About Me

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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Work work work work work....

I did it again. I looked up and I realized I was in the middle of a 16 day stretch of work. This time the places I did said work were a little less diverse, however. No film shoots. Ever since I got back from Raleigh, 9 days ago, the bulk of the work has been at NY 1. And today I would have been off from work but Technicolor called me to come in and cover for the full time projectionist because he had a death in the family. Tomorrow and Friday I'll be working both jobs.

I've been busy like this for so long, especially since the last film score was finished, that I've been wondering when I'm going to get a nice full day to just dive into some of my own music projects. Over the past few days I have been tinkering with my new software synths and coming up with melodies here and there but I feel an itching to really get something done in the way of coming up with a compositional plan for at least one or two new pieces, either chamber or electroacoustic. I've said before that I don't mind (in fact, that I see the benefit of) working in spurts, an hour here an hour there. But it would be nice to really have some time to finish something. Or at least finish starting something.
It's going to be all about balance though, over the next couple of months to year. I need to work obviously so I can eat but sometimes it feels like it's taking away from my music time.

I'm increasingly aware that the next big musical step for me is to really start writing again. I've made a ton of contacts in my first few months here but I feel like I need to shift back to creating so that I can have fresh stuff to show these contacts and so that my musical output doesn't stagnate. That would be horrible. I find myself trying not envy people who just seem to have it going at this age so they don't have to work full time jobs for the man. But I also have to keep reminding myself that J.K. Rowling was a depressed single mother living in poverty when she was writing the first Harry Potter. Not that I think I'm writing the next Harry Potter or anything here. I'm just trying to find some like minded people to create music with, either for the cinema or television or for the concert stage and/or people's mp3 players.

And speaking of that kind of music, I had an opportunity to get together and jam with a fellow composer this evening but Technicolor blew that out of the water. I ended up working from 830 this morning until 715 this evening so by the time I would have gotten out to Fort Greene the first game of the world series would have been on and we probably would have ended up going to the bar to watch that. And I have to be up for the 8am shift at NY 1 tomorrow.

Soon, I'll iron all this out, my work schedule and whatnot. Then, I'll be able to more easily work my freelance jobs plus my musical endeavors into the picture.

I'll try not to get frustrated meantime.

And I had thought about, since this blog is a blog about being a composer, not bothering to write an entry again until I got started writing music and maybe even had an mp3 or two to post up here. But since this is also a blog about moving to a new city, namely New York City, I figured I shouldn't leave out parts of the journey that are happening now. Like the adjustments, the pitfalls, the mistakes etc.

So now I work for the next 7 days and then I have a friend visiting and then, I promise you, I will get to work on the many musical ideas floating around in my head.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home?

I just went home to Raleigh for the weekend to visit the family. A great weekend all around. I can't believe my nephews and nieces are growing up so fast. They were loads of fun. All of them. And it was great having everyone in one place for a little bit to reconnect. I wish I'd had more time.

I felt a little different coming back this time. Moving to a new place is strange. Going back is sometimes the only way to realize how acclimated you've become. As I flew back in, I realized several things. One, this city looks awesome from a plane at dusk. Two, we almost always fly over my apartment (I can see it and recognize the street from the plane) and I half wonder if it would be easier to just parachute down, instead of having to take the M60 bus and then two train connections to get home from the airport (adding almost twice the time that the flight takes). Three, I'm comfortable here, at least more than I was. I had a blast in Raleigh but then I came back here to a fairly active social life and a full time job that will be starting soon. Right back into the swing of things.

It's nice. I'm still sitting here wondering if being full time is going to allow me to be as focused on composing as I want to be. I had all these big goals when I was freelance and I had the time to think (between worrying about bills). I guess I'll be able to finish them but I'll have to take a radically different approach. Perhaps just taking a week to set a pace and see how much I can get done on a project, a simple one, without thinking about a deadline. Then, with that in mind, I can get a better picture of what a realistic goal for how much work I can get done is for the next year.

I'm hoping to be able to post some music up here soon. Just some ideas. I should get back into the "Jams." I was composing, earlier in the year, short pieces of music that were, at least initially, composed on the spot. And then a week or so to really finish rounding them out and then spend the rest of the month tweaking and producing it. So, a song a month. I think I could knock that down to a song every two weeks. And maybe could eventually come up with longer versions of them.

