Video in Long Beach, Nov. 1, 2020

Long Beach, California is a special place. There are about a hundred reasons why I fell in love with this city. I have a whole spiel I launch into. And have. The whole thing takes about an hour or two and usually ends with an actual tour. You can’t just talk about it without hopping in the car and going for a drive to check it out. I play a few games, too. The first one is to stand on Ocean at the bluff and point at the islands inside the breakwater and have people guess what they are. I remember thinking one of them was a fancy conference center. The way it was long and low, with a waterfall streaming from the center and tropical plants as centuries along its perimeter. Oil Islands.

But what a metaphor for the way this city works. The islands are iconic. They are – so far as I can tell – at least tolerated and definitely loved by some. But they are also endemic pockmarks of the oil industry, somehow accepted as identifying marks of one of the most progressive cities in all of America.

This is why I film here. This is why the stories of Long Beach are marvelous. Storytelling is framing. It’s contrasts. Being able to take the most mundane things and looking at them for the surprising aspects. Surprise is everywhere. It’s what you don’t expect. And expectations are everything in communication.

So as we begin to talk about filming in Long Beach, I suppose what I’m saying is that fewer places – in this entire country – have as many unexpected revelations.

It makes for the best videos.