You’ve either moved here or plan to move on a premonition that you too have what it takes to make it in LA. Contrary to being known as -The City of Broken Dreams- LA is ground zero for a slew of production, creative and entertainment opportunities for those willing to learn, grow and put work in daily.
According to the 2015 US census an estimated 53,587 people flocked to LA county from the year before; many of them coming to live their dreams in LA just like you and I. It’s a cramped and competitive town where only the top tier people get remembered and you truly have to deserve what you want.
You may be the best in your town in your field but in Hollywood the talent level is top tier. I’ve seen countless people come and go from the City and all of the people who do stay have 5 similarities.
Here are the five keys I’ve picked up during the course of my first year and a half in LA. They will have impact whether you’re already here or planning on jumping in a UHaul and taking a chance in the City of Angels.
#1 Know Thyself
“The Most Difficult thing in life is to know thyself” – Thales
When moving to LA it’s easy to get caught up in the lights, the glamour, you know…the allure perpetuated by TV. It’s easy to see how people lose sight of their goals; but DO NOT forget why you sacrificed time with family, old friends and a kushy life in Whateverstown. Get to know yourself. Find out your strengths, weaknesses and what ticks you off.
Find your passion, goals and inspirations and cling onto them for dear life. Do not waste a second. Define who you are now and who you want to be and live by that mental image. Detail everything: what your health is/will be, who your friends are/will be, where you are/will be financially. Don’t be afraid to be specific. Find yourself and you will never get lost.
#2 Obtain Knowledge
“Today knowledge has power. It controls access to opportunity and advancement.” – Peter Drucker
Now that you have a mental image of who you are and who you want to be it’s time to learn deeply. Learn about the things you see in your vision – from your hobbies, to the food you’ll eat, your career, your finances. Read books, enroll in a class at your nearest community college, attend some seminars or MeetUps that pertain to you. Learn about your inward world, a little psychology, yoga or whatever “works out” for you. If you’re an actor pinpoint who your idol is and what kind of roles you want to obtain. Get some mentors: people who know the game, and learn as much as you can from them. This will put you on a great path.
#3 Hustle Points
“Things may come to those who wait but only the things left by those who hustle” – Abraham Lincoln
Now that you’ve graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and you’ve honed in on your goals and skills; it’s grind time! Bill Gates said that when building Microsoft he never took a day off in his twenties, not one. When others are celebrating 3-day-weekends go over your business plans, when others are sleeping in you’ve gotta be up crushing your daily routine. Create healthy competition with your idols and mentors, even though they are light years ahead of you try your best to compete with them. When they release a project, you release a mini project. Watch your industry close and out grind any competition you can, it’s the only way to get noticed in a city full of people aspiring to be superstars.
#4 Invest In Yourself
“To beat the Market you’ll have to invest serious bucks to dig up information no one else has yet.” – Merton Miller
This year your price is going up, invest. With your newfound knowledge and insight find out what investments in yourself will pay off in the long haul. Take a chunk of your income and invest in: education, equipment, headshots, hire a team, promotion, whatever it is you need to succeed. Ask yourself what your mentors would be investing in and double down on that. Analyze each investment and make sure you focus on building assets instead of keeping up with liabilities.
#5 Let Go Of Any Assumptions
“Contrary to popular opinion the hustle is not a new dance step- it’s on old business procedure.” – Fran Lebowitz
As you apply these keys to your life you will often come across knowledge or techniques that may be contrary to everything you’ve learned in the past and that’s okay (actually it’s a great thing). Take time out to weigh “new” information. Find out what’s accurate through mentors and your education and scrap any contrary thoughts! Let go of the ego when listening to mentors, listen to your peers, implement what you read in books. Learn from every situation and boil it down to the unbiased truth.
LA is a breeding ground for creativity, connections and inspiration. Stardom awaits those humble enough to know themselves, obtain knowledge, hustle it out, invest in themselves and let go of past assumptions. Apply and tweak these tips as needed and always remember to enjoy every step of the way; it’s about the journey not the destination.