I can't believe it's the end of the year again already! This has been a very quick year, full of highs and lows. But I must say, the highs have certainly outweighed the lows. Here's my year in review:
My puppeteer business has been running for one year now. Sometimes I have a few bookings in a week, while other times, the gigs are a little more spread out. I'm not rolling in the cash yet, but it's been great to finally earn money doing something I'm passionate about that I enjoy doing - Something I never experienced in any of the jobs I've had over the years.
This year I've gradually built up my collection of business expenses - Uniforms, a car magnet, a huge banner for the front of my puppet stage... Oh, and Troggg - the big blue monster puppet which I had built to my specifications by an ex-Henson Muppet builder in the US.
As well as the many back yard birthday parties I've done for kids, I also appeared on TV twice with Troggg, had him perform a nightclub duet, had him MC at a film festival, perform at the RNA Showgrounds for the Brisbane Zombie Walk, and appear at all kinds of events that weren't kids' puppet shows. He even got to star in a short film called "Heart of a Thousand Souls", with lines of dialogue and everything! At the time of writing this, the film is still in post production.
I auditioned for "Australia's Got Talent" this year. A stand-up comedy act for Troggg. Sadly Troggg arrived in the country one week AFTER my audition. So I had to use a different puppet for it. Not the same. And I wasn't called back to do the show. I think I'll try again next year.
Much like my main role in "Avenue Q" last year, I was a 'puppetry consultant' again for a QUT film project called, "Cluck - The Web Series". I'm very much looking forward to seeing the final product.
The "Avenue Q" awesomeness from last year carried over into this year, when I attended the 2013 ACT-Up Awards. Our 2012 production of Avenue Q won 'Best Publicity', and we won runner up for 'Best Set Design' and 'Best Programme'.
I auditioned for a production of "Little Shop of Horrors" this year, and then did the puppeteer workshop for the show. I didn't end up performing in it, which opened up my schedule for plenty of other puppet gigs through my business. I attended one of the Little Shop performances and it was great!
A small film crew recently started filming footage for a documentary about me too, which is nice.
Impro / Improv / Improvisational Theatre:
Impro has been a big part of my year. I first started playing impro keyboard with ImproMafia around Easter time in 2011.
This year, in addition to my weekly shows with ImproMafia, I also got to play during the heats of "Youth Theatresports" (a competition between different high schools).
I also started doing quite a bit of work with Edge Improv. From a detective/noir-themed show called "Hard Boiled Dick" at the Brisbane Fringe Comedy Festival, to several "Gorilla Theatre" shows. It's been fun! I'm always learning new things, and I feel my playing has improved a lot since I started. I still have a long way to go, though. But all the extra practice this year has been good.
Winning a Molkie Award (like a fun, local version of the Logies) was a bit of fun earlier this year. My ex Jen and I each won a trophy for appearing on the nationally televised "2012 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala". For just sitting in the audience and laughing while comedian Sam Simmons climbs off stage and sits on Jen's lap.
An old friend and band mate from my days in the ska/swing band moved into my place in August. Living alone had its charms, but it's been great to have someone around to bounce ideas off and share funny stories with. I think it's very lucky that she was needing a place to live in Brisbane at that time, because the financial struggle was really starting to drag me under. Hooray for splitting rent and bills between two people!
I posted in January about focussing on my own life and trying to forget about the idea of finding happiness with someone else. So I've been keeping busy running my business and looking after number one. Occasionally a bit of that loneliness would creep up on me, though. So I thought I'd sign up with a couple of those online dating sites. I had a few dates here and there throughout the year. Most of the people I met were actually a bit scary and borderline psychotic, sadly. I went out with one girl from a dating site for about three weeks, and she seemed nice enough. But that all fizzled out pretty quickly. I've been in a much better place recently, though. I deleted my dating profiles, realising that all of the most meaningful relationships I've had have been with people I've met in person first.
I'm happy to say that for the last week and a half, I've started seeing a very lovely girl whom I've actually known for about seven years! We've known each other only very casually for all this time. But right now, we're enjoying the time getting to know each other better. It's so nice to spend time with someone so positive and easy going. Someone so passionate about her interests in the same way that I am about mine. And it's comforting to know that she's seen all of my highs and lows over the last seven years, and is completely understanding and accepting of these things.
When everything went horribly wrong towards the end of last year, I chose to turn it all around into a positive and throw everything I had into starting my own business. I like to end my years on a high, and it looks like this year's ending on a huge high as well.
I've met heaps of new friends this year through my various puppeteer adventures, impro gigs, and film and TV involvement.
And 2014 is looking very exciting! My business can only get bigger from here. I already have some bookings, including a couple in the outback towns of Injune and Roma (all flights and accommodation included)!
And I'm waiting to hear back about an exciting puppet project for the 2014 "Anywhere Theatre Festival" as well.
Perhaps Troggg will make it onto "Australia's Got Talent" this time around! The possibilities are endless.