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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, September 28, 2011

The next step...

I sent the letter to my landlord via certified mail on Monday, saying that we wanted out of our lease. The ball is rolling and I'm feeling pretty good about it all.  And about a lot of other things too.  Let's forget for a moment that I just hurt my leg jumping the stairs in the subway trying to catch a train, right before I'm about to go out of town to go backpacking.  Let's also forget for a moment that I'm a little scared that I can't really afford this move right now.  I've proven to myself over the last few years that I'm remarkably resilient and though I may not be entirely solvent, I am incredibly resourceful and intelligent enough to always find a solution.  So, go me and all that.

I actually sort of had an epiphany, or rather, have been having an epiphany, slowly over the last few days in a sort of it's gradually dawning on me kind of way, that things may be going pretty well even though I'm nowhere near my goals.  The thought occurred to me that I could be on the right track and still be pretty far from the destination, or in this case what I want to achieve.  And maybe I'm not going to be able to see the destination over the horizon for some time. And strangely, as the Universe tends to do to me on occasion, right after the epiphany becomes solid, I get some kind of sign that I've interpreted the signs correctly.

This all kind of started earlier in the week when I got thinking about the informational interview I had with that composer a few weeks ago.  How he was pretty much saying that it sounded like I was on the right track and to just keep doing what I'm doing, writing new music and trying to meet people and network.  It's funny.  It still didn't set in fully, even though I had said, at the time, that it was great to hear that from someone in the business who is actually out there doing it right now and has probably been where I am now and knows exactly how I feel.  The first chance I got to start doubting myself I was right back in the pits thinking I had so far to go and about how frustrating it is to work so hard and not seem to be getting anywhere, how things seem to be blocking me at every turn.  But then at the beginning of this week, I entertained the thought again that yes, I was on the right track, probably for no other reason than I was sick of hearing myself think negative thoughts. 

On a practical note, I realized that, in voice over and in music, I've been far too eager to jump ahead, often deciding where I want to be and trying to just go there directly, i.e. applying for jobs I have no business applying for and wondering why I don't get them.  Sure, I should have the confidence to apply and maybe applying doesn't hurt, but ultimately, I was expecting far too much.  What I really should be doing is, yes, applying for whatever the hell I want, but also taking the time to consider what level I'm at and having some realistic expectations.  Maybe figure out what kind of jobs I can get right now and how I can find them.

With voice over, for example, I tried for a few weeks to apply to jobs on Voice123.com but then I started to really get a feel for the culture up there and what it's really good for.  People who get jobs on Voice123.com, first of all, only supplement their income with those jobs and are typically the kinds of people who can apply right away, (i.e. those doing voice over full time and therefore people that are really good already), and be among the first submissions, and therefore be the first heard and probably most likely to get the job.  I have a day job and cannot apply to every job that comes to my inbox and even if I could, I don't have the chops yet to stand up next to people who have been doing it for years and years.  The same thing came clear when I was looking into Guru.com again, a site where I can find freelance jobs in both fields, music and voice over.  They have something called a Customer Acquisition Rate that affects your ranking on the site, and your likeliness of being awarded projects.  It's the age old catch 22 that you need experience to get work but in order to get experience you need to work.  Suffice it to say, these sites probably take a long time to benefit the people using them.  Sort of like a microcosm of our entire careers.  It takes a long time to be solvent in any field.  A lot of dues paying and waiting for that break. 

So, what I'm realizing is that these sites are not for me right now.  I was at Learning Ally today just finishing up my regular weekly 2 hours of recording and I decided that I wanted to try and chat to my voice coach Sylvia, a former regular at Edge Studio where I did the demo, and get some advice.  It really only occurred to me this morning, er, afternoon, when I woke up, that all of these questions I've been having, the what to do next's and the am I doing this right's could easily be addressed to Sylvia, who was ever helpful, though I only had one or two real sessions with her at Edge.  I was thrilled, back then, to discover that she volunteered at Learning Ally too.  Anyway, when I cornered her after my session, she was saying exactly what I was thinking, that these sites are good for practice but that even the people who work on them successfully only do them as a supplement to the jobs that actually earn them the bulk of their wages.

Anyway, the question that leaves me with (and sometimes narrowing it down to a question, even if you don't have an answer, can be satisfying enough) is what is the next step?  I keep envisioning where I'd like to be but that place is often several footholds up the rock I'm climbing and I need to look for footholds that are closer to where I'm hanging at the moment.  Sylvia told me I was on the right track with voice over, practicing weekly at Learning Ally.  Soon, they'll be doing voice coaching at Learning Ally as well but in the meantime, I may do some additional coaching with Sylvia.  And my new composer friend also told me I was on track.  So beyond knowing the answer to that question of what the next step is, it feels great to finally let go and just accept that I'm on the right track and, for all intents and purposes, I may just be exactly where I'm supposed to be right now.    

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