Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I Think I Hurri-can!

I find that I am stuck between a rock and a hard place... I am having trouble in writing this post, and yet there is so much to write about! I closed my show in Jersey City on Saturday, I have been working more with the production at The Flea, and we had a hurricane hit New York! Its has been a crazy weekend and yet I am unable to put it all into words! Gah, where are you muses? So forgive me as this post will probably be more of a ramble of thoughts than a well formed, well articulated, blog posting like my college professors would want it to be.

First off, a disclaimer: For those of you considering moving to New York, don't let Hurricane Sandy try and persuade you not to come. Hurricanes rarely ever come this far north, and when they do they have lost all their energy in the traveling, so they rarely ever amount to anything. But this one was different, and even though it landed south of New York in the Philadelphia and New Jersey area, we still had lots of damage and flooding up here.  But hurricanes of this magnitude are rare, so don't let Sandy sell you something false, New York is hardly ever hit by extreme weather. 

My part in the hurricane was rather incremental. I spent most of it indoors reading comic books and catching up on tv and movies. Sunnyside, where I live, was left rather untouched by the whole thing. We had strong winds and lots of water being tossed about in the air, but that was about it. But the best part of it all was the love and support that was sent to me all my friends and family. It was an absolutely wonderful experience to know that everyone was sending their love to the east coast. My thoughts go out to those without power and to the workers who have to take on the monumental task of getting the MTA back up and running. and hopefully they will soon because I am running out of things to do!

To further add to the random rambling of this post, here is a panorama of Times Square I took on my way to work:

Yup, a Microsoft Store.

Like I mentioned earlier, the show I was working on in Jersey City had its final performance this past Saturday. It was a fantastic learning experience and I shall miss everyone I worked with. But this is New York, and there is no time for rest! I am already working my next show at The Flea and I am especially excited to begin going to all the evening rehearsals there. We had our first full stumble-through this past Sunday, and it is looking really good. If you are in the New York area at all, it is a must see. 

Lastly, I would like to tell the world that I now have a Part-Time job as an Audition Monitor for Actors Equity Association! I am super excited to begin working there, and plus it means I won't have to worry about going broke, and I won't have to join the coast guard! YAY. So to everyone out there know this: Perseverance is key to success. When I was turned down for those two potential jobs, at the same time, a few weeks ago, I had a depressing weekend. But I ate a bunch of ice cream, got over it, and moved on. I doubled down my efforts and received loads of help from friends and my wonderful boss, and it is starting to pay off. I am by no means at the end of my journey here, infact I have finally just found my feet after the long jump over, but it means I can start walking, start climbing, and being achieving what I set out to do. So, my advice to anyone who is moving here, or just trying to find work in this economy: Persevere. You will achieve what you deserve through your efforts. Until next time!

"And now we're free to be number one, 
morning isn't far away I had a dream we were holding on, 
and tomorrow has become today, become today."
-Scissor Sisters, Fire with Fire

Monday, October 22, 2012

Good News!

Good News everyone! I have work!

But before we get there, I want to explain to you something I like to call the "New York Hiring Process". It works like this: A theatre job opens up, but instead of listing the job or posting a help wanted add the employer typically just asks friends, and friends ask friends, and people respond, and friends recommend friends, and then someone lucky bloke gets hired. Thats how it works in the theatre world here, and that is exactly how I got my two new jobs! Now let me trace the story back for you:

To begin with, it all started with the show I have been working on in Jersey City. I was riding the train home with a cast members one evening, and she said she had a Technical Director friend that works at a theatre called "The Flea", and off-broadway performance venue, who wanted to hire someone to help her out. This cast memeber thought I should send my resume and cover letter to the TD, and so after a few days of getting things ready, I send my stuff to the cast member, and she sent it to the TD along with a recommendation. Well days turned to weeks and I didn't hear anything, so I just assumed nothing came of it. Then one day I get a call asking if I would be interested in Assistant Stage managing their upcoming show in November and December. I went in for an interview and we all got along swimmingly, so they offered me the job! Now I am Assistant Stage Managing a show at The Flea, all because a friend recommended me, and the TD had my resume when the job opened up. The best part is I hadn't even met the TD, she just trusted my recommendation  So now I get to work on an amazing show, and trust me, this show is amazing. I can't really say more about it yet, but the cast is phenomenal  the story is hilarious, and it is going to be a lot of fun to work on.

