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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. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ray Charles dream...

I have to type this immediately because I'm afraid the memory will fade.  I just had the awesomest dream come to me during the awesomest afternoon nap.  In the dream, somewhere, supposedly in Philly, I think, I was in a room that seemed like it was inside an old dingy strip mall, swinging all glass door, old carpet on the walls, (come to think of it, it might easily have been this place)...



with what I think was the late Ray Charles, who was showing me this incredible musical performance setup he had going on. 

The first thing I saw is almost unimaginable.  There was what looked like a lap steel inside a see-through box that had a 48 key keyboard on the business side.  The lap steel seemed to play itself as he hammered the piano keys.  To his right was a grand piano with a moveable sliding gap in the cover over the keys (not sure what this was about).  Sitting on top of that piano was an loop station/drum machine that he was using to record what he was playing and loop.  The microphone was even hooked up to said loop station and, I shit you not, he beat boxed at one point along with a drum beat he had just tapped out. 

Underneath the grand piano, the bottom was missing and he showed me how each string was individually miked. Strangely, there was also a collection of coffee mugs dangling from the inside by their handles. 

The whole room was setup like it was some kind of museum, and people could just come in and watch him tinker with his setup. 

This is by far the strangest dream I have ever had. But I think it's a sign that I need to start performing my own music this year.  I've had three people tell me that in as short as a few days.  I have been wanting to get something set up where I could take my keyboards, guitar and laptop out live and do some fantastic looping and mixing live.  In fact, I have everything I need to do so now, except for a few carrying cases.  All I have to do is write all the music that isn't written and figure out how to perform the stuff that is.  So, now I think it's time to take a new look at an old project that's been brewing since 2009.  Okay, go!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Low Crescent Moon...

It was a beautiful sight looking at the clear sky in the west, with a low crescent moon sinking slowly.  Between the planes on approach to LaGuardia and the street lights along 5th Avenue in Park Slope, you wouldn't think you'd catch very many star gazing opportunities here.  But, on many a night I've seen a great deal of stars and can almost always spot Jupiter as it's very bright these days.  In fact, I saw Venus just before sunset on Wednesday during my lengthy jaunt around the East Village...and this was standing on Houston St. in the first few minutes after sunset!  Here's an article I just caught about how the two can be seen close to the crescent moon at sunset these next few weeks.  In March, the article says, Mars will be very bright, the brightest it's been for two years.


Wish I had a decent pic for you guys but it wouldn't come out.  Go outside and look for yourselves though.

Moving on from astronomy to something a little less predictable, my commute this evening could have put me in a bad mood but for some reason I was a little more relaxed at the fact that debris on the track was causing delays on the A, and the dispatch couldn't seem to decide how to reroute the train.  I remained on the A because I thought they said it would be going over the F line (which would have still taken me to the stop I where I wanted to change trains).  However, when I noticed the train wasn't moving a few stops later, I looked up and realized we were at Canal street (an A train stop) so we hadn't switched to the F line.  Yanking out one earbud, I tried to make sense of the chatter on the intercom but when I heard something that sounded like them suggesting we take an uptown train back to West 4th Street, I opted to get off the train and walk.  The great thing about downtown Manhattan where it starts to come to a point is that the train lines all get closer and closer together.  I knew that the R train (the train I would eventually be switching to in Park Slope) stopped at Canal street a few blocks east of where I was stuck on the A.   And I never get the chance to walk around in Tribeca.  So I opted to take my time getting home.  Because after all, you have to slow down every once in a while and relax.

I'm finding that my schedules on Thursdays and Fridays are so tight with work and errands before work and yoga on Thursday bright and early, that I can never expect to get too much done on my other projects.  Sure I can spend my entire break on them or sneak a look at my to do list, write emails or do other work when there's down time at work but it's probably best not to because the quality of my work suffers and I risk getting into trouble at actual work.  So, I'm taking a different approach to Thursdays and Fridays.  I'm not going to try too hard to push forward on those days on any of my projects as long as I spend adequate time on them during my days off and the days of the week that I have significant time off during the day where I'm not rushing around.  Manage my time, so to speak, so that I won't feel so bad about letting a few days go by without making headway on whatever I'm currently working on.  Deadlines or not.

