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Old 06-13-2010, 02:41 PM
 
221 posts, read 393,482 times
Reputation: 183

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Hey guys!

I currently reside in Wichita, KS. I lived in Los Angeles from the summer of 2007 to the summer of 2008. I made the move due to a longtime facination with Los Angeles and southern Californian in general, the nice weather, and to pursue a career in filmmaking.

Now, some basic info. about me. I'm a 28 year old male, single, and no kids. I completed a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering in 2006. I am currently unemployed (well, settling for temporary work until I figure out what I want to do with my life).

I managed to complete my BSEE, despite the fact that I "lost" interest in engineering during my final year of college. Actually, I don't think I was ever genuinely interested in that field, and my lack of honestly and denial finally caught up with me. Honestly, I never really felt I had a choice of what to major in. It took me six years and three different schools to finish my degree (kicked out of my first school due to bad grades, transferred to a community college to repeat all of those classes I messed up in, then transferred to a much easier university where I was able to finish).

It was early in my last year of college when I became interested in filmmaking. My passion began with screewriting, but eventually progressed to filmmaking as I continued to explore my newfound passion. After a very rough final semester, I managed to pass all of my classes and complete my degree.

Fast forward several months, I got my first professional job working as a Patent Examiner for the United States Patent and Trademark Office in the Washington, DC area. After two solid months of hardwork and focus, we got to the examining part, and that's when I began slacking off, and spending my time in the office playing around on the computer. After only 6 months at the Patent Office, I resigned to avoid termination since my production numbers were extremely low and my supervisor told me I wouldn't make it.

After the Patent gig, I immediately hopped on a plane (with around $6,000 in the bank), and headed to Los Angeles for the first time. Things started off well there, but I allowed myself to get distracted, and did not do anything productive in realizing my dreams.

Well, exactly a year later, decided to move to Wichita due to the opportunities in the aircraft industry, specifically in engineering. Several months later, I find a job as an Electronics Engineer for an avionics company, basically doing alot of technical writing along with a little designing and testing. Like the Patent job, I was able to stay focused and work hard for about a month or so before I started slacking off and spending most of my time on the internet. Not only was I falling behind on my assignments, but I was having trouble showing up on time (also a problem at the Patent Office), and my supervisor was becoming more and more frustrated with me. After 5 months on the job, I resigned to avoid getting fired since I had arrived an hour and a half late that day and didn't want to deal with my boss or the job anymore.

I really want to make films. I have no interest in engineering, and I'd rather avoid that field altogether. I'd like to move back to Los Angeles, attend Los Angeles City College Cinema program, and go from there. I thought about doing this the last time I was in LA and even submitted an application to LACC, but grew frustrated in my hardships and decided to move to Wichita due to the low cost of living and the comfort of having a better paying engineering job, but I haven't been satisfied here even when I had money, and I've been thinking about filmmaking the entire time.

I believe I have unfinished business to take care of. I've had this dream for literally 5 years now, I spent a whole year in LA, but I didn't do anything about it. I made no attempts at physically pursuing my goal, and that has been weighing on my conscience. I've had fears and self-doubts and shame over my pursuit.

I'm almost out of time, but I want to know what you guys think. I'll try and post more tomorrow.
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Old 06-13-2010, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles, CA
787 posts, read 1,622,673 times
Reputation: 372
I don't have any direct experience in engineering or entertainment. But I will relay the experience of a friend of mine:

He was a well established electrical engineer in the South Bay area of LA County. He was making very good money as he is a very smart guy with degrees from top universities. However, around age 35 (which was a few years ago now) he decided to quit the field and pusure his passion which is flimmaking.

Last I saw him (about a year ago) he was studying at a local university and writing screenplays. His plan B is to "teach" film studies, assuming his film career never takes off. His Plan C would presumably be to return to electrical engineering.
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Old 06-13-2010, 05:27 PM
 
1,619 posts, read 1,747,825 times
Reputation: 685
I think if it is even remotely feasible financially, you should just go for it. You'll regret not doing what you really want to. Regret and lost time are not worth it. Have something you can do in LA while you look for a daily PAYING job in that field. You are the right age, have no wife or kids, and can freely travel. If it works out money-wise, why not try it? If you do it and it doesn't work out, then you know and along the way might find something else that works out better. Nothing wrong with trying and failing. On TV today, someone said:

A failure means another chance to start over more intelligently
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Old 06-14-2010, 06:31 AM
 
Location: Southern California
1,839 posts, read 1,712,065 times
Reputation: 212
One thing you should know about getting a job in the movie biz... it's better if you know somebody. And if you are really going to do this... then don't just go to LACC... best advice is to transfer to USC film school. Have you ever created a youtube video? If not, maybe you might want do it as it's a lot of fun. Not sure if you know about this... but if you're going to be a screenwriter, you'll have to join the Writer's Guild, so you might want to check this out... what are the dues, etc.

Writers Guild of America, West
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Old 06-14-2010, 09:11 AM
 
72 posts, read 200,060 times
Reputation: 48
Go for it. I was in the same boat. 10+ years of valuable production experience (in chicago/tv/video/some film), thought for years of leaving for LA and the one thing I live for, movies. Right now I have a good job here in Chi, and the only thing keeping me from leaving tomorrow is saving enough money and making sure I have a starter job in place.

