2015: Looking Ahead

2015So, as I wrote earlier, 2014 was a great year for me.  And the year before.  And the year before.  But that’s because I’m pretty easy to please.  It’s a great problem to have, but it also places me in my own way sometimes.

I’m like a little kid.  It doesn’t take much for me to feel like “this is the most awesome thing ever!!!”  When I’m doing extra work, most of the people around me are complaining about the lack of variety in the catering, or how it’s such a long day.  I just look around and think “but guys, we’re working on a real mooooovie!”  Same for reenactment tv.  And student films.  And shows.  And concerts.  I guess the great news is I haven’t become jaded.  When it comes to focus, though, that’s where I have a problem.

When people get to know me, or at least get me involved in conversation about everything I’m doing, they inevitably ask me what my dream job is.  And I always struggle to come up with an answer.  Again, the good part is that there isn’t only one thing that I’d be happy doing.  The bad part is that with so many options on the table, I never really put enough focus into any one of them.

In a city like New York, if you want to get to the top in any field, you’ve gotta work harder than everyone else around you.  And while a lot of people will tell you that I’m one of the most driven people they know, that drive lacks focus.  What they see is that I’m always on the go, always working, and usually have something fun to post about on Facebook.  But I don’t really have a master plan.  I just submit and apply for everything that interests me, and if I can squeeze it into my schedule, I do it.

I usually only have one day off a month where I’m not running from one thing to the next, and on most days I’m working more than one job.  If you look at the last two weeks before I left for the circus, I worked as an admin assistant for The New York Pops and Actors Equity, I acted in a short film, was the rehearsal accompanist and sang in a concert with Essential Voices USA, recorded a voice for an animated film (which I also composed the theme song for), taught one workshop for Disney and two for A Class Act, directed and accompanied a benefit concert, worked as a church organist and choir director, photographed a press event, and hit up a few auditions.

Insane, right?  That’s literally the two weeks before I left New York.  Was it a blast?  You bet!  Was I sleeping enough?  Not a chance!  Did I get sick because of it?  Of course, silly.  But that’s just what I do!

Now here’s the thing.  I’m finally getting to a point, at the ripe, young age of 35, where I’m starting to realize that I need a plan.  Sure, I’m doing a lot of fun stuff and getting loads of random crap on my resume.  But if I really want to take off, to really excel in one of these areas, I’ve gotta let people know that’s what I do and that I’m damn good at it.  Of course you can do as many things as you want, and I don’t believe that you can only be really good at one thing.  But, it’s a little harder for people to take you seriously if they don’t really know what you do.

Look at it this way, if you were going to hire a wedding photographer, would you hire someone who has a legit wedding photography business with hundreds of weddings in their portfolio, or would you hire a photographer who has shot a couple weddings, some fashion shows, a little bit of travel photographer, who has also catered weddings, worked them as a dj, and baked a couple wedding cakes?  I think the answer is clear, and I think you know I’m the metaphorical photographer/caterer/dj/baker.

The ball’s gonna drop in a few so I’m gonna take a break, but I’ll be back next year with more on my 2015 plans!

Happy New Year!

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When Inspiration Knocks…

doorOpen the damn door!

This one’s going to be quick because I have got to get some sleep if I stand any chance of getting up in time for work tomorrow; the alarm is going off in just over four hours.  But I just needed to say that I am more excited than I have been in a long time.

Right before bed, I started thinking of parody lyrics for a song, just kind of a throw away idea I was having as I was willing myself to sleep.  I think I fell asleep around midnight, and at 1:15, woke up immediately with more lyrics going through my head.  Again, I tried to will myself to sleep, but my brain wouldn’t let it go.  So I decided to give in and see if I could write a couple quick verses.

Two hours later, I’m here on my fire escape, and I love what I’ve come up with!  It obviously needs a lot of work, but the basic outline is there with some really clever lines (if I do say so myself).  So now I think I can turn my brain off and get a few hours of sleep.  I wanted to write this post though, because it this turns out the way I want, I want to remember how it all started.

More later!



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Vacation Excited!

vacationexcitedA couple of weeks ago, I was on a five-day cruise, playing piano for my dear friend Jim Brochu.  Hi, Jim!  (He’s a Google alert guy so I’m assuming he’ll get a notice about this in a day or two.)  While the entire trip was incredible, what amazed me the most was how early I was out of bed.  When I’m in New York, I’m a night owl.  I stay up too late, and then set my alarm to wake me up in eight hours.  The alarm goes off at eleven, I press snooze about two five times, and then my feet hit the floor at the crack of noon.  Once I remind myself that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are getting ready to take a lunch break, I’ve lost all motivation, thinking I’ve wasted the day, and I’ll have better luck tomorrow.  All before I’ve had my morning coffee.

Of course, when I try to go to bed at the decent hour of midnight that night to get a better start on tomorrow, I realize I’ve only been away for twelve hours.  So I stay up later, then sleep later; it’s a vicious cycle.

When I was on the ship, however, the alarm went off at seven and I sprang out of bed.  I couldn’t shower fast enough.  All I wanted to do was get dressed, explore the ship, and then take the tender to St. Barths or St. Maarten.  And I was sleeping six-and-a-half hours max.  The biggest–and most obvious–difference was I had something thrilling to do as soon as I woke up, something that was more exciting than lying in bed.

The trick I need to learn, especially as a creative freelancer, is getting excited about what I’m doing, or need to do, now!  My play isn’t going to write itself.  I won’t learn any new music or become a better tap dancer by pressing snooze.  If the play I’ve yet to write was in rehearsal, I’d have no problem jumping out of bed to get to the theatre.  Somehow I’ve got to find a way to remind myself when that alarm goes off, that the excitement is on the horizon, and I need to be just as excited about the process.

But alas, it’s already three in the morning.  Looks like I’ll have to try again tomorrow…

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