This way, when Saturday through Wednesday comes around, I can dive back in fresh and start to work and plan my week ahead. Ironically, the first two days of my work week will now become like a weekend from my music projects.

And occasionally, I do plan on taking a weekend from both.  Soon enough.  Meanwhile, I'll try and do as much leisurely walking through random neighborhoods and spotting astronomical phenomena on my walk home. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Flatiron to East Village...


Try finding a decent coffee shop with a wifi connection and an outlet or two so I can get some juice for my electronics, (oh and by the way, it actually has to have somewhere I can sit), in the East Village.  Seriously, I just spent my afternoon snaking my way through from Flatiron through Chelsea to Union Square and down to the Village in search of just such a place to kill time but everything was full or didn't have what I needed).   I came in to Manhattan around 130pm to meet Mohammad for lunch (gluten free pizza at Mozzarelli's: always a favorite) and decided to stay in the city all afternoon, since I'm meeting Tania in about an hour from now (it's currently 545pm as I type this).

I have all my stuff with me after all.  I was able to sit down at MUD Coffee on E. 9th street and do some work on the mix for "One Day," the song I'm writing for Mohammad's reel.  But beyond that, no internet and no place to charge my phone.  Well until now.  I hit my last option at Houston Street with the gargantuan Whole Foods on the corner of Houston and Chrystie Streets, a place where I don't necessarily have to buy anything to sit down and take advantage of the space.   It's so gargantuan after all that no one will notice I didn't buy anything.  

This is one of the many places that I've staked out throughout the city with free access to public bathrooms for just such a day of hiking around the city and not wanting to spend too much money.  After all, I just spent about $40 on a new yoga mat.  It's been needed for a while and I figured today, since I'm meeting Tania at a yoga class, that I should just get it.  My other yoga mat is currently sitting at the studio where I usually take classes and it's about to develop a full-on hole clear through the mat where my feet have been wearing it out in downward dog.  

Right now, my feet are killing me but I did enjoy my brisk jaunt around the Village despite not being able to find everything I was looking for.  It's not all the time I can allow myself these kinds of days.  I just finished two projects though and I thought, "why not give myself a real leisurely day off?"  Not many people I know would consider huffing it between three different Manhattan neighborhoods a leisurely day off but I'm merely referring to the fact that it was relatively unhurried and unscheduled.  Impromptu even.  

The best part?  I still got some work done tweaking a few things in the mix that Mohammad and I talked about at lunch and adding a Wurlitzer part doubling the guitar riff I recorded on Monday.  I still need to sit down at home and try my mix on a few different sets of speakers before I sign off on it and upload it to the Dropbox though.   

And it never ends.  Tomorrow I'm meeting with Steve Pitre, the cinematographer from Sides of the Track, to talk about music for one of his upcoming projects.  Exciting!  

Right now though, I'm going to try to relax a little, maybe get a snack before yoga.  This'll be the first time in a while that I've taken a class not at Abhaya yoga.  Should be cool.  Will blog more later…and when I upload this, I'll probably add pics from the Transit Museum visit on Sunday.  Will link from both this entry and the entry on the actual visit.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Transit Museum….

I've wanted to go see the Transit Museum for a long time now.  Sunday, I finally found the time to go with a friend.  Man, is it cool!  The museum is housed in a decommissioned subway station in downtown Brooklyn and contains several exhibits, some of them interactive, as well as a slew of vintage subway cars that you can board, plastered with all the ads from the era when the cars were in service.

