Today was the first day of our LA summer classes.
Phoef Sutton, the executive producer and one of the writers for the legendary show, Cheers, came to speak to our group of twenty students.
I know you’re probably all tired of hearing about the entertainment industry…
…but it’s sort of my life.
So buckle up.
There’s two very important things I gained insight on today.
1) How to fail…because it’s going to happen.
2) How to succeed………..because it’s also going to happen.
Let’s start with number one, shall we?
How to fail.
Sometimes, your pitch for a project or idea will be met with laughter—or even worse—silence. If you’re a chef, you’re going to have at least one or two shitty recipes. If you’re an architect, you’re going to create many blueprints that just don’t work. If you’re a teacher, you’re going to have one or three or five lesson plans that flop. Out all of the great things you are destined to do in your career or in life—there is going to be one or two things you produce that absolutely suck. That’s a promise. And that’s life. But that’s okay.
Walk in the room, know and believe that what you’re bringing to the table is the absolute best thing ever—and when the day comes that it’s not—laugh it off.
On to the next project.
And on to number two.
How to succeed.
Ah, some good news.
Turns out, success is promised just as much as failure.
Sutton said the entertainment industry is “impossible to get into.” He described it as a wall that can’t be penetrated.
But he reminded us to look around.
Every television show, every film, every Netflix series?
A producer, writer, director, and so on is behind every single one.
You have to find a way to get through the wall; a place to squeeze or break in.
Our professor, Tom, added on to the comment:
“Yes, there really is no real way to get in. But people get in all the time because people are always needed.”
Tom also said this, which I loved.
“Everyone is searching. Talent is rarely undiscovered in LA, because people are always looking for something or someone great. Even if it takes 10 years, you will get found out.”
It’s all about persistence.
And it’s only a matter of time.
Yesterday at an italian restaurant on Sunset, I had dinner with my cousin who has been modeling out in LA for a few years. As we were leaving, a man sitting in the back corner with his entourage (I use the term lightly) looked over at me and said: “Beautiful dress. Beautiful girl.” I thanked him, and we engaged in a brief, friendly conversation.
Come to find out, this guy runs an entire modeling agency. While I wasn’t quite sure if he was attempting to recruit me or not, I told him I was from Virginia and was only here a short amount of time. He told me this:
“Los Angeles is a great place. There’s endless opportunity out here.”
So as it turns out, yesterday’s random fiasco ironically ties into part of today’s lesson.
Success is everywhere!
But here’s what I’ve learned from experience and from class today:
You can’t always go out asking for experience.
Sometimes, you have to create experience for yourself.
Both success and failure are promised. But you choose which one you let triumph the other.