Roadblock to Destiny

The title just seemed appropriate to my current life mood. I’ve mentioned this feeling before, but it’s never been stronger than now. The feeling that I know my destination in life, but yet I seem to find my way there. I took the wrong exit, and there is no maps.yahoo.com equivalent.
I’m not even talking about my ultimate goals of fame and stardom as an actor and musician, I’m just talking about my more feasible goals, although admittedly even my “feasible” goals are still pretty outlandish. I can’t even begin to remotely express my thoughts so I’ll ramble as best I can. For example:
Working as a Production Assistant on Film/TV projects. There is a decent amount of work in Texas in this field (although less since so many productions are going to Canada now), and yet it seems as out of reach as anything. One thing I’ve learned more and more in every aspect of life, is that it’s much more who you know, and not what you know. I submit my (albeit tiny) resume for every project that comes up, and I get nothing. I’ve even called camera rental businesses, props places, and any other production related businesses here just to try and find a job that’s at least involved in the industry, but none are hiring of course, and many are actually just basically kind of one or two person operations. There’s even an actual studio complex in Austin. Hard to break into the biz as it were. You basically start out doing anything and everything you can, a lot of it for free just to get experience and contacts. My uncle is a professional Director Of Photography and has been for over 20 years, and even he has found work to be lean lately, but I admire him so much because he is doing it for a good living. He has worked and raised a family strictly doing freelance cameraman/DP work. However, as previously mentioned, he paid his dues early on. He didn’t’ just jump into immediately working full time in the film industry. Now he has lots of contacts from all his years of work, and that gets him more work. The few production assistant jobs I have done have been as a result of his recommendation. Of course if I get a “real” job, that pretty much makes pursuing these types of things impossible.
There’s also a decent gaming industry in Austin. As far as “real” jobs go, I could dig working in the gaming industry. Of course, this also follows a similar pattern to the one above. Knowing the right people. I’ve actually seen 2 jobs which I’ve applied for. One as “Assistant Community Manager” for Star Wars Galaxies, and one for an “in-game support” position with another game. Chances of getting either are only slightly more than my chances of winning the lottery, and these are entry level positions.

Almost all accounts I’ve read about people getting jobs in the industry were things like “back when I was flipping burgers I played D&D with this guy who wrote a Zork parody, and this guy who worked for a game company hired him. Later after working for several game companies in progressively better jobs, they needed someone and he called me”.
Then there’s the music thing. Now being a musician in Austin is basically like being an actor in L.A. It’s a great place for music, but it’s also super saturated with musicians. Again, it’s a long term hang around the scene, get to know people, make contacts, and get your name out. Not something you’re going to accomplish overnight.
Now while I may sound all frustrated doom and gloom, there is an upside too. Since I’ve been here I’ve been on several auditions, sent out tons of acting and film crew resumes, and I’m going back in the studio tomorrow for another session of work on our new CD. Basically the only real chance I have is if Jess can get a good job, and thus allow me to be a slacker (financially) until I can get established. I really don’t think anything I want to do is possible when working a full time office job that’s in no way related to what you want to be doing. Especially for the acting/crew work, since you need to be available for the jobs, and if it’s a paying job it’s most likely not just an “after business hours” job. If it weren’t for the need for money, I wouldn’t even really mind my state of affairs. I don’t mind the auditions, and the working your way to where you want to be. It’s all the need for money to pay bills that creates the tension. Oh, how I do NOT look forward to getting another “job” I don’t really care about except for the paycheck.
My mind is quite a jumble and expressing this all coherently is becoming more and more difficult as I try to put it into words. Basically, life is good, Austin is good, and the world is my burrito, but it’s just a frustrating time. It’s like I can see exactly where I should be. In fact I can see several options of where I should be, but I’m trapped in one of those crazy entrapment mirrors, like General Zod in Superman. I can see everyone else there, and there’s a me-shaped space of emptiness. I’m a nuclear bomb of potential, undiscovered in a sealed box buried next to Jimmy Hoffa, underneath the secret bungalow where Elvis lives with Amelia Earheart.
Grr. Argh. Jane, get me off this crazy thing.
Hmm, someday, maybe I’ll finish my damn screenplay. It’s really going to be good, if it’s not killed by laziness. Right, well it’s always good to end on a random trail off long after you’ve lost all momentum and readers…

