My week in LA (Waiting for my close-up pt. two)
Our NYC guy Positively Dating has been in Los Angeles pitching TV ideas, including one based on his Positively Dating column here. How California cool is that?
I may be a stereotypical cynical New Yorker, but I think the people in LA are a little too nice. Even the crazy homeless people looked like they lived off of organic kale smoothies and pure sunshine. It freaked me out. Wait, let me back up a bit…
When I started my blog, one of the first things I wrote about was how there are very few depictions of people living with HIV from this century on TV or film. Things are changing, like the Eddie on Looking, but mainly if we see anyone on TV or in the movies with HIV it is someone with AIDS from the 80s who is covered in lesions and probably dying of some bizarre bird flu. Don’t get me wrong, these stories are our history and there should be a place for them, but there also needs to be a place, in contemporary media, for our current stories. The stories of the normal everyday guy, trying to live and love, who just happens to be HIV-positive.
Well, a couple of years ago I got off my ass and tried to do something about it. Without knowing what the hell I was doing, I decided that I wanted to turn my blog into a TV pilot. And I did. And it was awful. But after working on it for sometime and after taking a couple classes on writing for the screen, I actually was able to come up with something I am quite proud of. Surprisingly it even placed in a TV writing contest!
After a year of so of trying to pitch my idea to Hollywood as Sex and the City meets The Big C, and having only a few bites, I gave up. But I wasn’t done with writing… I decided to write another project; this time a lot less personal. This one was a story about a young woman who becomes a high-class escort. Amazingly enough this random and off-the-wall idea became my ticket in! My new pilot won the grand prize in the writing contest and I was flown across the country to meet with managers, agents, and production companies and all those crazy nice people in LA.
My trip to LA wasn’t all business… I mean, I stayed in LA’s gay mecca, West Hollywood. I’m not going to bore you with all the differences between LA and New York; there were way too many. But, there was one thing that I found perplexing. There seemed to be a lot more drug use in LA. There weren’t people snorting smack on the sidewalk or anything, but on those gentleman socializing apps that we use (aka Grindr, Scruff, Manhunt, Adam4Adam or Christian Mingle) about fifty percent of the people that I encountered all were asking to “Party” or had a capital “T’ in their name for Tina.
Maybe this is why everyone was so nice in LA… Outside of drinking their designer kale shakes, are they all high?
All in all, I did like LA and I would move out there in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself. As for my pilot, most people seemed to really like my new project. I mean, who doesn’t love a story about a hooker with a heart of gold? But in every meeting, I was always asked: “What else do you have?” And every single time I would mention my first TV pilot, which was appropriately named Positively Dating. Most were very intrigued by the idea and even asked for a copy of the script. Whether or not my pilot gets made; I now have hope that the industry will start producing more contemporary stories about people who are living with HIV.