Wanna make it in L.A., dude? It’s gonna cost ya—and we don’t mean money, honey. You have to strike out on your own in an ’85 Camaro or a one-way Greyhound from Indiana with next to nothing in your pocket and a singular dream. Or you could just follow these rules.
1. Start in the Midwest
All the best dreamers, from Jay Gatsby to Don Draper to Robert Zimmerman to Michael Jackson, got their start in the Midwest. You’ll do well to have been born here.
2. Read up on how Oprah got her start
Holy shit, it will inspire you—and get your ass on that no-other-option bus to Tinseltown. Of course, when you make it, you won’t cite “Oprah” as the reason you dropped forensic accounting to make it big in L.A. But that’s the reason. That’s the reason.
3. Check the name on your ticket
So many talents have squandered their shot to make it big because their ticket said “Albany” and not “Los Angeles.” Yes, they smashed the Albany scene, but have you heard of them?
4. Find Slash
Studies show that odds of making it in Hollywood decrease exponentially after failing to find Slash within the first 48 hours.
5. Have a notebook full of songs you don’t think are any good but that many people—Slash and industry execs alike—think are great
Pretty simple when you get right down to it. This town rewards talent, so if you have 30 chart toppers ready to go then everyone will welcome you with open arms.
6. Have family in Orange County
You’ll need Uncle Ned and Aunt Sheila’s house on weekends when you’re out of laundry and money for CVS-brand Zoloft. Jeez, dude. Ten dollars really was a pretty silly idea, wasn’t it? You can’t even buy a sandwich for 10 fucking dollars.
7. Consider selling your body like in “Pretty Woman”
At least while you get back on your feet. A lot of record moguls will hire you, and it’s not impolite to slip them a demo on your way out.
8. Live in a one-room apartment with no bathroom, no kitchen, and Duff McKagan.
Sure, you can afford better with your new gig as a high end escort. But come on, dude! All your faves roughed it like this before they cut a deal with Geffen.
9. Get kicked out of the apartment for “boozing,” “driving your motorcycle through the hallway” or “leaving squid in the bathtub”
Badass, right? Plus, whoever sticks with you through this vagabond stage—that’s your band. Shuffle instruments accordingly.
10. Be good looking
Shit—this probably shoulda been number 1. If you’re ugly you’re going to want to stay away from L.A. altogether. Consider staying in the midwest, all the ugliest people on the world already live there so you might even be considered somewhat attractive there.