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Los Angeles Transplants Laud its Access and Livability

Written By Melanie Gonzalez | Sep 23, 2015

Los Angeles has a long tradition of people who come from all parts of the world to try their luck in the wild west. In the early 1900s, filmmakers came here to escape the firm grip that Thomas Edison and the Motion Picture Patent Company had on film production back east, turning Hollywood into the entertainment capital that it is today.

Los Angeles has a lot to offer. While much of the United States is stuck shoveling snow out of their driveways in the winter, Angelenos can walk around in shorts. We also enjoy some of the freshest produce, grown right in the central valley, and a variety of neighborhoods offering their own unique ambiance.

Los Angeles can also be a tough place to make a living.

A report released by UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs stated that “incomes have been stagnant in Los Angeles since the California recession of the early 1990s.”

Los Angeles can be a tough place to make a living.

The report also demonstrated that Los Angeles has the lowest rate of home ownership compared to other major metro areas, such as New York and San Francisco. In other words, you might want to establish a hefty savings before scouting for your apartment anywhere near the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

Still, with a strong network, work ethic, and a lot of luck, Los Angeles can be a great place for creative professionals.

“For a while, it was so unpopular to love LA,” said Tracy DeBrincat, the daughter of first generation San Franciscans. “It’s silly and funny, and I think about it at every family reunion.”

Tracy works as an entertainment consultant, and has a passion for writing fiction. She moved to Los Angeles 25 years ago because her ex-husband’s job was transferred to Southern California. With an MA in Cinema Studies, she had hoped to break into screenwriting, but was disillusioned with lack of creative control.

“I started sending screenplays out to agents and they were like, ‘Can we put a detective in it?’” Tracy recalled. “You forget that a screenplay is just a blueprint for someone to take it and make it into something else. I realized I loved language, and you’re still making a movie in your head when you’re writing a story.”

“I started sending screenplays out to agents and they were like, ‘Can we put a detective in it?’”

To help support her creative pursuits, Tracy found work with temp agencies, and then freelance consulting, where she offers copywriting, digital asset management, and print production services for various film studios.

“I just changed my goals to fit my reality,” she said. “LA has easy access. It sounds kind of counter-intuitive because you think of everything in LA as being behind the velvet rope, but so much is happening.”

Graphic designer Rachel Kim is a more recent transplant. She moved to Los Angeles from Maui, Hawaii in 2000 to study communication arts at the Otis College of Art and Design.

Kim found work at a creative firm, designing t-shirt graphics and websites for surf companies, but turned to freelancing after tiring of the daily nine to five grind. Now she builds identities, branding, and websites for entrepreneurs who are just starting up their small businesses.

“I definitely learned a lot and I’m still learning,” Kim said about becoming a freelancer. “The biggest challenge is learning the business side of everything, because in school they don’t teach you anything about business. How do you set up a contract? What do you do if someone doesn’t pay you? You need a thicker skin sometimes.”

“It took me six years of living here before I really knew Los Angeles.”

In overcoming these challenges, Kim is thankful to have found a circle of fellow graphic designers in Los Angeles.

“It was definitely a bit of a culture shock moving up here,” she said. “I was going from a beautiful island to a dirty city, but for job opportunities you have to leave the island. Once I finished school, got a car, and spent time in different areas, I got to know more of the city.”

She spent her college years living in traffic heavy West LA, but now lives with her husband in Echo Park, a neighborhood known for its mix of Victorian houses and coffee shops.

“There are so many different pockets,” she said. “It took me six years of living here before I really knew Los Angeles.”

Melanie Gonzalez is a freelance writer born and raised in Los Angeles. She’s handled marketing and PR responsibilities in industries including comedy and editorial, and maintains a blog called The Daily Doski.

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