BCPC Get Moving Interview with Yoni Rusnak

37963639_10157650344624606_3031888276911816704_o.jpg

Welcome! I'm Katie Toomey, a freelance video editor living here in Los Angeles, CA. I started this “Get Moving” interview series in what feels like a long overdue fashion. After having many approach me about my own moving blog and how helpful it was to have another experience to read about or relate to, it sparked me to interview others in our industry who have made a move somewhere for their own work.

My aim is to help broaden the reach to share these stories for others out there, like me, who wanted to hear more perspectives to help build confidence, to relate to planning worries and execution woes, and to understand the struggles and even successes more fully.

This series will hopefully help you gain wisdom to be better informed when and if taking that risk and leap for yourself.

I myself have made a rather large move (the biggest I've ever done to date) moving from the East coast in NC to the West coast to LA just last year. I wrote my “East to West Coast Moving Adventure” on Creative Cow very soon afterwards to document the process. I've been living in LA ever since. All these experiences will combine to make a collective resource that anyone can access - from any where, at any time. If you don’t know anyone who’s done this sort of thing, it can feel very isolating and impossible to manage on your own. You shouldn’t have to face this alone - and now, you won’t have to.

Yoni.

Yoni.

Yoni Rusnak // Assistant Editor // Los Angeles

Yoni Rusnak grew up in Sydney Australia. At 19 years old, he moved all the way to Israel to serve in the IDF for 3 years. He spent a total of 4 years in Israel before returning to Sydney to begin university. Then at 27, Yoni moved to New York to pursue a career in post production, beyond what Australia could offer at that time.

After 3 ½ years in New York, he moved once more to Los Angeles in December of 2016 in search of opportunities to switch genres from reality television to scripted, as well as for the better weather.

He has seven years of television post production experience. He has worked in Sydney, New York and Los Angeles as an assistant editor in both reality and scripted television. Shows he has worked on include The Voice AustraliaMaster Chef AustraliaBlack Ink CrewCaribbean LifeMajor Crimes and Love Is__, a show that premiered on OWN in 2018.

Yoni’s adorable rescue dog.

Yoni’s adorable rescue dog.

Yoni is a volunteer with The Soldiers Project, where he uses video to brings awareness to veterans’ struggles with mental health. He has lived on three continents and in four cities, from Sydney to Tel Aviv.

He currently lives in Los Angeles - coming up on 2 years now - with his wife and one-eyed Puerto Rican rescue dog, who is also the subject of his half-sleeve tattoo. 


MOVING BACKGROUND

For each of Yoni’s moves, he had to deal with very different challenges. From Sydney to New York, he was leaving everything behind (family, friends, job security, all his belongings) with a singular focus of finding work in the US and looking for a company to sponsor his visa.

Yoni’s rescue dog inspired tattoo.

Yoni’s rescue dog inspired tattoo.

When moving to Los Angeles, he was moving with his wife and dog, so with that move the support system was available, but the challenges of packing up an apartment and driving cross country created new issues (what to keep, what to throw away, how best to get there). In both cases, he didn’t have a job lined up before moving, but instead had faith that he somehow would land on his feet.

Yoni landed a job in just 6 days after arriving in NYC, while in LA, he spent 5 months unemployed.

Katie: What event or situation sparked the move?

Yoni: My move from Sydney to New York was restricted by a time window.  As a recent university graduate Australians (and this might be applicable for other countries) are eligible to apply for a work/travel visa known as J1 or F1. Students only have one year from their graduation date to apply and move. I knew about the visa during my last year of studies and had planned to save as much as possible in the year after graduating and fly over in the last month of eligibility.

At that stage I had already started working in the Australia television market on reality shows such as The Voice Australia and Master Chef Australia. I was always acutely aware of the limitations in our industry back home and so from the moment I decided I wanted to work in television - which was the first year of university- I knew I had to find a way over to the states.

