Before I moved to LA in August 2010, months prior I was networking with a few people I got in contact with from some of my family’s friends and my friend’s friends.
I was going through some old emails to me and this one stuck out the most from I guy named Brian, who owns a small production company. Looking back, some of it couldn’t be more true. I don’t necessarily agree with one part of the convo (as you will read on the last conversation), so I will elaborate more in a few:
Note: Portions of the email chain with company names have been removed for privacy.
Subject: Attn: XXXXX XXXXXXX
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2010 05:23:06
My name is Kateri Wozny. I got your name from Dr. XXXX XXXXXXX who gave my father your Web site address. My dad and Dr. XXXXXXX have known each other personally and professionally for years.
I am contacting you seeking any advice for job opportunities in Los Angeles. I have seven strong years experience and diversification in the media and am moving to LA in August in pursuit of advancing my career further. My interests are in corporate public relations, social media or production. I would appreciate any networking channels at your disposal. If possible I would like the opportunity to meet you once I get out there.
Attached is my resume.
Thanks and please email me back when you have a free moment!
Subject: Re: Attn: Brian XXXXXXX
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2010 18:19:47
I guess my last email didn’t get to you. Sorry about that.
Have you moved to LA yet? Sounds like a big move and big change. Do you have a job out here yet or are you just looking for something and ideas? Any specific goals in mind? I’d like to know more about your experience and how that might translate.
I can pass your resume around but will tell you that for any job in the biz, you will need to be here, interview in person and be ready to start that day. 🙂
I’d definitely talk or email with any ideas or answers to questions you might have.
Please don’t hesitate to call me. I’ll help any way I that I am able.
Cell – XXX-XXX-XXXX call anytime
From: Kateri Wozny <XXXXXXXXX@XXXXXXX.com>
Sent: Tue, June 29, 2010 12:06:28 PM
Subject: RE: Attn: Brian XXXXXXX
Hi Brian, thanks for writing me back!
I move on August 9th and am somewhat familiar with the area. I have been using my friend’s (and my future place with my friend) Fountain Valley address to apply for jobs since last year in the fall and have had no bites so far for any full time leads. Before the fall I took a break applying because I was in school trying to finish up a Web Design certification. I had brief talks with a recruiter for TMZ and another for the Larry King Show but both positions got filled internally. I have been networking out in the LA area but obviously it would be helpful if I actually lived there. In MN I literally have done everything I could with my career. I am excited to go!
I am transferring with my traffic company and a couple promotional marketing companies out there so I have something lined up but they are part time or contract and nothing I want to do long term. I also freelance write and do Web Design. My long term interests are in public relations, social media, news or production.
How did you get your start out there?
WBS when you have a free moment, thanks! 🙂
Subject: Re: Attn: Brian XXXXXXX
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2010 18:59
Sounds like you’re on the right track.
You didn’t ask for this, but I don’t beat around the bush, so let me give you my honest, hard 2 cents. Then you can decide if you even want to discuss anything else with me… 🙂
You said your “long term interests are in public relations, social media, news or production.”
That sentence somehow defines almost every job that I can think of.
What career paths might you enjoy? I might be able to point you and your resume in the right direction.
Be very careful with where you apply. If you are moving because you are pigeon holed in MN, the risk is twice as great here. Your first job defines everything! You must do everything in your power to get into a company that fits you and work your way into the position you desire MOST. It is incredibly hard to switch fields, job types, genres, or even from film to tv. It just doesn’t happen.
For instance, XXX is a horrible place to work, unless you like dragging people through the gutter. A friend’s wife is a writer there and she’s miserable and hates here life. It will only get you jobs elsewhere in similar content.
The way I see it, you have two ways to get a job –
1) Search Craigslist, etc and find a PA position. Start at the bottom, be humble and work your ass off. If you have valuable skills and show potential and have a crazy work ethic, you will move up very quickly or find a position elsewhere. It is all one big family. And if the family likes you and you work hard…you will work.
2) Find someone that will recommend you for a position. Again though, you will most likely need to start at the bottom.
Your resume –
I can tell you from my personal experience and from what I have witnessed, that resumes do almost nothing without some other form of support. You must have a proven track record in Los Angeles and someone on a production team that can vouch for you or come highly recommended from someone close to or related to the people in charge of hiring.
Your resume experience is great, but….
Don’t be offended, but your resume is not exciting and doesn’t make me think that you’re above the fray and have some outstanding reason for me to read further. It is a resume that goes on the stack because i didn’t get past “freelance.”
You need to wow them in the first sentence and show them why they should hire you instead of promoting their 21-year-old internal PA.
Please take out the freelance completely. It’s great and you should keep that up on the side, but don’t let a company know that you are trying hard to make it on your own as something other than the job you are applying for. If you want to be a business owner, be a business owner. If you want to be an employee, show that you are diving in with all the right experience and 110% dedication.
(For this industry only) I would suggest taking out anything that isn’t absolutely necessary and highlight every detail you want a skimmer to capture.
I got my start when i moved here from Montana and surfed my friend’s couch. Found a job 3 weeks later and have been working 60-100 hours/wk for 7 years.
I love it out here, I love work and love the business (most of the time) and would recommend it to anyone who has a strong desire to leave, eat and sleep “the game” and deal with major bullshit on a daily basis. It’s fun if you don’t let it eat you up and completely destroy your soul. 🙂
I should stop before I sound like a complete jackass.
I can’t find the email where I responded back to him, but I thanked him for his advice if I recall. I don’t think he was being a “jackass: as he previously stated, it’s just brutally honest.
So the part where I disagree: I have a full time job and 2 side gigs. I haven’t worked for one company out here that hasn’t supported it as long as I put the full time job first (plus I just don’t talk about my side hustles too much except with some close co-workers). I think it’s healthy to still explore other areas related to your career field to see what you like/don’t like and see what other strengths you may have. I couldn’t tell you how it is directly related to the movie and music industry in LA because I never went that path.
I’m actually thankful and a lot happier that I chose the path that I did in the end because I don’t feel the pressure to “make it” or “be someone and seen” in LA like I did between the years of 2010 – 2013. I have made it. I am established. I am accomplished. I have saved money. I am becoming more well-traveled. What more do I need but good family, friends, a great job and experiences? 🙂
I say create your own path and see where it leads you. Everyone has a right to succeed and be happy! 🙂