Why I Moved to New York City - Hollywood is Far Behind the Times

November 14, 2012

New York City

It's time to get the hell out of Dodge. After living in Los Angeles (in lovely Sherman Oaks) for four years, it was time to get out. I moved there back in late 2008 because FirstShowing.net (my second company since age 14) was getting bigger, and it was time to move away from my childhood home of Colorado Springs into the big city of Hollywood. The local paper even wrote a story about me moving out there. But I'll admit now, something didn't feel right. I never liked LA. Any time I visited, something felt off about it. Now I've made a decision to do something that I've wanted to do my entire life - I moved to New York City. Why, you ask?

Editor's Note: Some of these thoughts were originally written before Superstorm Sandy left the East Coast in ruins. However, the courage and tenacity and love I've observed as the city and the region recovers has reiterated exactly why I want to be here. Even though I am moving in right after one of the worst natural disaster's in the city's history, I couldn't be more excited to be here to help New York get back on its feet.

On the East Coast of the United States lies a city I have loved my entire life. My Grandma from my mother's side had an intrinsic love for New York and would often take my Mom and her brothers on trips there as children. It must be in my blood, because I have loved New York for as long as I can remember. It's the one city I have visited more times than any other city in the entire world, and I lived there once during a college summer break working an internship (that I didn't really care for). There's a certain energy, a vibe, a feeling I get just standing on the sidewalks. I can look up at the buildings all around me and feel this sensation that I only get in metropolitan cities (like London or Paris). The buildings. The subways. The people all around.

It was that attraction that first drew me to New York City; I fell in love with it almost immediately, and have spent as much time there as possible. In the last few months alone I've visited twice, the most recent trip mostly for apartment hunting (and conducting Skyfall interviews in town). Every time I visited, it wouldn't feel right leaving at the end. I already felt at home and just wanted to go back to my yet-to-exist apartment deep in the city, not the airport. It was an intensifying yearning that finally got to me. Now was the time. I'm 26, I'm single, I'm tired of Los Angeles, I love New York, there's no better time than now; a new adventure.

As I neared four years of living in Los Angeles, while I was generally pretty happy being right at the steps of Hollywood, something didn't feel right. I felt as though I had somehow lost my way in this sprawling city of traffic, smog, movie studios, valet stands and food trucks. I spent more time frustrated at traffic and worried about keeping bugs out of my apartment than exploring the city, growing my business, or visiting any of the places that surrounded me. It all came back to that feeling the first time I ever visited LA (for a press event in 2006). There's something off-putting about LA, besides traffic, that never sat well with me (more later).

This site—FirstShowing.net—will continue on, and will definitely get even bigger and better based out of NYC. But it's time for me to grow as a person. To be where I truly belong, to regain that staunch ambition and passion I had in 2008 when first moving out to LA, to expand the business and overcome the struggles I've had in recent years. I can't explain why it happened in November of 2012, but this is when the next part of my life begins. How does all this connect to writing about movies? Well, this has been my sole focus for the last six years (it was founded in June of 2006). It's hard for me to explain my complete thoughts about running the site, but I came across a blog post recently from another young writer that captures it perfectly.

The entry was written by Jake Orr, a 24-year-old London theater (as in the stage/plays) critic who runs the blog A Younger Theatre. He recently decided to take a "break" from the non-stop work of attending and reviewing shows, and in his post he eloquently explains why this break was necessary at this point in his life:

"When your love for something becomes your life, your every moment and time, then it borders on obsession. It's an addiction. But it's not always a healthy addiction. If I followed up every invite I got in my inbox then I'd never see anything more than the back of someone's head in front of me at the theatre. I'd no doubt strike up small but insignificant friendships with ushers and box office managers in the hope that they can offer me a moment of friendship and connection. What I'm saying is simple: theatre is my passion, but it can't be my life too. There have to be borders, I have to define where my theatre passion starts, and where my life, as Jake Orr, begins."

So here I am, as Alex Billington, defining where my life begins. And it begins in New York City. It's not that I haven't lived an admittedly amazing life so far and enjoyed every second of it, but I believe wholeheartedly in honesty. My heart was telling me I honestly belonged in the Big Apple. Specifically, in Manhattan. I explored a few apartments in Brooklyn, but wasn't satisfied. It didn't feel like the place I wanted to live, the city I dreamed of being in. So I made the decision, spent an exhaustive couple of days looking at apartments all over Manhattan, and finally settled on a studio that I will hopefully be moving into soon (Sandy took out my first apartment two days before I was supposed to move in, but I found a replacement just this week).

Jake goes on to explain a very vital internal conflict only extremely passionate, dedicated people are familiar with: "This is the crisis that I face on a weekly basis. My passion invading my personality and my personal life… I can't let theatre consume me, despite this love inside my chest that aches and tries to burst forth at every given chance… I'm so much more than just theatre." I could say the same about my love for movies. But, maybe, I don't really know. Maybe I spent too much time chasing Hollywood the last six years and not enough time living a balanced life, living in a city where I'm happy to walk around the streets, where I'm happy it snows in the winter, where I'm happy that I don't have to actually drive in a car to get somewhere.

But I'm a passionate person. It's in my blood. I'm an entrepreneur above all, I have been since I was kid. I ran my first business from ages 14 to 18, then started this one when I was 20. I remember attending the Grindhouse junket afterparty in LA and being anxious that they'd check my ID - it was my 21st birthday. I didn't start this site to make money (and I don't run it for the money now). I started this website to make a difference. To enhance the moviegoing experience so that everyone could experience movies with the same unabashed, exuberant excitement that's inside of me every time I go to a highly anticipated midnight show.

Hollywood is Extremely Far Behind the Times

I moved to Los Angeles in late 2008 with the hope that it would be my big break. I was already in the sights of the studios, being invited to press events—usually in LA—and set visits (Watchmen in Vancouver in late 2007 was my first visit), and I felt like I could take on the world. But Los Angeles is not a city that invites innovation. After four years of living there, they're just barely getting around (at least in my neighborhood) to putting technology at the forefront of development. Did you know LA has subway? Neither did I. It barely goes anywhere. LA's public transportation sucks. I would read about places like San Francisco and New York getting city-wide wifi, but LA seemed more concerned about widening the 405 or arguing about marijuana.

I was lured into Los Angeles because that's where "Hollywood" is. But anyone who has ever driven around the actual part of LA known as Hollywood, knows that it's not an appealing place. It's dirty, there are bums all over, it's disorganized, the parking and traffic is horrendous at all times of the day. This is the infamous Hollywood? I quickly discovered none of the actual movie studios were in Hollywood (except Paramount) but rather split between the Burbank area (WB, Disney, Universal) and Century City (Fox) or Culver City (Sony). But I managed fine, mostly because I love driving, and was excited to explore this West Coast city.

It's really Hollywood, the "industry" not just the city, that is behind the times. It's very evident in the way they continue to fight piracy with archaic and ruthless tactics, and in the way the studios have been slow to accept the internet as the dominate interactive platform of modern communication (Variety and Hollywood Reporter have been the print magazine Hollywood kings for years and are just now caving into the modern digital era). The movie marketing/distribution industry is behind the times (the filmmaking side is actually where genuine innovation is found) and, subsequently, the city that lives on this industry, is behind as well. There wasn't much I saw LA do to encourage technological innovation, especially compared to New York.

Even South Park recently made fun of Hollywood and the ancient business models they're still addicted to in an episode parodying the death of Blockbuster and DVDs. It's worth watching if you haven't seen it yet, as it shows how Hollywood is still stuck on these old models. Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain also recently commented on Fast Co's Branch discussion about the differences between Silicon Valley and Los Angeles: "Hollywood is based on models that were developed 80 years ago that need to be rethought. The budgets are so large that they are keeping companies from creating a lot of inspired work. S.V. is much more nimble." I'd rather be in a city that embraces progress instead of holding onto old models for as long as they can pinch pennies.

