Thursday, January 18, 2007

I've Got Some Living To Do

One thing I've been concerned about, in my discussions with myself about how long I should stay on my career trajectory, is what would I do with my time if I quit working for a while? This is a sort of fun game to play with myself and it actually makes me think a bit because I'm pretty sure that (absent the sure-to-exist prodding from Mike), I could probably close myself in my apartment for a couple of months and lie on the couch in front of the tv getting fistfuls of Cheeto dust all over my laptop computer. While that is a lovely thought, it would not be good for me. I know this because inactivity and lack of purpose tend to spiral me into depression. And the last thing I would want to do with my time off is be depressed. I can be depressed just fine as a working stiff getting a paycheck, thank you very much.

So I've been coming up with ways I would spend my time. This week I bought a membership to LACMA (including a Muse membership, which opens up their young artists and art enthusiasts events, like ArtWalk and a costume ball, to me and Mike) and I signed up for a 5 week art studio class there. LACMA is literally 4 blocks away from my apartment, and we've done very little there since we moved here. If the first class I take goes well, I hope to sign up for others as well. I've also decided to start working on art stuff at home and to set up a space devoted to art endeavors. I've been hesitant to do so since I moved in with Mike because I never bought an easel or anything - I typically just spread stuff out on a table (or on the floor) and worked away. The existence of a cat makes the calculus of doing artwork a bit more complex, so my paints and pens and other art goodies have been packed away for almost 3 years now. It is time to break them out.

Also, as I've mentioned before, I'd like to get into some regularly scheduled yoga classes. For some reason I've hesitated to sign up for things like that after work because my schedule with work can be erratic (I shouldn't care and I should schedule them anyway, but for some reason I just can't do it). If I stop working, it no longer will be. I look forward to that. I'll also sign up for a weekly women's golf league that is held at my regular course every Tuesday morning (while I'm usually working), and maybe take some lessons as well.

Mike and I are also looking into going in on studio space with some music friends of ours. This could be a really big thing or a kind of small thing. Mike's big hobby is music mixing/recording/editing. He just bought a full Pro Tools set up (at a great discount, thanks to his employer) and he has always had a music studio room in his home for the last decade or so. He spends probably, on average, 10-15 hours per week doing music stuff with his gear.

We have some friends who do this sort of work professionally. Two of them live here and are doing their work out of their homes and one of them lives in Dallas and has a small studio there. We have been in discussions with our Dallas friend for the last year or so about him moving out here and us putting together a commercial studio around him. But he lives in Dallas, so who knows if he would really come out.

However our friends here are fairly definite that they would go in on a studio with us. One of them just quit his job to try to pursue music work full time, but has nowhere for his gear (roommate situation, etc.). So in the immediate future, we might start looking for a space with him (and see if our other friend here is interested as well). For us, it could be net neutral from a money standpoint. If we rent a studio space and our portion of the rent is $1000, for example, then we can also move into a smaller cheaper apartment since we'll no longer need the studio room.

But the more exciting prospect is what happens if our Dallas friend decides to give it a go out here. Mike and I are aware of (1) his talent, (2) his book of business, and (3) his (and Mike's) contacts. And we'd be willing to give a studio built around him a try. Obviously, if I'm not working and we decide to set up a studio of some sort, I'll have lots of free time to handle logistics, and try to get things up and running. And I'd probably get more involved in the work too. Mike's going to get Pro Tools certified sometime soon (his company will pay for it) and we've discussed whether I should try to learn Pro tools basics, or maybe even learn some video stuff (always a useful skill in this town), like Avid. One possible corollary to our forming-a-studio business plan could include setting up an Avid room too, for use by our Dallas post-house friends on their quarterly trips to LA and for renting out at other times at market rates here.

I'm actually really excited about all of this stuff. I'm not sure why even other than it is new and exciting and way more entrepreneurial than anything I've ever tried in my life. I'm so excited about it that I feel a bit goofy even talking about it, because I worry that maybe I'm being a silly pie-in-the-sky optimist, which is totally against character for me, so it is hard to reconcile that feeling.

But surely, truly, really, emphatically, doesn't that stuff sound better than practicing law? I think so.

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