Moving from NYC to LA had its own time restrictions. Being a foreigner working in the states, I was limited in my options because I needed a sponsorship from a production company in order to stay in the states. My original work/travel visa was only for 1 year. I was fortunate to find a company during my first year that was willing to sponsor me to stay (on an E3 work visa, which is only for Australians for those looking for visa options). Once I got sponsored, I was tied to that company and even though I knew I wanted to move to LA within my first year of living in NYC, I couldn’t actually move until I had either found a sponsoring company in LA or figured out a way to obtain a green card.

I ended up staying with that company for two and half years until my wife and I got married, and I could apply for a green card. I realized pretty quickly once I started working that there wasn’t a huge market for scripted content in NYC, and that’s what originally set my sights towards LA. Similar to my move to NYC, I knew I had to follow the content. There is scripted both in NYC and in Sydney but the markets are significantly smaller and I’d need far more luck to break into them.

Can you tell us some of the ways that the new area(s) differs from some of the other places you've lived or the last place you lived? What is similar and different for you? What do you like and dislike about your new area? 

The easiest way to describe the difference between NYC and LA is; NYC is cocaine, LA is weed. The energy of the cities is so different that the only real similarity is that they’re both in the US.

Crazy Street Signs #1. Cat stepped on keyboard edition. ZZyXx.

Crazy Street Signs #1. Cat stepped on keyboard edition. ZZyXx.

During my three and half years in NYC, I lived mostly in Brooklyn (Bushwick & Park Slope) but worked in Manhattan. The energy of the city in unrelenting and living there can be incredibly exhausting if you aren’t naturally a high-energy person. Everything about New York is extreme: the volume of people walking the streets 24/7, the ambient noise, the pace of locals, even the weather which goes from 100 in summer to -20 in winter can all be overwhelming when you’re in deep in the daily grind.

NYC is a subway culture, and you need to be okay with relenting some control when it comes to mobility. Where you choose to live is closely linked to what train lines are best for you day to day. You also need to be okay with tight spaces because commuting to and from work usually involves being physically jammed up against at least 6 strangers.

If you are moving from a tropical climate (such as Sydney Australia), you are in for a very special first winter, which you should be overly prepared for. When I moved to New York, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stay since I hadn’t secured a sponsor, so I didn’t invest in proper winter clothing since I’d have no use for it when I returned home to Sydney. Consequently, I spent three months walking through snow in a pea coat and chucks, not a great idea! I also found myself dealing with a heavy case of seasonal depression. Hard New York winters mean you really don’t go outside for three to five months (depending on how well you deal with cold) except to go from your apartment to the subway, to the office and then the same in reverse. As an outdoorsy person that was really tough for me.

That said NYC felt like a very connected city. It was easy to meet friends in the city, and it felt like less of an ordeal to make plans because everyone was a pretty short subway ride away (and it was normal for everyone to make plans halfway between where everyone lived). There is a lot of natural beauty around NYC (Jersey Shore or Upstate), but because no one owns a car, it’s much more of an ordeal to organize nature trips out of the city. For culture and entertainment, NYC is one of the best cities in the world. Live music, Broadway, jazz, museums, art galleries, Manhattan has SO much to offer in terms of entertainment; if you have enough energy at the end of the day/week to take advantage of it.

In contrast, Los Angeles is extremely laid back and mellow. The weather is consistent and lends itself more to people who want to spend their free time in nature. Traffic can be infuriating at times, but personally I like that I’m not stuck for an hour with someone’s armpit in my face. Choosing where to live is tricky because working freelance means while your first job might be in Burbank, the next gig will be in Santa Monica, and where you live will hugely effect your commute time. Where you choose to live will also to a larger extent than New York define what friends you make. Because of the traffic, people are far less likely to make plans with those who live on the other side of town just because they won’t want to commute home afterwards.

I live on the west side (Marina Del Rey) and my valley friends rarely agree to come hang out because they anticipate the time spent driving. When I first moved to LA, I lived in the Fairfax area and that was a great location because it’s very central. It’s roughly 30 minutes to the valley or to the west side. Where you live will also determine the weather you experience. The Valley is typically 10-20 degrees hotter than on the west side (roughly speaking everything west of the 405 freeway not south of the Hollywood hills). So in August it might be 115 in Burbank, but only 90 in Venice.

