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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old January 28th, 2003, 10:23 AM   #1
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Los Angeles

Good Morning!

Well, here is a step I am about to do...

I am heading WEST for a 'Get-ta-know' Los Angeles. Anybody from there?

I am planning a two week jaunt in September and would like to line up some talks with potential work.

Any input 'help' would be appreciated.

The day gig has got to go...

Derrick
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Old January 28th, 2003, 12:02 PM   #2
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Well congratulations on your big step forward. I can't really help introduce you to potential employers, especially without knowing what field you're interested in, but I can give you some tips on making your stay in L.A. as enjoyable as possible.

Transportation
Greater L.A. is a sprawling metropolis with poor public transportation. You'll need a car, and make it a comfortable one, because you might be spending several hours a day in it.

Housing
The quality of housing you'll be able to get will depend on your budget, but look forward to paying between $500 and $1500 a month for a 1 to 2 bedroom apartment. Some things to look for in an apartment:
- Air conditioning, if it's not right near the ocean.
- Within 5 minutes drive of an intersection of two major freeways. (If you only have immediate access to one freeway, you'll find yourself landlocked in the event of a jam on that freeway.)
- Secure (gated) garage parking.
- Laundry room and trash chute near your apartment.
- Of course, high speed internet access!
- Good water pressure, fast hot water, no brown water.
- Grounded electrical wiring.
Housing is scarce. Roommating isn't an embarassment. You'd be surprised how many plenty-affluent people are living in dwellings that are literally falling apart.
If you have hummingbirds in your neighborhood, put out a feeder and keep it filled. Oodles of fun.

Grocery Shopping
- You'll be getting acquainted with Ralph's, the premiere Southern California grocery supermarket chain. Get a Ralph's Club Card and put it on your keychain so they can track all your purchases and collect consumer data on you.
- If you live near one, and you have space in your habitat to stockpile goods, it might be worth it to join CostCo, a bulk purchases club supermarket. (I think they're changing their policy right now, but they used to offer a lifetime exchange policy on everything they sold, including computers, so you could buy a computer from CostCo and swap it for the new model every six months.)
- Trader Joe's is a unique shopping experience; you'll be able to find uncommon, upscale, usually organic food items no more expensive than their supermarket counterparts, but the small stores, small carts, and manual ring-up process may get on your nerves. Best for those accustomed the European manner of shopping (i.e., small purchases and frequent trips to the store).

Fun
Los Angeles has a number of great museums (make seeing the Getty and the Museum of Tolerance at the top of your list; the museums at Exposition Park, like the California ScienCenter, are also nice), lots of big theatre houses with fresh-from-Broadway productions, and a top-notch Philharmonic. But above all, L.A. is a movie town, and if you're not spending your weekends and your paychecks going to the movies, you might as well be a hermit. Here are some of the larger hangout venues.
- Universal Citywalk in Studio City. This is a media/shopping complex outside of the Universal Studios back lot and theme park. No Johnny Rockets. It's loud, it's in your face, and it's overpriced, especially the parking ($8). Mostly a hangout for high school age kids. To be generally avoided.
- Downtown Disney in Anaheim. Disneyland's answer to the Universal Citywalk, and no better at that. No Johnny Rockets. Avoid.
- Century City, near the Fox lot. A large outdoor mall complex with shopping. One movie theater (an AMC), but several others in the immediate area. 1 bookstore, right near the AMC. Johnny Rockets in the food court. Free parking for 4 hours with a validated parking pass from the movie theater. (If you don't see a movie, just sneak in the back door of the AMC theater when others are exiting to self-validate your own parking pass. And you can usually talk your way out of a longer than 4-hour stay in the even that you had to way several hours in line, as with a big movie [Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.].)
- Burbank. Sprawling, lots of places to eat, shoot pool. Two adjacent AMC multiplexes and a few other movie theaters as well. Nice bookstores, including Book City, where you can pick up movie scripts. One Johnny Rockets, but you'll be going to the In-N-Out instead. Lots of generally inexpensive parking.
- Westwood. This is the just-off-campus cultural center for UCLA students. A disorganized collection of old movie palaces, some restaurants and music stores. The highlight is the Armenian barber shop--inexpensive, classy, professional--really the place to get your hair cut in Southern California. No Johnny Rockets, just a bunch of overpriced cafes and pizza joints. Some lots and structures, but mostly metered street parking, a real hassle, and unsafe for cars with any USC/Trojans paraphenalia on them.
- Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade. Now we're talking. Lots of great shops and restaurants (though not as large a diversity of food choices as at Century City), three movie theaters (one more within walking distance), and a road full of street performers ranging from the ragamuffin to the divine. One of the all-time classic hangouts. Not for the claustrophobic on Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, as this place tends to get packed. Two bookstores. One Johnny Rockets. $3 parking in any of a number of nearby city-owned structures.
- Hollywood & Highland. Just finished a year ago, this complex, meant to rival the previously mentioned, is the once and new center of Hollywood, right next door to the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Its Kodak Theater is the new home for the Oscars, taking over from the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion and the Shrine Auditorium near USC. One Johnny Rockets on the upper level. Inexpensive parking. (May be free, I'm not sure.)
- The Grove, near the Farmer's Market. Brand new in 2003. Much of the same stuff as the above. I haven't spent time there, so I can't give an assessment. Johnny Rockets in the Market Expansion. I don't know about parking.

