When you least expect it . . .
By Maria Cristo
If there is one thing that I have learned in Los Angeles it is that if you want to get ahead in the TV and Film industry, you have to know people. Ever since I discovered this I have been trying to meet as many people as I possibly can. One day, on an airplane, I got lucky.
It all started when I was coming back to LA from spring break. When I landed in Miami I had four hours to make my 7pm connection. Such is life that I was stopped in immigration for three painful hours. I was stuck watching the clock tick the seconds away in a tiny white room. After I was officially let into the country, I ran as fast as I could to a baggage claim that was full of people walking in every direction. It was a mess. I frantically approached a baggage claim employee and he pointed to the carousel that held my bag. After searching for a while I found it under a pile of forgotten luggage. I ran to the exit but I had 5 minutes left on the clock. I approached an airport employee and asked him if I was going to make it, if by any miracle of god my plane had been delayed. “Your plane left,” he said.
As soon as he uttered these words I felt the stress melt away only to be replaced by sadness, and I started to cry. I could barely breathe between sobs as I explained to this stranger that I couldn’t miss another day of work and had to leave that night. (I’m not a crier; the tears came as a result of the stress. That little white room with the ticking clock takes a toll on you.) The man proceeded to hold my hand, “look at me,” he said, “you were not meant to be on this plane, everything happens for a reason, a person like you has luck on her side.” I immediately felt ashamed of the tears. I composed myself, smiled at the man, and walked to the counter to see if there was another flight for that night. Not only was there a flight, I was bumped up to first class! The baggage claim man was right, I thought.
I happily entered the plane ready to drink some free wine and go to sleep. The person sitting next to me helped me with my bag so I started talking to him and told him what had just happened. He took an interest in me and asked me why I was going to LA. I told him everything about SULA, my internship, etc. He asked me what I wanted to be and I instinctively said “I dream of becoming a production manager.” To which he replied, “That’s what I am!”
Long story short, that night I got to know one of the most amazing, good-hearted people I have ever met. We were stuck on a plane for six hours and we never stopped talking. We talked about favorite movies and directors. When I mentioned how much I love Quentin Tarantino he told me that he knew Quentin’s first AD, and that he would introduce us. A week later we had coffee and he gave me the AD’s phone and email as well as six other contacts in New York City, where I am moving in less than a month.
You never know when you are going to run into an angel. It might be in a café, a bar, a Movie Theater, or a plane. Open your eyes, talk to people, and always be ready. You never know when luck might strike.