An effort to document my 2,700 mile journey from Boca Raton, Florida to Los Angeles, California.
An epic drive.
An epic gamble.
An epic adventure.

 

Jimmy Buffett concert. Details tomorrow. But envy me.

Jimmy Buffett concert. Details tomorrow. But envy me.

My First “Screening”

My lovely ex-girlfriend and current-closefriend Kira set it up so that I could attend the first Los Angeles screening of the independent film “Trophy Kids”, a movie about Generation Y’s wholehearted belief that “I’m special and meant for more”.  

Kira had a hand in the film’s creation and production (varied involvements), so I’ve been interested in the film’s future since its inception.  I’d read one of the screenplay’s many early rough drafts, and Kira had given me periodic updates on the casting of the project as it moved its way through pre-production.

So tonight — getting to see it — was a unique experience for me.  I’d been given the opportunity to view this piece of art long before its final presentation — I’d seen the written word when it was but a mere suggestion of what it hoped to be. 

Then, since the director is a close friend of Kira’s, I was invited to a post-screening dinner and drink(s).  Attendees:  Josh Sugarman (the talented director of the film and a guy with a future in “the movies”), Ryan Eggold (star of the film, of the new “90210”, and an exceptionally talented guy), Haley Bennett (an actress), Brandon Yankowitz (the film’s producer), and a handful of others.  

What really impressed me about the scenario was that everyone at that table was young and going places — they were, as far as I know, all 20-somethings, all doing what they wanted to, and, in varying degrees, succeeding.  They were self motivated people who, from what I gathered, had to take some chances to get where they were.

From the beginning of my life until now, what I needed to do to succeed, to move to that next level, had been clearly defined for me.  Go to school, get good grades, get a scholarship to high school, go to that school, get good grades, get a scholarship to college, go to that school, get good grades, get a scholarship to law school, go to that school — but then I put on the breaks.  I broke that alluring rhythm of systematic success and blazed a riskier path.

But these people tonight — the people who had a dream and chased it and are succeeding — they inspired me.  Some people know what they’ve wanted to do forever.  Ryan seemed that type tonight when he said quietly: “I need to get back to the theater, I need it.”  But Josh seemed the type who had only recently committed to this industry; he was in law school when he decided he wanted to try the film industry.  

But they were both succeeding in their own rights.

I’ve chosen to chase a dream, too.  I’ve chosen to go after a dream I ignored for too long.  And seeing others do that and succeed…that felt good, it felt reassuring, and it felt possible.  I’m inspired.

Dream on.

At a free concert in Echo Park.

I could have made a killing if I’d thought to sell fedoras here.

The band is “Johnny and Jenny”, and I’ve never heard of them. But not bad at all, even though there’s not a heavy bassline or any rhyming.

Maybe I’ll never outgrow rap music.

They say that you learn something new every day.
Well today, I learned that my foot is almost exactly the same size as Sean Connery’s, except for that he has a longer big toe.  I always assumed I couldn’t fill that man’s shoes, but it’s disappointing to know now for sure.
I met up with a fraternity brother, Brian, tonight for drinks.  It was nice to see a familiar face and drink some quality beer (Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest).  We did the standard bro catch-up, and he offered me some helpful Los Angeles nuggets of wisdom; everyone who’s lived here for any amount of time carries a few around.
The unfortunate part of the evening was that I was back home relatively early.  And my perfect Friday night’s timeline does not include a final walk up my building’s stairs to a quiet and empty (besides a sleeping Dan) apartment at midnight.  It just feels wrong.  Like putting your left shoe on your right foot.  Or listening to Ke$ha.  It’s just no.
So I walked back downstairs and around the corner and prowled Hollywood Boulevard for an hour and a half or so.  I got a blast out of people watching, and sight-seeing (still), and I peaked my head into bars and crappy late-night food spots to check out their offerings.  Oh, and I got suckered into buying a slice of pizza.  Stupid!  I’ve been eating so healthily — and it wasn’t even a cheap slice, nor did it taste all that good.  They say you shouldn’t grocery shop while hungry — well the same is apparently true for roaming Hollywood Blvd.
It really comes down to this: I need to find friends and hangouts.  I’ve got a handful out here, and I love them, but they’re scattered or have jobs that require them to wake up at 6am on Saturdays.  I don’t have a consistent crew; a down to ride crew.  And I miss that.  Nor do I even know where I’d want to go even if I did have a crew.  In due time, I suppose.  Patience is a virtue not bestowed upon me by the man upstairs.  
My trip back home inevitably included a walk by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (the place pictured below).  And as you know, I love that place.  It opened in 1927 and is rich with history.  So I stopped in front of it tonight, and for the first time since I’ve been here, I really took a long look at the signatures and hand and footprints immortalized in the concrete slabs laid in the forecourt of the theatre.  Inspiring, really.  Tonight I saw Will Smith, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Dick Van Dyke, Humphrey Bogart, John Travolta, Mickey Rooney, Ron Howard, Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp, and countless others.
Including Sean Connery — who has some beautifully sized feet if you ask me.