I'm also planning on jamming with a composer friend pretty soon. He plays the violin among other things and we're both of the mind to create something innovative. So we'll see how that goes.

Meanwhile, my mind wanders to the question of what is home. I'm fairly grounded here but going "home" to Raleigh always gets me wondering what it really is to say, "home" when referring to a place. So many cliches have been borne of this topic so I will leave it at that without any attempt to add to the clutter of thought there.

It's good night for now. The new Avett Brothers album is pretty good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sick, and an update...

It's been a while since I've posted anything so I thought I would check in today and just update you a little. I have my first New York City head cold (don't worry mom and Josee, I'm quite certain it's not the swine flu) and I'm working a ton of overtime this week. I've been meeting new people though, through church and through internet sites which I won't name, and so have been getting out and socializing, feeling a little more like I live here.

I remember my mother telling me, when I was a little down about my seeming lack of social opportunty here and missing home, how she remembered feeling the same way a little when we moved down to NC some 25 years ago (wow). She had to leave behind a ton of friends and stability and, though we, as a family, did make plenty of new friends, she still felt like it would never be quite like it was back in good old Stanfordville, NY. For a time, I felt quite certain that I would never feel as comfortable here in NYC as I did when I was living in Raleigh with the friends I had grown up with or gone to college with. But now, I realize that it doesn't matter anyway. Of course, I can't replace my friends and the times I had in Raleigh. This is meant to be a totally different experience and in some ways it might even be better than those times but I prefer to just say different.

When I look back at the college years it's easy to see why everyone was so comfortable and friends were made so fast and why those friendships lasted. You were surrounded by people your age, everyone was excited and everything was new. Without something like college or high school to bring people together, it gets harder and harder to find people that you have things in common with. Hence the popularity of things like Meetups and social networking sites, speed dating even. Ha! I'm not quite there yet though (though I'd look upon something like that as an adventure and would probably only try it as such and never out of necessity).

Anyway, I'm sitting home tonight, having left early from work (for the second night in a row), and trying to recuperate. Paul and Rosalie are in town and off having fun, watching Avenue Q. I received a cryptic text message from my brother around 7 saying that "The Rock Rocks!" which I assume means that he and Rosalie went to the top of the Rockefeller center before the musical. I was feeling a little down because, in my zombie-like state this morning, I wasn't able to show them everything I had planned on before having to go to work (not to mention also feeling bad because they got a parking ticket last night because some cop saw their out of state license plate and decided that they were within five feet of the nearest hydrant). So, I'm glad they're enjoying themselves despite my work schedule and my cold (There'll likely be pictures as soon as the dust clears. I've not been taking any with my own but Paul and Rosalie will probably give me some of theirs).

But anyway, this weekend I shall come home for a bit to see the rest of the family (Jackie and Tim and the kids are back from Japan for a bit). That's something that really hit me this week as well, how much I've missed my family. We've all been talking on the phone but this has to be the longest I've gone without seeing most of them. Yet another side effect of moving out of state. Seems life lately is full of these realizations.

At any rate, the adjustments to life here are still outnumbering the moments I feel morose or out of place. I'm often noticing how certain things have leveled off, seemingly while I wasn't paying attention to them so much. Beyond social graces and such, I've finally got some terrific news in the employment department. I think it's okay to say this now. I mean, I applied to the job this afternoon at work, even if I don't officially have it, it's safe to say that, since they created this position for me, that I have it! A full time job. So, I'm elated about that. This'll make things loads easier.

I guess I don't have too much else to say except that I'm tired but I don't think this city has caught up to me yet. I'm still surviving and not burning out anytime soon. If I can make it here...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Shorter than a blurb...

I have good news but I'm not going to post it until it's official. Most of you will know anyway before it's official but I just wanted to say that I'm quite happy right now.

Blurb #14

Somehow my weekend activities tired me out more than a week of work. ?

