Tuesday, August 31, 2010


So this morning I got a call from STA Travel and after two months of looking I finally have a job! I start work next week and then in two weeks I get to go to Phoenix to do some training. Unfortunately this means I will probably have to drop out of the improv competition, but I think this is probably a pretty good reason. Either way there's not much I can do about it, I'm not gonna turn down a great opportunity like this so I can maybe possibly win a competition and try to be an actor. It also means I have to drop out of my day classes with the Groundlings, which is not as big of a deal. I get credited for the classes I will miss so next session that starts in a month I only have to pay for the two classes I've already taken.

Anyway, that's all I've got to say, but I figured it was news enough to not wait until I could pad the rest of the update. Till then!

Moving on...

Tonight was the first night of the "merge" in the Improv X-ecution. The show started with two nights with 10-12 contestants each, and tonight was essentially the half-way mark and we merged the two nights into one show, which is why this update is on a Monday night and not Sunday. Anyway, I once again have made it through to another week, and tonight I didn't even need to go to the elimination round! I managed to get a group of four people to come to the show, two of whom I knew. But I'm not complaining, afterward I got to hang out and make some friends and had a great time.

Unfortunately however I may be put in a position where I have to voluntarily drop out of the competition. I had an interview today with what would be called a dream job, working at a travel agency near UCLA. I think the interview went really well, I sat and chatted with the lady for an hour just swapping stories and being friendly. I think it went well but there is only one spot available. Anyway I won't have to wonder that long since she said she would be calling tomorrow. The problem this job would present is the mandatory couple days of training in Phoenix, which would mean I would miss another night of the X-ecution and would have to drop out since I already missed a night to do the showcase at the Ice House. In hindsight I wish I hadn't missed the other night but I don't think I had even applied to this job by then. But if this is the way things have to be then this is what will happen. Everything happens for a reason. I'm still waiting on Victoria's Secret who said they had to check on our references and would be making a decision this week. Everything happens for a reason. If I don't get this great job then I can still do the X-ecution. If I do get this job then I will have my first "big boy job" with full-time hours and benefits and some semblance of financial independence. I'll know tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Any job where one of the departments is called "intimates" is a place I want to work

This week has been a week of progress on the job front. I have had three (yes three) whole interviews so far, and another on Monday. One of my friends Stephanie knew that I was looking for work and she suggested I check Victoria's Secret where she works. Now I know what you're thinking, there are no guys working at Victoria's Secret. Oh how wrong you are. All those bras and perfume have to come from somewhere and that where is the stock room, which is where I applied. You can't expect all those princesses to carry boxes full of bras can you? So a few days ago I interviewed for the stock room position, which I'm pretty sure is as good as mine, I mean, he gave me a tour of the stock room after the interview was over and then talked about scheduling. That's usually a good sign.

This morning I also had an interview with this local cafe that serves sandwiches, frozen yogurts, and crepes. This sounds like a chill place to work, but upon meeting the manager I realized that it would probably suck. You start at minimum wage, and there are times when you might be out at markets or festivals cooking for a lot of the day for a flat rate. That flat rate? Less than minimum wage. Plus the owner was just sketch, I wasn't sure how he felt about me and I have no idea if I even made an impression. I asked when I might know if I got the job and he said he would just call. I was like, Ok, will I have a set schedule? He said, probably not at first, just whenever I need you I'll call you. Oh no that's total fine Russian dude, I don't really have a life of my own, I'm just going to drop everything I'm doing so I can sell frozen yogurt to yuppies.

But then later I got a call from Victoria's Secret and I'm thinking, "Good news!" In reality it was another manager and they wanted to interview me for a position on the registers. I'm thinking that's good, because now I double my chances of getting offered at least one of the spots. The interview though was odd. One of the managers sat down with me and five other people! It was a mass interview and a very odd experience. The one good thing was I got to see how other people were answering the questions and it re-affirmed my belief that a BA was a good thing to have, because there were apparently only two of us who had ever heard of a complete sentence before. I think I did well in our group interview, I'm willing to bet that I'll be offered a job selling underwear, so I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Of course the interview for the job I really want is on Monday, which I'm excited for. Monday is also the new day of the improv competition and the second class in the Groundlings. I think it might be Labor Day too, or is that next week? Anyway, I don't have much planned for this weekend, possibly hanging out with some people who live in the Valley. Other than that, it's ear drops and tea to fight back an ear infection I developed early this week.

