As a few of us writer / actor / director types here in New York City debate the (now, it would seem) inevitable move to Los Angeles, aside from the obvious "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here..." sign which should surely be posted (just for us New Yorkers) right outside the taxi stand at LAX, perhaps a few sagely words of wisdom might be in order, with all this. Check out this post my man Darby Parker just kicked my way, written by one Derek Sivers (of CD Baby fame), re: "Advice on Moving to Los Angeles". In particular I like--
Americans are already quite individualist, but Los Angeles is the most individualist part of America. Because so many people are employed by the entertainment industry, many are self-employed freelancers. They’re very focused on themselves. People talk about themselves a lot because they feel they have to, for survival, for self-promotion. Just as you can’t fault anyone in the world for doing something for survival, try not to fault them for being so self-promotional. Learn to lovingly listen like you’d listen to an 8-year-old who excitedly tells you about their train set for an hour.
Every culture values different things. In some places, it’s your bloodline. In others, your university. In others, it’s where you live. In LA, it’s who you know. Since the entertainment industry is all about short-term projects, everyone survives by their next project, and these projects always come from a connection. So everyone is collecting contacts. (Again: it’s survival.) Friendships are pragmatic and often short. Don’t fault them for talking about who they know, the same way you wouldn’t fault someone from India asking about your family. Introducing people to each other, people who could potentially work together, is the most valuable thing you can do, as it raises your value and theirs. LA people want (NEED!) to have powerful well-connected friends, to survive and thrive.