It's official. One week from today I'll be in LA, most likely having wrapped my first of two meetings for the day (with an agent and a lawyer). I booked my flight this weekend and am still confirming travel arrangements. While I know how to drive, I haven't been to LA in over a decade and don't feel like dealing with navigating unfamiliar territory on a big day. I'm getting a hotel near the meeting locations, and should be able to get around easily enough on foot or via cab.
All in all, this will be a pretty quick trip. Everything official is set to go down on Monday. However, the last thing that I'd want to do is be inflexible should someone need to push back, so I've reserved all of Tuesday for whatever might arise, as well. Coming from the east coast, we need to be able to accommodate changes and last minute additions/subtractions from the itinerary. If you get called out there, it's probably wise to get out there a day early and leave a day late if you can afford it. I haven't used the service myself, but I have some friends who've found couches to crash on through couchsurfing.org. Especially if money is tight, it might be a good idea to look through that - an online community of people willing to let a stranger crash on their couch for a few nights. Sure, it sounds a bit shady, but the people I know who have used it swear by it.
In terms of the flight, Sundays are usually a busier, more expensive travel day. If you can, head out on Saturday and come back Tuesday (or some other time mid-week). I'm doing the red-eye Tuesday night, which means I'm back in NYC in time to go to work on Wednesday, but have all day in LA Tuesday in case I'm needed for whatever reason.
I know a lot of us (emerging/new writers) like to plan for that agent meeting as much as we can, down to the small details. What do I wear? What will we talk about? I'm fortunate enough to have my manager who is more than happy to answer all of those questions and more. In case you're wondering about the dress code, which I certainly was, the answer is to be casual yet presentable. Jeans and a polo or button-down are fine and can be worn with sneakers. There's no need to go over the top. You're an artist and are expected to dress the part. Of course, you'll also want to rehearse your pitches and know which projects you're going to talk about (that's the goal for this week), so that you're prepared to his the ground running in the meeting.
I have the next six days to work on everything (including trying to revise the first draft of my firefighter spec so that it goes from "incredibly rough" to just "rough"). Knowing myself, perfecting the pitches is going to be more difficult. I'm not great at the one sentence sell yet, so that's where I'll be focusing a lot of my energy this week. It's been a long road (I began the post-Apocalyptic spec for which I'm taking these meetings in January of 2008), but hopefully this is far from the end.