The New York Transplant

This has already been quite an adventure. It’s only been two months, but I have to say that it is amazing to be back on the east coast. I really missed it. New York City is so alive! The sights, the sounds the smells… I have had a little sensory overload, but I am slowly getting used to it.

I’m currently staying with my Aunt JoAnne in Edison, NJ. She’s lives in a duplex in a really nice neighborhood. The building is split down the middle, so she has two floors and a basement. I’m currently staying in the basement, which is a little dark, but actually has a lot of room. When I got here, I bought a great TV to use as a computer monitor from someone my cousin knows. I also purchased a piano for myself, the new Casio Privia PX-5S, along with monitor speakers for it.

It is really nice to be living with family up here, because I really only saw them during holiday breaks when I was in college. Now, I get to spend time with them when I’m not in the city. I also haven’t had to look for an apartment or a job just yet, so it’s given me the freedom to go to auditions and just get used to the area.

I currently walk about 1.4 miles to Metuchen Station, which takes about 30 minutes. The walk is simple and pleasant, and I see it as one way for me to get my exercise in. The area is quaint, and a lot of the sidewalk is under tree cover, so midday walks are not too bad once I get in the shade. The train is often quite busy, as it travels through Newark Airport and Secaucus Junction. Luckily there are quite a number of express trains during rush hours.

My commute into the city can be a little bit of a pain sometimes, especially when I have to get up early. But being able to focus on auditioning and not having to work right now makes it worth it in the end. I also find that the walk gives me time to think and to work on material, like my songs and my monologues.

I am usually carrying the two backpacks that Kathy gave me. One contains my audition folder, and my iPod with my practice tracks on them. The other contains my dance clothes (should I need them for an audition), food, umbrella and water. I try to be as prepared as I can when going into the city, since I’m usually in for the whole day.

I decided to buy an iPad because it’s far more portable than my Macbook; this way I am able to get some work done on the train or in the city. The NJ Transit train can take about 45-55 minutes to get to NY Penn Station, so I am either trying to work or taking a nap. NJ Transit also uses Amtrak’s tracks, so sometimes we get delays because of congestion or disabled trains.

NY Penn Station is right between 31st-33rd Street and 7th-8th Avenue. This puts me right within walking distance to many of the studios where auditions take place. If I need to go further, I take the MTA (subway). My average travel time is about 2 hours total. Many auditions start at 10 AM, and arriving 1-2 hours before to sign up is ideal (or I’ll be waiting much longer, and might not even be seen). If you do the math, you can see that I have to get up VERY early. I currently try to get up around 6-6:30 AM.

Becoming a morning person again has been difficult; my brain is most active at night! Since I don’t get home until the early evening, I don’t have much time to take care of things and have time to unwind. It also doesn’t help that Hawaii is six hours behind, because I have the tendency to stay up late if I am talking to people at home. Over time, I think that it will get easier though.

I have had to do a lot of preparatory work since getting here. Sometimes I feel behind, but I just trying to push forward and get ready whatever I can. I need to remind myself that this is not a race; things will happen in time. So far, I have completed the following:

  • Prepare my headshots, with two options (thanks to Leah Wilson)
  • Prepare my resumes (theatrical, professional, and other work)
  • Prepare my audition folder (pick and prepare songs)
  • Prepare my monologues
  • Print business cards
  • Set up an online presence (website, Backstage, social media)

It took a lot of time to get my resumes completed, and then I had to pare it down to the single page. I have prepared some audition material, but I’m always trying to find more songs and monologues that I really connect with. I also have to consider age and type too.

I think that having a website and being active on social networks is also a necessity in this day and age. It allows people to look me up right on their laptop/phone if they want to see more of what I’ve done in the past. This is extremely helpful when I submit for appointments and maybe even in the casting room.

The fact that I was able to complete most of this in two months and still get to auditions fills me with a sense of accomplishment. There are always improvements to be done, but I can’t let it stop me from getting out to all the auditions I can. The more practice I get, the easier it’ll get and the more comfortable I will feel.

The next step is to get posting on my blog! Keep your eyes out for notifications on social networks. I have a few posts already in the works. I plan for the next one to be about auditions. Leave any questions for me in the comments below, and I can do by best to answer them!

Pedro Kaʻawaloa
Pedro Kaʻawaloa

Pedro Kaʻawaloa has a BA in Music from Harvard University. He is a professional performer and music director, as well as a choir conductor, pianist, musician, teacher, and composer. Pedro is also a fitness and mindfulness enthusiast.

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  1. Thanks for this glimpse into your new life. Sounds exhausting, but you have always packed your life with lots of work and fulfillment. Good for you!

    • Moving quickly is always exhausting, but I am working on realizing my dreams. It will all pay off in the end. Thank you for your support, as always, Ruth. I have always loved your positivity!

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