LA lovin...

My overall time out here is hugely positive. It truthfully has been the best time of my life. The sun and freedom help. The time to think and reflect because you take time out from the real world, is always going to be useful and deeply appreciated. But I have had other trips where I have done similar thinking. But this city, for me, creates a whole wealth of opportunity and chance and inspiration and hope, that no other place has given me. It's a city people are quick to judge and you assume it's full of people, that other people are quick to dismiss. Because why wouldn't you? The preconception is It's a town of flakyness,  of insincerity, insecurity, bravado,  show, false promises and broken dreams. It's surely fickle and in genuine and full of try hard wannabes with distorted ambition. It's a city full of houses with gates and pools and pianos built into the floor with glass panelled stairs and hoovers made of gold, and then you stop off at the traffic lights and a homeless man with a trolley full of stuff,  will ask you for a dollar, and even though you see this back at home, nowhere have I seen the difference be so distinctive and so obvious. A town full of money, and streets full of homeless.

The city can be strange. My time here has been off kilter a few times. You do lose yourself slightly in a world that is somewhat, unreal. But the only reason we feel that it is 'unreal' is because we are made to believe we should live another way. That life in the sunshine, not brutally working day to day, is a treat. It's something only the special or the lucky do. Only the talented or the rich. And in some regards, I still believe it. If you don't have money it is harder to live a certain lifestyle. Days with spare time and evenings with spare sunsets.  But... its not entirely true. I met many people out there living on the same budget I live on at home. They work, they hustle, they get up early or work until late and not everyone is cruising around in a matte Bentley.

As a side note... LA looks hideous in the grey overcast days. If it rains, it's like a tropical storm and the whole city looks horrendously dull. Also people cannot drive here in the rain. To be honest,  I find that people cannot drive here full stop. Aside from the fact that you can turn right on a red light, and pedestrians can cross the road when the lights turn green for the cars, they also do not say please and thank you whilst driving at all. They do not wait to see if you are letting them into your lane, they will just go (and mo you down in the process).  They will speed up if you're trying to get into a lane, so that you cannot maneuver yourself over.  Driving here can induce heart burn, headaches and outright rage. But there is always Uber... which comes with its own risks all the same.

LA is massive. I feel it's hard to do more than two things in one day. You can try. But it takes time. Everything here seems to take time. From the moment you wake up until the time when your head hits the pillow, you wonder how an earth your day was so full and busy with not actually getting stuff done. It's an odd concept.  People will ask, what you did that day? You feel exhausted. You quickly went to the bank and then popped to the grocery store, before heading on a little hike and then having a coffee meeting later that day. All of that just there would take maybe 3 hours back home. Here, for some weird time warpsy illusion, that would take you 8 hours. You cannot 'pop' anywhere, and nothing is just a 'little'... Everything is epic, everything takes time, and nothing happens quickly. Because in between all of that you have to sort your stuff out for the rest of the day. Make sure it is with you. Because you don't want to have to be heading back 30 minutes in the opposite direction to get your heels for later. You then drive, use the sat nav and maybe get lost, more than likely sit in tons of traffic on the 101 and wish that you had listened to Google maps when it had showed you all red roads. Once you arrive, you have to find a space. It can take you 30 minutes just to find a one and then when you do, you spend 10 minutes reading over the sign more than 100 times. Because the signs here are the devil. They are sent to try you. Confuse you. They try and lure you into a false sense of security and make you think you can leave you car there for a good while and then you come back to a parking fine because you had parked an inch too far away from the curb or your bonnet was a centimetre too small for the road you were on between the times specified.
Once you trust that you can, you head off to hike. And the hikes are spectacular. You don't want to just do a little hike, you want to get to the top. You want to take in the epic views and contemplate life and your dreams and what your going to do next, and whether your car may have been towed because you think you may not have tucked your wing mirror in between 8.12am and 8.17am. You take your time, you catch your breath, you take a selfie, you take another... and then you have to get back down. All of this and you haven't even got to your coffee meeting yet. So yes, things do take a while here. There is a lot of space in-between places and horrendous drivers whilst getting to them places. But still, the pros out way the cons.

LA is full of beautiful things. Cute coffee shops, amazing restaurants, great classes, blue seas, pretty houses, lots of sun and sand and kale...

Firstly I feel obliged as and actor to give some info that I know other actors have been asking regarding my time here. What classes are good and are workshops worthwhile? Do you have have a chance to meet Quentin Tarrantino and is it appropriate to give him a hug or ask for a job in his next Sci Fi meets Greek tragedy film (this is not inside info, please don't sue me)

So in the next blog post (I thought it best to divide into two because I do talk a lot) I shall give my top tips on having a scrummy ol time here, whether your an actor or not...

Reflecting in LA...

So I've been in LA for over two weeks now and I have felt days where I have been completely overwhelmed.

I can't tell whether this is positive or negative. I guess they are both. 

