Emily Anthon | Suiting Up and Showing Up

Editor's note:  The following bio was written by me, not by Emily, and therefore contains glowing excerpts from a letter of recommendation I wrote for her in 2008.

Emily Anthon is not only a person who sparkles, bringing happiness to those around her, she has tremendous initiative.  In her early 20s, she picked up and moved from California to New York City.  Despite a limited college education, because of her sheer effort (and a great dream team), she has graduated from being a nanny to a fairly significant support role at Disney and with Governor Romney's presidential campaign.  Many people at Emily's age are more credentialed, but given her trajectory, she will have surpassed many, if not most, within another 10 years.  This woman is a winner.

***

Do you remember during the opening credit to Pretty Woman where some guy on the streets is talking to anyone who will listen?

 

Welcome to Hollywood!
Everybody comes to Hollywood's got a dream!
What's your dream?
My current dream started a few years ago when I wasn't happy at what some would call a dream job, but it just doesn't working for me.  Because I love movies so much, my roommate suggested that I move to L.A. and get paid to work in the entertainment industry.

 

Hollywood sign

Source:  istockphoto

Realizing she was right, this was what I wanted, I few months later I moved from NYC to LA and eventually landed jobs across three major motion picture studios, Warner Bros, Dreamworks and Disney. A few years later I temporarily left LA for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on a presidential campaign, knowing that I would eventually come back — and again become involved in the movies.
In January 2009, I moved back to L.A.  I felt I had already had my ‘break', had a resume that rocked, and I had contact within the industry.  I just knew getting a job in my industry wouldn't be hard.  They don't just post these jobs on Monster; you have to know where to look.  But just to be sure I also made a small list of 10 companies that I would want to work for, a list that included production companies I had worked on the studio side for, or others whose products I was passionate about.  I did a specialized cover letter, explaining why I wanted to work for each of the 10 employers detailing why I wanted to work for them, and sent my resume ‘old school' — through the mail.
From some I received the form letter thanking me for my interest.  From another, a postcard with a box checked saying they had nothing available.  From the rest I heard nothing.
I know the economy is tough, studios are laying off employees, not hiring. I apply wherever I can.  If I see something I'm qualified for, even if over-qualified, I send in my resume.
But I have been undeterred — I love movies, and by being in L.A. I can find ways to be ‘involved' in the industry even if I'm not yet getting paid

 

Producer's cut

Source:  istockphoto

 

There are advance screenings that I go to, I participate in focus groups about trailers, upcoming films, unfinished projects — you name it — and I've made business cards that promote me and my skills and have given them out when I make contact with someone who might be of help professionally.

 

I've called old bosses, old co-workers, responded to ads on Craig's list (click here for some of the odder ones) registered with every temp agency that feeds the studio pools. Minus the temp agency informational, I had seven interviews one week. I've interviewed to be the personal assistant to a Japanese rock star, event coordinator for a small amusement park, and executive assistant for a sound design company, but never felt the right fit.

 

I've made time to seek out music in the Hollywood club scene.  Perhaps an odd way to achieve my dream, but here I've been able to make contacts that may help me out down the road.  In this town, it's all about who you know.  In discovering some of these new artists and bands, I came across lyrics to a song by the late Spencer Bell.  They capture how I feel:

 

Louis thought the world was his to see
But it didn't matter cause California's where he needed to be.

 

It's been nearly six months, and about a month ago, I found a temp job working for Netflix.  It's a job that allows me to be in L.A., includes perks like access to lots of DVDs, affords flexibility to interview when I want, and pay my bills.

 

Director's chair
Source:  istockphoto
And while I still haven't found the right job — and at times my dream seems out of reach — but I've suited up, shown up — to Hollywood.

 

Cause California is where I need to be.

*** 

Is it possible that if we will observe what we are ‘suiting up' for on a daily basis, we'll have a better idea of what our dream is?  
 
Jane Clayson tells a story similar to Emily's about suiting up.   The week she arrived in L.A. to work for ABC, they closed the cable news division down.  There was Nothing for her to do.  For months she showed up anyway.  Eventually her break came in the form of the O.J. Simpson trial. 
 
Any suggestions or ideas for Emily?
 
For those of you that You may want to re-read Throw down your Pom-Poms and The Hazards of Getting in the Game.

Exploring Possibilities and Presidential Politics

On Saturday evening, my 11 year-old David announced, I think I'll watch the presidential debates.

You will?

My husband and I have talked about the upcoming election intermittently (upon telling our 7 year-old the basics of the democratic and republican platforms, she's already declared herself an Independent), but presidential politics isn't really part of our family's everyday patter.

Until yesterday.

Perhaps because early Friday morning, with the country astir over the Iowa caucuses, I thought — wouldn't it be fun to attend a Mitt Romney town hall in advance of the New Hampshire primary, and wouldn't it be fun if David went with me. I'd never been to a political rally, neither had he, why not make this whole presidential campaign more tangible?

Davidmitthands
Photo courtesy of Emily Anthon

David was immediately ‘in', so I called my friend Emily who is having the exhilarating experience of working on Mitt Romney's campaign (every presidential campaign is no doubt thrilling — talk about some genuine head-butting); I asked Emily where and when and we were off.

So often I imagine doing something, especially something spontaneous, but rarely do I actually do it. I (perhaps you are too) am primed to stop at imagine, whether it's because I don't want to try something I'm not good at. Or in this case, be impractical? After all, why date an idea, if I'm not going to marry it?

So let's look at what happened simply because we went to New Hampshire for a few hours.

1) I practiced moving from imagining to exploring, an important aspect of daring to dream, and, in turn, opened the door to David exploring his possibilities.

2) David not only came along, and is more interested in debate than ever, he has a picture of himself with a presidential candidate: images can wield a powerful effect, positively or negatively, else the advertising industry would be out of business. David also tells me this photo will garner some oohs and aahs from his surprisingly (because we live in MA) conservative 5th grade classmates.

Davidandmitt
Photo courtesy of Emily Anthon — I tried to take a decent picture, which is why they are looking at me, Emily gratefully got the shot

3) Presidential politics is now more real to us. David wanted to watch the debates, and when we wouldn't let him stay up to watch the democratic debate, thanks to Tivo, he watched it this morning.

Will this experience be pivotal for either of us?

Odds are no.

But isn't it true that the more we explore our possibilities, the more possibilities there are.

When have you recently listened to your gut, and not only imagined, but also explored?

Have you gone back and done a what if I hadn't, considering how your future changed because you explored?

P.S. There's a fun entry written by Elizabeth Williams sharing her experience of attending the democratic Iowa caucus. It just makes it all so more real, doesn't it? She's got great jewelry too.

Related posts:
Doorsteps, Doors and Dreams
Rock Climbing and Rethinking our Competence
Imagine and Explore
Getting Back in the Saddle of our Possibilities
What IF?


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