|Photo courtesy of David Wood, Esq.|
Tell us a little bit about yourself....
My name is Adam but most people call me Woody (or Ads). I work for Stitch LA - an editorial house that cuts International TV advertising, documentaries and music videos. I have recently cut spots for Audi, Activision, Fiat, Fox Soccer and Hyundai. As well as editing and directing music videos for Skrillex, Jay Sean, Tyga, LeAnn Rhimes as well as one of Michael Jackson's last videos. I was also recently co-nominated for an Emmy for my work on "Clouds Over Cuba". A documentary that looks back at the event and postulates what might have happened had the US and USSR engaged in a nuclear conflict. I live in West Hollywood with my wife Alyssa and our three cats. One tabby, a slightly deranged one year old Bengal and a surprisingly affectionate (and bald) Sphynx.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA ?
As awful and tacky as it sounds, in some ways LA chose me. In that I ended up deposited here by virtue of being part of the management team of UK RnB singer Jay Sean. His track "Down" feat. Lil Wayne had become a US Billboard #1, (making him the first UK RnB singer to achieve this and the first on an Independent label) which had led to me visiting LA constantly for a year or so. As a result I became involved in a relationship at the time with a girl that lived here in Beverly Hills.
Sadly the relationship ended but I was left with an all consuming desire to stay in LA. Even though I could have gone back to the UK and started again in the music industry, I decided I wanted to make my home here. I found a company that was willing to help me get a visa. Whilst it was being processed I surfed couches in apartments in nefarious parts of Hollywood. My neighbors were two girls that performed in the adult industry over the hill in Chatsworth. And I was using my clothes as both bedding and pillows. I was fast spending all of the money I had earned helping an artist get to the top of their game on a lawyer just to stay here. I had a number of setbacks with immigration at first and got down to my last $500 before I was approved and finally allowed to work. I consider it my "riches-to-rags-to-riches" story.
What one thing do you miss from home?
The obvious: family, friends, familiarity. Although a lot of the creature comforts of home (food, TV etc.) are now readily available here, once you do a little digging. Combined with the "Brits In La" group (run by my friends Craig Young and Eileen Lee) we ex-pats are provided a little "touch stone" of home here in Hollywood. As such there isn't much from the UK that I can't get out here in SoCal. However (specifically) I do miss: not having to get up at 5am to watch a match, drinking a Bulmers in Richmond by the Thames at the height of summer, the tube, music gigs with artists I've actually heard of. A cold, grey Christmas with all the trimmings and a ubiquitous Christmas Eve hangover. And likewise Hyde Parks "Winter Wonderland"!
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus the UK?
The opportunities that are available and bestowed upon you if you seek them out. All around you there are people striving to make a name for themselves. All the while we are surrounded by those gone before that have already done so. And in most cases (in my experience and contrary to popular belief) if they are in deed able to? They will do what they can to help you find your way. An experience I think that is somewhat unfamiliar or certainly more uncommon back in the UK. Not to mention the nightlife, the restaurants, the scenery. The near endless recreational activities that are right nearby. From parasailing over Big Bear lake in the Summer, to 6 months later Skiing Big Bear mountain in the winter. Or how about a late night 6 hour drive on a Friday night to arrive in Vegas for midnight? There really is no other place like it on earth.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
As a man that loves his curries there really is no better place in town (and I've tried them all) than the Star Of India on Melrose. It is the closest to a curry house that you'd find back home. Where as elsewhere the US interpretation of the dish is thin and watery and with very little spice. As for nightlife I'm particularly fond of three venues on Sunset: The Chateau Marmont, the Trocadero and the strange hidden nightclub that is behind the diner at the Standard hotel in West Hollywood. Many a marvelous evening has started or ended at any one of those places. All of which that are crammed with eccentrics, actors and ne'er do wells. Or if your lucky enough to figure out how to get inside? The Magic Castle.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?.
Get a good lawyer and bring money! Once that's out the way? Work your socks off and enjoy life. Trust me, you'll be fine.