Corey Trench's Blog: My Growing Life


No Car? No Problem!

I was daydreaming again.  This time it was about walking through the snowy fields in my backyard in Syracuse, NY.  It took me a minute, but I came back to reality and looked out the window at 7500 ft elevation and saw the urban sprawl that was Los Angeles.  We were about to touch down at the Burbank Airport.  In my mind, I remember thinking, “It’s so big. How am I going to get around without a car?”

City of Los Angeles

"Alright, so I just go to that big cluster of buildings and turn left?"

 

In the summer of 2008, I participated in Ithaca College’s Los Angeles Program. They set us up with housing and all the amenities, offices for our school needs, and a vast network with many internship opportunities.  It seemed all tailor-made to assist in very aspect of living in Los Angeles, except one thing: if you didn’t have a car, you’d either have to bum a ride or take the bus.  I was stuck with the latter.

It’s not that the public transit system in Los Angeles is bad (though some people will tell you otherwise). But if you have to be somewhere and want to be there ASAP, you’re in trouble.  The buses have long routes and like any other motor vehicle on the road, get stuck in traffic. Despite all the shortcomings, I still managed to get to my internship in West Hollywood on time and make it work.  

Things were a little different when I decided to move permanently to LA in January 2009.

I came back with the same mentality, “I’ll just make it work… somehow.”  I already had my apartment and I knew some people in the immediate area who were gracious enough to give me a ride to the grocery store and places like that.  It all seemed to work out, but one fact still remained: I needed a job.

Now, this is an interesting problem to have:  You come out to LA and don’t have a car AND need a job. The math doesn’t quite work out.  In most cases in the industry, you start out as a production assistant. Production assistants make many runs, which involve driving.  So, LA + CAR = JOB (you can check my Math on that).  You take CAR out of the equation and life’s harder, if you expect to work.  What a predicament!

But here’s something we didn’t add to the equation: IC ALUM.  Like I stated earlier, Ithaca has a large network of alumni who live and work in Los Angeles and they have been through the Los Angeles Program themselves.  ICLA invites these alums to speak to the students at events to give them advice on how to get into the industry.

Ithaca College

My Alma Mater

 

I went to one of these events and met an editor of a very popular show.  He graduated from Ithaca in 1992. Because I was interested in post-production, he was the guy needed to meet and talk to.  I remember walking up to him and telling him that I was a IC alum and looking to work in Post Production.  He said that he knew a couple of places that could be hiring, gave me his email address, and asked me to send him a resume. That night, I sent him an email and didn’t hear back from him until two weeks later.

It was a Wednesday.  I recall being at my computer and looking through my email and seeing a message from the editor.  He told me I might be getting a call from a IC Alum, who was working as an associate producer for a new show on NBC.  I might have just finished the last line of the email when the phone rang.  It was the post-supervisor of the show, asking if I was available for an interview.  I told him that I was. He said, “How about this afternoon?” I told him I’d be there.  After I hung up the phone, it dawned on me, “How am I going to get there?”

I entered a zone called: The Crisis Management Zone (I’m sure Rod Serling would be proud).  I went through all the possibilities.  Well, I guess I could WALK there, but it would take me several hours and give me sore feet.  I could TAKE THE BUS–that would be a disaster. What could I do? I got on my computer and looked up different cab companies in my area.  Yes, I took A CAB to my first real job interview.

Los Angeles Yellow Cab

My chariot awaits!

 

The cab driver picks me up from my apartment and drops me off at the studio lot.  I tip him five dollars because I’m happy to even be there.  I wander around the lot and ask a guard where I need to go and he points out the building to me.  I walk inside and realize I’m in a professional sound mixing facility.  I see posters on the wall of some very well-known shows that were mixed there.  It all looks very impressive. The post supervisor walks out to meet me and says that they’re currently mixing a show right now, but he’ll be right with me.  Is this a dream?  I’m not even sure at this point.

After a couple of minutes, the associate producer and post supervisor sit me down for an interview.  It goes very well.  I seem to be answering all the questions the right way. Then they drop the bombshell on me, “So, you have California car insurance, right?” I tense up, but only for a second.  I can’t have California car insurance because I don’t even have a car to insure.  I tell them, I don’t have it yet.  Then they ask, “Well, you have a car, right?”

There are points in your life when you’ll sit and wonder, “What would have happened if you had done things differently?  Taken a different direction?”  I could answer the question one of two ways. I could tell the truth. Mom would like that. Then, the interview would be over – the opportunity would leave as fast as it had come to me, seemingly out of nowhere.  Or, I could lie. 

“Yes, I have a car,” I said.  If I had been given a polygraph test, it would have spiked through the roof.

Polygraph Test

A dramatic interpretation of my interview.

 

We shook hands and they told me they would get back to me by the end of the day.  Sure enough, later that night, I got a call.  They told me I had the job. INCREDIBLE.

I had pulled a rabbit out of a hat.  But I had also bounced it into the frying pan and it was about to hit the fire.  “How am I going to make THIS work?” I wondered.  It was another form of crisis management that I had to go through.  Luckily, I had an idea: I could just rent a car for a couple of weeks.

I did just that while my Dad helped me research cars.  I ended up buying a 2007 Toyota Corrolla and everything worked out with my job (which lasted three months, but that’s another story).

So, after all that, would I recommend going this route?  No.  But I did it.  I made it work because I had to. The experience, though, is a testament to the value of taking risks. You have to take chances if you want to make it in the business.  Sometimes, you just never know what it will bring you. For me, it got me my first car.

2007 Toyota Corolla

No floor mat or accelerator problems here

Advertisements