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One Way Conversations With Kieren

Updated: Oct 7, 2018

It's been a year to the day that I uprooted my boring, mundane and very safe life and moved to the pulsating cesspool that is Los Angeles. I planned on starting a blog 11 months and 3 weeks ago but like most people in this fair city I was all talk. It took 11 months, a hefty amount of procrastinating, a solid chunk of masturbating and a good dose of self hatred to finaly call up my good mate Blake and have him sort out my life. It took him half a day to design my website and even less time to make me feel like a useless sack of piss and wind. But here we are. If you're reading this then you really must'nt have anything better to do, I'm barely reading it and I wrote the fucking thing. Before I delve into it here's a quick PSA; if you do not like the word "cunt" or any use of profanity then this may not be the place for you. If you are my mother or anyone elses mother then this may not be the place for you. If you don't want to hear about the time I got Chlamydia then this may not be the place for you.

I found out I had won the Diversity Visa Lottery in September of 2016 while gallavanting around Europe with my diabetes riddled friend Bradley. For those that don't know what the DV Lottery is (Although again, if you are reading this then I can only imagine you're doing it out of pity or some sort of duty you feel you owe me and therefore should already know exactly how I fucking got here), it is a literal lottery that the US government does every year that gives roughly 50,000 lucky people across the globe the opportunity to become permanent residences of the USA. It is also a sure-fire way for every Australian ( or any foreigner really) who had to actually work for their visa to see you as an outright Cunt. Applications are accepted in October and, for the most part, winners are announced in May of the next year. But hang on! You said that you found out in September?! Are you lying about something easily verified for no obvious or conceivable reason?! Somebody change my name to Steven Kotow this is outrageous! If you looked at my choice of words earlier and actually read what I fucking wrote, you will see that I said "for the most part". That's because I found myself in the only category luckier than the winners, I was in the 2nd round of winners. Long story short, X amount of people are picked for "further processing", but there are only Y amount of greencards. Assuming people will change their minds, fuck up their paperwork or release a video of themselves fingering an animal, the X amount is drawn to make sure all the greencards find a home. But sometimes, VERY rarely, there are more dog fuckers than normal and they blow through all of X. In this case they have greencards but no more people to give them to! That's when they draw Z amount of names to take up the remainder of the greencards and that is where this white, overweightbutwouldbegoodlookingifhewentforafuckingrun mid 20s male found his home.

After a few months, a quick physical and a trip to the US consulate in Sydney, I was given the go ahead and 3 months to get my pudgy ass into the states. Being the smart and prepared man that I am I had been sure to save absolutely no money up until this point. I come from a working class family and have grown up with the mentality that if you want it, you save up and you buy it. I also really wanted a season pass to Perisher..Things rarely presented themselves to me, so when my childhood dream of moving to America to stupidly pursue a career in entertainment was offered up to me on a silver platter it was hard for the reality to sink in. Instead of years of hardwork and tears, thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees or a wife that I used purely for her Citizenship, I was given 3 months and charged roughly 600 bucks to not only work but become a permanent fucking resident for the next 10 YEARS with the choice to become a citizen after 5. If you can't comprehend how lucky and rare this is then let's take a little ride. In 2017 over 22 million people applied for the program with 50,000 people winning. in 2016 ( the year I won) 23 million people applied. this is roughly 1 in 445 which may not seem like much but in 2016 only 700 Aussies got themselves a greencard. I'm not good at math and don't know how many applied but I think it's safe to say that that's not very many. To be honest I would have preferred to win the actual lottery but Beggars can't be choosers, I now live in a city with one of the largest Film industries in the world as well as A thriving porn industry for when my dreams do not come to fruition and I must pursue my back up plan.

When I disembarked in LAX I had a few thousands bucks to my name, accommodation for a week, and absolutely no plan in store after that. Most people would think that is fucking stupid, most people would have made arrangements well in advance. I am not most people, Whatever happens happens and I'll deal with it as it comes. Ironically this is the mentality that saw me save for 3 months and not 12 but just ask my mother, I never learn my lesson.

Being disorganised and lazy comes with its perks though. About a month before I set off I still hadn't bought my plane ticket. A friend of mine working at qantas happened to let me know that there was a family and friends deal coming up and with a little back and forth she booked my flight for half the price! While this is a great deal and should be a topic of conversation for any event, that is not why I bring it up. I planned to fly over around the 16th October, not for any real reason but it seemed like a nice round number and was a year to the day that I flew into LA last. Thanks to my laziness and fear of commitment, she booked me on a flight leaving on the 9th. Not 1 week later I was fantasizing about what on earth I was going to do when I landed, when I stumbled upon A FB post from Lilly Dawson. For those of you who don't know who she is (probably most) Lilly is an amazing woman and a good friend of mine. She is the founder of Hollywood Immersive, a week long acting intensive that brings talented individuals to LA to train and receive a crash course of the industry as a whole. They also host a music immersive and most recently launched a Dance one too. I had done the acting course twice before; once when I was 16 for the first ever program and then again at 18. Both of these times I was young and had no solid or realistic plans to move to the states so while the courses were amazing and taught me a lot, I didn't appreciate them completely. I contacted Lilly who informed me that there was one space left in The next immersive that was starting on October 10th, the day after I arrived! Through this program I met life long friends, some cunt named Adam and the woman that I shall one day marry (whether or not she is aware of this is not my concern). I learnt about the business side of the industry, a side which is overlooked by too many aspiring actors and is just as important, if not more so, than having talent. Ever wondered how the god awful actor in that movie ever got the part? Either his dad financed the fuckin thing or he networked, hustled and built relationships until they said "fuck it, here ya go". Through one of the actors in the program, I was put in touch with a hostel that would become my home for the next 3 months. I say "home" but it was more a roof over my head deep in the asshole of the asshole known as LA. I even found a meth spoon on top of the TP dispenser as I took my morning shit! There was none left though, the selfish pricks. Coming back full circle, If it hadn't been for my laziness I would never have been in town for the course, I would have never met my future wife, and I would have been on the streets of Hollywood sucking whatever I needed to suck for a warm meal and a penny.

