Author Topic: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?  (Read 4402 times)

lv2glrfy

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Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« on: February 20, 2020, 10:03:56 AM »
Well, it might be finally happening, folks. The least Mustachian thing I could have ever envisioned myself doing.

DH (27, a talented DP/editor/cam op/director/film wizard who is currently a fulltime editor and colorist) and I (24, copywriter) are considering doing the quintessential dumb-entertainment-professional thing: moving to L.A., without jobs, to network. (No, we're not even close to FIREd. We have enough liquid assets for about 18 months of highly frugal living. If we sold our house and some possessions, 2 years. But then we'd be broke.) The goal here would be for DH to get an industry or industry-adjacent stable job as soon as possible, make contacts, and break into the small indie filmmaking scene. Yes, he's currently frantically applying to places, but everyone we know says it's virtually impossible to break in unless you're living there and willing to jump on a film set at a moment's notice.

Pros of L.A./Cons of Atlanta
-Emotionally and big-life-goal-wise, this would be a massive dream come true for DH. Kids are coming at some point in the nearish future, and I don't want him to live with regrets. The move would probably happen at some point in our lives anyway, if I had anything to say about it.
-Career-wise, this is supposed to be absolutely the right move for someone with film goals like his.
-Presumably, 15-20% higher salaries at least. If we're able to get jobs.
-Close friends/community we already know vs. the nearly 2 year-long struggle to make brand new friends in Atlanta. Ex: a dear friend who was one of my bridesmaids is in L.A. with her wonderful new boyfriend. Automatic double date potential.
-We're adventurous people and would enjoy a change of scenery. Probably.
-This isn't for forever. It's purely a career and networking move for DH, and I have super high hopes for moving back to the east coast long-term in the future.

Pros of Atlanta/Cons of L.A.
-We own a house here. We'd be renting it out for a while (selling isn't cost effective right now at all; we just refinanced), but still.
-Our current jobs are reeeeeally comfortable setups. We work at the same small company, see each other all day, have stable hours, and have been treated well here. There's even potential for me to someday go semi-remote with my job. We might gain higher salaries elsewhere, but...bird in the hand, yknow?
-Lower COL. Obviously, L.A. would be HCOL and harder to stay Mustachian in.
-Closer to family. My parents, though in good health, are getting older (dad's turning 70 this year), and they live on the east coast and surely always will.
-Though I am adventurous, I have always truly loathed the idea of living in L.A. I hate southern/hot climates, I hate Hollywood, I hate the superiority, etc.

Should we move? If so, any tips for how we could do it in true Mustachian style? If not, is there another time that would be better? Feel free to yell at us; I'm open to all thoughts.

EDITED TO ADD: DH doesn't have much of a desire to work his way up the production/on-set chain at all right now. His plan is to stay in post-production, but actually edit and color movies instead of the instructional videos and corporate announcements he's doing right now. The vast majority of pre- and post- production for the most highly-acclaimed films is still all happening in L.A., and plenty of big- and small-time directors have gotten their start as successful editors and colorists.

His goals really don't involve "making it big." He's still planning on earning, gaining experience, etc., and a time at a professional post house where he could realistically get credit on films would still be an extremely valuable experience and would make LA worthwhile. "Making it big"--in the sense of getting funding for making his feature film, I guess?--would be nice, but it is a secondary goal at the moment and wouldn't itself alone determine whether a stint in LA had been successful.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 08:27:09 AM by lv2glrfy »

socaso

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2020, 11:24:57 AM »
Just know a couple of things about LA. First, if you don't live in the same part of town as your friends you will almost never see them. I lived on the east side of LA for over a decade and when people moved west to WeHo or Santa Monica it was like they fell off the face of the earth. Traffic sucks and people very seldom drive across town to see friends.

The cycle of boom-bust with the film community is a perpetual struggle. Shooting schedules can also make it very hard to see friends. You will be working non stop for months and then you suddenly don't have anything on the horizon and panic sets in. Also quite a number of people have a hard time budgeting when the money is erratic. You might be ahead of the game on this because you already identify as Mustachian.

Whenever you hear of anything cool to do it will always be crowded. Always. Any event, festival, concert. Always crowded.

If you have kids in LA just get ready for the dirty looks. We had our son when we lived there and when we took him to restaurants or other public places there were always people throwing nasty looks in our direction and making comments about how some things aren't appropriate for kids. Also, most places we went were not set up to accommodate families. I struggled to change diapers in so many places because they very seldom offered changing tables.

I had amazing experiences during my time in LA, I'm very glad I lived there before I had a kid because it was easier to enjoy the fun things about LA without a kid. I have amazing friends there. It's worth noting that in my friend group only one person owned a home in their 30's. Now that the group is in their 40's a couple more people have managed to purchase houses but most still rent. When we lived there we had a very hard time saving money and our savings have increased dramatically in the 4.5 years we have lived in another state. We also own a home now and have paid off all debt. Neither of those things were possible for us in LA.

slappy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2020, 11:42:52 AM »
Would it make sense for him to go out there for a few months and see how it goes? Then you could plan to follow in six months or so?

ixtap

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2020, 11:46:11 AM »
I am not sure the LA has better job to applicant ratio in that field than Atlanta does, since there is a lot going on in Atlanta and fewer people moving there for the field.

As for climate, LA is not going to be as hot as Atlanta, and certainly not as hot and muggy, so I think you have that pro/con backwards. Of course, you are also much less likely to get a snow/ice mixture on the roads.

Would a 15% higher salary actually constitute a raise, given the COL? According to one calculator, Atlanta is 38% cheaper than LA, and that doesn't even take taxes into account.

Have either of you looked into applying to jobs prior to making the move?


humbleMouse

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2020, 12:13:17 PM »
Quote
-Though I am adventurous, I have always truly loathed the idea of living in L.A. I hate southern/hot climates, I hate Hollywood, I hate the superiority, etc.

Based on this alone I wouldn't move to LA if I were you.  Stay in Atlanta and tell your DH to go find indie film opportunities in Atlanta, which is also a major film/entertainment industry hub. 

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2020, 02:06:59 PM »
The cycle of boom-bust with the film community is a perpetual struggle. Shooting schedules can also make it very hard to see friends. You will be working non stop for months and then you suddenly don't have anything on the horizon and panic sets in. Also quite a number of people have a hard time budgeting when the money is erratic.
Valuable tip, thanks. My summary didn't make it clear, but DH's strategy is to look for more stable editing/post-production jobs first. He's cautious of the cyclical nature of set life and would prefer to ground himself and make contacts first before jumping into that deep end.

If you have kids in LA just get ready for the dirty looks. We had our son when we lived there and when we took him to restaurants or other public places there were always people throwing nasty looks in our direction and making comments about how some things aren't appropriate for kids. Also, most places we went were not set up to accommodate families. I struggled to change diapers in so many places because they very seldom offered changing tables.
Also valuable. That's why we figured it was best to jump in pre-kids.

Would it make sense for him to go out there for a few months and see how it goes? Then you could plan to follow in six months or so?

We're thinking about a modified version of this where he uses his excess PTO to travel there for long weekends & try to make something happen. We just got married a little over a year ago, though, and we were long distance for a majority of our relationship before that, so being separated for long periods of time is incredibly unappealing. We'd rather live or die together. 

Would a 15% higher salary actually constitute a raise, given the COL? According to one calculator, Atlanta is 38% cheaper than LA, and that doesn't even take taxes into account.

Have either of you looked into applying to jobs prior to making the move?
You're right, it might just barely work out evenly, or a little less in our favor in L.A., as far as money goes (even if we get comparable jobs). This is more about the career and networking advantages.
Yes, we've looked into applying beforehand. DH is doing it now and I'm about to. It's just that all our research (online and with friends living there) indicates that the job market is so searing in L.A., you have virtually no chance of getting hired before moving. I'm planning for the worst case scenario.

Based on this alone I wouldn't move to LA if I were you.  Stay in Atlanta and tell your DH to go find indie film opportunities in Atlanta, which is also a major film/entertainment industry hub. 
He's been trying here. It's tough. Production happens here a lot, but movie-wise, producers are still hiring all their people from L.A. and just shipping them to Atlanta for a month. I'm willing to sacrifice my tastes a bit to help him reach his dream. It's true love, I guess, lol.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 02:54:53 PM by lv2glrfy »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2020, 03:56:46 PM »
I would say HELL no. HEEEEEEEEELLLLLL no. You have no resources, you have no network, and you have nothing that makes you stand out from the million other hopefuls. Work from where you are, with the resources that you have.

