I was in a pretty good mood one Thursday afternoon. The sun was shining outside, birds were singing loudly, and cookies were baking in my oven. And to make the day even better, a good friend from back up north IMed me. I haven't seen or spoken to her in a while, so playing catch-up on this already awesome day was just icing on the cake. She was still glowing from her weekend getaway with her new beau when she sent me a link to her flickr page so I could see the pictures of them lollygagging around on the beach. But there were only a few of those, and I found myself poking around the other albums she had, including ones from a recent concert and her last birthday.
As I looked through, I couldn't help but notice some familiar faces. Faces of mutual friends dotted almost every picture, and each event was like a mini high school reunion. They all looked so happy, joking around with each other, eating cake and dancing around. It was good to see everyone with a smile on their face. But as I clicked through the albums, I realized that she doesn't have any pictures of me. And not because I'm allusive around cameras and I hate being in pictures, but because I was nowhere near any of those events. While they all spent the last few years back up north, I've been down in LA.
And that's when it kind of hit me. I'm essentially alone in this town. Sure, I have caring neighbors and a number of friends to hang out with, but no one I've really connected with. No one who I'd love to spend a whole day with, just hanging out and doing nothing.
Which go me wondering, "What am I doing here?" I'm not exactly working these days, and without work, there's no income, no stars to reach for, no ladder to climb. I'm basically sitting on my ass here in LA, hoping that SAG will sign a contract soon and production will start up again. But even then, there's no guarantee that I'd find work. At this point, I've been out of the loop for a tad too long and I have no idea if any of my connections will still lead me to a paycheck. So... What am I still doing here? Why aren't I back up north, hanging out with good friends and ending up on flickr pages?
After some thinking, I couldn't come up with any answer better than "because I have to be here." I've given up alot to be where I am. And I mean where I am physically. I moved 500 miles away from a loving family, true friends, stable job offers, and anything comforting I once had, to live in a crowded, noisy city known for it's lying, cheating people and polluted air. A place where everyone's a stranger. I came to LA, despite all the negatives, because this is where you have to be if you want a career in film, whether you want to be a director, writer, producer, or just a PA. This is where it all starts, and while it may be hard, self defeating, brutally honest, abusive and kicks you in the face from time to time, this is where you have to be. The lessons will be hard, the hours will be long, and the risk is high, but simply put, this is where you have to be.
Right now, the chances seem slim that I'll be anyone with a name in this biz. But I have to try. I've come too far to turn back now, and in all honesty, I don't want to. I've given up a lot of things to get here, and at each step of the way, I knew exactly what I was giving up and at each step I took, I had no idea what I was getting into. But this is where I have to be. It's a scary road to be taking alone, and I have no idea where it's leading me, but I have to hold onto the hope that it'll lead to more cookies and sunny days.