Meet Mark Rasmussen from Australia, who moved to LA 4 years ago to pursue his writing career.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA ? Yes. I felt I was getting stale and complacent in Sydney after two and a half years (originally from Melbourne) and was looking to shake things up a bit. I also could see the writing on the wall in Australia with a potential change of government looming, and had no desire to stay while a man I despised (Tony Abbott) rode to power. Arguably the most sexist, racist, homophobic I've known. So I found a visa that worked for me (i-visa) and sorted it all out myself. Was not only the cheapest but also the longest (5 years), outside a Greencard of course. Was happy to make the leap and dive into the mecca of scriptwriting.
What do you miss most from home? Funnily enough the thunder and lightning storms. It just never bloody rains here. And lightning, forget it! I also miss the cafe culture of Australia, as well as heading to a local footy match. GO CATS!!
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? My first impression was of a city very isolated and unwelcoming. Hardly anyone walks anywhere, so you hardly see anyone out on the street to say gidday to. But that's changed/changing and is also dependent on where you live. I'm fortunate to be in Studio City, just off Ventura Blvd, so there's plenty of action within walking distance. My other impression was just how beautiful this city is with the mountains in the background and that perpetual soft light. I'm always amazed at how incredible that looks. Constantly reminds me of one big movie backdrop. I'd say the first impression has changed a little. Still not the friendliest city compared to others I've been in and lived in, but it's improving.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus Sydney/Melbourne? The biggest difference is how dirty and rundown the city is. And so many potholes. For a bike rider, I'm amazed that a city as big as L.A and with supposed state revenue, how bad the roads are. But on the flipside, I'm also surprised by how polite Americans (or Cali residents) are. There's very little agro or aggression. It's very chilled. Love that.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us? I've a couple but one I'm willing to share os the incredible Lake Shrine (just off the PCH between Santa Barbara and Malibu). Franklin Canyon. I never ever expected to find such pieces of oasis. Bliss.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here? Just do it! To come and do whatever you want, you lose nothing. To stay, you will never ever know or be able to answer that, 'What if?' There are times when this city will grind you down, and times you'll wonder what the fuck you're doing here, but at least you're doing something and not wondering about it back home. Plus this city has a lot to offer, including the biggest city park (Griffith) in all of the US, along with niche neighbourhoods and areas that you're bound to find a place you love. And then there's the weather. Having lived in London and the UK for a few years, knowing that you can plan and do things outside virtually all year round, is a massive plus. It's no wonder L.A residents are all fit and in good shape. We're always outdoors riding, skating, running, anything.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you ? Are you working on anything at the moment?
The best place to go is here: http://www.mark-rasmussen.com/
It's my very own website. I've finally built it after doing so many for other people. I'm hoping to drum up some extra copywriting and web-build business. I'll actually offer other group members a discount if they mention 'Brits in LA'. It's all about sharing the love and paying it forward. I also have a few blog posts (http://www.mark-rasmussen.com/blog/) about my experiences here so far in LA. Of course, you can always find me on Twitter, too: @MarkRasmussen72
Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom - what is the best piece of advice you've been given ? Hmmm... just to believe. This city is tough. People come with stars in their eyes. Not many make it or last a year let alone longer. But if you truly believe in you, then stick it out. It gets easier the longer you are here. Amazing, collaborative groups like this make a world of difference. Great support network and people give great advice. But stick it out, find yourself and keep going. It's all about the hustle and never say die attitude. Besides, the yanks all love the British and Aussie accents.
Check out his web design skills here