It’s no secret – I’ve been intrigued by the horror genre most of my life. As an aspiring haunter, one of the greatest adventures of my past decade has been making the jump in location from the east coast (NJ, NYC, NY state) to Los Angeles. It was a leap of faith as well: having only had one brief prior visit, I didn’t even know if I would thrive here. Sometimes when you have no further to fall, you jump. So I allowed myself to fall again, in love. Thank you Los Angeles – you’ve been great.
Initially I was concerned that I might not have access to haunts in the same way I had growing up – I loved those road trips venturing out into the empty night for a hayride, or hopping from venue to venue in NYC. It turns out this concern was like worrying if you’d enjoy the texture of chocolate before you’ve even had a taste.
Feel free to disagree, this is only my experience, but here in LA, the horror industry seems to be a living breathing force of nature; a symbiosis – whereas, back east, it felt competition-centric and divided into carefully guarded turfs and clusters. I LOVE that, possibly due to geography, shows don’t seem to have room for claiming ownership over a territory, but instead focus on a healthy camaraderie and a curiosity fueled coexistence. We work together, knowing the success of one benefits business for the whole. There is a strong and friendly sense of community, not only between businesses, but extending to and among fans.
Perhaps most exciting, if you do want work in LA and are willing to start small with a great attitude, there’s plenty to be had! When I lived on the east coast, I would attend haunts as a guest and leave with the feeling “This is it. This is where I belong.”
With a minor in English, not performance or design, I resigned myself to building community, brainstorming, organizing events for kindred horror junkies, attending shows and writing reviews – in support of my favorite attractions. I was good enough to draw curiosity for the ‘je ne sais quoi’ behind the solid support of a particular show, to help certain artists solidify industry status and propel upward toward their dreams.
Then one day, I decided I was ready for more. I hopped off the plane at LAX with my own dream driving me.
Over time, with the help of some friends, I realized that the nature of the industry in Los Angeles works in alignment with and compliments what my strengths had been all along. I had just been focusing on the wrong place.
Since coming to LA, the industry has seduced me. Everyone I’ve met has been happy to shake my hand and discuss ways of getting involved. The evolution of the haunt industry and experiential theater has changed my life (but that’s an article for another day) and I can think of no greater gift than to have a hand in paying it forward; helping to fuel similar journeys for others.