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. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Capitalize...

I spent yesterday evening upgrading some things on my Macbook, buying new software, etc.  Yesterday morning was an amazing yoga class and work was been pleasantly slow compared to my first day back on Friday.  It's a much mellower return to routine than I expected.  And now I'm getting ready for the upcoming year.  Scheduled some time at the mastering studio for next Thursday to master the audio for the licensing agency and I have a couple of rehearsals with Lacy next week as well.

It seems just like any other post Christmas run up to the New Year in that I'm thinking about resolutions, as you do.  Yet, I'm feeling so much more optimistic about 2013.  I got thinking about it after a general suggestion from my yoga teacher to not simply make resolutions but to decide what you wanted to bring with you into the new year and what you wanted to leave behind, i.e. what worked and what didn't.  2012 was probably the best year since I moved here and I can't think of much that didn't work except for a tiny bit of personal stuff.  I started the year out a little tame, not really being so aggressive and then, after that first voice gig (well the two in one weekend) came through, I realized what I had the potential to do.  So, I started taking charge of things and managed to get 8 more VO jobs, on top of scoring two shorts, three potential feature lengths that ultimately didn't pan out but showed that my name was getting out there, a promo, a PSA, another potential PSA that didn't pan out but helped me forge another connection, and a contract to license my music for film and TV.   At first, I was merely dragging myself through, saying I had to just keep at it.  But somewhere around halfway through the year, I started to realize that it was momentum and that I had to step it up and capitalize on it, not simply persevere despite how harrowing it can be waiting and waiting for that next gig.

So that's what I decided 2013 should be about.  Capitalizing.  Becoming more proactive with these opportunities.  Things I have happening for the first part of 2013 that I could capitalize on?

The 7 songs that I have going to the licensing agency are almost ready and their release will mean a lot of exposure.  Besides the opportunity for my work to appear in TV and film, producers looking for custom scores will be exposed to my music and may consider me for their projects as well.  Plus, it's a non-exclusive license so there's no saying I can't submit these to any number of other licensing sites.  I came across a great resource that reviews a ton of these sites and will start looking into placing my music with them as well.

Lacy and I are forming a band and planning concerts for the CD release party and beyond.  More full sets, more fully electronic performances, hence my delight at getting my laptop closer to being ready for live performance (finally!).  Meeting new musicians and getting out and playing live more will encourage me to start performing my own stuff once I'm more comfortable using my laptop to do so.  And those who knew me back in high school and college know how much more alive I feel when I'm playing music.  It's one of the things I enjoy most in life.  I am most comfortable in my skin when I'm performing and in my element.  The prospect of doing it again lights me up like you wouldn't believe.

The voice over world is about to get smacked upside the face by my voice.  My promo demo is the next step.  Once in the can, I will finally be ready to start testing out voice over agents in earnest.  And if I can keep up the momentum from last year (even from these last few months of auditioning and people finding me on the web without me having to do much marketing), I'm sure I can make some strides even in just the first few months of the year.

And not as talked about is the fact that I scored two great films last year that I'm really proud of and as soon as they are done, I have even more material for the film scoring reel.  That'll be five solid films that I've scored, plus one promo and a PSA just this year, since I moved to NYC four years ago.

Yes, I said four years ago.  I'm rounding up. I'm still not used to saying "three years ago," to be honest. Time is just flying by it seems.  Just under four years ago I'm came to the city and unceremoniously fell out of a Uhaul truck onto the pavement on 42nd Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn not really knowing if any of this was possible but being extremely excited to be trying it out.  And four years later, I still love this city and wouldn't rather be doing this anywhere else.  Not even LA, where so many people have suggested I should be for film scoring.

But I digress.  Tomorrow's New Year's Eve and I'll be here at work until midnight thirty, at which point I may head to some as yet undetermined bar where I will ring in the New Year Central Time.  Or something like that.  And welcome a new year which I will predict will be as awesome as this one or better.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Home...

