The Life of Pi director travelled across America by bus and arrived in L.A. at 4am.
With little money, he attempted to find a room at a YMCA shelter, but the hostel was closed and he had to rely on the generosity of a group of strangers he met on the street.
He recalls, "They said, 'You can come live with us. We'll take your $10 until you can find a place.'
"They told me they were extras in the plane-crashing scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I stayed at their place, and when I got up in the morning, I opened my window, looked out, and saw the Hollywood sign.
"Then I checked my wallet, and all of my money was gone. Stolen. Later I went to the bank, got more money, and ended up having a good time. That was my first experience in L.A."