Today I started what feels like an actual career. While I’ve gotten a lot of work experience in the entertainment industry – most were temporary gigs, assistant roles with no advancement opportunity or just sordid dead end jobs. Granted all of those jobs helped to get where I am today, but none of them ever made me feel comfortable enough to say ‘I work in entertainment.’ Recently I wrote a post called day job blues, and that’s exactly where I was: working whatever dead end job I could in order to make ends meet while I pursued my passions on the side. Today I literally said good bye to day jobs. Today I started work on an established cable television show where my employer is one of the major television studios. I am a full time studio employee, not a gig-based hire or day player. So finally I feel comfortable to say ‘I work in entertainment’ – not only that but ‘I work in Hollywood.’
I know I have many more years before I begin to establish a career ‘above the line.’ However, everyone who works today as a writer, director or producer can recall their first show or studio project. Everyone remembers the ‘career job’ which enabled them to develop more opportunities and to become who they are today. That’s this job for me and I am over the moon.
Most importantly it’s also with a terrific crew who I can talk to with ease– a big step up from my last job where everyone was very shallow and called me ‘quiet and weird’ because I didn’t know how to talk to them. Here I am able to showcase my best qualities – including my quick wit and sense of humor. I feel super comfortable and that allows me to be my best self. When I am my best self I know I will also be most productive and therefore happy and confident in my work. All critical things since this tight knit group promotes from within. The last person in my job is now on a writers track. Some writers also started in my position, including all of the writers assistants.
I very nearly gave up hope. I was studying for the GRE, looking at grad schools. While I told myself I wasn’t settling, deep inside I knew I was. The day job I was in robbed me of confidence and also made me borderline depressed. As a result I fell back into the old ways of courting my former mentor through his passive interaction. I found myself desperately trying to have him reach out and hope that he’d be my savior. It was very desperate and of course he never did. The reality was that my interest was not just professional, it was personal. I adore him, and would be grateful just for his friendship. However, that’s a friendship I can’t have. Nobody writes the way I did as a professional, they write that way as someone who is infatuated. I may have pushed him away.
But I don’t need him to be my savior any more. I did it, I embarked on a career without him. However, I’ll always credit his early mentorship as a critical first step in pursuing this field seriously when everyone else told me it was a pipe dream. While I don’t need him, it’s no question that I’d love to work for him one day. If the phone call never comes, I can’t say I’d be as hurt as if I were stuck in some shitty uncreative day job. I wish him well, and will always root for him to succeed.
Here’s to Day One and many more. Here’s the start to something wonderful. Here’s to the reminder that for every soaring high in this industry there will be plenty of lows. Here’s to knowing that it will takes years of hard work before serious pay off. Here’s to absolutely without question knowing that the move to LA was the best decision I’ve made in years and hopefully will remain so in the years to come.