ND Boy Gunnin for the Border

Remember the line in Swingers when Rob says to Mike:  “Look out the window. It’s sunny every day here. It’s like manifest destiny. Don’t tell me we didn’t make it. We made it! We are here.  You have an agent. You’re in a union!”

On top of LA

The day after I graduated high school, I set out for my first of three consecutive summer excursions to L.A. I’ll never forget what it felt like to see street signs my favorite artists sang about. I hung out on Venice Beach, found my hands matched Marilyn’s cement prints and called friends back home from a payphone on Sunset Boulevard (just to tell them where I was). For this North Dakota teen, just physically being in Hollywood made me half feel like I had made it.

My little brother is living out his manifest destiny Swingers-style these days. Two years ago, after falling in love with the Minneapolis theatre scene, he packed what he could into his car and became a North Dakota boy just a gunnin’ for the Pacific border.

L.A. has been good to him so far. He’s in a union. He’s interning with an agent. He’s had a handful of extra roles. You can search and FIND him on IMDB.com!

We gave him a pretty hard time about his decision to leave the strongest economic growth state in the nation (and the only state with a budget surplus) for one that’s generally described as over-regulated and excessively expensive. His move is against the grain described in a recent article on CNN.com titled The California Dream is fizzling out, which paints a picture of California’s economic and population slumps. Author John D. Sutter put it this way:

“No longer is California the larger-than-life destination where anything’s possible — the pot of gold at the end of our collective path westward.”

On a recent trip to visit Ashly, one of his friends (also from North Dakota and trying to break into the entertainment writing industry) described the LA experience as one that will suck out your soul. He said people aren’t realistic about what Hollywood has to offer. It can take decades to really make it big and during that time you put up with a lot that Midwesterners aren’t used to: exorbitant traffic fines, killer commutes, and a really, really tough job market.

But Ashly still has stars in his California eyes. He’s living comfortably off his 30 hour a week serving/bartending job, a schedule typical to the aspiring entertainment types. In his ample free time, he’s immersing himself in the business of learning to act. He manages his money a lot like North Dakota: ultra conservative but not afraid of a few high stakes gambles. (North Dakota is currently balancing explosive growth of oil fields and other energy resources – Ashly plays the options market.)

He also makes sure to hit the beach for sand volleyball with new friends on a regular basis. He has another arrow in his quiver: he’s North Dakota nice. After landing an extra role on the TV show Bones, he sent a hand-written thank you note to the casting director. She was floored and has been calling him back ever since. He is the epitome of professionalism and treats people with humility and respect, something he claims not to see a lot of in this line of work. These qualities may not be what lands him the breakout role of a lifetime, but they certainly help to keep him employed and living his California dream.

On Set

Special Kind of Sadness | Dawes

these days my friends don’t seem to know me
without my suitcase in my hand
where I am standing still
I seem to disappear
but maybe that’s how I found you
maybe that’s taugh me exactly what I want
maybe meeting you so far away from home
is what makes it all so clear

but you got that special kind of sadness
you got that tragic set of charms [chorus]
that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
makes me wanna wrap you in my arms

when people ask me where I come from
to see what that says about man
I only end up giving bad directions
that never lead them there at all
it’s something written in the head lights
is something swimming in my drink
and if I were the moon
it would be exactly where I fall

cause you got that special kind of sadness
you got that tragic set of charms [chorus]
that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
makes me wanna wrap you in my arms

I used to think someone would love me
for places I have been
and the dirt I have been gathering
deep beneath my nails
but now I know what I’ve been missing
and I’m going home to make it mine
and I’ll be battening the hatches and pulling in the sails.

but you got that special kind of sadness
you got that tragic set of charms [chorus] x2
that only comes from time spent in Los Angeles
makes me wanna wrap you in my arms 


About Yo Adrienne Olson

Yo Adrienne Olson is a Fargo girl, a blessed mom, a lucky wife, an innovative communications professional and a closet entrepreneur.
This entry was posted in Fargo Musings and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to ND Boy Gunnin for the Border

  1. Pingback: Cashing the ND Oil Checks | My New Direction

  2. AO says:

    That California look is pretty darn geeky….


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