Studio PassesMany movie fans collect stubs, but the collection I was the most proud of in LA was my movie studio parking passes (pictured to the right). It only took about two years, but I kept my pass onto the lot of every movie studio in town (from top down): Paramount, Warner Bros, Fox, Disney, Sony, Universal, DreamWorks Animation, Disneyland (yep!) and IMAX. I loved, and can say I still love, going onto studio lots. Fox screens most of their movies on the lot, but even after 30 odd visits, I can still go and feel the same "this is where history was filmed" exhilaration. It was one of my favorite parts about being in Los Angeles - access to the movie studios. But I discovered after four years that this access wasn't essential. Screenings take place everywhere, and happen just as often in New York (both Les Mis and The Hobbit are hosting their press junkets in the city). Though I may miss the lots, I don't feel like I'm really missing out by moving away.

What I did not enjoy was the traffic and time it would take to get to the studios. Traffic gets worse every year in Los Angeles. I was warned about it before I even moved there, but was reminded every time I set foot in my car just how awful it truly is. It is not an exaggeration to say that if it's between 6AM and 8PM during a week day, no matter where you are in LA, you're either in or will hit some traffic. I couldn't stand it, it drove me crazy. It drove me to stay at home and off the streets as much as I could. I wouldn't even leave my apartment on Fridays after 4PM, because Friday evenings are the worst for traffic, even around my area (aka "the valley").

The only other Los Angeles-based enterprise that I respectfully admire is the Arclight Cinemas chain of movie theaters, which had a Sherman Oaks location right near me. A shining beacon of quality and excellence standing tall in an otherwise scuzzy city. But they were so good, I never wanted to go anywhere else to watch movies. My first roommate for two years in Los Angeles worked at the nearby Arclight as a projectionist, and I got to hear all the good and bad behind the scenes, before he left the job. I'm glad to see that Arclight is aggressively expanding now, but they're still miles behind the Alamo Drafthouse, who I believe are the greatest innovators in the movie exhibition world.

I had hoped to find a city that would encourage a small online business like a movie blog to thrive. But that's not the city I found living in Los Angeles. Every day I spent there, places like San Francisco and New York (even Seattle) became more appealing as I watched them push for and encourage technological progress. It was the never-ending traffic, and the realistic lack of technological innovation, that were the two biggest factors behind why I had to leave LA. I hoped to progress my business but felt constrained and confined in a city I didn't even want to drive around in anymore. It was time to get out and make a change for my future.

Home Sweet Home Amongst the Skyscrapers

I don't feel any remorse or concern about leaving LA behind. I had my time there, and enjoyed most of it. I went to Disneyland. I have been to Oscar parties, Golden Globes parties, Bel Air parties, Chateau Marmont parties. I've been to every single movie studio, explored every lot, sat in every screening room. I've seen the Hollywood sign (many times). I've driven to Vegas and back. I've flown out of LAX and Burbank. There's not much there that I feel the need to be around (except, of course, all my friends and colleagues who I already miss). But as for my "job", this business, and movies—while it is "Hollywood", New York is not far behind. It has a strong film community. Hell, there's probably more movies filmed in New York than in LA nowadays (considering most studio productions have moved out to places like Toronto, New Mexico or New Orleans).

There are people like Darren Aronofsky, a personal favorite filmmaker, who prove every single day that living in New York and working in film is not only possible, but enriching and viable. He's one of the biggest advocates of NYC being a movie town, and filmed most of his latest project Noah in/around the city. There are many filmmakers (like Noah Baumbach, Spike Lee, Woody Allen, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese) who love NYC and love living and working here. It is the opportunities and innovations the city provides and encourages that inspire me the most. It's the energy that will refuel my ambition and reignite my passions.

So, I moved — finally living my dream of living in Manhattan in New York City. I cannot predict the future and don't know where this new adventure will take me or my business, but I know that I am already happier, healthier, more excited and completely revitalized by being here than in Los Angeles. I was looking around for lists of NY-based filmmakers and found this article titled New York Stories: Why Filmmakers Love the Big Apple. In it, there's a quote from documentary filmmaker Robert Richter that I need to repost:

"How do I love New York? Let me count the ways: It is the energy and those fabulous places to see, the restaurants with ethnic cuisines from everywhere, the great museums, Off and Off Off Broadway, the hellish heat and devilish cold, cherry blossoms in Prospect Park, autumn leaves turning gold and red, memories of childhood and a career, and all of the history that happens here. It is almost everyone in the world conveniently reachable through a subway trip. Wherever I've traveled and relished what I saw and did, I always return to New York, thankful for the experiences and thankful for coming back to the best place a documentary filmmaker can live and work."

That is exactly how I feel, and I'm not even a filmmaker. Los Angeles can't provide that, it never could, even when it tries. It is a city where work always comes first, money and glamor rule the streets, and innovation moves slowly. That's not the city for me, that's not the city I want to live in to grow myself as a person, to push this business and website beyond these last six years into another six years of success, influence and inspiration. I want to rediscover a new world, get lost looking for the best pizza joint, or find hidden gems around the block, and establish a balance between living my own life, and living a life connected to movies.

I am incredibly thankful for everyone who has ever encouraged me to live my dreams, inspired me in any way, and helped me make this move possible. From my loving parents who I owe everything, to my cousin Andrew and his wife Kelly (who used to let me stay at their Queens apartment and now live in New Jersey) to my college friend TJ and his wife graciously allowing me to crash at their place in the Financial District until I find an actual home. To everyone else that has ever read this website, or told me congratulations on my success. I wouldn't have been able to get here without knowing I'm not alone. You inspire me in return.

The question I am most often asked when explaining why I moved to New York is: "what about your site?" Don't worry. It'll still be here, alive and kickin' as always. Ben Pearson, our newest writer, is based in LA, Ethan lives in Indiana, Jeremy (and soon Tim) lives in the southern movie mecca of Austin, Texas. Living, loving and working in movies does not require being in Los Angeles. Cinema is, and will always be, global. LA offers some access, but I learned after four years that I would rather be in a city I can truly call home, where I can wake up happy every day, and be energized and rejuvenated daily. For me that is New York City.

So here I am, at the beginning of a new chapter in my life. It's time to start this New York adventure on the East Coast, and see where it takes me, where it takes us. "It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to."

Find more posts: Discuss, Editorial, General



Good luck, Alex. enjoy NYC

truong18 on Nov 14, 2012


While I'd prefer not to live in either of those areas, I'd gladly pick NYC over LA any day. Best of luck in your new town! Are you still planning on making your way back to LA for some of the cons and such?

Phillip Gockel on Nov 14, 2012


Dude, great stuff. Really eye-opening. Do you think you'll still travel back frequently for showings and press and such?

Nick on Nov 14, 2012


Yea, I definitely plan to be back in LA whenever I need to for screenings or interviews. More than happy to visit and stay with friends, but just not a city I ever want to live in anymore.

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


Welcome to the East Coast. Sadly, NYC's Alamo doesn't open until 2014!

Greedo on Nov 14, 2012


At least it's coming soon! They haven't even announced an LA location yet... probably because they're having trouble fitting an innovative, genius movie theater chain into that city!

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


I don't care what makes you happy, but I feel confused by the omission of the Silent Movie Theater and the New Beverly in this article -- did you mention them? No offense to Alamo but we don't need them here -- they would be nice and I think it's great what they do for other cities, but we have the two I mentioned, plus the Aero and Egyptian, the Bing theater in LACMA, the Academy's Samuel-Goldwyn, etc.

Guest on Nov 17, 2012


Great insight here...

