Name: Stinson Carter
Born in: Shreveport, Louisiana
Occupation: Screenwriter, Journalist, and Novelist
I currently live in: Los Angeles, CA
When I go back, I always: Eat Southern Maid Donuts and a Herby-K shrimp buster. And I appreciate the time I get to spend with elderly family members. I listen to their stories like it’s the last time they’ll ever be told.
I miss: Family. And being in a place where I have a past. In Los Angeles I feel anonymous most of the time, but in Shreveport I feel like I’m part of a lineage, and there’s a deep comfort wrapped up in that.
Similarities I find between the South and where I live now: There is a kinship between ex-pat Southerners that I enjoy whenever I meet them in California. I’m working on a script with the producer of The Help right now, who is from Jackson, Mississippi. I think the fact that our hometowns are only a couple hundred miles apart definitely helped me get the job.
A Southern value I keep: I value knowing how to cook, and how to be a good host. A modest spread by Southern standards goes a long way in Southern California. Also, being accountable for what you say you’re going to do. In Hollywood you don’t make real plans. For example, you might say to a friend, “Let’s get lunch this week,” and they’ll say, “Yeah, that’d be great!” (Everything is great in Los Angeles.) But of course you don’t actually get lunch. What you’re really doing is just both agreeing that the idea of lunch sounds nice at that moment. There’s an old joke in Hollywood that goes like this:
“Did you hear that so-and-so died?”
“That’s a shame. We’ve been meaning to get lunch.”
Being Southern has helped me: Keep a fundamental baseline for my values, and preserve my integrity in a city and within an industry that doesn’t exactly reward it.
Morsel of wisdom to other transplant Southerners: Don’t forget who you are. If you have a strong work ethic and treat people well, then you will make the kind of friends who will root for your success.
Read Stinson Carter’s novel, False River, available for download on Amazon now.
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