That is how I got the first job, and I am pretty excited about it. But the second job is even more exciting. I am happy to tell everyone that I will be the Assistant Director on the premiere of a brand new, off-broadway play called Off The Kings Road by Neil Koenigsberg that will go up in February.  Now to trace this story back... It all started when a professor of mine emailed me saying that a fellow alum of his had posted a message on facebook that she was looking to hire an Assistant Director for an upcoming play. Well this professor saw that facebook post and emailed me and asked if I was interested. He said that if I was, he would try to set up an interview for me. He also said he made no promises that I would get the job, but said he would recommend me nonetheless. I said I was totally interested!  Time passed, emails were sent, and I got the interview. I met with the Director and we got along fabulously and she said she had a few other interviews to conduct but that she would let me know within the week. I anxiously waited to hear the news, but didn't get my hopes up because I didn't want to get to attached before I found anything out. Then I found out yesterday that she wanted to bring me onto the project, so I accepted!

So that is how it works in this city, my friends. You meet people and they help you get jobs. But don't be a karama hog, pay it forward. Be sure to help others get jobs to, and recommend people, and talk to people, and make connections because the theatre world in this city is a small one, and it pays to know people. Literally. 

Until next time!

Got a little motto
Always sees me through
When you're good to Mama, Mama's good to you.
 -Matron Mama Morton, Chicago

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Floppy Disk

I have discovered that I enjoy interviewing. I enjoy traveling to various locations, meeting interesting people, and having engaging conversation.

I recently had two interviews that couldn't have been more different. One was for a touring stage manager job, and the other was for an administrative office position with the title “Tour Coordinator” (ironic that both jobs involve touring?). I don't want to go into too much detail because I am still waiting to hear back from both of them, and I don't want this blog to be the reason I didn't get hired. But I do have some advice for anyone who is going through this “getting a job” thing. Be yourself. The last thing you want is a job where you can’t be who you are. You will become very unhappy very quickly.

One of the reasons I love interning at the LARK is because, even though it is an office environment, everyone is allowed to be themselves. My boss comes to work dressed as a skateboarder, the Artistic Director wears Jeans, while others choose to where dressier clothes. There is no “dress code” because there doesn’t have to be. For me, this is the kind of place I want to work at because there is less stress on rules and more on ideals. Others might prefer a more formal setting but regardless, knowing what you want will make you happier with your work in the long run. Don’t do a job just for the money.

Something you all may or may not know about me is that I am kind of a computer geek.
This game was amazing in its day.
Like, very seriously. Ever since Dad brought home our first computer, a Compaq with a Windows 3.1 Operating system, a CD drive, CRT Monitor, Floppy disk drive, and Trackball mouse, I have been hooked (Still have that computer by the way.). We even had one of the original forms of the commercial internet, known as Prodigy. I spent many hours messing around on that computer; installing floppy disk games, playing Wolfenstein, surfing the 1995 internet. I even remember the first time I figured out that you could change the wallpaper and the little icon image, which for Windows 3.1 was a pretty big deal. Around that same time too, our school purchased an old lot of Apple Macintosh Plus’s for the young students to use and learn on, which in 1996 was pretty good for an old Catholic school. So suffice it to say, I know computers. Computer technology always seems to find me and there is something about the simplistic complexity of computers that I have always been able to just “get”. I have built myself a computer, I have built my brother Michael a computer, and when Zach gets back from the Marines I will build him one to. I don’t understand it, but I just get computers and they just work for me.