The first thing we saw was an exhibit about the process of building the subway tunnels, focusing on the people involved in the various tasks that went into engineering the massive public works project that is the New York City subway.  The history is fascinating, replete with stories of workers working on the underground tunnels getting sucked out of compressed air tunnels and shot out like a geyser into the East River, or getting buried by boulders dislodged by explosions.  More interesting even were the different methods for building the tunnels depending on the very wide range of geological situations across the city.  I was fascinated by how they actually excavated under the rivers.  Here's a link to a chapter from a book on the subway construction that specifically deals with construction methods.

After that exhibit, there were a few interactive bits that we checked out, mostly on the subject of electrical power in the subway.  Unable to contain myself, I suggested we go downstairs at this point and look at the old train cars, one of the main attractions as far as I'm concerned.  Other than there being a mass of screaming kids on a tour that we kept trying to avoid, it was really cool.  There are some twenty cars down there on the platform level from as far back as the early 1900s.  Some of the oldest ones had wicker seats and ceiling fans.  All of the old cars had ads on them from the period the car was in service.  Here are two that I snapped with my phone:




Going to the museum was a last minute snap decision, so I didn't have my good camera, or I would have taken more pics.  My friend took some that I will post as soon as she emails them to me.  I was really fascinated by the ads and informational posters.

Another cool thing that I wish I had photographed was plopped down in the center of the platform: the truck assembly from an older subway car.  It was really neat to see it all up close and cut away like that so you could see the different components.

Back upstairs, the last thing few things we perused were the array of vintage maps, the cutaways of old city buses and trolleys and a row of old turnstiles with descriptions of the history of why they switched form mechanical to electrical ones and how the current ones work (transactions take less than a tenth of a second with magnetic swipe cards!).

I was like a kid in a candy store the whole time.   More pictures are here:


NYC Transit Museum

Monday, January 23, 2012

Compartmentalization…

Compartments:

Voice Over
Regrouping, started up coaching again last Wednesday.  Old coach has split from Edge Studio and does her own coaching at a few different studios.  Went in to Real Recording on 23rd Street and had an hour long session during which we worked on commercial reads, an area where my training was lacking.  I need to have a commercial demo produced this year so that's what I'm working towards.  Meanwhile, I'm revamping the web page and making a totally separate page to direct voice over clients to.  First establishing my expertise as a voice over narrator before trying to market both music and voice over.

Contemporary Music
Tania and I have a few more concerts slated for the upcoming months, at which we will either perform Moon, Tides, Cycles again or a new piece I have in the works.  We are also talking about collaborating on an album of my contemporary works to be released next year.  Possibly a live album.  Not just piano and electronics, the album will feature all electronic pieces, pieces for small ensembles and electronics and possibly one large chamber music piece.  A lot of it has not been written yet.

Rock Music
Lacy and I are back performing at open mics, we just played Freddy's and will probably do so again next month.  Her album, on which I have played several guitar tracks, is still in the works and when it's released, sometime around May, I will be performing with her at the CD release party in Philly and New York.   Really looking forward to both, even though they won't be for months.  Meanwhile, I'll be learning parts to all new songs!  Some of which I haven't even heard yet.

Film Music
I just finished up the theme music for George Perez' series "The Life," a short 1:30 rock piece featuring a slide guitar and some electric piano, soon to be posted.  So far I've seen the temporary visuals that were edited together to give the shooter an idea of what kind of footage they needed.  "The Life" is a crime drama series focusing on the growing child prostitution problem in the U.S.

In addition, I'm finishing a song for Mohammad Maaty's production reel, titled "One Day" and featuring the fantastic accordion stylings of the great Crystal Bright.  This one is taking up the bulk of my time at the moment because I'm in the final mixing stage and I really want to finish out the project by the end of next week.  Especially since there are other projects on the horizon.


And that is how my brain works these days.  I find the compartmentalizing is the best way to organize my to do lists and keep ahead of myself.  Although, the thought that keeps occurring to me, in some form or another, is that, after all this time, plugging away at all of my various pursuits, it's difficult to make significant headway on any one venture while my attention is so scattered.  Even setting clear goals and organizing my thoughts like this can only get me so far.  Because on top of it all, I still owe most of my time to a full time job that pays the bills and keeps me sheltered, fed and in good clothes.  Such is life.

