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Fun Joel's Screenwriting Blog


-- On Screenwriting and Related Topics

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Location: Los Angeles, CA

I moved from NYC to LA in October, 2003. And though I still think NYC is the greatest city in the world, I'm truly loving life here in the City of Angels. I'm a writer, reader, and occasional picture-taker.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Back East

One of the linguistic peculiarities I've noticed about Los Angeles is that everyone refers to the East Coast as "back East." This is true even if they've never lived, or even visited, that side of the country. My guess is that it has something to do with the way our country grew over its history, with settlers moving gradually from the East to the West. Who knows? Just something I've noticed.

Regardless, for me to say "back East" is appropriate, since it is where I was born and spent the majority of my life. And thus, I must tell you all now that I am (temporarily) heading back East. Yep. I'm taking a nice medium-long trip back to New York and New Jersey, so if any of you live out there and would like to meet up, let me know! I'll arrive in the middle of the night, this Thursday (technically the wee hours of Friday morning), and will be running around until July 4th when I return to L.A.

Looking forward to it, and would be nice to meet some of you, if I have the time. So drop me an email, if you like.

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Anonymous chris Soth said...

My Dad from Seattle and my Mom from Kansas City always said back East too. I decided to be the generation to put an end to it...no luck so far.

10:43 AM  
Blogger Twixter Scripter said...

Over at the screenwriting life the "LA or Bust" debate continues. I posted a question asking for thoughts on the benefits of moving to NYC.

Of course, it later occurred to me that you would be the person to ask. Perhaps you've already covered this in an earlier post, but what is the conventional wisdom on living in NYC?

I have friends pursuing music/acting/modeling and they have had varied success in the Big Apple. They meet plenty of producers and have landed a few paying gigs (including a supporting role in the upcoming Spiderman flick). How is the atmosphere there for an aspiring screenwriter?

I imagine the answer is “NYC is better than [insert city] but worse than LA.” Am I right?

5:37 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Twixter -- I'd say your last comment is probably pretty accurate. Let me also try to add a few more bits to the mix.

The NYC film community is much more familial than the LA one, and that is because of its size and its relative size to the employment community in general. At the same time, this manifests itself more with relation to production jobs, and the like, not as much so with screenwriting.

The NYC film industry is much more indie focused, whereas the LA community, obviously, is more "Hollywood." So if you want to be an indie style screenwriter, you might be better off even, or at least not too hindered, living in NYC. But if you want to write for H'wood, you will be greatly helping your chances (at least in the beginning) if you are in LA.

Something else I noticed, is that when the industry experiences any kind of contraction (which it did about 4 years ago due to the recession finally catching up to it), the effects will be felt first, and perhaps more intensely, in NYC. This, for example, one of the companies I had been reading for in NYC went from about 5 or 6 development execs in their NYC office to just 1 in the span of a year or so. Clearly this will also reduce the amount of NY-based sales. I believe the NY side of the business has again pickd up, somewhat, but I'm not too sure since I'm not there anymore. But it remains something worth thinking about.

Bottom line, however? Yes, NYC is prob better for your screenwriting career than another city, but less so than LA.

Plus it is worth living there for at least a little while since it is the greatest city in the world. :-)

6:39 PM  
Blogger Twixter Scripter said...

Thanks for the info/perspective. I'm from New England, so NYC is much more accessible than LA. I think next year may finally be the year that I make the move.

UPSIDE: JFK to LAX is cheaper than [insert New Englad city] to LAX.

DOWNSIDE: A friend of mine is paying $2000/month for a studio in the East Village.

With rent like that, I better either make a spec sale or start looking for a well paying day job.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

While rent in NYC is quite high, that is simply ridiculous. You can DEFINITELY find more affordable housing than that.

9:59 PM  
Blogger Twixter Scripter said...

What area would you suggest scoping out for a decent apartment?

I suppose it all depends what you're in to. A nice balance of affordability and accessibility is key for me. I don't mind paying a little extra to be in the thick of things.

Personally, I hate commuting. Currently I have a 4 minute walk to work every morning. There is no other way to live. No car. No hassle. I wake up 45 minutes before work. Shower. Fry an egg. Throw on a crisp shirt and tie. I'm out the door. It’s well worth the extra rent.

3:52 PM  
Blogger Fun Joel said...

Twixter --

Drop me an email and we can discuss specifics.

5:52 PM  
Blogger Emily Blake said...

I have a tendency to say "where I'm from" or "back home", I guess because I just got here. That's also because when I say North Carolina people get confused because they always think I'm from South Carolina. They can't reconcile the fact that I'm from the South with the word "north" in my state's title. By that logic, people from South Dakota should have drawls. But whatever.

Have fun back where you're from.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Ralphie said...

"Back east" - I've always hated that. Like we all came out here in covered wagons.

12:50 AM  

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