HOW TO STAY SANE IN HOLLYWOOD

  1. 1.
    Do not move to Hollywood.
  2. 2.
    If you must move to Hollywood, choose any industry other than The Industry. Also, don't call it that. For our purposes here, I'm calling it that, but just don't.
  3. 3.
    If you insist on choosing The Industry, be connected so as to expedite what might otherwise become a painful-bordering-on-traumatic journey. No connections? No problem. Skip to #4.
  4. 4.
    Become wildly & instantaneously successful while making sure you're old & seasoned enough that aforementioned success nourishes rather than destroys you.
  5. 5.
    If you do not achieve instantaneous success, get a good-paying job so you can afford Internet & therapy. Avoid "30 Under 30" lists. Read about Jon Hamm. At the same time, nurture & protect your Creativity like it's an endangered lion cub. Extra Credit: meet and marry a wealthy supporter of the arts so your creative output isn't laced with panic.
  6. 6.
    Failed #1-5? Find yourself living off the instant oatmeal you "borrowed" from your acting studio's pantry, wiping your ass with TP you "borrowed" from the dive bar where you work? Take a good, long look in the mirror & ask yourself what you're doing with your life. Get out of town & get some perspective. Do something else. Anything else.
  7. 7.
    Still here? Ugh. Fine. Good on you. I admire your perseverance. That mix of delusion, obsession and stubbornness will serve you well. I'm being serious. The rest of this list is for you.
  8. 8.
    Know who the fuck you are and what you stand for. If you don't know, do the work to find out.
  9. 9.
    Know who your friends are. Your real friends. Hold them close. You can't do this thing alone.
  10. 10.
    Make your home a sanctuary. This city is transient. Even when it's going well, the whole enterprise is based on smoke & mirrors, on liaisons you know will end the minute they've begun. Cultivate commitment & constancy in your life. This will empower & liberate you in your work.
  11. 11.
    Yoga, Vipassana, TM, podcasts, religion, cults, classes, workshops, smoking, vaping, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, caffeine, cleansing, sex, tapping, visualizing, therapy, goal groups, AA, Al Anon, etc. People do these things and more. Be careful out there. It's a weird world. That said, do whatever works for you & doesn't harm you.
  12. 12.
    Avoid "networking" when it's called that, and cultivate real relationships with real people with whom you really want to collaborate. Like, work with people you like on stuff you like.
  13. 13.
    Likewise, never do anything that requires you to compromise your dignity. It's not worth it. Focus on what truly interests & activates you. This seems obvious, but temptation is everywhere and it's sometimes so bright out here that you can barely see.
  14. 14.
    Want to act? Act. Want to write? Write. Want to direct? Direct. Do it every day. Learn everything you can. Stop talking about doing it and just do it.
  15. 15.
    Surround yourself with people & things that elevate and inspire you. Be selective.
  16. 16.
    You can walk away at any moment. Telling yourself this has the added bonus of reminding you why, in the purest, sweetest way, you were drawn to Hollyweird in the first place. If that initial impulse no longer resonates with you, find another reason. Can't find a reason? Maybe it's time to peace out. Few things in life are as sacred as your sanity.