They say that you learn something new every day.

Well today, I learned that my foot is almost exactly the same size as Sean Connery’s, except for that he has a longer big toe.  I always assumed I couldn’t fill that man’s shoes, but it’s disappointing to know now for sure.

I met up with a fraternity brother, Brian, tonight for drinks.  It was nice to see a familiar face and drink some quality beer (Sam Adams’ Oktoberfest).  We did the standard bro catch-up, and he offered me some helpful Los Angeles nuggets of wisdom; everyone who’s lived here for any amount of time carries a few around.

The unfortunate part of the evening was that I was back home relatively early.  And my perfect Friday night’s timeline does not include a final walk up my building’s stairs to a quiet and empty (besides a sleeping Dan) apartment at midnight.  It just feels wrong.  Like putting your left shoe on your right foot.  Or listening to Ke$ha.  It’s just no.

So I walked back downstairs and around the corner and prowled Hollywood Boulevard for an hour and a half or so.  I got a blast out of people watching, and sight-seeing (still), and I peaked my head into bars and crappy late-night food spots to check out their offerings.  Oh, and I got suckered into buying a slice of pizza.  Stupid!  I’ve been eating so healthily — and it wasn’t even a cheap slice, nor did it taste all that good.  They say you shouldn’t grocery shop while hungry — well the same is apparently true for roaming Hollywood Blvd.

It really comes down to this: I need to find friends and hangouts.  I’ve got a handful out here, and I love them, but they’re scattered or have jobs that require them to wake up at 6am on Saturdays.  I don’t have a consistent crew; a down to ride crew.  And I miss that.  Nor do I even know where I’d want to go even if I did have a crew.  In due time, I suppose.  Patience is a virtue not bestowed upon me by the man upstairs.  

My trip back home inevitably included a walk by Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (the place pictured below).  And as you know, I love that place.  It opened in 1927 and is rich with history.  So I stopped in front of it tonight, and for the first time since I’ve been here, I really took a long look at the signatures and hand and footprints immortalized in the concrete slabs laid in the forecourt of the theatre.  Inspiring, really.  Tonight I saw Will Smith, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Dick Van Dyke, Humphrey Bogart, John Travolta, Mickey Rooney, Ron Howard, Adam Sandler, Johnny Depp, and countless others.

Including Sean Connery — who has some beautifully sized feet if you ask me.

A Sighting!

I’m in perpetual tourist mode. I’m told this will subside, and I agree — it just might take a handful of years. This industry makes me six-year-old-with-a-pony giddy.

But while running in Runyon Canyon — photos later — I finally spotted my first celebrity: Rumer Willis, the offspring of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She’s not a favorite of mine, but she is a someone. And I’ve been dying to see a someone — outside of the mirror, of course.

(Is feigned narcissism still funny? If not, ignore that last comment.)

I suppose this stuff will eventually stop being cool to me, but I still get all tingly inside when I walk by these places. It’s probably what love feels like.

This is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It’s a two minute walk from my apartment, and I love it.

I suppose this stuff will eventually stop being cool to me, but I still get all tingly inside when I walk by these places. It’s probably what love feels like.

This is Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It’s a two minute walk from my apartment, and I love it.

I’ll get better at updating this bad boy as I settle down here in Hollywood.  I promise.

