Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ode to Los Angeles part three

Rhys asked me a question. I love questions! She asked if I feel like it was worth it to move to LA even though I didn't have a job in The Industry.

If you asked every transplanted aspiring and professional writer this question you'd get some very different answers, so all I can do is talk about my own experience. And I admit, I'm a bit biased.

I love Los Angeles. As in, I don't understand how I haven't lived here forever. I love North Carolina too, and I'm glad to be going home over Christmas to visit my parents and this really hot dude I went to school with and hang out in the peace and quiet for a few days.

But then I'll be ready to come back.

I've written about my love for LA before in parts one and two, but that was mostly in relation to the creation of my short film and how easy it is to do in LA. My main point in those two posts is that this is the best place to be if you want to make a short film because you can't spit without hitting a cinematographer, an editor and about fifty actors. Making my movie would have been ten times harder back in Raleigh.

It's also about support. In North Carolina the only friends I had were Ex-Fiance's friends. I was terribly lonely and isolated. And when I first moved out here I brought my Ex-Fiance with me, although at the time he was just Fiance. When his mom and I were hopping around the city of New Bern looking for the right place to order the light blue chocolate wedding cake nobody ever ate, she asked me how long we were planning to be out here while I gave this lost cause a shot.* "A year?" She said, "two?"


Here, when you say you're an aspiring screenwriter nobody mocks you. Most people say, "Oh! Have you had any luck? What are you working on?"

Actors hand you business cards. Producers give you career advice. Other aspiring writers ask if they can read your scripts. It's so damn friendly.

And people ARE friendly here. Sure, on any given night you can run into ten phony bastards who are just looking for a way you can help their career. And I understand them because it does get frustrating to work your ass off every day and find out you can't get a spot in that office on the lot because some other girl had sex with Spielberg's cousin. So it is a struggle to keep yourself from becoming that shallow person you hated when you moved here.

But if you just spend your time around honest people, this is the greatest place to be. I've been very lucky to build up a group of friends who support each other. Most of my friends have hidden industry jobs like being PAs or packaging proofreaders or PR gophers. But those are their jobs today. Tomorrow we'll all be writers and stunt men and executives. A win for one of us is a win for all of us.

I had no idea this world existed until I moved here. Now I don't want to live anywhere else.

I've been here over two years so who knows - maybe I'll get sick of it. Maybe I'll change my mind after a few more years of trudging through the studio system. I wish it would rain sometimes. I wish my rent wasn't so high. I miss running around barefoot (I'm not fond of shoes and if you ever spend time with me will discover I will at some point slip them off). The constant traffic and noise gets old. The constant traffic gets old. And growing up I never locked my door.

And parking. Jesus. When I went home last year for my class reunion I parked like a mile away because I didn't believe I was allowed to park in the lot right next to the bar. I forgot I wasn't up on Hollywood Boulevard.

But to me, these are issues easily dealt with in exchange for what I get. The other day I saw Seth Green at the grocery store like it was any other day. I've sat next to Jane Espenson and picked her very wise and pleasant brain. I met Adam Busch and Amber Benson and tried to pretend I wasn't completely star struck while they discussed Adam's band. I learned to kickbox. I made a movie. I made new friends. I get to go out on my balcony every morning and see the constant sunlight reflect of the fancy houses on the hills, and if I look to the right and stand on tip-toe I can see the Hollywood sign, ever constant in the distance. And every weekend I have to decide between like three parties. And last week I ran out and walked in circles with professional writers and urged passersby to honk their horns for justice.

Know what I did before I moved here? Planned a wedding. Watched TV. Played XBox. Stared out the window. Drank.

Sadly, that's kind of true.

And if I sound a little sappy it's because I'm listening via headphones to a really victorious Bloc Party song on Pandora while the teacher who shares my room drones on about something that is evidently boring the crap out of his class.

So as the music swells, I will complete my thought by saying the following:


Los Angeles isn't for everybody. But it is for me.

*She didn't actually call it a lost cause, but she was thinking it.


  1. Emily--

    I hope you know just how many of the choices that you've made have been the right ones. I think you do. Happy Thanksgiving.


  2. Thank you so much for this entry! Helpful and inspiring. I'll be poring over your archives now... :)


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