I will tell you this though... I spent the last few years 'toying' with the idea of staking my claim in LA. The day I felt like my life changed is the day I DECIDED to go. See, for me I know in my heart that if I do not at least try... I will regret it for the rest of my life. Moving to LA and working in film is NOT going to be easy, therefore there are no room for maybe's when making the decision. 110% commitment or not at all (IMO).

So, go with your instinct but know that you will be entering a highly competitive gauntlet! Also like socalangel said... much better if you know somebody. I myself have friends & connections out there, and while I save money and kill time here in Chicago I always talk to my cali connections on a regular basis. The more you know about what is going on in the business, the better moves you can make. If you can handle all that, keep a must-win attitude, and work your arse off... then giddyup man!
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:14 AM
 
221 posts, read 393,482 times
Reputation: 183
Thanks guys.

My ultimate goal in the film business, is to become a director. I am also interested in producing and writing.

I am still torn between pursuing a career in commercial filmmaking in Hollywood or becoming an independent filmmaker and starting my own film production company. Both of those options seem attractive. If I pursue the commercial option, I'll get to have fun in sunny LA, constantly be around lots of like-minded people, and I probably wouldn't have too many responsibilities outside of the creative aspect. With the latter option, I'll have more creative freedom (overlooking finances), I wouldn't have to answer to anyone, and I'll be able to live and work where I want. I guess it's also a lifestyle issue for me (which is going alittle off topic), but as much as I like the weather and the natural setting and all the entertainment options in LA, I prefer dense urban cities like San Francisco.

I've done alot of introspection in the last several years and I've gained a much better understanding of who I am and what my strengths and talents are. I guess it's a matter of deciding which career choice will fit my personality and lifestyle, and the life I really want to live. For one thing, I am not a glamorous or pretentious person, I have no interest in vanity, I don't like selling myself or kissing up to people, I don't like authority, I don't like having alot of attention or being bothered, I don't like competing in anything other than sports or games, I believe in integrity and I always put quality over quantity, integrity and satisfaction are much more important than money, I don't like following other people's rules or meeting other people's expectations. I'm a very independent person and believe in freedom non-conformity. I think I would be much happier working on smaller, more manageable projects anyway since there's alot less people involved, less business, less resources, smaller budget, and I'll have much more creative and artistic freedom.

It looks like independent filmmaking may be the better choice, but that means I'll have to find a steady career-oriented job doing something else, which is something I'm still trying to figure out. I'm very good at writing and computer software, so I could find a field that combines those two skills (and pays well), and open a part time film/video production company on the side. The other part of this whole thing, is figuring out where I want to live. I don't want to stay here in Wichita, KS since it doesn't provide the lifestyle that I'm looking for, but that's an issue that I might discuss in a different forum.

Anyway, I want to thank all of you for your help. It looks like I still have some more soul searching to do.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:25 AM
 
221 posts, read 393,482 times
Reputation: 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanjunglist View Post
Go for it. I was in the same boat. 10+ years of valuable production experience (in chicago/tv/video/some film), thought for years of leaving for LA and the one thing I live for, movies. Right now I have a good job here in Chi, and the only thing keeping me from leaving tomorrow is saving enough money and making sure I have a starter job in place.

I will tell you this though... I spent the last few years 'toying' with the idea of staking my claim in LA. The day I felt like my life changed is the day I DECIDED to go. See, for me I know in my heart that if I do not at least try... I will regret it for the rest of my life. Moving to LA and working in film is NOT going to be easy, therefore there are no room for maybe's when making the decision. 110% commitment or not at all (IMO).

So, go with your instinct but know that you will be entering a highly competitive gauntlet! Also like socalangel said... much better if you know somebody. I myself have friends & connections out there, and while I save money and kill time here in Chicago I always talk to my cali connections on a regular basis. The more you know about what is going on in the business, the better moves you can make. If you can handle all that, keep a must-win attitude, and work your arse off... then giddyup man!
You must've posted this while I was still typing my second post. I'll consider everything you've said as well. Trust me, I need every bit of advice that I can get. Despite everything I said up there, it still boils down to LA if I want to make a living as a filmmaker, and I will have to accept everything that goes along with working in that career. It'll be alot better than working a job that I'm not passionate about for the next 30-40 years.
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Old 06-14-2010, 10:28 AM
 
Location: Living on the Coast in Oxnard CA
15,370 posts, read 25,573,172 times
Reputation: 19641
I don't see it happening. You don't seem like you want to work. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a film? You can't show up late, something that you admit to in several jobs. Film schedules are not for the faint of heart. Pre production and post production are not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work to get the finished product out the door.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:27 PM
 
55 posts, read 116,222 times
Reputation: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SOON2BNSURPRISE View Post
I don't see it happening. You don't seem like you want to work. Do you have any idea how hard it is to make a film? You can't show up late, something that you admit to in several jobs. Film schedules are not for the faint of heart. Pre production and post production are not for the faint of heart. It is a lot of work to get the finished product out the door.

You hit the nail on the head, SOON2B. Well said.
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Old 06-14-2010, 04:00 PM
 
1,619 posts, read 1,747,825 times
Reputation: 685
If he isn't willing to work, then it won't work out...not doing the job right is the best way to know and find out it isn't what you are suited for. Then, he can move on, say he did it and it wasn't the right thing.
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