Was there a particular reason you chose LA ?
In all honesty the boring reason was LA chose us - I couldn't afford to work in London on a director's wage with two pre-schoolers, I was brought up abroad so the husband and I decided to try somewhere else for while - he got offered a job first, it was here, here we are! We now finally have our Green Cards though so I can wrestle myself out of the shackles of home-making (bleurgh) and am starting to direct theatre again, have set up my own company Ferment Theatre and am in the throes of rehearsals and fundraising for an epic double bill by the brilliant cult figure British playwright Philip Ridley. It's going to open in New York in January and then hopefully transfer here during Britweek. My producer is a Brits in LA familiar face, Belinda Gosbee,
What do you miss most from home? London - its smell, it's cynicism, its pubs and narrow streets and beer gardens and Gordon's Wine Bar, all the people who reside in it, especially the strangers you don't talk to on the tube, and, of course, the theatre. I feel like I'm returning to the arms of a gin-soaked, angry but forgiving lover whenever I go back
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? If so why? Just how sprawling it was - we went to Santa Monica beach on the first day I couldn't get over how there was a flipping freeway right next to it and the beach itself seemed to go on for miles! I couldn't drive those first few months and constantly bemoaned how I couldn't walk anywhere useful, and how the bus made me fold up my buggy while dealing with two children and all their paraphenalia. But the people were friendly, everyone said hello, and the pace was slower. Now I drive, I'm working, I love the sprawl and the different neigbourhoods and going to the Eastside and downtown whenever I have a vague excuse - but I still hate that I basically live in suburbia in a city.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London? How to get around the repurcussions of that - even though now I have embraced the convenience of driving everywhere and getting where I want to door to door (and becoming an expert in finding free parking in the process), I still find it really strange how the way we get around LA leads to a lack of spontaneity - last time I was home we were walking back to the tube after a day and night in the pub, decided to stop somewhere for shots, then thought to hell with it and munched our way through Chinatown, jumped on a nightbus but got off early to hit up Shoreditch on the way home. I miss the spontaneity that random journeys home with strangers brings. But the mindset of go-getters in LA is refreshing, people are always looking for ways they can help and be involved or put you in touch with someone else who can - they expect you to ask for what you want and not to take it personally if they can't help. It's a lesson worth learning in my experience.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us? My local bar is Oldfields and it's my favourite LA bar (handy that it's the ONLY useful thing I can walk to), their cocktails are great, the staff are lovely, the ambiance is perfect -
it's like stepping into another world along the desolation of the shitty bit of Venice Blvd!
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here? I'm a believer in life being about taking the offers and going with them, so if LA makes the offer, take it. Find a few communities - I'm glad I have several groups of friends who form my community, because just one I think helps the isolation take over, so join Brits in LA, join a few meet up groups, MAKE co-workers go out for post work drinks. Get a car. And a bike - bike up the PCH, it's amazing. Bring layers - you actually never bloody know what the weather will be doing (even if rain is highly unlikely). And rent a place with an extra bedroom if you can, to help deal with the massive influx of visitors from home.
If your your life was a TV show which would it be and why? Bloody vegucated or cowspiracy - LA has managed to turn this bacon butty lover into a vegan (sorry mum!)
Lastly, how can we find out more about you ?
My Website is www.francesloy.com
Read more about Ferment Theatre on TheatreMania.com
We are fundraising on Indiegogo to get this project going - we would love your support - you can find out more via this link