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. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Momentum...

I always find myself typing these things when it's late at night...I guess when I don't feel like sleeping and it's time to go to bed, I inevitably become introspective enough to write somehow.  And it seems lately that I have a lot to talk about and a general desire to report but I'm reluctant to do so because so much of it is up in the air.  As unsuperstitious as I can be, I still do believe there's such a thing as a jinx.

I guess I can talk about some of it.  A month or so ago, I was contacted by a licensing agency in New England who was interested in potentially using my music in a documentary.  I talked about it briefly in this entry.  I waited the precursory one week to return contact after I submitted my music for their client to review (it's not like dating where you wait three days), and I didn't hear anything back for a while.  That's pretty standard so I just assumed the director had decided to go in a different direction.  Which is exactly what they said when they finally did contact me last week.  However, they also said they'd still be interested in including my music in their non-exclusive licensing catalog.  This is actually a pretty good thing.  I had thought about submitting my music to one of the many sound library websites out there many times, as early as 2008 before I even moved here.  But I either never got around to it or talked myself out of it because I wasn't ready to produce anything I felt was up to the caliber of the other stuff up on those sites and I was overwhelmed at the prospect of putting my stuff out there and hoping it would stand out somehow.  Now, I'm having someone coming to me soliciting music for such a venture and it actually makes me a little proud of how far I've come. And of course, ten times more confident.   

There's still work to be done, though, and lots of it.  My latest batch of electronic beats and compositions are in various stages of completion at the moment.  I've been told to take my time looking over the contract and in the meantime, I hope to be pushing some of these through to the mastering stage and completing the others that are still half composed.  And also deciding what among my existing catalog is close enough to that stage to submit.  Oh, and also finding a good entertainment/music lawyer. 

It's all very exciting but I'm trying to keep a level head.  There's still the lawyer to hire, the contract to sign, the copyright and ASCAP registration to take care of.  There's still the waiting period between when I submit and when someone comes along and actually requests to license a track or two and then the wait until I'll get paid.  But it is nice to know that that will be a possibility now.  That right there is a musician's bread and butter, sync licensing and royalties.  Oh yeah! 

On to voice over, because I guess I can talk about that too.  I'm finally ready, or as ready as it takes to be able to just start putting myself out there.  Online auditions are wearying me and I'm ready to submit my demos to production houses and talent agencies in order to get more exposure and hopefully more auditions, perhaps even some in person ones since I do, after all, live in New York @#$%ing City.

The significance of all this to me is that I'm finally betting on myself.  In a way, though, I'm actually getting a confidence boost from the attention to my music so I'm trying to apply that new found confidence to my voice over ventures, because even though, I've only had a handful of gigs this year, I've had 8 times as many as I did last year.  Perhaps I have a reason to be confident there as well.  I certainly see an upward trend in both areas.  That's how I choose to spin it as it's not so much of a stretch to say that I'm doing exponentially better this year compared to last year.  So exciting to have momentum again. 

On that note, you guessed it, I have to go to sleep. It's almost 1:30pm and I still have some of this cider left to drink and a little more unwinding to do.  So, good night and wish me luck on everything.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Of Musicals and Voice Over Auditions...

I just got back from my second musical in as many nights.  Last night, I saw the dress rehearsal of a musical that my girlfriend helped out with on costumes called "Life on the Mississippi," based on the book by Mark Twain.  A small theater and a small cast, it was quite a good show, the story centering on Samuel Clemens and the period of his life when he aspired to be a steamboat man.  Tonight, I just got back from Porgy and Bess at the Richard Rodgers Theater on 46th Street.  Starring Audra McDonald, Norm Lewis and David Alan Grier.  Yes, I said David Alan Grier of In Living Color fame.  The cast was amazing and it was such a treat to see the show and hear the rest of Gershwin's score.  All I had ever heard of that show before was, of course, the song "Summertime."  My general manager at NY1 has a sister who does a lot of art directing on and off Broadway and so we got free tickets to the show plus a cast Q&A at the end.

