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Something I’ve heard a lot, especially after coming to LA, is the notion that Men can’t write women characters because they don't understand how women think.
This is like the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Let me tell you why.
Fragments of my eye. A double exposure I took many years ago that today gets to represent the many pieces that make me into who I am. I know, super cliché but also quite awesome, right?
It’s mostly men who say this in an attempt to explain why there aren’t as many complex female characters in movies as there are male (why they don’t go out of their way to hire more female writers then is a another question).
The men who say this, men working in various departments in the film business, but also men who are nowhere near the film business, seem to think that women are so completely different from men that they can't possible understand ”how women think”.
Do you know what their problem is?
They believe that every single thought that comes from a woman must be driven by the fact that she is a woman. Not that she is a person.

When a man in a film responds to something happening to him he does so as a human being first, but when a woman responds to the very same thing she has to react as a woman only.

Every female character written by a man who believes women are fundamentally different from men, will be portrayed like that.
She will be driven by motherhood, her menstrual cycle, her longing for a family, her clinginess, her need to ”talk things through”.
All things stereotypically female traits that (if even true?) aren’t everything that makes up a woman. Or a person.
This is why there are so few women in the movies because ever time you have a woman in it she must be all about those feminine things, like getting all mushy when a baby pops into view (Like Scarlet Johansen in the last X-men movie), or being home waiting for their men without doing anything else except waiting (and taking care of family) while their men are doing important things (like in every single action/thriller/adventure movie ever made).
Of course that is boring! But that’s not really how Every Woman is, right?

My (very revolutionary idea) is that if men would write women characters the Exact Same Way as they write men we wouldn't have this problem.
Women wouldn't feel like they were misrepresented in the movies, and men would KNOW how to write female characters.
Because we’re really not that different.
There are more differences between individual people than there are between men/women.

I can honestly say that I rarely think about the fact that I am a woman in my every day life and thoughts. If it’s not pointed out to me like when I’m being exposed to sexism (which happens a lot when I come in contact with the world). Society wants me to remember that I am primarily a woman and not a person, but in my head, in my life I am a Human Being first.
The facts that I am a Swede, that I’m white, are huge parts in making me who I am. Just like it’s important that I have lived a very secure life in a wealthy country with free healthcare. It affects me that I was bullied when I was a kid, that I love theatre and acting, that I’m crap at maths, that I enjoy singing and talking to myself, that I have a half sister that I didn’t live with growing up but still see as my ”real” sister, I’m terrified of bees, that I am a bit scared of doing things wrong even if it’s the first time I try something.
That I am a woman in a world who treats women like we’re not worth the same amount of respect as men.

These are some of the million components that make me who I am and what makes me act in certain ways. Things that make me into a person.

Male writers who believe that they ”must know how women think” to be able to write women into their movies should not be allowed to write scripts.
At all.
Because if you see your female characters as caricatures instead of complex persons, then you are worthless in your job as a writer. And you have crappy imagination.

(Also: Women writers have successfully written male characters throughout the history. Is this more proof that there should be more female writers because men are worthless at imagination?)

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This blog is turning into a "Self Portraits and Thoughts Blog". Well, if that's how my mind works right now, then so be it!

Today's self portrait is from yesterday when I once again wandered around the Lights Out production office in search of interesting places.
I like how it feels like I'm sitting in an enormous tank or something like that.
Anyways: News!
I thought a little update would be appropriate because you know what? As of tomorrow they start shooting Lights Out!
Yesterday it became official that Teresa Palmer is going to star as the lead in the movie. She's awesome!
Everything is happening so quickly right now and it feels so surreal that it's Actually Happening. Tomorrow. They start shooting tomorrow.
All because David and I made a short film in our apartment. Still can't get it. It's just too much.

The scenes I'm going to be in are the last ones to be filmed, but I will be hanging around the set a lot anyways just because it's so exciting! I mean, a real Hollywood film shoot! AMAZING!
I probably won't be allowed to blog much about it, but I hope I can show you at least some behind the scenes photos. We'll see...