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2020, 04:39:09 PM »
I would say HELL no. HEEEEEEEEELLLLLL no. You have no resources, you have no network, and you have nothing that makes you stand out from the million other hopefuls. Work from where you are, with the resources that you have.

DH has a network. He spent his last semester of undergrad studying in L.A. at LAFSC, and about 50% of his film contacts have moved there. He could probably reach out to around a dozen people our age in the industry (or industry-adjacent) right now and ask that they keep their eyes open for jobs. Does that change your answer at all? Any additional recommendations? [smiling-through-tears face]

FatFI2025

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2020, 04:45:00 PM »
I'd definitely do it. People always regret the things they don't do. Even if you fail, it's better than never trying at all.

In your shoes, I'd look for a steady job outside of the industry before you move to counterbalance your DH's inconsistent income. You're right the market is hot, so you should have some success. Meanwhile set some gates with your DH  -- 24 months or so to "make it happen" and start raking in at least $X salary.

Moving to LA from ATL is like moving to a different country. I don't love LA, but I've lived a few different places and learned that you have to figure out what's good and what's bad and just adjust your life around those things. The weather is definitely better than ATL. Beaches are amazing. People aren't nice, but they don't have a superiority complex -- that's New Yorkers -- in LA they just don't care about other people ;). World class outdoor activities within a few hours drive. You have to learn to plan around the traffic or your life will be terrible, but that's not too hard with google maps traffic prediction. I feel like flex hours are also standard so you don't have to be in rush.

Dee18

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2020, 05:16:52 PM »
I know three 20-somethings who have tried to make it in film in LA during the past five years, two of whom had great credentials: one with a degree in film from USC who had already had films shown at film festivals, one who wanted to do post production and had a lot of experience plus a grandparent at one of the big studios, and the third a super talented hard worker, but not a college grad.  None of them were able to make it work.  Their stays were 18 months to 3 years.  Nevertheless, I think you should do it if one of you can land a job before moving there...any job that will support at least half of your expenses.  Or will your job let you work remotely? When I wanted to move to a distant city one time I applied for a bunch of jobs and said I will be interviewing in xxxxx city on these dates.  It worked; I got several interviews, one of which turned into a job for me.  You could try that.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2020, 07:45:59 PM »
I would say HELL no. HEEEEEEEEELLLLLL no. You have no resources, you have no network, and you have nothing that makes you stand out from the million other hopefuls. Work from where you are, with the resources that you have.

DH has a network. He spent his last semester of undergrad studying in L.A. at LAFSC, and about 50% of his film contacts have moved there. He could probably reach out to around a dozen people our age in the industry (or industry-adjacent) right now and ask that they keep their eyes open for jobs. Does that change your answer at all? Any additional recommendations? [smiling-through-tears face]

That's not a network. That is a bunch of people competing for the same jobs! You need to know people who know people, people who can make things happen for you. Listen, I'm from NZ. You cannot get further from the bright lights than we are. But Taika Waititi won awards in Hollywood. But Parris Goebel choreographed the Superbowl half time thing. But Sam Neil and Tem Morrison continue to make Hollywood movies. It doesn't actually matter WHERE you are. It matters how you network and the quality of what you can deliver. There is absolutely no reason why you guys cannot make it in your chosen field from where you are, and sooooooo many reasons way it would be beyond stupid to up and move.

blingwrx

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2020, 08:45:33 PM »
Id go for it. Youll regret not following your dreams. You guys dont really have anything tying you down now, no kids and enough money to give it a try for a year. If things dont work out you can always move back.

I myself want to move to LA from NY for other reasons, great weather and new adventures, but right now its difficult since I have two kids. So consider yourself lucky to have the freedom to move around now.

First year you should look to rent something cheaper probably something with a longer commute, as youll both will be unemployed so you can make your savings last longer.

Fru-Gal

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2020, 08:47:33 PM »
Go for it! NO RAGRETS!

(No really, sounds cool, you should do it & not wonder if you shoulda done it.)

Saving in Austin

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2020, 09:26:30 PM »
We have an indie film industry here in Austin and the cost of living will make your money last longer.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2020, 09:30:50 PM »
Don't listen to the Nervous Nancys, this isn't 1820, you can always get on a flight and be back where you started in about 6 hours.
But fall into reckless exhuberance either.

You couldn't pay me to live in LA (or Atlanta, for that matter), but if you're going to take risks and make life-changing moves, might as well do it now.

Roughing it up is easier when you're young and starting out.

YOLO.

FINate

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2020, 11:54:49 PM »
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you crash and burn, and crawl back to ATL in a few years with your tails between your legs it's not the end of the world. You're young and will learn from the experience.

Let's be clear though, it's high risk, so take mitigating steps. Floundering early in your career is not a tragedy, but languishing for and extended period is. You don't want to wake up 40 balancing work-a-day jobs just to make ends meet in a HCOL area with zero to show for it.

Have a direct conversation with your DH about goals: What, in concrete terms, does success look like? What are the milestones along the way and when must they be reached? What is your exit plan?

If his career takes off, great! Otherwise, if you aren't hitting goals then pull that ripcord HARD and get out.

marty998

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2020, 01:13:36 AM »
If you guys do make it big in Hollywood can you for the love of god please not write and direct the type of shit that tends to come out of there?

Seriously, the way that '80s and '90s classics are being rehashed it's almost as if Hollywood has completely run out of original ideas.

I mean... I really really love Sonic the Hedgehog, but the time for that movie (and for Jim Carrey to star in it) was 1994, at the peak of his hypersonic powers. Not now :)

Thankyou.

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2020, 09:31:08 AM »
In your shoes, I'd look for a steady job outside of the industry before you move to counterbalance your DH's inconsistent income. You're right the market is hot, so you should have some success. Meanwhile set some gates with your DH  -- 24 months or so to "make it happen" and start raking in at least $X salary.
Wow, thanks for the encouragement! I'm going to genuinely try really hard. I was just under the impression that, since all the hopefuls are trying to get jobs in any field to support their quest for stardom, I'd be competing against actresses and cam ops for minimum wage jobs at the local coffee shop--did that seem like it was the case when you were in the area?
Even better, though, would be getting some sort of writing telework/remote gig, where I could stay holed up in our tiny apartment and block out the sounds of L.A. traffic/debauchery ;)

I know three 20-somethings who have tried to make it in film in LA during the past five years, two of whom had great credentials: one with a degree in film from USC who had already had films shown at film festivals, one who wanted to do post production and had a lot of experience plus a grandparent at one of the big studios, and the third a super talented hard worker, but not a college grad.  None of them were able to make it work.  Their stays were 18 months to 3 years.  Nevertheless, I think you should do it if one of you can land a job before moving there...any job that will support at least half of your expenses.  Or will your job let you work remotely? When I wanted to move to a distant city one time I applied for a bunch of jobs and said I will be interviewing in xxxxx city on these dates.  It worked; I got several interviews, one of which turned into a job for me.  You could try that.
That's grim. But I appreciate the realism. Yes, the kicker's going to be if we can get a job before moving. My first line of defense will be begging my boss for a remote option, but since our small company has already lost like 1/4 of its artsy workforce to L.A. in the past year alone, I have a feeling he'll be personally affronted by our decision to move and cut us off.

It doesn't actually matter WHERE you are. It matters how you network and the quality of what you can deliver.
Mm. I've tried saying this in gentler terms to DH. He's got a good head on his shoulders, wants to support a family in the future, and understands. But he knows he'll regret not trying, and I know that if I discourage it he'll bow to my wishes for the rest of our lives and never take chances. I just don't really want to be the cause of that.

Don't listen to the Nervous Nancys, this isn't 1820, you can always get on a flight and be back where you started in about 6 hours.
I mostly agree. The biggest thing that's scaring me is coming back and still having lost our positions with fair salaries, at a solid company, working a few yards away from each other, with fabulous coworkers. Any tips for groveling and getting jobs back from bosses you abandoned?

Let's be clear though, it's high risk, so take mitigating steps. Floundering early in your career is not a tragedy, but languishing for and extended period is. You don't want to wake up 40 balancing work-a-day jobs just to make ends meet in a HCOL area with zero to show for it.

Have a direct conversation with your DH about goals: What, in concrete terms, does success look like? What are the milestones along the way and when must they be reached? What is your exit plan?
Absolutely agreed. These are great questions, and we'll make sure to answer them. A question for you: what exactly should an exit plan look like in this type of situation? Any additional light you could shed on what you would do?

If you guys do make it big in Hollywood can you for the love of god please not write and direct the type of shit that tends to come out of there?

