Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dinner with parents

I turned 22 last week *shivers*

So my parents roll into town and take me out to a classy dinner and, just like every birthday of my college career, they assault me with the barrage of questions I always hate to be asked.

What's your plan? Where are you gonna live? Do you have a job lined up?

FUCK. They're on to me... You mean I can't continue to just live off of your own dwindling savings and sweep my $120,000 student loans under the rug? Rats.

It's such an awful situation. What do I say when I have no real answers? I simply told them the truth, but I told it in a way that sounded like I might have thought about this once or twice. Anything to combat their doubt and salvage their morale.

Yeah, um, I want to move to LA. I want to get any job that will feed and house me so I can write screenplays... I'd like to land a production assistant job, but it'll be close to impossible and everyone else will be doing the same thing. I don't really know what's going to happen.

Imagine! You're a parent who will be in debt until you kick the bucket. Your kid is graduating with an arts degree and is condemned to wait tables for all eternity. This is exactly what you want to hear, right?

Not surprisingly, the spirit of our dinner declined severely when I hinted at the realities of the situation. There is no job or internship and, although I'm scouring the earth, I doubt there will be one when I graduate. I will need A LOT more money from them no matter what. Even if something miraculously pops up, nothing happens overnight and getting set up in a new city will be anything but cheap.

Honestly, I'm working my ass off trying to figure things out. I'm desperate, and have been since day one. Once June comes around it won't come down to effort, it'll be luck.

I think it's time for some dessert, you guys look like you need it.


  1. Ben -- this is an e-mail, not a comment, but since I can't find an e-mail link on your blog, here you go. I'm planning on profiling your blog (along with another from a 22 year old budding filmmaker in England) in a future post for my own blog. With the post half done, it occurred to me that you may not want the attention. Maybe you mean for this blog to be a place where you can express yourself freely -- good, bad, and ugly -- in a mostly private way. Maybe you don't want to have people from all over the country clicking their way over way here from my blog.

    But in that case, why not just write a journal? Why put your thoughts on the Internet, where the entire world is just a mouse-click away?

    I think your posts will have great resonance for many people out there -- mostly film students in the same boat -- and as such, would offer a valuable contribution to the discussion. My bet is a signifiant number of people will want to know how you make your way dealing with the reality of post-graduate life in Hollywood. And who knows, maybe a few more eyeballs on this blog will help generate a break for you down the line -- stranger things have happened.

    But if you don't want the additional public scrutiny, let me know and I'll kill the post. No worries -- there's no lack of things to write about down here. The only thing in short supply is time to do the work, so I don't want to waste my time writing a post you'd rather didn't appear.

    And dude, get yourself a Gmail account -- most people in Hollywood use Gmail for business, reserving a separate e-mail account for personal correspondence -- then put a link on your blog so you can be reached for those who don't feel like leaving a public comment.

    Let me know if you're willing to have a few dozen readers stopping by in the near future -- my Gmail is

    And cheer up -- the road ahead won't be easy for you, and there's no way of knowing if your dream of writing features for a living will ever come true. But the only way you know for sure that it WON'T happen is if you don't try. Almost everybody in Hollywood came from somewhere else, and if they can make it, so can you.

    And yes, I'm confident that if you come to LA, you will land a job as a PA. By hook or by crook, you'll find a way to make it happen -- and that will be the first of many hard lessons ahead. Once you get past that hump and manage to land the all-important second job, you'll start having a blast.

    More disillusionment will lie ahead of course -- Hollywood is all about breaking hearts -- but let's not put the proverbial horse before the the equally proverbial cart.

    One step at a time, Ben, one step at a time...

    Michael Taylor

  2. Hi!
    I found your blog through Michael's.
    The description of your dinner has basically been my life for the past almost-two years since I graduated and moved back in with my parents in a suburb of L.A.

    Once you land a few PA gigs here and there, your new conversation subject may be what it means to be a freelance PA. My parents and their conservative old-school Chinese ways sure as hell don't understand it, so prepare yourself. My parents have suggested I go work at the post office or the bank. Hopefully you'll be luckier with their trying-to-be-helpful-but-not-helpful suggestions.

    I posted your blog to one of my Facebook groups geared at the students from my alma mater aiming to head to Hollywood. So you may see a few blips from St. Louis, Missouri.

    Good luck with the rest of your semester and maybe we'll come across each other when you get into town.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ashley! I'm grateful for the bump and gotta say I think your blog is great too :)