Safe and sound in Raleigh after a half day long car ride with Lacy and her sister.  We left at around 7:30 this morning, stopped once in Philly to pick up Lacy's sister, once more for a bathroom break and a final time just before Stafford, VA to get lunch.  The only two bouts of traffic happened between D.C. and Fredricksburg and then again after Stafford so we wound up pulling in to my parents' house around 7:30pm.  Half a day later.  My timing was impeccable as dinner was ready as soon as I rolled in, and the kids were just finishing an episode of "Dr. Who."

It's good to be back and with family for a while.  I don't have to head back to NYC until the 27th so that gives me a few days to relax and enjoy my time here, regroup and maybe even start thinking about my approach to next year.  I have also been tasked with cleaning out the garage of my old stuff as my parents are converting the attic where it was all stored into an apartment.  My how things change around here.

I've been totally messing with my own head a little tonight though.  I'm killing time while my laundry finishes (yes, I'm 31 and I'll still do laundry at my parents' house...laugh), and I started to read old blog entries. It was a while before I realized I was gravitating to the 2009 chapters and reminiscing something fierce about those times.  Not sure why but it's really bringing me back to that mindset I was in back then.  It's weird to be here at my folks' house, where I was when I started to dream about this, reading my story and at the same time knowing how it ends, or at least knowing a few chapters ahead.  It's somewhat cathartic actually to look back and see what I was writing about back then and to find my words about my struggle, proof that I was unsure this would work out and how I was just diving in anyway, sink or swim style.  Apparently, I swam and this is almost like getting a chance to go back and tell my past 2009 self that I was on the right track and, though it didn't seem that way at the time, good things were going to happen.  Eventually.

Tomorrow I see the whole entire family and we eat and open presents and eat some more.  I'm hoping to write some more with more reflections about the year and thoughts about where the journey leads next year.  For now, I'm going to get some sleep because I've been up since 7:30am and I'm running on only 5 hours of sleep.  Good night.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Remix-apaloosa...

I've been ruthless.  Cutting things out, dropping levels of parts I thought were crucial to the song, only to find out how much better things sound without them, adding things in that basically completed the songs and ultimately cleaning things up and getting them ready for mastering.  I've also had some amazing creative spurts, born out of just simply clearing my head and starting fresh on these projects first thing in the morning, while at home alone with no one but the cat and the DVR to distract me. 

It's been great.  And it's made me have an epiphany about my work, specifically where I do it.  It matters to the overall quality of a creative session where it takes place.  I've known this for years on some level really but having two places where I do the bulk of my work has made me realize how important the where is.  My most prolific months to date can be attributed to being in a the most comfortable and, somehow simultaneously exciting place I had been in for years.  My apartment in Greensboro, NC on South  Mendenhall Street in the top floor of a beautiful hundred year old Victorian effing gingerbread house in the semester of graduate school immediately following my divorce and return to single life.  And most significantly, the first time I ever had a living space all to myself (with just a cat).  Starting back to graduate school was exciting, living in that place was incredibly healing and the future was wide open for the first time in my adult life.

Now, my life is still exciting (and getting more exciting every day), I live in another beautiful space, not quite as old, still pretty beautiful, and comparitively sizeable, still not entirely alone (though for most of the day and yes, still with the same cat) and I finally have most of the things I need for a pretty basic home studio, up to and including a damn comfortable chair.  Why would I trade that in for working on my music here at work, furtively shoving my earphones in between answering phone calls and emails, hoping that those famous lulls in activity can sustain themselves long enough for me to get something, anything done? 