Seriously, the way that '80s and '90s classics are being rehashed it's almost as if Hollywood has completely run out of original ideas.
Concerns heard & noted. No worries with this one--he's got a refreshing and offbeat dark comedy style. Like Punch Drunk Love combined with Fargo, Rushmore, and maybe even Hot Rod? His tastes are oddball, but boy do I love them :) The last thing he wants to do is make live-action Disney remakes. I think he'd rather die.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 09:34:17 AM by lv2glrfy »

Paul der Krake

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2020, 09:51:39 AM »
Don't listen to the Nervous Nancys, this isn't 1820, you can always get on a flight and be back where you started in about 6 hours.
I mostly agree. The biggest thing that's scaring me is coming back and still having lost our positions with fair salaries, at a solid company, working a few yards away from each other, with fabulous coworkers. Any tips for groveling and getting jobs back from bosses you abandoned?
Be professional about it, don't be a dick, and people will generally do the same.

People who hold grudges against your career choices are not people you want to work for anyway.

And yes, you should absolutely try to work something out for remote work before you leave.

FatFI2025

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2020, 10:52:13 AM »
In your shoes, I'd look for a steady job outside of the industry before you move to counterbalance your DH's inconsistent income. You're right the market is hot, so you should have some success. Meanwhile set some gates with your DH  -- 24 months or so to "make it happen" and start raking in at least $X salary.
Wow, thanks for the encouragement! I'm going to genuinely try really hard. I was just under the impression that, since all the hopefuls are trying to get jobs in any field to support their quest for stardom, I'd be competing against actresses and cam ops for minimum wage jobs at the local coffee shop--did that seem like it was the case when you were in the area?
Even better, though, would be getting some sort of writing telework/remote gig, where I could stay holed up in our tiny apartment and block out the sounds of L.A. traffic/debauchery ;)

Haha that archetype of aspiring actress waiting tables does exist, but that only describes a tiny number of people in LA. I got a salaried corporate job, not related to entertainment, before moving to LA and had something similar in mind for you. If you plan to have your own 1 BR apartment, you probably need to make $60K minimum unless you want to live in a sh*thole. There are tons of openings for professional positions out here across industries from healthcare to aerospace to tech.

+1 for @Paul der Krake recommendation on leaving the door open to return to a good job. When you leave, express gratitude and let them know how much you appreciated working there. Managers take departures personally so it makes a difference if employees leave for reasons other than job dissatisfaction.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2020, 10:54:31 AM by FatFI2025 »

dodojojo

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2020, 11:30:53 AM »
In your 20's, you have time to mess up and recover.  So if this is something you (plural) want to do and know you'll regret it if don't--go for it.  Obviously, try to be as MMM as can about it and not like the other Hollywood/film hopefuls.  Be realistic and have an exit plan if it doesn't work out.

I grew up in LA and for awhile I met a number of people who told me they were really screenwriters while I was sitting in a class or in an office with them.  After awhile, I had to tell myself not to smile or laugh.  I'm not saying it doesn't happen--obviously it does for a few but yeah, there are lots of people in LA with regular shmoe joe jobs who are just one break away from the big time...This is the part where you have an exit plan.

MrDelane

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2020, 11:47:05 AM »
Is he making a decent living in Atlanta?
I only ask because I would think that if he is struggling in Atlanta he will only struggle more in L.A.

Also - what does he ultimately want to do?
You mentioned 'indie filmmaking' and getting a job in the film industry - but I mean specifically.
The answer to that would make a big difference to me as to whether or not moving makes sense.

FINate

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2020, 01:32:50 PM »
Absolutely agreed. These are great questions, and we'll make sure to answer them. A question for you: what exactly should an exit plan look like in this type of situation? Any additional light you could shed on what you would do?

Have some kind of reasonable plan to relocate and find new jobs. Doesn't need to be super detailed, just needs to pass the chuckle test. Maintain ties and professional network in Atlanta. Keeps some funds in reserve to cover relocation costs and to provide a bridge to finding new jobs. Don't get tied down in LA with long-term financial obligations -- e.g. don't buy a house/condo unless you get to a point where you can see yourself saying there 10+ years.

Jouer

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2020, 01:39:48 PM »
I can't speak to LA or the film industry but I can tell you my story.

At 25 I moved from my LCOL province to a higher one without a job. After university I could only get contract positions in my home province so I started looking elsewhere. No bites. I decided I just move and get the job once I got there. Within 6 weeks I had a full time job in my industry that I turned into a great career.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2020, 09:15:32 PM »
I live in LA, and I love it, though I understand why many people don't.  I also have friends who have successfully made it into the entertainment industry, though in fields other than in film.  I think you two are at a good point in life to get out there, take risks, and kick ass-- go for it, but before you do, some points to consider:

- Come up with a solid plan pre-move (well, duh.)  Stuff to think about:  how much can you add to your savings cushion before pulling the trigger?  Maybe you can work part time remotely?  Where EXACTLY in LA do you want to live-- what's close to the studios and jobs where you and your husband are hoping to work?  What are the logistics of moving-- can you guys bring a suitcase each and call it a day?  Can one of you fly over for a weekend at least to scope out apartments and locations?  How long will you stick it out?  How will the two of you gauge success or decide that it's time to pull the plug?  Can you get day jobs to cover the bills while you pursue your real goals?

- Realistically appraise your networks, professional and social.  Can you rely on your LA friends to be your support when things are tough, a couch to crash on if you're out a place to live?  (Not to say they HAVE to be, but how much of a support network will you have, and how much of a social network do you want to build up?) How close is your husband to the people he met in undergrad-- are they legit friends or more like acquaintances?  Can they speak to the quality of his work? Have they done any projects together? The people your husband met in class are both his competition and the people he'll be working with as he grows in the industry.  Does he think they'll be excited to work with him?

- On a similar note, what do your portfolios look like?  Good?  Needs work?  Kind of thin?  Make sure you both have polished work to show prospective employers before you make the move.

- Do either of you use social media and/or have a social media following?  Are you engaged in the fandom of any currently running shows?  I ask this because the online communities that have built up around entertainment franchises and people in the entertainment industry can be a huge help in getting a job or showing that people like your work... but can also be a huge time, energy, and money suck (think pay-per-follower, or spending hours scrolling twitter).

- Realistically judge you and your husband's willingness to do unappealing grunt work AND unappealing creative work.  Every single person I know working in a creative capacity in entertainment started at the bottom to make it anywhere close to the middle, let alone the top.  People are willing to do some really crazy, demeaning, demoralizing stuff for the chance at breaking into this industry, and all those stereotypes about fetching coffee and yelling at assistants are there for a reason. That is not to say that you should accept bad treatment or that you should be grateful for crumbs, but understand that there ARE people out there willing to take the bad treatment and the crumbs, and you will be competing with them, so your work has to put you above the rest. 

Film/Arts/Writing can be both extremely lucrative (the most recent Avengers movie grossed HOW many millions?) but also tremendously undervalued and unappreciated ("Hey, edit this 800 page script for me for free.  Don't you want the exposure?")  Don't let people take advantage of your dreams, but also don't let opportunities slip through your fingers because they don't exactly fit your creative vision. If your biggest screenwriting opportunity was on board with Drisney's Baby Princesses franchises specializing in selling infant products, would you take it?  You may very well have to, if you want to work on projects more to your liking down the line.

- You say you want to move to LA for the networking opportunities-- but what does that mean in practice?  Where will you network?  With who?  How can you demonstrate to them the good work that you do?  How will you show people that you'd be a great coworker, team member, creative writer, etc?  Put some thought in how you want to establish authentic rapport and credentials with your peers and with people in the industry, because rubbing elbows with the right people and talking yourself up to strangers isn't the way to do it. 


Actual Tips re: LA Living:

- COL-wise, rent is the killer factor here, with commuting/car costs coming in a close second.   The problem, as with all urban areas, is that apartments near the heart of the entertainment industry cost $$$, while more affordable apartments further away will mean a long, frustrating, and expensive daily commute.  I'd actually recommend the two of you renting out a room in someone's home instead of a full apartment, which can easily run upwards of 2.5-3k a month. Make sure you have access to the kitchen (to save money with food preparation.)  Find a place near a Starbucks or coffeeshop with Wifi, invest in some noise cancelling headphones, and get your work done there.  Don't chase after Hollywood glamour, don't develop a taste for LV handbags and caviar, and you guys should be fine otherwise--  there are delicious, affordable restaurants everywhere, cheap grocery stories within strolling distance, free entertainment and museums, the beach, and scenic malls to stroll around and not buy anything in.

