It's been about a month since I moved to L.A. As a filmmaker, I finally caved and weathered the migration, leaving behind my family, friends, and everything that's remotely familiar, for a chance at fully realizing a dream.
The abundance of talent in this town is both humbling and infectious. Something I am in absolute awe of.
Also, people have a lot of freakin' time on their hands. Like a lot. I have never seen a place that's so busy, and laid back, at the same exact time. It's like people here are busy at being laid back, it's phenomenal.
They're not lying about the weather either. Perfect every day. Haven't caught a cold since I've been here. I've been swimming a ton too, it feels amazing.
Another thing I noticed: Starbucks is the office of about 80% of the film industry. The rest are posing at Intelligencia, Urth, or are lucky enough to be on-set.
This city lives on favors. It's very difficult to navigate sometimes. At parties, having conversations with people can feel very disconnected and empty, especially when they feel you want something other than a genuine connection, or when you feel a sneaking suspicion that they're smiling at you because you have something that they want. I'm still getting used to this one.
So when you do meet quality people, it definitely stands out. I've met some extraordinary people and friends here, but I had to wade through a lot of mud to get to the goodness. A lot.
Speaking of mud, I had a few run-ins with the paparazzi thus far. I'm not gonna lie, first time it happened, it scared the living Arab out of me. They jump out like those street performers scaring unsuspecting tourists, but instead of wanting a quarter, they want a photo. Many a photo.
Those flashing lights attack you again and again, and you're supposed to act totally cool. Well, the group I was with, whose photo they actually wanted, was totally unfazed. Me, I just kept rubbing my eyes and contorting my face, I looked like I was having a mild seizure and a severe peanut allergy. The next time it happened, I was more prepared, swinging my head to camera A, then camera B, then back to A. Until I realized they want 'candid' photos, and that I ruined the whole ordeal.
That night, I went back home and decided to throw a load of laundry in the local laundromat. I wanted to connect with people around me that weren't waiting for the "next big call that'll change everything".
As my wash cycle started, I noticed a woman slowly walking towards me. She was an older, rotund woman, a bit unkempt, but her smile put me at ease. She walked back and forth in front of me, sometimes bending down to adjust her sagging fanny pack, smiling every time her head bobbed back up.
I wondered about her. What her dreams were, what her aspirations were, what she truly wanted.
She stood a few feet away from me, unzipped her fanny pack and pulled out a small Tupperware container. She smiled at me. "How quaint", I thought. She carefully opened it revealing a loose plastic bag, and along with it the most foul, putrid, vile smell I have ever in my life been exposed to. I couldn't breath. Everyone around her immediately moved to the far end of the building.
I, being the closest to her in proximity, stood up slowly to try and pass her to join the rest of the tribe unscathed. I caught a glimpse of the contents in the bag. It was poop. Human poop. Now don't ask me how I know it was human poop, it just was. Unfortunately, it just, freakin', was.
I thought I made it past her when she turns around and gives me that smile again. She puts out her hand, and says, "excuse me dear, can I have a quarter for the machine?"
I looked at her for a moment, gave her what she wanted, and bolted out to my car for the rest of my washing cycle, waiting for the "next big call" to come in.
Follow Rolla Selbak on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RollaSelbak