Rules of Hollywood #10: Avoid Hollywood Temptations
Oh boy...here we go.
I suppose this should be more titled "know your limits," but that seems a bit too broad. Let me first say that if you are new to LA and are fresh-faced and want to see all you can see, then there's no problem with that. Party! Drink! Have fun! Do the job hunting thing and as you work your way up the latter as mailroom clerk, assistant or PA, then by all means go nuts! (If anything because that partying with friends and staying out until 3:00AM on weekends, sleeping until 2PM on Sunday from a hangover will be about the only form of fun and joy you'll get).
However, know you can't always be doing that. After a while, you have to start getting into the "mold" of things - balancing the life of working in the film industry with the life of partying like a Hollywood socialite. Eventually you simply have to grow up, take control and understand you need to focus on what's important.
"But Jeremy! I wanna Party and have sex with a bunch of chicks!"
Of course you do. But the point of this article series is to help you focus those temptations and not go balls-out nuts. An industry job is going to bring industry partying. You will hear and see many things, you yourself might be a part of some stories, and you will be enticed to go out every single weekend and get shit faced. I'll tell you this: you absolutely should, but you need to know your limits and understand you'll have to tone it down eventually. This is both me being obviously practical in this advice, but also to show you don't have to choose one and not the other - you just don't want one dominating the other.
Fact 1: If you focus too much on your work, you'll get bored and lonely and not have a good time living in LA and certainly not a good time working in the entertainment industry.
Fact 2: If you focus too much on the Hollywood "lifestyle" and partying, you'll probably not have it in a few months because you haven't been focusing on the area that is generating your ability to have said lifestyle: work.
In other words, one hand has to wash the other, not hit the other with a hammer.
It's Not about What You Do...Just How You Do It
Meet Lindsey Lohan. That's her to the left there looking....marvelous... anyways, Lindsey is a prime example of how not to act. Yet, you can't blame Lindsey entirely, can you? The environment of the entertainment industry, especially to those with money like her, allows all those opportunities to just crash over her. She has every right to go out and have a good time...she's just doing it completely wrong.
I'm not your parent. I'm not going to tell you to do not do drugs, not drink until you pass out and how to live your life. Want to do those things? Feel free. But there's this little word I like: "moderation." I know a number of people that are perfectly able to have a great time with various...shall we say...."substances"....and still be able to live perfectly fine and normal lives, do great work and not have those things dominate their every minute of breathing. They have priorities straight and when they're looking to have a good time they know when to say "I've had enough, thanks."
This isn't fucking high school. There's no "peer pressure" here. When someone says "Nah, thanks though" then that's fine enough and you move on to enjoy the rest of your evening. If you don't know your limits, you'll probably wind up naked and tied to a tree in Hancock Park somewhere. Most do understand their limits, though, but there's still a handful that simply have no clue. Maybe they aren't old enough or mature enough or, as the point of this article, get too caught up in the crazy world that is Hollyweird.
Most tend to understand and are adult enough to move on. Rule Point: You're an adult. Act like one. Know responsibilities and how to figure out how to have a great time but not at the cost of your sanity, career and especially wallet. Spend all that paycheck buying rounds at The Beauty Bar or Avalon, or doing lines at some producer's house party in Venice, and you're just digging your own hole you probably won't get out of. You aren't a rock star, you're just a person trying to do a job and have a good time with friends. As I've mentioned before, a lot of this town knows each other or at least of each other. Screw up at an agency party, you're reputation is shot.
I don't have much of a problem with someone like Lohan or any number of Hollywood "socialites" doing what they do necessarily. They'll learn their lessons eventually just as most - only far, far more publicly, I'm sure. If you are a rock star, then go crazy. If you're reading this, you probably are not said rock star. So stop thinking you have to act and live like one merely because you work in the entertainment field. You have to earn it, and by the time you've earned it you'll probably be mature and grown up enough to figure out how to balance and manage it. Speaking of earning stuff, on to the next...