Anyway, if you haven't checked out my Youtube videos please do, and otherwise I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Wow I guess what it rains it pours. I'm finally getting some interviews for jobs, in fact, this week I have four! Alright technically one is for an unpaid intern position, but the other three are actually pretty good jobs. Today I got an e-mail from a travel agency that caters to college students. I could not be more excited. Alright, first of all it's perfect for me; it combines one thing I love (travel) with something I'm really good at (sales). Second, they've got locations all over the world, and you get travel discounts as part of benefits. That would be awesome. I've also got an interview to help write a non-fiction history book, which believe it or not, is something my degree actually qualifies me for over other people. Take that engineers!

Of course, there's no guarantee that I'll get any of the jobs I'm interviewing for, but at least the next session of Groundlings starts tomorrow so even if I don't have a job offer in a week at least I'll still be a little busy. I'll say this though, it's much easier to be hopeful about living here when you've got opportunities coming your way.

And check this out, my Youtube channel is apparently the 89th most subscribed to comedy channel for the past two weeks. So if you haven't caught the fever yet, check out some of my videos.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Maybe good news

Tonight was another edition of the Improv X-ecution and it was a nailbiter. So next week we merge the Sunday and Monday shows and tonight they had the audience vote on whether they wanted to save all six of us left and let us all go through. The monsters voted to still vote one of us out. That of course meant that I would be back on the chopping block again and of course I was. This time there were only two of us and they made us both give a sermon as preachers using an object as a metaphor. Luckily they gave me Sham-Wow, so I needed to give a sermon using Sham-Wow as my metaphor for God. Unfortunately unlike the other times I've been in the elimination round the other person I was with was really good. They counted the audience vote 3 times and at the end there was a tie in the audience vote, meaning it got down to the two judges. And they decided to send us both through to next week. The audience was even chanting to send us both through, apparently they wanted blood, but didn't want the responsibility of actually voting someone out. I'm obviously happy with the result, but man do I wish I could have more people coming to keep me out of the elimination round.

Afterward I took part in my weekly celebration, going out to Dillon's Bar to get a beer. I went out with another contestant from the X-ecution and one of his friends works at an office where they might be hiring someone to work the phones, I job I did for years back in New Hampshire. We swapped e-mails and tomorrow she'll let me know if they have a position for me. This would obviously be a huge break for me because it would let me stay in town for longer than just three months and would give me some more time to do the things that I want and make me feel like I've given LA the time it deserves.

On a completely unrelated note, I played soccer yesterday and I feel terrible. It's the first time I've run a full field for the whole game since my operation a year ago (yes it's actually been a year) and I could feel it. I'll just have to keep going back until I don't feel quite so awful after each game but man, now I know how my Dad must feel.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Trivia is serious business

This week has been pretty uneventful aside from the interviews and the job searching which of course is still ongoing. I had my interview with the video game testers and I thought I did really well. Unfortunately they said I would probably have to wait 2-3 weeks to hear back from them and find out if I have a job, which seems to be pretty much par for the course at this point. I will be shocked if I don't get a job with them, I am just about the most perfect candidate the could have and I don't really have any prior time commitments that would prevent me from coming in any given day of the week.

Anyway yesterday was pretty fun because I met up with a few people and went to a trivia night down on Wilshire Blvd. Now when I think trivia at a bar I think short little questions and it maybe takes an hour. Not at Q's Bar. This took nearly three hours, there was probably about 25 teams, and everyone took it incredibly seriously. We did pretty well until they asked for the names of the four songs from Paula Abdul's first album that were in the top 50. Ya right. Anyway it was fun, and I'll probably be back next week, gotta win.

Anyway, the Youtube project is ongoing, I'll be posting the link to my videos on the bottom in case anyone missed it the first time. I think it's going well, it's not meant to be outstanding in quality, but more a portfolio builder as well as a proof of concept. If I can do this every day and have a quick turnaround then it shows I could do daily comedy writing. Presumably anyway.


