs, never let them go. Trust me, having to learn Final Cut Pro X will induce its own brand of writers’ block next time you go to write a “quick Internet thing.”
The Collectors Of Project Folders
These are the types that derive sick joy from having multiple columns on their Gmail account. They’ve got their hand in so many projects, it’s hard for them to find time to dedicate to any one thing for more than 24 hours. They tend to be smart/kind/talented people—yes, that’s why they’re so in-demand—but you should only get involved with them if you can make peace with feeling like a sociopathic nag. It might come down to a stalking conviction to get their notes on your outline.
This girl will ask you for coffee. She saw your short and has an idea for a web series. She will then reschedule at least twice. When you finally meet, you’ll excitedly make plans for this surefire commercial hit, and she will assign you a deadline. You’ll work tirelessly to make this deadline. Maybe you gain weight in the process because you feel you can’t take breaks from writing to go to the gym. And then when you actually turn in your draft, you will not hear from her. Even after stalking attempts. If you eventually do hear back, it’ll be, like, six months later, when she has a new idea. Starters are only interested in just that—starting things.
You’ll meet certain people in Hollywood who are always wanting to know what you’re doing. Maybe they’re actually your friends, and you’re pursuing the same line of work. They’ll be sure to schedule periodic coffee dates or lunches to get the lowdown, and perhaps they’ll show up at one of your projects’ meetings because they “want to play.” What is really going on here: These people are hovering until they think what you’re doing might possibly benefit them, and after you’ve done all the work, they’ll swoop in and attach themselves. Really what I’m saying is . . . you should learn how to do this to other people.
The Users of the Phrase “The Industry”
Anyone who uses the phrase “The Industry” multiple times a day is desperately trying to prove that they are an insider in the field of entertainment. (Fine, I used the word “insider” in the intro. But you wanted to know . . .) They read Hollywood blogs in real-time and are probably keeping a spreadsheet of who-sold-what-to-which-studio-over-what-meal. They’re also probably afraid of original ideas, and they’ll only ever encourage you to write stuff that’s similar to what’s currently being sold. They will make you anxious. If you interact with one of these people, I recommend an immediate trip to the beach. The Pacific Ocean will never care what the The Industry thinks. Ahh, sandcastles.
The Nicest People EVER
In Hollywood, genuinely nice people aren’t considered the status quo. If someone has a reputation for being generous, sane, and/or talking to people who won’t necessarily ever benefit them, they will be referred to as “the nicest guy EVER.” You’ll hear someone say this and be like, whoa, am I about to meet Gandhi? And then you’ll meet this showrunner who asks how your day is going, and you’ll be like, He’s alright, but I haven’t seen him angry yet. If you move to Hollywood, dear Figment reader, may you be blessed with such a label. It’s what the rest of the country calls “being a decent human being.”
Got any more questions? Have an “insider” perspective and want to add and/or contradict? Let us know in the comments!