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ale88 11-14-2005 09:31 AM

LA Neighborhoods
I am almost afraid to post this after I read some of the 150 something posts to the question about whether or not to move to LA as this seems to be already covered.....However my question is a little different?

I have been writting screenplays for almost six years. I have never tried to sale one, get representation, etc. I have just been writing, waiting for the time that I felt like I was ready to move to another level....Let me tell you it never gets easy. I wanted to absolutely perfect my writing, but I realize I learn something new everyday and that my life is happening I am moving to LA! My main reason is that I cannot jump on a plane at a moments notice and be in LA, so I am afraid to put this in a letter to an agent, or phone a producer and make this claim and not be able to follow up on it. I have three young daughters (I am 29), and have a full time job. Luckily I type medical transcriptions at home and can do this in LA. I do plan to start contacting agents/producers a couple of months before my move, because then at least I can tell them I am moving.

My main concern, being all the way from Georgia, is that I have no clue about the neighborhoods, etc in LA. I have done a lot of research, been on tons of apt search websites, but still I want an insider's point of view. I really want a decent neighborhood with good schools, but not that expensive....ok now stop laughing!!! I know almost everything is expensive. I want to stay in the $1200-1300 range on a two BR. I don't have to be right smack in the middle of everything, but a good 10-20 minutes away wouldn't hurt.

Sorry to post this type of question, as I always have plenty of basic screenwriting questions as well, but I figured where better to ask about LA then other fellow screenwriters, some of which are probably there and know the area.

Wish me luck!!! Please any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...

I can't help but to let you all know my input on the "moving to LA"....I have spent the last six years being absolutely miserable, working a mundane, absolutely boring job that is about to drive me insane. I have known what I wanted to do for about six years now and it has drove me so crazy....that I am wasting away here and not making this a priority. Look, I know if you are a good writer, you are a good writer, but to me that is not all there is to it. I think I am a decent writer (ok I was going to be good but didn't want to sound conceited) but I live over 3000 miles away, have a whole other life, and I want the life in LA. I want to be a part of it all....I am telling you there must be a difference in writers who can not consider living there. Maybe some of you are so confident in your writing and content with your own life now. Believe me I am not discrediting you, I am quite jealous, as I am as far as being content as a person can be. I am uprooting my two oldest daughters from their schools, their home, my husbands current job, and the list goes on, but I hope that with my passion I will at some point be a successful screenwriter. And if not, well at least I will not be sitting on my front porch rocking when I am 70 years old wondering what if......

"It's the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you..."
(Million Dollar Baby)

BROUGHCUT 11-14-2005 10:08 AM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Kind of boring, but the Valley is probably best, if you have kids and are on a budget?

There is an excellent post on this subject on another writing board. It's ran by a TV writer. When someone reminds me where it is (several DDers post there, I think it's the Done Deal of TV), I will try to find the article.

BROUGHCUT 11-14-2005 10:12 AM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Ah...! :o

I was thinking of the post by ZODITCH, but there's also a detailed one by Larry Brody and plenty of other opinions on this subject:

bigshoo 11-14-2005 11:06 AM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Agoura Hills, Oak Park and Westlake Village - 20 to 40 minutes to most meetings, award winning schools, safest neighborhoods. Just my 2C

GreatOz 11-14-2005 11:06 AM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Before you uproot your family and move to L.A., you need to at least visit there a few times. Unless you live in a major city like Atlanta, it can be a real shock. Nothing is 10-20 minutes away from anything (it takes that long to get on the freeways.)

I'm going to be making the Big Move myself sometime next year. But I know L.A. very well from my more than a dozen trips there. I'll be moving to the Mid Wilshire district, which is in the heart of L.A., but I won't have a family in tow.

Burbank has a nice neighborhood feel, but except for Warner Bros. and Disney, it's pretty far from some of the other production offices and studios that extend all the way to Santa Monica on the coast (about 1 1/2 hours away.)

Travel out here for a few pitch sessions. Pitch your ideas and see what kind of feedback they get. At the very least get someone to read your material for feedback.

ale88 11-14-2005 11:45 AM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
I have written six screenplays so far. To be honest, they have only be read by friends and family, and I know that is not really smart. I do live 30 minutes from Atlanta and have spent alot of time there. We were also going to move to NYC four years ago and spent some time there but decided not to as my oldest was just starting school, and we couldn't afford a decent place to live in a decent neighborhood, etc. I am not scared by the 'big city'. Me and my husband are quite drawn to it actually. But honestly I am sure it will be a big difference as we have never actually 'lived' in one. I do plan to make some contacts and hopefully get some reads before I leave. We are not moving until 9-12 months from now. But I am planning now and really want to narrow it down to a few neighborhoods.

What about Sherman Oaks?

How about Glendale? Too far?
Thanks so much BROUGHCUT...I am going to check that out now.

