Happy Anniversary to Me + LA!

26 May

And a candle for every month…

I wish I could take myself on some wild adventure today to celebrate surviving and not developing any clinical disorders during my first 6 months in LA! But I’m applying for an animation art job, so I gotta work. Perhaps late tonite I will buy me‘lady a cocktail. I’m thinking a “Boozy Floozy” at my neighborhood Big Bar might be just the thing.

Thinking back to my first nite in town, I realize what a difference a few months makes. I arrived the Friday after Thanksgiving after an epic road trip from Portland, OR, covered in SmartFood popcorn from Ralph’s, my little car packed with my only earthly possessions and two of my best girlfriends.

What I thought then:

– I’ll easily get an agent. I had one in Portland, I’m experienced, I just shot a national commercial — why wouldn’t I get one here!
– My skin is dry! What the f—?
Where am I? (On every road, everywhere.)
– Thankfully, I saved up a crapload of money. I’ll be fiiiine.
– Spending $80 on industry booklets at Samuel French will help me figure things out in no time. I have names! And contact info! Who are these people?!
– I miss my friends.
– I’m on vacation! But I live here??
– Everything in movies about LA is true! People are talking the biz, dressing like they’re famous, putting red carpets in front of everything.
– Oh my god, I have to do all of this again tomorrow??! (That was my thought every nite as I went to bed, the first week I lived here. I was exhausted from my education.)

What I know now:

– It takes time to get an agent when you’re new and no one knows who you are. I just signed on with one last week, thanks to a connection from a friend.
– Not everyone here is a celebrity. There are even people who don’t want to be famous! Yes, the guy frothing your latte has been on CSI as a dead body and will tell you all about it, but there are plenty of people who have careers and lives outside of the entertainment industry. Meet them. They are interesting!
– I can get around town without my GPS. But it’s always good to keep it within reach.
– It’s dry here. And my face has freaked out and broken out thanks to that – and stress. It’s a process…
– I should have saved up a million dollars.
– I still have not looked at those Samuel French books.
– Every day is an opportunity to criticize the shape of my body, color of my hair, my age, my connections, my worth as a person… (Or better yet, NOT.)
– You can walk in LA! You can also bike, hike, swim, ski…
– I miss my friends. But I have made new ones, too.
– People honk before they nearly run you over in a crosswalk, hit your car, or run a red light. And they also surprise you by kindly letting you into their lane.
– Almost everyone has been involved with porn in some way. (But not everyone’s taken their clothes off for it.)
– Car insurance costs a billion dollars.
– Patience is key.
– The ocean is magic.
– So is the Hollywood sign.
– Sunshine streaming through my windows helps me wake up in the morning.
– Gross, slobbery, messy crying will happen.
– If you think “What am I doing with my life” once a week, things are going well.
– Exercise, sleep and nourishing food, help.
– Taking improv classes is not only good for your skills, it’s good for meeting people. And becoming part of a network that values not taking things so damn seriously.
– You will succeed if you are able to figure out “just being yourself”.
– LA loves hamburgers.
– Hopping on the freeway between 4 and 7p will result in homicidal thoughts.
– Always pee before you drive anywhere.
– Letting people know you need help, allows them to help you if they can.
– You will be checked-out and stared at ANY time you enter a room in LA. And you will notice when you’re in a place where you aren’t. And feel a little like no one saw you come in.
– Self-righteous is not the same thing as grateful.
–  It’s Lohs FEE-layce! (I’m sticking with that.)
–  At least one weird thing will happen per day.
– It is tough here. It requires a whole lot of work and hustle. And that’s just to get your mail out of the tiny box it’s jammed into.
– It is absolutely necessary that you don’t give up hope in yourself and what you want. Because eventually, you will get it.
– Frozen yogurt still exists.
– Be a “regular” somewhere. You’ll feel like you’re at home.
– It pretty much is about who you know. And preparation so that you’re ready to meet them.
– If you are wearing a nice outfit and your hair’s did, people will think you’re an aspiring actress trying too hard. If you’re in your junky sweats, a baggy T-shirt – but also sunglasses, people will assume you’re rockstar famous.
– Skype may just save your life.
– So will an ab-burning fit of laughter.

I’m just beginning to figure it out. Feeling less bi-polar about my life here, every day. (Sometimes even hopeful!) I like LA. A lot. And I want to give myself a fair shot at succeeding in this town. I’m deeply thankful for my family, my friends, my boyfriend, and everyone else who’s reached out a helpful hand / life preserver. Even when I didn’t know I needed it. I hope I can return the gesture someday.

Here’s to future successes for us all, wherever we are. Thanks for joining me on this journey! Let’s toast each other with my favorite quote from Deadwood, “Every step a fucking adventure.” CHEERS!

For the true story on the photo, go here

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2 Responses to “Happy Anniversary to Me + LA!”

  1. kitty cattaraugus May 30, 2011 at 5:44 PM #

    When I moved here and saw the Hollywood sign for the first time I thought it was really small and was bummed out it wasn’t lit up at night. Congrats on your half year anniversary!

    • Lauren May 30, 2011 at 6:05 PM #

      Thank you Kitty!! So often, I think about whether it has ever been lit at night. Or that it should be! With the cunning use of solar panels. I felt unimpressed by the size of the Statue of Liberty when I moved to NYC. Everything’s bigger in my mind!

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