People are a lot more relaxed than in NYC and that extends to the services industry. In NYC, people working in retail or at restaurants tend to be much more efficient. In LA, everything takes a little longer and servers aren’t in as much of a hurry. That can be frustrating if you are accustomed to fast service. Cost of living is pretty similar however in LA you tend to get more for your dollar, in my experience at least.


TRIP PREPARATIONS

How did you begin to prepare for the move, and in Yoni’s case, an international move too? 

Moving from Sydney required a lot of preparation to organize my visa. I researched all the companies that sponsor work/travel visas and had a lengthy process of interviewing and filling out/sending documents. I ended up getting my visa through CICD (www.cicdgo.com). Other than that, I had saved up $10,000 as a cushion. That was pretty much all I prepared. I typically prepare as little as possible for moves. I secure the basics such as, where am I going to stay when I first arrive and do I have enough money to survive my first 2 months, but then the rest I prefer to establish once I’ve arrived.

I’d say the most important thing I prepare leading up to a move is my mindset. I try to be as open to possibilities as possible when arriving in my new home city. I try to say yes to opportunities I might otherwise avoid when my life is more stable and grounded in daily routines. I showed up to New York with no planned way of finding work other than to figure it out once I got there. My first week in New York I was invited to a hipster party at a warehouse in Williamsburg (something I would usually avoid), I went along and there I met a fellow Australian who had recently moved to New York and worked in print media. She told me about the website Staff Me Up New York that posted media jobs. That night I sent out about 15 resumes and cover letters, two days later I had an Interview and the day after that I had a job.

When I moved from NYC to LA, I similarly did very little to prepare for finding work. My wife was less optimistic so she secured a job before we moved (as she works in PR and used a recruiter). Unlike my experience in NYC, I was not so fortunate to find work straight away. Because I had five years of Lead Assistant Editing experience on huge realty shows, I assumed my resume would speak for itself and finding a job would be easy. That. did. not. happen! It took five months for me to land my first gig (a sports doc series) and that came through someone I’d worked with in New York. So it actually didn’t matter to anyone how good my resume was because my NYC network didn’t hold much water in my new city. I got by during that period working remotely for the company I had worked for in NYC. They paid me $500 a week for server maintenance and I supplemented that working as a Crossfit coach whenever I could get shifts (it really only covered my gym expenses though).

Beautiful Utah landscape.

Beautiful Utah landscape.

While it wasn’t an ideal start to life LA, I believe every situation presents different positive opportunities. Even though it took me months to find a steady job, my vast amount of free time enabled me to spend significant portions of my day researching and reaching out to people in scripted, which after four months of working odd reality jobs landed me my first scripted credit. Had I been working consistently since day one, I might not have had the extra energy or free time to establish my network. So I always try to focus on the opportunities presented by my situation versus the problems.

One thing my wife and I did organize before moving to LA was an apartment. We found our place on the app Hotpads and had my brother in-law, who lives in LA, go to an open house to take a video of the apartment. We moved to Fairfax because it was close to my wife’s office (part of the agreement we made was that she refused to commute), but it actually turned out to be a great neighborhood and extremely walk-able, which was important to us having moved from NYC. We signed all the paperwork from NYC and moved in the same night we arrived. We saved up about $10,000 for the move and most of it went in moving costs (it cost me about $3,500 to drive from NYC which, included U-Haul rental, gas, accommodation and food), security and first months rent, and new furniture.

The effects of driving the north east in winter.

The effects of driving the north east in winter.

As mentioned, I rented a U-Haul for the trip and packed everything into a trailer to drive cross-country. Because I didn’t have a job lined up I took the opportunity to plan my trip via mount Rushmore, which wasn’t the most efficient route but also wasn’t super out of the way.

One thing to keep in mind if you drive cross-country is that renting a U-Haul gives you 9 days from pick to delivery. The cost of U-Haul goes up after the 9th day. Driving via the north was really beautiful and I got to see some amazing sights, but in hindsight it wasn’t the safest choice in December. In terms of planning the drive, I just followed Google maps. I’d planned to just drive from 8am till as late as I felt safe (usually 8 or 9pm) and then pull into whatever motel was closest once I’d decided to stop for the night. As it might already be obvious, I’m not a huge planner when it comes to new adventures.

