Taking the Leap

So often in life, we feel like we are not in control.  It always seems like there is someone else telling you what to do, whether it be your boss, your parents, your doctor, your girlfriend or your boyfriend.  As though you are a puppet and at the end of each string is a different person pulling you in one direction or another.  And you go along with it because you know that they care and they want what is best for you…even if it is not necessarily so clear what really is best for you.

Yet every once in a while there are these singular moments where you and you alone make one simple choice that changes everything.  It can come as an epiphany or as a long deliberated decision.  By the time I graduated college in 2010 I decided that I wanted to become a screenwriter.  I moved to New York and became a Production Assistant in order to learn more about the industry I wanted to be a part of.  I spent nearly two years working as a Production Assistant in New York.

I learned a great deal about production while I was in NYC.  However, while the film industry may be growing in New York, the opportunities for screenwriting there remain slim.  Even the show I worked on, Gossip Girl, which shoots almost exclusively in New York, had its writer’s office in LA.  I had always known that I would probably have to move to Los Angeles one day, but whenever I talked about it with friends or my parents it was always something in the distant future.  It was always next year, after the next season, once I had saved up more money.  There were a multitude of reasons why I should delay moving to LA.

Then, suddenly, I realized that there was never going to be that one perfect moment where the planets lined up.  There would always be reasons not to go.  It was early December of 2011, I was talking with my friends, once again, about when I thought I might move out to LA and I decided I wanted to go…now.  A couple days later I was having dinner with my parents when I told them.  They had their concerns, but when they saw that I would not be swayed, they supported my decision.  I gave myself two months to get ready.

On February 5th 2012, Super Bowl Sunday, I stood in JFK airport with a two large bags stuffed with clothing and a ticket to Los Angeles International airport.  I was filled with trepidation, as though I stood on the edge of an airplane with gusts of wind swirling around me and nothing but a parachute strapped to my back to save me from crashing to the ground.  I knew that with two years of experience as a PA I had a good chance of getting a job in the film industry, but doubts wriggled their way into my mind.  I saw myself working as a waiter for the next five years, forever on the edge.  Being so close to my dream and yet impossibly far.

Yet, as the plane touched down on the ground and I stood in Los Angeles, my excitement grew.  I texted all of my closest friends one simple message: “I’m in LA!”  My parent’s friends, who I would be staying with until I found an apartment, picked me up at the airport.  They live north of LA and as we drove up the 101 out of the city, the landscape turned to green hills that surrounded the highway.  Immediately I was reminded of when I studied abroad in Greece.  I was amazed by how similar the landscape was to that of the Greek islands.  It was strangely comforting.

It has been a month and a half since I moved to Los Angeles.  In that time I have continued to work on my screenwriting, I worked as an intern on set on a film production, and I was recently hired as a production assistant.  While I am still a long way from my goal I am comforted by the knowledge that I took the leap, that I am here, in LA.  I know that if I had not come out here, I would have regretted it for the rest of my life.

When have you taken the leap?  Share in the comments below!!!

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