Jean Barker

Job-hunting in Hollywood

2014-07-11 11:30

Jean Barker

Every morning I wake up and immediately apply for about six jobs on, LA's big jobs site. Some of the adverts look like they were written by a crack-head at 02:00. Here's a sample:

You can just tell they'd never, ever post your cheque (they still use cheques here).

Then I go to Craiglist. That's where, among posts aimed at the truly desperate filmmaker for gigs on porn sets and wonderful opportunities for young hot girls under 25 to give blow jobs for a living, they advertise things like this, which I'm sometimes almost desperate enough to reply to.

A friend commented: "What advantage does being a psychic Uber driver give you? I can predict traffic jams." "Um, we're sitting in traffic." "I didn't say I knew how to avoid them."

I apply for everything I qualify for that's not completely bonkers. Replies are rare, because about 2 000 people submit for each of these glitzy minimum wage positions. Next, I have coffee, while I comb Facebook groups for crew positions, dodging the barrage of pro-Israeli rhetoric and pictures of people's babies. This yields the occasional day-playing opportunity on a film set.

I did manage to get one source of steady income - reading film scripts and writing "coverage" on them. Coverage is basically a review with no mean jokes or stand-alone entertainment value. But it's a steady trickle of work, which barely covers my rent in LA's cheapest suburb.

LA is tantalising, like a giant casino. You're surrounded by possible success, though none of it is yours. You're always on the brink of giving up and going home. But every few days, you hear that sound. In a casino, it's the simulated explosion of coins cascading.

In LA it's usually a post on Facebook. Just as you're about to give up, some you know's career dream comes true, and you think: “Wait... just one more try?” You remember that if you just keep working and dreaming (and mostly working), when your break arrives, you will be ready to make it count.

In the meantime, my phone is never on silent.

- Jean is a screenwriting/directing dual MFA student in California, USA. She tweets as @jeanbarker and blogs pictures of signs and more, here. She will be back.

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