Chicago — Palm Springs — Orange County — Los Angeles

Moving to L.A. was never really a thing I wanted to do. Even after 10 years, my opinion of this city is always shifting. However, being that I studied film and really wanted to work within the film industry, it would have been unrealistic to stay away from the very epicenter of cinema. These days I work as a video engineer, a camera operator and a projectionist.

My first few years in L.A. were extremely work focused. The city felt overwhelming and overcrowded. I felt like the simplest things would take forever. On the weekends, I would indulge myself by escaping L.A. to return to my comfort zone that I had built up for years. Then something changed — I started making real friends up here and started finding a way to connect with this city.

L.A. has variety. There is something for everyone. A movie star, a rock star, an artist? There is a clear reason why people come to L.A. from all over the world. In this city, there are so many opportunities right outside your door step. Some find them easier than others but a true opportunity exists for everyone. The city is plugged straight into the entertainment industry. It’s where everything is made and established.

There is a lot of interesting people and things going on, which is often a challenge in itself. True cliche is that pretty much everyone who comes to L.A. wants to become something bigger than they may be, whether intentionally or subconsciously. It’s a city packed with personalities competing for the spotlight, which can often create trouble.

You never know who you might meet. At first glance, people tend to humor everyone. The guy you shook hands with might seem totally whack but may actually be a key connection in your field. Or vice versa. This pressure creates a circle of insincerity that can often infuriate both people living and visiting L.A.. You can learn to live with it or separate yourself from the phenomenon. But you should never let it hold you back. Truth is that most people are here just to be the best that they can be, myself included. Personal growth is the key.

If you move to L.A., find the things you like and move towards them. Physically. L.A. is not the most accessible city and things get easily complicated here. When you first arrive here, you won’t know what works for you, so seek it out. Don’t just surrender and get stuck where you maybe first landed. Find the right vibe and surround yourself with it. This is essential to your survival in the city.

With that said, in this city of dreams, you got to stay realistic! Otherwise you are on the fast lane to disappointment. But remember, at least, it’s sunny all the time!

Movies to watch to catch that L.A. vibe:

Falling Down
Knight of Cups
Mulholland Drive