-Happy Trails!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Youtube project

Two things:

First, tomorrow is my interview at 2k games to be a video game tester. I was talking to my Mom earlier today and I fully fleshed out why this really is the perfect job for me. I've been playing video games since I was a baby, I schooled my brothers and their friends anytime we played, my history and poli sci degrees have given me an analytical and detail oriented mind, and I'm a night person anyway (it's a night shift). There's really no reason I shouldn't get this job. If I don't get it I am at my wits end of where to go next.

Except for this one thing that's actually kind of exciting. I have recently been experimenting with a one-minute comedy bit every day that I am posting on Youtube. The idea came from a friend Kia who said that if I wanted to get a comedy writing job the best thing short of being asked right after a comedy show and having an agent would be to make work for myself. So every day I'm gonna cruise the news sites, find four or so headlines and write really short joke/punchlines for them. Think an incredibly shortened Daily Show. Basically it's an experiment for myself to see if I can write mildly funny topical jokes every day on short notice and have a quick enough turnaround to get them out. It's also a good thing to be able to show someone a portfolio of work that I may have and see if anyone likes what they see.

I would love if people could watch and pump those view counts up, and subscribe too if you can! The link to the videos is at the bottom. Feel free to let me know what you think as well, and remember, it's still early in the process so they will be incrementally changing.


Happy trails!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunny Sunday

This weekend has been pretty low-key, some stand up and some job searching, that's basically it. In fact I wouldn't be even writing something tonight if I hadn't had my showcase at the Ice House tonight.

A few months ago (you may remember) I tried out at the Ice House in Pasadena to perform at their weekly showcase for up and coming acts. That was a month ago and tonight was the big night. I thought I did pretty well, decent sized audience and I actually got some laughs. I got to talk to the host and the owner of the Ice House a little bit and will hopefully be back again in the next couple of weeks to try out again. Best of all, they gave me a free drink ticket so I got to sit back and watch some comedy with a beer. Not too bad.

Like I said, that's pretty much all I've done this weekend. I've been working on scripts for a little Youtube project that I'm going to be starting up and I've started to apply to radio stations all over the country because I figure if I can get on the air anywhere then it's a job worth moving for. Tomorrow is sign ups for the next level of Groundlings and hopefully the day I hear back from In n Out burger about organizing a third (third!) interview. Other than that, the job search continues.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Graduation Day!

This is going to be a short entry, fair warning.

Today was the last class of my first level class at the Groundlings when we were told whether we would be going on to the next level or told to retake the first level. I was given good news and told that I would be going on to the next level of classes, which is fantastic. My teacher Kevin was very helpful and told me that even though he was moving me on there were a few skills to focus on and to make sure I get down pat as the next classes start. Improv at this point is an always evolving skill so I appreciate the faith Kevin showed in me and respect his opinion in regards to my level of skill.

In all honesty though I was really sad to see the first level end. The group of people I was taking classes with were all really terrific. They all represented the first group of (dare I say) friends I had when I moved here. I will miss them all terrifically. The picture up top was taken by one of the students who is a photographer on the side and is pretty great. What you can't tell is that he has a really nice camera and the picture has a really high resolution, you'll have to take my word on it.

Anyway, tomorrow is some more job searching. Today I had my second interview at In n Out Burger which I thought went really well. They were looking for "bubbly" and I think I delivered. I think it's a good sign when you hardly talk about the job at all and just make friends with the lady who's interviewing you. If she wanted friendly I'll give her friendly damnit. She said I should be hearing from them by Monday if they want me to come in for a third (third!?) interview. For God's sake, In n Out is like applying to the FBI, if I get the job I better be getting back rubs every hour on the hour. I still have my interview to test video games on Tuesday and I'll be calling back a few of the places I've been applying to in the past couple days, we'll see. Tomorrow night I'm going down to Culver City to help my friend Mike break in his new apartment and meet some new people. I'm think it will be like a college party with more hipsters and "actors", should be fun.