Earn your Parties
With working in the entertainment industry comes many opportunities. Agency parties, movie premieres, shin-digs at clubs with open bars, beach get togethers and private house parties. It's all there every single weekend year-round. The opportunities are abundant, but I've found that a good way to work in that "moderation" thing I was speaking of is by taking the "earn your keep" approach. In other words - do you feel you worked and achieved enough to deserve partying in the first place?
You need to have a certain type of personality to really get far and know how to balance it all out. You need to be work-driven first and understand that by busting your ass, you can then go off and have a good time. Not vice-versa. Think of earning the opportunity to go out and have a good time as a caveat to working in the entertainment industry. The more you bust your ass, the more you should feel you have the right to exploit all this town has to offer. Hell, the more you bust your ass the more you'll find out about special club events, private parties or all those things you've probably read about that people in Hollywood enjoy doing (hint....they're probably true). Exploit all this town has to offer first without knowing the limits and you'll be working at In and Out and wondering what the hell happened in less than a year.
Honestly, you don't want to go out and drink and party and hit on guys/girls after a shitty work week. You do that to help forget the shittiness of it...but it's still going to be shitty and you're probably spend most of the time annoying your friends by complaining how shitty it was. But, go out after an awesome week where you got stuff done, maybe promoted, maybe actually made something happen or did something creative you're working on...the feeling to going out and "celebrating" that is a hell of a lot more fun. Accept the fact you're going to have a shitty week. Hell...expect it. Move on and make it better. Then party the night away.
It'll Happen Eventually
Years ago, going out and having a good time was all I or my friends cared about. Now I'm almost thirty, and they right behind, and when I was about 28 or so I was just over it all. Turns out my friends are going that way as well - sometimes you just get tired of it and would rather hang out at home with friends, a few drinks and a movie or go to some small, non-trendy dive bar where you can just wear jeans and a t-shirt and watch sports. The dance clubs, the parties, the premieres...it all gets a little old after a while. Simply put, you'll grow out of it.
It will come naturally, too. Your friends will say they know of this cool hose party in Santa Monica or know a guy that can get names on list at a door - or you might hear these things directly - and instead of jumping out your seat you'll find yourself hesitant. What will I do tonight I didn't do all those other nights? Do I want to drop a cover and buy drinks taking probably sixty or seventy dollars for just a few hours of fun? Is it worth it? When you were just starting out, you probably didn't even consider such questions. You were probably thinking of something along the lines "Fuck yeah! It's the weekend!" That will turn into "Fuck yeah! I have to clean my house and do the laundry!"
After a while, you'll realize it's probably not worth it all and you'll just grow out of it an concentrate on your future. At least, not as much as you might have used to. It all starts rolling into each other and becomes trite if not boring. You've grown up, something some simply don't grasp when they have all these temptations. You've done what you want to do. You've moved on. You could probably drink all those younger kids under the table...but why feel the need to prove it?
That's not to say you can't have fun...but again that's where the whole concept of balancing it all out. It's not about choosing one or the other, it's about being mature and knowing how to juggle the social life with the professional one.
I think this rule, like so many here (but more fitting now that this article series is coming to an end) is directly tied in to the very first rule I've relayed: not to fall into the "mystique" of Hollywood. As I mentioned, it's easy to assume that's how you're supposed to act and how you're supposed to have a fun and enjoyable time. It's true to an extent, but this isn't some hedonistic town where all gather for orgies and drug-fueled dance raves. There are moments like that, and there are people like that, but those moments and people will burn out, believe me. If you want to be taken seriously or build up any type of career, you need to understand those elements and behavioral norms.
Not to sound all "new-agy" here, but life is about balance. Yes, have those good times, but don't expect life out here to be everything you've assumed Hollywood to be. It can be that if you want it to, but if you really force it to be like that you'll be in a deep hole you can't climb out of. It's a young town. Very young, in fact. And that cycle will continue...just don't' get caught being stagnant or you'll miss the wheel that's supposed to be turning for you.