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. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Planning ahead...

I really like to plan ahead.  It's just something I do.  Which is why I'm taking a break at the mid point of my work on this film score, to do a little Nicaragua planning for February 2015.  Going to the Apoyo Lodge I stayed at last time on the last night, ending the trip at Costa Dulce but then, hiking a volcano in the middle somewhere.

Hiking up a volcano sounds completely crazy, but don't worry it's an extinct one.  This has been the centerpiece of this trip from its inception, when a co worker heard me talking about my last trip to Nicaragua and told me about this island in Lake Nicaragua called Ometepe that I should go to. The island consists of two volcanoes, one active, one extinct, joined buy a narrow isthmus, covered in coffee plantations and ancient petroglyphs and accessible only by ferry from San Jorge or Granada. Putting this crazy adventure in the middle of my trip and being able to get rides to and from the ferry dock from people I already know in Nicaragua (our hosts at both the Apoyo Lodge and Costa Dulce) seemed like the best idea.  But, the Apoyo Lodge is booked through the 24th, a day after I had hoped to arrive, then there's a one day gap before another group is considering booking it.  This wouldn't be a big deal except I'm trying to align my trip with something.  I want to wind up at Costa Dulce on the 27th or the 28th when a friend may be there.

Going to the volcano island straight from the airport in Managua is not an option.  It's too far and there are too many modes of transportation required (cab-ferry-bike-feet).   But going to the crater lake for just one day before going to the volcano island defeats the purpose almost.  Another reason for starting there this time is that we didn't get but half a day and one night there the last time...and that wasn't nearly enough time for such a gorgeous locale.


I mean, papaya trees on the property, a resident yoga instructor, a beautiful outdoor yoga platform and a 23,000 year old crater lake in which you can float in an inner tube.  How can I miss out on that? 

So, in typing this out, I realized what makes the most sense is to start my trip on the 24th, the one day that Apoyo is free and stay there one night, travel to Ometepe the next day, spend the same amount of days there as I was going to originally, then go to Costa Dulce, arriving there on the 27th or 28th, spend 3 nights there and then go back to Apoyo and spend 2 more nights.  

Perhaps.  I have to write the Apoyo people a few months from now closer to the dates to see if anything has changed.  And see if I can even stay there on the last few days of my trip.  I still need to type an email to the hotel on Ometepe that I've zeroed in on, though, so there's yet more planning to be done.  

Anyhow, this and budgeting for the trip has gotten me excited about my little light at the end of the tunnel.  Sure there's fun to be had between now and then, summer weather to be enjoyed, other trips to take.  But it's nice to have the thought of going back and having another adventure to tide me over until then.  And to help me with bracing myself for all the work that's ahead. A month and a half more of CNN, still working at truTV, the current film score and all the other potential projects coming up.   

Voice over is on a bit of a hiatus, or maybe just a lull, while I figure out things.  I let my membership to Voice123.com lapse and may not subscribe again for a while, so I won't be doing as many auditions.  I'm waiting to hear back from an agent though...and man I hate talking about that because it's probably nothing and I don't want to get my hopes up.  I had a co worker here at NY1 in Creative Services send my demo on to a few agents in the city and only one got back to him, so far, just saying that he wanted to give him some feedback on my voice.   Whatever that means.  

At any rate, I have a wedding to go to tomorrow so I'm going to actually take an entire day where I don't do any work on anything.  Which is cool because I was thinking I'd need it, what with all the extra freelance work at CNN and truTV, and then this came up.  A friend of mine from the college days was planning on going to our friend's wedding out on Long Island and asked to stay with me in the days leading up to it and asked if I wanted to go, too.  So I managed to get the day off from CNN and bought myself a suit.   I'm not looking forward to traveling back from Long Island late at night...nor am I looking forward to wearing a suit in hot weather.  But I do want to look good.  

Not much else to report tonight.  Just wanted to get all that out.  Maybe I'll have some insight into my writing process on the next blog.  For now though, I'm just going to enjoy a too short weekend and an old friend's wedding.   