On a side note, if you absolutely must buy a folk rock album, make it Mumford and Sons. I was given a copy by my friend Jon back in NH before I left and hadn't really gotten into them until now, but they're awesome, give them a shot.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I have some awesome friends

Well I have once again left Mitch at Burbank airport and set off alone back to Studio City. Mitch got on his way on Tuesday after missing his flight on Monday, he had managed to read the second flight on his itinerary and we got to the airport much too late. So we hung out for another night and he took off Tuesday morning. At my Groundlings class we had a replacement for our normal teacher Kevin. This new teacher Colleen was actually a little more helpful to me, she's a bit more direct and clear-cut. I don't dislike Kevin but it was refreshing to learn from a new teacher. Tomorrow is my last day of classes and I find out whether Kevin suggests I move up to the next level of classes or whether I need to retake the first level. Frankly either one presents a bit of a problem. As I don't have a job, retaking the first level is not an option since I can't afford to pay for class again. But if I do move on and I take the classes than I have to find a work schedule that works around the classes. Hopefully I can take night classes this time.

Speaking of finding work, being unemployed sucks. I am beginning to panic and on some level regret my choice of moving out here. For one thing I now have much less money then if I had just stayed in New Hampshire. For another I've just set myself months back in a job search if I do need to move home. Everyone says it's who you know and not what you know, but I don't know what to do if I don't know anyone? Finding a job is now keeping me up at night and is making me like this city less. I know I'm just getting bitter, but I hate the fact that employment is the deciding factor in chasing a dream.

That said I feel like I'm doing a little better finding a job now that I was a few weeks ago. I have an interview at In n Out Burger tomorrow and I have another interview on Tuesday as, get this, a video game tester. The hours would suck but they pay overtime and it would at least be a steady gig. I spent today going up and down Studio City just filling out applications wherever I could. Something has to stick, at least that's what I'm hoping.

When I got back though I had a great surprise. My friend Jon (or maybe his mom) sent me a "nerd survival package" of 5 or so comic books and handwritten note. It was unexpected and really made my day, reminding me that whether things work out here or not, I have friends back home and going back to NH wouldn't be the absolute end of the world.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Weekend recap

Once again, to answer the obvious question, I'll be going back to the X-ecution next Sunday once again. This week I actually managed to avoid the elimination round. Mitch came to the show as did my friend Mike and apparently there were a few other people in the audience who voted for me too! That's pretty encouraging because I don't think either of them will be there next week so if I have some people already on my side then I am in ok shape for the coming weeks.

Anyway this weekend has been pretty busy. Mitch's stand up classes ended yesterday and we went down to Culver City to meet Ryan, a friend of Mitch's who went to UNH and I sort of knew. We went out to eat at a Brazilian gourmet pizza buffet. It was absolutely delicious. Have you ever had chocolate and strawberry pizza? Find an excuse to try, it's amazing. I think the place must have just opened because the manager or owner kept coming over to ask how the food was, and the two waitresses were just awesome. It was a really good time.

Today I met up with Gina again at Dodger Stadium. We got to see the Dodgers play the power of the mid-Atlantic, Washington Nationals. Surprise, they won. But Dodger stadium is very cool, I like it much better than Angel Stadium. There's still something about Fenway Park but I can see why Dodger's Fans are so dedicated to their stadium. And it's set in the middle of a ravine with absolutely awesome views of mountains, and if we were on the other side of the stadium we could see all the way to downtown. Going to the game also gave me an excuse to try out what passes for a subway in LA. It was actually rather pleasant and fast and I wish they had stops that went places I usually go, or there was some better transit options in the Valley than buses. Knowing LA it will probably take them 20 years.

Anyway, tomorrow Mitch heads home and then I'll be on my own again. This coming week will be the last week of Groundlings classes and I'll find out if they let me go through to the next round or not. I've got my fingers crossed. Other than that I'll still be looking for a job, which is still ongoing. Ugh.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I am just so Hollywood

These have been a long couple of days.

