Getting wiser, not older—yeah okay. Twilla Amin is here to let you know that 30s are not the new 20s. Whoever said that was in denial!
5 Things You Will Experience
8 years ago today, I moved to LA with nothing but 3 suitcases, my car, a big pair of shades and my dreams of working in Hollywood. Soon afterwards, I would get my first job in entertainment and reality would strike. I mention some of the struggle in my past post here.
In talking to some of my other friends, we realized that there were some commonality in our experiences–and even though some of them would chase a normal person away-we still come back for more. So here is my list of 5 true things you will experience when you first start to work in “the industry”.
1. Your college internships at local television stations mean absolutly nothing in Los Angeles…in fact, your college education means nothing—unless you are in college that means you can legally intern and work in exchange for college credit.
2. Even though you know your job as production assistant sucks—your friends back home are impressed with the fact that you get to work with celebrities. You pretty much have the coolest job out of all of your friends. You also make the least amount of money out of all your friends—and pay the most rent but whatever you also get summer 50 out of the 52 weeks of the year.
3. You will meet your favorite celebrity.
4. You will also find out that your favorite celebrity is a jerk. They crushed your hopes and dreams. You’ll never be able to love with an open heart again.
5. Nobody drinks plain coffee. When you are on coffee runs you realize that quad venti half caf breve no foam with whip two splenda stirred skinny three pump peppermint mocha is a pretty standard order. You will also begin to abandon the simple “Soy latte” order for the more extravagant kind.
Did I miss anything? What are some things you encountered when you got your first industry job?
Featured Image of Hollywood Sign by Florian Klauer
Seven years ago from April 1st, my plane landed in Los Angeles. I was instantly pulled in by the sunshine and palm trees. I had big shades, big dreams and a 5 year plan that went something like:
- Get a production assistant job
- Write a script
- Get an agent
- Sell script
- Buy a condo
- Write another script
- Sell script that generates buzz
- Get a nice profile in Hollywood reporter
- Enjoy Hollywood and buy all the shoes I want
Well, I was able to get a really good unpaid internship when I moved out here, I mean what person with two degrees would turn down an internship with a celebrity (even if working for free was totally illegal). Yeah that turned out to be the unglamorous version of the Devil Wears Prada…I go into more detail in this post. Long story short, it was a typical Hollywood assistant experience. Only this one didn’t lead to any great new opportunities.
As I tried to find new work opportunities, something called the Writer’s Strike happened. Productions ceased throughout Los Angeles and nobody had a job…except for people who worked in reality tv and I simply refused to sell out to reality television. And as all my savings started to run out, of course I had to call on the bank of mom and dad (pretty sure they are FDIC approved). Asking for money always required that I gave a presentation…
From that point life kinda spiraled into a downward succession of suckiness. It was a dark place. I was convinced that even though, I loved Los Angeles it hated me. I call this period of life “L.A. Hates Me”. I choose not to dwell on the moments I had to face real life and get a real job that couldn’t cover my real bills because Los Angeles is a real expensive city and ended up real depressed.
I feel like I made it to the other side. Living in this city toughened me up. First it handed my ass back to me on a tray but then it toughened me…I would even say it bettered me. I learned what I was made of. I realized that everybody has to go through some challenges to see their dreams come to life. Bad credit, selling my car (to cover rent), facing evictions…none of that could scare me from pursuing what I ultimately wanted to do.
And here I am. Not exactly where I want to be but doing what I love. Biblically speaking, 7 is the number of completion. In the 7 years that I have been in L.A., I can say that I needed all those years to become the woman that I am. I needed that time to develop my skills and to be comfortable in the fact that this is indeed what I want to do in life. Although I always knew what I wanted to do in life, I now know that I have what it takes to succeed.
#ToastTip: Be positive, stick with it, keep the faith and you will soon see the light! #Church
So in my new fabulous unpaid Hollywood job as an Executive Assistant working for a not so known production company for a B-list celebrity, I realized that Los Angeles may indeed be the city of Angels. In my hypothesis I will even suggest that the angels in this city are fallen Angels where dark forces carry out the mission for the Son of the Morning and I was hired by the Lucifer himself!
The job itself was not stressful, remember this company was way small, so the majority of my work was answering phones and reading scripts. The job, when the Devil was out of the office was somewhat pleasant. Unfortunately there was more Hellish days than pleasant ones. I worked in the office with three other interns. All who dealt with the heat in various ways.
On the way to the office I would listen to soothing music, ranging from Enya to Hillsong. One of my fellow interns would roll a joint and blow away her anxiety. Others would pray to their perspective gods. No matter what we did, we would still get yelled at, asked to pull long hours, &get criticized…all for no pay!
One time when Beezlebub called the office and one of the interns answered the phone and then the call was transferred to me. He told me that her voice was ”too black” and he wanted someone “less ghetto and more professional” to answer the phone. Maybe he could get away with saying those things because he too is black but I’m pretty sure in a major studio the girl (who by the way wasn’t ghetto at all) could have gone to HR with a serious discrimination complaint.
Another time Satan stormed in demanding that I get so in so’s agent on the phone. I got as far as the assistant…apparently this was not good enough. Even though the agent was in a meeting he felt that the he should still be able to get through. None of my negotiating skills was sharp enough to penetrate the agents assistant. So my boss let me know that I didn’t have what it take to make it in the industry. As far as I remember he standing beside me and was unable to get the agent on the phone either…somehow he is doing okay.
One time I didn’t have his smoothie back to his office “on time” meaning that although I had to walk a couple of blocks, wait in line, wait for the smoothie to be made, and walk another of couple of blocks…he wanted his smoothie in 3 mins not 5…so I got yelled at. Oh and a classic one was when I answered the phone and the person asked if they could speak to the Devil, I asked “may I ask who’s calling?” Once I transfer the call, he told me never to ask his girlfriend who she is, just put the call through.
Are you effin kidding me?
Am I effin kidding?
These are real stories. I’ve seen interns get fired on the spot. I’ve heard one intern get told she wasnt stylish enough. At that point I wanted to remind them that our salary of nothing made it kind of difficult to go on shopping sprees at Nordstrom Rack let alone Nordstrom!
At the end of my three months, none of my fellow interns, all who started after me were working at the production company. And I was told that my work and my work ethic was great, however the company could not afford to pay me for another couple of months.
I’m willing to do free labor to get my foot in the door but I’m never willing to be used. So that day I quit.