Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertulucci referred to it as “the big nipple”. Paul Newman refused to move west, saying he’d be too close to the cookie jar. Having just visited Hollywood a second time, I definitely see what they mean.
LA is a movie town. Its wealthy inhabitants made their fortune in the film industry as artists or as facilitators. Its working class is comprised of commercial actors, television writers, and music video directors. Its other main industries – tabloids, porn – derive from movies.
LA seems like a good place for aspiring screenwriters. At NYU, many professors advocated a post-graduate move. But if we were married to New York City, they would say to establish ourselves in LA first, and then we’d be able to write from anywhere. A manager I met offered a different perspective: “LA, New York… Live where you’re inspired.”
That statement has a lot of resonance. Too often, I consider a potential relocation as a good career move, feeling more able to market myself in Hollywood. I never considered the effect that could have on my writing. Not just in terms of the physical writing, but also being within proximity of The League, my former professors, and good friends…all of which create a great writing environment.
Marketing is secondary to writing something that represents my voice and talent. And as we’ve seen from Juno and Gran Torino - and of course from our newly represented Cakeman - you don’t need to have an address on Sunset Boulevard to get noticed…you just need your address on the title page of a good script. At least that’s what my trip to Hollywood reaffirmed. And it also inspired me to return as soon as possible…via First Class, courtesy of the big nipple.