Monday, 2 March 2009

Hollywood Babble On & On #241: City of Angels Not A City of Filmmakers?

Moviemaker magazine posted the 25 best cities to be an independent filmmaker. (h/t Nikki Finke) the #1 city was Chicago, Illinois.

The thing that struck me was that Los Angeles didn't make the cut. In fact the only California city to make it was San Diego, and that was at #23. (14 spots behind Milwaukee, WI at #9)

Now at first I thought they deliberately excluded Los Angeles because it's already the movie capitol. However, I didn't see any mention of such an exclusion in the article, so I have to assume that it's a major burn to the Los Angeles area.

Now I've never been to Los Angeles, but I have talked to some folks who have lived out there, and one common theme I hear from all of them is that, for the most part, it's not that great a place to live once the novelty of mostly sunny weather wears thin. The city is poorly designed, with too much sprawl, too much traffic, too many taxes, too few amenities, and the fabled sunshine is often obscured by vehicular smog or the smoke from the brush fires that regularly threaten the mansions of the wealthy.

Which makes me wonder, have the boom times that fed the city's epic growth poisoned the well. Los Angeles could be wonderful, if you're rich enough to live in one of the neighbourhoods high enough in the hills, or close enough to the sea to escape the choking sprawl. But even then the facade of paradise doesn't seem all that great. Life is expensive, wealthy neighbourhoods don't appear particularly friendly as everyone seems to get into their cars in their indoor garages in mansions surrounded by walls, drive through their armoured gates, to only get out at another indoor garage with more security than the Pentagon. The concept of a friendly chat with the neighbour over the backyard fence seems long gone there.

Those who live without the benefit of millions have to live with the highest state income and sales taxes in the country, (until recently) extremely overpriced housing, and the inability to go anywhere without a car. (I used to live in downtown Toronto, and I used to walk everywhere, or took public transit, and didn't even need a car. Which is good because I'm an awful driver.)

That's why I'd like any of my readers who live in the Los Angeles area to tell me if they agree with me about my sense of Los Angeles, or if they think I'm full of shit. I normally try to avoid judging places before I visit them, but what I see of LA doesn't make me want to visit, especially when it's not considered friendly to very industry that made the city famous. If I'm wrong, then tell me, if I'm right, then feed my already bloated ego.

Don't be shy, let it rip!

1 comment:

  1. Well, I've never lived in LA but I've been there on business a couple of times. It always struck me as a wonderful place to visit but I would never want to actually live there.

    My mother lived out that way back in the fifties (down around San Diego, I think) and she has said, repeatedly, that the only way to get her to move back to California would be if it were a ransom demand from my kidnappers and even then she'd have to think about it.