What did you use to help plan your route? Did you fly, drive, or otherwise teleport to your new location? 

SYD > NYC I flew and I believe I used Kayak.com to buy my ticket. One of the reasons I originally chose NYC over LA was because I had friends there. It made the first month significantly easier (and cheaper) because I wasn’t completely on my own.

NYC > LA, my wife flew and as mentioned, I drove. I was fortunate to have a few friends help me pack my U-Haul. If I could do it again, I would have started packing the U-Haul earlier in the day. I anticipated it would take us about 2 hours and it ended up taking closer to 6. By the time my friends arrived and we got moving and then figuring out how to stack everything, hours had been wasted and I didn’t start driving until 6pm. I definitely underestimated what it was going to take. Also if you are moving in winter and live in the North East, plan for driving in the snow. I did not and hadn’t purchased snow chains for my tires which made for some very hairy situations.

How Yoni basically planned out his trip.

How Yoni basically planned out his trip.

Getting to Mount Rushmore.

Getting to Mount Rushmore.

Basically how I planned my trip 2.png

Do you have any packing tips and tricks for us? 

NYC > LA – We sold most of our big furniture (couch, TV unit, tables etc) because it was going to be too much of a hassle to pack and move them (as we lived in a 4 story walk up). We sold most of it on Craigslist and it wasn’t very difficult, plus it contributed some cash to the travel fund. For the stuff we did pack, I would recommend making sure everything goes in boxes. We boxed most things but then got lazy towards the end and had extra blankets and random stuff from in the closets loose.

Most of the time wasted on packing the U-Haul came from extra trips back and forth for things that weren’t boxed. I would have save a ton of time in the move itself if I’d spent a little more time boxing everything that could fit in one. It also makes stacking the U-Haul a far less complicated process!

We did use the move as an opportunity to get rid of a lot of things we didn’t think we’d need in LA. It was cathartic to shed a lot of otherwise useless items that had built up over the years.

What sort of challenges did you face trying to save or come up with the budget needed?

Crazy Street Signs #2. No Name, this way! May or may not see No Face from Spirited Away.

Crazy Street Signs #2. No Name, this way! May or may not see No Face from Spirited Away.

Moving is expensive. I’ve found that $10,000 is a pretty comfortable amount for any move. Saving up that much money can take time, so usually if I know I’m planning to move, I live as lean as possible for the 6-9 months leading up to the move. That involves: prepping all my meals, restricting how much I eat when I go out with friends (usually I would eat before I went out), getting rid of any extra subscriptions I’ve signed up for, avoiding unnecessary Ubers and taxi rides, renting movies at home instead of going to the cinema, downgrading from organic to regular produce, and trying to work as much overtime as possible which helps avoid free time based money spending and adds some cash to the savings account.

Moving from NYC to LA, I found that driving with a U-Haul in tow was the cheapest option. If you don’t have a lot of stuff that you are attached to, I would even recommend just selling everything and starting fresh, its by far the least hassle and for the most part will cost you about the same (if you own Ikea stuff) as the U-Haul. A flight to LA can be as little as $350 while driving all up cost me about $3500. The U-Haul was about $1,900, accommodation was between $90-150 a night, food was about $40 a day, Gas was about $350 all up, then there are also unexpected costs you should have a cushion for and any sights you might want to visit along the way.

Having an apartment before you move helps with anticipating costs. I usually try to have at least 2 months saved for before I move including utilities - so that will typically be about three months rent once you include the security deposit.

When I moved to LA, I had not anticipated being out of work for so long. I was getting by on $500 a week so one way to make rent was not putting aside my taxes owed (I was 1099 at the time). Using my whole paycheck was the only way I could pay my bills. This resulted in a massive debt come tax time, but by then I was able to save enough to pay most of it off. When I’m living on a tight budget, one easy way to reduce costs is to only eating food I buy at the grocery store. The only money I really spent on non-essentials during those first few months was on meeting people for coffee or lunch for networking purposes. I was able to bring down my credit card bills from $1500 to $500 a month by just becoming extremely conservative with where I spent money outside of the essentials (utilities, groceries, gas, gym).

