In honor of my time in Los Angeles coming to a close, here is a vintage shot from my first visit to L.A. in 2009 with my best friend Sophie and my connection to all things cool in L.A., the wonderful Jen Jenkins.
It hasn’t rained a single day that I’ve been here and the layer of dust and grime that has accumulated on my car is proof. I usually rely on a freak torrential downpour as a carwash, but no such luck. I knew L.A. had nice weather, but the consistency of the 75 and sunny has been pretty nice for somebody accustomed to soupy Georgia summers. Besides realizing the validity of the widely discussed weather patterns of this part of the U.S. (Cool discovery, Sarah!), I did learn a lot about this industry and about myself as an almost member of the “real-world.”
This summer I got a taste of what has undoubtedly been the experience of many fresh college grads who start lives in new cities… It’s kind of hard, man. L.A. is a good place to make this transition because, when you’re feeling lonely, you realize that the backdrop of a fantastically sunny day does not quite fit the melodrama of the pity party you’re having in your head. So, you go to the beach, sit outside at a cafe, or stand outside for five minutes before binge watching OITNB, and you end up having a good day.
Up until the moment I graduate in May 2015, my social experience will be facilitated by an environment of like individuals. This doesn’t happen when you leave college. Not everyone is 21 and confused with you. Some are around 31 and confused. Many are a little older and wiser, and everyone, regardless of age or merit, has been seriously into giving me advice. In my short time here, I’ve gotten photography advice, travel advice, job advice, and L.A. advice. Here are some of the highlights from the past couple of months:
“Take lots of photos.”
Many of us read Outliers. We know the drill. But the importance of repeated practice was stressed even more to me this summer by some of Giant’s finest. Building a portfolio of personal projects, travel photos, whatever else you can get your camera on, is really important when it comes to becoming a successful photographer. Behind every great photo are 1,000s of kind of lame ones.
“Traveling is the best thing you can do to gain perspective.”
I did hear this a lot, but I really enjoyed playing it up even more to my parents during my time here. “Hey, Mom/Dad. WOW, you’ve got to hear the great advice So-And-So gave me today…”
“Sometimes (most of the time) people don’t understand creative careers. And sometimes you just have to go for it.“
I got this advice from a lot of people in different forms. Most notably, though, was Danger, the Apple Genius who helped me set up my new iPhone. My old phone took way too long to connect to the cloud, so I ended up hearing all about his post-grad anxiety and the new clothing line he has been working on and is about to launch. After all, an L.A. experience isn’t complete without a complete stranger telling you all about their artistic endeavors.
“Reacting to unpleasant people doesn’t benefit you. As much as you may want to say something, don’t waste your energy.”
Back-talking teenybopper Sarah is rolling her eyes, slamming her door, and writing a strongly worded diary entry at this one. But I couldn’t agree more. In any job, people will test your limits intensionally or unintentionally. In my time here, I’ve seen some flawless handling of some major sass. Professionalism, son.
“Don’t be afraid of rejection. You’re not going to please everyone. But be persistent.”
Living in Denmark for a semester, I realized how terribly sensitive Americans can be. And, this summer, I’ve learned that it’s important to not take rejection too personally in this field. (But remember to take success and praise really personally.)
“L.A. traffic is avoidable if you try.”
I don’t believe this one yet, but it’s a nice thought. I still need to learn the tricks.
I’m so thankful to everyone who has made this summer such a formative experience for me. I’ve really enjoyed meeting Giant’s artists and reps and the other professionals I’ve encountered along the way. I’ve had the chance to get to know some really honest, passionate, and talented folks. Until next time, L.A.