Granted, I've found that I can get simple, remedial tasks done here in my down time but ultimately, there's nothing that beats being home and in my own space for creative work.  Those moments where the muse just speaks to you don't happen when you're not entirely focused.  You can't write when you're thinking about it in terms of "getting it done really quick before you have to be somewhere else."  It's so much better to approach the creative task when you actually have time to do this, so you're not thinking about how little time you have to complete something meaningful.  I find that this makes me manage my time much better because if I only have two full days off during the week to write and do creative things, I pretty much have to do my creative work on those days and get the projects up to a point where I can do whatever else needs to be done at work.  For example, if I'm writing out a score for something.  I write the music at home and input the basic idea into the computer while in front of the piano, then I take the score to work with me and add in dynamic markings and clean up the score and basically do anything tedious and mind numbing that I don't necessarily need the creative part of my brain for, or large amounts of focus.   

That said, 6 of the 7 have test mixes ready to go for the car ride on Saturday.  And barring some meteor strike, tidal wave, solar flare, pole reversal Mayan Apocalypse (which won't happen because it's really just the end of the calendar and not the end of the world), earthquake, super volcano, nuclear explosion, I'm sure the world will be around to hear my music get licensed to some film/tv show/commercial/documentary/something something as yet to be determined.  Rock and freaking roll. Daoust out. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Turning anything around...

The remix project almost ate my brain last night.  I have been working on mainly VO things for a few days and, as such, it had been a while since I really took a listen to every track to see where I am with them.  So, last night I did just that while in my last hour of work at NY1 and had a minor freak out because nothing was sounding like I remember it sounding.  I needed that experience to happen though because it made me realize I may have been cutting some corners and making concessions.

This morning, instead of going to yoga, I opted to stay in and work before mine and Lacy's rehearsal.  I pounded my way through every track with a mind to taking a realistic look at what needed to be done on each to bring it to completion (or at least to get them ready for mastering).  There was one track in particular that was just in shambles yesterday night.  Moving MIDI and audio over from Fruity Loops to Logic so I could use new instruments and drum samples was giving me discrepancies between the project tempo and the tempo of the actual files.  Logic was reading them at 138.somethingsomethingsomething when they were bounced out of Fruity Loops at 140 BPM.  I wasn't liking the bass sound, I wasn't liking the new parts I had written on guitar, and I was getting ready to scrap the whole track and leave it for a later offering to the agency.

But something happened this morning.  Something about my mindset when I was composing.  I was already tidying up a little around the apartment and trying to set up my guitar amp to use it during rehearsal instead of using my desktop monitors so I think my mind was a little more organized in general.  I got up at around 8am to begin all of this, had a shower and a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs, arugula salad and gluten free toast and a cup of gunpowder green tea, so I was fresh and clear-headed.

Now, I'm listening to the result of all the extra tracks and the tweaks to the placement of the bass notes and even a little cleverly placed break in the drum track and it sounds AWESOME!  I can't wait to post up the new version.  This one and the others.

I also had an epiphany about one of the songs.  The mix on a song called "Song for the Awakened," that's been written and finished for years now, was really really muddy and I couldn't place it.  Really, I hadn't even begun to start ruthlessly dropping instruments out of the mix and, after showing it to Lacy, I finally just muted this one part (a secondary guitar part), and everything sounded so much clearer.  I had also had three different synths playing basically the same part, but several days ago I had decided to just use one keyboard sound that encompassed all the sounds I had been trying to achieve.  Now, the only thing left is that the bass line is a bit busy and overwhelms in parts.  So, there may be some rewriting to be done in there.

And that's just the thing.  I wasn't keen on rewriting any of it because I'm in a rush to get these songs in to the agency.  And why?  No reason.  They even told me to take my time.  So, I should, right?  I want these to be good.  I want people to want to use them.  So I'm not going to submit shit so I can say I was prompt about it.  No.  So why not take the time to craft something really good instead of saying I don't want to rewrite or re record things because it'll take time.  I should be taking time.

Hell, taking another stab at rewriting the track I was talking about earlier "Sleepwalking With You" (an older version is on my soundcloud page), turned out to be so satisfying today, I'm thinking about just not worrying if these aren't all done by the end of the week.  I had envisioned getting them all finished so that Lacy and I could listen to them on the ride to NC this weekend.  Now, I'll just see what I can get done.

