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Lesson: I Have No Idea What I Want

May 5, 2008

MOVED!

I’m not sure if I’ve had enough time to gain the proper perspective on this past semester. I’ve been home less than 24 hours, but it has been almost two weeks since I finished working (at least at one of my internships), so I figured now is as good a time as any to start debriefing on that particular aspect of my time in LA. Here goes on what I’m sure will turn into a thesis: 

When I started thinking about going to LA, I thought of it as more of a chance to gain experience that would help me get to where I knew I wanted to go. I thought of it as a test run, but not really in a work-related way. I knew I wanted to work in television. I just wanted to make sure I liked LA. I had no doubt I would like my jobs. Sure, I knew there would be a lot of getting coffee, covering scripts, and basic grunt work, but I had absolutely not doubt in my mind that working in development or casting was exactly where I wanted to go.

In the beginning, it all seemed to be going fantastically. I had four offers for internships (2 production companies, one soap opera, and one casting office), leaving me with the ability to pick exactly what I wanted to do. I ended up choosing the production company that worked in both film and television (where my interests were) and the casting company, because they focused on theater (which I also love). It seemed to be a perfect balance.

In the beginning, the internships were exactly what I thought they would be in terms of getting coffee and answering phones, but perhaps with a little more grocery shopping and imdb-ing than I thought. I loved everyone was I working with. I felt very inside the entertainment industry. I was reading production binders from well-known pilots. Lunch consisted of sitting in the conference watching TV with all the assistants.  I was doing exactly what I thought I wanted to do. 

Soon, however, I started to question things. I sat at my desk for hours reading terrible TERRIBLE scripts. I went to pick up a blackberry for a junior executive who had “broken his in Mexico,” then found out a month later he had sent another intern to get him another blackberry because he had spilled soy sauce on the one I got him. I spent 6 (!!!) hours on the phone calling out auditions for understudies in a two week run of an experimental play. I found myself counting down the hours until I could get the hell out of the office and into the sunshine. I sat shaking at assistants’ desks while I covered for them for the afternoon, fearing the ringing of the phone because it would mean trying to figure out how to conference in the executive on location in New Orleans without losing the original caller. I found myself realizing I in no way wanted to ever have to do what the assistant’s did or maybe even what the executives did. They had meetings. They talked on the phone a lot. They wheeled and dealed. It was all very business like. I never wanted to work in a business or in an office. That is why I didn’t go to business school. I always thought that working in development, I would feel like I was helping to make and shape what was on television. What I ended up feeling like was that the executives were like middlemen. They found projects and brought them to someone else to make. I wanted to make the TV. I wanted to be in the excitement. The office was definitely not where the excitement was. The casting office felt the same. I wanted to be more a part of the process, but the casting director is so much more a facilitator than an actual decision maker. It was all sorting through submissions and scheduling auditions so that someone else could make the decisions. These jobs weren’t what I wanted for myself. 

Every day became a constant debate in my mind. Today wasn’t too bad, but could I do this for a year? For two years? Is this what every job is like or is it just this office? I started to wonder whether there was a better job for me. Maybe I should reconsider writing. I always liked that in class. Perhaps I would be happier working in production, outside or on set, running around, actually seeing things getting made. Maybe I should just find a job in theater. Or maybe I just didn’t like the realities of working, and the jobs I didn’t have just seem great because I wasn’t off doing them. Maybe once I got there, I would hate them too. 

I think that was the hardest part of this whole experience for me: realizing that I can never realy know what something will be like or if I’ll actually like doing something until I’m actually doing it. I feel like I can’t trust myself anymore to make any kind of decision based on what I think I might like, because, well, I’ve been wrong before. Why couldn’t I be wrong again?

So here I am, entering my last few months of school with absolutely NO idea where I should go or what I should do once I’m done. My classes in the fall kind of revisit things I thought I didn’t want to do (writing, production), but am now reconsidering. Hopefully, I’ll get an even better idea of my strengths in them to see if I could pursue them once I graduate. I’m also going back to work at the Huntington Theatre, where I’m hopefully going to try to work in some different departments to see if I like that as well. I’m hoping that as the summer and fall semester go by, I can add to my experiences this past semester to have some semblance of an idea of where I am going. My mom keeps assuring me I don’t need to have a plan, and I’m not delusional enough to think I need a five or ten year plan to be able to do anything after graduation. I’ve just always had a very clear goal in my head for where I was going. Ever since I was in 7th grade, I’ve known exactly what I wanted to do. It’s changed many MANY times, but I’ve never been where I am now. I’ve never not had any idea. I feel so aimless and lost. It sucks. I thrive on direction, on having a goal and reaching it. If I have no goal, how can I figure out my next move. I just don’t want to suffer through some crappy entry level position not knowing what I am working towards. 

I guess the point of this post is that I learned this semester that I don’t know anything. I didn’t absolutely  hate where I worked, but I would think twice before accepting an entry level position in similar organizations after I graduate. Thank god I have 7 months until the end of college. Hopefully, I’ll have some sort of breakthrough from now until then that will at least give me some insight as to what to do next. If not, at least I have 7 months before I have to decide anything definitive. 

Up next: A wrap-up of  my life experience in LA outside of work – think bars, cars, and movies! Horay!

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One comment

  1. my goodness we are soul mates… everything you just wrote makes so much sence its scary. I have thoughts and responses to alot of your points in that post. which i will write in an email asap…

    you are the BEST seriously.
    xxxxx



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