During these economically challenged times, I - myself - have been focused on solutions, a way to push out of debt and into the zone of prosperity and abundance. The aforementioned shoot with CN8 required many a stretch on Ant's and my part to make it work. Since this particular client didn't have a budget to send for me or put me up, I had to get creative - even foregoing a good night's sleep in Philly to return home from our busy day of fittings; get dressed (Ant styling me and cutting my hair to save money); and back on the road to Philly (with little to no sleep). It was quite a chore, but one I stood inside of powerfully as I know this is a part of what I need to be doing towards taking my brand to the next level.
Last year this time, I seemed to have all my ducks in a row: a bit of a savings (not an optimum amount but enough for a rainy day); a regular freelance gig on which I was assured from where my next check was coming; and freedom to look into the next chapter of my career - doing more on-camera personality work in the realm of pop culture and entertainment... and that had begun to pick-up - even at that time.
If I did an end-of-the-year review, I can favorably check off my list of successes:
* CN8's 'Your Morning' (for which I did a recent live shot on 'Tropic Thunder'- http://220.127.116.11/PRiley/CN8YourMorning.wmv);
* BET's "The Truth" w/Jeff Johnson - http://18.104.22.168/PRiley/TheTruth.wmv
*'The Hugh Thompson Show' (AT&T's Technical Station) -http://22.214.171.124/PRiley/PatrickHughThompsonShow.wmv
A host of other work, including a money-winning appearance on "Million Dollar Password" with Regis Philbin:
* GENERAL TALENT REEL:http://126.96.36.199/PRiley/PatrickGeneralReel.wmv
And as evidenced in my blog, there has been an endless stream of blessings and opportunities that have come my way.
That said, I too got phased out of that lucrative contract that allowed me to make ends meet, though work continues to come my way from that client... and more. It just requires a bit more of a song-and-dance with creditors and my modest lifestyle. Bottom line: There's less work and piling bills. And both Ant and I are pursuing any applicable work we can attract our way to manage it all. (This, as his work with "The Wendy Williams Show" doesn't pick up until Summer 2009 - so he is applying a slew of places from production companies to part-time work. For me, it's freelance field producing work; voice work; auditions for some holiday singing gigs; etc.) One friend recommended I look into waiting tables or bartending to make ends meet. I have never done such, but maybe this is the reality now. Not sure. I do know something has to change quickly as things are tighter than ever right now.
And I know it's not just me nor just Ant and me. We are clear that we are not alone in our respective plights. Sharing with friends has proven to be healing and has made a heavy situation lighter. This, as we all represent a range of socio-economic levels and professions. But we are ALL impacted and HUMBLED by the LESSONS we are all continuing to learn through our ONE-DAY-AT-A-TIME struggle that we are optimistic will soon pass. But boy! Howthis ECONOMIC CRUNCH has taken a bite out of our lifestyles that only in America we are all privileged to have(and will hopefully have again).
*There's a good girlfriend of mine who just called me. She's inside of a new pattern of chasing checks as she aims to put pennies together to pay rent, etc. One client alerted her they would put the check in the mail to her. She said 'No!!!! I'll come and get it!' This, as she needed the money NOW! She picked up the check and went straight to the bank to deposit it - begging the teller to put the money in as cash instead of waiting to approve the funds. The teller declined her request. She spent the rest of that weekend trying to figure out how she was going to make it through as those funds weren't available until the following Monday.
* Another girlfriend called us recently to be consoled. She is an accountant at a luxury condo (and everybody knows real estate is an industry not immune to these current economic straits). Well, this particular buddy is well-known in our circles as a fashionista. It's probably a bit of a sickness that she has so many great designer shoes and bags, etc. And up to the point where the market took a downturn, she could afford them at a price point of $600-a-pair (though there may be an argument as to why she didn't put some away). With that, she had to return a pair of Gucci stilettoes. She says she was crying as she approached the clerk who wondered 'What is wrong?' She said 'I have never returned a pair of shoes in my life. But I need the money!' Sad, but - like the friends we are (in part because we so understand her plight) - we laughed. In fact, we howled!!!
* In my own household, suddenly a dime is like 'gold' for us. Once scoffed at snottily, the 'change bucket' in the kitchen has proven to be a saving grace on many fronts as we sometimes find ourselves waiting on the next check for freelance work we've done (with no reserves to boot right now). When the food delivery guy comes, we end up going to that 'change bucket' for his tip (That used to be a few dollar bills that these days we sometimes can't access). The other day, a clerk at our neighborhood store must have thought that my partner Ant was'crazed' as he paid for a handful of groceries with 'dimes'. This, because he needed the quarters from the 'change bucket' for laundry (which we normally would send out to the wash/dry/fold but can't afford these days). Oh! How the mighty have fallen... SMILE!
DESPERATE? YES... and DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES! But through it all, there is LAUGHTER!