- Cars & Traffic-- Traffic is terribad, gas is expensive, and the cops are always on the lookout to ticket someone parked an inch into the red.  People drive like lunatics.  Free parking is minimal to nonexistent, including parking attached to apartments. I would strongly recommend scaling down to one car or no car if possible while you're here.  Public transport isn't great, but it does exist, so take advantage of it if you can.

If you have any questions re: living in Los Angeles (specifically near Santa Monica), feel free to ask me-- I'll do my best to answer. :)

MrDelane

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2020, 10:14:02 PM »
Film/Arts/Writing can be both extremely lucrative (the most recent Avengers movie grossed HOW many millions?)

Funny enough, the most recent Avengers movie was shot in....  Atlanta.
:)



Fish Sweet

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2020, 12:21:06 PM »
Film/Arts/Writing can be both extremely lucrative (the most recent Avengers movie grossed HOW many millions?)

Funny enough, the most recent Avengers movie was shot in....  Atlanta.
:)
True, lol!  But they ship a bunch of LA people out there and back to do it. 

MrDelane

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2020, 12:33:22 PM »
Film/Arts/Writing can be both extremely lucrative (the most recent Avengers movie grossed HOW many millions?)

Funny enough, the most recent Avengers movie was shot in....  Atlanta.
:)
True, lol!  But they ship a bunch of LA people out there and back to do it.

True - for above the line stuff and department heads.  But with all the Marvel stuff, TV stuff, etc being shot in Atlanta there should be plenty of jobs and opportunities for someone in their 20s who is looking to break in.  Those productions hire a ton of local talent.

This is why I asked what he was specifically hoping to do.
If it is to work in large studio films in the camera department (whether that means Op or eventually DP, etc) then there should be plenty of opportunity to build an impressive resume (and connections with L.A. people) within Atlanta before moving out to L.A.

The greatest irony would be to move out to L.A. in order to get a gig on the camera department of a Marvel film... and then have to leave your family for a couple of months to go shoot in Atlanta. :)


EDITED TO ADD:
I thought your post had a ton of very useful insights by the way - I didn't mean to pick on this one point, but it just happened to point to exactly why I was asking if he was earning a decent living currently in Atlanta, and what he eventually (specifically) would like to do.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2020, 12:35:10 PM by MrDelane »

Noodle

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #28 on: February 22, 2020, 01:47:44 PM »
I think you should go for it. Most of the older married couples I know, including my parents, love reminiscing about the adventures they had together as young, poor marrieds before the kids came along. It's a great opportunity to build some memories together (and if your marriage doesn't handle it well, that is GREAT information to have before babies start arriving). Have a plan, be smart about money, make a decision in advance about when you're going to be done.

One thing to keep in mind...great work situations rarely stay great forever. Supervisors change, co-workers change, the market changes. So if you're just staying in Atlanta because of a job you don't want to leave, think hard about that. Early in my career I had a wonderful job. Beautiful site, great co-workers, good morale. I ended up leaving because I wanted more responsibility (and pay) and it was such a good place to work that no one ever quit, so promotions were rare. Within two years, the leadership had changed, financial problems had developed, and they were laying off staff. I was really happy I had left the party while we were all still having fun, so to speak.

Fish Sweet

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2020, 12:30:00 PM »
Film/Arts/Writing can be both extremely lucrative (the most recent Avengers movie grossed HOW many millions?)

Funny enough, the most recent Avengers movie was shot in....  Atlanta.
:)
True, lol!  But they ship a bunch of LA people out there and back to do it.

True - for above the line stuff and department heads.  But with all the Marvel stuff, TV stuff, etc being shot in Atlanta there should be plenty of jobs and opportunities for someone in their 20s who is looking to break in.  Those productions hire a ton of local talent.

This is why I asked what he was specifically hoping to do.
If it is to work in large studio films in the camera department (whether that means Op or eventually DP, etc) then there should be plenty of opportunity to build an impressive resume (and connections with L.A. people) within Atlanta before moving out to L.A.

The greatest irony would be to move out to L.A. in order to get a gig on the camera department of a Marvel film... and then have to leave your family for a couple of months to go shoot in Atlanta. :)


EDITED TO ADD:
I thought your post had a ton of very useful insights by the way - I didn't mean to pick on this one point, but it just happened to point to exactly why I was asking if he was earning a decent living currently in Atlanta, and what he eventually (specifically) would like to do.

Haha, no worries! ;)  I figured you were ribbing me a little, and that's a really great point that you're making.  All the companies that film in Georgia must have some people with boots on the ground there, and it's definitely worth seeing if they can start getting into film-aligned gigs a little closer to home

4tify

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2020, 04:10:05 PM »
I'd echo what a number have said here.

First off, if it's a dream then you should absolutely give it a shot! I went to NYC right out of college and then to LA 10 years later. Both moves were built on big dreams. In neither case did I have ANY savings or useful contacts, and I managed to carve out a life anyway. So it is absolutely possible.

That said, here are a few sober realities that may help. Something like 40,000 individuals "flush" in & out of LA each year who have come to try or have failed and are leaving. The 'biz is extremely competitive, and in my 20 years living in LA I've never seen anyone land at LAX and have a career take off in anything less than a couple years--at best. LA is not an easy city to transition to for so many reasons, not least of which is time in the car, difficulty establishing friendships, and wading through career aspirations, COL, and the other things mentioned in response to your post.

I'd plan to give yourself 4-5 years as a "test" to see if you guys can make it, and I'd plan on writing off the first 1-2 years as "getting to know the landscape." The people I know who are successful don't just have contacts, they have relationships. And the truism "it's who you know" is spot on. You'll need quite a bit of time building those relationships, many of which will include other newbies who will be instrumental as all your tides rise.

I'd also encourage your SO to look for DP work in reality/unscripted while he's pursuing union film/tv jobs. DP roles on features are highly coveted and take years if not decades to establish, where as tv has more jobs to offer. LA is a company town, and a lot of the studio jobs are filled through generational contacts (daughter/son of X).

I'd suggest starting off living somewhere central to start since you won't know where your job is going to be. That can be costly but it'll save you some time in the car (I'm talking Hollywood/Weho/mid-city or Studio City/Burbank). The valley is cheaper but hot in the summer, which may not bug you since you're in Hotlanta already :).

Good luck!


AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2020, 04:44:50 PM »
A lot of people have said follow your dreams, have an adventure, if you fail oh well etc etc. The fact is that there is a cost to failing like that. The cost is not having progressed in your chosen career and feeling behind or out of step with your peers. The cost is the stress of constantly trying to make it, seize opportunities and all that and failing anyway. The cost is stress, self esteem, relationship issues that may or may not have appeared had you not put yourself in that situation. The cost is not knowing what to do when you finally acknowledge that it hasn't worked. The cost is learned helplessness if you have years and years of trying really hard but not succeeding.

I'm not saying that you should let fear of failure stop you. I AM saying that you should be well aware of the price you may pay on a personal level, and especially the costs that no one else is mentioning. Those costs are high. Make sure you have thought about them.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2020, 05:22:48 PM »
OP: have you lived in the same city your entire life?

Malcat

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #33 on: February 24, 2020, 06:40:42 AM »
A lot of people have said follow your dreams, have an adventure, if you fail oh well etc etc. The fact is that there is a cost to failing like that. The cost is not having progressed in your chosen career and feeling behind or out of step with your peers. The cost is the stress of constantly trying to make it, seize opportunities and all that and failing anyway. The cost is stress, self esteem, relationship issues that may or may not have appeared had you not put yourself in that situation. The cost is not knowing what to do when you finally acknowledge that it hasn't worked. The cost is learned helplessness if you have years and years of trying really hard but not succeeding.

I'm not saying that you should let fear of failure stop you. I AM saying that you should be well aware of the price you may pay on a personal level, and especially the costs that no one else is mentioning. Those costs are high. Make sure you have thought about them.

I have to say that I really agree with this.

Everything in life is a trade off, and you have to be very realistic about what you are trading off before making a decision.

You may crash and burn, you may end up in your 30s with nothing and no meaningful professional experience, starting at zero, approaching middle age, with a resume that makes you look impulsive, unrealistic, underachieving, and that your skills are years out of date.

You absolutely must account for this possible outcome or take steps to mitigate it.

You must also account for the possible outcome of succeeding and actually hating it/burning out. Your comment that your DH would rather die than work on projects he doesn't respect is a GIANT red flag IMO.

None of this means you shouldn't do it, I'm with everyone else here who says that if this is your dream and if you will regret not doing it, then you should do it.

