Friday, July 26, 2013

Is Los Angeles a company town?

There's a local radio commercial that talks about business in Los Angeles as consisting of scripts being delivered. Whenever I hear it, I laugh - partially because I live in the Inland Empire, which is not exactly a hotbed of the entertainment industry, and partially because even if I did live on Sunset, the stereotype certainly doesn't fit the reality.

Or does it?

I thought about anecdotal evidence that I've collected during my time in California.

There was the time that my family contracted with a home service provider, and it turned out that the home service provider had his own reality show.

There was the time that I received a telephone call from someone who purported to be a private investigator. While the fact that she called me on my unlisted number lent credence to her claim of being a P.I., I still wanted to check her out. When I went online, I found her company website, her license number, her participation in a criminal trial of a major entertainment figure, and a press release regarding plans for her own reality show.

There was the time (long ago) that I went with some church friends to a holiday celebration and met their cousin Dorothy, who was a writer. You probably know her better by her initials, "D.C." As far as I know, she hasn't launched her own reality show. Yet.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that Los Angeles is a company town dedicated to entertainment, right?

Well, it's always good to check anecdotal evidence, and I found some September 2011 statistics on Los Angeles area employment. Limiting our scope to the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metropolitan Division, total nonfarm employment in September 2011 was 3,776,400. The largest industry? Trade, transportation, and utilities, with 737,300. Second largest? Government, with 553,700. Third is education and health services, with 536,500. While entertainment is not called out, it could conceivably fall under professional and business services (532,400), or perhaps even leisure and hospitality (394,600). However, it's clear that despite, entertainment is not the leading industry in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metropolitan Division.

Or perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps the trade/transportation/utilities industry consists of stunt drivers and set designers, while education/health services includes condom providers (for the Valley entertainment industry) and drug dealers (for the so-called "legitimate" entertainment industry). And government? Well, government consists of a bunch of actors anyway - look at Anthony Weiner's starring movie roles. (You look at them; I'd rather not.)
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