After I left, I wandered through Times Square, past Spiderman and the Naked Cowboy, back to the subway thinking about the amazing things that have happened since I moved here and how I remain in love with this city.  I'm in the midst of trying to compose a guest blog entry for my cousin who lives in Germany now on the subject of why I moved to NY.  I was going to write it in a single sit down but the process of typing the first few paragraphs got me thinking about checking in with the dream I had about 6 years ago to make this happen.  What did I think of the city then and what do I now think of it having lived here for 3 1/2 years?  I saw it as an adventure waiting to happen and it may not have unfolded exactly as such and certainly not right away but it hasn't disappointed me. One would think that all that dreamy-eyed optimism would have been dulled down a little after that much time plugging away and dealing with the stress of city life. But, these days, if I ever catch myself getting downhearted, whether it's simply annoyance with daily life in the city, or all out negative thoughts about my chances of really succeeding at what I'm trying to do, all I have to do is open my eyes and look at the city around me. I'll inevitably catch something that makes me realize what I find in this city that makes me want to stay, regardless of how little return I see sometimes in terms of success at my career.  I look up and see things like this:


...the tribute in light for the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, that speaks to the majesty of such a pile of concrete and steel and the embodiment of the souls of all the people in this city and their ability to pull together in times of hardship...or I look up and see the lights of Times Square and all the bustle of the city around me and think what a strangely complex machine this city is, drawing in tourists to gawk at its splendor while it churns on relentlessly, its inhabitants minding their own f@#$ing business and trying to get on with their day...or I manage to find the time for two musicals in one week and remember what a culturally vibrant and magical city I live in, and all that pessimism washes away and I realize how lucky I am to just be here now, doing what I love doing.  Doing it at all.  Parts of me wish I was doing more of it but doing it all should be good enough really.   

It's all about perspective too, I've come to realize.  I didn't come here because I didn't think there'd be any hard knocks or because I thought it would be easy.  I came here because I had to.  Fundamentally, I don't think there's any reason for doing something unless it's challenging.  (Obviously, I'm not talking about every day things like cooking breakfast or taking a shower, I mean the big things like career and lifestyle choices).  It's the same drive that keeps me doing yoga five to six days a week.  I have to constantly challenge myself to grow and become better at the things I do and how am I going to do that if I back out of something because of a few missteps or pitfalls? 

Today was no different.  I woke up and scrambled to get one voice audition in before they closed it (as you remember I was frustrated because twice in one week, and once after my voice coach reviewed one of my auditions for me, an audition was closed before the deadline and my work was not submitted).  I made it.  Then I made it to yoga for the noon class and when I got back, I reworked my current voice demos, placing music under some of the spots I've done, and stitching together more of the work I'm proud of vs. the stuff from my original demo.  Then I submitted to four more voice auditions.  Cooked dinner and headed off to the theater...but not before shaving my beard and playing around with other facial hair options...


...before ultimately shaving it all off....I don't know though, I kind of like the mustache...I was laughing about how much I liked it.  Katrina said I looked like a scary hipster. 

But I digress...a productive day followed by some well deserved entertainment.  I'm doing well and I'm still enjoying the city...even if I haven't quite crested that hill yet and become my own boss as a living and working composer/voice over artist.  But some day.  Meantime, I'm having a blast.  After 3 1/2 years, I can certainly say that my view of the city has changed.  In a way, that image I had of the city before I moved here has not been tarnished at all...in fact, I'd say it's been polished. And I'm able to see more in it than I ever did before.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Commuting...

I spent a good bit of time thinking about how to spin this one.  I had a pretty violent angry commute or at least I did at the very start of it.  So, it got me thinking a lot about anger and how to handle it.  And I also came to the conclusion that I am, deep down, a decent person.  Why? Because I didn't do what I so badly wanted to do someone who tried to #$#@ with me. 