However, that's assuming that you've looked very closely at the very realistic possible outcomes and decided that the regret of not doing it is likely to be more than the regret of doing it and failing.

I have personal experience with throwing everything at a dream, suffering immense pain and abuse to achieve it, and then having it crash and burn before ever paying off to any significant degree and having to basically walk away.

It's really not that bad actually, I just roll with it and go on my happy way using my experience to guide my next steps.

Granted, I have credentials in multiple professional fields, am readily employable in a half dozen roles, have a 6 figure earning spouse with a generous pension, and no kids.

I also didn't fail at my dream job, I succeeded more than I ever expected, but my health failed and knocked me out of the game, so I have a lot more peace of mind than someone who takes a risk and crashes due to their own ambitions not being realized.

Still, some people just get up, dust themselves off and move on feeling wiser and enriched just for the experience. Others flounder in shame and self pity. It all depends on the individual.

How much you could regret taking a risk is directly proportional to how much you have to lose if the risk doesn't pay off and how you would emotionally handle the worst case scenarios.

So if this dream is more powerful and more motivating than any possible cost that it could extract from you, then absolutely go for it, but be realistic when assessing those costs and what they would mean to you.

I personally don't regret my career risks and decisions, they cost me A LOT including the full function of my right arm, but I learned a lot along the way, became a much better person, and am very happy with where my life is now and what my future looks like. Granted, that's how I feel *now* after processing a lot of trauma and anger, so don't let me make it sound like it's easy.

It's a cliche, but the journey really does matter more than the destination, so do what makes sense for you. There are no right answers.

GoCubsGo

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2020, 07:57:02 AM »
This is a tough one, but I'd play the various scenarios out and figure out if it influences you one way or another.

- Let's assume it takes a 3-4 years of struggling and barely scraping by before he starts to earn a decent living doing what he loves.  Are you willing to live like college students into (his) thirties? 

-Let's assume he loves his job then.  I doubt he will want to leave just as he's getting his career off the ground.   Will you be comfortable raising kids there and probably never owning a home?  Are you OK being away from aging family?  What would happen if you hate it and he wants to stay?  I think it's prudent to at least talk through some of these issues.  It's fun and exciting now, but how will it look when you are older and supposed to be starting your prime earning years and are still barely scraping by.

I never really followed big dreams in my twenties.  It's not in my nature.   I look back on it and I don't regret it all.  I'm still young-ish (40's) and am nearly FIRED with a myriad of options BECAUSE I earned a bunch of money in my 20's and 30's and invested it and lived within (not even below)  my means.  If I lopped off 5-7 years of that income I'd be in a much different situation. 

I guess I'd say think about your future self and try to play out the scenarios to make sure your both on the same page.

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2020, 09:55:09 AM »
Be professional about it, don't be a dick, and people will generally do the same.
I can do that! :)

I can't speak to LA or the film industry but I can tell you my story.

At 25 I moved from my LCOL province to a higher one without a job. After university I could only get contract positions in my home province so I started looking elsewhere. No bites. I decided I just move and get the job once I got there. Within 6 weeks I had a full time job in my industry that I turned into a great career.
The dream situation. Thank you for sharing!

True - for above the line stuff and department heads.  But with all the Marvel stuff, TV stuff, etc being shot in Atlanta there should be plenty of jobs and opportunities for someone in their 20s who is looking to break in.  Those productions hire a ton of local talent.

This is why I asked what he was specifically hoping to do.
If it is to work in large studio films in the camera department (whether that means Op or eventually DP, etc) then there should be plenty of opportunity to build an impressive resume (and connections with L.A. people) within Atlanta before moving out to L.A.

The greatest irony would be to move out to L.A. in order to get a gig on the camera department of a Marvel film... and then have to leave your family for a couple of months to go shoot in Atlanta. :)
I'll do my best to answer this for you & anyone else interested.

Short answer: He doesn't know what he wants to do.
Long answer, and the real reason why he gives the short answer: His ultimate dream would be to write and direct his own feature film(s), get them in front of an audience, and have that audience (whether festival audience, theater audience, or otherwise) be truly entertained and respond positively. He loves stories, he loves directing actors, he loves the production process, and he wants to entertain above all else.

Because he is a logical and unfailingly realistic fellow who wants a family and just so happened to be attracted to an artsy fartsy field where he knows he has a low chance of making his own distributed feature, he's taken steps to ensure that he isn't purely freelance/production-focused and unsure of where his next paycheck will come from. Since graduating from grad school, he's worked fulltime at a marketing agency (making $48k right now) and tailored his skills to trend towards the editing, coloring/grading, and post-production side of things so that he can get steady jobs with reasonable pay and benefits. He's also taken a few side steps to prepare himself to take positions as an adjunct film professor, something he's not done in an official capacity yet but is 100% academically qualified to do (the MFA in Directing is a terminal degree.) Every time I've suggested he try and apply to run coffee on a Marvel set, he laughs and basically asks "With what time?" He's not willing to sacrifice his current job for two weeks of being on a real set and a fraction of the pay.

The downside of taking this very practical career approach thus far is that he's becoming creatively starved and unfulfilled, whether he admits it or not. The film scene in Atlanta for non-actors tends to be less "I'll make fun short films on the side with my friends and constantly crank out new content because I want to be creative!" and more "I want to make money from my camera rental business and be left alone. Let the teens run coffee on the latest Marvel films and starve, haha, n00bs." Productions may land around Atlanta for the GA tax breaks, but the homegrown indie/smalltime film scene--i.e., the people who create because they love it--seems to be crumbly and slightly inhospitable here. 

Tl;dr He wants desperately to be a starving artist but hasn't been willing to take the leap and starve. I think being a new husband & aspiring father is a big part of that.

If you have any questions re: living in Los Angeles (specifically near Santa Monica), feel free to ask me-- I'll do my best to answer. :)
You are incredibly kind, and your post is so helpful! Thank you!! I may very well take you up on that offer if & when we make this decision. You mention grunt work--see above for some insight into DH's thoughts about that. I, however, am fine with doing my version of grunt work just to pay the bills...if I have to be the breadwinner working at Chipotle for a couple years so he can fly, so be it.

One thing to keep in mind...great work situations rarely stay great forever.
 
Great point. Thank you. I tend to get complacent and need to remind myself I would have tried to get better than this job eventually, anyway.

The valley is cheaper but hot in the summer, which may not bug you since you're in Hotlanta already :).
Thank you for these great tips. Actually, it does bug me, deeply, but I'm willing to do crazy things for love. :) (I.e. My dream would be to live far enough north to be snowed in for a good portion of every winter. I consider anything below Virginia unsuitable for human habitation. ;))

OP: have you lived in the same city your entire life?
I have not. I lived in the same area in Virginia until 23, at which point I married DH and moved down here. It's been a bit over 1.5 years now.

You must also account for the possible outcome of succeeding and actually hating it/burning out. Your comment that your DH would rather die than work on projects he doesn't respect is a GIANT red flag IMO.
I hear you and @AnnaGrowsAMustache loud and clear and have been sharing every answer with DH. Malkynn, see the above long answer to MrDelane for some more detail about DH's goals. I was being hyperbolic about "rather dying." He is absolutely not too snobby to work on projects he hates. He is, however, too practical to do grunt work for 0 pay. He might have to work on that mindset in order to make this successful.

We are not willing to sacrifice everything. We are not willing to sacrifice our faith, our morals, our relationship, or our dream of having a family. If this move unavoidably threatened any of those things significantly, I think I can say with confidence that we'd both pull the plug together. Immediately.

-Let's assume he loves his job then.  I doubt he will want to leave just as he's getting his career off the ground.   Will you be comfortable raising kids there and probably never owning a home?  Are you OK being away from aging family?  What would happen if you hate it and he wants to stay?  I think it's prudent to at least talk through some of these issues.  It's fun and exciting now, but how will it look when you are older and supposed to be starting your prime earning years and are still barely scraping by.
Yeah. This is my most serious concern. For him, I would live in L.A. for the rest of my life. But would I want to? Absolutely not. I don't think he wants to live in L.A. more than a decade, but a sudden career success could change that.

I think the solve here (hopefully) will be deciding on those ultimatum time-frames/goals, and theoretically still being able to draw on the L.A. network for future projects of his long after we've left it geographically.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 10:00:41 AM by lv2glrfy »

stashja

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2020, 11:33:45 AM »
Some friends of mine did all this, just came back from LA, and have never been happier. Honestly, I don't see anything that distinguishes your guy from the typical Hollywood wannabe. And I know a lot of failed Hollywood wannabes, since I earned my MFA in screenwriting at a Top Wannabe school,didn't listen to my teachers ideas for my career, am now doing something intellectually rewarding and financially secure out in what those profs and my classmates call Flyover Country, ("not fit for human habitation," to some of them) and am ridiculously happy with my choice.