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A freelancer's dream...

When I let three weeks go by without posting, you can assume I'm busy, which is a good thing. When you're a freelancer, like me, you gotta take all the work you can get.  I'm working full time nights at NY1, Monday through Friday, both Saturday and Sunday nights at CNN until the end of July, still picking up two shifts a week at truTV in the mornings before NY1 on Tuesday and Thursday.  This makes it so that, save for taking next Saturday off to attend a friend's wedding out on Long Island, I'll be working for the next 50 days straight.  On top of all of that, I've picked up three and a half voice over gigs in the past month (the half gig was a pickup that I recorded from home for a book promo...they decided they wanted me to say the author's name in the spot) and I'm also scoring a short comedy/drama.  So, yeah.  Lots to do. 

It's summer solstice today, though, and I'm missing all kinds of fun stuff because I'm working.  Not the least of which is the weather (oh my god) but also the yoga in Times Square and the Mermaid Parade and I'm sure there's several live concerts happening around the city, some of which my friends are playing in.  But, I'm missing all of it.  I probably have said this every summer since I moved here, but there is way too much going on in the city every summer to do everything anyway, whether I'm working or not, even if I just stuck to the things that sound particularly awesome.  I guess this just proves that I'll never get sick of living here...I just have to keep my ear to the ground so that if I am able to attend something, I actually know about it in time to make plans to go.

Sure, there's always next summer for most of this stuff.  Though, it still does bum me out a little that, whenever I remember that Celebrate Brooklyn concerts at the Prospect Park Band Shell are a thing, I realize that the few artists that I would go see, fall on days that I can't go.  It's like this every summer.  I mean, I always try to make it to at least one and I usually succeed, but last year, because I work nights, I wasn't able to make any because I didn't find out about the one concert I could make in time to get enough friends interested in going with me.  This year, St. Vincent is playing on August 9th and, while I'm just getting into them, I going to make it a point to go.  It's one of the first weekends I'm going to have off again. 



Summer shenanigans aside, it is nice to have a foot in so many different places and to be getting so much work.  For one thing, it's given me the faith that I can one day quit full time work and be totally devoted to both sides of this career of mine.  Of course, cautiously optimistic is always the way to go.  But add on top of the gigs I am getting, the fact that I'm getting a lot of attention for my VO and music work and have been quoting people for projects just as often as I am booking them.  Granted, at least one of those was a friend asking.  But still.  It's definitely a good thing if my name is out there. 

And for the piece de la resistance: I found the finished versions of those two book promos I voiced online.  Check them out on youtube.com:





I'll have more to update soon with the film score.  It's been coming along nicely though and the director has liked most of my initial ideas.  We're still in the writing phase but I'm nearly done with that and will soon move on to mixing and finalizing everything.  In the meantime, it's also nice to see that it's totally possible for me to work three jobs, get three voice over gigs and still find time to write music. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Change your attitude...

Slap the snooze bar, decide to get up anyway, pants, shirt, scrambled eggs, toast, green tea, pack lunch, shower, shave, train.  If only going to sleep was as easy for me as waking up.  Again, last night, I was up until past 3am, all because I decided to stop at a friend's bar after work even despite the fact that the trains were not cooperating and I ultimately ended up having to get a cab from the Financial District (not an easy task) which promptly got stuck behind a garbage truck for 10 minutes.  So naturally, I stayed out a little later than intended. 

As I've mentioned previously, I've been trying to overhaul my nighttime routine, get in bed and sleeping sooner, but I just like unwinding too much.  I was never good at being systematic about going to bed and sometimes when I get home I want to write or read articles or drink wine, and otherwise enjoy the space that I pay rent to basically sleep in.  It's healing in a way, too, to be able to spend a certain number of my waking hours not working or commuting. 

Part of it, too, is that I can't just say, "okay, go to sleep now," and actually fall asleep.  It's no surprise really. My mind is pretty busy these days regardless of how much I've gotten to unwind, full of thoughts about what just happened and the day ahead.  And when one of those thoughts is "I need to be going to sleep soon," it makes it that much harder to actually do the thing. 