What would you -not- recommend cutting costs on when considering a move?

When moving to NYC I would recommend not trying to find a place without a broker. It’s a frustrating cost to spend upfront but you’ll save a ton of head aches down the line because almost all the good apartments are leased through brokers.

Spend the money for good winter gear. Save yourself the depression!

Also, I wouldn’t forego any health related expenses (things like gym, holistic supplements or medication). Moving can be extremely stressful which affects the body, so doing everything to stay healthly will make the process easier.

What were some of the advantages/disadvantages to working within your time and budget limits?

With all my moves (SYD > TLV, SYD > NYC, NYC > LA) I always opted for less planning and more action.

I have a lot of friends who have been talking about moving to the states since we finished university (2012) but are always waiting for the right moment; when they finish this project, or find that job, or save up this much. Moving is a huge decision, and it’s easy to find excuses for putting it off. For me, every year you push it back just means starting from zero at a later age.

Changing countries (and even coasts) for work usually means starting back at the bottom because our industry relies so heavily on the size of your network. The other thing I remind myself, which isn’t true for everyone but would be for most, is that if I move and it doesn’t work out, I can always go home and figure out another option. Knowing it’s not the end of the world if I move and fail helps me act quicker and worry about the small details less.

If budget was no limit, what conveniences would you have liked to use or were you able to incorporate into your move that you would suggest others try using, if they can? 

If budget was no issue I would have used a moving service to pack up my apartment in New York and ship it to LA. We looked into the cost of using freights and I believe the cheapest was about $7,000.

MENTAL PREP

How did you mentally prepare for the move? 

I’m a big fan of embracing the adventure of starting fresh. Before each move, I spoke to a few friends who live in that city to get a lay of the land. I planned big things, such as where I would stay the first few weeks, how much I thought it would cost me per month (talking to friends about cost of living). But what I’ve learned over my three major moves is that even the things I did plan ended up not going as expected! For instance, I moved to Bushwick when I arrived in NYC because a friend said it would be the best place for me, but it actually turned out to be the worst!

Moving requires a mentality of openness (to embrace uncertainty) and going in with limited plans meant I had to be more open to things going wrong, which I believe helped me not stress about tackling the various issues because I didn’t have any expectations of immediate success based on a well thought out plan.

In the words of Bruce Lee: “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. “

What is something you absolutely could not live without in the new area/place? Your hard line of "I'm not moving unless..." moment.

Crazy Street Sign #3. Blue Earth, 7 ahead.

Crazy Street Sign #3. Blue Earth, 7 ahead.

Moving from SYD to NYC, I had no hard lines because the most important thing was just getting there. Any hard line would have just given me an excuse to delay my trip.

When I moved from NYC to LA I had adopted a rescue dog and had to make concessions to convince my wife to move. So a dog friendly apartment was a must, a short commute time for my wife was another. As for creature comforts, I try to have the mentality that for the first year or two after a move I’m going to have to make sacrifices while I re-establish myself. Again it’s about mindset, for me, the goal is succeeding in progressing my career. So if that means living in a smaller apartment to save money so I’m not stressing while I figure things out, then that is a reasonable sacrifice.

A related effect of sacrifice is that all my best stories and most proud memories come from the most trying times. Making it through the adversity has been far more important to my person growth than always being 100% comfortable.

Did you ever find yourself at a low point and feeling like giving up or saying no the opportunity? Were there any times that people tried to talk you out of it or alternately were they supportive and helped you stay focused/encouraged?

