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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. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Work-a-holic...

I never thought I'd let almost a month go by without blogging but I'm starting to realize this week that it's not simply because I'm busy.  This was a blog I started about being a composer in the city and lately it's just been about being in the city.  I've had a lot of opportunities and a lot of interesting things happening lately but at the moment almost none of those things have anything to do with composing.

Don't get me wrong.  This stint at CNN and the subsequent one at TruTV and even my ongoing voice over career which finally seems to be ramping up a bit, are a huge boon to me.  But it brings to the forefront that ever present struggle to balance time and money.  I need money to survive here but I lose time to create when I work 64 hours a week.

I've been fascinated by and immensely appreciative of this turn of events since April, the serendipity of it all.  And I have been loving having the cash buffer and the peace of mind that I'm paying things off left and right.  But I certainly have missed working on music and creating.  The last time I had a creative project of my own, it wasn't even technically my own. I was remixing someone else's work for a contest...one in which I was up against some seasoned professionals and had no real chance of winning.  And before that I was remixing my old stuff.  Hence not really writing anything new.  Heck, I don't even have time these days to sit down with my guitar software and tweak my sound for Lacy's shows.  I will say that over the last few months I have randomly come up with guitar looping ideas but none of those has crystallized past the precursory jam sessions I have with myself.  In other words, I haven't recorded any of them.

But, there is a change coming.  The work at CNN will dry up in a few weeks, at which point I will be able to pick up almost immediately working at TruTV.  They have an ongoing project that they've trained me for that I'll be coming in to push forward on.  I've decided that when I do start scheduling my hours with them, I won't fill my schedule to the brim like I did with CNN.  This way, I can allot more time to creative endeavors and things like laundry and cooking.  I also just renewed my subscription to Voice123.com and will be needing time to audition.  Maybe I'll start dating again.

On top of all of this, though I complain I haven't had any musical projects to excite and inspire me lately, I do have at least one project on the horizon.  "The Life."  They're done shooting and about to start editing the pilot any day now. I'll being seeing one of the producers in about a half hour here at NY1 when he gets in and we'll have a half hour or so to chat.  Things are looking good there.

And I know I said "at least one" but, I'm not going to say much more about any other ones right now.  Too soon.  Too soon.  With that, I think I'm going to end this brief entry.   And I'll keep updating as I transition here in a few weeks and as I start to have more time for music.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Onward and Upward...

I'm trying to find a non-cliché way of saying "when it rains, it pours," or "it's either feast or famine."  But to be honest, the schedule's been so jam packed lately that I have barely had time to grocery shop and do laundry, let alone come up with clever ways of saying that I'm effing killing it right now apparently, in terms of booking work.  I meant to blog about this the other day but after yesterday, it was more important for me to write about Penny when I had the chance to sit down.

So, anyway, Edge Studio called me again last Thursday with a quick VO gig for the next afternoon.  Another $200 job that took under a half hour and I was able to squeeze it, miraculously in between NY1 and a scheduled rehearsal with Lacy that morning.

I've been lucky that it worked with my schedule both times but to be honest, as long as they're calling me with work, I will most certainly take great pains to clear my schedule because I want to be seen as available.  I also want more experience and more stuff for my reel.  So this makes VO gig #12 and with it I even passed another milestone/yearly goal of mine: get two VO gigs within the space of a month.  Hell, I just got two in as many weeks!  Not bad I'd say. Not bad.  It may sound funny but I have a Google Doc with all of my goals in each arena (music, voice over and film scoring), plainly listed and have been checking them off quicker in some cases than I'd imagined I would.  It's a good feeling.

This second voice gig from this past Friday, I felt particularly good about especially since it took me just under 15 minutes to wrap it up.  I was hitting the mark the whole time and only had to do a few pickups before the director, who had phoned in for the session, was satisfied.  In fact, if I hadn't suggested two different pitch levels with my voice to the director, we might have finished sooner.  He liked that idea and had me do a take each with the two separate voices.  This was a 90 second corporate promo for a telecommunications company that will be working closely with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia.  Can't wait to hear the final result.

On top of everything, as usual, Lacy and I are still kicking it with almost a show a weekend these days and certainly for the next three weeks (this past included).  We played a small show at Alphabet Lounge the other day and, despite technical difficulties got to try out a few new things with me looping and even iron them out a little.  On Old Languages I figured out a way to capture the essence of the song with just a few layers of looping and it totally went over.  Lacy herself enjoys performing like this as well so we're really looking forward to playing on a Cable TV show in White Plains, NY called Alive with Clive this coming Friday, the 7th of June where we will be looping that song and Dancing out of the Dark as well as playing two others from the new album.  On Saturday the 15th we will be performing at Marie Christine Giordano's open dance rehearsal as well.  Some of the same stuff and we'll be drinking wine and hanging out watching the rehearsal afterwards too so that should be good fun!  More to come on upcoming shows.

