California Dreamin'

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Above, is a photo of an incredibly overwhelmed and emotional 24 year old me. (Seriously, I had to wear sunglasses most of this day because I couldn’t stop crying). It already seems like a lifetime ago, but last December, I visited LA for the first time. And whilst there, I could never have expected the impact that the trip and the job I did whilst out there would have on me. But a mere two months later and I cannot stop smiling about the whole experience.

Los Angeles, for me, was a different kind of dream. When growing up in the UK I was obsessed with the idea of “Hollywood”, of Los Angeles. I remember watching “Some Like It Hot” when I was a kid and being obsessed with the idea of performing and making a film in Hollywood. I was also obsessed with, wait for it, “The Hills”. I KNOW. Tragic. But also, not. It was everything to me. It felt so far away from the small village where I grew up. I know that we are now in an age where television is bombarded with scripted reality, but The Hills was really the first of it’s kind, and I was completely sucked into it’s success…I can’t believe I just wrote all that about The Hills pahaha. But anyway, all of this combined, Los Angeles felt incredibly far away. An idea. Who would’ve thought that years later, I was on a plane, on my way to LAX to shoot my first ever film.

I feel slightly weird typing this out, rehashing something that happened 2 months ago, but I don’t know, I didn’t ever think this was an option for me. I love theatre, and my dreams in theatre are what ground me in New York and in my years of training. Film, feels different. I felt like an outsider with it being an aesthetic based industry. Would I look right on camera? Would I feel as confident on camera as I do sometimes on stage? Would this be something I’m good at? I remember simply wanting the chance to prove to myself that I could. To rip the bandaid/plaster off so-to-speak. And right now, I feel a complete fire has been lit in me. A new faucet of acting and of my passion has opened up.

The biggest takeaway from the entire experience in terms of shooting a film was that I didn’t have to worry about half the stuff I did during the process. How I look, is out of my control to an extent. How it will end up looking, is out of my control. What is in my control, is telling the story. Brad Davis (our writer and director) wrote such a wonderfully compelling script with such real characters at its forefront, and I didn’t have to do anything else than embody those words, to do my job. It’s my job. I felt throughout the process I was (hopefully) able to shed some of those doubts, and by the end it has left me feeling excited about the prospect of doing more work like this. Of exploring the boundaries of filmmaking and where I can push myself. And for that I couldn’t be more thankful. Thankyou Lawryn and Kaylyn for this entire opportunity, for seeing me in a way I don’t see myself and for encouraging me throughout the entire process. Thankyou to Brad for your beautiful script and direction. For James & David for your vision. Thankyou Gregory, Andrew and Bobbie for being my holy trinity of drag, for being my rocks and the most wonderful drag mothers! And thankyou to everyone who worked on the film. I will never forget it.

Being in LA itself was incredibly overwhelming. On our third day of shooting, myself, Lawryn and Kaitlyn went for food at Pink Taco on Sunset Boulevard. Which happened to be the first time we really got out and about of LA from the film shoot itself. And I couldn’t help but get completely overcome with emotion. I was sat in a restaurant, outside, in December, after a long shoot-day, with the Chateau Marmont in the distance, with two people I love. Life truly is a wonderful thing. I have a long road ahead of me, but taking a moment whilst IN the moment was incredible.

On the last day of shooting, myself and Lawryn, our wonderful Executive Producer, my fellow actor from the film and one of my nearest and dearest (Granny Sue loves her), went up to the top of Griffith Park Observatory. It was the one “touristy” thing I REALLY wanted to do. After having climbed Arthurs Seat on our last day in Edinburgh, I loved the idea of being up high and being able to look over Los Angeles. My flight that day was at at 2PM so decided to get up at 6AM and head up there. Bless Lawryn for coming with me, especially after 7 days of 4-5AM wake up calls. And yup, you guessed it. I cried.

When we got up to the Observatory, there was no one around. In the first hour of being up there, I think around 6 dog-walkers/joggers went by us as we stood overlooking it all. I don’t even know how to put it into words so I thought it best to insert some of the photos I took:

Gahhh, so pretty. Also, Lawryn is slaying in these photos.

know this post doesn’t seem to have any message, or purpose and heck it might not even have any coherency, but I just had to spill it all out in a post. I wish that my younger and self-critical self could read this post and know that things are possible, and definitely do-able. I remember spending so much of my personal time criticising how I looked or whether I was good enough. I even have those thoughts now, but boy if only he knew what was ahead. I think he’d be extremely chuffed.

Life’s a funny ol’ thing.

Have a great week!

Luke