Life’s been good to me so far

Life in Austin has been way busy so far. Here’s the ups and downs of my recent life:
UPs:
Talked to my contact at a local studio. He says he will give me a shot at some jingle work. Basically, there is a pool of composers all competing to sell their music for whatever project comes up. My first submission will be for free (which is reasonable since he shouldn’t just start paying out of blind faith). If he deems my talents usable, then I’ll join the pool of composers. Whenever a project comes up, I’ll submit my demo, for which I’ll get paid $350. If my demo is actually chosen by the company out of all the submissions, I’ll probably get about $2500 (varies according to project). This is all theoretical at the moment, and we’ll see if any of this pans out into actual work for me.
I made $200 yesterday as a studio guitar player. Craig Davis wanted to cut one of our new songs for the upcoming CD, and also there are a couple of generic car jingles we wanted to finish for this guy who thinks he can really get some business going. Hopefully this could possibly turn into some work for Craig, Spencer (the guy who owns and runs the studio), and myself. So I laid down guitar on 2 jingles, then Craig and I recorded a new tune for the CD. The session was a blast. I am so in my element in the studio. Craig brings in great tunes, I take them and add parts, arrange, produce, spice up, etc., and Spencer engineers and produces and comes up with great ideas and suggestions too. Having that third brain and set of ears in there really helps come from different angles.
Yesterdays session was fun in that this tune had just been written last week and we really didn’t have it very planned out at all, so we just ended up sort of creating it as we recorded it and ideas came to us. Craig did the vocals and piano, and I laid down, bass, guitars, backup vocals, and even a sitar part. Very cool track. When we get done with the whole CD, we’re going to have a great drummer named Dexter come in and replace the temporary drum machine (used just to keep time in the song) with real, live soulful drums. That makes ALL the difference in the world. In fact, I debated whether to even post the song right now since it’s so unfinished, but what the hell. When the finished CD comes out you’ll have had a glimpse into the creative process.
(file deleted now 10/15/2004) – rough mix, no drums yet (just a drum machine keeping time), and generally unfinished, but still cool.
Monday night we went to an AustinActors.net meeting, which was cool and fun. Afterward we went to an audition for a freebie short film about a serial killers therapy group. I didn’t get cast. Tonight I’m auditioning for another freebie project. It’s a student miniseries about vampires.
I finally heard back from an application I put in online from IKON office solutions. The recruiter was going to forward my resume to the hiring manager here in Austin for a position where I’d basically work for different companies all the time filling in when someone was gone or needed. I think I’d be doing tons of copying, scanning etc. I still haven’t heard back from the hiring manager. I may inquire further today.
Internet, cable, and toilet are all in working condition. The apartment is cool. I have good friends and family who have helped out however they could. My wife rules, so I’m never alone.
DOWNs:
I really don’t want to go back to working for “the man” in a job I have no passion for. The thought sucks my very life away, but I see no way around it currently. Our bank account is dwindling to scary proportions. I very well may be inquiring at the Blockbuster video next to our apartment complex for employment as well as a couple of banks in the vicinity, and anything else I see as I drive around the streets. If it weren’t for my $200 session work yesterday, I’d be in serious panic mode.
I think I’ve about taxed my brain on this epic entry. Stay tuned for further adventures.

Where am I?

I feel as if something has happened the last few days…what could it be? Oh yeah, we moved to Austin. You would hardly know it looking at our apartment which does not look like we just moved in. We are efficient moving in machines! For a full account see, Jess’s entry here. Still have to iron out the internet/cable/toilet issues, and look for jobs ASAP.
Several movies are casting, so I hope to get in on that. One is a new Luke and Owen Wilson movie. Monday night, we’re going to a monthly meeting for Austin Actors, to meet people and attend a Q & A with a talent agent here.
That’s about all my addled brain can come up with at the moment. We’re here. The adventure has begun.

And so the adventure begins.

At 5:00Pm CST today, I become unemployed. Tomorrow we begin the move to Austin, finishing up on Friday. Scary.
On another front, Just as I finally put the foot down and stomp out the few computer bugs I’ve been trying to track down at home, my computer took a complete and utter nosedive. Long story short, I had to completely reinstall my operating system, and basically start from scratch like it was a new computer. Luckily I was able to retrieve my documents and bookmarks and vital things like that.
Spent about 13 hours yesterday getting my machine back up and running. Still have a lot of programs to install and testing to do to make sure what the problem was so it’s not repeated. Ugh. It made me utterly sick, and frustrated and I wanted to cry, and go to bed and never get up. Bad, bad day.
Things look on the up and up though, except for the scary moving and not having a job thing. However, while it’s scary, it’s also all very exciting. Many good opportunities lie ahead. Hopefully you find me on the streets of Austin holding a cardboard sign.
All engines ahead! The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.
P.S. and for anyone who might not have noticed, and who would actually care, if you put your email in the little field up top, you can get an email telling you when I’ve made a new entry. Don’t all rush for your keyboards!