That being said, I had to leave my giant desktop system back at home because traveling to New York with it just wasn't a viable option. So for the past few months I have been doing all my computing on a tiny 9-inch netbook. It’s been a challenge. I like to push my computers to the limits in their capabilities. I bought it just to have to surf the internet and type up word documents. I didn't really factor into the equation that I would need something to process my digital photography though…I know I should be proud of the fact that I got Adobe Photoshop running on this small thing at all, but when I made it crash by processing 200 RAW photos at the same time, I got slightly frustrated. Now when I shoot I take as few pictures as possible because for every one photo I take, it takes me about 10 min of processing time on this dinky machine.

Windows 95 was a great operating system, and also where I began learning how to tinker and change things. But Windows XP was truly the golden years of the windows operating system. It was a reliable and fast system that was relatively easy to learn, and it looked good too. I love messing around with old XP systems. Recently my landlady was throwing out her old computer and my heart leapt! "Something to tinker with", I thought! So I snatched it up and starting messing with it, which proved to be short lived because, as it stands, I don’t have a computer monitor for it yet… my next goal is to find one for free, because I am cheap. But when I plugged it in for the first time, it started playing some very strange new age music; which was weird because I didn't have any speakers plugged into it yet… I don’t know what my landlady had on this machine but I know in these next few weeks I am going to have fun finding out!

In other news, the play I have been working on for the past few weeks in Jersey City opened this past weekend! We are officially performing now (time went by so fast), so come and see it if you are in the area.

It’s been a slow week for me otherwise, so there is not much else to report about for now. But exciting things are on the horizon! More job interviews, seeing Broadway shows, and don’t miss The Stamp Family Christmas special in December! Until next time!

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
-Polonius. Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 3 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Infinite Variety

Every Bill Shakespeare has to write a Hamlet, right? Well after last week's depressing post I am going to attempt to turn this tragedy into a comedy. But before I do I just want to add a disclaimer to all those thinking about moving to New York:

It is an amazing town full of amazing people, that is for sure. But it is a hard town and if you are moving here to become rich and or famous, don't  Move to the midwest, that is where the money is right now. There are more jobs and stuff costs less. New York is a tough town and it will test you. It will make the most confident person question the strength, the smartest person question their knowledge, and it will make the funniest person seem as dull as Dilbert. Make sure you are moving here for the right reasons.

All that being said, the things that I love about this town is its infinite variety. There are theatrical things happening everywhere, all the time. I have been sending out lots of applications to various jobs on websites like Playbill.com and Backstagejobs.com and I recently heard back from one looking for carpenters for overhire this past weekend. I have plenty of skill in carpentry, so I figured, why not? Its money to pay rent doing something I know how to do well. So I went to the job and had a blast and met some awesome people. All while doing things I know how to do like cut and install trim, paint, build stair units, install doors, slam strips, cut and install more trim, and build shelving units. It was easy and I made decent money at it, and I am going to be called back when they start on their next production, Sound of Music. Awesome!

The Road to Manhattan 
Which leads me to my next point. In this city it is all about connections. Who you know  helps  you get your next job or your next rung on the ladder to success. I have been super lucky with my jobs so far. I have an amazing boss at the Lark who took a risk on a midwestern kid and two awesome bosses at J-City Theater who took a risk on a new-to-New-York stage manager. And through these two jobs I have met a bunch of awesome people. Its all about meeting people, especially in the theatrical world. I was talking to a painter who worked the same overhire gig I did past weekend, and she is currently working at The Public as a painter, and I am always curious how people get their jobs, so I asked her how she got that job and she said a friend called her when they needed a painter. No postings on the internet or in classifieds. All because a friend knew of someone.

So I guess the point of this is that meeting people is important. Because in this work, and in this business  everyone helps each other out. If I hear of a job that I know someone else can do I let them know, and vice-versa. I think that is why I like this city because, despite the tough competition and the streets that will test your will, once you get in, you will find that it is really a small community of people who want to help each other out. Until next time!

"You are thought here to be the most senseless and fit man for the job" -Dogberry, Much Ado about Nothing, Act 3 Scene 3.