Be water, my friend

Wow, I haven’t written in a really long stretch, despite having every intention. It’s been on my ‘to do’ list countless times, but it’s always a case of where do I start when there’s so much to say?!

I am now 3 and a bit years into living in LA and it has been one of the most epic and interesting chapters of my story yet.

I s’pose I need to start somewhere, and the obvious option is this blog post that I wrote a year ago (but never shared). Time for it to see the light of day I reckon…

Here are some reflections after 2 years living in Los Angeles.

April 11th, 2014

It’s 2014.

I remember applying for my 3 year ‘O1 Alien of Exceptional Ability’ visa and looking at August 10, 2014, the date my visa expires, as a lifetime away. And look where we are!

I’ve been in LA just over 2 years. It’s flown by, yet been so dense, so chocked full of life. One incredibly rich, rewarding, maddening, crazy, humbling journey. A pathway that has often felt lonely and stupendously alien. A pathway that has been electrifying, engaging and often breath-taking in all senses of the word.

The first year was hard. Perhaps one of the hardest years ever. I felt tested. I didn’t love it and the more people asked ‘Do you just love it? Hollywood?’, I somehow knew I wouldn’t have the response they were looking for. My experience was far from the razzle dazzle one might imagine, and more a case of survival and learning to trust my intuition. Through trial and error my inner compass has become finely tuned. I reckon if you can navigate this city, you’re set for life. LA is a city of extremes. A jungle. Cue Guns N’ Roses…

Two years deep I’ve really come to know this city. The many corners of it’s vast sprawl. There’s a lot to love, and a lot that’s foreign. LA has so many faces. The gloss and glitz, the fancy, the gorgeousness of the hills, canyons, coastline, historical areas, mish mash of architecture, incredible food, the dank dark pockets, seedy underbelly, the Mexican heritage, weed culture and so much more. What greater Los Angeles and California has to offer seems boundless. It’s a love hate relationship at times, but one I’ll never regret stepping into.

Being here has made me grateful to have Australia as my home. It’s made me value family and old friends on the deepest level. It’s allowed me to ascertain my priorities and seriously up my acting game. There is so much talent and competition here in LA, you must constantly stride, push, pull, go with the flow, trust, know, be ready, game, bold, fearless and generally try not to give too many shits, when sometimes that’s all you can do. Being here is like a right of passage…and somehow I feel like I’ve crossed a major bridge…I no longer feel like a rookie.

I’ve recently decided to go through the process again to renew my visa. A decision I’ve been tussling with for months. All I know is I’m not quite ready to roll out of LA yet. I am only now starting to feel at ‘home’…and see my networks developing and acting world gain wings.

This city is seductive. No doubt. The opportunities are infinite. I love being a ‘Californian girl’ and I think it suits me.

We all know LA is a city of dreams – where people come to try and make it. Get the ‘big break’. But I’ve come to see first hand how fleeting and desperate that can be, and what does it mean anyway?? What is a break? I don’t think you can say anything is certain in this town, or generally within the industry. Breaks can come and go. Opportunities present when you least expect it. Being surrounded by the constant hustle, it’s easy to get caught up in trying to get to the top…whatever that is. Don’t get me wrong…working your butt off, shooting for the stars, recognising achievement, committing to being your best, and encouraging one another to keep on keeping on, is vital.

Living in LA has forced me to think long and hard about the acting game. For the most part you’re surrounded by it, it some shape or form, and for this I am truly grateful. It’s the very reason I decided to make the move. To be a part of the buzzing hive. To be surrounded by people with creative dreams.

I’m learning to take myself and the actors journey less seriously, growing less attached and remembering it’s essentially about playing and finding the fun. I’ve realised the industry is a circus, an unpredictable beast, a constant rollercoaster, a marathon.

It can be so easy to stumble into holes and focus on the wrong things. But through my trips, falls and resurrections I’ve discovered an essence of what’s important when on this creative path, that can most definitely seep into general life.

It’s about doing what you love and being excited about it, on whatever scale. It’s about finding and creating the opportunities to do whatever this thing is, to the best of your ability. Creating relationships with people who speak the same language. Releasing expectations. Doing, sharing, discovering, practicing, experimenting, and knowing you’re but a tiny seed in this infinite cosmos, and why not express yourself to the fullest? That to move forward, you’ve got to work hard, every day. You’ve got to stay inspired and motivated. When you know and love who you are, find your truth and follow your intuition, then you can razzle dazzle with the best of them, and simply ‘be water, my friend’.

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The Assimilation Game

You know you’re assimilating when…

You start to write the date backwards.

The emphasis in words begins to change, eg – pro-ject to proj-ect, pro-gress to prog-ress.

Petrol becomes gas, jumper > sweater, boot > trunk & bonnet > hood (car terms),  tracksuit pants > sweat pants, grill > broiler, bbq > grill… this list could go on and on.

L’s and U’s disappear from words – traveller > traveler, flavour > flavor, E’s and R’s trade places – theatre > theater and Z’s start replacing S’s – realise > realize.

Oh, and you no longer pronounce a Z as ‘zed’, it’s now ‘zee’.

You walk into auditions with an American accent and find yourself spinning stories of being one of those ‘mystical & real’ Angelenos.

You learn to sift through the bullshit when it comes to castings and everyday interactions.

You talk about film festivals, actors, directors, casting people, producers and the ‘biz’, all the time.

Denny’s restaurant chain feels like a trusted family member – one you can call on at all hours of the night or day and walk out feeling a solid sense of satisfaction.

Rad being used in conversation doesn’t feel awkward anymore and the 80’s flashbacks dissipate. You also start saying things like ‘they were blowing up my phone’ (calling/texting A LOT) or ‘raging face’ (to have tons of fun).

You start saying ‘sure’ and ‘right’ all the time; it becomes the new ‘yes’.

People working out at the gym in denim and/or loafers doesn’t make you shake your head quite so hard.

Kale comes into ear shot or conversation at least once a day.

Turning right on the red light (legal here) becomes normal. Though somewhere deep down inside I always feel like I’m winning when I do.

You get used to re-winding or pausing that movie/TV show because the helicopters (or ghetto birds) flying overhead are deafeningly loud at times.

You start eating salsa with your eggs on the regular.

Hot sauce pretty much accompanies everything.

You make sure to read bread labels and check the sugar content which is more often than not rather high.

You develop a ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ mentality in regards to the ‘LA Cruise’, a lane changing technique that has complete disregard for indicating on the road.

You look back on your days of catching the bus and wonder how you ever did it.

You have an extensive back catalogue of happy hour and brunch spots.

Gluten free, vegan, lactose intolerant, and all those with particular dietary requirements out number those that do not.

You warmly embrace and like to conversate about KCRW radio station.

You find yourself overwhelmed by the number of TV shows being produced and find yourself watching 5 different series at once.

You start surfing.

Rain becomes a magical force that has you glued to the windows and feeling rather poetic.

School nights become hotter than weekends to hit the town.

Red carpets, bright lights and movie trucks become part of the everyday landscape.

20140223_155327You realize parking a good half meter from the curb and on a slight angle is totally acceptable  and although unsettling at first, much like everything else, becomes another quirk you eventually take on!

I’m sure there’s plenty more I could add to this…

18 months into the game…and here we are then! Getting Americanified!