I moved into my new apartment last Saturday.  It’s certainly nice to have a room to call my own, not to mention a sweet “Hollywood, California” address.  You can see the famous Hollywood sign both welcoming and taunting you from just down the block.  So far, I’m really happy with the digs.

Furnishing the apartment, though, has been a bitch.  It’s starting to come together, but it’s missing some essentials: kitchen chairs, a couch, a nightstand, and a TV that’s at least less clunky than a pick-up truck but with a screen wider than my laptop’s.  Getting set up out here has been expen$ive, so the place won’t look Martha Stewart-approved for at least a little while.  Or, let’s be honest, ever.  It’s a bachelor/frat pad, so what do you really expect?  Dan and I are just pumped to have the cable and wireless up and running.  But if you’re trying to get rid of a couch or a TV or even a turkey sandwich on whole wheat, holler atcha boy.  Pride?  What pride?

I had my headshots taken last Thursday with Dana Patrick.  She was phenomenal.  We rocked out to Kanye West, and I shot the shit while she shot me.  I picked up the proofs today, and the three photos above are the likely winners (barring any last-minute changes from my manager).  Each will be used in different situations, depending on the project and the role.  I haven’t been this happy with my headshots in…ever.  You can check out some of her work at DanaPatrick.com.  I’m sort of in love with the woman.

I’ve got my first audition tomorrow for a low-budget SAG feature film.  I play Brandon.  He’s not a very nice guy.  I know, I know what you’re thinking.  But that’s why it’s called acting, people!

-GP

Comments!

With a little urging from a few friends, I think I’m going to try to maintain this blog.  It’s fun.  

So I worked a little HTML magic — don’t call me a nerd — and have made it possible to post comments to my entries.  That is, if you all decide to get mouthy on me.

I’ve been in Los Angeles for a week now, but I’ve got to say it feels like longer.
I’ve had to tie up some loose ends (cancel my Boca gym membership, find a lawyer to fight my TX speeding ticket, get the Red Roof Inn in Houston to ship me my Tempur-Pedic pillow, replace a flat tire (yes, Tibs got one, but she waited until we got here!)). I’ve had to figure out how to get my corporate work done (by spending a few hours at the local Starbucks each day since the apartment WiFi hates my work PC).  I’ve had to get acquainted with the area (I spent a day driving all around Los Angeles; I even had dinner with a couple of buddies from high school at James’ Beach, home of the famous fish tacos from “I Love You, Man”…it was awesome).
But the biggest hurdle has been finding an apartment…which (and I say this with 99.99% certainty) I have!  
My buddy from college/future roommate (Dan) and I decided we’d like to live somewhere in Hollywood.  I set up a few appointments at random rentals that seemed livable and within our price range.  And, four apartment visits later, I came up with squat, zilch, nada, zero.  I mean, we could have made due at any one of those spots, but neither of us would have been too excited about it.  These apartments were situated in sort of seedy areas (loud rap music pulsing from apartments to the left, lost Asian women with carts full of old clothes wandering aimlessly to the right).  They were the sort of hodge-podge neighborhoods that put pawn shops together with apartment buildings.  That’s like trying to pair Jesse James with Sandra Bullock. (What, too soon?)
Then I was told that the true epicenter of Hollywood was at the crossroads of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave.  I wanted to live in Hollywood, dammit — the real Hollywood — so that’s precisely where I renewed my search.
And as I turned onto Hollywood Blvd, the sun began to shine brighter, angels began to sing the theme to “Friends”, and trumpets sounded off from mountains nigh.  I had officially arrived.  The Walk of Fame.  The Hollywood Roosevelt.  Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  The Kodak Theater.  All of these places that I’d only seen on TV were now waving at me from only feet away.  This was the sort of tourist-y shit that, to me, epitomized Los Angeles.  I was pumped.
I cruised by these spots in awe and sort of haphazardly made a right turn onto what was, at that time, a random road.  And what I discovered just beyond and behind all of those beautiful, aforementioned places was a refuge of apartments.  Tons of them.  In a row.  Stretching for a number of blocks.  So what did I do?  I parked my car, and walked up and down all of these blocks calling any building phone number I saw posted.  (I mean, most of them had huge “NOW LEASING, CALL 323-XXX-XXXX” banners draped on them like bibs, so it wasn’t all that hard.)
I dialed probably 25 numbers that day, and I found two affordable complexes with 2-bedroom units available.  I set up appointments at both the next day.
Long story made shorter (but only barely; jeez, look at this post!), we found a place!  It was the nicer (and — surprise! — cheaper) of the two places we visited.  The front of the building is pictured above, and I’m in absolute love.  The price is hard to beat (it’s either the same price or $100 a month more expensive than those crappy places I talked about earlier).  The unit is clean, crisp, well lit, roomy, and comes with all of its appliances (which sounds like a no-brainer but it isn’t here).  The apartment complex is a courtyard community where there aren’t narrow hallways; instead, the apartments overlook the pool.  The location is incredible.  It’s at the base of the Hollywood Hills.  Half a block from the Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame.  Half a block from a market, CVS, LA Fitness, and a bunch of restaurants.
And — the best part — it’s 3.5 blocks from Runyon Canyon.  Runyon Canyon is a park situated at the base of the Hollywood Hills.  It’s both bizarre and awesome that there’s this natural oasis situated in the middle of a bustling city.  It’s got walks, trails, a dog park, and free yoga classes.  I only walked around that area for a couple of hours, but I’m pretty sure a bunch of hot girls with dogs and athletic shorts decided to create a community there.  
And I’m happy to join them.
-GP