This weekend was a blast though. Managed to do something just about every night, from sending Karishma off in style (and helping her pack), to hitting a co workers house warming party (in a high rise in Long Island City on the 28th floor with stellar views of midtown Manhattan). Sunday, I sang at the UU with the choir, had pancake breakfast, and made some more new friends, one with whom I went to lunch and walked all over Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO. After she and I split even, I walked the entire length of the Atlantic Antic festival and eventually, after stopping at Target walked all the way to Crown Heights to help Karishma with some more packing while we watched Darjeeling Limited for the 1,000th time. Mid movie we strolled to a West African restaurant on Franklin Avenue and manged a little bit there. Exciting stuff, they had a sort of sold-by-weight buffet with all manner of charred meats and couscous.

So there's definitely a reason behind my exhaustion last night. I'm quite sure I walked more yesterday than I had all week to and from work and running on only five hours of sleep. I am a little bummed that I didn't have my camera because I caught a lot of sights on the way but I did map the walk for my own curiosity. Turns out it was 8.34 miles from the where I started at the Brooklyn UU to Crown Heights, including all the twists and turns in between and the walk to dinner and then back to the subway at Franklin Avenue.

But it's back to the grind today. Luckily I'm not going in until 1:30 so I could at least sleep in this morning. (Not like that actually happened though, I was up at 8:30).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Falling in place...with my expectations...

I would just like to say that this is the first month where I have successfully paid all of my bills, including student loans, put money away and still covered rent at the end of the month without having to transfer out of savings. Feels good.

I just feel like this is another huge step towards my goals at this point. Now, as soon as the last cues are approved for the film score I've been working on, I can start to really work on my own stuff again in earnest. So things again feel like they're falling into place...I guess that does sound a little trite when, if you look at it right, things are always falling into place, just not always with our expectations. I suppose then I should qualify that. Things are finally falling into place with my expectations.

The film score has been well received as well, for the most part, by the director and producing team. I've really had fun working with these guys too. I'm actually looking forward to starting to focus on my own for a bit. I have a lot of electronic music I want to write, mainly inspired by the chance to really delve into some of the new software synths that I recently bought...and by the fact that I always have beats running through my head and electronic music is sometimes the best outlet for that.

On the other hand, I do have a renewed interest in completing a lot of contemporary chamber pieces that are floating around in various stages of completion, from sketches on a page to hideous earlier version that I seriously need to revamp (I'm talking about you string quartet).

And, this past Sunday at the UU church, I got a chance to talk to the choral director, a bit of a composer himself. I have been planning on singing with the choir there since I started attending but they don't regularly sing during the summer time. I spoke with Bill, the director, about it before the summer began and he'd said now was the better time to get involved. So, after speaking with him and singing a few notes for him, we talked a little about other opportunities. One of the anthems that was sung was his own composition. He took a hymn out of the UU hymnal and re-set it to his own music. I remember liking it so I told him but then he asked me if I ever wrote choral music. This is something that I've had a love hate relationship for many years, probably rooted in the fact that I never, or rather rarely ever, wrote vocals for any of the rock music I co-composed with Jeremy Shaner in high school and with Rory Scott in college (mainly because my own lyrics I felt were mediocre to downright crappy). In college, I sang a lot of bad (I guess I shouldn't say bad, maybe just uninspiring) choral music but there were a few that struck me as brilliant and haunting even, mostly the older stuff. So that's something I've always aspired to but with a cautious attitude so that anything I wrote didn't come off creamy or soupy. Hence, the one thing I wrote in college was, as a result, too difficult to be sung. It was rehearsed but never performed.

But now, I think it's time I revisited the opportunity, since it kind of just fell in my lap when Bill encouraged it after we had spoke about his piece, saying that there were plenty of opportunities and there would always be an audience. Which, to a composer is always thrilling. No one likes creating in a vacuum. You need feedback. Some of the best experiences I've had with my music were having it performed and having people walk up to me afterward and say they loved it/liked it or had questions about it. (Let's face it, it's not often that people walk up to you and say they thought it sucked, at least not in a concert hall after a recital or performance...they save that for later on when they're in the company of friends).

Anyhow, that having been said, I'm optimistic and excited. I'm also working a whole lot and thinking about how I'm going to miss my best friend when she goes back to India. So it's a huge mixed bag. I should eat something.