That first week was one of the best I've ever experienced. I studied with some incredible teachers, met agents and managers and refrained from masturbating which was tough. Very tough. If you meet any actor in LA they will tell you about the high highs and the low lows that this industry brings. You can be on set filming with the most amazing people one week and the next you're back in a shitty bar pouring shitty tourists shitty beer for shitty tips. The same went for me. I moved across the world with the knowledge that I was leaving my family, all my friends and my entire life behind. I accepted it and was able to do so with relative ease thanks to the support everyone showed me. Most of them were probably laughing or getting my eulogy ready but to my face they were supportive. In that first week I met a new family, 10 like minded people who had the same dreams, fears and questions as me. We lived together, ate together, the only time we weren't in each others company was when we were shitting and sleeping and even then most of us shared rooms. (not me because I was above them). When the week ended I was the only one to stay. Everyone else went back home within 3 days and suddenly I was very much alone in a shitty hostel with no idea what the fuck I was going to do. I went from having meetings set up for me, classes 8 hours a day and the company of great friends to radio silence. The next 2 weeks were the hardest mentally that I have ever had. The problems may seem trivial and looking back it doesn't seem too bad but when you're in a foreign country trying to set up a life alone it can be overwhelming. Banks wouldn't let me open up an account without an address, I couldn't get an apartment without paystubs, and I couldn't get a job without a bank account. The system seemed to be set up purely to fuck me up the ass. But I knew in a few months it would be better. Had home been closer and cheaper to get to there was every possibility I would have found myself back there in the first month. An overreaction maybe but the grass is always greener and I had a life that was safe and comfortable waiting for me.

After bouncing to a few banks one finally allowed me to open an account, I applied for jobs at bars all around town and got an interview within 2 weeks. I became a security guard at a mexican bar on Hollywood Blvd, I laughed when they offered it to me thinking it was a joke ( I was introduced to the bar by one of my friends from the course, which was the reason I ended up applying in the first place. full fuckin circle). I found out a few weeks later the only reason I got the job was because 3 of the guards beat the shit out of someone the night before and with Halloween ( the biggest night in this pubs year) the next day, they needed new people and quick. It didn't seem to bother them that I was a 5'9 white boy with a stupid accent and no intimidating qualities whatsoever.

I started taking classes at Beverly Hills Playhouse shortly before thanksgiving. I'd studied with them through the Immersive program and it was great to see the familiar face of one of the teachers, Michael. Shortly after that I secured myself a Commercial Agent, who then started sending me out theatrically. I stupidly dropped them for a better offer who turned out to be utter rubbish and hopefully by the time this is published, I have fired them. Compared to many I had a much easier and more fortunate start to my time in LA. People I know took over a year to find an agent who would even talk to them, I hear stories and meet people who had to go through hell when they first arrived. From being unable to find a job for months, to having the social security office lose them in the system ( without a SSN you cannot work, this problem applies mostly to fellow immigrants). I met an 18 yr old kid from Kansas who had his car stolen with all his belongings and money on his 2nd day. He slept on the streets for a week and witnessed a man get shot in the head. People having apartments cancelled on them the day before they move in, Everything seemingly telling them to fuck off back home and give up. But they didn't. They are stronger people than me, or maybe they're just fucking insane.

There are a lot of good things about LA and just as many bad things. For eg, the city is full of like minded people. People who had to get out of their hometown before they went insane, people who weren't accepted for various reasons but who can all find a home and a community here. It's also home to a lot of vegans... And wanna be astrologists. "what is your star sign" is the leading question I have been asked other than "Where are you from?" and "Why the hell would I give you my number". My response used to be " saggitarius but I don't believe in that garbage" until " That's such a saggitarius thing to say" Became their go to rebuttle. Now I've just accepted that, like the religious, their minds are set and it's best to smile and nod. The homeless population is staggering, at least for a Sydney boy who grew up by the beach, and was a huge shock upon my arrival. Crime and violence are every day occurences and If i don't hear a siren in the night I wake up unnerved.

But after a year I'm warming up to this city. I've been in my class now for a few months, I'm currently working on finding a manager, I've met some friends, made some enemies and burned a few bridges. I have a job that I don't mind, I get enough attention to stroke my ego and I just finished production on my American Directorial debut with my good mate Jacob. OK fine its a short film that no one will probably ever see but I wrote it and it's funny so you can go fuck yourslef. And if you read this far for my story about chlamydia then tough shit, that's comin in a future installment.

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1 Comment

Jackie Graham
Jackie Graham
Oct 08, 2018

Despite being your mother I did read to the end. We are so proud of you, Kieren.

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