For filming call Fred or Mimi: Everything is a stage in LA

When I worked in New York City’s flat-iron district, I was constantly walking around a filming crew. My specific work street had a film crew there at least once a month. One of the Spider-Man movies was filmed near me.  I didn’t tweet the photo I took as I didn’t really do Twitter back. Oh my, the photos I could have tweeted out. Regardless, I still remember the event.  It was always cool to catch for a mere second, as us New Yorkers speed walk, a scene or two being filmed.

Despite all the filming that occurs in New York, we were kind of ho-hum about it. We know New York is great and there are celebrities around. Celebrities walling around are not what makes New York great. Not one bit.  But I won’t go into that here.  We know each street in New York could serve as a sound stage but such a possibility is not in our everyday consciousness, unlike in Los Angeles.

One of the funnier things about LA is the obvious self-consciousness that permeates the air. And I do come across film crews once a month or so. Surprisingly, not any more often than I did in New York. However, people walk around as if they are expecting to be filmed.   They walk slower than a turtle in a hot terrain and will sit outside to eat even when the surrounding area would not warrant such an eating experience.  Although, the film crews are not around anymore than in NYC, what I do readily see are signs noting that a specific building, parking lot, or cafe is available for filming. I crack up at every sign that I see. It’s funny.   One sign will note “For filming, call Fred” and another will note “this lot is available for filming.”

Look, these signs are true signs of the public self consciousness that exists here. Everyone has a role to play and everyone has a scene to act out.   Your waiter is acting the part of a waiter trying to make it big in Hollywood.   Your building’s concierge guy is really big into high end furniture and somehow you know that about him.  I’m the jaded New Yorker sauntering about.   As I said, we all have a role to play.


Perhaps this public self consciousness in LA, that is as strong as the smell of urine on the 3am city streets of NYC, is what ultimateley led to me not liking La La Land.  Let me clarify. I liked the movie well enough on my 15 hour flight to Hong Kong. However, I didn’t love it. And I had wanted to love it. I really had. But, the musical scenes fell flat to me the same way many of the happenings around LA fall flat. Its a show upon a show. I’m not criticizing LA for being fake. It’s more and deper than that.  Accusing it of being fake is too simple and not exactly on point.


One could also look at these signs, as a way to pay for living in this expensive city. Which by the way, I will readly note is one of the cheaper cities in which I have lived. I have lived in 17 cities. San Francisco and New York are both more expensive than Los Angeles. Thus, I am actually enjoying a bit more freedom in Los Angeles. Yet, as I am halfway through my escrow, I am thinking that perhaps I can make my house facade available for filming.  Can I put up a billboard noting that?  Will my neighbors protest? Or perhaps, better yet, I can walk around with a sign noting that I am available for filming. I’ll wear my leather jacket, all black dress and combat boots while exuding NY ‘tude.  I may be able to afford some street tacos while I am at it.

3 replies »

  1. Believe it or not, my little corner of WV is a hot area for filming by the Discovery network and PBS because of it’s historical aspect. My son-law, who has a very “in” look right now, has been able to secure quite a few decently paid acting gigs. He’s not quitting his day job, but he has been able to do some work on his days off and vacation days. His most interesting bit part was that of William Kemmler in Nat Geos American Genius / the episode about Edison and Tessela. He was the first man executed by the electric chair created by Edison.

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  2. We have quite a few shows filmed near where I live. I find watching the process entertaining. We have a lot of stuff shot near Santa Clarita. It is something the city pushes for. There is quite a combination of gated off rural roads, studio sets, bizarre landforms and urban sites. “Star Trek”, “Holes”, and a host of various western and sci-fi movies have used Vasquez Rocks Park for a set.

    The house across the street from my mother in law was used as a porn set for years. 😉


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