Akira Money ♕ on Nov 14, 2012


Welcome to NYC!! 😀

Brandon V. Fletcher on Nov 14, 2012


As a film student, I was wondering if it'd be worth it at all to experience "Hollywood" for a few years after graduating, but after reading this (the whole darn thing! :D), I'm having second thoughts. Whenever anyone asks what I'd do after school, I've always replied that I'd get to California as soon as possible, but after reading about your experiences, I'm now really turned off about going there (I've never been on the west coast). I live in Atlanta, and since more and more films are being made here, I don't think I even have to leave, but now my new goal is to get to New York. Thanks for sharing! Look how influential you are!

fem!anon on Nov 14, 2012


Don't let one ignorant person ruin your idea of coming out here. Some love it, some hate it. It's an experience you have to make for yourself. Your lifestyle maybe different than his, you may enjoy te things this city has to offer.

The Douche on Nov 14, 2012


Seriously?!! Seriously!!! you can't be serious.....seriously?!!! You're going to let one single blogger determine, possibly, one of the biggest decisions in life?!!.....c'mon......seriously?!!!

Seriously! on Nov 14, 2012


I made the reverse move over 15yrs ago and moved out here to work in "Hollywood". Realized I really didn't like it for all the outrageous egos and entourage of "me toos". Switched to a different industry all together. I do make it back to NYC every year or so. I will always consider myself a New Yorker. I still find it comfortable going back and taking the train everywhere and walking everyplace in-between. The architecture and liveliness of the city will always comfort me. I'll take the crowded sidewalks over the crowded freeways here in LA any day. I'm glad NY is creating these great new green spaces like the High Line Park and, the still in progress, Brooklyn Bridge Park. Not just throwing down some grass and a few benches and calling it a park, but actually thoughtfully designing these green spaces. And New Yorkers will always seem to pull together in the best moments. The aftermath of Sandy included. Lucky that you were able to find another new place after the storm. I have a brother displaced from his lower Manhattan home for what could be a months time. Good luck to you in NYC.

FormerNYr on Nov 14, 2012


I have to say I've come to the same conclusion and your points solidify that. I'm an East Coast Makeup Artist and travel for work. I've contemplated moving to LA many times and did live there for about a year at one point. But many of my LA colleagues tell me (and I agree) to stay away from LA as it is too saturated for what we do. Currently film Incentives allow me to live and work in NC where I'm from, but if those were to end I'd have no choice but to move. Maybe it would be NY. Sure why not. Great article, always enjoy your point of view.

Bryan Reynolds on Nov 14, 2012


Good Luck Alex, I have been an avid reader of Firstshowing for a while. Keep up the Great work.

Matt on Nov 14, 2012


I started thinking to read just the opening bit as its 00:50 here but then kept going and going till i completed it. I never felt that one would experience so much from living in a city to feeling so strong in leaving it behind. I always thought there would be nothing better if passion turned to work but then you made me see the flip side. Anyways hoping you find that something special by calling the big apple as your home. All the best Alex.

Nithin on Nov 14, 2012


You are young .Four years in the same place is a long time. Glad you are moving. NYC is great. You should spend a couple years in S.F. also if you can later in life. Another great town.

frank on Nov 14, 2012


Find a place in Brooklyn, Alex. But pick avoid the hipster areas or run-down neighborhoods. There are plenty, but they are shrinking as the hipsters move in, and rent goes up, but they are still available. That's the real New York. Commuting on the subway is a big part of the New York experience.

Bobo_Vision on Nov 14, 2012


I have read 1stshowing for 2-3 years now and enjoyed following cinema through you and your site. However maybe you could do without trashing southern California as a reason to move. As a life long southern Californian your gripes seem petty and tired. Try not living in Sherman Oaks and figuring out the freeways better. You could attempt to write something positive about NY without the risk of alienating a portion of readers by regarding their home as behind the times. Enjoy NY and remember to bring your Galoshes.

Red on Nov 14, 2012


He didn't say LA was behind the times, He said the Hollywood industry was. Please read before jumping into an argument. As for traffic there is no way to justify the infrastructure that the great car boom did to ruin a potentially great transit system that used to be in LA. General Motors ruined that. I love LA, live in SD right now, but I am too, going to NYC, getting rid of my car and hitting the streets on foot to really live in a culturally superior city. LA has just as many diverse areas, but it takes hours to get to and find parking. I can't live in a town where I spend 1/3 of my day taking side routes to avoid the highway. Why not just hop on the train and be immersed with people from all walks of life. I'll be back to SoCal after NYC, because SoCal is wonderful, but NYC is where its at for young people. I applaud the readers ambition and passions for his new city.

nkkren on May 28, 2013


You lived in Sherman Oaks for 4 years and wonder why something didn't feel right in L.A.?!!

Marc Caldwell on Nov 14, 2012


"Sherman Oaks is a 8.1-square-mile district in the San Fernando Valley area of the city of Los Angeles, California." Via Wikipedia. Oh yea, I also drove and went to almost every single suburb/borough in LA as well. Just because I lived in the valley doesn't mean I didn't explore the rest of Los Angeles. Where else would you suggest I live? Santa Monica? Silverlake? West Hollywood? It's all the same no matter where you go.

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


Silver Lake is the same as Santa Monica? WTF. West Hollywood is like Sherman Oaks? Really? Is it also like Pasadena? Is Pasadena like Long Beach? NY is much much much less diverse. Sure, there is diversity. But the scenery of the urban landscape in NY is not anywhere close to what is in LA. Seriously, I can ski and surf in one day If I really wanted to. Can't surf in NY and most interaction with snow involves shoveling.

adrian mcdonald on Nov 15, 2012


Silly article. Can't believe Sherman Oaks wasn't everything they say.

NYC Transplant on Nov 14, 2012


NYC, London and surprisingly Vancouver. Best cities in the world. For many different things.

Jordan on Nov 14, 2012


I love Vancouver, too! Hope to live there for a little while at some point in my life. Same with London. And Paris. One day, but for now, New York City is my playground...

Alex Billington on Nov 16, 2012


Hope you'll like it. Best wishes!