I’ve been in Los Angeles for a week now, but I’ve got to say it feels like longer.

I’ve had to tie up some loose ends (cancel my Boca gym membership, find a lawyer to fight my TX speeding ticket, get the Red Roof Inn in Houston to ship me my Tempur-Pedic pillow, replace a flat tire (yes, Tibs got one, but she waited until we got here!)). I’ve had to figure out how to get my corporate work done (by spending a few hours at the local Starbucks each day since the apartment WiFi hates my work PC).  I’ve had to get acquainted with the area (I spent a day driving all around Los Angeles; I even had dinner with a couple of buddies from high school at James’ Beach, home of the famous fish tacos from “I Love You, Man”…it was awesome).

But the biggest hurdle has been finding an apartment…which (and I say this with 99.99% certainty) I have!  

My buddy from college/future roommate (Dan) and I decided we’d like to live somewhere in Hollywood.  I set up a few appointments at random rentals that seemed livable and within our price range.  And, four apartment visits later, I came up with squat, zilch, nada, zero.  I mean, we could have made due at any one of those spots, but neither of us would have been too excited about it.  These apartments were situated in sort of seedy areas (loud rap music pulsing from apartments to the left, lost Asian women with carts full of old clothes wandering aimlessly to the right).  They were the sort of hodge-podge neighborhoods that put pawn shops together with apartment buildings.  That’s like trying to pair Jesse James with Sandra Bullock. (What, too soon?)

Then I was told that the true epicenter of Hollywood was at the crossroads of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave.  I wanted to live in Hollywood, dammit — the real Hollywood — so that’s precisely where I renewed my search.

And as I turned onto Hollywood Blvd, the sun began to shine brighter, angels began to sing the theme to “Friends”, and trumpets sounded off from mountains nigh.  I had officially arrived.  The Walk of Fame.  The Hollywood Roosevelt.  Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.  The Kodak Theater.  All of these places that I’d only seen on TV were now waving at me from only feet away.  This was the sort of tourist-y shit that, to me, epitomized Los Angeles.  I was pumped.

I cruised by these spots in awe and sort of haphazardly made a right turn onto what was, at that time, a random road.  And what I discovered just beyond and behind all of those beautiful, aforementioned places was a refuge of apartments.  Tons of them.  In a row.  Stretching for a number of blocks.  So what did I do?  I parked my car, and walked up and down all of these blocks calling any building phone number I saw posted.  (I mean, most of them had huge “NOW LEASING, CALL 323-XXX-XXXX” banners draped on them like bibs, so it wasn’t all that hard.)

I dialed probably 25 numbers that day, and I found two affordable complexes with 2-bedroom units available.  I set up appointments at both the next day.

