Scott works as a brand strategist and visual communication arts advisor for companies such as Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Procter & Gamble. Oh, and he is a 2x Ironman finisher and a member of The Explorers Club. He had absolutely no trouble finding my house for this interview. (He also lives next door with his lovely wife and daughter.)
Where did you move from? How old were you when you moved to Los Angeles?
Chicago. I was 31.
Do you feel like you were guided to move here?
I had every reason to stay in Chicago, which to me is also every reason to leave. One of my goals in life is to try and never stop growing, to try to continue to evolve. To do that, you’ve got to go out of your comfort zone, right? You’ve got to break out of the mold that you’ve found yourself in or created for yourself, and for me at 31, I had some interesting opportunities in Los Angeles–not the least of which was that the woman I was dating at the time was living here, and I thought maybe she could become my wife, which much to her chagrin, she has. So when I moved in ’01 it was really about the adventure of love and trying to figure out where that might take me. And fortunately, it worked out.
Did she move here first?
She’s a California girl primarily. She grew up in Sacramento and went to UCLA and never left. And so, at the end of the day, I’m a practical guy and I sort of did the math, and I’m like, “Okay, do I want her quitting her job as a movie producer at Warner Brothers to move to Chicago to be with me and live in the winters, or do I want to move to LA and enjoy the summers?” That was a pretty simple choice.
How many years did it take until you felt you were successful?
What do you mean by “successful?”
Whatever you mean by “successful.”
I felt like I was successful on Day 1 when I showed up. I mean, getting here the way I got here, getting here on my own terms, leaving everything behind–my family, my job, my friends. That takes courage, that takes vision, it takes action. So when I showed up, I felt like a success. It was just the challenge getting here, but I was, “Okay, this isn’t home…yet. How am I gonna make it home? How do I be me here?”
Was there any singular thing that sticks out that would be, maybe, “Oh, now I feel like I belong. I am now an L.A. person?”
One is, I felt like I appreciated LA and that LA could be home when I stopped comparing LA to other cities. Because initially, I got here and made the mistake of comparing LA to New York or London or Chicago or San Francisco. The reality is LA is a unique animal. I would say it’s apples and oranges, and so once I understood that LA is really a one-of-a-kind place–it’s weird, it’s unique for all kinds of reasons–I then suddenly loved it, because I realized, “Oh, wait–it is weird, it is cool, and that’s the point.”
What was your breakthrough?
Well, I can say that my breakthrough happened about two years in. I’ll put it that way. Because the first year, in my experience, is spent just getting your balance because it is such a sprawling place. It’s unlike other cities in that while there are great things here, in New York, Chicago, and other big cities, those great things are concentrated in a very fine, specific area that you can get to maybe on foot or by train or whatever. But LA is just spread out. It’s like somebody took a bunch of diamonds and threw them, and you’ve got to go on a treasure hunt to find them. So that’s the challenge with LA. And it’s wonderful if you can stick it out.
LA’s not a pedestrian city. We’re a car culture. So meeting people can be challenging. It takes longer to find your tribe. I would say two years on I felt like, “Okay, I know the city, I know how to get around and I know my people. I know who my tribe is, and now it’s home, and all will be well.”
What do you love most about Los Angeles?
Great question. One, is its diversity. A lot of people don’t appreciate that. Hollywood overshadows so much about what’s great about LA. And, I think LA fundamentally is an optimistic place. And it’s a creative place.
What did you move here to do? Who did you move here to become?
Initially, my decision to move here was specifically about developing my romantic relationship. We had been commuting for 2 1/2 years from Chicago to LA, and somebody had to move if it was going to go to the next level. And I was happy to take that risk and make that jump because that’s intrinsic to who I am. So my initial motivation was romantic in nature.
Then when I put in my letter of resignation to the company I was with, they quite amazingly and surprisingly, said, “No, no, no–you open the LA office.” So that allowed me to come to LA and not have to worry about employment. I was able to have one foot in LA and one foot back home in Chicago. So coming here was about, “Am I gonna develop this romantic relationship? Am I going to be able to continue to develop my professional career?”
It was an evolution. It was a revolution in many ways. From a professional standpoint, it was evolutionary because I didn’t have to go find a job and I wasn’t coming here to be an actor. I’m happy to say that 15, 16 years on, I have, I think, succeeded my expectations.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering a move to Los Angeles?
Ah, that’s a great question, because I’ve given this advice to so many people. The first thing I would say, is, the key to happiness in LA, the quality of life in LA, is minimizing your time in traffic. That’s it. Do your homework. Figure out where you’re going to be working and try to live in a place that is convenient to where you work. Because driving in LA sucks. And it’s dangerous. Now if you’re an actor or something, and your schedule is very flexible, maybe you have a little more options. “Okay, yeah, I’ll live at the beach.” Okay, so live at the beach, and go commute in for your auditions, or whatever the case may be. But if you’re driving into work every day, a 9 to 5 kind of thing, definitely minimize your drive time.
Scott’s company website is creweststudio.com