My dad keeps telling me to write a book about my experiences in Hollywood. In fact, it’s his second-favorite topic of conversation. His #1 favorite thing to discuss, of course, is when I’m going to quit pursuing my career in Hollywood in order to pursue a more lucrative profession, preferably in Silicon Valley like my friend Christina. (There are two flaws with this plan- One, I know shockingly little about how computers work, so I’d be ill-suited to work at a tech start-up and 2. I have no desire to do anything besides what I’m already doing.)
But my dad does have a point. My line of work is not very lucrative. On the other hand, what I do is so fun, ‘and therein lies the rub’ (to quote someone famous). (Shakespeare, probably.) (Yeah, I was a theater major; apparently I don’t remember anything I learned).
Anyway, my dad keeps telling me to write a book, but as a product of the 21st century, I’m starting a blog instead.
Allow me to introduce myself: I’m Kristen Brancaccio (aka KB). There’s a lot I haven’t experienced or accomplished yet in my journey as a filmmaker, writer and actor, but I have done what many consider to be the impossible: I’ve survived my first two years in LA. Not only have I survived, but by many standards, I’ve thrived: I was a co-finalist on HBO’s Project Greenlight, I sold my first studio screenplay, I’ve worked with some of the biggest names in entertainment and, to top it all off, I’m actually happy, largely due to my volunteer work as a teen mentor.
Sounds pretty great, right? It’s also, in true Hollywood form, a picture made pretty only by the omission of certain key facts. Don’t get me wrong- I did and do everything I listed above (so maybe not particularly Hollywoodsy after all, considering a lot of people out here like to stretch the truth), but there’s always more to the story. I didn’t describe the self-imposed austerity measures I’ve had to put in place many, many times in order to survive on my pitiful income (if you don’t know what ‘austerity measures’ are, Google “Greece, the country not the musical” and educate yourself- did I mention I have a minor in International Studies? I’m very elitist about it.) I didn’t mention how many times people have done me wrong (I could spend an entire blog post on this, but I’m not going to because if lack of money doesn’t hold you back in LALA land, holding grudges definitely will). And I didn’t talk about the number of times I truly doubted myself- doubted I could ever accomplish the things I said I was going to. And this one is especially tough, because while there are many voices out there telling you what to think, there’s only one voice that’s with you every second of every day- the one inside your head. So if that voice turns on you, no matter how many encouraging texts Mom sends, you’ve got an uphill battle ahead of you.
This blog is for anyone out there who wants to be doing the same thing I’m doing: Making movies with your friends, becoming a professional actor/writer/etc, getting your YouTube channel off the ground, figuring out how to take advantage of Hollywood’s rapidly changing landscape, whatever. Basically, just surviving and thriving in LA.
Every so often I’ll write a new blog post on any number of topics. I’ll speak only from my experiences- your experience in LA may be drastically different. Your cousin’s roommate’s sister who got a guest star role on New Girl might disagree with some of my advice. Your filmmaker friend may scoff and say I don’t know what I’m talking about. Here’s the thing: Everyone’s experience in this town is different, and I’m still learning new things literally every day. So, know that I aim to be as truthful as I can be, but that I don’t have all the answers.
In fact, I’d say the ONLY hard and fast rule in Hollywood is this: There are no rules. If you think you’ve found a universally accepted rule, figure out how to break it, because that just might be your ticket in.
Oh, and before I leave you, know that for all his talk about me changing career paths, my dad really is my #1 fan. He’s just a realist, and I’m actually grateful he’s always sending me articles about “the exploding job market in Silicon Valley”. It forces me to reflect– Do I still love what I do? Do I still feel I have a purpose?– and motivates me to always be on the hunt for the next filmmaking gig.
Between you and me, I think he’s just worried I won’t have enough money saved to put him in a nice nursing home one day.
Stay hungry, my friends.