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, May 19, 2013

Impromptu Voice Over gig...

I just booked another voice over gig last week, this time through Edge Studio, the place where I did my training.  The beauty of it is that it came out of nowhere and I was able to make it happen, despite the general insanity of my weeks these days.  They called me sometime in the early evening when I had just arrived at NY1 and, since they're number is saved in my phone, I had one of those, "I need to take this" moments, where I knew what the call had to be about.  They haven't called me for a very long time since the time when they're phone calls were about trying to sell me more training.  This had to be a gig.

I excitedly slipped out and down the back hall a little ways where I could talk in privacy and sure enough it was a gig.  It turned out, luckily for me, that 2pm the following day was one of the times they had available, close enough to the end of my shift at CNN that I could just give them a heads up I was leaving early and early enough that it didn't overlap with  NY1 at all.  So, I gave CNN a heads up, waited for the confirmation and called back and left a message with Edge as they had asked me to do, since the contact person was leaving the office for the day.

The next morning, they called me back, literally right when I had the phone in my hand trying to call them to touch base, and said they'd email me the rate and all the details.  It was a corporate video for internal non-broadcast usage, and the rate was $200.  The email said to expect a script later in the morning.  It never came.  So I found myself sitting in the office at Edge Studio, frantically scanning the script on an iPad and realizing it was a lot more copy than anyone could feasibly deliver in a half hour, accounting for second, third, and however many takes.

When I entered the booth, the engineer told me that the clients would be phoning in for the session and they joined us shortly after I got settled.  So that was kind of interesting, just hearing the clients and not seeing them.  Add to that they wanted a commercial sounding voice for a narration type read, emulating a Verizon ad they let me hear before we started.  It was a video describing technology that was going to use wireless data from people's cars to track safety and emissions data.  Pretty cool, but because of the safety angle there was something of a dramatic tilt to a lot of the lines.  They had me pitch my voice pretty low and I went with one of my low commercial voices like the Ketel One Vodka ads or the AMC promo voice that I have fun mimicking when I'm watching TV and they come on, but they wanted me to go even lower so I joked, "Do you want like, Christian Bale Batman?"  Thankfully, they laughed...well at least the engineer did.

The client booked me for a half hour and the other two talents, with one line a piece, for half hour as well.  Unfortunately, though, because I had far more copy to read them, my time was dwindling down fast.  After using the first two paragraphs to zero in on the tone and mark up the script, twenty minutes had passed and the office lady came in to tell us to wrap it up because the other talents would be there soon.  The clients immediately responded that it was more important that we finish my lines and that they didn't mind going over by a little.  Still though, I was a little nervous and found myself hoping that it wouldn't come across in my reads too much.   I ran out of air at the end of a few lines, stumbled on a few things when I got to the part of the script I hadn't spent as much time on before, and a couple of times caught myself changing the pitch of my read inadvertently from the tone I had been working with and having to reread those lines.  

Overall, though, it was a relatively painless process and the clients were satisfied with my reads.  I was out of there by 2:45 and on my way to NY1.  The whole thing was great for a couple of reasons.  First, it shows that I can still get gigs even when I'm not actively auditioning.  Second, it shows that I can pull those gigs off and squeeze them in, even though I'm doing ten other things now.  Third, it showed, somewhat to my surprise, that I can certainly go in and read something almost completely cold and still interpret it in a reasonable amount of time.  

Onward and upward.  Finding an agent is the next thing.

Tonight, on another note, I'm playing a gig with Lacy at Zirzamin in the Village after I get done with this overtime shift at NY1.  Come out and join us!  It'll be a free show with no drink minimum and there's a pretty good chance I'm going to play the piano and maybe do some looping.  Rock!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Trains, metaphors...

I'm going to go ahead and skip all the "I've been too busy to blog stuff" and get right to it.  Things are great right now.  Lots of things floating in the air right now but definitely, there's a lot of potential and I'm choosing to look at it all as positive.  In the past few years since I've been living here I've gone from waiting and waiting for fun/good/awesome things to happen that I can write home about to realizing that I can usually tell when I'm on the way to stuff happening that is fun/good/awesome and that that alone is good enough to write home about.  Granted, this when I'm looking at this blog as a way to "write home when there's something to write home about."

I digress.  Point being, knowing how things ebb and flow, I can be so much more patient when good things are dangled in front of me and not instinctively run at them, knowing that what will come will come.  I had a moment this week where I almost ran at the thing and preempted a bunch of stuff that wasn't ready to be preempted.  I've often spoke to friends (especially fellow freelance friends), about how, ultimately I would like to be fully freelance, stitching together a living with voice over and film scoring jobs and the occasional TV or film job, here or there.  It's pretty much the dream right now.  The realistic dream.  Not that I don't still dream of being a full time composer.  But that's mostly what this blog is about.  So you all know that.

In the past few months, I've secured two well playing freelance jobs, one at TruTV and one at CNN.  I'm mainly working at CNN and still at NY1, with TruTV promising shifts when people call out sick or take vacation, but the simple thought that between those two other freelance jobs, I could supplement a whole new approach to my income, with voice over and music playing lead roles.  It'd really be the perfect scenario.  So the setup is there but in the execution is where the problem lies.

I took a few days to think it over. At different points during that time span, certain things occurred to me I hadn't initially realized and by the end of it all, it just didn't seem like the right time to make the leap for a myriad of reasons but it only took a few to really make me see.  I was far too eager, for starters. As I have been for the past few years.  But also, I was getting too far ahead of myself in terms of what was possible.  Without going too far into detail, it really came down to whether I could expect enough work from either freelance job to justify leaving the full time job.

Consensus: it's not time.  Oh, how I wanted it to be though.  Good thing I have long train rides during which to think these things over.  I even thought of a metaphor one night this week.  Working at 9am until 1130pm can really make you loathe waiting on the train platform at night.  I'm going to preface this by saying that soon, I'm going to start taking cabs home on the company's dime because they reimburse after hours cab fare.  But these last few weeks I've been taking sometimes hour long train rides home (including wait time) knowing that I needed to wake up at 730am at the latest.  And that's when it gets really really frustrating when you miss that first train or a connection.  After I moved to my current neighborhood a few years ago, I suddenly had about 9 different paths I could take to work.  So, on the way in, it's a matter, sometimes, of just taking the first train that comes. On the way home though, it's a guessing game as to which train is going to come first and then it's a gamble as to whether either path is going to get me home any sooner.  Forget for a minute that we're working with a range of about ten to twenty minutes difference, at most, in commute time.  Or maybe don't.  My ultimate conclusion, and what calmed my frustration, was that it doesn't matter what path you take sometimes and if it does, it's a difference of a few minutes that really isn't going to translate into a more restful night's sleep.  You're really at the mercy of the train schedule and the fact that there really is no train schedule.

Just as in life, sometimes you're at the mercy of what's available to you and have to make the most of the options available to you.  So maybe I don't need to rush at anything.  Not necessarily arbitrarily choosing my path but realizing that when the time comes, I won't need to.  That train will be coming and I can get on it and catch it without having to run down the stairs and risk spraining my ankle.  Nobody wants that.