It's now just over two weeks into what's supposed to be my epic, slow-paced, vagabondingesque traversal of these grand United States and I'm quite certain you're just DYING to know what I've been up to! So, where am I?
Camping at Yellowstone?
Blogging from what's left of the top of Mount St. Helens?
Tweeting from the edge of the Grand Canyon?
I'm in Seattle. (Sad trombone.)
"Seattle," you're thinking, mouth agape, "But Matt! Why are you still there?? It seemed like you had finally achieved the necessary escape velocity! What happened? What about leaping?? You were supposed leap!!"
OK, yeah... I know. But, here's the deal:
As my departure time of "early morning, June 1st" quickly approached, everything was going according to plan.
- Final Mad Science shows were performed.
- Last day at work was completed.
- Goodbye party was thrown (see above photo).
- Moving sales were endured.
Then, on Memorial Day, literally TWO days before I was supposed to leave, I awoke much too early in a panic at all I had left to do. Before attempting to squeeze in an hour or so more of sleep before another day of packing and filling my vehicle, I figured I'd check my phone to see if I had gotten any e-mail. What was sitting in inbox that morning ruined not only any chance I'd have of falling back to sleep, but would guarantee that I wouldn't be leaving Seattle when I'd planned.
Flashback! January 2011!
It's the dead of winter and yours truly is battling Seasonal Affective Disorder and a severe case of depression over having to endure yet another miserable Seattle winter.
To feel like I was at least doing something to eventually get me out of this city were I to ever get this book finished, I searched the Internet for job opportunities. My expectations were kinda low: it had to in some way use my performing background and it had to be somewhere warm. That's when I came across the Carnival Entertainment website. One of the positions they had listed was:
Become part the award-winning entertainment staff aboard Carnival’s “Fun Ships.” Carnival is looking for fun-loving, energetic individuals to be part of our team and help our guests create a lifetime of vacation memories by hosting activities, shows and special events. Full training is given but a strong theater background and some microphone technique are essential. The primary role of a entertainment staff or hostess is to assist the cruise director daily to create a fun and entertaining environment for the guests, as well as help cruise director and assistant cruise director in the overall management of the entertainment department. Entertainment staff are charge of running majority of the activities that happen around the ship and are often called upon by both guests and crew to answer questions involving all facets of the ship, including schedules, safety, concessions and ports of call. As such, prospective entertainment staff must possess interpersonal skills and must be organized and motivated. Essentially, middle management in the entertainment department, entertainment staff are often responsible for ensuring information and e-mails are properly communicated, essential paperwork is complete and meetings and drills are attended by all members of the department.
Totally what I was looking for, right?
Besides, I'd always been interested in working on a cruise ship but never seriously considered it because I could neither sing nor dance. But here was a position that required neither!
Carnival was also the only cruise line was that accepted video auditions via the internet so I fired up the ol' Sony Vegas and edited together the following:
Not bad, huh? I gotta say, I surprised even myself with how well it turned out. Plus, after feeling out of my element for so long, it was good to be reminded that I'm actually qualified to do more than sell books and entertain small children.
I submitted the video to Carnival on February 13th and, less than a month later, I received the following e-mail from them:
Your job application for Entertainment Staff was reviewed and one of our Supervisors will be in contact with you for the interview.
Goodbye short days and gloomy weather!
Hello cloudless skies and crystal blue water!
This was going to be great. Plus, don't worry, I wasn't going to put all my eggs in one basket (he said while putting all his eggs into this convenient wicker carrying case).
Then, I waited.
As the weeks passed, my enthusiasm waned. It seemed this would be yet another in a series of disappointing "could have beens" that started the minute I decided to be an actor.
Since I'd put so much work into editing the video, I went ahead and posted it over on my Vimeo page and got a lot of great feedback. It really encouraged me to look more into other cruise ship and performing opportunities. I needed to get moving again. I needed to get in front of larger audiences.
And hey, if Carnival wouldn't call me, maybe I should go to them! Since they're based out of Miami, I'd found yet another reason to head back to Florida. Now, while I didn't want to move back for good, that goofy little peninsula has always been a great jumping off point for me. Plus, a lot of people I care about are there (along with a lot of my old stuff). Also, my former employer, Universal, is still there but, more importantly, so are all the cruise lines.
I needed to get back.
So, I finished the first draft of my book and starting planning my road trip. I also prepared resumes and applications for all the different cruise companies. My plan was to submit everything right before I left Seattle and, that way, instead of me sitting around and waiting for a response, I'd be doing something really fun, something for me. No rush guys, I'll just be over here road-tripping.
This was gonna work.
Cut back to Memorial Day and I'm checking the e-mail on my phone when I find a message from someone named Eric from Cast-a-way Casting. He was wondering if I could make myself available for an interview...
DUDE. I was overwhelmed with the cautious joy of a nerdy teen who's just realized he'd have to miss that Lord of the Ring marathon he's been anxiously waiting for because he just might actually have to go to the prom. With the girl he thought had rejected him, no less!
Obviously, I was thrilled they'd responded but I now had to change all of my plans at the last minute. Thankfully, my studio apartment hadn't been filled yet so my landlord was more than happy to get another month's worth of rent out of me. Plus, my friends at Mad Science said they'd do their best to keep me busy. And remarkably, it seemed I now actually had the extra time I'd wanted to get rid of some more stuff and (dare I say it?) enjoy Seattle.
My phone interview with Eric was last Monday (June 6th) and it went well enough for me to get an official invitation to the interviews, which were Wednesday. I don't have time at the moment to get into too much detail but let's just say it went extremely well. I'm still planning on leaving Seattle at the end of the month but there's a pretty good chance that, when I eventually get to Florida, I might actually have a job waiting for me.