This just in, a link sent to me by my girlfriend, with all the things to do in Los Angeles. laokay.com
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Old January 28th, 2003, 12:53 PM   #3
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EXCELLENT!

Johnny Rockets! HAR HAR! Never heard of that... Sounds like something out of the Jetsons.

I am working of a short SAG Experimental DV at the moment. Director of Photography/Cinematographer is what I had in mind, however, make things happen regardless of title... Make a film/DV. I've heard of a lot of people going , friends of mine, to LA and doing everything except the thing they thought they were going to do.

This is a look-see... I've been before, but my experience has been limited by the amount of time I stayed. This time I'll be going for two weeks and is based souly on experiencing the city, meeting friends, meeting industry people (i.e. film, television etc.), and seeing if this is the place to move my work to the forefront...

The day job kills... This move a necessity... If not in LA, it will be NYC. Anywhere for that matter...

I hope to strike up a rapport with people who want to make films, digital, or otherwise...

I hope financial burden will not be an immediate issue...

Thank you!

Cheers!

Derrick
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Old January 28th, 2003, 03:14 PM   #4
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Even with a Ralphs Card heir prices can be high. I stick to Vons.

Costco is your friend.

Johny Rockets is ok, but In-N-Out is much better in my opinion.

Traffic sux, so get a Thomas Brothers and learn the back roads.

Derrick, you sy you've got some friends that came out here and are doing everything except the thing they thought they were going to do, theirs a lot of that. You can hardly go to a 7-11 in North Hollywood with out meeting a wannabe actor/actress/director. Just find folks with the same interest, try to stay focused and just do what you want. You can always join the IFP/West. Plenty of connections and resources. http://www.ifpwest.org

SoCal is not a cheap place to live, so unless you're independently wealthy, you may need a day job to start out. But you may get lucky and fall into a good crowd when you get here and then things will just work out. Let us know before you come out and maybe we can find a way to hook up. I havn't met anyone from here yet, but I think it would be cool.
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Old January 28th, 2003, 03:28 PM   #5
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Mark,

Definately, I'll stay in touch regarding my jaunt out West.

Raise a glass of mead! Make some work happen...

I'm going to do another short here in NYC and hopefully, get my full length screenplay a twisting and refining...

I have a few helpful friends and distant family that may be able to help me there, working for Studios USA, Sony, and a plethora of actors who go there for pilot season and have been there ever since.

Keep in touch and add me to your email list(s). Send a memo regarding your endeavors...

When lightning strikes, we'll be there, it'll be made...

Cheers!

Derrick
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Old January 28th, 2003, 03:31 PM   #6
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The appeal of Johnny Rockets is the friendlier service, retro-kitsch decor (a fresh carnation on every table) and free nickels for the juke box satellites. Great chocolate malts.

In-N-Out has tastier burgers but a very limited menu. No chocolate malts, and only one choice for the vegetarian: a cheeseburger without the beef patty. In-N-Out isn't a franchise and the locations are harder to find. When you spot one, hit it up, and for kicks, try asking for your burger "Animal Style" and your fries "well done."
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Old January 28th, 2003, 03:44 PM   #7
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<<<-- Originally posted by Robert Knecht Schmidt : The appeal of Johnny Rockets is the friendlier service, retro-kitsch decor (a fresh carnation on every table) and free nickels for the juke box satellites. Great chocolate malts.

In-N-Out has tastier burgers but a very limited menu. No chocolate malts, and only one choice for the vegetarian: a cheeseburger without the beef patty. In-N-Out isn't a franchise and the locations are harder to find. When you spot one, hit it up, and for kicks, try asking for your burger "Animal Style" and your fries "well done." -->>>

. . . or my favorite, 4x4 Animal Style with well done fries
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Old January 29th, 2003, 10:26 PM   #8
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well, i live in the South Bay, and have worked in santa monica for the past 4 years ( came from seattle ) here's my thoughts:

tell everyone you know what you do and that you're available to do it. LA is way smaller than you think.

driving backroads means more driving, but same time on road. freeway is slower *driving* but same time on road as backroads. LA is huge, a lot of people live here, no way around it.

to get to anywhere in LA, takes about an hour. i know. weird. but it does. south bay -> santa monica? bout an hour. south bay -> downtown? bout an hour. santa monica -> downtown? bout an hour. embrace reality, and manipulate it for your own personal gain.

in-and-out, best cheap good burgers. if eat fish, go to wahoo's and eat fish tacos. if only eat veggie, go to wahoo's and eat rice + beans + guacamole. best sushi places are in strip malls and expensive. anyone who tells you otherwise hasn't been to the good places.

