Day 9 and “This place is over!” My friend says. We’re eating steak Benedict. Of course. “All you need to make a film is this!” His phone. “You’re a good writer, write yourself something. Stallone did it.”
Maybe he has a point. But I’ve been lured by a myth. A myth recently enforced and perpetuated globally with Lalaland. But a genuine myth. And like all good myths, we want to believe it. Another friend in this town said “Yeah Emma Stone keeps saying in interviews how she relates to her character’s audition content in the movie. She’s never had to audition in her life. She just … walked into Superbad.” I don’t know the truth of that. Of course there’s buckets of bull in this town though. Anyone that has ever been interviewed in any capacity knows that in the spur of the moment, you feel you have to tell a story. I heard Florence from Florence and the Machine stalwartly resist any attempt to either be mythologised or do it to herself on a radio 4 interview once. Even if I appreciated what she was trying to do, it made for a woefully boring interview. She just seemed to be shutting down the interviewer. And I found myself getting pissed off with her. Wanting her to play along. Because we want that story. Le Carre speaks well in this article about the process by which interviews split us from the truth, to the extent that we might even start believing someone else’s story about us because it’s been published.
And I know I have a story. Of sorts. “Why are you here?” People ask. I give a little potted life history, touching on some of the big negatives, ending with a positive. Because, despite my attitude to it, I’m involving myself in the game just by being here. Maybe I should write my equivalent of Rocky. Everyone in this town has a screenplay they’re trying to sell. Go big or go home, they say, no?
Today I only left the house for yoga and lunch. I applied for a bunch of stuff and sent my bullshit package to a few people. Mostly it was just me and three damaged dogs. One of them is lying at the end of my bed as I sit writing on it. The most damaged one. He and I are firm friends now. He hobbles after me when I walk around the house and sits at the foot of my bed like a loyal retainer. Marley, appropriately enough considering I played Scrooge recently. Here he is:
I’m glad I’m away from my context for a bit. I’m glad I can’t do my usual scrabbling around for money while I wonder if there’s an audition round the corner. I’ll be broke when I get back to the UK. But I like that I’m a blank slate, and that nothing can happen but what I make happen, and that I don’t have the money to buy happenings. Buying happenings is big business here. “Do an improv course!” 500 bucks. “Take a casting workshop.” 200 bucks. If nothing comes of nothing I’ll still have rejigged my bad habits, done loads of yoga, stayed sober and written the equivalent of a novella with my minimum 500 words daily. And if I’m ever interviewed about this time I’ll tell a moving story of how I had to eat dog food in the morning before washing some clothes I found in the gutter and hitchhiking to the studios with a murderer for the meeting that gave me the limited niche recognisability that has caused the interview in the first place.