I've considered, from time to time, diverting my focus to one venture at a time, possibly spending a few weeks on just voice over, just contemporary or rock music, or focusing wholly on my film music.  In fact, sometimes, that's what ends up happening by default.  When I get a film job that pays, for example, I pretty much have to sideline everything else, because it only makes sense to focus on what is going to more immediately generate income.  Voice Over tends to get thrown on the back burner more often than everything else.

All of this is not to say that I'm not making strides.  When I look up at where I was even just a year ago, it's obvious that I am making headway.  I just have to decide when to push forward with what.  And accept that I'm not going to meet all my career goals right away.   It's a long haul after all.    

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Day...

I'm writing a song right now (or I should say recording a song) for Mohammad's production reel, titled "One Day."  This has been a pretty fun project as I'm getting to blend some unique elements, accordion among them, and I'm getting to be as creative as I can while emulating a style of music that I quite enjoy.  French accordion music.  

So, the piece is very very reminiscent of a certain track on the Amelie Soundtrack by Yann Tiersen but, I'm putting my own spin on it adding some edgy rock elements to it.  My good friend Crystal Bright was good enough to record the accordion part and send it to me via Dropbox.  Now I'm working on the mix which is gaining in complexity.  Piano, guitar, bass, orchestral percussion and tympani are included in that mix.  The fun part is figuring out how to layer them in order to build the song up and create dynamic shifts.   I'm finding that my initial decisions are being subverted, and each time I sit down with the mix my mind changes.

For example, I realized that one of the ways I can build the tension and excitement in the piece is to not bring in the orchestral percussion track right away, simple though it was in the first few bars of the piece.  Also, I doubled the accordion part and panned it hard left and right and am slowly raising the levels as the piece draws to a climax.  In addition, I doubled the first guitar part, which was clean, and decided to run it through a tremolo effect (one of the great things about amp modeling is that you can take the same take after you've recorded it and process it in as many ways as you can think of!).  This tremolo effected guitar also slowly increases in volume throughout the piece.

I even just brought the piano part up higher in the mix, because I'm finding that on what I originally wrote, it's actually pretty crucial to the song.  Right now, though, it's just a dummy track that I pulled straight from my  notation program, Sibelius.  I plan on actually recording myself playing it later this week when I get a spare moment.

In addition, I may add some more guitar tracks and possibly some synth.  At the moment though, what's on my mind is kick drum.

This is one of my favorite points in the process of writing a song, the implementation and realization.  Several eureka moments typically ensue, especially when I walk away from it for a while and I come back and hear something that wasn't there before or I get an idea of something that isn't there but should be.  Incidentally, this is why it's so hard to stop writing sometimes (in the absence of a deadline of course).  You always find something else you can add to a song or change.   Occasionally, you do reach a point where you feel it's perfection but it's sort of rare, I've found.

That having been said, hopefully, I'll be finished soon so I can post it.  I almost forgot to mention that I'm done with George's music! We sat down at NY1 in the break room after my shift last Thursday and before his to sort of iron out the last few tweaks to the mix on my laptop.  I've heard the music against the visuals for the main title sequence now and it looks pretty awesome!  More to come on that as they work to finish the final film.  For now, I'm thinking I'm going to eat my lunch.  Yes, at 4 in the morning.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Freddy's bar open mic...

The thermometer on the billboard across the street from the Chelsea Market is reading 14 degrees F right now.  It's that week in mid winter when it drops into the teens and it's just miserable.  The winters are hard here, yeah yeah yeah.  I've found that just knowing that this part of the winter, inevitable though it may be, is finite and usually only lasts a week or so.  In fact, tomorrow, I think it's going to be in the 40s, which will feel balmy by comparison.

But tonight, I sit through another overnight with the prospect of having to walk to the train with my head bent over and my shoulders hunched, collar up and scarf wrapped tight, as quickly as possible with a mind only to getting on the train as quick as possible and then getting to my front door as quickly as possible.  Before my ass freezes and falls off.

