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Meet Amanda Ogen of How Did I Get This Far? in Mid-Wilshire

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Ogen.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amanda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Even though I am proud to be a modern independent woman, I also truly do not know how to do much of anything! I often joke that my ability to share conversation with anyone is my only real skill. Over time, I realized how challenging becoming an adult truly is without ever learning how to do most grown-up tasks – things like getting an oil change, installing a shelf, or even making hard-boiled eggs! When I could no longer avoid these tasks, I felt overwhelmed, frustrated, and anxious. I imagined I was not alone. Schools rarely cover real-life responsibilities like registering to vote, buying a car, or washing your face. YouTube had become very helpful for learning different skills when I needed help right away. However, I wanted a platform that educated on basic skills and knowledge BEFORE I needed to know them in the moment.

That’s when I learned about podcasts. I started tuning into these audio-based programs while getting ready for work or driving. It was a way for me to learn while still going about my day. Then it clicked for me! I checked to see if there was already a podcast tackling everyday life skills. Most informative podcasts centered on higher-level education or sarcastic humor on adulting. I created “How Did I Get This Far?” as the podcast for basic, clear advice on fundamental skills and information that we all need today or one day in the future. I knew I wanted a career that involved collaborating with creative, ambitious people. Since 2015, I have been working in casting and talent coordination for TV and commercials in Los Angeles. My work has allowed me to live out my goal of a career that centers on interacting with all kinds of people in thrilling environments. My various experiences in my career have connected me with a network of coworkers, friends, and talent who have helped create my cover art, brainstorm ideas, and record my podcast trailer. The next step was the biggest hurdle – actually making episodes.

My exciting podcast idea sat in my Google Drive for a year as I continued working, exploring LA, and traveling. I was working on a Netflix shoot in Atlanta when COVID-19 shut down production. Since my normal life was put on hold, I no longer had any excuses. I had joined a free webinar called “Make Corona Your B*tch,” which taught me to take the one thing that I could not stop thinking about and make this horrible pandemic the best thing that could have happened to that one thing. I thought of my podcast and decided I was going to launch it. Within the first three months after that big shift in mindset, I recorded almost 20 episodes, including one with a fan favorite from ‘The Bachelor’ franchise, Ben Higgins. I even had a partnership with a Greek apparel company to create “How Did I Get This Far?” t-shirts. The podcast has been a lot of work full of excitement and nerves, but it has been a joy collaborating with incredible people and creating the resource that I wished had existed already!

Has it been a smooth road?
As I expected, starting a new venture in which I had no experience was not always easy. I was developing the show and its format, researching and recruiting guests, outlining my interview questions, recording, producing, hosting, editing, and promoting all at the same time. As essentially a one-woman production, I knew I was taking on a lot. Whenever I was excited about a positive step forward with my podcast, I was overwhelmed with another aspect. This could be from not hearing back from a potential guest right away, or from trying to understand social media, or from losing sleep over hours of editing. In the end, I remind myself what I am doing all of this for – to help myself as well as others break down the uncertainty of learning new things through fun and enlightening conversations.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with How Did I Get This Far? – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
“How Did I Get This Far?” is a free podcast with 35-minute audio episodes featuring light-hearted interviews. The episodes break down everyday tasks that many of us – especially myself – secretly never learned. Listeners get the basics of the unknown through fun anecdotes, comedic quizzes, and educational reviews of basic terms and technicalities.

While I am thrilled with the guests I have been able to feature on the show, I am most proud of my bonus episode on Black Lives Matter. Less than a week after launching my first episode, the Black Lives Matter campaign led to an initiative called Blackout Tuesday. To stand in solidarity with the movement, I paused my originally scheduled second episode and took that week to do my research. Motivated by my new platform, I created an episode with a childhood role model to share her story as a Black mother as well as our research on allyship, cultural appropriation, and racism.

Even from the brainstorming stages of my podcast, I have always envisioned my podcast growing so that it can tackle more complex topics like understanding disabilities, different races and religions, the evolving LGBTQIA+ community. While I was nervous to touch on Black Lives Matter so early in my podcasting process, I was proud to use my platform to learn and share a powerful message. I look forward to continuing to use my podcast to enlighten and encourage positive change.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
Living in Los Angeles has always been my biggest goal. As a Jersey girl from a suburban town, I always dreamed of living under the projecting lights of movie premiers and the big, beautiful palm trees. After I moved to the Mid-City area of LA in 2015, I identified the Hollywood sign as my “North Star.” When I looked at the letters, I knew I was facing north, but I also knew that I had made my dreams come true. Even on a hard day, seeing that sign reminds me that I am living in a city many can only imagine experiencing. I also love exploring all that LA has to offer. From hikes to beaches to city life, there are endless activities. Most importantly, my career in entertainment exists here! What I like least is the PARKING! I love being able to have a car, but the limited parking makes me want to chuck my car into the Pacific Ocean. However, it is a small price to pay to live in a city full of endless opportunities and great weather!

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Image Credit:
Zack Morrison, Charlene Borja, Samantha Banuelos, Raina Kiviat, Molly Matalon

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