Loving L.A.

I always say, New Yorkers love to talk about how much better life is in their city than in Los Angeles, and Angelenos spend zero time worrying about it.

Another dismal day over the Academy of Something or Other.

Another dismal day over the Academy of Something or Other.

I love Los Angeles! And not because of the small differences obvious to anyone who spends a few days there: the weather’s perfect, the apartments are bigger and the radio’s better. And it’s despite L.A.’s one massive flaw: that it bought into the automobile lifestyle so completely that life is an exercise in avoiding traffic jams. As the twin siblings of the entertainment business, their major difference is that the New York industry will always be the poor neighbor to Wall Street and the rest of the business centered here.

I just came back from a week in L.A. for some face-to-face time with my partners on two projects. I’m always impressed by the thoroughness of people’s knowledge of “the biz” out there. To be caught not knowing a major cast member of a hit TV show – even a show that people may quietly admit is “not that good,” meaning, “it’s dreadful” – is a gaffe. It’s your job to know these things. I say “Wait, who?” the Angelenos’ eyes widen just a bit as conversation continues. “There’s a high brow among us.” Soon enough, they’re referencing The Act of Killing, or a recent Argentine film: They watch them too!

Mostly there is a difference in the work ethic of the two cities. In New York, “You should be working harder” is the default solution to most problems. In Los Angeles, the solution is “Work smarter.” Keep your eyes open. Be flexible. The answer may be easier than you imagine. Any writer wondering “How many more drafts of this story do I have left in me?” should probably take in some L.A.