Isildur_of_Numenor on Nov 14, 2012


OK, let me interrupt the high-fiving in this post to stand up for LA here. As a 10-year transplant, I find all of this more than a little silly. You seem to be hating on Hollywood (easy game, a favorite pastime of Angelenos themselves), but broadening the argument to be about LA itself. For all the LA-in-the-crosshairs stuff, 99% of what you've written here is really about you, and not the city; a young guy 'waking up to the world' off on his grand coming-of-age adventure to the Big Apple -- a well-worn genre in itself. Alex, I don't know you; I'm not in your industry, and I was linked off this screed from social media, and haven't been on your site till now: but, you've a serious ego writ large all throughout this blog post, and I think it's mistaken to characterize this stuff as being fundamentally about LA (or even Hollywood) when it's really about yourself. It's not particularly fair to this metropolis or its 10M+ residents to think your narrow experience reflects much of anything other than--well, your narrow experience. "I've been to every studio lot like 30x" "I've been to all the swanky parties" -- OK, I guess this makes sense for someone trying to ingratiate themselves into the Hollywood scene. But how is that anything but the tiniest bit of LA? You've never seen _a_ subway station (did you go east of Normandie)? Ever taken the metro line through Union Station to Pasadena? Ever jogged through Griffith Park on your way to the Observatory? Ever got your pet blessed on Olvera Street? Ever been through the Rose Parade? Ever have time for all the awesome shows at MOCA? Ever eaten at [insert cult following old Mexican restaurant here]? Ever picnic'd at the Huntington Library? Ever rode the Frank Lloyd Wright architecture tour? Or, for the environs: ever gone to Big Bear? Ever been to Catalina? Ever gone camping in Joshua Tree? You know you can go 1.5 hrs from LA and get ocean, forest, grasslands, desert, mountains or snow--right? All of this stuff has vastly more to do with "the city", its place and its people, than a slice of "industry" flash in "Hollywood" (an abstraction if there ever was one)... which seems to be most of what you've amassed in your experience, as in your personal parking lot tickets (at least according to what you've chosen to share here). As for tech -- old, outdated dumb Hollywood bigwigs? Pretty easy target; but that superficial argument belies the enormous amount of tech growth and innovation in virtually every other sector of the economy here. I'm a tech entrepreneur, and there's so much activity in the tech scene in LA that I'd venture to say it's hotter than SF of late. (cf: the recent swath of NYT and LAT write-ups about "Silicon Beach"; the emergence of over a dozen incubators and $100Ms investment in the last two years; Santa Monica's thriving tech startup scene; and on and on). LA is a gia-normous melting pot of every conceivable ethnicity that has, literally, everything you could want--AND hate. Just like... oh, right, NYC. "NYC is a walking city! Public transport is amazing! People are so close together, it's just so much culture in close proximity!" But actually live there and begin to peel away the glossy cover and you find just as many things to detest: a society ruled by financial industry overlords; a city which prices out all but the most self-important and well-trust-funded from the urban core; a city which believes itself to be the center of the world when that's decidedly no longer true. And for a physical critique--how about, in the words of my NYC-native colleague, "dirty, smelly, trashy, filthy"? With hordes of people and minimal privacy, with tiny apartments and asshole neighbors? But you know what? NYC is a great place. So is LA. Knowing a city means knowing its positives and negatives, embracing its contradictions and exploring it with an open mind. You would do well when reflecting on the past four years to try to achieve this balanced insight instead of trying to build a rapport with your new home by tearing down your old one. I must confess now that I don't take much of what you've said at face value. I don't know where you spent four years (Sherman Oaks I suppose), but your criticisms are all the same contrived talking-points (the traffic? Hollywood & Highland is dirty?) I'm used to rebutting from snobby unknowing outsiders who feel this popular one-dimensional portrayal of LA is all they need to confirm their prejudices. So, I guess I'll just come out and say it: if you had four years and, e.g., you didn't know LA has a subway -- you don't really know anything about LA. P.S. South Park is in LA.

Jack Crude on Nov 14, 2012


So impossibly better worded than I could have conjured up in 6 hours. Every L.A. activity talked about brought instant memories from childhood through to the present. Clark Gable and Lauren Bacall don't wander the streets paved of gold handing out hugs and kisses to passers by but we are a large city with a great heart of technology, farming, artistry and industry.

Red on Nov 14, 2012


A Brilliantly written response Jack. Hey Alex - let us know in a few months how you're enjoying that incredibly cramped and ridiculously expensive studio apt (in Manhattan...if you're lucky) is working out for you. Oh and if you think being in traffic on a Friday afternoon on the 405 is bad wait till you need to get to the upper west side in a cab! Don't knock a city cause it didn't 'work out' for you professionally. It flies as a direct insult in the face of those that enjoy and love living in the largest and most diverse city on the west coast.

Zax on Nov 14, 2012


I will, and I love New York, cramped apartments, crowded subways, snowstorms and all. I didn't mean to directly insult anyone who is living there (obviously the 13M who are) but I don't like that city and had to express my reasons for why. I'm glad you can make it work in your favor, obviously with effort and money anyone can make it work there and many of my good friends are still there. But it's just not the city for me for many of the reasons I have expressed.

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


Thank you! L.A. is an amazing place to live. There are so many things we have here, from great sports teams, amusement parks, great concert venues, History in and the surrounding areas. Beaches, mountains, trails, yes we have traffic but who doesn't love the drive up or down the PCH. The list goes on and on. But I totally agree with you, all I heard was me, me, me. I've been to NY, loved NY, but don't put down a city cause you didn't fit in. I guess when ur so narrow minded you don't take the time to enjoy all the things I mentioned or anything else this great city has to offer.

The Douche on Nov 14, 2012


Written like it belongs in a pamphlet at the Los Angeles visitor's center. Are we sure you didn't plagiarize? "Ever been to Catalina? Ever gone camping in Joshua Tree? You know you can go 1.5 hrs from LA and get ocean, forest, grasslands, desert, mountains or snow--right?" Anyone could write lines like that for any city in the entire world. "Ever been to Montmartre? Ever been to Versailles? You can take a train from Paris to Nice to Switzerland and back in day." Just because all of that is around you doesn't mean it immediately makes the city appealing. I grew up in Colorado, where I had just as many wonderful locations easily accessible, but I don't want to live there anymore either. Second, in response to your claims that this was about myself. Well, it WAS about myself. I clearly stated multiple times this is a story about myself. This is a personal editorial about my own experiences. Why can't you accept that someone else didn't like the city, had problems with it, and had to leave? Of course New York has problems, too. But I weigh the negatives, apply my own personal preferences, and move to the place that makes me, personally, happy. That is New York City. Whether you like it or not or agree or not, this is all my own personal opinion.

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


Yes, I've been to Montmartre; yes, I've been to Versailles. Avez-vous déjà été à Versailles? I was just there at Ecole Polytechnique. Yes I've taken the train from Paris to Switzerland -- all of just six weeks ago, while meeting with a lab group in my field in Zurich, among several other times in the past. I'm a young guy too with a business in a booming field, and it's taken me all over the planet -- and in all my travels, it's my opinion that you would be very hard pressed to find a place with more geographic variation, more diversity of people and ideas, more sheer possibility than LA and the southern California ecosystem. (Google that line and my other if you're so 'concerned' about plagiarism.) And you're damn right I've used/use the subway, and know many, many working professionals who do; you must not know very many people if you seriously believe that people don't. However, public transportation in that sliver of the city you were social-climbing in is decidedly worse than everything to the east (for now)-- so it doesn't surprise me at all that the people you knew in your bubble never thought about it beyond a condescending chuckle. But while it makes for cheap cocktail conversation, that sentiment has no legs in any serious conversation about the city, as it betrays a serious lack of knowledge. But regardless--LA's bigger than "Hollywood"; even Hollywood's bigger than "Hollywood", and you don't need to trash on LA because it didn't work out for you the way you thought it would. I know you've been in love with NYC since you were a kid, and there's some literary/romantic aspersions here that are clouding your vision-- but what I'm trying to tell you is, there is far more to *this* city than the experiences you're describing. And four years is nothing--especially when it's confined to a strip of land on the coast consisting of less than 5 sq. miles. ...Also, before you decide that a place "makes you happy", why don't you live there for a while? The point is, keep an open mind. And especially as a newcoming transplant, I have a bit of advice as a guy who's been there, done that: NYC is going to be what you make of it. Just like LA was.

Jack Crude on Nov 14, 2012


Ah the usual smart arse troll on a roll. Typical LA. pretty much! Good Riddance...

Buzzfunk on Nov 14, 2012


Oh and PS - yes I knew LA had a subway, I learned about it before I even moved there. But never used it. After four years. Because who uses the subway in LA? No one I know. No one I know ever has. Have you?

