Shared from Atlas Obscura
Nick Carr shares his favorite Hollywood backdrops for Three Obscure Days in Los Angeles.
The history of Los Angeles’ dominance in the entertainment industry involves a trope older than Hollywood itself. East Coast-based filmmakers longed for the year-round sunshine of Southern California.
The other major reason nearly all of America’s early film studios ended up in L.A. was to escape the iron grip of Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents company, which made it nearly impossible for filmmakers to work independent of Edison. Across the country in California, the inventor’s patents weren’t enforced.
But Los Angeles didn’t just offer mild weather and artistic (and legal) freedom. “Within a 30 or 40 mile radius, you have desert, you have beach, you have mountains, you have city, and you have suburbia,” the location scout Nick Carr explains. “You have everything.”
For storytellers, Los Angeles’ diverse terrain offers endless possibilities. Since cinema first took root in the city around 1912, the relationship between filmmaking and Los Angeles has been symbiotic. On a micro-level, mini-transformations take place on a daily basis, when buildings, blocks, or patches of wilderness are made to look like far-flung locales. On a macro-level, the city has evolved into the metropolis it is today because of its widely diverse landscapes.
In 2015, Carr—known for his blog Scouting New York and now, Scouting L.A.—moved from New York to Los Angeles and “never looked back.”