Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Detour or not Detour...that is the question...

Things I have discovered:
- new environment + no work+ no companionship = anxiety, helplessness, and isolation
- repetition = boredom
- repetition + curiousity = discovery

I've been spending about half to 2/3rds of my time at the parks...there's a distinct amount of time playing "catch-up" - timw spent riding the rides you love, enjoying the attractions from memories past. Then there's discovery - discovering new, unpatronized, missed, or previously closed attractions - over a dozen total, half of which were Magic Kingdom and Epcot. After that, there's curiosity. First day at each park was centered around fitting in as much as possible..yet the last day at Magic Kingdom was discovering details - corners, dead ends, patterns, surfaces...and the question is: will another day at the others reveal the same?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Right Reasons...

I've been feeling conflicted over the last day, and it became more apparent as I whittled away the day at Epcot yesterday...

I've been excited about Imagineering since the middle of last year - getting to design environments and places that are theatrical combined with the environment of a place that, when experienced, becomes magical. From the moment I was introduced to it as a spectator, I believed in the idealism of it - the desire to shape the world into a future of joy and fun and making things work. Design with a purpose. Dreaming towards the future.

As the dream took shape as a plan, certain things came up. The Fiancee did not want to leave NYC. I was fearful of this, but needed to continue nonetheless. I would have to move to Florida if I was to do this for any extended period of time. The same feeling. California has most of the Imagineers. But I want to be near the parks. a lot of uncertainty about everything but the grand prospect of finding a dream job.

I knew for certain that I was unhappy in my previous job. I constantly felt pushed around, underutilized for my talents, and knew that I wasn't growing creatively. I had also known months before that I was straying from my path - that I wasn't doing what I needed to be doing. I was terrified to return to freelance out of fear that I wouldn't be able to make a living. I was unhappy and I knew I needed to do something to get away from that. Every moment seemed to be about wanting to escape from all my stressors. About not wanting to deal with the world around me. For those who have been through the same, I have heard that this is typical...

And then I resigned, and then freelance begin while I prepared for this month.

and everything changed.

We all want certain things because of what we may lack - certain emotional necessities, that when fullfulled, negate the pull that the want has on our lives. I was a designer in a production-centric company with a huge lack of structure. I was either to scared or not ready to take control of it, and felt surrounded by too many people who were pushing for their own things. I work better in collaborative environments with clear communcation and clear structure.

Although I was able to complete my work, it was killing me emotionally. every time I tried to create structure for myself, I never felt like I had the time to make it work. too many demands, too many people, too much chaos. It still makes me want to scream when I think about it. Like my creative voice was being ripped out of my mouth every day. I was told by the Boss when I left that he felt that I had always done a good job, but I have found it difficult to believe anything I was told, good or bad, by anyone there, because there were so many different voices saying completely different things - after a time, all voices had lost credibility. Everyone had criticism of everyone else.

And now, having stepped away from it, I feel like I can breathe again. And discovering that there are people out there who want to work with me on projects, and who want to help me build a business, and will do it on my terms...

It changes everything.

I no longer need to get away. in fact, I no longer want to. I get to, and in many ways am forced to take charge in order to make it work. I'll have to be willing to make a complete fool of myself, whichis one of my big fears. I hate looking like an idiot. Yet here I am, admitting my fears, so that i can no longer use them as excuses to anyone.

I get to be creatively challenged by working on new things and new subjects - I can create the opportunites to do what I want as a freelancer..I can dabble in subjects and mediums and can decide who to work for and not. I've always operated off the professional assumption that I'm just a fish in the pond next to a lot of other identical fish - that I depend on others saying "you are different" for individuality rather than going out on my own and distinguishing myself from the other fish. I have made a habit of waiting for calls rather than calling and making things happen.

So where does this put me with going for Disney? Now, I no longer want to "get away" - I don't want to be gone for long periods of time. I also discovered, walking through the parks by myself, that a good part of the fun it going there with other people - sharing it. I also don't want to be trapped in a position anymore. The people I see on LinkedIn are 5-10 year veterans, not independent contractors. All the reasons for doing this have been dissolving, and I feel like I'm not reaaly pursuing the leads that i could because my wants have changed, and that my perspective has widened - that I see so many more possibilities...and that, unless I can do it on my own terms, that the commitment will take me too far away from the things that I really find important - too much compromise for too little payoff.

I'm a firm believer that you are the difference that you make in the world - and have felt that, when out of work, that I am making no difference at all. That I, in many ways, don't exist.
Believing in myself has been difficult. to be clear, I know that I am talented, smart, and organized. I can be thoughtful, giving, compasionate, diplomatic, friendly, and outgoing. But I havent had confidence in that...for whatever reason...survival at the Job, reacting to my environment, etc. it doesn't matter, really.

The Fiancee has been believing in me all along, through my doubts about myself and the hatred I had of the situation I was in, and I feel like I've been betraying her trust by not believing her, by wanting to get away, and for making her feel like her opinions didn't count. I haven't been involving her, and when she has tried to help, I've been stubborn and made excuses. She's deserved better than that.

In the end I get to decide how best to use the month. is Disney the objective? only if brings me happiness, and only if the conditions are right. i know what I don't want to compromise on. and that's where i need to grow. Living the life i want isn't always about keeping to something no matter what. it's about growing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The first day.. a first obstacle...and the reason why I'm here.

So, after a unique and exciting afternoon in the Magic Kingdom, done as a treat for myself before getting to work, I wake up earlythe next morning, get dressed in my good suit, and head to the casting center. it's everything I had heard of (the entrance rotunda w/statues, the ramp with murals) and I begin to wait by the reception desk to see if I can set up a walk in interview. after a few minutes, a man walks by, and when asked if I can see someone in professional recruitment, tells me that they (nor the guest services) does walk in interviews.

