Meet Len Davies from Cardiff who moved to LA 2 years ago to pursue acting and production.
Hollywood has been my target for many years (ever since 1969 in fact). I've been involved in production pretty much all of my life, and since 2001 I had my company, Spectrum Multimedia, operating in London, but something was missing. I've dabbled in acting most of my life and when I discovered the Industry Hollywood seminar on the 01 Visa it seemed like the right time and definitely the right place. I had the production credits to get my visa and bolted my acting on the back end of it, but LA is the only place for me in my mind as it gives me so much more opportunity in everything I can do, and so many more potential rewards for hard work. I've just registered Spectrum Multimedia Hollywood with Los Angeles County, Works for me.
What one thing do you miss from home?
In actual fact there are 3 main things and that's Heinz baked beans, Digestive biscuits and TRUE Fish and Chips. There are versions of each here but I really miss the local chippy. I know that I can get the other items here from specialist stores and one day I will, but it's so much more of a chore than popping down the local shop.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus the UK?
It has to be the weather for me. I hate snow and the cold (looks great on christmas cards and in the movies), and the reality of going out in shorts in 75 degrees on Christmas day, while not traditional, suits my sensitivities. Also my new apartment has underground parking which I find ideal, particularly after having my car broken into and 2 vans stolen in Dagenham.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
There are several places I've discovered that I really enjoy. Charlies Pantry in Studio City on Ventura is a wonderful place to hold meetings and enjoy one of the best Lattes and choice of food options ever. Also as an actor I've found a great headshot option at Minuteman Press on Hollywood Way in Burbank. For 20 copies I pay $13 and Maritza, the owner, is incredibly helpful and versatile in anything I've thrown at her so far. Maybe not so hidden but Toi Thai on Sunset Boulevard is amazing for a rocker like me. There's so much memorabilia on the walls while serving amazing food. It's the place where Quentin Tarantino and David Carradine first met to discuss Kill Bill apparently, and is one of Quentin's favourite spots according to a signed Pulp Fiction poster on the wall.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move
I've seen a few friends come over as actors who had very little support and could ONLY work as actors. You need to do a lot of research before stepping on the plane as so many people forget the extra costs such as deposits for renting, transport, and being able to pay your bills on a monthly basis with potentially a year or more before you'll be earning. Without some form of support system in place it's practically impossible to chase your dream and it has ended up with some very talented actors having to fly back home. If you have another ability that can be added to your visa at the time you're applying think about it, then at least you have the possibility of earning money outside of the acting. My production expertise has been a lifesaver in that regard as acting on an 01 visa is not too popular amongst the studios.
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