You actually have a vibrant arts industry in Atlanta. I mean , Atlanta is a major arts city. It is not, say, Murfreesboro. As for going to LA, coming back, and keeping your network, why would LA based people hire anyone in Atlanta to do work that you needed to meet them to do? My ex LA friend is not doing work for LA from Flyover. He's making instructional videos. Is that what your DH would be happy doing, should you return to ATL?

Finally, you say your DH is an LA wannabe who wants to "tell stories"(not dying to tell a particular one) and is okay with schlepping his young wife anywhere necessary to fulfill HIS dreams. I assume he knows that you "loathe" LA and expect to move back to Atlanta eventually. Do YOUR needs, dreams, and loathings matter to him, or is it all about the career? LA is a shitty place to discover yourself as a Starter Wife.

He wants a family: will he help raise kids, if that's not what his colleague and competitor men do? If the LA way is to outsource that, to wives or professionals? Has he consxioiy thought this through?

If you say none of that matters you can do it all or he can pay for childcare once he makes it, think whether you want to have a husband who fits into, or can ultimately make himself fit into, the industry as it currently exists, on a moral level. You say your "faith" matters. I am an atheist, but I assume that a woman of faith has moral standards regarding the treatment of women by men at work and the witnessing of it. I have been to LA as a screenwriting award winner and know of which I speak. Is Hollywood Success Man what you want him to become? Is that how YOU want to live? Or are you sure he's going to be in the moral minority of Hollywood Success men who, not wanting to be part of the problem by sin of omission, are going to stick their necks out to radically change the culture?
Not a financial question, I know, but one that should be part of both your choice.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 11:53:44 AM by stashja »

MrDelane

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2020, 11:44:21 AM »
I'll do my best to answer this for you & anyone else interested.

Short answer: He doesn't know what he wants to do.
Long answer, and the real reason why he gives the short answer: His ultimate dream would be to write and direct his own feature film(s), get them in front of an audience, and have that audience (whether festival audience, theater audience, or otherwise) be truly entertained and respond positively. He loves stories, he loves directing actors, he loves the production process, and he wants to entertain above all else.

I can completely relate to and respect that.
I am his potential "Ghost of Christmas Future," I do not live in L.A. but I have dedicated my life to similar pursuits (and it sounds like your husband and I have had fairly similar beginnings).  For what it's worth, if he (or you) would like to pick the brain of an older person who has been though similar circumstances, feel free to message me any time. I'm happy to chat with him or you about the good, bad and the ugly.  I'm not sure what insight I really have to pass along, but whatever experience I have is yours.

If he truly wants to create his own films then my biggest piece of advice would be not to wait... and to create now.  Not in L.A., but in Atlanta where you are. And then, show up in L.A. with a body of work, not a list of possible projects.

In the meantime, work on the films in Atlanta where he can.  Meet as many L.A. people as he can and make connections where possible.
Perhaps give yourself a period of runway to build up his career and network before going to L.A., so you can go in the strongest way possible and arrive with both strong samples of work and a network of people to connect with when you arrive.

If you are willing to risk everything by leaving your current jobs and going somewhere unknown then why not take a similar (but smaller) risk where you currently are?  Why not quit his current job (if he feels it is holding him back) and find a more flexible/less stressful job that will allow him time to dedicate towards his goals?  Just a thought.

I'm all for taking risks, but doing so with a solid plan.
As the saying goes, "a goal without a plan is just a dream."


(granted, please keep in mind this is all said from the little bit I know of your situation based on these posts... and you should take any and all advice you receive here with a grain of salt, obviously).

OliveFI

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2020, 11:57:05 AM »

[/quote]
I'll do my best to answer this for you & anyone else interested.

Short answer: He doesn't know what he wants to do.
Long answer, and the real reason why he gives the short answer: His ultimate dream would be to write and direct his own feature film(s), get them in front of an audience, and have that audience (whether festival audience, theater audience, or otherwise) be truly entertained and respond positively. He loves stories, he loves directing actors, he loves the production process, and he wants to entertain above all else.

Because he is a logical and unfailingly realistic fellow who wants a family and just so happened to be attracted to an artsy fartsy field where he knows he has a low chance of making his own distributed feature, he's taken steps to ensure that he isn't purely freelance/production-focused and unsure of where his next paycheck will come from. Since graduating from grad school, he's worked fulltime at a marketing agency (making $48k right now) and tailored his skills to trend towards the editing, coloring/grading, and post-production side of things so that he can get steady jobs with reasonable pay and benefits. He's also taken a few side steps to prepare himself to take positions as an adjunct film professor, something he's not done in an official capacity yet but is 100% academically qualified to do (the MFA in Directing is a terminal degree.) Every time I've suggested he try and apply to run coffee on a Marvel set, he laughs and basically asks "With what time?" He's not willing to sacrifice his current job for two weeks of being on a real set and a fraction of the pay.

The downside of taking this very practical career approach thus far is that he's becoming creatively starved and unfulfilled, whether he admits it or not. The film scene in Atlanta for non-actors tends to be less "I'll make fun short films on the side with my friends and constantly crank out new content because I want to be creative!" and more "I want to make money from my camera rental business and be left alone. Let the teens run coffee on the latest Marvel films and starve, haha, n00bs." Productions may land around Atlanta for the GA tax breaks, but the homegrown indie/smalltime film scene--i.e., the people who create because they love it--seems to be crumbly and slightly inhospitable here. 

Tl;dr He wants desperately to be a starving artist but hasn't been willing to take the leap and starve. I think being a new husband & aspiring father is a big part of that.

[/quote]

This quoted section makes me really nervous. It seems like he wants to make indie films as a hobby? It doesn't seem like he has a real vision of making films as a career. So is it worth it to move to LA for what will effectively be more access to a hobby? Especially because he wants to get a full time job when he first gets there. It seems like you'll move to LA and he still won't dedicate time to making indie films and he'll still be unsatisfied/.

I like MrDelane's advice. He should actually HUSTLE to do film related stuff in Atlanta. Once he shows he is actually dedicated / fulfilled and has experience, revisit LA.

If your jobs are as cushy as you say - he totally has time to hustle the film stuff in Atlanta. He just doesn't want to.

It sounds like he isn't super happy and thinks moving will making him happier. Sometimes you've got to work on being happy where you are - LA won't fix that.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2020, 12:11:14 PM »
It just comes down to priorities. Which will you regret more, not chasing your husband's dream, or missing out on prime earning years that could add financial stability for the rest of your lives? If chasing the dream is worth potentially having to scrape by while raising the family then go for it. If it might delay the family you want or make a family harder, and that's a deal breaker then own that decision and stay where you are.

I think the family plans really need to be pretty well hashed out before you jump into this. How many kids? Will financial stability impact when and how many? Is the locale critical? Public schools ok, or will you need to have the income to pay for private schools? Do you guys start at a certain age, no matter what or will the situation dictate that? I'm not asking for you to answer personal questions like these on a public forum, but having the answers to questions like these, and considering the situation if it doesn't work out could be critical in the decision making process for you both.

Play through the worst case scenario and see if you can live with that or not. If you guys spend 3-5 years in LA trying to "make it" and it's just not happening, then you move back pushing 30 years old, with nothing saved, and have to start over from ground zero. If you want some financial stability/decent income before starting the family, then it would likely be another 3-5 years or more before you feel like your situation allows you to start a family on the right foot. You could be a decade behind where you might've been in careers, earnings, family, etc if the move to LA doesn't work out, so be honest about the odds of success, know what you want for your lives together and know what both of you are willing to potentially give up.

None of that considers the opportunity cost in the above scenario of not having any investments working for you until you're into your 30s, which has obvious long term impact on your lives (and your future kids' lives). If you're ok with the risk of failure and it's impacts on the rest of your lives, then I think you have your answer.

« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 12:16:52 PM by Paper Chaser »

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2020, 03:25:31 PM »
Finally, you say your DH is an LA wannabe who wants to "tell stories"(not dying to tell a particular one) and is okay with schlepping his young wife anywhere necessary to fulfill HIS dreams. I assume he knows that you "loathe" LA and expect to move back to Atlanta eventually. Do YOUR needs, dreams, and loathings matter to him, or is it all about the career? LA is a shitty place to discover yourself as a Starter Wife.
First off, I want to apologize for the "unfit" line--I didn't mean to insult the wonderful people or cultures in those places. That was a comment about weather and weather only. It was also supposed to be hyperbolic. I'm getting myself in trouble with these sweeping statements, aren't I? :)

Second, though, I'd like us to pause at the implication he's a selfish man. Pretty much the only thing that's really come from him is a timid question, a few weeks ago, somewhere along the lines of "Hey...would you ever consider...maybe trying L.A. out for a bit? Would it be better to do that now, if it all?" The rest of the encouragement has come from me. The encouragement that he start applying to jobs? Me. The Zillow searches for apartments? Me. This thread, from which I've been reading answers to him (probably annoyingly so)? Obviously, I'm the culprit. I don't have really huge career goals at the moment, so I'm happy to be his support right now in this adventure. But from everything I've seen demonstrated by him, he supports me 100% as well. (And if our vows fail us and for some reason I find I really am the starter wife, trust me: I will be fine. I've got 0 concerns about my own determination and ability to thrive.)

I appreciate the morals question. It's something to think about. But he doesn't want to be Hollywood Success Man. Success to him means a feature film he's proud of with perhaps a film festival run; but does it mean Academy Awards, exclusive parties, and unimaginable wealth? The man I know thinks that lifestyle is incredibly bland. I've learned that there's sometimes a massive gap between personal artistic success and Hollywood(TM) success. You probably already know this (and it sounds like several of your friends do, as well.)

If you are willing to risk everything by leaving your current jobs and going somewhere unknown then why not take a similar (but smaller) risk where you currently are?  Why not quit his current job (if he feels it is holding him back) and find a more flexible/less stressful job that will allow him time to dedicate towards his goals?  Just a thought.
I appreciate your kind offer and plan to take you up on it.

Some of the questions that commenters have about DH's motivation, I think, could be much more easily answered if I weren't transcribing what I *think* is in his head and if he were just sharing everything himself :) Maybe I'll get him to join this forum someday. To answer your question above: I just asked him the same thing, and turns out his plan is different from what I thought. He doesn't have much of a desire to work his way up the production chain at all right now. His plan is to stay in post-production, but actually edit and color movies instead of the instructional videos and corporate announcements he's doing right now. From everything he's seen, the vast majority of pre- and post- production for the most highly-acclaimed films is still all happening in L.A. A cursory bit of research on my end confirms that.

Seems as though that's not a bad plan, either--it looks like a lot of renowned directors got their start and built their networks as editors. I looked up some of his favorite directors, and two of them--one of the Coen brothers and Martin Scorcese--were editors and assistant editors on films before or while making their debuts. That's where they made a bunch of crucial connections and honed their craft before making their first under-funded features. There's apparently not a right or wrong way to go about becoming a director, and my DH would just really prefer that his way not include sporadic PA work on the latest action film shooting in Atlanta.

If your jobs are as cushy as you say - he totally has time to hustle the film stuff in Atlanta. He just doesn't want to.

It sounds like he isn't super happy and thinks moving will making him happier. Sometimes you've got to work on being happy where you are - LA won't fix that.
See above answer. It seems he's fallen in love with editing more than I thought in the past 3 years of fulltime work, and he has a logical reason for editing in L.A. vs. Atlanta.

Some of what you say above may absolutely be true, and I think he is aware...but he can't be faulted for all of it. While he's been in Atlanta, he's been the main (and oftentimes sole) motivator for his film contacts to 1) start a screenwriting group he's a part of, 2) attend & make contacts at the AFF and other festivals, 3) make an award-winning 48-hour film that he directed, etc.. I guess he just doesn't know the right people, but he seems to be the biggest hustle-er among everyone he knows right now. 

Also, this is where the suggestions that he's thinking only of himself completely dissipate: I think he's hesitated about hustling some of that stuff because of me. We were long distance before we got married, and for the first bit of our marriage we wanted to spend time actually dating each other again. Also, a few months into our marriage, I discovered this cool new philosophy called "Mr. Money Mustache" and have now asked that we stick with only 1 car and spend 80% of our free time in the past year trying out side hustles, financial planning, and house renovations--all things he's really not passionate about at all. Regardless, I do appreciate the advice.

Play through the worst case scenario and see if you can live with that or not. If you guys spend 3-5 years in LA trying to "make it" and it's just not happening, then you move back pushing 30 years old, with nothing saved, and have to start over from ground zero.
This is all important stuff, and I appreciate the family angle. I feel it's important to say that, even though I said "we'd be broke" in my first post, that was assuming an insanely anti-Mustachian lifestyle of pre-FIRE living and not working for two whole years. Believe me when I say we don't intend to decimate our 'stache with this--it's just our safety cushion. We fully intend for us both to be making some sort of money soon after we get there and pull the plug if not. Employing Mustachian tactics, we also fully intend for us to try and live within our means with whatever jobs we get at first. Our stashing might therefore be delayed, but we would make every effort to not be starting from absolute ground zero after leaving.
 

MrDelane

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2020, 04:07:11 PM »
I appreciate your kind offer and plan to take you up on it.
I look forward to it.

Quote
...turns out his plan is different from what I thought. He doesn't have much of a desire to work his way up the production chain at all right now. His plan is to stay in post-production, but actually edit and color movies instead of the instructional videos and corporate announcements he's doing right now.

That's great. One of the biggest issues I see in a lot of young people (myself included, possibly, when I was part of that group) is not having a clear enough idea of which part of the production or post process they wanted to focus their efforts on.

Quote
From everything he's seen, the vast majority of pre- and post- production for the most highly-acclaimed films is still all happening in L.A. A cursory bit of research on my end confirms that.
That is true. While Atlanta has a ton of production work, the majority of the high end post work is mostly still done in L.A.  Now, in my mind that still doesn't immediately mean you should pick up and move to L.A., but at least now the goal and path (in terms of his career) is much clearer.

Quote
Seems as though that's not a bad plan, either--it looks like a lot of renowned directors got their start and built their networks as editors. I looked up some of his favorite directors, and two of them--one of the Coen brothers and Martin Scorcese--were editors and assistant editors on films before or while making their debuts. That's where they made a bunch of crucial connections and honed their craft before making their first under-funded features.

I often get people asking me what they can do to learn how to shoot better, and my answer is always the same - learn how to edit.
So I'm glad to hear DH has his focus on editing (color can be lucrative as well, but editing will teach you so much about every step of the process).

Quote
There's apparently not a right or wrong way to go about becoming a director, and my DH would just really prefer that his way not include sporadic PA work on the latest action film shooting in Atlanta.
There is a reason Steven Soderbergh once said that 'Director' was the highest paid entry level job in Hollywood.
:)

There is definitely not a right or wrong way to get there. But, there are some prerequisites... the main one being actually directing.  So regardless of what you do in the long term (in terms of moving or not), I would highly recommend that he do whatever he can in the short term to start creating his own work today. The more he creates, the better he'll get and the more he'll hone his own voice (and the better chance he'll get to a place where other people want to hear what he has to say).

I wish you both nothing but the best.  You sound like a good team.

doggyfizzle

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2020, 04:18:20 PM »
Before you move, I'd suggest looking at how the recently signed-into-law AB5 might affect your/DH's employment in California.  This is purely anecdotal, but several of my close friends work in the film/music business as "freelancers" (defined by AB5), and are now having issues with getting work that used to reliably flow to them due to the extreme ambiguity of this new law.  One is now planning to move the Las Vegas to be within "commuting" distance to the Burbank area, and as an out of state resident he will be able to continue music production and editing with ease.  If DH is looking for a Union position, this may not be an issue, but it is something to keep an eye on as well.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #43 on: February 25, 2020, 02:21:49 AM »
I'm surprised at the number of responses that are like "oOoOoOoOh yeah but things could go wrong, watch out". No shit Sherlock, ain't no guarantees in this world. Keep your eyes open, do your best, and execute your fallback plans when things don't work out.

I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

C'mon.

habanero

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #44 on: February 25, 2020, 03:05:44 AM »
I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

Badassity comes in many forms and shapes. Staying put and thrive to optimize life including money while staying at one location, within a social circle, a job, an emplyer a career or whatever is one way of doing it. You don't have to uproot everything, fly across the country and take big job/money/work/social life/general QOL risks to display badassity. I'm pretty certain there is badassity to be found in Atlanta as well as in any place in the US of A or elsewhere in the world.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2020, 03:53:32 AM »
I'm surprised at the number of responses that are like "oOoOoOoOh yeah but things could go wrong, watch out". No shit Sherlock, ain't no guarantees in this world. Keep your eyes open, do your best, and execute your fallback plans when things don't work out.