Long story made shorter (but only barely; jeez, look at this post!), we found a place!  It was the nicer (and — surprise! — cheaper) of the two places we visited.  The front of the building is pictured above, and I’m in absolute love.  The price is hard to beat (it’s either the same price or $100 a month more expensive than those crappy places I talked about earlier).  The unit is clean, crisp, well lit, roomy, and comes with all of its appliances (which sounds like a no-brainer but it isn’t here).  The apartment complex is a courtyard community where there aren’t narrow hallways; instead, the apartments overlook the pool.  The location is incredible.  It’s at the base of the Hollywood Hills.  Half a block from the Chinese Theatre and Walk of Fame.  Half a block from a market, CVS, LA Fitness, and a bunch of restaurants.

And — the best part — it’s 3.5 blocks from Runyon Canyon.  Runyon Canyon is a park situated at the base of the Hollywood Hills.  It’s both bizarre and awesome that there’s this natural oasis situated in the middle of a bustling city.  It’s got walks, trails, a dog park, and free yoga classes.  I only walked around that area for a couple of hours, but I’m pretty sure a bunch of hot girls with dogs and athletic shorts decided to create a community there.  

And I’m happy to join them.

-GP

Thank God

I have arrived in Los Angeles (technically Pasadena), California alive and well and exhausted.

I’m staying with my friend Rebecca (so generous!) for the next two weeks here in Pasadena before I find my own place — I’ve got a picture of a chocolate welcome cake she baked that I’ll upload soon.  Pretty awesome (and most probably scrumptious) stuff.

At the risk of getting all Socrates here, let’s take our shoes off and go digging in the philosophical sandbox for just a second.  Driving cross country showed me two things:

1.)  The world is so very big.

2.)  The world is also so very, extraordinarily small.

I know, I sound like John Kerry in a political debate.  But bear with me.

I didn’t do too much stop-and-sight-seeing, but you can’t help but look around when you travel 2,700 miles.  And what I saw was so many places that I’ll never truly see, so many places that I won’t (and probably won’t want to) visit.  There’s so much out there — so many perspectives, so many small towns and huge cities, so much adventure.  Too much adventure.  You’d never be able to get through it all.  But it’s out there waiting for you.  The world is big.

But the world’s also tiny.  I drove across this beautiful United States of America in six days.  I traveled from one end of our country to the other in a week.  One week out of the 52 in my year.  And if I can travel from one side of our country to the other with nothing but a car, a debit card, some music, and a few friends on speed dial — then traveling really ain’t so hard.  Sure, you have to carve out the time; mileage; money; patience.  But the road is there and it’s open and it’s waiting.  Adventure is only a decision away.  Remember that.

I want to thank all of the people, places, and things that have made this trip the rewarding experience that it was (in no particular order): Tibs, Courtney, Orlando, Stephanie, Emily, Gaby, Root, my mom, Colby, Max Dauerman, John, Tallahassee, Michelle, Kostris, Cameron, Potbelly’s, Painted, the Macaroni Grill, Rebecca, Bourbon Street, the random ‘Canes I met there, Houston, Yeomans, Kuleba, Jeremy, Kaley, Stephen, my Florida search party, Carey, Jessica, Kim, Will, Lizza, Parker, Jillian, Olivia, Josh, Willert, Texas’s open road, Deputy Dipstick, In-N-Out Burger, Christian, Dan, Susie, Travis, Amy, Gabby, Max Burns, Krystal, Marcelo, Geniza, Deming, NM, Motel 6, the Red Roof Inn, my iPhone, Kanye West, Michael Jackson, Eminem, Jay-Z, The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, AT&T, Chili’s, and surely many others.

I’m sure I forgot someone (or many someones), but these are the ones that I can remember in this moment.  It could have been something as simple as a tweet about my trip or a text message; I remembered and kept up with it all.  I mean, I had a lot of free time on this drive.  A sincere thank you to everyone above.

I’m tempted to keep this blog going, although at a much slower rate, as I continue my more long-lasting adventure in L.A.  I’m not sure yet.  Keeping up with my castings, callbacks (fingers crossed), failures, successes, rejections, acceptances might be fun for both me and you.  I’m going to sleep on it.

Love,

-GP