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 anywhere...you 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 it...you can always move back.