Meet Elliott Lester from London, who moved to LA 23 years ago to pursue film-making.
Was there a particular reason you chose LA?
I came straight from university so I’ve been here a long time. LA had always been on my radar as I felt there were more opportunities here for where I wanted to take my career. There are no limits to any of my dreams in LA.
What do you miss most from home?
What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since?
I felt like I was in every movie I’d ever seen when I was in Los Angeles. I couldn’t believe I was here – it just took my breath away. Now it is far more densely populated and feels more corporate. And of course traffic is a lot worse. LA has become more diverse and food has got a lot better here. There are some really good ethnic restaurants now and a bubbling art scene. It is a lot more expensive though than when I first arrived.
What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London?
Physically it’s a lot more spread out than London. The industry is much bigger here and the opportunities are far greater. There’s that famous Dorothy Parker quote which I think particularly rings true for here and not necessarily for the UK: ‘Hollywood is the one place on earth where you could die of encouragement’.
Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?
I love Temescal Canyon, which is a beautiful area to hike in. Koreatown is one of my favourite places to be. It’s like a city within a city – there’s almost something completely unique about it.
What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here?
Don’t think – just do it. Just go for it.
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?
Treat LA like your office; don’t get too seduced by the lifestyle. If you are here for a reason – to pursue an ambition – there are lots of things to distract you here, but you have to stay on track.
Lastly, how can we find out more about you? Are you working on anything at the moment?
A movie I directed starring Arnold Schwarzenegger has just been released. It’s called Aftermath and is based on a true story. I’m also working on a HBO movie called Thirst. It’s about the worldwide water crisis and is being produced by Matt Damon.