Tuesday, May 3, 2016

“If I Hear of Anything, I’ll Let You Know.”

NYC 1987
“If I Hear of Anything, I’ll Let You Know.” 

We’d flown in from New Zealand and were sleeping on the floor of Andrew’s apartment on Seventh Avenue.
From there to begin our new life in America! 
But our money was going fast.
Of course, being artists, we didn’t have much to begin with. 
It didn’t last long in the city. We spent it like fools, of course, seeing the sights and having fun. Andrew knew some interesting people so every night it was something new! 
After only twelve days, we had spent about half of what we could spare. Arithmetic was never my strong suit, being as I said an artist, but at this rate I figured we’d be broke by next Tuesday afternoon, any way you added it up. 
So, with reluctance because it had been a great holiday, I realized it was time for me to start looking for a job. 
In a bookstore on 64th Street that specialized in the theater I found a volume listing New York City theater arts producers, film and TV companies, advertising agencies, and the like. It was a massive tome, ridiculously expensive, exhaustive in its listings, covering every conceivable kind of show business enterprise. 
Even wig cleaners and piano tuners were listed.
I hadn’t realized how much talent it takes to light up old Broadway.
I started calling them, one by one. Not the piano cleaners or wig tuners, of course, not at first, but I called any company that sounded remotely as if they might be interested in animation or needing an animator. 
Each morning after breakfast at the apartment I would take a stack of quarters downstairs to the Greek diner, say hello to Nick, have a cup of strong coffee and start dialing at the pay phone in the corner, pencil poised over notebook to write down any leads I might be given. 
Of course, non were forthcoming. I exhausted the actual animation production companies on the first morning. Even in a city as large as New York, there were just a handful. 
Then it was on to theater companies, film studios, advertising agencies, etc.
Nobody was very interested. 
Most of them didn’t even want to see my demo reel. 
“Why can’t I get through?” I used to ask myself. 
It was frustrating. 
You’d think I was trying to make an appointment to come in and take a big, steaming crap in the middle of the conference room while their dear old mother was forced to watch, after I had first fornicated, very verbally and roughly, with the office copying machine, the way they were responding to me. 
It was always, “I’m sorry, we don’t do much animation. Where’d you say you were from? You’ve got a funny accent. Australia? Yeah. Sorry.”
“I’m from New Zealand,” I said. “But I’ll change to an Aussie if it’ll help me get a job! Do you know anybody that’s doing animation? Perhaps you have a name of someone I could call?”
“Nope. If I do hear of anything, I’ll let you know. Good luck.”
“But you don’t have my telephone num...” 
And that was one of my more successful calls.
At least I got to talk to somebody.

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