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Talking Fast in LA

December 23, 2011 | By | Add a Comment

Originally posted November 2011, on Producer Laura Zinger’s blog.

Laura Zinger

Producer Laura Zinger

Talking fast in LA is a big no no. I learned this on my first day as an unpaid script reading intern at a development company that was on the verge of being bought out by Universal. My immediate boss was the Vice President of Story Development, and as far as I could tell, she mostly sat in her office and rearranged the scripts on her shelves and fielded phone calls from a manically depressive writer whose script they had optioned.

My job was to answer the phones, and at first, I failed miserably, talking so quickly that my tongue often got trapped in unknown crevices in my mouth causing me to stumble over words in non-sensical and highly innovative ways. One day, I was on the verge of evolving a new form of language during a phone call when my immediate boss signaled to me that she wanted to talk to me once I hung up the phone. I could tell something wasn’t right.

(Editor’s note: I’m paraphrasing and somewhat making up what she said to better fit the context of how i took her comments these oh so many years ago.)

“Laura.” Annoyed look from immediate boss.

“Yes?”

“You need to slow down. People can’t understand you.”

“Oh.”

“Just try to take it easy. “

“okay.”

“And please write more legibly.”.

“Ok.”

Zinger and her crew

For some reason, my memory is making this whole situation muchore pleasant that I truly remember it. What I just wrote is probably what happened. But what I heard at the time was,
“Yo, Bitch. Slow the fuck down.”

At the time, I was a very anxious person, so The speed in which I talked was a great gauge of how anxious I was feeling on any one day. Los Angeles is a place that generates a lot of anxiety from driving in 6 lanes of traffic to living in a depressive building with a former NBA, current alcoholic neighbor who played jazz loudly devastatingly into the night to bosses who didn’t like interns and secretly wanted robots reading their scripts for them so they didn’t have to like them nor engage them. (Robots, when they’re ready are going to sweep LA. Good luck finding a job then, silly College Grad. Well you’re pretty much silly if you even get a college degree or buy a house in America today anyway.

My point is, I knew upon immediate arrival in LA that if I wanted to save my soul, be free and be me, I was going to have to leave LA and take my chances at being a filmmaker elsewhere. This was before youtube, iPhones, flip cams, Twitter, and Facebook. It was a bold, courageous decision I had to make, and 9 months later, I left LA for my childhood home outside of Chicago, my father welcomed me with open arms then quickly got absorbed in television and hos work once again. It’s like nothing had changed, except now I knew talking fast was me, and I wasn’t going to slow down for anyone.

For more on Laura Zinger, visit 20kFilms.com

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