I'm even wearing a thermal shirt right now (something I rarely do) but I wasn't earlier when Lacy and I played over at Freddy's bar on 5th Avenue (man was I cold out there).  This is an open mic we've wanted to play for a long time since I heard about it.  It's literally a block away from my apartment and I pass it every day wanting to stop in and check it out.  Just haven't had time.  A while back though I saw a flier for the open mic night but it's only every third Sunday of the month.

When we arrived at the mic, there was no one in the back room where the mic takes place so we sat in the bar and chatted with the owner.  A friend of mine surprised me and showed up so the three of us sat and had a few drinks, checking out the decor in the bar and listening to the bartender's playlist…he was showing us an artist named Richard Cheese who does covers of rap and popular songs in a lounge style reminiscent of Frank Sinatra and other crooners.  It was pretty awesome.  In addition to that bag of awesomeness, there sits a bonified working player piano that had a strip of lights strung up inside so you could see through the glass plating on the outside and see the inner workings.  It was enthralled.

Eventually, the host of the mic showed up and we moved into the back room.  There was only one other artist besides us and we all ended up getting a decent amount of time.  Lacy and I only rehearsed two songs but found that we were able to pull three more out to play.  One of the was a cover of a Jump Little Children song called "Mexico,"  which I sang.  Haven't don that in a while!

Overall, a fun time and we'll hopefully be doing it again soon.  There's word that the event is hanging on by a string because not enough people come but hopefully, it will be revived when the weather get's nicer.  Surely temperatures in the teens did enough to deter some people from coming.

The rest of this week, I'll be focusing on music for Mohammad's reel which is coming together nicely.  Probably will be adding some more guitar tracks and a piano part and some effects.  Will post when it's done, as always.

On top of that, I'm looking forward to my very VO Wednesday.  Will be meeting a new friend who does VO to pick her brain and then having a voice coaching session right after with one of my old voice coaches from Edge.  Should be fun and will have lots to talk about then.  So, until Wednesday!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gluten Free for almost two years...

2:38am.  Tired.  Will soon be rubbing sleep out of eyes.

Spent a nice weekend in NC and didn't even think to blog about any of it until now.  Trips to see the family and friends back in NC are becoming scarcer and more significant.  We managed to coordinate (for the second time in a row) getting everyone out there (I mean all 15 of us, from my parents and siblings to significant others and kids) and despite the cacophony of having that many people in one place, the whole weekend was pretty relaxing.  And I ate.  A lot.  And laughed a lot and played with the kids a lot.  I even had to pack a whole extra bag full of presents and leftover food which prompted me to take a cab ride from the airport…something I rarely do.  But it was much needed what with the weight of everything I was carrying.  Thankfully, I'm at a point where taking a cab in the city is second nature and I know how to avoid getting screwed over.  The cab ride was well worth it, too, because it got me home with time to spare before work.   Yes, straight into overnight after my vacation…that's just how I roll.  

Today (meaning yesterday at the point when this is posting), instead of diving back into work on all the projects I have going on, I sat around the apartment for most of the day getting situated and organizing my thoughts.  Also fixing random things.  The cylinder in the front door lock in my apartment had come loose and I had to take it apart to tighten it up.  Plus a piece of one of my presents (a rather nice mandolin slicer from my brother-in-law Jim) fell off and broke in my bag during the flight so I super-glued that back together as well.   

All in time to make it to another Celiac meetup in the Village.  A maker of gluten free rolls was having a launch party for her new line of bread rolls called Free Bread.  So there was free bread there (plus rolls for purchase).   And they were having buy one get one on all gluten free beer…which was pretty much Redbridge but that was cool.  I brought a friend with who was not Celiac but she didn't mind.  The venue was 116 Macdougal, a cool basement level bar with stone walls and a sense of history about it that I have yet to look into.   There was also a jazz band entertaining us called The Pendulum Swings.  5 horns, bass, drums and keys and one rather eccentric lead singer.    

