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The first time we went anywhere in L.A. we felt this overwhelming sense of déjà vu – because we’d seen all those places before – in the movies. But what’s Hollywood like behind the scenes? How does real life compare to reel life? Do the stars create more drama off-screen than on? Is the local social network really full of desperate housewives? Would my wife encounter dangerous minds as a teacher in L.A. schools? How could an English writer like me find work? Nobody had told me that Disney was nick-named “Mauschwitz”!
Setting up home in Los Angeles involved some real shocks, several of which registered really high on the Richter scale. Only in California would our kids’ entire school be taken outside on Halloween so they could dance to “Ghostbusters”. Only in L.A. would our 8 year-old daughter know that the man washing our car had three teardrops tattooed beneath his eye because he’d killed three rival gangmembers. Only in Hollywood would a woman have a sign at the end of her drive saying “Honk if you’ve had me”. Only in this crazy city would they make it illegal for dogs to mate within 500 yards of a church.
After writing a few sketches for “Spitting Image”, Tim John co-wrote “The Max Headroom Show” TV series, worked with George Harrison’s HandMade Films, then decided to travel to California hoping he’d soon be scriptwriting for Hollywood movies.
During seven years in L.A., Tim did write screenplays for film stars such as Schwarzenegger and Bill Murray, mostly comedy, but there was much more humour to be found in all the funny things that happened when an English family tried to settle in that bizarre part of America known as La-la land…