I remember all of the negative things I heard about L.A. from family and friends before I moved here — that the traffic was unbearable, the heat was draining, the city was full of vapid and shallow people who would only talk to you if you could advance their career, and that it would take me at least ten years to even start to make a splash here.
I came here expecting to feel like I didn’t belong, that the city that wouldn’t welcome me because I hadn’t already achieved fame and notoriety. That I wouldn’t find people that I could get along with, because they’d all be too “out for themselves.“
What I found instead was that the people I met and worked with were just people. They were down to earth and had their nose to the grindstone, doing everything they could to make their dreams come to fruition. I found that the traffic was not any worse than it had been in Seattle, that the weather was so amazingly gorgeous most of the year, and the sun was so energizing, that I could handle some hot summer months. I was enchanted by the vast possibilities that are so alive here and intoxicated by the drive and focus that was so palpable in the people I met. I was hooked.
I’ve been in Los Angeles long enough now that the thrill and newness of it all is mostly gone, and has been replaced by the rhythm of everyday life; working a day job to pay the bills, running errands, taking classes, attending workshops, and auditioning.
But I still get a little thrill every time I drive through Hollywood. I’m still discovering new spaces, awesome organizations, and even more driven and supportive communities. And every couple of weeks it hits me all over again that I uprooted my life and moved to Los Angeles. HOLLYWOOD. The place WHERE MOVIES ARE MADE. This is a city I only dreamed about as a kid but I never actually thought I’d end up here. When I was older and seriously considering the move, L.A. was an intimidating dream where only already successful/working actors resided. But now I’m here, living in the daily grind of it all, and I think that’s pretty cool.
I live near one of the major studios, and I still love driving past the bustle of activity that goes on there. The other day I was stopped at a light, watching different kinds of folks cross from the parking garage to the studio and vice versa. There was the obvious group of appropriately dressed audience members for a major talk show. There were a few crew members that were leaving to grab lunch off campus (or perhaps they were done for the day). There was the guy carrying his portfolio and walking with purpose, perhaps to pitch a script or interview for a job. There were some tourists getting ready for the studio tour. And there were one or two folks who looked a little lost and excited, probably there to audition on the lot or even shoot their first co-star roles.
And as I was sitting there, it hit me all over again. Los Angeles is the city of dreams. Every day, in locations all over this expansive city nestled in a desert, people are working on the careers they want most. They’re focused. They’re taking meetings for representation. They’re writing with their partners. They’re finally getting that huge audition. They’re getting phone calls from their agents or managers that they booked a job. They’re meeting with wardrobe for a fitting. They’re sitting in their trailers, waiting to go on set and bring another character to life. At every given moment, these things are happening. Someone is getting the job. Someone is taking control of her own career by producing content. Someone is meeting the person who is going to change his career trajectory.
In L.A., life can change in an instant. After hustling and working to build relationships, one phone call can change your life forever. It is truly the city of dreams. And I’m excited to be here.
This article originally appeared at www.sarahjeagen.com
*photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club