After the meetup, my friend and I tried to go to Pala Pizza on Allen Street for some more gluten free goodies but found that it was closed this week only for renovations.  So, we hopped a cab over to Risotteria to satiate that gluten free need of mine.  Risotteria is always a winner as far as I'm concerned.  I'm pretty sure tonight was the first time I got to try their pizza, though, as every other time I've gone there I've been compelled to eat the risotto as it's something you can't get anywhere else.  The pizza was damn good though.  Expensive but good.  

It's one of those things though that you just kind of come to expect.  Everything is going to be expensive when it's not in high demand.  All specialty flours and gourmet ingredients.  It costs more to make sure it's gluten free and not cross contaminated.  I'm going on two years since I was diagnosed and despite all this, the expensive food, the difficult social situations and the constant worry that I'm going to end up eating the wrong thing or that I'm unknowingly ingesting something I shouldn't be, I'm feeling pretty confident about it all.   It's not hard to go for days without the worry of getting gluten-ed.  I have my routines, I have my go to foods when I'm in a pinch and I have nothing with me.  And I can handle social situations, especially where drinking is involved, rather easily now.  

The trick to a lot of this is that the information is out there, the advice as well.  It's just a matter of having the right attitude to not despair and say, "I'm going to figure out how to adjust to this."  It took months of not feeling better, going back on gluten and then getting rediagnosed this past March for me to come to that but there it is.   I basically went through all the stages of denial back in 2010 (granted, I did so a little out of order with acceptance coming first with the relief of knowing what was wrong, followed by grief at the loss of all my favorite foods and beverages, but then denial and anger setting in when I started to feel worse and ultimately bargaining starting when I decided that maybe it wouldn't be a big deal if I just ate sprouted grain bread instead of crumbly gluten free bread).  So, this past March when I heard the bad news from my new doctor, I felt bad for half a day but then I talked myself out of the despair.  I thought, "I'm going to approach this totally different this time."  It was my instinct that going through all those stages again was not going to help me at all.  I had a choice of how I was going to look at the diagnosis.  A curse?  Or just my lot.  There are a whole host of other auto immune disorders that are far worse and a dietary change is not the hardest thing in the world to cope with.  I wasn't going to go listing all the things I'd have to go without when I could think of what I can eat and how to be proactive in finding the best ways to acquire those things as inexpensively as possible.  And just get on with living my life.  

And that's that.  Another thing that helps?  Actually going to these Celiac meetups and meeting people who have the same thing I do.  It's about solidarity.   Hopefully, I'll be going to a lot more of them soon.   

    

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bolt again...

The city looked amazing this morning as I watched the sunrise over the skyline from the opposite side of the Lincoln Tunnel in NJ.  There's nothing that quite compares to the event of a sunrise coupled with the skyline of one of the greatest cities in the world.  I figured a picture wouldn't even encapsulate.  Okay, biased.  But you get the point.   Majesty was the watchword this morning and I felt compelled to just sit and watch with my cup of green tea that I had just enough time to purchase before hopping on the bus.  Also felt compelled to fasten my seatbelt due to the memory of my last Bolt Bus trip to Philadelphia.

Anyway, I'm going to be in three major cities today as I hop-scotch down the east coast today.  NYC to Philly to DC.  When I get to DC I'm going to have to hop on their metro system for a little which should be fun.  I like finding my way around a (relatively) new city.  I haven't been in DC on the metro since 2003, I think.  Or perhaps 2001.   Really looking forward to it though.  And looking forward to seeing my sister and her family.

But first, recording!  I'm playing on two songs today for Lacy's album, the names of which I will not discuss.  The album is probably coming out in April or May depending.  So, I'm also really looking forward to that…that and getting off this bus.  Try typing as the bus glides (not so smoothly) across the bumpy turnpike while sitting in your thermal shirt that you put on this morning due to the subfreezing chill you knew to expect, next to the heat streaming out of the vent that you didn't think to expect.