So that was all for now I think.
Oh, one more thing! I'm just so happy to have been here on the day when same sex marriages were made legal in the entire United States of America. I have been crying so many happy tears this weekend.
21 countries of the world have marriage equality now. Many more need to get behind this, because Love is just Love. And everyone should be allowed to express it freely, no matter of sexual orientation. Love wins. Always.

Back to blogging and it feels so gooooood!
Hiiii! How have you been?
I have been busy busy busy and realised a few days ago that I haven't blogged about when David and I went to Los Angeles in november! Oh no!
When I looked through all my iPhone photos (I only used my Nikon D7000 for two days, I'll show you those photos some other day) I found at least 100 photos that I wanted to blog. Well, that's a little bit too much, so I made up a little list for myself with everything I wanted to include in a post from our trip.
Here it is:
I searched instagram and yelp for the best breakfast places both before we went and after we arrived in LA, and since the breakfast at our hotel wasn't very good and also not included we went to a lot of breakfast places during our two week trip. One of those restaurants I found was bld. We sat outside in the sun and I ordered the eggs benedict because that had looked really nice on the photos I found on internet taken by customers.
It was so very tasty!
I had a lot of time for myself during the days because David had meetings with Hollywood people, so just like with the breakfast places I had looked up interesting spots that I wanted to go to. One of those was The Last Bookstore where I could have easily spent an entire day if needed. It was just so amazing!
Fantastical, creative and filled with books, of course! I found myself in front of the Stage/Film/Scriptwriting shelves and was very impressed with myself when I left with only two new books.
One day I was walking along Melrose Avenue checking out the vintage shops there. I had just tried on a fabulous 50's pencil dress that looked absolutely fantastic on me if it wasn't for the fact that it was a tad too small. When I walked past a store that made new clothes in 50's style I went in there in the hope of finding something similar.
The girl in the store was super helpful and nice and we talked a lot while she helped me find the perfect dress. When I was going to pay for the dress she asked "So, why are you in LA? Work or play?". I told her that my husband and I made a short horror film that went viral and now we're in LA because of the attention the short has gotten in Hollywood.
Oh? What's the name of the horror short?
When I said Lights Out her eyes almost popped out of her skull.
OMG! OMG! OMG! I LOVE Lights Out! OMG OMG ITS YOU! OMG it's been everywhere, on Imgur on reddit- EVERYWHERE!- OMG you could have said "Brad Pitt is outside" and I would have been like- "Meh"- but this- THIS is something I care about and OMG you were so good in it! OMG OMG! She had apparently seen Lights Out a lot of times and talked about the best parts and I was so shocked I just giggled.
Her colleague walked in from a room behind and was wondering what the hell was going on. Ha! It was absolutely wonderful.
Right when I left she called after me Come back soon so we can talk more! and then I heard her tell her colleague about how she needed to see Lights Out because it was AWESOME!
Best moment ever.

This velvet dress that seems to be made after my body, the mint belt, a red sweater and a pair of shoes was all found in a thrift store that I happened upon while looking for a coffee shop and I bought it all for almost no money at all.
Apparently people don't walk in LA. Well, I'm not like most people. I walk everywhere.
One day I walked from downtown LA through poor neighbourhoods, through Korea town and all the way to Los Feliz. It took maybe three hours. When I told people about this afterwards they just gaped at me like goldfish before exploding in a You did WHAT? Everybody told me that I have probably seen more of LA than they have. Even the ones that had lived in LA for forever.
No big deal. Haha!
My heel says otherwise though. I'll spare you the photo of the ginormous blister I got...
I ended up outside this 7Eleven for an hour waiting for David to come pick me up during rush hour. I sat on that concrete divider thingy eating fresh fruit and watching the sun set.
A woman parked her car nex to me and when she came back with a cup of coffee she sat in her car with the door open and enjoyed the sunset with me for a while. It's nice, isn't it? she said.
I agreed.
Great weather; not too hot, not too cold.
-Just perfect I said.
She smiled towards me and said It was very nice to meet you before she drove off.
Sometimes it's the small things in life.

