This City Of Shark’s Teeth
So why am I starting a journal about my career in Hollywood?
A friend once compared the people arriving and leaving Los Angeles to shark’s teeth; when the first row of fangs falls out, another one replaces it immediately.
One person arrives at LAX with a suitcase, a pocket full of dreams and a big smile on their face, as another stumbles to check-out with a forlorn expression, akin to someone still trying to make sense of the car crash they were just in.
This place is hard.
If my career was a video game, then I’m playing on boss level mode and I’ve lost the fight at least twice, maybe more. On multiple occasions, I would leave California and return to Europe for some semblance of familiarity, with the hope to not return, and yet, here I am again, like some victim returning to their abuser.
Why is it that I feel so drawn to this strange and elusive place?
I tell myself I’m here for my love of Cinema.
Hollywood, with its iconic real-estate development landmark, its predictable blue skies to facilitate shoots and its continuity, and the dozens of film studios peppered across the city, this place really feels like the heart of cinema, and a natural step towards its Hunger-Game-like trials for actors.
It’s also likely that I’m here looking for home.
Despite returning to Europe every time this place brought me to my knees, I would also be reminded why I sailed across the horizon in the first place. I feel a kinship with many of the inhabitants in this city full of orphans. Each one of us here because of some innate drive to create, to amaze, to give people some sense of wonder.
I feel drawn to this city, maybe a little hypnotized, like a sailor swayed by a siren’s song.
Perhaps the friend who compared the flow of people coming in and out to the falling and regeneration of an apex predator’s teeth was onto something, but instead of a shark, it’s the belly of a whale.
A storytelling stage, the final separation from the hero’s known world and self. By entering this phase, the hero show a willingness to undergo a metamorphosis.
I’ve lived here for about five to six years and the experiences I had living in La La Land culminated in a mental breakdown of magnified proportions, a day in which I woke up with all my memories erased, forcing me to re-emerge as something new.
Now, life is so alien to me, that I often struggle to authentically connect with humans on a day to day basis. I have the movements, and mimicry needed to have interactions, but the choreography I am witnessing with their conversations that seem as though they have access to my thoughts, often challenges me and I feel as though I’m drowning.
Center yourself and rest in your own power.
Thankfully, I have movies.
I am able to connect to entire feature length movies.
Nine Days for example, in which a reclusive man conducts a series of interviews with human souls for a chance to be born. It was a stunning movie. I am unable to express just how much it moved me.
Well… I have never cried so much in a movie theatre, or maybe ever. Sat in the front row almost having panic attack, and the only logical thing I could think of for this cathartic reaction was that I recognized the story, as if I had seen it before, as if I was witnessing to my own birth.
There are so many movies now that make sense to me in ways I didn’t think possible, that now feel like documentaries.
Arrival, in which a linguist is able to decipher an alien language and suddenly experiences the flow of time in a non-linear way. The way replicants feel in Blade Runner, unable to trust their own memories, The Matrix, Westworld, The Truman Show and so many more that are no longer just imaginative stories, but literal experiences, that can heal those who have had similar inexplicable experiences and can act as guides for those equally lost in multiverse existentialism.
Despite my scars, I remain hopeful about my story, about this World, our World, and I may have a romantic perspective of things, but as Waymond Wang says in Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, “You think because l’m kind that it means I’m naive, and maybe I am. It’s strategic and necessary. This is how I fight.”
I am determined more than ever to make this place my home, and become an actor, writer and director, that people can enjoy and be inspired by.
And this is why I’m writing these journals.
This place is hard, especially if you feel as though you’re alone in making your dreams a reality. And so, I am adopting you, dear Reader, to keep me accountable. Even if you remain silent, knowing you exist, somewhere, somewhen, will motivate me to record my journey, reflect on what happened and how I can improve.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and see you next week.