Well, I was headed for the train this evening after work.  Getting off at 6pm like the rest of NYC is my least favorite part about my Tuesday shift.  There's already a tension in the air when I enter the subway, as there was a long line of people trying to go through the single entrance turnstile at 15th Street and 8th Avenue.  Why I always go this way is beyond me.  I finally break through and turn right immediately to go down the stairs to the downtown platform and barring my way is a kid in a red shirt, his hand gripping the railing.  My immediate expectation, as would have been anyone else's, is that this kid would see I had no where else to move to and get out of my effing way.  But no, he braces himself into me and tries to basically walk through me and, when he doesn't go around me, I say, out loud, "move," because I have nowhere to go.  But instead of moving this jackass tries to push me down the stairs.  Lucky for me, I have cat-like reflexes.  You do not knock Tim Daoust down any stairs.  I swing around instinctively to get a good long look at this idiot and see him poised ready to fight me.  He looks like a stupid kid who's played too many video games.  I took one look at him, told him to go f*@#$ himself and then walked on.

Because that's the smart thing to do.  Nothing is ever worth fighting about, especially on the stairs in a subway station when you're at a disadvantage. Of course, and no one can help this, when it dawns on me exactly what the idiot could have done in the heat of the moment, i.e. knocked me head over heels down the stairs, the anger wells up in me and turn again to I don't know what.  He's already halfway out the turnstile so I shout a few more choice obscenities at him and decide, positively vibrating with raw anger though I am, to let it go.

Still the smart thing to do.  The anger is going to be there but you deal with it because it's not worth it.  My mind went, eventually, to this quote by Thich Naht Hahn:

"It is best if we do not listen to or look at the person whom we consider to be the cause of our anger. Like a fireman, we have to pour water on the blaze first and not waste time looking for the one who set the house on fire."

 

I think he had a good thought there.  It's not important, hell it's not even smart to lash out at someone who has done you wrong.  Or anyone else for that matter.  When I got on the train I realized that I was in such a state of mind that I had to be mindful or else I might lash out at the next random person to cross me.  So, when a fully loaded A train and a not so packed E train rolled up simultaneously, I opted for the one with fewer people on it so I could avoid any close encounters until I was sure I was calm.  

 

Then I got to thinking, this is why it's important to clear your own head first, put out the fire as it were.  In the process of mindfully calming down, avoiding the train car full of other people, I was trying not to do what that kid had done to me.  He had probably been having a worse day than me and somehow, me not moving out of his way must have seemed like a huge offense and thus made me the target of his anger.  Hence everything that happened not really making any sense.  Why corner someone so they can't move out of your way and then get angry when they push back and try to push them down a flight of stairs?  None of this made sense to me.  I was not the initial target of this kid's anger.  So, why would I want to continue fuming and risk passing his karma on to someone else?  This profound thought carried me through the rest of my commute and every time I bumped into someone or they bumped into me or stepped on me or anything else, I was as nice as I could be.  I might have weirded some people out a little, too.  

 

Of course, the anger took me all night to deal with.  I had to get it out of my head that this dumbass was really trying to hurt me, move past thoughts of how badly I could have kicked his ass and how little time it would have taken me and accept that there was probably something else going on with him that made him react without thinking.  And that is not important whatever it was.  Because you can never know.  You just have to realize that when you come in contact with anyone, so much has happened to them before that moment that will inevitably influence the tone of that meeting.   And always respond with mindfulness.  


But I swear to god, it's enough to make you want to avoid commuting during rush hours.  Half of me wants to start a routine where I wait around in the city after work instead of going straight home.  Ugh.  But this is part of living in a city with 9 million people in it.  Some of them are inevitably going to be assholes.  You just have to deal with it like you do every other trail of living here.  And keep you nose clean.  And mind your own f#$%ing business.  That's all.