Recently while working on a fashion shoot with the English pop icon Natalia Kills, she expressed an interesting opinion about doing business in Los Angeles versus England. One observation she had is that LA is so busy an artist can only fit about three career-oriented activities into each day. I don’t know how much a thriving pop icon can achieve in a day in England, but I sure feel accomplished if I can get in a coffee date with an assistant to an assistant to a producer whom I worked with on a movie two years ago.
It’s been just shy of one year for me in Los Angeles. I turned twenty-four here and I’m looking forward to turning twenty-five here. Ten years ago when I first had eyes for the film industry, I never actually thought that I’d be here in the middle of the hustle n’ bustle. Compared to one or two industry/creative events per month back in Toledo, I feel like a rock star if I can manage an audition, a serving shift, and jotting notes for a screenplay all in the same day.
Between trying to find work as both an actor and a writer, and kicking around the old day job to pay the bills, I’ve learned that Los Angeles really likes to see how much a young artist is willing to sacrifice to get what he wants. Sometimes I have to remind myself, “This opportunity is greater than a shift at my day job, because never in a million years would this opportunity have arisen back home.” The mantra has become something along the lines of, “I didn’t move to Los Angeles to wait tables” (even though I do enjoy the job and carry guilt for the times I need to call off for an audition or appointment). I’m sure this way of thinking will come around to bite me in the ass, but I pray karmic law will favor my dedication to my career. As they say, damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Driving to Burbank to read for a feature film this morning, while encased in a gridlock of traffic, I found myself saying aloud (despite it’s tendencies to devour your soul and money), “I love Los Angeles”. I love that I pass the studio where they shoot parts of Cougartown and Arrested Development on my way to the bus stop (yes, James Franco’s Roast was also at this studio and no, I didn’t have VIP tickets). I love that I drive by Sony Pictures on my way to the grocery store. I love that, if I wanted to, I could be an extra on pretty much any television show. I love that Spider-Man waves ‘Hello’ to me when I’m taking a stroll down the Walk of Fame. And I even love paying a dollar to avoid having meaningful religious conversations with the homeless of Santa Monica.
Some days the vicious monster that is LA can get you down, but some days it will give you an opportunity of a lifetime (of course not before driving three hours on the 405). I’m constantly working toward bringing those once in a lifetime opportunities closer to my reach, and I’m willing to do anything except porn to take my career to the next level. Unless it has a great script.