I was shocked. EVERYONE had told me to do the walk-in...however, everyone I knew had been working there for a few years. Had the job market gotten that competitive? were the pickings that slim? I headed back to the apartment, the wind slowly dissipating from my sails...what do I do know? How am I supposed to get a job now? I had been looking at the professional job boards for weeks, and knew that the pickings were slim. And after getting back, a similar look at the guest services (7.50 an hour jobs) made me feel worse? Would I be stuck here with nothing to do but wait?what would be the purpose? should I just cut my losses and go home? The fact that what I felt was the first and 90% only step in getting a job there, I was at a loss for what to do.

So I napped and went into a daze. I knew it wouldn't help, but I also knew I had to go through it.

The Fiancee texted a bit later to ask how it was going...and I told her. She reminded me that it was only day 1, which at first made me feel worse (what do I do for the next 27 days?) and that there were more ways to go about this that the burecratic way - and in the end, she was a great help. i put a shout out on Facebook to see if anyone knew anyone, I texted my friend inside (who told me he'd check with a friend inside) and I wrote to all the contact people I had within the company.

In addition, I decided to make a list of things I could do to continue to be productive, whether they were Disney or not (freelance, enjoy the parks, etc.) and the reminder to myself to get out of the house, which is so deathly quiet during the day... In the end, I have to remember that I'm here to have fun. I came here because I thought it would be fun to be here and work here, and that if I didn't enjoy it, to go back home. I can sit in front of this computer and search all day for freelance, and names of Disney people, but if I'm miserable doing it, and missing out on all the stuff that I love to do here, it's not worth it. So, off to Epcot!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Retasking the blog...

So, having abandoned the bookstore project (until further notice), the blog is being re-used for my current project - to find design work at Walt Disney World. More soon.

Monday, October 1, 2007


An anonymous commenter stated recently that the new Pistilli Co-op apartments at Astoria Park  " should be demolished and some real 2 family homes put up there instead, ones that reflect the real character of Astoria, not some marketing scheme ".   Although I disagree with some of what they said as, in the end, it is all a matter of opinion. 

I realized there was an important question to be asked, which is: 

- What determines the character of a neighborhood?

- Is it static, or constantly evolving? 

- Is bringing in something adverse to what the community has been a good or bad thing? 

The more questions I ask, the more I realize that there's no right or wrong answer. A neighborhood is more than its housing, and character is more than just style or tradition. The Riverview apartments have the potential to be their own community, as can the Acropolis complex. Personally, I have always wanted there to be loft apartments in Astoria...and bringing in people who can afford the apartments may also bring in a demand for nicer cafes, stores and the like. 

Logistically, it would seem that the building is creating MORE housing than if two family housing were built in the same location. Is it creating more expensive housing? From the perspective of a renter, yes...most of the mortgage payments plus maintenence is beyond what I can comfortably pay per month. However, the asking price for the units is a bargain compared to the rest of the neighborhood for purchasers. In addition, most of the new two family housing that has been built in Astoria could be considered as equally gaudy as what the Riverview is to it's detractors.

And quite frankly, I am of this opinion: If you've going to criticize something/someone, be specific, be articulate, and be thorough. Otherwise, you end up lacking credibility, which has more impact than all your words combined. Most of the hostile and impassioned words spoken on the subject of the building have been written poorly, vaguely, and inarticulately...which, as I hope, is not a reflection of the people who have written them. Nothing worth writing has been written quickly. I wrote this entry over the course of a workday, and am glad for it. 

Choose your words carefully.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The List... (no, not the one on Heroes)

1.Get others on Board
make list of all existing helpers and projects
send e-mail to all survey responders
compose survey e-mail
re-assign all current participants
write city officials
press release
blog entries
meet with Bill Everson
meet with Mano
meet with Fatty's owners

2. Create Fundraiser
Expand BYOBook party idea
Ask Amanda to help create/organize event
List possible venues
Create fundraising goal
Discuss ways of funding with Dana
Create way to donate thru blog
Contact blog readers and astorians forum about involvement

3. Plan for Investors
get in touch with SCORE experts
research bookstore plans online
acquire bookstore/retail supply catalog online
Daedelus Bookseller Info
Email to Andy about figuring out costs
Look back and review current plan

4. Business Costs

5. Create PR awareness
approach schools about being supplier/after school programs
approach board of education about supplying
talk with principals about possibility of after school programs
start posting more frequently in Astorians Forum
start asking questions to others in forum
ask Bill to plug idea
ask businesses to post teaser poster
create teaser card
possible naming contest
ask forum members to spread the word
approach SITE design

6. Location
approach commercial real estate brokers
get a sense of median prices
find commercial real estate lawyer

7. Branding
Call Dayna about logo design
Period graphic design sources research
Shop America book
Official concept statement
Design for swag
Mugs shirts stationary glasses bookmarks stamp invoice
Storefront teaser posters
In-store graphic design
Library card design idea

8. Design Concept
re-visit concept statement
organize appropriate research
collect/scan period research
create style guide

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Creating a plan...to keep moving forward.

Ironically, the very thing I've been putting off is the key to getting things done.

Along with being occupied with other projects, I hadn't sat down to create the list of what I needed to get done to move forward (planning my work) - and, as a result, once again, it's kept me from making progress.
And it's not just making the big chores list, but also splitting it into the small chores list - the laundry list that can be done piece by piece, in no particular order.  and if those tasks still seem too big, it can be split into something smaller..until, even if it is 1000 tasks, they are all manageable.  like a 1000 piece puzzle, it will get easier as you go along.  so the next post will be that list...by section/subject, from the basic to the specific...reverse engineer what needs to be done.