Yesterday was Mitch's first day at the comedy seminar/class and apparently he really likes it. He's meeting a lot of cool people and it also means that this weekend I'll be able to see some acts for free with him and that's always cool. Unfortunately it also means that I need to wake up to drive Mitch over the canyon to get to his class that starts at 9. Normally that's not so early that it's torture, but given that the canyon road is only one lane in each direction, it gets pretty old pretty fast in the morning. Mitch, understanding this, wakes up a little earlier than I do to buy me a doughnut at the local bakery on the corner, which pretty much makes me whole day start off right.

This morning I had to be up anyway so I could go to my Groundlings class which was again really fun. Right after class I had to drive straight to Santa Monica to get headshots done by a teacher of another one of the girls in the class. I'm getting a great deal because a lot of times when you get headshots or photos done, you have a half hour session and the photographer just wants you out the door. Touchups aren't included and you get maybe two different "looks" which are exactly the same as everyone else. The guy I went to did the normal shots that everyone needs and then had me change and do my hair up and all this other stuff and took a whole heap of shots. He's going to do some touchup work and is sending me the entire group of pictures on a DVD. Plus I got a discount. Now usually headshots are like the calling card actors give to casting directors to get parts. In my case I thought it was something that as "an entertainer" I would need sooner or later. Having good headshots means I can maybe try to get work in commercials or something, and it means that I can apply for sketch comedy groups that might be looking for a certain type of person. If nothing else I have some really nice Christmas photos and some new ways to do my hair.

Tomorrow is another job searching day and this weekend is a comedy weekend. I'm going to see the Dodgers play on Sunday with Gena from New Hampshire and then another round of the improv X-ecution Sunday night. Should be fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mitch is back

Loyal readers will remember that Mitch is the friend who I drove across the country with about a month ago. Well apparently we have come full circle and Mitch is now sleeping on my floor back in LA. After a month of doing comedy and odd jobs in Portland, OR. A few days ago Mitch got a text message from a comedian here in LA that he did a little bit of work with in college and he was invited to attend a comedy seminar at the Comedy Store. Mitch isn't quite sure what's going on but he heard comedy and came running. Today after my class I picked up Mitch at the airport and tonight we went to go see a show at the Hollywood Improv where Mitch's comedy friend got us free tickets. Couldn't get us around the two item minimum buy though. The show was pretty good, some comics better than others but I'm glad I got to see some professional comedy for a change.

Tomorrow will be a big day because I will be having my first official interview for a job, and it only took me a month. I applied last Friday for a position at In-n-Out burger (sort of a high end fast food joint) and went in today to meet the manager and show her who I was. She immediately asked if I would be able to come in tomorrow. I thought she was asking if I could start tomorrow, but alas, it is only an interview. But that's a start! The position is a cleaning crew position, basically you go in in the wee hours of the morning and work until the store is squeaky clean for them to open at 10. I assume you work the whole time but some nights you might get finished before the store opens. I don't really know, and though the hours may suck it will still be a tremendous improvement over not working. I'll just need to come to terms with the fact that I went to school for four years, have two degrees, and I'm waxing the floors at a burger joint.

-Happy Trails!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Still kickin...

Well tonight was the second night of the X-ecution improv competition. To cut off the obvious question before it's asked, yes I'll be going back next week. And yes, I had to go to the elimination round again. From what I heard I had a grand total of one vote in the first round. But in the elimination round I again got the most laughs so I was fairly comfortable that I would not be eliminated tonight. That makes me the only person to have been in both elimination rounds in the past two weeks, which actually might be to my advantage. With any luck I might start to hold a psychological edge on everyone else and they'll start to be scared to be in the elimination round with me.

Afterwards I was approached by a few people who were there for another contestant Grey. After chatting for a bit and making friends we went to grab some drinks at a bar right next to the stage. We wound up staying for a few hours and having some fun. They were all transplants to LA like me and a few were actors and all that entails. Most of them were having trouble finding jobs too, but to be fair they were looking to act first. I'm just trying to live.

Anyway this week should be fairly exciting. Mitch is coming to visit on Tuesday and staying till Friday. There will be the comedy festival Mitch is going to so I should be able to at least pop in and see some good acts. I made some connections with Grey and his friends and they live close by so hopefully we'll be hanging out. Other than that, hopefully I'll be hearing back from a few jobs and getting some interviews. Well probably not, but I can dream.

-Happy Trails!