Winter Park Snowboarding trip before my most stressful 6 hours of the trip (getting off the mountain in a snowstorm)

Winter Park Snowboarding trip before my most stressful 6 hours of the trip (getting off the mountain in a snowstorm)

Coming from Australia, making the decision to work in television in America is viewed as a glorified pipe dream. It was enough to make it if you grew up in America, but trying to succeed starting in a tiny little market like Australia is not deemed a credible career pursuit. The most common response to that idea can be best summed up by a quote from the Australian movie The Castle, “Tell him he’s Dreaming”. My parents and family friends question my decision every time the topic came up. Self-conviction and the support of my Aussie co-workers was huge in keeping me resolute in making the move.

My first year in New York was incredibly tough on me mentally. I was on a one-year visa, and I wasn’t sure if I could figure out how to get a sponsorship. I didn’t find my sponsor until the 10th month of my visa. I was living in Bushwick (which is a very industrial area of Brooklyn and the lack of nature added to my feeling of depression) above a record store that threw parties every Thursday night that resulted in my bed vibrating from the bass until 3am. It was one of the worst winters New York had seen in 60 years and all I had was a peacoat and chucks to trudge through the snow. I had broken up with my girlfriend the day I left Sydney (as my plan was to live in the states and she didn’t have any interest in following, nor did I want to ask her to do that for me) and I missed her… a lot. I was barely making enough money to cover rent and groceries, I had seasonal depression from the harsh winter, and I was working 16 hour days on very average shows. It just felt like nothing was going the way I had planned.

At my lowest point in the depth of my season depression, locked up in my depressing Bushwick apartment, I started to read The Alchemist (which by chance a friend had lent me) and the message of that book literally saved me. It was a reminder that life isn’t a straight path, and we need to embrace it’s challenges if we want to succeed on our path. I highly recommend it to anyone making a big move.

Dealing with unemployment when I moved to LA came with its own challenges. It’s incredibly disheartening and demoralizing to continuously apply for jobs and be rejected month after month. I was fortunate to have my wife who continuously gave me encouragement, but I also made every effort not to let it affect me. I would plan out every day so that I wasn’t sitting around the house.

I’d force myself out of the apartment in the morning, head to a coffee shop down the road and sit there until I’d applied to at least one job, or found at least one new industry person to contact (usually by searched IMDb for crew names and then Googling them), or spend a couple hours teaching myself new skills in After Effects, or reading strength and conditioning articles to help with my side job coaching Crossfit — literally anything to create some productivity in my day. Staying busy and on a daily schedule helped me avoid thoughts of how badly I felt I was failing. It also helped attending Blue Collar Post Collective meetups and talking to others who had recently moved to LA and had similar stories.

How does managing all this have an effect on your sleeping, physical health, and your mental health?

I think one of the most important factors in managing stress is having a daily routine to fall back on. I don’t know any way to say this without it coming across as preachy, but I attribute my ability to deal with daily stress to having a regular gym routine and eating as healthy as possible at home (meals out are a less strict). Life is challenging, moving to a new city and rebuilding your life is even MORE challenging. Trying to manage all of that with sub optimal energy levels is just unnecessary added stress. It’s like trying to do your best work on 3 hours of sleep. Personally, having a routine of going to the gym each morning got me up and out of the house, and making all my meals meant I had at least 4 things on my calendar each day which prevented me from binge watching The Wire for the 5th time.

When I’m going through a rough transition, I also try to practice gratitude each day and think of at least one thing positive in my life, or in the world (things as small as the feeling of grass between my toes at the park). Thinking positively is a decision we make, and in hard times, it’s easy to only concentrate only on the negatives.

Another tactic I use is appreciating how much worse my situation could always be (walking passed all the homeless people in NYC and LA makes it easy to see how bad life can get.) Reminding myself of how fortunate I am to be chasing my dream career and having the ability to relocate in itself is a blessing. Most of the things we stress about in life are actually meaningless when we boil life down to the essentials.

How do you know the difference between moving worries that can be researched or worked through or a generally bad decision/bad outcome risk? Can you even know that difference? 

If it’s not life threatening to you or your loved ones, then it’s probably not something to worry about. There are more optimal times and less optimal times, but I think the decisions aren’t too hard to make. Other small details can usually be figured out along the way. For example, researching where to live. You could stress over finding the perfect area before you move, or you could just decide to sublet the first month somewhere affordable and once you get a lay of the land, sign a lease in a more optimal area.

