Challenging LA's Extrovert Ideals

My 12-year old self might be ashamed to hear that I ended up, of all places, behind the camera. With Hollywood movie stars, singers, and celebrities as her biggest role models, she thought she, too, would be on the big screen one day.

Spoiler alert: I have become increasingly introverted over the years. But one thing that has remained constant since then is my passion for the moving image itself (and perhaps a lingering desire to work in LA). With my background in the visual arts, I have new and improved life goals to work in some aspect of post-production, editing, or animation. So here I am, spending my first summer in LA and interning at two drastically different companies: 1) the Kaplan Stahler Agency, and 2) Shipping + Handling, a finishing company within a post-production company called Spot Welders.

The first wake up call I got since arriving to LA was realizing I was the only student in our program that didn’t want to be a writer/director. After recovering from that, I’ve had an existential crisis each week we had a new guest speaker. What if I lacked the right characteristics to work in entertainment, what if I couldn't be the people-person, the center of attention, the person 12-year old me wanted to be? Moving to LA seemed, initially, to bring back so many of the insecurities I battled with in high school, a time when I was growing increasingly disparate from my ideal self-image. When every interaction with a coworker wasn't just that–it was also a chance to prove my worth–I questioned my ability to, firstly, succeed in this industry, and secondly, to enjoy myself in the process.

What helped me most was to stop thinking about what I did worst, and start doing what I did best. That didn't mean rejecting advice from our intimidatingly talented and successful guest speakers; it just meant recognizing that everyone has a different path to success, and that's okay. Between mastering the art of script coverage and general administrative tasks at my internships, I thought less about my weekly existential crises. Before I knew it, I was working on graphic designs and animations to promote my company's expanding range of work, and I was doing just what I came here to do. Most recently, I was given the chance to animate my company’s logo for their new reel.

Every day, I’m finding new ways to contribute my unique set of skills, and I’m proud to be creating my own path in the industry. I'm still in the process of understanding LA, but I can say with confidence that you don't need to have a specific, ideal, Hollywood personality type to feel at home here. If there are any other introverts–or perhaps more accurately, shy extroverts–out there, I just want to say, well, maybe I'll leave the talking to the extroverts.