I’m somebody!

*Title gratuitously borrowed from Steve Martin’s “The Jerk”*
Looky here!
Aside from that, we’re just preparing for the big move to Austin in two weeks. I’ve found a job that I REALLY want yet have about as much chance of getting as I do of winning the lottery. It’s working for the Austin branch of Sony Online Entertainment who run Star Wars Galaxies. The application process is one of those nameless, faceless “cut and paste you resume in this online form” processes which sucks. I also mailed a hard copy to their San Diego headquarters just for the hell of it. Man, that would be too cool, but I’ll be shocked if I even hear back from them.
In an effort to not repeat the financial fiasco of having 6 overdrawn fees of $32 (one of which was on a $.09 copy, thus becoming a $32.09 copy) I have downloaded a totally kick arse, and FREE program for my Palm Vx called Ma Tirelire, which apparently is French for “My Piggy Bank”. Last weekend I searched through all the freeware financial programs for the palm, and this was literally the last one there was that I hadn’t tried. As it turned out, it was also by far the absolute best. The functionality and features of this program are just outstanding. Far more than you’d get from most commercial programs. I never thought I could get excited about a financial management program, but this one has got the goods. If you use a palm device, I highly recommend it.

Anyone still here?

I really need to update more if I want to keep the three readers I have.
So I’ve been pretty busy with preparing for the move to Austin. I’ve been searching for jobs, but with no luck yet. It didn’t help morale any when I asked one of my work contacts who was here helping with an upgrade if he knew of any jobs in Austin, to which he burst out laughing and said “You’re joking, right?” Apparently it’s a bad time to be looking for jobs in Austin. I’ve been wondering if maybe I could teach guitar out of my apartment and get enough students to make it work.
On the “jobs I want to be doing” front, I have new headhots (as decided by votes from many of you!) I sent my resume, headshot and voice demo (all of which have been updated and can be found in the “actor” section) to two agencies in hopes of getting an agent in Austin.
Random Note:
I was planning on putting together a costume as one of the aliens from “V” for Halloween. I had done much research and collected pictures of the red jumpsuits, guns, props, etc. I had also found a few places online where you could supposedly get some replica props and costume pieces, but they never returned my email. It looks like it’s highly unlikely I’ll get it put together, especially since it would take some finances. Not a lot, but at least some.
Another costume I wanted to put together, but is just about as unlikely is Captain Jack Sparrow!
Let’s end with a link. If you haven’t already seen it, check out The Incredible Hulk’s Blog.
Byt the way, the first time I typed this whole thing out, we lost internet for about 10 seconds…right when I clicked “save” so I lost the whole thing and had to do it all again from scratch. grrr. arrrgh.

Eep! Brave or just stupid?

So we got the call today that we are officially approved for our apartment in Austin. I then went and told my boss that my last day will be August 14. So now, in just over a month, I will be quitting my job and moving to Austin with no job lined up.
Hopefully my lovely wife can get a good job since she has a degree and then I can pursue this acting, music thing. [wink]
I also have a possible lead with Craig Davis concerning writing jingles, which could also be a cool job. Many opportunities, yet nothing solid. It’s exciting and scary as a mofo. And mofos are really, really scary.

Added some pics

on our weekend in Austin, we went around to various spots where the movie “Office Space” was filmed. I took GPS coordinates so I could make them in to “virtual caches” for geocaching. Check out the results here!

I’m a renegade of funk.