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


Of course you didn't use it. You lived in the Valley. It would be like someone in Jersey City or across the river complaining about the NY subway and how they never ride it. You should have tried the Orange Line and taken it to Silver Lake, where expats from Brooklyn bitch about NYC with the same sort of worn out complaints you used for LA. I ride it often. It's as packed with people during peak hours as the roads are filled with cars. If you live one of the major lines, it rules. I live in Hollywood and can go from North Hollywood & Universal City to Union Station downtown and everything in between. The first line did not even start until 1990, and in 20 years they had 8 lines and 80 stations with ridership at almost 400,000. 12 more stations are almost complete. In the coming years, Metro stations will link with the bullet train being built that, when finished, would allow me to go from Hollywood & Highland to downtown San Francisco in barely 3 hours. It's the ninth busiest heavy rail transit system in the US (according to wikipedia, which I am admittedly trusting here). Yes, low ridership than most major systems like NY or Chicago. But it is busier than the Metro in DC. And if you lived in DC, you would know that "everyone" rides the Metro. That you didn't know people who do suggests, as others have pointed out, that you were living in a bubble. To be fair, you kinda admitted as much. Anyways, had you explored and used LA metro, whose trains are WAY nicer than NY (Bart still has them all beat), then it might have negated one of your primary gripes: traffic. In NY, traffic blows LA out of the water for upping stress. Yes, we talk about widening the 405 here because, unlike NY, we have room for things like freeways. We can expand them, build new ones, expand Metro rail and integrate the bullet train (not to mention the planned mag lev train to Las Vegas) into the system because we CAN. Some would call it innovating. What does NY have? Dirty smelly and old trains and taxis. Oh, and a neglected Amtrack system that could get axed at any time by DC. If four years of traffic in LA made you crazy, four years of the NY alternative may lead you to shoot yourself, others or both.

adrian mcdonald on Nov 15, 2012


I moved here 3 years ago from Sacramento and shit, I have to admit I like SAC even more than LA. It's dirty and most the people are as bad as their driving. I realize this is extremely generalized but I would trade the beach for a sense of community any day.

Ian Start on Nov 14, 2012


Forgot to say poop. Poop.

Ian Start on Nov 14, 2012


It is a megapolis not a metropolis... LA is cool though, but NYC offers more. I like both and have spent a lot of time in both for various reasons of wanting to move to one or the other. While I am in SD right now, I choose NYC at age 25 - 32 for great experience in a world city. It is hard to meet people when you are in a car half your day, subways are great and melt the city together creating wonderful interaction between its residents. On the other hand NYC doesn't have the pacific, cliffs, palms, venice beach, silver lake, and so on, but it holds its own as one of the best cities in the world still. Traffic in LA is just soul crushing. It is unfortunate this was really developed in the 70's because if it was made more like SF it might have given NYC a serious run for its money in contrast.

nkkren on May 28, 2013


Good for you. Sounds like a good move for you. I have to say from a natural born Angeleno's point of view - things are different if you actually grow up here. I agree with you wholeheartedly that LA isn't for everyone. But for those of you planning to move here - keep in mind that there are 2 or 3 different "LA"s. The shallow, obnoxious "entourage" crowd is rarely made up of locals and that is just the flashy, cheesy surface of LA. Dig deeper and there is another LA made up of locals, old families, recent transplants, immigrants and all sorts of kooky characters. There is a lot to love and explore and experience in LA. It's unlike any city out there (just like NYC is unlike any city out there) but it's hard to adjust to when you are transplant. I gripe about LA and it's traffic like everyone else but that's par for the course. When I travel I am amazed at how much better other cities are run and the public transportation! Don't get me started on that! But then I come home. And my heart hurts because I missed home. I even missed the traffic, crazy drivers, snobs in line at Starbucks and the misspelled signs outside of businesses. I could never live in Sherman Oaks or anywhere in the valley for that matter. But some people love it. That's what's great about LA. Despite what you think Alex - it's not all "just the same". Well...maybe for people in the movie/entertainment bubble - but for the rest of us there is a lot out there. A lot of great people, great stories, & great food. P.S. our public transportation does suck and you are right about technology but it's changing, albeit slowly. We locals secretely hope people get tired of the "Myth" of LA that Hollywood created and stop moving here in droves. Then maybe we can drive somewhere to dinner in less than an hour.... 🙂

Kobie on Nov 14, 2012


Your discussion about Hollywood being behind the technological times intrigues me. Do you know of any movies that skipped the usual film festival / distribution / DVD pathway and went straight to iTunes or Amazon?

Kelly Parks on Nov 14, 2012


Good Luck!! Ill still Follow You.

Seth Pyrzynski on Nov 14, 2012


One less person in Los Angeles! YAY!

Jennifer Boogaloo on Nov 14, 2012


I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm in the industry as well as I definitely choose NYC > LA.

Jeremy on Nov 14, 2012


See ya. As a born and raised NATIVE of this fair city, and a working member of this elusive Hollywood industry you claim you're so close to, The Great City of Angels will do fine without you floating in its shallows. In my years growing up here I've seen hordes of young kids with stars in their eyes come to my hometown with trash and puke and drugs and designer cigarettes and Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hipster LMFAO sunglasses and BIG dreams - They make a big mess of it all and then find it / the "scene" terrifically boring. Well I'll let you in on the big common secret between you all - Every one of you leaves in the end. This is what keeps our city nice and filtered. I love NYC, and I do agree that it surpasses L.A. substantially, but I say it because I know it. You haven't earned the right to this sweeping judgement, not as a 4 year tourist and studio-hopper. Best of luck though! And good riddance.

The Valley on Nov 14, 2012


You don't know me. I did not bring "trash and puke and drugs and designer cigarettes and Pabst Blue Ribbon and Hipster LMFAO sunglasses and BIG dreams" to LA and I was NOT just a tourist and studio hopper. I tried to enjoy the city, but never found much to enjoy, and even you admit NYC "surpasses L.A. substantially." You have not earned the right to judge me and claim I'm just a tourist by reading one article I wrote about my experiences there.

Alex Billington on Nov 14, 2012


No in n out burger...

Shogun on Nov 14, 2012


Just in n out.

Bobo_Vision on Nov 14, 2012


Alex be trading up to Shake Shack!!!

DAVIDPD on Nov 15, 2012


ALEX: I love this site and have visited it just about everyday since at least 2008 when you posted that heath ledger died (RIP). I'm just wondering. say you lived in California still and were about to graduate from high school and wanted to study film or get a job in the industry. where would you move to if not the LA area and why?

THEBATMAN on Nov 14, 2012


To New York City. Why? I just explained above. This city is just as much a film city as LA is, and I enjoy living here so much more.

Alex Billington on Nov 16, 2012


haha true, i wish you the best of luck in NYC

THEBATMAN on Nov 27, 2012


"The slower we move the faster we die. Make no mistake, moving is living."

Matt Peloquin on Nov 14, 2012


Good luck to you! I'm glad to see you making this move, making it how you see fit. Don't pay attention to most of these commenter who don't seem to realize that like film, where one wants to live is subjective. What they like you may not. That's how it goes. Best of luck to you!

Greg dinskisk on Nov 14, 2012


indeed, Alex only wrote why *he* was moving and what the move meant for him. i totally get the passion (or lack of) for living in particular major cities - i've lived in other countries and other cities during my life. you have to find what works for you. LA clearly doesn't work for @buddha1822:disqus anymore, perhaps NYC will. either way, i too wish him luck. i know that, wherever he is, he will still be pursuing his real number one passion - film - for all of us to share.

son_et_lumiere on Nov 17, 2012


I can sum up your error in one quote. In a recent interview on KCRW (LA's NPR), Wernor Herzog was asked why, after a lifetime of living in Germany, did he move to Los Angeles? "There's so much going on here, people don't even realize it yet. In 20 years, artists from all backgrounds, not just film, but every form of art, will look back on Los Angeles during this time and realize it was the epicenter of the world's creative vitality. I had to be here." 'nuff said.

David on Nov 14, 2012


Much prefer LA to NY. I guess some people just can't handle the heat.

guest@gmail.com on Nov 14, 2012


Great read! Thanks, Alex. People often ask me how I can run Reel Life With Jane out of a town in northern Michigan, and you've explained it well. Movies are, and always will be, global -- and universal. That's not to say I wasn't super excited when Michael Moore founded our Traverse City Film Festival. Eight years later and I'm still super excited (and also run their Twitter account :-)). Let me know if you ever get up this way and we'll have coffee and see a movie.

