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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. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Waiting...

I've been revisiting old tunes I haven't listened to in a while today, just in general.  This morning, I opened up a playlist I forgot I had made of songs I listened to back on the post high school Europe trip in '99.  Then, I just shuffled through all songs on my phone at random, turning up songs from the 90's and other stuff I haven't listened to since the first year I was here and even as far back as high school days.  Right now, I'm listening to a playlist on my Windows Media Player called "Bittersweet."  A Regina Spektor tune is playing.

And the weather here is finally whispering of fall, after another upturn in the temperature and humidity since my last posting. Low humidity (most importantly) and a light breeze, highs in the low 80s.  I'll take it, I thought.  Literally, a day before the change came, I swore off the awesome hat I picked up at Brooklyn Industries the other day and long sleeves, just generally, cold though it may be in the building where I work.  But then I regretted it slightly, strolling down the street in a tee-shirt and jeans and a bare pate on a cool morning a few days ago. I love it, though, when the breeze rolls in and you can smell memories of the last year and you have to stop and breathe it in.   

Anyway, I promised I'd spout some more about the McKittrick Hotel's rooftop bar.  Last Tuesday night, Alexa and I got in our 1940's get up and, after a nice dinner in Chelsea, we headed over to the Gallow Green, a separate entrance from where one would go in to see Sleep No More.  A darkened elevator, operated by a man in period dress, took us up to the floor just below the roof and there we were met by a hint of that token intricate set design one comes to expect from Emursive and Punchdrunk.  When we emerged on the roof of the building we were seated and given menus with clever cocktails with names like "Damn Spot" and "Blonde in Peril," both references to Shakespeare and Hitchcock.

There were also people in character and a live band playing.  One woman came by to tell us how she lived at the McKittrick for many years and hinted at a special appearance by someone later in the evening.  We drank our fill of cocktails and I even had an absinthe shot but no one ever showed up and unfortunately the band stopped before we could get much dancing in.  The band was then replaced by a DJ with a Macbook which sort of destroyed the atmosphere a tiny bit.  I'd certainly go again sometime with a gang of folks post show perhaps because they also offer punch bowls that serve 2-4 people or more.  These I've heard involve some presentation as well.  Sounds fun and delightful!  Plus, I got the feeling there were many details in the set design and references to the show all about but I didn't get a chance to really look.  I'll have to go back. 

Anyhow, in the week since, I've been busy with voice over work and debating another coaching session.  And meanwhile, also waiting.  For responses from the current filmmaker and the prospects.  Even also waiting for payment from the last voice over gig. Seems like waiting is a theme lately.

But I can't help but feel I'm on the verge of something all the time.  Hence, it's a pretty exciting time right now.  Regardless of the outcome of all the various things I have floating up in the air right now, it's just good to know how much better I'm doing now than I was last year at this time.

With that said, it's time to (guess what) go to bed.  Tomorrow is my only day off this week. With the Republican National Convention going on in Tampa there's extra coverage and I was working overtime today...so naturally I'm exhausted.  Most of my shifts at NY1 take place when there's not a lot going on so being there during the week with massive amounts of stimulation is a bit of a change.  Makes me want to relish my one day off so much more.  So, good night for now. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Of raining and pouring, both literally and figuratively...

There's a sweet tang of autumn in the air tonight.  Good.  I was getting sick of August in the city.  Windows open.  Relaxed.  Home from work.  And as usual, lots to report. 

Lacy and I rehearsed with a drummer friend of mine from work last Wednesday.  We rented out space in one of these places and spent a thundery afternoon hammering out jams in their South Park Slope location, a dingy building behind a row of houses on 23rd street within spitting distance of my old abode (yes, the mushroom palace).  I brought my laptop and my Behringer FCB1010 and was able to plug up to the amplifier they had there.  Brad, drummer extraordinaire, brought a few parts of his kit and supplemented the Pearl kit already present in the room, while Lacy plugged up her laptop and mic to the house PA. 

As the rain and hail beat on the roof of the building (thankfully having waited for us to unload the equipment from the car), we tried out a few of Lacy's songs, at first fighting with Lacy's audio interface and the PA mixer trying to sort out why everything was so quiet, ultimately scrapping it to jam without any of the backing tracks for a few of her songs. 

It was a great time all around and I got to mess around and jam with some improvised loop ideas on my pedal, while Brad played along and Lacy did some vocalizing.  Composing like that is so much fun.  Lay down a rhythm, loop, play some lead guitar, come up with a second guitar part, loop that, repeat ad infinitum. 

So we're talking about renting a space monthly so we can store some things there, Brad his drums and me an amp and some other things.  So, this side project of mine can finally take off and Lacy and I can start playing with a full band eventually.  Rock Rock Rockity flippin' Rock.  I can't wait.  Seriously. 

