Hustlin’ in Hollywood

I’ve lived here nearly two years now, since I came here with my hubby, and we settled into our Hollywood home. We live right by the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard and so close to the Chinese theatre that as soon as you open the gates to our apartment building you can hear the murmur, and after just a few steps you can see it, Ripley’s, Mel’s and the criss cross walk, filled with tourists. When I walk to the gym, I pass the most vacated area, Hard Rock Cafe (Where my husband works), the walk of fame, The Chinese theatre, the Madame Tussauds museum and countless of celebrity and superhero impersonators.

I now work at one of the ‘big five’ Hollywood studios, the only one that remains in Hollywood, Paramount Pictures. There’s nothing that beats taking an uber in through the Melrose gates and the driver gasps and asks, – You work here? And I say casually, -Yep. Then they hesitate as they turn in and ask, – Can I go through the gate? And I silently hand them my Paramount ID, and they hand it to the smiling security guards that all know me by name. My job, as unglamorous as it is, is within those walls, that has held so many secrets, stars and scandals, and is home to countless of academy award winning pictures and a lot of great TV shows.

I witness movie magic happening daily, A giraffe wondering around for a Coke commercial, Jane Fonda being driven into the lot in a black car, coming out with her big hair, looking stunning, carrying her little dog, a parking lot being turned in to an ocean, Mandy Moore going into a Makeup trailer then coming out as a 70 year old and orthodox jews and people in robes and tourists putting small pieces of paper into the cracks of the wailing wall, right here on the lot! It’s pretty amazing. I’m not one of those people who take any of that lightly, I still acknowledge these things with great enthusiasm, especially if I am on a tour with people who have never seen this before. I still marvel at the beautiful sight of the Bronson gate, with the fountain in front, and the Spanish missionary architectural style with the arch, which through you can see stage 4 as well as the Hollywood sign peaking through in the back. The greenery on the lot, where people sit and have lunch and coffee and discuss important things or not so important things. I love walking through the streets of New York on the backlot, where once William Shatner discovered a massive fire, and was on the news after he had called 911. It’s fantastic. It’s my favourite studio lot and I am so excited about being a part of Paramount.

It’s been a year since I started, literally, a year. And I was finally called in to a utility interview, and for a department that I am really excited about, which is Publicity. The interview went well and I was chosen to take over the utility position! That means, I will no longer be wearing the ugly khaki pants uniform that I’ve been grinding around the lot in, the hot black blazer that you can only take off after it’s hit 90 degrees when your outside giving the tours in the sunshine. I will be working in a cool, air-conditioned building, surrounded by photos and promotional materials and attending fun special events, premiers and screenings. I will be challenged every day, I will cover extremely busy desks, and I will be able to pay back my credit card debt, because I will get more than 6 hour shifts! Needless to say, I am extremely excited.

Rick and I still live in the heart of Hollywood in our studio apartments. We have Five ratties, and we have lost four. It’s a shame how short lived their love giving lives are, as they are such fantastic personalities and friends. But, we still have Missy, Lucy, Brainytwoo, Emmi and Ebony. Five gorgeous, healthy, athletic, fun and cuuuuute girls. Rick’s job is a three minutes walk away from our place, my job is 15 min away by bicycle, the metro is near, and Runyon Canyon is near, and we can walk to the gym in 7 minutes. It’s not bad. I’m pretty happy still, I love our apartment and I love being in the middle of the hustle and bustle, but it of course is a little taxing. And it would be great to have a bedroom… I’m not sure we can afford moving yet, but I know that a huge priority for me will be a swimming pool. It’s incredibly hard during the summer, it is so hot, and that is what I miss about Hawaii, I used our pool every. single. Day.

I have learnt a lot this past year, in production, which is my passion, I have progressed from working as a PA, audience coordinator, to Script supervisor and 1st AD. These jobs ALL teach you a lot about the process of shooting anything. I’ve been working a wide range of productions, expanded my resume, and gained skills and realised what I am really really good at, and what I’d rather not do. These skills have all helped me a lot and are going to come in handy when i decide to produce my own shit. I’ve written a bunch of stuff, and some of it I want to have made. I now know how to approach a lot of it, and follow it through from pre production to post. Although I still have a lot to learn. It’s exciting and scary at the same time, but the biggest thing for me is to not feel like I am in a hurry, like time is running out. Because yes, I am a woman, and women in film and TV have a certain age limit before they are put in roles of mothers and secretaries then grandmothers and crazy old ladies, and technically I am already being put up for young mothers, but that’s fine. My acting, as much as I love it, is not my greatest passion, what’s really important to me is that I get to direct, and tell stories. I don’t feel like there’s any rush in either, but of course, sometimes it’s hard when you see people skyrocket to success, or people getting the exact opportunities you want, no matter how happy you are for them, no matter how hard you try to NOT compare yourself with anyone else, sometimes. It gets to you.

Right now I am in a really good place, and I am making progress. I am taking sketch comedy writing classes at Second city, I am in Improv 201 at UCB, and I am producing ‘Calculations’  a play I wrote and am directing this year for the Hollywood Fringe festival. I am doing stuff. I keep forgetting how much I am doing, and beating myself up for not doing enough. But when I think about it, I am proud. It’s easy to forget when you are surrounded by hard working, ambitious, talented, smart and interesting people that you are one of the FEW people from where you came from that really went for it, and the ONLY one that lives in HOLLYWOOD. That is pretty crazy. It’s brave, and it’s cool and it’s special.

Everyone has their hopes and dreams, and everyone has a path, it is the eye of the beholder who judges whether or not it is an interesting one. I think personally, that some people definitely dream BIGGER. And I am one big dreamer!

 

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