Wednesday, April 2, 2014

LA FIRSTS: Jeffrey & Susan Bridges

Writing team Jeffrey and Susan Bridges are the executive producers of They are cleverly hidden on Twitter as @jeffreybridges and @susanlbridges.

When did you first move to LA? What made you decide to take the jump?

Susan: I think for a long time, we thought it was a crazy idea to move to LA, but then for completely unrelated reasons, my sister moved to LA, and suddenly we were like, "Hey wait, can't we do that?"

Jeffrey: Yeah, it didn't make sense to us. We were writers and had been reading how we really needed to be out here, but moving from the midwest is expensive and we didn't know if we could. And then Susan's sister was out here tra la la la la and she didn't even need to be! That corked it for us, and we made it happen not too long after.

S: That corked it? Really? Sounds like something a prospector would say. THAT CORKED IT, I WAS OFF FOR GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS.

J: Are you saying I don't prospect? How do you know? I'VE GOT PROSPECTS.

S: Anyway, I think we saved up for like two years, and then we drove for three days in the tiniest truck ever.

J: It didn't take two years, really, but the drive sure felt like it did. Sixteen hour days trapped in a tiny truck cab with cat stink? It's the stuff dreams are made of. Really horrible unsettling dreams.

S: We do not talk about cat stink.

J: We call this setting the scene. YOU'RE ALL WELCOME.

What were your first apartment and neighborhood like?

S: I started looking up places on the Internet, and I found a two bedroom for like $1100 a month. I called and the guy laughed and said noooooo, that was a very old listing. But then I started chatting with him, and it turns out he was also from the midwest. Then he started telling me about his screenplay that he was working on and how Ron Howard's brother was almost involved. I wasn't quite sure if he was insane or not, but he agreed to show an available apartment to some friends of ours who lived in LA, on our behalf.

J: The apartment itself was okay, in a kind of run-down building in a terrible neighborhood. We were literally right next door to a mini-mall that featured several fast food joints, so there were garbage trucks clanging and banging all day every day. There was another apartment complex directly across the street, and EVERY car in it had an alarm. And every time one person parked, got out and shut their door, it set them all off at once. All night long. And then someone was shot and killed in front of our building and that's pretty much what lit a fire under us to find somewhere better.

S: I do miss the 7-11 that was like ten steps from our door. And the prostitute who lived next door, she seemed cool.

J: I forgot all about her! She had an interesting... clientele.

Do you still feel the same about LA as you did when you first got here?

S: You know, it was a real culture shock coming to LA. I come from a family where everyone was really direct, which is pretty much the exact opposite of how people communicate with each other in LA. When we moved, I transferred jobs and everyone immediately hated me. I then pretty much shut up for the next two years while I figured the whole thing out. After that we started doing some networking, and it was just all of these awful, awkward events. Like, I'd be in Beverly Hills eating cheese and trying to look like I wasn't totally out of my element.

J: When we first arrived it felt full of energy, promise and potential. It still feels that way to me every morning when I wake up, but there's also sometimes an undercurrent of superficiality, or some people who are only interested in you in terms of what you can do for them. That can be a bit jarring. But I think very few people are intentionally that way. You just have to remember almost everyone here has the same goals you do. To make great stuff with people they like. When you get that, that's where the magic happens.

S: It also got a lot easier to meet people just by doing the stuff we normally did. We met excellent writer and all-around awesome person Geoffrey Thorne at the Long Beach Comic Con, and we found out that he loved audio drama (we happen to run an audio drama production company at That's how we ended up writing and producing "Phantom Canyon" with him. He's also just a great guy and we adore hanging out with him.

J: That's what you've got to find, the people you really click with as friends. Those are the people you want to work with. Incidentally, "Phantom Canyon" is two and a half hours of western horror goodness, which you can now find on Amazon, iTunes and for the entirely reasonable price of $6.95! Was that shameless? It felt a bit shameless. I might need a shower.

Do/Did you ever feel like you wanted to leave? 

S: Many times! I remember one time in particular where I was like, "I could move anywhere else and buy a house and have a dog instead of doing this!"

J: When you realize you could be a barista in Idaho and live in a mansion with palatial gardens for the price of renting a closet in L.A., it's tempting. But this is where you need to be, so I look at the extra cost as part of the deal. There have of course been a few times when you reach the "is this really all worth it?" stage, but for us it always comes back around to "Yes, it absolutely is."

S: It's important to have people who believe in and encourage you. We can see that our work gets a little bit better with each project we work on. And since we write both features and television pilots, it's taken us a little bit longer, but I'm okay with that, because we really want to do both.

What was your first job (industry or not)? What was it like?

S: I work on a studio lot, and before that I didn't really understand a lot of stuff. Like, I think a lot of writers think assistants are only there to keep people away from their bosses. That's true, but what people don't realize is that assistants are actually really smart and work really hard and they're actually more powerful than you think they are, so make friends with them. Also, most people who work on movies and TV shows are not rich. But some people are. And you have to be comfortable interacting with everyone at every level, and you can't be mean to anyone because you have no idea who knows who or who works for who. 

J: The whole Hollywood community is really small, and if you're kind and you work hard and you don't bad mouth people, you really will get further than you think.

Did you ever have a strange celebrity sighting/interaction or a moment where you got to meet someone who really inspired you? 

J: I once saw Samuel L. Jackson in a comic shop. He was buying anime. Like, mountains of anime. The amount of anime you have to be Samuel L. Jackson to afford. I saw Enrico Colantoni in the same shop... and Nathan Fillion too. He was checking out the Firefly action figures, oddly enough, but was trying to not be noticed. So I tried to pretend there was no noticing going on. And Phyllis Smith from The Office once ate In-N-Out next to us in a parking lot.

S: On the lot one day I heard someone swearing a whole lot while walking past me, and I thought his voice kind of sounded familiar. So I looked up and it was Sylvester Stallone. I also had Conan O'Brien say "hey" to me, which was quite possibly the greatest moment of my life.

J: You'll note she ranks that above the day we were married.

Have you moved to LA to write for film or TV and would like to be interviewed for LA Firsts? Contact Amanda or Rob.

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