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"Going West"How do you top New York City?
You can’t. But like many NYU students, I grew up a stone’s throw away from The Big Apple. And when it came time to graduate, I realized that despite the variety and depth of experience the city has to offer, I really wasn’t doing anything truly different unless I left.
So when my best friend and I decided on a handshake to move to LA, it just felt right. Sure, it wasn’t the most logical move for a journalism major, but I quickly found that the old adage of “it’s who you know” really is true.
I felt marooned out there. The connections I’d made at my internships in New York seemed to evaporate once I crossed the Mississippi. And despite six months of applying at small newspapers and interviewing for any writing job I could find, I was still working at a Downtown LA Macy’s where a good portion of the clientele came wandering in from Skid Row to use the bathroom.
It was a total catch 22: I needed experience to get experience.
Fortunately, salvation came in the form of a lucky break on a random evening. I showed up at a Hollywood bar for a friend’s birthday party and quickly figured out I was an hour early; there was only one other person at the bar.
I caught a hint of a New York accent as he ordered a dirty martini and decided to introduce myself. Of course, the first thing anyone asks you in LA is “What do you do?” and out came my story. Five minutes later, I’d found out he’d grown up in the same neighborhood as my dad (Sunnyside Gardens), and that his best friend was the news director at KTLA.
Maybe it was the dirty martini, or maybe he couldn’t turn his back on a fellow New Yorker, but he called his buddy right then and there and got me an interview. Turns out KTLA didn’t have any openings, but KNX1070 (CBS Newsradio’s LA affiliate) needed an overnight PA. I jumped at the job, and within a few months I was training to be a writer/producer.
Nearly ten years later, I still wonder what life would be like if I hadn’t decided to talk to a random guy with a New York accent. But it goes to show you “it’s who you know.” So if you find yourself in a jam, start talking. And it never hurts to mention your four amazing years at NYU. Because we New Yorkers like to help our own.
Christine Tusher is Deputy Editor of rundown.com, a national online men’s magazine with local editions in eight US cities, including New York.