Beyond that, I've been busy as a bee and so has my website apparently.  While I'm wrapping up work on the Samurai film score (sounding awesome, BTW), I get an email from someone who's found my work in a Google search for NYC based composers and is looking for a composer for a feature length doc to air on a certain TV station.  Apparently, my website is doing its job and Google is doing its.  I'll say not much more about it so as not to jinx myself, but if you want details send me a private message, etc.

On the same day, I booked a gig voicing an ad for the very same dating site I quit a while back after having no luck, just bad dates and lots of good stories.  So, that put me through the roof.  It's a national TV and internet spot too.  I was thrilled.  I'll be sure to let you all know when/where to look for it. 

Not even a week later, I got contacted by someone else with a documentary in need of music (this one a short), who was referred by a good friend of mine.  So fingers crossed for either of those.  Things are looking ever positive.   

Meanwhile, I've got some fun on the horizon.  Going back to the McKittrick Hotel tomorrow, not for the show but to check out their rooftop garden.  My girlfriend and I are going to get dressed up in period garb for it (yes, I just mentioned having a girlfriend in my blog, which I almost never do).  1940s-ish.  Fitting one should think, as the show is basically a big 1940s film noir orgy based on the Scottish Play.   

I'll have lots to say about that soon.  For now, I must get to sleep for however will I get all this work done tomorrow if I don't sleep? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Perspective...

I'd like to talk about perspective tonight.  I've been thinking a lot lately about how easy it is to be down on myself for not having accomplished enough, not having arrived at certain milestones I hoped to or expected to have arrived at, or just not being busy enough at any given moment. I try not to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of ambitions I currently have, and struggle constantly with how not to neglect any or all of them. 

I'm just finishing the end of my first work week post vacation and I still don't feel fully acclimated and back on my routine. I even kept up with music work while I was gone, both on the film score and the dance music and did some editing for the videos from the Galapagos Art Space show back in May.  I even almost got another voice over gig and planned ahead enough to bring my equipment and software to Raleigh in case I had to voice something while I was there. (Two thumbs up there because I totally would have pulled it off had they actually offered me the spot). 

I had a good 9 day vacation, the first part of which was spent here in the city, visiting with my folks who drove up here to hang out and meet my girlfriend one day, driving upstate the next day with them to my family reunion in East Greenbush, NY.  After this it was back to Brooklyn for a night then down to Virginia the next morning to see my sister and her family, then the very next day on to NC to laze around my parents' pool and see my other sister.  As if this wasn't enough driving, my folks needed to turn over their rental units in Boone, NC near Appalachian State University so I hitched a ride to see my brother.  After an afternoon enjoying Boone culminating in a fantastic jam session, we drove back to Raleigh the next morning and I spent two more afternoons by the pool right up until I had to fly back on Thursday to NYC.

After such a fun filled and, somehow, simultaneously lazy week, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed getting back to the city.  Funny enough, when I examined what I was most concerned about, it was the one thing that I had neglected (in fact, was forced to neglect in a way): Voice over auditions.  Now, forget for a minute that, on any given day, I'm at the mercy of the automated casting system with the sites that I'm a part of and whether the spots they send me are even a fit for my voice.  Besides there not being that many gigs I would have applied for, I had a lot of other things to do.  Chief among them taking it easy for a few days.  And I most certainly did.

I finally came to it today, though, what would make me feel better about the past week: looking not at what slipped through the cracks but what go picked up, essentially.  Then, taking a step further back, looking at those things I have accomplished so far this year (it's only slightly more than halfway over, after all).  Versus what is yet to be done.  I mean, if you think about it, changing my perspective as such is probably more likely to give me the boost I need to knock out those remaining tasks, than sitting around kicking myself, am I right?

So, let's wrap: in the last week, while I was supposedly vacationing, I finished editing Tania's videos from the Galapagos show, made some more revisions on the Samurai score, before my vacation even started I hammered out a mock-up for the dancer I'm writing for now, and discovered that, should I happen to get a voice gig when I'm in NC visiting my parents, packing my suitcase with a mere 8 extra pounds of stuff (i.e. audio equipment), is all I need to do to ensure that I don't miss any opportunities.

Looking at this entire year so far, what have I done?  I've gotten my first 6 paid voice over gigs, scored four short films and a promo, and had a world premiere of one of my pieces at a world class venue in New York City.

Since, I got back to the city, I also got organized and looked at my expenses and cash flow and realized that after all of the above, I am not operating my business at a loss like last year.  Granted, I'm not making all that much money in the grand scheme of things but, in keeping with the theme of this blog, I choose to focus on the positive. 

Either way, missing out on auditioning for a week is not going to kill me.  And just the simple act of counting up all those accomplishments has lifted my spirits quite a bit. I think I can relax now and enjoy the start of my weekend.  And you all should enjoy the links I'm about to post to the Galapagos show.

http://www.timdaoust.com/2012/08/improvisation-with-tania-stavreva/
http://soundcloud.com/composertim/quivering-filament-of