Jane Boursaw on Nov 14, 2012


Welcome to town, Alex. Hope you stay here for a long time.

Drew Kerr on Nov 14, 2012


I'm with you Alex, I've lived in both NYC and LA, and NYC is way better. I just seems like everything in LA is just a little bit off and different. While I will say LA has some things that got NYC beat like, beautiful mountains, amazing weather, and great beaches, overall NYC is just a better city. In NYC you've got things like, bars that don't close till 4am any day of the week, you don't need a car cause you can pretty much get anywhere you need to go by subway, stores are open till like 10 or 11 at night and don't close really early like LA, and the best pizza you'll ever have (that was one thing I hated about LA is that it seemed like no one knew how to make good pizza. Plus NYC just has a great vibe and energy to it that you just can't really explain till you've been to the city and know. NYC does have it's flaws like everything is overpriced, the summers are hot as balls and the winters are freezing, and the beaches are gross. But there's all the great little bars and restaurants and music venues to see some of the great local bands that make it an amazing place to live. I'd highly recommend spending time in the Lower East City of Manhattan (like the Rivington St. area) that's my favorite part of the city. Check out a awesome place called The Back Room Bar, it's a prohibition era speakeasy that's really cool. I'll end my opinion with the best quote I've ever read about NYC "NYC 101, It'll rob you and cheat you. It'll take your friends and turn them on you. It'll kick your ass and break your heart. But then it'll pick you up again, make you feel so totally alive and untouchable. It's the center of the world, it's the best place in the world, and once it's in your heart, it'll ever leave you."

JP on Nov 14, 2012


Okay thanks for the huge scoop! - all I need to make my life complete is to hang out in bars!

Zax on Nov 14, 2012


How did this turn into a big hate fest? Man, such negative points of view. It's his website, his story and opinion. Alex didn't ask you to read it. You came here on your own. If you don't like someone's opinion then go somewhere else! There is so much great stuff on this site and I feel it really contributes to the experience. It seems a waste of time to spend it writing back biting comments of an opinion to whom it was never asked. Lighten up.

Bryan Reynolds on Nov 14, 2012


Welcome to NYC. Manhattan, Think Coffee, Williamsburg, Lower East Side...24 hr inspiration, etc. Awesome.... Hope I run into you one day

Welcome on Nov 14, 2012


I'd say LA and NYC are different more because one is an actual super city (NYC) whereas LA is really more condensed with sprawl. NYC is more vibrant and enjoyable as pedestrian with all the subways, cabs. LA has locals that are more scenic. If you are a city person than I would say NYC is better.

Jim Dawkins on Nov 14, 2012


So true...

Vee on Aug 3, 2013


Good luck Alex. Hope you're happier in NYC. Love your website. I get all my movie news from here and have since 2006. I remember the first trailer I saw here was for 300 lol. Hope the site gets bigger and better.

si1ver on Nov 14, 2012


everyone should move to sydney. sydney roolz. sydney 4 lyf.

xerxexxx on Nov 15, 2012


Hi Alex! I am sorry this article turned south so fast regarding your new move. I chuckled as I read your article as it sounded exactly what Adam Carolla says every day on his podcast on "Why LA sucks!" Good luck, my friend, on your next journey in NYC! I can still remember when I read that you were moving to LA all that time ago. I have followed FirstShowing.net since almost its inception and will continue to until the day I cannot get Internet access. ^-^

DAVIDPD on Nov 15, 2012


people will make you happy Alex. Not a place. If you were unhappy as a single in LA, you will be unhappy in NY as well. Trust me, I have lived in many countries (Brazil, London, Sydney, Madrid...) and what really counts is to be with people who cares about you. Not the traffic...

Chris on Nov 15, 2012


i disagree wholeheartedly. if you can move to a city that inspires you and has a lot to do and is extraordinary to you, then your environment will inspire you, and you will become a product of your environment. you have to make yourself happy, not rely on other people to do so !! duh.

Elaine Marie on Dec 2, 2013


Good luck. It´s not a question of which city is better (everything has its pros and cons), it's about where do you can feel better, so I wish you de better in NY. For an european living in big city, NY is much more like an European city, wherr life is on the streets. And the most important thing you's said: agood job is a very important thing, but your private life is what finally counts much more. Of course is difficutl to find the balance, but, whay important thing isn´t hard to get. So go on, your life is waiting for you!

JM on Nov 15, 2012


Everyone's personal experience of Los Angeles is different. But the criticism of LA's public transport system is plain wrong. In the last 10 years, it's had phenomenal strides in it's light rail system (and high speed rail) at a time where the rest of the country is turning away from it. (They even voted to tax themselves to build it!) Even if Alex isn't using it, record number of Angelenos are. And people who ride the rails experience LA in a much more intimate way and begin to know LA in a way that those who've never taken the subway will never know. And that's exciting. So the comment about concentrating on widening the 405 is kind of ridiculous considering the focus the city has put on public transit and that public is responding to it enthusiastically. That's not behind the times, that's AHEAD of the times and going against the grain of what people think they know about LA. The city changes fast. I do think Hollywood is set in its ways and if you spend to much time chasing it, you'll suffer. But LA is NOT Hollywood. To experience LA rather than Hollywood reveals a magnificent city full of life, nuance and exciting happenings. MY feeling is that Alex was so absorbed in the Hollywood film industry, he never got to experience Los Angeles, the city. The ones who "get" LA are usually the ones who disengage themselves from the film industry.

DavidT on Nov 15, 2012


Welcome to the East Coast! Best of luck in the future!

