For the last few months I’ve had only one goal – to work on the production of one of my favourite TV shows. I live in Australia and am currently studying media at University. I had decided that once this semester was over, I would gather all the money I’ve saved, defer and move myself over to Los Angeles… I know I’ll have to work hard and I’m very determined to do so. At most I’ve been hoping for an unpaid internship while working part-time somewhere else. As I said before, I had a show to work on in mind but you brought me to the painful realisation that that’s probably not going to happen. At least not right away. I’m ready to take the risk, figure out working visas, exchange rates and international roaming on my phone.But am I being naive?
Holy shamoly, girl, don’t do it! Don’t you dare! Running off to another country with a temporary visa for an unpaid job that you don’t even know you’ll get? First of all, you’ve narrowed down your job options to only one business that may not even have any available positions. And what if this doesn’t work out? Are you aware that the US is currently encountering protests in most major cities regarding inequality and falling living standards? That Los Angeles has hovered around 14% unemployment not just this year but the last three years? That minimum wage doesn’t allow for the “luxuries” of paying for chest exam if you have a cough, or a look at a pain in your ankle that started after you stepped off the curb funny? That apartments for rent in Los Angeles for some reason don’t include refrigerators so you have to buy one?
If you’re in another first world country, stay there. The US is no place to be right now.
That said, even if we were in good times, it boggles me what it is about the fantasy of Hollywood that makes a person lose all practicality. Lets say you were a fashion designer, would it be a good idea to travel randomly to Paris to work at Dior, and ONLY Dior, without looking up whether they even have open positions? What if you were a reporter who moved to New York with no experience and sat on the steps of the New York Times just hoping to be handed a job inside? Or a photographer who suddenly wants to work at National Geographic? There are so many more fashion houses, publications, magazines, and thusly, production companies, to make your life interesting and vivacious.
The fashion designer moves to Paris to work in Paris, not to just work at Dior. Even worse, if you’re obsessed with the one show, I hate to break it but… shows end. At least Dior has been around for forty some years.
You don’t just bet on one company. That’s insane. You can try really, really, really hard and send as many perfumed letters as you think will get you noticed, but imposing such limits on your career is surefire downfall, especially in such an unexpected field. I’ve even had job promises from inside the production itself sink in quicksand… those hurt much more because they’re personal.
Move to LA to work in the industry, not to bet the house on just a single, non-existent job. Otherwise, you’re just as big a fool as the thousands of actors that move here to be stars, rather than to be actors. It’s sad and desperate and unsustainable.
And that’s that.