People are doers here. They do. They do not procrastinate, they do not talk about doing it, they do not dream about it... they do, they just get on with it. Today that intimidates me. Yesterday it inspired me. I guess that's because I'm human.

The biggest comparison to home is the fact that people praise hard work here. People like to have lists of things to do and try and people here give a massive high five to that. It's not embarrassing or too try hard or too needy to want something so bad that you give your all to it. It's not shameful to try and fail and try again to fail ten more times, to try again. Californians seem to love that. People here do not seem intimidated by your dreams or threatened by your desire for more. For more money, for more ambition, for more drive, for more shit to do...whatever more it is you want, people will encourage it and praise it and push you to do it.

Back home I've found that people, on a general basis, do not have this same mentality. Working hard does not seem as encouraged or championed as say the accidental success story. At home we love an underdog. The guy that won the lottery the first time he played it, or the middle aged woman that wrote a blog and it just so happened that the CEO of penguin publications read it loved it and commissioned her for a three book deal. We all love the story that JK Rowlings Harry P sat on her book shelf for years and then just one day out of the blue her friend says to her after taking a glimpse that she should get it published. And oh low and behold just like that an assistant read it and forced her boss to take notice. And the rest is history.... No one cares or wants to think about how much actual work and pushing she really went through to get Harry P noticed. It's cringey to think how hard some people try. I know it is because I cringe. I cringe at myself. It always brings me to that same old question...'What am I trying for, sacrificing for, working hard for?' And the scariest question, 'Does it pay off?' Back home I think a lot of people might say no, in LA without a doubt the answer is 'yes, yes of course it does.' 

I guess I used to believe that the magic was toworkhard, but not need an end result so bad that you might die if you don't achieve it. Work hard but pretend you don't want to reep the rewards. Work hard but don't be disappointed when nothing comes of it? Or is the magic in wanting it, seeing it, believing it and then working for it and not stopping till you get it because why the hell would I stop? 

I get same old question time and time again... 'When will you give up?' Which makes you want scream in saids persons face for a multiple of reasons... a) You are never going to give up... When are you going to give up your boring 9-5 job that you hate so much because the boss is a douch and he overworks you? B) its frustrating that people think it is just a hobbie C) because it niggles away at a spot of fear where sometimes, just sometimes you think, maybe you should become a yoga teacher, knit owls or move to Thailand (refer to 2 blogs back) Because along the way you might realise what you thought you wanted isn't what you really want and what you thought you were working for ends up leading you to something else entirely. But at least if you try and you work hard, your chances of achieving great things are far hire than if you just bought a lottery ticket and sat watching reruns of Friends every night. 

The one thing I know for sure, when people add that other really insightful joyful question, whats your dream? Your goal? Eastenders? I know for sure the one thing I am looking for is time. Christian Bale was once asked what he was grateful for now he had all of the monies, and he replied time. Money can buy you time. Time to take a year out, time to learn another language, time to reflect, time to just 'be' and I know for a fact that's the aim, that's the end goal. Yes I like to act, and yes I like to play different people and tell stories and get on stage and get the buzz, and watch the end production and say 'Yehhhh we did that' but I am not shy to admit that I want to reep the benefits of that. The ability to not have to work 8 hours a day to just pay the rent, leaving me no time to do said story telling, production watching, or buzzing on stage. Having to earn money slogging away to just 'survive' does not tickle my fancies, and yes, some people may say 'Who do you think you are? We have to go to work and do a job we don't like that much, to retire at 65 if we are lucky and then go forth and experience LIFE'  once we have retired, but the point I think is, you don't have to. We do not have to stay molly coddled by the 'THIS IS WHAT WE ARE MEANT TO DO' The thought process that that, is the only option we have. And of course some people are more than content with that choice, and life and are fully content with that, but if your not, if there is something you want to pursue so you can have more time, early retirement, better quality of life (because noone 'wants' to shop in Iceland) Then it's OK to work hard to get it. Here in LA, that is welcomed, and at home, I feel that is shunned. 

It's not as easy as saying 'Wahoo I want to be a Spice girl' you can't just give up your job and start your pop career the next day. Rent has to be paid somehow, but this is stuff we can be doing, progressing, working on, in between the hours of hell on earth temping. That 30 minutes I am on the bus scrolling through Instagram I could be writing to casting directors; organising my show reel edit; choosing head shots;  writing a scene. There is ways to utilise dead time, and it isn't with pinning loads of brides dresses onto a board, for a wedding that I am not planning yet. (Obviously I so don't do that) -_-

Here is a clip that literally changed my life that I watched a few months a go. A good friend sent it to me and the very next day I booked my flight to LA. Shonda Rhimes is my WCW... she Is smart and funny and wise and a little intimidating, and I love her. This whole speech rings true to what I have just been saying and what I feel differs in LA to home...

Stop dreaming, start doing!