Just heard this late last week over lunch with a new friend, and thought it was important to share.
A young man was being shown the town and in an unremarkable stretch of the Burbank suburbs, he was told to look at the houses and ten year old cars in the driveways and take note that “this is basically a coal mining town.” Many of the people who lived here were folks who worked on movies and television shows, but they were living modestly, just getting by like much of the rest of America.
It’s very easy to romanticize film and television as places where great fortunes are made, and it’s true — though rare. Most of us are getting by in unremarkable fashion, slugging it out to pay our rent/mortgage and keep swimming in this pond long enough to be able to retire. The dollar doesn’t stretch very far in Los Angeles, but this is where the dream is, so you’ve just got to hold on.
If you’re a young media student with stars in his or her eyes, dreaming of making it big in Hollywood, just remember that you’re more likely to be happy than rich. Some of us get to be both, but the ones who fall short of “rich” at least have “happy” to fall back on.
Do it for love or go home.