City of Angels

Echo Park Car Wash

I've spent the better part of eight months trying to explain why I moved to LA, to friends and family, to fellow artists, to clients, to total strangers, and the more I say, the less they seem to understand. On a certain level, though, there's no secret: I wrote a screenplay and want to get it made. I'm one of those guys.

More importantly, I didn't want to wake up one morning and regret not pursuing this dream. The film industry is a young person's game, and deciding to enter it at, say, 50, with nothing on my resume but a feature I wrote back in grad school - one that I don't even particularly care for - would be daunting. Probably impossible. 

So I made the leap into the great unknown with nothing but my collection of books and a few cameras and enough savings to give it a go. I left a six-figure copywriting job at a tech giant, working with some of my favorite people in the world. I just had to do it.

Again, that's the obvious part. But there's something else, too. Something more abstract.

You see, I've consumed so much art made in Los Angeles, about Los Angeles, that I had this romanticized view of life here. From my two favorite novels, Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays and Bret Easton Ellis' Less Than Zero, to Ed Ruscha's gas stations and photographer John Humble's topographic explorations, to the mid-century modern architecture of John Lautner and Richard Neutra, to classic films like Chinatown and Big Lebowski, there's just something about the aesthetics here, and the history, and the landscape, that I'm obsessed with. And I had to experience it.

There's also the local music scene, and all these brilliant garage acts like Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, Bleached, Mikal Cronin, Mac DeMarco, Kevin Morby, basically all my favorite bands, playing at my favorite venues. And you're right there in front, taking it all in. That's been the best part.

What's been a pleasant surprise, though, is that, in the world I hang out in, which consists mainly of East Hollywood, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park and DTLA, there's this beautiful, collaborative, do-it-yourself spirit, with all these amazingly creative artists helping each other out, playing on each others' records, appearing on each others' podcasts, designing each others' album covers and performing at each others' shows, making short, experimental films with each other, scoring those films, putting on benefits for non-profits and art spaces, literally, giving their shirts off each others' backs, that's really been something. 

What's even cooler is that I don't feel any competition from anyone. Everybody is so talented, and everybody is doing their own thing, and nobody has time to be petty or jealous. Well, that's not true. Hollywood is filled with petty and jealous, but so far, I haven't had to deal with any of it, and something about this little bubble feels right. Hopefully, it'll continue.

Every day, though, I comb these streets, taking photos, going to shows, talking to strangers, searching for inspiration, and around every corner is something new, something beautiful, something essential to my being.

And the only regret I have is not making the decision sooner.