THE MOVE ITSELF

Such “pleasant” weather in South Dakota.

Such “pleasant” weather in South Dakota.

Moving from NYC to LA, I drove cross country in my SUV with a trailer hitched to the back. It was December, and I made basically zero plans other than to check Google Maps for how long it would take. The first full day I was on the road, I hit a snowstorm and had not prepared my vehicle with snow treads or chains. On the freeway towards Cleveland, I was only driving about 40mph on a 70 mph highway because I had already slid out once earlier that day. I was in the 3rd of 5 lanes because the right two lanes were exit lanes, and I was continuing straight. At some point, my back wheels lost a little traction and I did my best to correct the vehicle. What began as a very minor fish tale very quickly escalated and within about 10 seconds I found myself completely out of control, my SUV had turned 90 degrees to traffic and I was sliding sideways down the freeway, slowly moving across the lanes into the fast lane. I braced myself for impact with the middle divider because that’s where my car was headed and at the last moment closed my eyes.

Miraculously for whatever reason, my car slid into the safety lane, whipped around 180 degrees to traffic with the whole car & trailer coming to a halt off the freeway in the safety lane about a foot from the barrier. My heart jumped out of my chest, and I spent about 10 minutes in shock. I had begun a seven day road trip, alone, by almost dying. Unfortunately that was not the only time on this trip I would find myself in this situation.

When I made it to Colorado, I thought It would be a good idea to go snowboarding at Winter Park. On the drive into the mountains it was perfect weather, however when I woke up the next morning it was another snowstorm. After spending half the day on the slopes, I decided to head down the mountain before it got any worse. The road down was very steep and the switchbacks were covered in snow.

The end result of trying to drive down an 8 miles steep decent at 5mph in the fast lane.

The end result of trying to drive down an 8 miles steep decent at 5mph in the fast lane.

I had to drive at 5mph so as not to slide out and steamroll down the mountain (plus my Uhaul was too heavy for my SUV and when I put the brakes on, it would push my car and cause me to slide.) Because I was driving so slowly I tried to pull over to the shoulder every couple of turns to let the cars behind me pass. On the third or forth attempt to pull onto the shoulder, I guess I moved over too quickly and as soon as my wheels hit the snow I lost complete control of the vehicle. I slid straight into the barrier on the side of the road (thank god because otherwise I would have fallen off the mountain!). I had to get a tow truck to pull me out of the snow that had engulfed the front of my car.

Before the tow truck showed up a passerby stopped to help try wench me out, so I lent him my keys to pop open a hatch on the front of my car where the cable would attach. When the tow truck showed up, we both realized it would be faster to just let them do it and he drove off. I didn’t realize until I went to pay the tow truck driver that the passer by had driven off with my car keys. That man and my keys were never to be see again, but fortunately I had a spare key in my car. He also drove off with the Uhaul key, which I had to eventually open with bolt cutters.

I ended up needing another tow that day to make it down an eight mile road that was all at a steep decent. So needless to say, my adventure did not go quite as planned. At all.


AFTER THE MOVE

How long did it take to settle into your new place in your new area? In new job duties?

Moving alone to another country is very freeing in a sense that you move with nothing and can adapt to any situation because you have no attachments.

Moving coasts with a family was a little more restrictive because you need to make accommodations for all parties. That said you also can share the stress of it. The hardest part about moving to LA was just getting to know the city and figuring out traffic patterns. It’s such a different reality to NYC that it just takes a little getting used to.

Work-wise, once I started working I found that it was pretty similar. The great thing about our industry is that every project is unique, and in a sense, we are always starting over. New people, new workflows, new content. Our job conditions us to handle new environments all the time, and I think that also helps with moving.

What's your unpacking and getting situated process like?

I get a nervous tick if my living space is in chaos, so I always completely unpack the first day.  

Did you feel homesick ever or miss your old town? If so, how do you deal with those feels?