The Bold Ramen at Tatsu. Might not look very tasty but oh, it was!
Taken with self timer on our hotel balcony. My absolute favourite vintage dress got to come with me to LA. The "Flowerbed dress", as I call it. Perfectly matched with mint cardigan and tights and I was a colour explosion ready for the day.
The two tiny clouds over Santa Monica fighting an impossible battle.
On the weekend we went to friends who live close to Santa Cruz. On our way there we had to stop because David had a conference call. We found a little road where we could park and I walked off with my camera and my iPhone to check out the surroundings. I found an abandoned trailer and took a gazillion self portraits. Here's a few of them.
The trip to Santa Cruz was great and our friends live at an absolutely amazing place in the Santa Cruz mountains. The sun sifted through the fog and redwood trees. It was magical! I brought my camera with me on this trip so I have a post planned with all those photos.
One thing I felt very acutely during this trip was how USA has a long way to go in regards of gender equality. I have never been treated more like a child in my life. It was quite awful actually.
Every day I got called Mrs Sandberg even though my name is Lotta Losten and nothing else. In Sweden that doesn't happen. Never has anybody taken for granted that my name is anything before asking me. I may be married to David but I am not his property. It's really weird to realise that what I am used to back home, what I think is absolutely obvious and doesn't need explanations is apparently extremely new and controversal in a country that looks at itself as the Best Country in the World.
It's not very hard to see women as people. To see them as individual human beings and not jus a Mrs to a Man with a full name. Well, apparently it's not that easy for some people.
It makes me furious.
My name is Lotta Losten. I don't answer to anything else.

From our hotel balcony one evening when the moon looked just perfect.
I got the worst cold of my life the last week in LA. I was completely out of it for a couple of days. Here I have gathered enough strength for a self portrait showing just how bored I was.
I was standing in the Starbucks line waiting for my order. In front of me in the queue was a woman in the most beautiful Niqab I've ever seen, it was black with golden embroidery on. Her eyes are the only part of her face showing and they are gorgeous.
When she has her coffee and is about to pass me she sees me, put her hand on my arm and says You are absolutely beautiful. I can see in her eyes that she's smiling warmly and then she sweeps her hand up and down in the air infront of me, all the way from my blue and neon green tights covered legs to my Sgt Pepper Jacket to my long hair and repeats Just beautiful before she leaves the coffee place with the niqab flowing behind her.
I was left standing there smiling with heated red cheeks when the barista called out A Grande Skinny Vanilla Latte for Lottie!.

The Commissary at The Line Hotel. A restaurant situated in a beautiful greenhouse on top of a building in Korea Town with wonderfully weird menus and really good food.

As I mentioned really quickly earlier in this post we went to LA because of Lights Out. David has managers and agents there and they are working on making Lights Out into a feature film. It's exciting times, dear friends and readers! I hope to be able to tell you more in the not too distant future.
Bring on 2015, I say!

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday if you celebrate that.
I had a couple of great days with my family, and after a few really hectic months I'm now ready for a new year with my head filled with lots of new ideas.
Talk to you soon again!

It's been about four months since Lights Out went viral and lots of things have been happening since then. Both on and off the internet and it's been crazy and wonderful and quite surreal.
We have a lot to thank the internet for; how the film spread all over the world and scared millions of people, how David got contacted by Hollywood and lots of influential people in the movie business, and how our lives will surely never be the same again. For that: Thank you internet!
There is one thing though that took me by surprise in a not so good way, and I thought I would take a few snippets of your time to talk about that.
From the moment Lights Out started spreading across the www people have been commenting the video with words like these:

That girl is uglier than the monster.
That chubby bitch kinda turns me on.
She's fat.
She's weirdly hot.
It's scary cause she's fat.
I would bang her.
This film would have been better with a pretty actress.

And a hundred variations of this.