I'm just glad I was able to clear my mind and turn it all around in just a few focused hours this morning.  Before I was freaking out a tiny bit about the quality of my work and whether or not I should even be submitting half these songs.  But I don't need to go down that road.  That'd be wholly unproductive to listen to those voices.

With that said, I'm going to get back to it and see what else I can get done tonight.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blind Barber...

I was walking down 10th Street in Alphabet City in search of a bar called the Blind Barber last night.  Stupidly, I assumed that the actual old school looking barber shop couldn't have been it and passed right by it and the adjacent store front that had no sign in front of it.  I turned the corner on B and glanced up the block aways before turning back and deciding to investigate further.  Lacy had told me in her last text to me that I was in for a surprise.  We were meeting at a party for the PR company she's working with which had an open bar and where we were supposed to meet a ton of music folks.  

I walked more slowly toward where the address should have been and then spotted a store front constructed of old looking wood with an over large iron pair of scissors hanging on the wall.  There was a door with no handle but a slender window in it and, of course, music coming from inside that I had no idea how I had missed before.  Thinking this was maybe some kind of speakeasy, I knocked, like an idiot before turning my head to the left and noticing a gentleman with an eye patch (seriously, not kidding) checking IDs in front of the barber shop.  This was all starting to make sense.  

In the back of an actual two-chair barber shop, where two people were getting actual haircuts, was a sliding door which led to the bar I was looking for.  And the party was in full swing.  

I connected with Lacy shortly after and took advantage of the open bar for a mere ten minutes before we had to start buying drinks.  The crowd was great and everyone was really nice.  Lacy first introduced me to the PR people she's working directly with and then we met a few people who were musicians in bands and just talked the night away.   Dancing was hinted at in the invite but I saw immediately that this was not the kind of party where I'd be trying out my moves from Sunday.  

Did I mention, by the way, that I went to the coolest yoga workshop on Sunday and learned some breakdancing moves?  One of the yoga teachers at Yoga Works Soho that I've been taking class from teaches a breakdancing inspired yoga workshop...or was it a yoga inspired breakdancing class?  She herself got started breakdancing when she was just a teenager and then came to yoga years later and was looking for a way to incorporate the two.  I heard about it from taking her class and got really excited because I've always wanted to learn more about breakdancing and it was a few years ago that I started to notice all the similarities between the two insofar as the kind of strength required for the poses and the moves, etc.  The class was so much fun.  

She got us started with a flow sequence of her design that echoed breakdancing moves, then as the class goes on she got us more comfortable being on our hands and doing inversions.  By the end of it she had us learn a sequence of break dancing moves and stitch them together to do a routine.  The problem is I have been out of yoga classes for a few weeks now, just practicing at home because one of my memberships is suspended and the other doesn't start back up until January.  So I was and am a little sore.  

Anyway, the remixing project is pushing forward now that I have my new software and I'm inches away from calling it done.  Hoping to be sending all this off by the end of the year.  There are 7 songs now I believe ranging from a minute and a half to 4 minutes or so in length.  All of them electronic, some incorporating guitar and bass.  I'm psyched to have them done and out there.  

Right now, I'm waiting to hear back from an opportunity that I won't say much about but that it's big.  Even if I don't get it, I hope to be saying that a lot in the new year.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Overnight...

With the combined blow of people requesting off holiday time and two co workers quitting within weeks of each other, I now sit working my third overnight shift since my shift changed back in June.  I gotta say, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it might be.  My body still remembers how to stay up all night and readjust my sleep schedule and everything.  In fact, I'm finding it eerie how I've slipped right back into the routine.  Thankfully, this is the last one I have to do for the foreseeable future.

It was odd yesterday morning as I headed home to see all the same commuters that I used to see every day on the train.  These are people I've never spoken to except the occasional complaint about the train being late.  But I've come to expect to see them in the exact same place and at the exact same time every day with almost no change in their routine.  Almost like they're part of the scenery.  

