As the adage goes, all that glitters isn’t gold...
However, in the Golden State our playground is littered with an equal measure of fool’s gold and luxury glitter. I hadn’t noticed how living in the epicenter of the movie industry had influenced my perception, until I moved out it’s celluloid frame. Living in other states, and overseas I soon realized that others compare tinseltown to a wonderland. To a native, running into a celebrity is like scratching off a lottery ticket, it’s fun but often enough, not what you expected. I’m not knocking Cali, I’m happy to be back. We have many things to be thankful of in our exclusive zipcodes. The things I hate about SoCal, I don’t find as rampant in other places, but the things I love about my homestate I can’t find as abundant elsewhere. Like most Californians, I have a love/hate sort of codependent relationship with SoCal. Who can blame me. Oh, and maybe more of a pet peeve than anything, but I usually can spot Cali-transplants, they tend to call their newly adopted home La La Land with feigned dissatisfaction. [I see you… hipsters] Perhaps that’s what help perpetuates the notion that Hollywood is a state of mind and a place of arrival, because it’s woven together with everyone’s expectations, aspirations and dreams. Hmm, now I have the Muppet’s Rainbow Connection earworm.
The one time we are very aware that the studio zone surrounds us, is when we play hosts to tourists. Chauffeuring our friends and families around, pointing out landmarks or points of interests, our thanks comes in the form of watching the bewilderment of our guest as they stare off at the Hollywood sign expecting more. And, there is more. In actuality, crossing paths with a star is more commonplace than extraordinary.
This is going to come off as a humblebrag, and I won’t even try to justify it. My first tv appearance was when I was 3 years old. To top it off, it was my favorite children’s television show. As exciting as that was, it did give me a glimpse behind the curtain. A few years later, we moved 4 houses down from a movie studio. Every year the studio would open the gates to the public so we could stomp around the backlots and get autographs from captive actors all trying to grin and bear it. We pass studios on the way to school and run into actors at the grocery store. Even one of our family businesses gave us access to the personal lives of those on the big screen. I’ve lived on the same street as some stars, and to this day I regret having not crashing John Wayne’s granddaughter’s party, instead opting to go clubbing. Oh well. I danced on stage at concerts for a couple of well known rappers. I was even dragged to a house party to later discover it was actually a producer’s AA graduation. Looking back, I wonder if my date invited me specifically because I didn’t drink.
I’ve lived a far from typical life, but those events aren’t too extraordinary in LA. It’s just part of the scenery, just like many of my friends we all rub shoulders in some capacity with a so-and-so. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, trust me.
But that’s just how LA is, occasionally you find yourself partying, working and even dating someone that is in the industry. I think that’s why LA seems like an artificial construct that stretches outside it’s county, encircling everything from Six Flags Magic Mountain to Disneyland, and from the sea to the mountains. As if there are no cities, nor 58 counties, it’s really just a vast Technicolor playground with movie backdrops replacing Cardinal directions.
It’s all about location, location, location. We’re spoiled rotten, and no where is it more evident than when we’re watching a movie and spot a familiar landmark. Only locals have the satisfaction of knowing damn well that driving through the 2nd Street Tunnel is shorter than on the screen, even during traffic. Contrary to movie magic, I can not drive through the Griffith Park Mount Hollywood Tunnel and exit onto PCH. Hey, I love Griffith Park, and have a strong connection with the place but it’s not a portal to Narnia. I often say that if the Griffith Park Observatory is LA’s hood ornament, then the Cinerama Dome is Hollywood’s bellybutton. Of course movie production is not limited to Hollywood, many exponentially beyond the 30 Mile Zone have contributed greatly to the industry.
Which brings me to my blog, there’s a gold rush of independent movies. With the advent of home computers, and editing software, movie production is now within a fingertip’s reach. There’s a wonderful community of independent directors, all vying for your bandwidth. If you want to get involved I would highly recommend funding a project at Kickstarter. Your contribution will be greatly appreciated, and who knows maybe you’ll get a credit line.