Yes that’s right, we’re off for another weekend in Austin! We’ll be going out for Jess’s birthday tonight, and then just enjoying the fourth of july festivities all weekend with some possible geocaching in there too.
Random point #1:
I have found new inspiration to practice my guitar playing in the form of Guitarport. Line 6 decided to make my Pod XT compatible with their Guitarport software which was a genius move. Now us Pod XT users can make use of one of the coolest tools I’ve ever seen for guitar players, and Line 6 get a bunch of new Guitarport subscribers. Basically it’s a program where I can backup all the amps, effects etc, that I’ve tweaked in my Pod XT, and for a subscription price, I can access tons of online tones, lessons, and tracks to jam along too. For example, Eddie Kramer, who produced Jimi Hendrix, has remixed some original Hendrix tracks minus the guitar, so it’s like you’re actually jamming with Hendrix’s band on your computer. You can also load up any song on your hard drive if you want to jam along with that. Plus the interface and functionality are just incredible. I’ve found new inspiration to actually sit around the house and play! Words can not express how cool this is.
Random point #2:
In other geeky joy, I also have a new version of my geoaching program for my Palm Vx (which I use as my GPS unit by attaching it to an external GPS attachment). The program is Geoniche and the new version rocks. I easily downloaded 10 geocache waypoints yesterday and loaded them into my unit with complete descriptions and all thanks to the new java applet. Much better than entering in all the coordinates and such by hand.
So now that most of you have most likely stopped reading long ago thanks to my ramblings on things that probably sound like gibberish to you unless you’re into guitar playing or geocaching, I leave those of you who made it all the way through with an amusing mondegreen (misheard lyric) of my own. Before I knew what Rage Against The Machine were actually saying in “Renegades Of Funk” I thought it sounded like “Random Case Of Funk”. This came up because after a shower this morning, I commented to Jess that the bruise on my knee from toooooooooooobing last weekend had turned “lovely shades of funk”. After a pause we both looked at each other and started singing “lovely shades of funk” to the afore mentioned RATM song. Ever since then I’ve been singing to myself “With a random case of funk! With a random case of funk!” That, and Weird Al’s “Hardware Store” which has been stuck in my head since I bought the album.
Have a great weekend, everyone! Miss us!

Fun, fun, fun! Ow.

Tally of injuries from last weekend: 1 highly bruised knee, 1 slightly jammed finger, super full body soreness.
We all met up at TGI Fridays on Friday night (how apropos!) Jess and I drove into Austin from College Station, Esteban came from Dallas, and my cousin Casey, who lives in Austin, came from indoor rock climbing with some friends. Not much else happened Friday night. We all went back to Casey’s house and they decided to watch Cowboy Bebop (the movie) which I had no interest at all in watching, so I surfed the net on a mac on a slow dial up connection until I just decided to lay down on our air mattress and maybe drift into a bored sleep.
Saturday we all hit the Comal river for tooooooooooooobin! It was about a 2 hour trip down the river so we did it twice. Inevitably you end up doing a lot of paddling to keep up with each other and such, so your paddling muscles get quite sore. It was a nice relaxing day (and Esteban’s birthday) with good friends and a cooler full of snacks. It was on this trip that there is a section, after a fun man made tube chute, where you get out and walk down a few hundred feet before getting back in the river. While exiting, I couldn’t see the metal stairs very well so I proceeded to smack my knee into the side of them. It hurt. A lot. Afterward it looked as if I had a small hamster implanted in my knee. Never the less, twas a fun day.
That night we went to the Alamo Drafthouse where we had more good food and the better-than-crack Root Beer Float made with Amy’s ice cream while watching Hulk, which was alright. It was definitely worth the free tickets which we had procured.
Sunday it was Schlitterbahn time! America’s #1 water park as rated by the travel channel! Esteban bailed on us to go back to Dallas, which while his company was missed, I was glad that I would no longer have to have every free moment filled with some anim� DVD being put on the TV.
We were supposed to meet Dave and Misty at 9:30, but due to a never ending chain of circumstances we were about an hour late. I’ve determined that as a group increases in number so does the amount of time you are inevitably going to be late. I think the next trip is going to be every carload for themselves. Meet at 9:30 and if you’re not there we’re going on without you and will meet you at a predesignated location at noon. Hardcore, man!
It was during a tube ride that I jammed my finger. Also, my water shoes were rubbing me in an annoying way so went half the day barefoot. Lots of walking uphill and up stairs, and more paddling added to my full body soreness (particularly my calves). We were there from about 10:30 am until 7:30 pm. We had Dippin’ Dots, the ice cream of the future! It was good. We went back to my cousin’s had pizza and collapsed.
Monday Jess and I went to check out a potential apartment, which we both really liked and will most likely be our new home in Austin. It was nice AND cheap! They also had a great move in deal which eases finance worries quite a bit. $99 application fee to move in, no deposit, and first month’s rent free! Score! When we got home, we played a bit of SWG, and recreated our characters on a new server since the original server we were on was full and non of our friends could join us. We then watched the next disc of “24” from netflix, and went to bed.
Thursday after work, it’s back to Austin for Jess’s birthday and the Fourth of July weekend! Ahh, if only every week could be a 3 day work week.