I have feelings of nostalgia for every place I’ve lived. Even the less desirable aspects of passed cities become romanticized. A great example is, I often think back with a romantic nostalgia on my time in New York when I was living in Park Slope having to walk four blocks to the closest Laundromat. For whatever reason I think back fondly on those moments, battling the -10F weather, struggling to wade through the snow/ice filled sidewalks into blade like winds, cursing the world on a Sunday morning while trying to make it down the road just to clean my clothes. Once I’d set off the washing machine I would walk across the street to a bakery and read a book while drinking coffee until I could move my clothes over to the dryer. Practically speaking I would NEVER want to go through that again, but it was a uniquely New York experience that I can point to and say, “I did that”.

I think home sickness is natural and I’ve left friends and family behind now in three different cities, but ultimately I’m trying to build the best life and best career I can and that’s why I am where I am today. If I didn’t feel as though I needed to be in LA then I think it would be harder to put up with the all the extra stress of living far from family and friends.

if you arrived 'hot' to town without a job, how did you manage to find work? -OR- If you came to your new area with a job in tow, how did that go?

Both my moves occurred without establishing work before arriving. It’s pretty tough to land a job in post production before moving, although not impossible. If you are looking for work in digital or reality there are lots of websites with job postings - Staffmeup.com, Mandy.com, “I need an AE” FB group - just to name a few. For Scripted content, the only real avenue to find work if you don’t already have a network that includes scripted people is to arrive and go to networking events and cold emailing people in the industry to build your network from scratch.

In fact, I wrote an article for BCPC about this - http://www.bluecollarpostcollective.com/blog/2018/8/22/luck-a-true-hollywood-story

Yoni, left.

Yoni, left.

What opportunities do you have available to you now (either that you didn't have before or have more of now) Do you find you have less work opportunities?

I spent 6 years of my career in Reality television. About a year ago through luck and daily efforts to build my network, I was able to land a Scripted job. So it’s all relative. If I was chasing Reality work, I don’t think I would have any issue finding a stable position at a production company, however at the moment, I have less opportunity because I’ve essentially started over in scripted television. I’m coming off three months of unemployment between jobs.

That said, I believe moving to LA was the right move because I wanted to work in scripted, and there are far more opportunities here than in NYC or SYD. In the tough times, I just remind myself that switching genres means I’ve essentially gone back to zero and so slow periods and tough times are expected.

How has moving changed your life, for better or worse or in-between/uncertain? 

Every time I’ve moved I’ve grown as a person. I think relocating is the best thing young adults can do. With each move I get to reinvent myself, it also removes all the comforts I’ve built up while in that place, giving me the freedom to take more chances and be more aggressive about chasing what I really want. It opened me up to different cultures, different ways of looking at the world, different political views, making new friends, seeing different realities, and constantly learning from my new environment.

The downside to moving frequently (I’ve moved every 4 or so years since I was 19 years old) is that you don’t spend enough time in once place to accumulate wealth and build a traditional, stable life (house, kids, stable career), if that’s what you are after. So in some sense, I feel behind my peers from high school who spent the last 16 years building a life in one place, but on the other, life isn’t a contest and personally I’ve enjoyed the adventure and I worry less about those things.

All non-american coffee drinkers will understand the importance of this photo.

All non-american coffee drinkers will understand the importance of this photo.

Interview by: Katie Toomey // @Ninjakittay // www.katietoomey.com

1 Comment

Katie Toomey

Katie Toomey is an accomplished LA-based editor with nearly a decade of diverse credits across the broadcast and digital spaces, including serving as editor on the main title sequence for Netflix’s Lost in Space. Born and raised in Indiana, Katie spent the beginning of her career split between corporate video and cutting the few independent film projects in the Midwest including the feature film “Ingenue” which premiered to a sold out IMAX crowd. She then pivoted into commercial and advertising in North Carolina, serving as a staff editor for the agency Mullen Lowe. There she helmed national campaigns for companies like Pep Boys and Tresemme, working on finished products as well as pitching new business. Taking the long way around to California she’s working her way through the unique LA film scene, including a stint at Imaginary Forces. She is currently a freelance video editor.