L.A. Incidental

I’m writing this from Tutka Bay, Alaska, about a 30-minute boat ride from Homer, which is a four-hour drive from Anchorage, which is a five hour flight from Los Angeles, where I just spent a week visiting friends and having a good time. It was the first time in more than a decade that I’d arrived in LA with nothing to sell, no meetings to take, no mad dashes from lunch in Santa Monica to a 3:00 PM in Beverly Hills where––just for instance––after I arrive, I receive a text telling me that the meeting has to be rescheduled because Mr. XYZ has been held up at a lunch meeting and evidently didn’t feel the same compunction to dash across town that I did.

No. I spent a week in LA without that crappy feeling. And without the crappy feeling that I have after mangling a pitch. Or the even crappier feeling I have after nailing a pitch and realizing that it doesn’t really matter because the project was doomed long before I walked in the door; nothing left to do but get my parking validated and go back to the hotel in time for cocktail hour.

Without all of that, LA suddenly felt like a warm and welcoming city. My wife and I hung out with some old friends and made some new ones.  I had some long, leisurely lunches and relaxed dinners and didn’t spend a second fretting over traffic. When people asked my what I was up to I told them about A Short History of Decay and my plans for making the film.  I received nothing but incredibly warm encouragement and support. (Much more on that later). Nobody thought I was crazy.  In fact, it seemed like a lot of the people I was hanging out with were doing the same thing themselves.

I may be imagining this, but it seems that the frustration I’ve been feeling for the last few years in Hollywood is shared by most; working outside the system is becoming more the rule than the exception.  The people doing this range from screenwriters to actors to directors to producers to musicians.  It seems like we’re all in the same boat together, trying to forge new paths and do what’s truly meaningful to us, come what may.  After all, if it’s going to be this hard, we may as well be doing what matters, right?

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