Meanwhile, I'm mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted but have determined, throughout these past few months that I can totally pull this off.  In fact, there are a couple of things I have learned from this experience.  First, I like the feeling of getting up in the morning and getting straight to work.  There's something invigorating about the morning air...however, I can't imagine getting up much earlier than 7am and liking it as much.  Second, no matter how early I got up and no matter how little sleep I'm running on, there is no guarantee that I will fall right asleep when I get home at midnight.  Working hours like these on a sleep schedule like this is still nothing compared to the fatigue I felt after an overnight shift when I had been up for 24 hours straight.  Thankfully, I still have the weekends to recharge though.  Third, there is no underestimating the value of a few minutes of sunning in the park between jobs for my psyche.  Fourth, (and this is more a thing remembered and/or actually applied from my basic intellectual knowledge of a yoga), I don't have to be in yoga class to be practicing yoga.  Simply stopping and breathing when dealing with tough or stressful situations is, in effect, practicing yoga.  It's a mindset and it's a good thing I have it because I haven't been able to take class nearly as much these days.  Three days a week and one of my classes isn't technically a yoga class but some weird cardio-fitness hybrid coined "Sculptworks" by the YogaWorks brand.  It's fun but almost too "boot camp-y" for my taste.  And it hurts my abs.

Anyway, there's talk of more work coming from TruTV after my CNN hours are slated to dry up and CNN may still call me for weekend work after July.  And I have some film scoring stuff potentially on the horizon that it's still too early to talk about.  But for now, I'm tired and am going to stop writing and start trying not to fall asleep at work.  Daoust: Out.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Eulogy...

Today I had to let go of my sweet cat that has been with me for the last 8 years, through thick and thin.  Who has seen me through 8 different apartments, a bitter divorce, a life changing move across state lines, all the hurdles and high points of the last 8 years through the lens of a docile, mostly clueless house pet.  Probably had no idea what was going on, she just hung around and chased shadows on the floor, spent hours looking for the most comfortable spot in the house only to pick the most random, aligning herself where she could just passively observe the activity in the house until something moved her to jump up into the window and chatter at the birds.

She had as simple a life as any house pet.  She was always there in the morning right when I woke up, jumping on the bed to remind me that she needed to be fed, as if I might forget about her.  And she'd always jump up again at the end of the day to say good night, letting me pet her for at least a few seconds before deciding she had more important things to do.  In between, during rehearsals or when I was composing, she would sit in my room and listen intently, one of the few times she would actually sit in my lap.

On some level, I think she really enjoyed the music, which totally makes her my cat.  I recall a time when Lacy and I were practicing a song of hers that was particularly sad (a song from her first album about Diane Fosse and the gorillas in Africa) and she sat up at the end of it, walked over to Lacy, looked up at her and meowed...almost as though she could feel the emotion of the song and identify with it somehow, on some cat level.  The two of us busted out laughing in the moment, but I was sure, as is every pet owner, she must have been able to comprehend to some degree.  But then again, this is the cat who would chase shadows on the floor, going so far as to try and bite them.

I will miss her dearly.  I will miss her presents (my favorites being a bird's nest, a garden snake and a live chipmunk), though she hasn't been outside to bring them to me in years. I will miss the way she would seek my attention by lifting a paw up to my knee as I would sit at my desk working.  I will miss her coming to greet me by trotting over, plopping down on the floor and rolling over, meowing and clearly begging me to rub her belly.  I will miss the way she would lick and then nibble and then bite, or sometimes reach a paw out and scratch for no reason other than sheer cat boredom.  I will miss picking her up, her going limp, rag doll cat that she was, and holding her until she would squirm, signalling that it was time to put her down again, a period of time that would get longer the longer I had her and she grew to trust I would not drop her.  I will miss her talkativeness, a personality change that arrived when I removed her from the company of our two other cats that my ex kept.  Seriously, we used to have little conversations.  I'd say hi, she give a short mew, and then there'd be a back and forth exchange that could last sometimes up to a minute, me having no idea what she was trying to tell me other than some kind of small talk type, "I killed a bug today" conversation that I had to use my imagination to decipher usually.

I've never experienced losing a pet since my childhood cat died and I wasn't there for that so this is new but it's true what they say.  It's like losing a family member and a friend at the same time.  Well, she was both.  I'm sad but I'm glad that I could at least be there and end her suffering mercifully.  RIP Penny.  2005-2013.