mrmonka on Nov 15, 2012


Hi Alex, I commented earlier today here and there in the thread below. Some of those thoughts will be repeated here and apologize in advance if you had already read them and/or responded. I think I had a similar reaction to Jack Crude. There are traces of a composed and respectful rebuttal in Jack's comments, but he got much to adversarial and insulting with the "face value" line. Like Jack, you responded to his comment with your own snarky insults and, well, it just kind of devolved from there. Let's not make that mistake here. First, congratulations on the journey you have embarked on and your zest to do it. That's just awesome and I wish you nothing but success. Your love of NY is palpable and I hope it is a true and lasting love rather than infatuation mistaken too early for love. NY is one of the greatest cities in world history, even if just for impact. I love it. Many do. But comparing it to LA is like comparing apples to oranges. Chicago is a better compare and contrast to NY. Frankly, I think Chicago has better pizza, better transportation, much much cleaner, and a better sports town mentality than NY, which I don't say lightly. After all, the Bears play in Chicago, Illinois. The NY football teams play in another state altogether. 🙂 And they now have Tim Tebow in NY, who is worth 20 Paris Hilton's worth of annoyance. But I digress. As much as you appear to love NY, its much more obvious that your true love is movies. And you pretty much admit it, which is great. I share the same passion. Hollywood is a term that represents a global industry, as you said, more than it does the actual place. Full disclosure, I live in Hollywood just steps from the Chinese Theater. Indeed, Hollywood is a global industry. But I think you make a huge oversight when you fail to acknowledge that the capital of this global industry is Los Angeles. The vast majority of the film activity that you speak of in NY is under the control of, owned, operated and managed from LA. Sure, NY has been getting increased levels of production in recent years and is second only to LA in terms of production activity. But it's a VERY distant second to LA. No, more movies are not shot in NY than LA. Let's get real. And while I cherish the history of film making in NY and value its place as a production center, the only reason for the current uptick in activity is free money for Hollywood from the NY state public coffers. Every year, the state shells out $420 million in refundable tax credits, which literally translates into a 30% cash refund on any budget spending in NY. Is it innovative? That's debatable. But any incentive program that awards free money to productions like SNL or 30 Rock (i.e., shows that were already in NY and never leaving) seems more on the wasteful side rather than the innovative side. Take "Noah", which you mentioned, as an example. The studio behind it is Paramount, which as you pointed out is literally in Hollywood. Noah is only in NY because of the 30% subsidy. Don't fool yourself otherwise. Noah even filmed parts in Hollywood. The VFX work that will be a vital component of the film is being done by ILM, which is wholly based in California. The amazing and innovative camera equipment Aronofsky is using comes from Arri (based in Germany) and Chapman Leonard (based in North Hollywood). Most of the major names in the cast hail from the UK or abroad. The only thing innovative on Noah that is from NY is Aronofsky himself. Born and raised in Brooklyn, it's not surprising he is a cheerleader for filming in NY and it's great he is. But before we erect a statue for him, let's remember that he shot The Fountain in Australia, most of The Wrestler in New Jersey and bailed on The Wolverine because he was trying to insist most of the filming take place in Japan (which it should, and he was right). His last film that shot in NY--Black Swan--was great. But few remember that the production cut corners by skimping on things like set medics (which Natalie Portman properly called out as illegal on Letterman when discussing getting injured on set) and was later sued by unpaid production assistants who were brave enough to call Hollywood out for this ridiculous cost cutting practice. If you complain about Hollywood penny-pinching, then you should realize it trickles down to your hero who wants free labor. Yes, many famous filmmakers have a rich history and love affair with NY. But you failed to mention that Scorsese spends most of his time at his primary home and office in LA, not NY. Goodfellas, for example, was shot in NY. But it was adapted for the screen and totally planned months before from LA, not NY. Ray Liota ran into Scorsese in Santa Monica and asked about the movie by the beaches of LA, not in the metropolis of Manhattan. Woody Allen has not called NY his primary residence for years and has not shot there in as many years either. His current film is in San Francisco and LA. The others before were in London, Paris and Rome. Again, no NY. Noah Baumbach's last film was shot entirely in LA, not NY. Does all of this mean LA is better than NY? No. Not at all. I am just pointing out that LA is still the unrivaled epicenter of an admittedly global industry. The vast majority of the creative people we both celebrate who work in it love LA and NY. Sure, there are always exceptions. But when many, if not most, of the most famous New Yorkers working in Hollywood choose to call LA home more often than NY (like Marty), it just made me think that your bashing of LA is, frankly, immature. Rather than a sophisticated critique of why you prefer NY over LA, your argument resorts to cliches. We have all heard them. Yes, many of your gripes are true. So when you repeat them with the tone of someone who is bitter about their time in LA and feels more compelled to bash the metaphorical Rome of the Roman Empire than celebrate his new found home in NY, it turns people off. People like me who love LA and NY and movies and the Hollywood industry. Stop being bitter about LA. Stop blaming LA. And look in the mirror! I read that article from Colorado Springs and it revealed a lot. At 22, a kid from Colorado Springs decided to move from small town in Colorado to Los Angeles with big dreams. You were number one in Colorado and hoping to come grow to number one in LA. You were already coming to LA monthly to stay on top of things (not NY, btw) and were interested in LA because it was the place to grow. You took a risk by dropping out of Carnegie Melon to devote yourself to the site and decided to take another leap of faith by moving to Hollywood, like so many before you. You insisted, at that time, that moving to LA was necessary for this growth. You now realize that is not true. But since you love the Alamo Drafthouse, I suspect you also know and read Harry Knowles and his AICN site. Launched in 1996, his site has the traffic and influence I am sure you aspire to. Unlike you, however, Knowles and co. have operated from Austin since the beginning. Not only was the move unnecessary for you, it was based on a site whose rise from obscurity to Hollywood radar was based on, and this took my breath away, journalistic incompetence. You even had the audacity to defend yourself in a later post and suggested the "rumor" you first broke may indeed be true. "Why would I post lies" you wrote. But you did. "Validity", in your words, had NOT "been secured." You did post a lie. You then stood by it on the hopes it was true. In the process, you caused both IMAX, Warner Bros. and others a PR nightmare for a film they had a lot riding on. You may not have caused them any hurt other than an unneeded distraction of dealing with BS based on a internet lie....but you certainly did not help them or yourself. Your "big break" was premised on a lie that pissed off the time and energy of those working at Warner Bros., arguably the most influential of the majors right now. I am stunned they allowed you on their lot. And I say that as someone who knows the PR team at Warner Bros. better than most. Let's face it, you gained your notoriety in the movie world by tarnishing the image (even if just a little) of a major property (Superman) from a major director (Singer) paid for by a major studio (Warner Bros.) based in LA. And LA, like NY, is a town where image is everything to key segments of the population. You came to LA after getting some notoriety for pissing off people in LA and you seriously thought this move was the key to your growth? As you seem to have discovered, it probably was not that wise. Equally unwise is departing LA for NY with a childish rant about how much you dislike LA and how much better NY is. Again, this will not impress people in the industry that you love who embrace both cities. Rather than charm them with your excitement for NY, which many of us all share, you alienate many with the childish and ignorant rant. Did LA bicker about petty things like marijuana and widening the 405 freeway? Sure. Guess what? NY also argued about marijuana, is constantly bitching about its subways and, even more pathetic, became a laughing stock for outlawing the big gulp. Really? So many of your LA complaints, it seemed to me, are actually bigger complaints from NY. You said LA is "a city where work always comes first, money and glamor rule the streets, and innovation moves slowly." What? Entourage was so brilliant at capturing LA for lines like this: "It's LA, every day is a weekend." A 9-5 job in LA means 9"ish" to 5"ish". Sure, production crews work long hours, but then enjoy long breaks. In LA, you can be formal for almost any event in jeans so long as you have a sports coat. Someone newly arrived in NY bashing LA as a town where "work always comes first" shows a total disconnect from reality. NY has a well earned and beloved reputation for its work ethic. Work comes first for way more people working in way more industries in NY than it does in LA. LA is home to Hollywood. NY is home to Wall Street. Expensive suits are mandatory, work is existence and glamor is as prevalent there as anywhere--arguably more so. Much of the case you make against LA is as baseless as the rumor about Superman you insisted was the truth. But let's forget that. You boil down the two reasons for leaving LA as traffic and lack of innovation. Yes, traffic in LA is bad. For a 22 year old kid from Colorado Springs, it was probably even more overwhelming than you possibly could have imagined. Perhaps its why you chose to settle in Sherman Oaks, an unfortunate choice for anyone hoping to embrace all that LA (not the valley) has to offer. Had you settled in the actual Hollywood, you would have learned about the Metro from day one and, I suspect, used it from day one. It's pretty damn nice, pretty damn new, and growing more rapidly than the NY subway did when it started over 100 years ago. In just 30 years of existence, the Metro lines have expanded quickly and have actually helped revitalize Hollywood with the Highland Center Station and Hollywood & Vine. Soon, the Red Line that serves those stations will link with the California bullet train and whisk riders to San Francisco in under 3 hours. Does NY have a bullet train? No. Does NY have even worse traffic than LA? Yes. Sure, LA has bad traffic. But the fact you let that traffic beat you down to the point where you were afraid to leave the confines of your Sherman Oaks apartment on a Friday night is beyond sad. And I suspect most average and frank New Yorkers would call it pathetic to your face. If you could not make it in Sherman Oaks, I have worries about you in NY. But I really hope you do. You made a mistake by moving to LA and you should have the decency to admit it. If your life long love affair has always been with NY, don't tell those of us living in LA that you gave it a fair shot. You can't bitch about traffic in one breath and then point to long traffic choked trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas as cherished highlights and memories. You can't knock Hollywood, the neighborhood I live in, with this: "But anyone who has ever driven around the actual part of LA known as Hollywood, knows that it's not an appealing place. It's dirty, there are bums all over, it's disorganized, the parking and traffic is horrendous at all times of the day." Anyone knows these things Alex? How about just you instead? That's what you "know" and as a resident, I disagree. First, try walking in Hollywood rather than driving. It is as pedestrian friendly as any part of NY and parking is, despite your claim, available in many affordable lots if you cant find something on the street. It is no dirtier than Times Square. Parts of it are actually cleaner (the ones that would have required you to be on foot). Bums are here, but not "all over" and less prominent than many parts of NY. It's really not disorganized, actually it is fairly straight forward. And as someone who admittedly confined himself to his tiny corner of the Valley during huge swaths of many days, please don't pretend to be an expert on traffic in Hollywood at "all times of the day". I rarely complain about traffic, which tends to pile up with a premier at the El Capitan or the Chinese--two theaters that rival anything NY has to offer. The Chinese and the El Cap, along with the Dolby (home of the Oscars) are wonderful parts at the the heart of Hollywood, if not LA. At the heart of Times Square in NY, I would prefer the porn theaters of old to the whorish blight of chains like Joes Crab Shack and Olive Garden. Olive Garden? In the heart of NY's Times Square? Really? Where is this innovation you speak of?? I am at a total loss. LA has the studios. It has the VFX industry. It has the video game sector and the bulk of the music industry. LA has Elon Musk, Tesla and Space X. NY still has Trump. LA has a bullet train coming. NY has a 100 year old subway destroyed by salt water. LA is home to the two busiest ports in the nation and is the gateway to Asia and the Pacific. NY prospered in an Atlantic Century....but this is the start of the Pacific Century. When people speak of great innovation, they often point to the Mars Rovers and the amazing feats of interstellar engineering. Guess where that was pioneered and at this very moment based in and operated from? Yes, LA at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. LA is even still the home of the best innovative storytelling on TV....like Mad Men. That incredible show about NY's height of influence and the emergence of Madison Avenue that is being shot on the lot where I work in downtown LA. I am sorry the City of LA was not willing to get its act together by providing you with free wifi in Sherman Oaks so your internet company could prosper, but a simple ride on the Orange Line to any of the many coffee houses or cafes would have given you the free access you craved and, heaven forbid, gotten you out of the car. So, LA has bullet trains, NASA's JPL, the VFX industry and the rapidly growing video game industry. It has IMAX, Tesla, Space X and the vast majority of innovative filmmakers in the industry you love. We do have weed and we also have big gulps. I am not saying NY is not innovating. But how is it more innovating than LA? Is it even "as" innovating? Most of the innovation that has come from NY of late has been from Wall Street. Creating tradeable security assets of high risk home loans was certainly innovative. And we all know how (not) great that innovation was. Yay NY! Tell Broadway to capture some of that innovation. Cats and Spiderman aint cutting it. Let's recap. You had traveled to LA many times and never felt good about it. You had also traveled to NY many times (more than any other place) and fantasized about going to your fictional home in the Big Apple rather than the airport. You have always known NY was in your blood. You never should have moved to LA in the first place. You should have gone to NY and I think you know it. When you came to LA, you were a scared kid (in the Colorado article) afraid of the big scary city of LA. This explains why you chose to live in Sherman Oaks and willfully elected to spend most of your time in the safe confines of your car. You drove through "dangerous" places like Hollywood, which you complained about, but drove much much much further in the traffic that you HATE above all else to the safe confines of fucking Disneyland, where you could get out of the car and be as likely to encounter people from Colorado Springs as you were from LA. If not Disney, the rest of the time was spent in the safe confines of the studios which you love and had also, with one, pissed off. Whatever your Hollywood dreams were, they did not come true. But you are to blame for that, not LA. Since you are starting fresh in NY, a town that prides itself on being candid, I urge you blame Alex rather than LA. And as a resident of Hollywood, this Angelino will forgive you. Ok, so I failed at not getting snarky. Sorry. I seriously do wish you well and I always celebrate people who are willing to make major life leaps like you. But I also have to call Bullshit where there is Bullshit. And I do not lie. Viva NY. Viva LA. Viva Hollywood. So say we all. Fuck, it's almost 3am.

