30th of January, 2012
I’m on a bus to see a potential share house in the east Hollywood/Korea town district. I ask a man sat next to me for directions and the next thing you know he’s telling me in epic detail about his journey inwards; towards enlightenment. He explains he was an accountant, that rapidly lost all his clients and at some random point in conversation adds, his daughter choreographed the MTV awards in 2008. I don’t get a word in edgewise. I am finally off the bus, and find my way to the desired destination. I arrive at an ok looking place and meet a young girl named Nicki who seems cool. She interns at a music studio and her boyfriend looks like some kind of punk rock dinosaur with a tri coloured mohawk. I meet the crew, everyone is lovely, but when I notice a bong above the sink and they talk about the weekly parties, I realise this is not what I want to sign up for.
I walk up the street and withdraw cash from my new travel card – the card that holds my initial savings – to be spent wisely. The first big necessary purchase is a phone; so that’s the next mission. I go via a taco one stop shop and inhale a taste bud popping pork and beef taco with a side of corn chips and salsa – stamina giving food – and I’m off to the phone shop. Three shops later, armed with a whole lot of internet, gig, phone provider, big screen, small screen information and offers, I head back to my Hispanic amigo and get me an android smart phone. As a gift, he offers me a selection of gaudy floral phone covers and says ‘pick one’. I am lost for words, and then politely murmur ‘Are there any other colours, by any chance?’ I am sure he’s blushing, but he comes back with a plain black one and we’re sorted. Home to Weho with my new smartphone! Yehaaaww!
My first phone call is to a mate Saskia whom I met 4 years ago. We were both in LA doing a film and television intensive at an American acting institute called TVI. I head round to her Weho pad later in the evening. I get lost, walk south rather than north and a 15 minute journey turns into an hour. I’m frazzled. It’s dark and cold. I finally arrive at a beautifully lit building, that looks like something straight out of New Orleans.
We speed chat. There’s so much to catch up on! She’s been here 3 years on the O1 artist visa and has had a hellish journey, but not all bad. In a nut shell – after a mammoth and expensive mail out, she signed to an agent that committed suicide a week later, she busted up her knee and ended up with a 20 grand medical bill not having health insurance and then had to head home to Australia for the next good bit to sort her finances. Once that was sorted she returned to LA to work for TVI in their counselor program. Her job – to advise potential foreigners coming to LA on TVI programs and how to make the move.
Saskia and her mate are working on a web series and all her time currently is devoted to editing and preproduction; a stressful venture. Her flat mate is a casting assistant and looks online at my headshots and gives me feedback and advice. We eat crackers, cheese and salami and drink some Captain Morgan and coke. Saskia fuels me with so much information I feel as if I’m flailing deep out at sea. The crawl towards finding my LA feet has only just begun.