I think at this point, I'll leave it until I'm on the Amtrak or until I make it to Stafford.  Maybe I'll try to do some mixing on George's music…although, I can't see my patience with this earthquake of a bus ride holding out while I struggle with the track pad on this laptop.  More later...

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A very voice over afternoon...

While Sunday was filled with music projects, today was a big voice over day for me.  It all started with a phone call which, by the end of it, had me diverting all my energy from working on George's picture toward tweaking my website, editing my demo and doing general research and organization. 

The call was from another voice over talent and coach who was administering the free evaluation I had solicited a few weeks ago via this site.  They say they'll evaluate your career if you send them a demo and let them look at your marketing materials (e.g. website whatever else).  Always a skeptic, I wasn't sure what to expect but I figure it couldn't hurt. Worst they'd do is try to sucker me into paying for something I don't want to pay for, which wouldn't be a big deal since I don't have a whole lot of money to throw at things like that anyway.  There was a red flag because they offer some kind of package deals to promote you to talent agents, etc.  I've always heard you should never give anyone money up front for representation so I was all set to turn down whatever they were going to offer me. 

But, in fact, they were brutally honest and actually quite helpful.  Which, let's be honest, is exactly what I need at this stage.  Realism.  I've known for sometime that either Edge didn't give me much of a head start or I didn't take advantage of them enough.  I came away with the feeling that I wasn't quite ready to market myself, not simply because I was still working on getting my materials together but because I didn't get a whole lot of mic time during the three months I worked with them.  The notion that they sort of churn out voice talent at an alarming rate is certainly out there and hearing it from this woman today was not a surprise to me (One of the coaches I worked with at Edge even said so!).

Other than bashing the place I did my "training" she did have some fantastically valuable information on marketing, specifically pointing out some of the things I was doing wrong and evaluating my choices, putting them in a different light.  For example, I though it was a good idea to advertise that I do both music and voice over on the same website, and I even put this question to someone at Edge and got the opposite answer from what this woman gave me.  Apparently, as a result of putting voice over and music stuff on one site, it's confusing and casting agents don't have a lot of time to be confused.  A lot of people I spoke to about it were agreeing with the notion that casting agents looking for voice and music for projects (like most of them) would be attracted to someone who could do both.  It appears to make logical sense.  So I went with it.  But, as this woman pointed out, it also makes me look like I'm not outstanding at one or the other, I just happen to do both.  And I thought about it some more.  A casting agent is casting voice talent.  They're not necessarily trying to source music for a project as well.  That's someone else's job within the production company.  So maybe I could market myself to someone like this but ultimately, I need to be considering the fact that the vast majority of jobs I'd be looking at doing, I really only need to be impressing a casting agent and not necessarily trying to reel in the whole production team.  Maybe eventually once I've established that I'm a pretty decent voice talent, I can start advertising both together.  But even then, the above situation still applies.  Casting agents don't have time to care that I do music, too. 

So anyway, the other major thing that she pointed out is that I should really have a commercial demo.  Something that's been on my mind for a while now...well, since I've been doing all this research and found a few production companies that, when soliciting new voice talent, asked that I upload a commercial demo.  The vast majority of jobs, she tells me, in the voice over world are commercials.  Narration gigs and the like are specialty jobs and are fewer and farther in between.  This is something that never came up at Edge where they tell you what they think you'd be suitable for after evaluating your voice at one 4 hour seminar.

Well, you live and you learn and I've gotta think about this as part of my education.  It's not as though I've wasted time or money.  I didn't get absolutely nothing from Edge.  They certainly are a great resource even if their methods are not the best.  And I'm not going to cower in the corner because some professional voice talent says I'm not ready for an agent.  In fact, she wasn't even suggesting I do that.  What I thought was great was that she pretty much told me what I had to do before I'd be ready for an agent and gave me a lot of options, none of which was to spend money on something I wasn't ready for.  So, that was cool.

