Making Friends

Wisdom from The Simpsons.

Jurebro commented on last week’s post:

You mention that it’s hard to have a girlfriend while a PA because of the hours. Is it generally difficult to maintain relationships of any sort outside of work? I am interested in moving to Los Angeles to try to get my foot in the door, but I have another friend who is concerned that I won’t be able to find friends and will be utterly alone.

Your thoughts?

Working on a show is a lot like going to camp. You meet a lot of people in a very short time, there’s a lot of activity (most of which you don’t understand), the days seem to go on forever, but you’re still caught off guard when it’s time to go home, and the counselors are probably fucking on top of the climbing wall after you go to bed.

I kinda lost control of that metaphor…

Also like camp, even though someone might be your best friend on set for weeks, you can’t remember their name a month later. Not exactly a single-serving friends, but close.

The trouble isn’t making friends, it’s keeping them. This industry is very transient: pilots don’t get picked up to series, TV shows get cancelled. Sometimes a new producer takes over and wants to bring in his people.

And that right there shows a contradiction. You and your crew mates get scattered to the wind, because this producer has a circle of people he likes and trusts. Of course, that kind of professional loyalty stems from your ability to do your job well, and your question was about friends.

The big trick I use is, I hold on to my crew lists.  Everybody’s contact info (including phone number) is in there.  I try to touch base with people I liked within a couple weeks of wrap.  And even if we weren’t the greatest friends, the crew list is a good reference months or years down the line, when you need info from, say, a camera assistant you chatted with at the crafty table once in a while.

I think most adults make friends through their job, whether you’re a filmmaker or an investment banker. It’s really no different then being a kid, when most of your friends were people you knew at school.

It is hard to make friends in any new place, but I don’t think moving to Los Angeles to work in Hollywood would be any different than moving to Palo Alto to work in Silicon Valley.  It might even be easier; there’s over fifteen million people here. I’m sure you can find a friend somewhere. All we ask is that you learn how to drive before you get here.

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6 Responses

  1. Once you are in the loop, the trick will become trying to find a friend that isn’t in the biz. I had a bunch of really wonderful friends when I worked in film but the problem was trying to get together. That’s why I began the mission of trying to find friends outside of the biz. 9 to 5 civies have predictable lives and are usually easier to get together with.

    But then, the inverse happened. I found friends outside of the biz, but it was hard for me to develop a good friendship because…I was always working. 🙁

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  2. Nice post, and I just want to add to start creating mastermind meetings where you setup a meet on skype or in person, and you all talk about new ideas and keep updated on whats on in the biz.

  3. I’ve been here for 10 months now and I’ve been very surprised at how nice people are here. LA has a certain cut throat reputation, but so far I’ve found that not to be true. Maybe it’s only true at the top. Or maybe I’m just naive. Although it seems to me that everyone at the bottom is trying to help everyone at the bottom get out of the bottom.

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