Living at Home

Alexandra writes:

I am a graduating senior in college, and I have plans to move with another student to LA after graduation. I wouldn’t be relocating far (my family is in north Orange County). My mom has been very supportive, but she worries. She advises me to stay home for a year and save money, and then move out when I have a job lined up. Now I understand where she’s coming from, but as it is I have nothing keeping me at home, and it wouldn’t be any easier getting a job from so far away.

My plan is to move out asap and get a job– any job– so I can live and network and slowly move up the ranks. I have little experience, but the higher the stakes, the harder I work. Do you think it is wise to do this? I don’t want to be blinded by my own ambition and really it screw up.

And finally, if you agree that moving out is the best option, what should I tell my mom to put her at ease?

Sorry, Alexandra, but your mom is right.1

If you live driving distance from LA, stay at home. Living in Los Angeles is expensive, and it’s going to be a while before you’re consistently earning a paycheck. You need to save up for as long as possible. Living at home goes a long way towards that goal.

Most people don’t have that option, but you do. Living at home definitely sucks, especially if you lived at home throughout college, too. You’re at the age where you want to separate yourself from your parents, define yourself as a different person. It’s hard to do that when you’re on top of each other all the time.

Plus, frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. I totally get that.

But it’s totally worse if you move up to Los Angeles, run into hard times, then have to move back.

There is something to be said for the motivating factor of starvation and eviction. Those of us who couldn’t rely on the kindness of parents figured it out, because we had to.

Or didn’t. My Facebook friends list is strewn with people I worked with on shows three or five years ago, but have long since moved back to their respective home towns.

In conclusion, my advice is what it has always been: use the advantages you have.

Stay at home as long as you can stand it, which probably means once the commuting gets to be too much. It will take a while, I promise, because you won’t get that much work to start with. It might take six months, it might even take a year before it makes sense to move.

Hell, you probably live closer to Manhattan Beach Studios than I do; get a job on a show there, and you could live at home until the series gets cancelled.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. No one likes hearing that.
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3 Responses

  1. I live in North Orange County because I refuse to live in LA. I’m from another state as well. Trust me, living in Orange County will keep you somewhat sane. I’ve had no issues with my career in regards to living here.

    Think about this; say you move to Sherman Oaks or even Burbank and get a job in Santa Monica. It’s going to take you about the same time to get from Burbank to Santa Monica as it would Anaheim/Fullerton to Santa Monica.

  2. This is excellent advice, Alexandra. If you lived out in Palookaville, light-years from any film/television production, it might make sense to roll the dice on a Hollywood-or-Bust strategy, but you currently live right next door to Los Angeles. Gut it out for a year at home, make some contacts, save some money, and get enough on-set or in-office PA experience to remain gainfully employed as you climb the shit-stained ladder of Hollywood suck-cess. Think about the long run here, because making it in this industry — however you define that — is a marathon, not a sprint.

    Buck up — your time will come — and good luck…

  3. It’s hard too when you live with your parents but in the countryside and still can’t get a job because you’ve always been a PA 🙁

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