• Gina Lee Ronhovde

No Hay Banda: Welcome to Hollywood.

Ten years ago, I wrote this blog:

Welcome to Hollywood: NO HAY BANDA.

SUNDAY, MAY 10, 2009

Every month when have a new schedule, new classes, and new teachers, we are asked who we are, where we came from, and why we decided to move to Hollywood to attend the Los Angeles Film School.

I usually say I came here to learn how to write screenplays, but the truth is, I came here because I had to. There is too much to say and not enough people saying what needs to be said. 

Especially in Hollywood.

  Once upon a time, I should have died. But I didn't. And in the weeks following the accident I was in a place where I was often plagued with insomnia, staring at the ceiling, thinking about how I was going to live my life differently once I got out of that place.

One night I started thinking about all the people I loved. How they inspired me, and yet, it seemed like my entire life I held myself back, never voicing what needed to be said. What had I been so afraid of? What did I think would happen if I let someone know all the beautiful things I think of them? 

I could have died and never voiced all these things I think, feelings I feel, and they would have died with me.

The Things We Think and Do Not Say.

Right on, man.

I made a promise to myself that for the rest of my life, whenever I found myself thinking something complimentary of a person, I would let he or she know. I have had countless awkward moments (in fact, my life sometimes feels like one endless awkward moment), but I still do it. People are not used to it, or they think you may have an ulterior motive, but I still do it. 

I still have more to do. More to say.

A couple of National Geographic magazines ago, I read an article about a woman in India who had took it upon herself to be a traveling nurse/midwife/health educator to the villages where health care was most needed, particularly among the “untouchable” class. She herself grew up an untouchable in horrific conditions, forced into teen marriage and endless forms of abuse and suffering,  and even attempted suicide at age 16. Then she found her calling.

“My life is a beautiful dream now,” she said. 

I think of this quote often since I’ve moved to Hollywood. You don’t need to move to Hollywood to have your dream come true. 

The movie Mulholland Drive is both a beautiful dream and horrific nightmare. They run into Club Silencio and pass a sign reading Hollywood is Hell. Hollywood is both heaven and hell, depending on your state of mind.  Just like in the movie. Just like anywhere on this planet.

No hay banda! He plays an instrument, and yet, there is no sound. There is no band. It’s all an illusion.

My favorite thing about living in Hollywood is that movies and television are what you do in this town. It’s an accepted fact of life here, the way farming is where I come from. It’s crucial to the lifeblood of the community, not a crazy dream. 

And every single day at some point I feel as though I’m in a surreal dream. I get to learn about movies, talk about movies, create movies, all day long. Strangers sitting next to me at advance screenings strike up conversations with me, and we start talking about the movies we love. The sun is nearly always shining. 

One of my favorite books is White Oleander and many scenes take place along the very streets I walk every day. Passages follow me when I walk down Sunset Blvd, near Crossroads of the World, where the story begins:

Loneliness is the human condition. No one is ever going to fill that space. The best you can do is know yourself... know what you want.

Sometimes, not often, but sometimes I’m in hell. Sometimes the two gallons of contaminated reserve fuel residing in my soul wake me up in the middle of the night. I wonder what the hell I’m doing, have I ever really been happy or am I kidding myself, has my life been an entire joke thus far, where will I be in a year, what if, what if. What if I cannot escape my head? Will I always be alone?

My life is a beautiful dream. 

If she could say her life is a dream come true, what reason do any of us for not saying the same?

It is never, never too late. Never too late to apologize, never too late to make a difference, never too late to change everything you feel passionate about.

No hay banda. There is no band. 

When you're in hell, it's all an illusion. Pain and age are an illusion. When you're in heaven,

it's all real. It's whatever you want it to be.

My name is Gina. I came to Hollywood to tell the stories that need to be told.

"Some dreams come true, some don't; but keep on dreamin' - this is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin.'"

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