adrian mcdonald on Nov 16, 2012


Your disgustingly condescending and overly presumptuous essay doesn't deserve a response from me, and as much as I'd like to say something more eloquent, I stopped reading half-way through because you started spouting blatant lies and inconsistencies that don't add up. You may think you know all about me by reading a few articles here and there, you may think you have the right to trample on my dreams and claim everything I wrote about is wrong or a lie, or claim that our "rise from obscurity" caused a PR nightmare, but you could not be more wrong. You don't know me. You don't know the real story. I have a right to an opinion, on my own site, and I was at least capable of being honest. I'm sorry you ignored even the minor amounts of hope and happiness I put into this and instead tried to turn it into everything that it's not. You tried to analyze my life from a distance and were utterly and completely wrong at every turn. While you may have wasted your time writing this response, I have not wasted one second of my own time following my passions in pursuit of my dreams.

Alex Billington on Nov 16, 2012



Esther Leng on Jan 20, 2013


So you have never lived in New York but you just "know" it will be better than LA? Sounds like somebody already decided what town was better when he was 14.

jackson on Nov 17, 2012


Welcome to the East Coast Alex! And as always, keep up the good work!

Ron on Nov 17, 2012


You said everything that needed to be said Jack Crude. I see/come from two sides of how people see the 'west' coast and the 'east' coast. Those who admire NY more so than L.A. are pretty much in the hate or love scenario. I despise of NY. But I love L.A. And Im from Houston, Texas - (So mid city born) - but I just don't like how New York is, like you said, its a 'coat' of paint that hides all the corruption and nasty ways. While L.A. is there to be seen, with its beaches, food etc. Again, you said everything Jack - people will have their own views on places, sure, and coming from the middle. I prefer the 'West Coast' over 'East' anyday of the week.. 🙂 future l.a. resident. - temp or otherwise.

filmnlove on Nov 18, 2012


Good Luck Alex! And don't worry about the haters, there's always going to be haters, But I mean NYC that's a pretty damn awesome move! best of luck my informative friend!

Fidel Reyes on Nov 21, 2012


The main problem with this (navel-gazing, self-aggrandizing) post is that you frame it as your own personal preference of NYC over LA, but then use that personal preference as a jumping off point to trash the whole city. That's just like, your opinion, man. Poor argumentation, just a writing tip for ya. Also, "there are bums all over" LOLOLOLOL

K on Nov 26, 2012


New York is okay. No big deal, you're probably just star struck still, after about 10 years of living here it's like any other city. London is much better and more interesting, Paris is more beautiful and Tokyo will make you feel like you live in Boise, Idaho when you get back to New York.

Fnkychld on Dec 27, 2012


Alex I feel you and completely understand why you wrote this post! I'll be seeing you in NYC very soon!! 🙂

Eliza Christine on Feb 22, 2013


Also, LA sucks cuz the transit system sucks and people drive everywhere...NYC gets it right with the subway system culture...so much more cosmopolitan than Crappy LA...actually all of CA...heck, Chicago and DC come in 2nd and 3rd in my book for being able to get around without a car. I really believe that only a city that allows it's residents to get around without a car is it really considered a REAL true metropolis...LA and all the cities in Cali don't make the cut!!!

Vee on Aug 3, 2013


Glittering ocean beaches, unspoiled geographical area, enthralling beauty, endless journey, delicious food and complete freedom build it an area value visiting. It feels as if you’re on another planet wherever everything is therefore calm and serene.

Cheap Parking Lax on Nov 4, 2013

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