It’s me, Tony. You remember me, right? The scrawny what’s-his-nationality-again kid who hasn’t written for you in over a year? Well, there’s a reason for that. See, I left my dearly beloved home near 2nd and Girard to pursue a career in Hollywood. I know, I know – super cliche. Here, let me give you a run-down on what I’ve been up to since I left the city who made me who I am today.
I drove out West this past May with extremely low expectations. I’ve come to realize that if I set the bar really low for myself, I can never be disappointed with any outcome! Most say my philosophy encourages an excruciatingly bitter self-image, and I would agree with most people. So I came to Hollywood expecting absolutely nothing. Then I got really lucky.
I started writing for Screendaily.com – the online extension of the weekly film magazine Screen International – in June under U.S. editor Jeremy Kay. I was handling your basic entry-level journalist stuff – you know, press releases and whatnot. But I was yearning to get back into talking to people. So, I was assigned an interview with New Zealand director Scott Walker on his new film The Frozen Ground, which features John Cusack as a dark, twisted serial killer, Vanessa Hudgens as a prostitute, and my boy Nic Cage as a determined and unrelenting detective. Righteous.
Needless to say, I was a tad bit rusty. My last interview before Walker was actually for you, Phawker. Remember? It was April of last year, with the omnipresent alt-country guru Neal Casal. Yeah, you remember.
Then came August, a turbulent month teeming with highs, undercut by many a low. My short-term lease was running out and I came down with a restless case of homesickness. Who knew, that in the City of Angels, with its palm trees, fair weather and laid-back tendencies, I would crave to be cruising down Girard again. I wanted to spend the rest of my summer lollygagging in Rittenhouse Square and catching last-minute shows down the street at Johnny Brenda’s. I wanted nothing more than to stop back in at Gunner’s Run in the Piazza, catch whatever game is on and knock back a few Yards. Then there was a knock on my door. Literally.
With only a few days before my Hollywood clock wound down to zero, I needed to chin up and decide whether or not I was going to stay. That’s when Jay Leno came a-knockin. The Tonight Show’s very own was looking for some volunteers to jump into a VMA spoof sketch that would run on the show. Without knowing exactly what it was I would be doing, I was quick to oblige.
“You’re gonna be Selena Gomez,” said Leno.
I’m sorry, what?
Spending a little over an hour in hair and makeup and a half hour studying a Selena Gomez music video, and I was ready to put career cross-dressers to shame. Think circa-Dress to Kill Eddie Izzard if he had dark eyebrows that covered half his forehead and twice the amount of makeup on. In a gown. You know what? How about you just take a look for yourself.
Fun and games aside, it was time to come to a decision. My time at Screen International had run out, as did the lease on my short-term apartment. So, I put an extra two weeks on my Hollywood clock, couch surfing and scrounging for a job – any job. I hit an all-time low when a Taco Bell 20 minutes outside of L.A. turned me down. I was shit outta luck. I knew things were going too well. With my car brimming full of everything I owned, I made an emotional trek to Griffith Park, where I intended to say goodbye to the West coast and hightail it back to the City of Brotherly Love. As I climbed a mountainous trail, I got an email. Not just any email, mind you – it was the email that bound me back to Los Angeles.
Earlier in the summer, the Boss put me in touch with Inquirer and Variety alum Chris Krewson at The Hollywood Reporter. I spent the summer nagging Chris. A job at the Reporter was a pipe dream – remember the low-expectations philosophy? The same applied here. I wanted to talk to Chris and find out what his career trajectory was. I wanted to find out what steps I needed to take, what steps he took to put him in the position he’s in now. Well, my streak of luck hadn’t ended after all. The day after meeting him in August, Chris graciously offered me a freelance gig at the Reporter. And that’s where this story comes to an end – for now.
I’m currently a freelance editor at THR, where I push magazine content onto the website. Every now and then I have the privilege of writing something up for the site. It’s a great start to my career here in Hollywood. And I couldn’t have done it without you, Phawker. You shaped me into the writer I am today. You gave me a place to craft my voice; an outlet for me to write whatever the fuck I want to write, to say whatever the fuck I want to say, however the fuck I want to say it. So, here’s to a long and prosperous renewed relationship. I may be dispatched to Hollywood, but my blood will always run red for Philadelphia.
Lots of brotherly love from the Left Coast,