It’s Been a Year!

  • April 1, 2014

I arrived in Los Angeles exactly one year ago today! On April Fools’ Day. (The jokes here are just too obvious.)  I showed up with a very clear vision of what I wanted to do and a very vague notion of how to get there — just a lot of unfounded confidence that it would all work out…

 

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR

If this were a corporate Year-End Review, these would be my “deliverables.”

  • — I launched my website. (Congrats, you’re here!)

Stand-Up-Image-1

 

  •  — I got a job as a Writers’ Assistant working for Comedian/Showrunner Greg Fitzsimmons and with funny ladies Angela V. Shelton and Frances Callier on a ratchet VH1 pop culture show. I learned so much about strip clubs and trap music. My quest for knowledge is never-ending.
Greg Fitzsimmons, Frances Callier, Angela V. Shelton, and me in the Writers Room on set.

Greg Fitzsimmons, Frances Callier, Angela V. Shelton, and me in the Writers Room on set.

 

  • — I was invited to participate as a writer for the 2014 Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase.  I moved to LA not knowing anyone really. And then I fell in with this talented group of hyphenates, e.g., actor-writer-comic-singer-dancer-producer-director-bartenders. Thanks to Showcase, I knew that if I went missing for more than 2 weeks, someone would call me, if for no other reason than to ask if they could borrow a turtleneck to use in a sketch (because apparently, I look like I own turtlenecks). I do own turtlenecks.

Somewhere during this experience, LA started to feel like home.

25

13

Sketch by Mo Welch: Larry Bird Auditions for “So You Think You Can Dance”

  • — I also got a manager! (I’m really excited about this.)
  • — And I started taking improv classes at The Groundlings.

Not bad, right?

 

THIS ALSO HAPPENED

Fun Fact: I’ve made less money in all of the time that I have been a freelance comedy writer person than I did in one week as a lawyer.

I’m including in this calculation the time that I got my dry cleaning for free because I offered to write a thoughtful response to a negative YELP review that my dry cleaner suspects was written by a competitor. (It’s official. I’m a paid comedy writer!)

My CPA insists that I stop referring to myself as “unemployed.” For tax purposes, he insists that I’m “self-employed unsuccessfully.

(Oh, I should add to my list of deliverables that I found an amazing CPA who pulls rabbits out of hats.)

By the way, do you know how hard it is to try to rent a new apartment while being both black and  “self-employed unsuccessfully?” You have to talk fast and smile a lot.

One day, this will all be a fun testimony for my memoir.  In the meantime…

damn-girl

Pretty much.

 

OTHER STUFF THAT HAPPENED

I finished writing my first original pilot. Yay!

And I got lots of thoughtful and thorough notes on it from respected industry professionals.

The consensus statement: “Great job! It needs a total rewrite. Congrats!”

And then I crawled under my sheets and hid out for 2 days.

Actually, I went to Bloomingdale’s and treated myself to a luxury linen bedding set. Then, I crawled underneath them for 2 days.  (My spending habits have not yet caught up with my new earning reality. This, I have learned, does not happen over night.)

However, the most harrowing realization is that when I walked away from my career as a corporate lawyer, I didn’t just walk away from financial security and certainty with respect to my future (a/k/a partnership track). I also walked away from being really good at something. I’m starting over from the bottom. I’m a rookie. And that’s been a real mind fuck.

I’m now on the fourth draft of my first original pilot.

 

GOALS FOR THE NEXT YEAR

To live my life more transparently: The challenge is to reduce the distance between who I am and who I let you see. To be even more authentic (if you can imagine that) without concern for other people’s expectations. I’ll either become a success story or a cautionary tale. Either way, the lesson will be valuable to someone.

To chill out: I’m a self-employed comedy person living in Los Angeles, California. I write for at least 4 hours every day, no matter what. Most of the time it’s something no one is paying me to write. Because no one asked me to write it. I take classes. I get on stage. I do the work to get better at what I do. I network and take meetings. I pitch myself. This is no longer a new thing that I’m doing. This is the gig. This is my life.

To relax:  And it’s a marathon. Not a sprint. So I should remember to relax. Make friends. Have fun. (It took me 8 months to finally make it to the beach. It will probably take me another 8 years before I can wrap my mind around the fact that I live in a city where it’s perfectly acceptable to bring your dog into a restaurant. BARF. But those are other blogs. Stay tuned.)

To be grateful: I’ve been told many times that people would die (or sometimes that they would kill) for some of the opportunities that I’ve had this year. I don’t know which stakes are higher (die vs. kill). Either way, I’ve been abundantly blessed, and I’m grateful for God’s favor.

But, of course, being content is not my strong suit. I never check in with myself and acknowledge that I’m doing ok. I always feel like I need to be doing more. So I jolted out of bed at 4 a.m. every single day in the month of February in a deep panic: “What’s next????”

So the goal is to learn how to appreciate where I am while simultaneously striving for more.

To make money: Like hand over fist, ya’ll.

 

SO, YEAH

It’s been a whole year since I packed up and moved to Hollywood to “pursue a career in comedy.”

At a party I went to in Beverly Hills a month ago, Comedian Tommy Davidson announced, “KIM AND KANYE ARE FIGHTING IN THE PARKING LOT!”

Apparently, this is my dream.  (And Dr. King’s dream too.)

8 Comments on "It’s Been a Year!"

  • Brandon says

    You had a great first year. Just think of all the great visitors you had this year (announced or unannounced) over this year along.

  • Brandon says

    **alone.

  • bloomie says

    This is amazing and you are amazing and what amazing year it has been for you! I am in awe of all that you’ve accomplished in just a year. What a testament you are to living your dreams.

  • Aly says

    Awesome!!! Thanks for inspiring!

  • Molly says

    Damn girl…

  • Lara says

    Every line of this is inspiring and hilarious. I can’t wait to see where this journey goes! Well done! But ummm… dogs in restaurants? You may want to brush off the lobbying skills on that one and start a campaign to end the foolishness. Just sayin.

  • AJAX says

    Congrats! So proud of you.

  • Cherie says

    You rock! This was beautiful honest and snarky too, I like it 🙂

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