The choices and decisions you make the first year you move to LA will have a major impact on the remainder of your time here – not to mention on the rest of your life. A few misguided steps may be possible to undo later, but make too many of the wrong moves and you might as well find yourself on the next flight home wondering why you couldn’t cut it in Los Angeles.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
What’s important right now is that you find some type of clarity of what your long-term and short-term goals are. Here are a couple of tips to ensure your success your first year in LA:
More than likely, you will not make it big your first year in LA, Hollywood agents will not be knocking down your door, and you won’t be sitting in that corner office of your dream job. The first year of your arrival in LA should be focused on acclimating yourself to the city, finding a place to live, and securing a stable source of income to support your lifestyle.
Attend a networking event.
I’ll be the first to tell you that most networking events won’t be a life changing affair. However, they will get you out of the house and amongst your peers who have similar interests. Also, if you’re lucky, you may even make a valuable connection. It’s best to simply attend with an open mind and the desire to form a common bond with other attendees, as opposed to going with the desire to see what you can get from each person there.
Construct a hit list.
Pick at least five people, preferably ten, who are in your industry in LA and who also have had successes that you would like to emulate. Write them down. Craft an e-mail that states who you are, why you moved or are moving to LA, and how you would like to learn from them. Make sure to tell them how great they are! Trust me, all of us are suckers for kind words that praise our egos. Just make sure not to over do it, as you will come off as disingenuous. Once finished, send them off. You’ll be amazed at how many people will respond with great advice and tips. Also, you may even be able to land an internship or actually have a face-to-face meeting with them.
Know what you want.
What originally made you move to LA may not be the same thing you pursue once you get here. This is definitely not a problem. I am a strong believer that you must figure out what your passions are by trial and error. Many people move to LA wanting to explore various career paths including being an actor, writer, producer, or whatever. You must figure out what exactly it is you want to do and go after it with dogged persistence. Eventually, you will be able to branch off and pursue other avenues, but first you need to focus and build a foundation that will sustain you during your time in LA.