Meet a Member
Meet Raymond-Kym Suttle from London who moved to LA 3 years ago to pursue acting/comedy/dance, writing, directing, film-making and choreography.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
Sunshine: I’m very happy to enjoy one season all year round. Aside from the weather, I kept watching TV and films and wishing I could be in them and realized that if I wanted to be in the running to be cast in them, then I had to be where they were being made.
What do you miss most from home?
Reasonably priced yet healthy meals to grab on the go like sandwiches from Pret a Manger, and the little salad pots from Marks & Spencer that used to be £3 for two, but who knows what’s happened since Brexit…
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? If so why?
I first came to LA in about 2002, to stay with a friend I’d made online. I had a great time. I came back a few times after that and noticed that a lot of the city was starting to look run down, their were pot-holes in the roads and it seemed like no money was spent on the infrastructure. I also came here before mobile phones were in everyone’s hands and I preferred it then because people looked at you, smiled, connected more often. That still happens but not as much. I also came on a networking week before I moved here and had to catch a cab somewhere – it was really hard to hail a cab on the street; it took me an hour to get a cab on Sunset and it cost me $25 to go over the hill to Studio City. I bought a car from a dodgy car dealer in NoHo that died after 14 months so now I use the bus and Uber a lot (which is often cheaper than the bus!) so I’m very grateful to all the Uber/Lyft drivers out there who provide a fantastic and much more economical service so that we don’t have to suffer the cabs!
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London?
Attitude. I spent most of my adult life in London but in fact grew up in Zimbabwe until I was 16. As a result I have a different take on British behaviour - I was often frustrated by the unwritten rules of British social and professional interactions, which seem to frown upon people being direct. LA also seems to bring out the simmering peculiarities of people (oh the tales I could tell), but the biggest positive difference for me is the ‘anything is possible’ attitude I often encounter here. There are so many opportunities and people seem willing to at least meet you. I always find it odd in London how difficult it is to get a meeting with an agent or casting director, especially if you haven’t got the ‘right’ credentials like RADA on your CV. There’s a thinly veiled irritation that seems to say: who on earth do you think you are bothering us? In LA, I love the fact that agents and casting directors do their job and meet you because they never know who might be the next big thing and their next meal ticket.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
I’m not sure how hidden it is but I do love Republic of Pie on Magnolia, between Lankershim & Vineland. It has a great atmosphere, live music most evenings, fantastic pies, cakes, baked goods and beverages. The banana and chocolate bread pudding is divine. And my personal favourite drink: chai latte made with hazelnut millk…
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
I have a long, long list of suggestions… But primarily:
- Have a LOT of money saved up; moving country is expensive and there are al sorts of things you didn’t factor in cropping up.
- Don’t be in a rush to do things like buy a car – I allowed myself to be convinced that it was impossible to live in LA without a car. It is possible. If I’d known about Uber before I bought the car I wasted $5k or more on, I’d probably have saved myself a lot of money and still have some to spare.
- Nowhere and everywhere in LA is central. When looking for a place to live, find an area you like, and feel safe. If you have a ‘regular’ job where you’re going to work at the same place every day then sure, find somewhere close to where you work so that you don’t lose hours of your life commuting. If you’re an actor, you’re likely to be sent all over the city for auditions but it probably makes sense to be within 20 mins drive of Hollywood/Studio City as that’s where the bulk of auditions tend to be.
- Find a group of people you can meet with regularly whether it be an acting class, a hiking group, or a local coffee shop where you get to know that servers personally – LA can be isolating and it makes a huge difference to have a place/event that you can go to and be known by name.
- Be a good, reliable, available friend and make sure you develop a reputation for being dependable. Far too many people think it’s ok to be a ‘flake’ and don’t seem to realise that your reputation is everything. Get a reputation for being unreliable, late, not showing up, not being prepared, not working hard and you’ll run out of work, and real friends, rapidly.
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?
Don’t be afraid to tell people to f**k off. If someone isn’t good for you don’t be afraid to walk away. I’m a loyal and dependable friend – and rightly or wrongly, I expect my friends to treat me the same. I’ve always been a very forgiving person (it may take me a while to get there after I’ve been hurt, but I’m generally willing to give people a second chance) but since I’ve moved to LA I’ve ‘deleted’ 3 people I’ve been friends with for years because they repeatedly proved themselves to be unreliable and unsupportive – and that was after I let them know how I felt (I think it’s important to at least tell people there’s a problem or else how can they address the issue?) and told them plainly that they weren’t contributing to the friendship equally. It was hard for me but it saves heartache if you’re not wasting time getting mad at people who don’t understand why it matters that they make an effort.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you? Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m often in San Francisco performing as Major Suttle-Tease (my comedy/burlesque persona) at various venues. I’ve got my debut at Flappers comedy club in Burbank this November and hopefully they’ll invite me back after that. I’ll also be performing at Monday Night Tease at the Three Clubs on Vine in Hollywood in December.
I’m working on getting my feature film made (based on the stage play version I did in London) – ‘Treatment’ – a family drama based very loosely on my relationship with my father. I was in a feature film in 2014 that I’m hoping will finally be released in 2017 with an amazing A-list cast but I signed an NDA so can’t say anything more about it yet!
I have a sitcom, Karma Daze, that I’ve begun shooting, but need to raise more money for it. I’m acting in and directing a production of ‘The Pillowman’ which will be on in December – more news about that when we have the venue confirmed. I’ve just been cast as a series regular on a new animated series called ‘Captain Virat’, playing one of the leads and voicing 2 other smaller roles too.
I’m also in the process of setting up a demo reel company with my housemate, Warren Saire (ex-actor and BBC cameraman), for actors that provides a service that no-one else is providing: I write a scene based on your most likely casting-type, rehearse the scene in advance, take as much time as it takes to shoot the scene in an unpressured environment (most companies give you a limited time to shoot a scene) and edit it so that if there are two actors in the scene, you each get a version which focuses on you.
Facebook: Major Suttle-Tease