Anyway, this whole thing launched me into a revamping of my marketing materials today.  I emailed my graphic designer and my web designer to start working on it all.  The plan is to have a separate single page website for voice over that will be linked from my main page but will be a different URL, voice.timdaoust.com.  Hence new business cards strictly for voice.  I'm even considering taking the logo down to just say my name instead of Tim Daoust Audio.  We'll see though. 

I'm scheduled for a coaching session with one of my coaches from Edge who is now no longer with Edge and whom I always see at Learning Ally.  I made the decision a while back that I would go get some more coaching and now I'm thinking of making it a regular monthly (at least) thing.  I'm going in with a very direct plan with clear goals, one of them to work up to recording a commercial demo. 

That having been said, I need to get to sleep here soon.  I'm getting up at 6am to travel to Philly for that recording session and I have a big day of traveling after that too.  Headed by train to DC where I'll be hopping on the DC metro system to meet my brother-in-law at the end of the yellow line.  I'm going to be very tired but very jazzed, because I'm getting to visit with my nephews and niece for a bit before we head to NC.  I'll blog more from the bus tomorrow if I can.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012...

2012.  I had a good first day of the year overall.  Slept in like a rock star, took a bike ride around Prospect Park, grazed on leftover food from the party all afternoon and had Lacy over to rehearse for the recording session on Wednesday.  The party last night didn't go as planned but we all had fun anyway.  We were looking for low key and we got it.  A few people bailed after RSVP'ing so we had far fewer than expected.  Between Katrina's baking efforts and all the cheeses and meat I bought, we had way too much food.  But honestly, we're going to be eating it all this week so there's no real loss there. 

After sitting around and surfing the channels for a movie to watch and never really settling on one until it was half an hour before midnight, we ended up watching the ball drop on NY1 and then watching the fireworks over NY Harbor from my window (how cool is it that I could see that from my window?!).  Tania was here and brought a traditional Bulgarian cake called Banitsa, with charms baked inside that we all had to dig for.  The charms were pieces of paper with wishes written on them wrapped in foil.  So that was fun.  She even skyped with her mother in Bulgaria via her iPhone so mom could pick which slice of the cake she wanted. 

Everyone stayed until about 2am or so and then I finished cleaning and went to bed around 3am.  Now, I sit thinking about my plan not just for tonight and this week but for the year as a whole.  Two or three of the charms from my slice of the Bulgarian cake had career related stuff written on them (voice over being one of them that I'm pretty sure Tania wrote and put in there hoping I'd get it).  So, I'm starting to get a good feeling about this year.  Not simply because of a charm in a cake (although, there was some chance I might not have picked the slice of cake that had those particular charms in it), but also because I do feel poised to make some real changes.  I spoke about this a little in one of my last blog entries so I won't say much more.  In addition to this good feeling, I may not have mentioned a few blogs ago when I was talking about career stuff but, I'm positively inundated with potentially paying music gigs and I don't think it's much of a stretch to think I could find similar work in VO if I just apply myself like I'm planning to in the coming weeks. 

There's the music for "The Life," music for Mohammad's film reel, the recording session with Lacy and the potential to write music for another friend's cinematography reel, but also, I'm being asked to do some transcribing work for a friend with whom I've worked before and also could have another film scoring gig coming up soon too. 

All this is leaving me feeling pretty confident and energized.  And who knows, maybe I'll get off the @#$% overnight shift soon too.  One of the charms I pulled out of my slice said "promotion" on it. 

Another said "traveling."  Which I will also be doing later in the week.  Wednesday I take the god-forsaken Bolt Bus to Philadelphia early in the morning, record all day long, then take a train to D.C. where my sister will meet me and drive me to her home in VA.  A day with the kids and then we'll drive down to Raleigh to see everyone else and then I fly back to the city on Sunday of next weekend.  Hopefully, I'll get to do even more traveling than that later in the year but I suppose that's contingent upon me making, and putting away, a lot more money than I am right now.  

Anyway, when I touch back down in the city, I think that's when I'll begin phase 1 of this beautiful plan of mine.  Stay tuned.