Teris 11-14-2005 01:25 PM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Hi ale88. If you're going to be in the valley (and for the price range you're talking about for rent, it's likely that you will be), Sherman Oaks is a great town. It's nice, clean, very suburban, nice restaurants, good schools. It's one of the more expensive locations in the valley. I'm not sure about the rent - I live on the west side. I don't know Glendale and Burbank well enough to speak about them, but I do know the west side and the main areas of the valley.

The expensive parts of the valley include the far west areas of Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, etc, but they are FAR AWAY from Hollywood and most meetings you'd have. Encino is nice (and expensive), but a bit too far West for my taste. If I were in your position, I'd be looking in the more central parts of the valley - Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Valley Village areas. You want to be as far south in the valley as possible. South of Ventura Blvd is best, but also the most expensive. Try to stay south of Burbank Blvd because north of there starts to get less safe (and not nearly as nice, IMO). Studio City is very expensive. Sherman Oaks is a notch below Studio City. Valley Village is a cheaper option and still nice. From any of these 3 areas, you can get "over the hill" to Hollywood or Beverly Hills fairly easily. You can also get to Burbank easily. It's a bit of a hike to the beach, but you can't have everything living in the valley. In my opinion, the valley is a great place if you have kids.

Obviously, renting is a bit different than buying a house. A friend of mine lives ion North Hollywood, which I don't like very much - but he's on the border of Studio City and on a very nice block. If he had kids, maybe they'd be in the Studo City school district (I'm not sure). I can tell you that there are some good schools and some terrible schools in the valley and that should probably be the main factor driving your decision.

Slappynipsy 11-14-2005 01:52 PM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
Only thing i'd say to avoid is anything near USC. Not a fun part of town to live in.

Gillyflower Cooms 11-14-2005 02:43 PM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
The Valley isn't all that cheap but it's less expensive than living in some areas over the hill. Hollywood is pretty beat up and if you don't care about the beach then the Valley is a good choice. Laurel Canyon whips you right onto Fairfax in ten minutes. Same with Coldwater into Beverly Hills... and Beverly Glen takes you right to UCLA in ten minutes. You got the 405 and the 101 too. Yeah it gets hotter in the Valley but make sure your place has a/c and you'll never notice it.

Valley Village is pretty good and so is North Hollywood in and around the NOHO Arts Center. The property and rents are pretty afordable. The NOHO area is building up big time and it's going to get more expensive. There's very little crime in those areas except for cars being broken into but like someone said... once you get above Burbank Blvd the area gets a bit dicey but there are some good pockets north of Burbank too. Average rents for a two bedroom go for around 1200 - 1800 a month.

Studio City and Sherman Oaks are great. Rents for a good place go for about 1500 - 2500 hundred a month depending upon how new and where it is within those communities. Studio City and Sherman Oaks south of Ventura is more expensive than north of Ventura. Sherman Oaks east of Hazeltine is more expensive than west of Hazeltine. The Colfax Meadows area in Studio City is really big bucks. There's some rentals in there and the houses sell for like a million for just 1800 square feet.

The difference between Studio City and Sherman Oaks is that Studio City is more Bohemian and Sherman Oaks is a bit more conservative. Studio City has some of the best sushi on all of L.A. and the Reporter just voted Albano's on Melrose and Ventura the best pizza in L.A..

Burbank is nice too but it gets seedier but not dangerous as you get closer to the airport. Toluca Lake is really nice but $$$$$. It's the town that Bob Hope built. Part of North Hollywood is now called West Toluca Lake and it's more run down than its counterpart but because of the name... it charges more for rent than in North Hollywood.

These areas put you smack next to NBC Studios, Disney, Warner Bros, Universal Studios and CBS Studios at Radford and all of the various production companies they house. It's the most concentration of big studios than anywhere else in the city.

Save up some cash for the move so you can put money down and all of that and you'll want to bring a car or prepare to buy one.

Even though ED is the voice of doom and projects his fear too much...if it isn't a big strain or sacrifice to move out... do it. L.A. is definitely a better city to live if you have the $$$$$$$. Although ED is right that you can write scripts from can't meet the people that make it happen anywhere, and as long as you make the commitment to meet as many people as you can it will make the move worthwhile and won't be a bad thing. If you don't like can always move back.

captain bligh 11-14-2005 03:29 PM

Re: LA Neighborhoods
i would suggest you come out and spend a week, two if possible, and visit different neighborhoods. there are differences between neighborhoods that you just can't put your finger on, but which will draw you to one place or make you hate another.

i lived in north hollywood and didn't care for it. ($680 for a one bedroom, 425 square foot apartment, three years ago.)

i lived in santa monica, briefly, and hated it. ($1450 for a two bedroom, 650 square foot apartment, two years ago.)

i live in silverlake now, and i love it. ($1425 for a two bedroom, 750 square foot apartment, currently.)

can i say why i prefer silverlake to north hollywood and north hollywood to santa monica? probably. can i say which neighborhood you would prefer? not a chance.

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