I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

C'mon.

There's a very large difference between an adventure and a frickin stupid idea. An adventure has the basics well thought out, and takes calculated risks. You have to be aware of risks to calculate them. A frickin stupid idea is a jump into the unknown and a hope for the best mentality. Have a look at any of the antimustachian comedy threads. You'll find lots of examples of frickin stupid ideas framed as adventures - or life experiences or YOLO or any other ridiculous excuse for doing something profoundly stupid without thinking of the consequences.

Paper Chaser

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2020, 04:26:49 AM »
I'm surprised at the number of responses that are like "oOoOoOoOh yeah but things could go wrong, watch out". No shit Sherlock, ain't no guarantees in this world. Keep your eyes open, do your best, and execute your fallback plans when things don't work out.

I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

C'mon.

It's also a forum where we admonish people for being foolish spendypants or working drones that don't think in their own best interest. It's a forum where we eschew wasting time/money/energy on low-odds ventures that aren't likely to get them closer to their financial goals or actual happiness. It's a forum where we understand how much starting and growing a nest egg in your 20s can provide true freedom to do what you want later in life. We invest in low-fee indexes rather than individual companies because we understand the odds and know that we're likely better off in the long run. Same with the mortgage payoff debate. Know the odds and choose the path that is most likely to result in your happiness.

If we replaced "DH has always dreamt of working in the film industry" with "DH has always dreamt of owning a Ferrari" in the example above how many people would be suggesting that a young married couple with low savings splurge on an exotic Italian car that costs 6 figures?  If it was "DH has always dreamt of picking the perfect stock at the perfect time and scoring huge, so he wants to invest all of our savings into Penny stock A", would there be so much support? Why is it ok to chase a dream and make expensive, life altering moves that aren't likely to pay off when it relates to a career, but it's not ok when the dream is something else?

We have been programmed as a society to think that our careers define us and our happiness, and that we should all love every minute of what we do for work instead of understanding that our career is just a means to an end. The happiness and satisfaction must come from internally, not externally. There are a million ways that this guy could fulfill his creative side without giving up decent jobs in a good area, moving across the country, and living in somebody else's extra bedroom with his new wife while they try to "make it big".

Moving to a super expensive region, to chase a dream in movies seems a lot more like a really expensive and time consuming lottery ticket to me than badassity. To be successful, it's going to require a lot of grit and discipline (both badass qualities for sure), but it's also going to require a ton of luck, and realistically the odds of success are pretty grim. BUT, how it seems to me isn't important. Just as it doesn't matter to me if somebody pays off their mortgage ahead of schedule or invests in individual stocks as long as they understand what they're giving up. What IS important, is fully understanding the options so that one can make an informed decision and choose the path that is most likely to lead to their happiness. Presenting both sides of a choice, so that he OP can consider all aspects of their decision seems prudent to me.

« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 04:37:52 AM by Paper Chaser »

Malcat

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2020, 05:40:03 AM »
I'm surprised at the number of responses that are like "oOoOoOoOh yeah but things could go wrong, watch out". No shit Sherlock, ain't no guarantees in this world. Keep your eyes open, do your best, and execute your fallback plans when things don't work out.

I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

C'mon.

Are you kidding me???

As someone who has no problem making huge life changes and walking away from stability if I don't enjoy it, a key part of taking leaps like that is being realistic about just how fucking bad an idea it might be, and then boldly saying "fuck it, I can handle that"

Maybe I'm way off about OP and her DH, but the way OP has been posting has not implied a very realistic vision of just how difficult this goal is, especially for a young couple who care about financial stability and want to start having babies.

I'm always the first person to applaud someone for thinking outside the box and not trapping themselves in unfulfilling careers for years on end because they are either afraid or too uncreative to even imagine enjoying work.

I am all for grabbing this life by the balls and living it. However, I'm also all for realizing that every door chosen is other doors that close, and fully understanding the consequences of closing those doors.

I'm also not overly convinced that picking up and moving to high cost LA with no network, no leads, and no demonstrated ability to actually do the work in question is the best way to accomplish this guy's goal. He didn't even think it was worth his time to be the coffee guy on a Marvel movie set, in an industry where networking is everything.

Dreams are cool, plans are better, and fantasies are train wrecks waiting to happen. The difference is in understanding what the consequences could be and risk managing them.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2020, 05:41:38 AM by Malkynn »

FatFI2025

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2020, 07:36:50 AM »
I'm surprised at the number of responses that are like "oOoOoOoOh yeah but things could go wrong, watch out". No shit Sherlock, ain't no guarantees in this world. Keep your eyes open, do your best, and execute your fallback plans when things don't work out.

I thought this was a forum about achieving financial independence through badassity. Or have we turned into a community of hedgers whose idea of adventure is going on a cruise?

C'mon.

Looks like this comment hit a nerve. I think "badassity" in the MMM context doesn't imply risk acceptance -- my personal interpretation is that it's the opposite. FIRE is all about optimization and risk mitigation, primarily financial risk. So we can expect that when a person posts for advice on a FIRE forum about a plan that's going to prioritize other wants over FIRE, there's going to be some resistance.

For me, personally, I believe in the philosophy "you regret those things you don't do," but I also practice deferral of gratification to get ahead in life. In this case, OP and DH only have a limited window of opportunity to test drive a dream, so I'd say f*ck FIRE for now and do it. FIRE later.

But OTOH I also recognize that others have different values about risk and what makes them happy. That's the very crux of OP's dilemma and she won't have a definitive answer until it's all in the rearview mirror. To me, if they both stay at their decent-but-not-fulfilling jobs, the rearview mirror of their youth will be disappointing. If they chose a more daring route, the failure may be greater, but at least they will not look back at two timid souls who prioritized financial security over bold life experience.

lv2glrfy

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Re: Should we move to L.A. with no jobs and low savings?
« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2020, 08:03:44 AM »
Before you move, I'd suggest looking at how the recently signed-into-law AB5 might affect your/DH's employment in California.  This is purely anecdotal, but several of my close friends work in the film/music business as "freelancers" (defined by AB5), and are now having issues with getting work that used to reliably flow to them due to the extreme ambiguity of this new law.  One is now planning to move the Las Vegas to be within "commuting" distance to the Burbank area, and as an out of state resident he will be able to continue music production and editing with ease.  If DH is looking for a Union position, this may not be an issue, but it is something to keep an eye on as well.
I just started looking into this--thanks for the tip. Yes, that has the potential to stunt any freelance growing he might want to do in the future. We'll make sure to investigate.

There are a million ways that this guy could fulfill his creative side without giving up decent jobs in a good area, moving across the country, and living in somebody else's extra bedroom with his new wife while they try to "make it big".

Moving to a super expensive region, to chase a dream in movies seems a lot more like a really expensive and time consuming lottery ticket to me than badassity. To be successful, it's going to require a lot of grit and discipline (both badass qualities for sure), but it's also going to require a ton of luck, and realistically the odds of success are pretty grim.
I think I really gave the wrong impression of DH's goals, so let me make it super clear to everyone who's reading this for the first time or who hasn't been steeped in the details:

DH's goals really don't involve "making it big." They more involve growing the skills he's already been honing in Atlanta, using them to actually work on movie post-production, and climbing up the company ladder same as he would here--only you don't really get to edit significant feature films unless you work for a company in LA or maybe NYC. Also, making independent shorts with people he already knows in LA (many more than here in Atlanta; we just talked to one of them on the phone last night and got advice) and making connections while he's earning. He's still planning on earning, gaining experience, etc. A time at a professional post house, where he could realistically get credit on films, would still be an extremely valuable experience and would make LA worthwhile.

"Making it big"--in the sense of getting funding for making his feature film, I guess?--would be nice, but it is a secondary goal at the moment and wouldn't itself alone determine whether a stint in LA had been successful. His metric for success is not "becoming a famous director"...try and think of the film industry as you would any other. There are many levels of success, assuming you have the skills necessary to make it happen. Not everyone has to be a CEO to be satisfied.

Paper Chaser and others, I still understand your cautions and plan to dive deep into calculating the risks here. It's entirely possible I don't truly understand them yet. But that's what this thread, research, saving, and preparation are for. As always, extremely grateful for every single person who's weighed in.

That's the very crux of OP's dilemma and she won't have a definitive answer until it's all in the rearview mirror. To me, if they both stay at their decent-but-not-fulfilling jobs, the rearview mirror of their youth will be disappointing.
I'm not 100% sure this is true for me at least, but it absolutely is for DH, so that gives me my answer. Regardless--this is poetry. Thanks for your weigh-in, as well. :)