The Future is Now

Amy writes:

How long do you have to be a private assistant until you get a job in a TV show or a movie ? Do you get to talk or know the actors and actresses ? And how hard is it to get that job?… I am not even done with school yet but I am kind of planning or sorting out jobs that suit me for the future so I can prepare better , and being part of the Entertainment industry and getting to know those people would be a dream come true for me.

Oh Amy. Poor, poor Amy. The first sad thing I read here was that dreaded word: future.

And then that other sad word: dream.

The entertainment industry is not a place for “a future”. It’s not a place to get rich or to settle down with a family, it’s not a place to get your ducks in a row and prepare to raise kids. If you really read this blog, the tinge of cynicism here isn’t unique to TAPA. Everyone who works here gains some sort of disillusionment or depression of some sort, and everyone who’s been around the corner long enough can attest to the dark side of this business. We all have plenty, I mean plenty of things to complain about.

Hollywood is referred to as the City of Broken Dreams (or I guess Hollywood Blvd is the Blvd of Broken Dreams, thanks Green Day).

You can’t prepare for the film industry. Well, you can… with a college degree (but not necessarily a film degree as the schools may sucker you to believe). That and some chutzpah and a friend in the industry, and Lady Luck. Hollywood is full of more drifters and wanderers and high-school dropouts than you know; you’re education means very little beside your personality, drive, and balls. There is very little you can do to guarantee yourself anything.

Example A: chutzpah
Does "treasure hunter" add weight to your resume?

If you’re looking for stability, please, get out of here. What are you thinking? There’s no job stability, the first many years is sloughing in poverty, everyone you meet is your competition. You could possibly make a ton of money, but you’ll be working so many hours you’ll have no time for relationships and the pitter patter of little feet. On my last show I became close to the script supervisor; she said it was going to be her last show because she was tired of being 50 and alone. In a moment of fleeting hysteria she splurged sad, sage’s advice to me as a young’un, professing, “I was making good money. If I knew as a young person what I know now, I’d never have stuck around as long as I did.”

How do you respond to that? I’m sorry, wow, even though things totally worked out for you it didn’t make you happy. That sucks. I’m gonna walk the same road you did myself and see if I survive!

Well, yeah. What, am I not even going to try? What’s life but one giant experiment? A life without failure is no life at all.

This is a shitty place to work, but I’m not about to tell you not to follow your dreams. The important thing is to follow your instincts, listen to your proverbial “heart of hearts”. If you’re really not enjoying yourself, have the courage to get out, because in the film industry you’re either on the lust for power, or you like marrying your work. The dream and the art is rarely a part of the picture. That is a lesson every doe-eyed wanderer here learns whether they like to or not.

If you want an actual future you can prep and plan, it isn’t here. Go to law school.



PS: In response to your other questions: Private assistants are a different job than production assistants, unrelated to each other, Production Assisting is entry level… second, sometimes we talk to the actors but most of the time we don’t, if you’re a star-hound better to be a makeup artist, wardrobe assistant, or the actor’s driver… and third, why is TAPA always posting job listings? Why am I such a cynical bastard? You can answer this one.

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4 Responses

  1. Love this post. I’m a career changer and have been in L.A. for a little over a year in an entry level job with kids fresh out of college. Post definitely rings true for me… I figure I feel there MUST be something for me at the end of the tunnel, so I’m staying in the game! Oh, yeah!

  2. I really enjoy reading all your posts! However, since you’re a writer and always constructively editing your readers’ e-mails, I thought I should point out that instead of “youngin'” it should be “young’un”: short for “young one”. Call me technical but, I thought perhaps you would appreciate the info.

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