I have my methods, though, when I start to realize that I'm in danger of tossing and turning for hours.  The first thing is to relax.  I know.  Sounds obvious but so many times I've been trying to sleep and noticed myself tensed up, trying not to move, trying not to scratch every itch, trying to ignore the fact that I need to eat something/drink something/go to the bathroom.  All I need to do in these situations is just lie on my back and breathe for a few minutes straight, sometimes pretending I'm at the end of a yoga class doing Savasana (Maybe even get up and eat something/drink something/go to the bathroom).

The next thing is to shut out that "oh shit, I need to get to sleep soon" thought, so I try to let my mind wander toward any thought but that.  Not in a "don't think about sleep," kind of way, though, because sleep is the first thing anyone would think of when told not to think about sleep.  No, I just daydream.  I try to imagine positive thoughts, like me getting an award or scoring a really fantastic gig.  Or getting my ass back to Nicaragua to the beach.  Any rich imagery that can completely fill my head and leave no room for stressing about getting to sleep.  Because when I stress about it, that results in the opposite effect.  I'm wide awake.

Lastly, if I really can't go to sleep, I just go ahead and deal with the thoughts about what tomorrow's going to be like.  Big deal if I'm tired tomorrow.  I'll just come home and be tired enough to drop right off to sleep.  That usually does it.  Letting go of results.  I'm going to sound very Buddhist here but I'm okay with that.  One of my yoga teachers uttered this gem on the morning that we heard that Maya Angelou had passed:


I'm sure the Buddha said something similar as well.  There are two aspects to this.  I was thinking about a lot of the things I've been going through and how just letting go of results can do wonders in terms of changing your perspective about whatever it is.  When I was going through my depression about 10 years ago (wow, 10 years ago?), thoughts like this basically saved me and turned my life around.  How easy it can be to spiral down into a pit of despair over something when if you just stopped and said, "well let me look at this another way," you could reverse everything and get back to square one.

I'm finding that every time I get discouraged about any aspect of my career, whether I'm just bummed I didn't get an audition or I am full on berating myself for sucking so bad at something, I can back up a few steps and say to myself that it's not nearly as bad as I'm painting it.  In fact, it might not even be bad at all.  And then, I'm free to look at it however I want.  I just accept my situation and move forward from there.  It's already 3am, I'm already going to be tired tomorrow, there's nothing I can do about that part of so I might as well change my attitude.  I didn't get that VO gig, it's probably not saying anything about the quality of my audition, they were just looking for something else.  I'm still on the right track. 

Lots of people want to tell you that this or that is not possible, or they want you to look at the reality of a situation and not get your hopes up.  "There are so many people doing what you're trying to do," "There's so much competition," "Just don't get ahead of yourself."  Well intentioned stuff, for sure...or maybe not.  I think people just get so mired in negativity, they forget to dream about what's possible.  And they forget that you should never let something like a negative thought stop you from acting on something anyway.   Why would I not try?  How else would I know if I could do it or not? By listening to my negative thoughts that are probably not even grounded in reality?  Of course not.

Anyway, that having been said, I also had to change my attitude about the inordinate number of hours I'll be working so that I don't go insane thinking ahead to how overworked I could potentially be in a few weeks time.  This past weekend, I was supposed to re-train both Saturday and Sunday nights at CNN but, upon getting there on Saturday and talking with my co worker, we both deemed it unnecessary for me to even stay too late that night.  So I left at 8, went out with friends and then decided to make Sunday a day to just relax and enjoy the weather.  Yoga, gluten free pizza, gluten free cupcake, East Village community gardens and a quick drink with a friend before cooking dinner, watching Cosmos (doing a tiny bit of work on the film score) and then heading to Barbes to watch Stephan Wrembel.  All around a great afternoon and evening.  And now, after this Thursday which I have off, I'm probably going to be working about 50 days straight on top of scoring a film and trying to get more VO work.  Don't worry, though. I'm not going to burnout.  Tim Daoust doesn't burn out.