I'm sure they'll all be there this morning when I get off work, too.  Just like always.  It seems crazy that I would see the same people over and over in such a huge city but it makes sense if you think about it.  People have their routines and occasionally, the trains actually run consistently on time, usually only at the very beginning of rush hour when I'm commuting. If I ever saw these people anywhere else but their designated spot on the train platform, I'd probably freak out.  I've only had that happen once where I was out and about in the city and saw the same person twice in one day in two totally different locations.  It was way weird.  

Meanwhile, once this little stint is over and I sleep some, it's back to work on the remixes.  Getting ever closer to finishing this project and moving on to the next, getting a VO agent.  And Christmas shopping somewhere in there.  I'm planning on traveling to NC on the 22nd.  Already bought a bus ticket and then found out that Lacy was also traveling to NC on the 22nd and also coming back the same day as me.  So, now I have to find out if I can exchange the ticket (already know I can't refund it).

The remix project was waiting on a crucial software plugin that I was using on a few tracks before I reinstalled everything.  After the reinstall, I realized that I couldn't find that plugin and that I would have to if I was going to keep those songs sounding the way they did.  Not only was it used on one of the remix tracks and not only was I considering using it on another, it was critical to the sound I achieved on the underscoring to "The Life."  It was a certain special effect box that came in Guitar Rig 4 that I used to delay and reverse the guitar parts.  In the version of Guitar Rig 4 that I unearthed after my reinstall began, it was missing and then it dawned on me why: the version of Guitar Rig 4 that I had available to me was not the full edition (it was Essential and not Pro).  I needed it bad I reasoned.

About a week ago, I saw a great deal on not only the newest version of Guitar Rig but all of the Komplete instruments that Native Instruments sells.  This would add multiple synths and numerous samples to my library so I thought it a no brainer and sprung for the software, which came in the mail two days ago.  12 discs which took me 5 and half hours to install!  But I'm eager to try it all out now.  Early Christmas present to myself.

With any luck, these mixes of mine will be done next week and I'll be ready to go to the mastering studio.  I'll keep the updates coming.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Oh What a Night...

I've got a good feeling about 2013.  I keep hearing myself say that.  I just got back from the 2012 New York Voice Over Mixer tonight where I met and reconnected with a ton of really great people.  Though I didn't win any of the raffle prizes, it was a really great night all around.  Besides getting to chat with my current coach and hear more great advice and praise from her on my progress, I reconnected with an old coach, met up with a voice over narrator or two that I met last year and made all kinds of new VO friends and got some great insight from them.  I even met a handful of producers and casting agents.  One, who was a film composer as well, I ended the night chatting with at the after party.  Great guy.  And not the only composer in the house either.  I met another fellow who has been doing voice over as long as I have right about and also composing.

Kinda cool to spend a night schmoozing with my contemporaries and having great conversations with people doing what I'm doing.  This year I seemed to have more direct questions for these people as well, so I feel, in general, like I got much more out of it than last year and may have forged some lasting relationships with these people.  Last year, I did meet some folks but I had to leave early for Tania's birthday concert (something I've attended for the last two years) and thus missed out on most of the event. 

This year Tania's concert and the voice over mixer fall on different days, so I'll be able to make it to that as well tomorrow.  In fact, Lacy and I are planning on performing there when I get off work tomorrow night.  So, that should be great fun.  She and I are gearing up for CD release parties coming up in February, as I had mentioned.  Now that she's here in Brooklyn, we're rehearsing a lot more and today, in fact, I actually went to her place to rehearse for a change (she's always been coming here to rehearse).  So that was nice and convenient.
 
Tomorrow night we play one tune from the new album and potentially two from the old.  It's late now and I've got a long day tomorrow between church choir, work and the concert afterward, so I may have to call it quits tonight after I finish my tea.  So, good night and stay tuned for more updates.