housing sucks. luckily you can earn enough to afford it. but it still sucks. $$$$. =(

spend time at the beach. its the only place within hours that doesn't have to stink or have houses on 3 sides. beach is good. surfing is better if you have 1) patience 2) swimming ability 3) friendly demeanor.

don't get dogs. i love mine to death, but they limit where you can live. if you don't smoke, don't start.

check out Orange County for good music. bands in LA all think they're going to be huge. in OC, they just want to play music. except Playboy Jazz Festival. that good.

south bay has less smog, more moisture. if you can't clean mildew off your closet wall on your own, don't move to the beach cities. on the other hand, if you get dizzy from smog in LA, move south. air is bettah.

lunch costs $10. if you can't afford it, don't go out. but you can always eat for $10 unless you go to sushi place in strip mall.

in LA, people are optimistic. everyone thinks they can be a star. and thats a good thing. much better than people depressed about the rain. make friends with the people who want to be stars. if they become one, you're set. if not, you're a better person for being a good friend.

if you like beach, live as close as possible. nothing prods you to go to the beach as having the beach within an easy walk. i promise.

learn to manipulate the Barnes and Nobles, the Borders, and the Tower Records. these are the media outlets. only a few real alternatives. and they take an hour to get to.

more as it comes, but that should get you started.

- l.a. transplant spice
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Old January 29th, 2003, 11:51 PM   #9
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"santa monica -> downtown?"

An hour? Maybe in rush hour traffic. I always got there in a half hour, it's a straight shot on the 10.

Wahoo's--How could I have left that one off my list! Stop for lunch whenever you're in Manhattan Beach. Baja Fresh is a passable substitute in other sectors.

The part about lunch being $10 is true. Sushi can be more expensive, but it doesn't need to be. There's one place in Marina del Rey with a $10 sushi lunch special... I hated sushi before I came to L.A., now I love it.

Right on about the positive attitudes. L.A. is for the most part a friendly place to live! If they could clean the smog, halve the number of cars and quarter the real estate prices, I'd still be there...
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Old January 30th, 2003, 01:03 AM   #10
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I wouldn't have even known where to start, you guys are doing great.

Robert, the Grove is a nice modern version of a shopping area patterened after a old-fashioned town center. Some good retail shopping (Apple store, can't beat that) and a GREAT movie theatre, all stadium seating. And the newly re-opened Cinerama dome now has 15 theatres around it, very high end (expensive tickets unfortunately), reserved seating and no commercials before the movies!

Still love the Mann Chinese for seeing epics.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 08:06 AM   #11
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Keep it coming...

Thanks for all the postings as I am filling my gut with the In-and-Out's of Los Angeles.

I'm learning and will experience it soon enough.

Brian Pink - - > A friend of mine dissuaded me from heading to Seattle a short time ago. "A wet place to visit, but no work." How's work in LA? Are you working in film/television? I could use a good dose of the positive. New York reality and go takes it toll after 8 years... Especially if your doing something that isn't remotely what you want to be doing... However, I am positive... Sounds like the damper side of LA is nice, I'm from Maine.

That is the same for everybody helping me out on this board, Are you working?

Thanks for all... Keep posting!

Cheers!
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Old January 30th, 2003, 09:36 AM   #12
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Derrick:

I for one am working, but it's not the case for everyone of course. The thing is, the work IS here, and it's largely NOT elsewhere. There's a lot of people to compete with here for that work. There are also a lot of opportunities, and people to meet and network with. Basically, if you want to make movies, it's happening here.
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Old January 30th, 2003, 11:07 AM   #13
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well, i miss the clean air and rain of seattle, but i like LA.

re: work, there's a ton here. LA has a huge diverse economy and the work is out there. now there are a lot of people, but most of them don't *really* want the work. i think patience, hard work, and a good attitude get you a long way here. i'm almost more busy then i can handle, doing some random video work, working on a documentary, and my usual design gigs. i have a hard time keeping myself organized enough to stay on top of the all the projects. my dad was a sales rep and he always said, "when things get slow, that's your opportunity. the world doesn't stop because the economy slows down, business is still being done every day. now get out there and be part of that business."

re: location in LA, if you want to work in hollywood, live near hollywood. if you just want to work doing video etc. move south i say. a lot of huge international companies have american headquarters in torrance and long beach. now its outside the "hip" areas, but i think there's more work and if you get known in long beach, the hipsters will track you down. LA is a pretty small place.

sounds like we need to have a dvinfo get together sometime. maybe at the wahoo's in manhattan beach? :)
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Old January 31st, 2003, 02:11 PM   #14
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Johnny Rockets may be the best burger chain in the country.
Really great burgers and shakes.
They have at least one in Chicago, a block off of Michigan Ave. at the back side of the Bloomingdales building.

In Miami, they have one down in the shopping district in
Coconut Grove.

They have one at the modern shopping complex in Cancun Mexico.

Damn I have to go have one now.
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Old January 31st, 2003, 02:34 PM   #15
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Express one to me... I'll reimburse... Production expense...

I'll just have to wait until my visit to LA.

Have an excellent weekend all!

Cheers!
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