I'm not writing this text in need of sympathy or reassurance but what I DO want to talk about is the part where it appears to be socially acceptable to speak about women like this the moment they appear on the internet.
I am quite baffled by how people (well, men, really) have felt the need to comment on my body and my physical appearance.

After reading some of the comments on my lack of sexiness the first thing that crossed my mind was this: I am wearing a big old boring pajama shirt! How come they focus on my body when I'm not even wearing something revealing and sexy?
Then I got angry for thinking like that because it shouldn't even matter if I was totally naked, dressed in a garbage bag or wearing red lace underwear; Call me naive, but I didn't think my looks had anything to do with this.

Lights Out is not about me being a chubby, ugly, weirdly hot (or even pretty, for that matter) woman going to bed. It's about a person going to bed. The gender and physical appearance of the person in this shortfilm has no relevance at all.
None whatsoever.
The role could have been played by a tiny girl, a huge woman, a skinny boy, an old man, it doesn't matter.
I'm not supposed to look sexy I'm supposed to be an ordinary person. Nothing more, nothing less. Ordinary. Someone you can identify with when you're going to bed late at night and maybe see something in the shadows you didn't think was there seconds before. When you're all alone and suddenly remember that shortfilm you saw once that was really creepy.

Just another human being. Like yourself.

So if that is what I am, then why would anybody want to point out how NOT model pretty I am?
How I should have been thinner. Blonder. Sexier.
I just don't get it.

Would Lights Out have been the same if it was a glamorous, shiny, perfect human specimen going to bed or would it maybe take some of the scariness out of it? When all the possibility of identification was removed from the premise?
I, for one, think so.
And I need to ask you something. Is it okay to live in a world where men (yes, all of the sexist comments have been written by men) feel that they are entitled to judge women's looks and bodies the second they appear in front of them, in real life or on a screen?
Where the first thing that pops into their mind when they see a woman is about how she looks and not what she seems to be doing. As a character, in a film, with a plot that's hopefully not only about how she's a woman with a body/face/breasts that the audience should comment about.

Maybe it would be an idea to follow what is happening in the story instead?
Maybe that would be something to try the next time?

Not unless the character in a film is turning to the camera saying "and now I want you to judge and critizice the body of the actor behind this role" are you to let your opinion of her physical appearance out on the internet.

There seems to be a widely spread idea that if something you're in goes viral on the internet the negative comments is sort of the price you have to pay for your internet stardom. It's harmless and you should be able to take it.
I've been thinking a lot about that because it makes no sense to me.
Well, yes, I am a 32 year old woman who is fairly satisfied with how I look and I think that I am perfectly alright just the way I am, but it still took me quite some time to learn how to handle these types of comments.

I live a lot of my life on the internet and love it to bits but as someone who has had to go through bullying in the real world as a kid, these hurtful comments feel so very close to what I was exposed to when I was only eleven years old and believed that what the bullies said must surely be the truth.
It's not nice and it's not something you just ignore. It takes time to learn how to leave the bad feelings towards yourself behind you and I know for certain that bullying can hurt for years and years to come.
Mean words hurt just as bad when written down as said out loud. It's not harmless at all.

Young girls and women should not have to toughen up and prepare themselves so that men could be free to judge them openly for their own enjoyment (What kind of enjoyment is that anyway?) and it's time people understand that just because you see a person in a video on youtube that person doesn't have thicker skin than you have.

I have come to the point when I can laugh at the stupid comments regarding my body and looks, and I keep telling myself it's lucky that I am a grown person who have had time to learn to love myself before I happened to be in a video that went viral. It would have been so much harder fifteen, or even ten, years ago.

One thing this whole experience has made me realize though is this:
I will never try to squeeze myself into a mold I won't fit into when that shouldn't matter anyways. I would love to be in many movies and I hope Lights Out is only the beginning for me. If film makers and directors want me in their movies I hope it will be because of how I act, not how I look.

Unless "slightly above average height, freckled, redhead with a european accent" is just what you need for your coming film project, because then I'm all on board!

/Lotta Losten
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