The program I work on splits its responsibilities between two locations: here in Dallas and out in El Segundo, CA. We often send people back and forth for different reasons like troubleshooting, fixing broken stuff, consulting on various problems and planning strategies for the future of the program. For the past couple days, a guy from El Segundo has been helpin' us out here in Dallas and I spent a lot of time working with him trying to solve problems and such.
Yesterday, during lunch, I asked him about the L.A. area--what it's like living there, how accessible L.A. is to outsiders, the cost of living, etc.--and I eventually told him a little about how I'm hoping to get into acting in the future. I told him that my ideal situation would be to transfer to El Segundo and keep my job as a part-timer so that I could train and try to get work as an actor. Turns out he knows a guy that is trying to break into acting, mostly doing extra work, but also shooting some commercials and such. Anyway, my co-worker said he would put me in touch with his friend if I wanted, so that I would have a contact out there and could discuss the business with him and whatnot.
I was really surprised how easy it was to meet someone on the "inside" and I'm glad to have a contact like this one. Hopefully, after I've completed the two-year program I'm looking at here in Dallas, I'll be able to call on this contact to help decide if I want to make the transition to L.A. I never thought I'd get a good contact for acting while working as an engineer, but I guess that's why they invented the word "surprise".