Posts tagged nyc
Posts tagged nyc
Since my 100 Jobs 1 Year project is over, I won’t be blogging on my 100 Jobs 1 Year page as much anymore.
Headline literally translates to “Swapped 100 jobs for a year!”
For those of you unfamiliar with Central New Jersey’s biggest newspaper, you may remember it from Clerks.
Wow! This actually happened.
Since the start of my project in January, I’d been signed up to a secret shopper site to let me know about special tasks they’d like me to work. Since my brother’s birthday is coming up pretty soon, I decided to take the opportunity to go to the Lego store in Queens.
As a secret shopper, you have to ask questions and see how well the store associates know their stuff. You also have to make sure they hit all their selling points and that they’re courteous to you as a customer.
I don’t know how, but either these people are nice 24/7 or they flagged me as a secret shopper early on. They were super friendly and helpful. One of them even went into the back a few times to see if they had the specific item I wanted. And this happened during a busy Saturday afternoon.
Instead of getting one of their lego playsets, I got a… Daniel, are you reading this? You’re going to have to wait til your birthday, brother! I’m not telling.
Do you want to be a secret shopper? Here’s the site that I use. If you look for others, make sure they’re legit. Do your research and don’t recklessly hand out your social security number!
Job #29 - Bring Cheer
After breaking a world record, I went downtown to a Ritz-Carlton event at the Metropolitan Pavilion. A charity organization called Special E has a program where they pick up centerpiece flowers after parties and give them to hospitals. Cool idea, right? So we picked up the flowers in order to deliver them the following day.
I’d like to show the smiles on the patients’ faces as they received the colorful bouquets, but had to settle with the smiles of the hospital security guards who would let me go no further. One delivery went to the Beth Israel Medical Center, and the other to the hospital at NYU.
I tried to make one more delivery in the meantime, but they wanted me to come back another time to fill out donation paperwork. I just want to give you flowers! Sheesh.
Job #27 - Comedy Show Promoter
As I learned from my former attempt to sell comedy tickets, if you’re not a salesman, it’s better to take a job that guarantees money. So I found one.
EventPro Strategies hired me to hand out fliers for a TBS-sponsored comedy battle between Columbia and NYU. Piece of cake, we thought.
But if Manhattanites are adverse to taking fliers, Manhattan college students are all the more. Words like “TBS”, “comedy”, and even their own school name couldn’t make them grab a flier. Maybe it’s because they know that comedy clubs charge a cover and a two-drink minimum. And as a college student, that probably means Coca-Cola on the rocks.
We started promoting outside Columbia University, in the same location where I shot Job #9 - Substitute College Student. After that we moved down to Astor Place, site of the coffee house that inspired Doc Oc’s car-throwing scene in Spider-Man 2. Then we headed to Washington Square Park.
Remember (in Job #5 and #18) when I said that short, catchy phrases work the best in promotions? We finally found one that worked: “Comedy show!” Simple and memorable, right? Soon our job was complete! And so was my first sunburn of the year.
Job #21 - Selling Comedy Tickets
Ah, Times Square… huge billboards, the largest video screens in the world… almost every animate and inanimate object tries to market to you- signs, cowboys, video screens, dancers, free samples- to make you get something or go somewhere. With all that competition, a guy has to be pretty persuasive to convince you to get what he’s offering. Add when his wages are solely commission-based, the race is on! That’s where I was on that Saturday.
As a salesperson, it helps to believe in your product. And I know that- although not a stand up comic myself- there’s a plethora of clubs in NYC willing to showcase any level of talent to fill their wallets. Because once you’re in the door, they’ve got your cover and two-drink minimum. Thankfully the club I promoted only premiered talent that had TV credits- from Letterman, Comedy Central, and so on.
You’d think that a friendly New Yorker and the chance of seeing famous comics would convince tourists to want to buy tickets. But I didn’t sell any in the nearly four hours I was there. It was cold. I’m inexperienced. And I’m too nice. It almost pains me to look at that video.
What do YOU think of the people who sell comedy tickets in Times Square?
My temp agency reached out to me to see if I could work at CNN and make packages in their taperoom.
Score! Finally something that utilizes my skill set.
For the less-informed, I’ll tell you- in TV news, a package is a short news segment that’s part of a larger program.
When I arrived, I saw a bunch of packages already made
in the form of cardboard boxes.
Job #10 - Substitute College Student
This is definitely the weirdest job I’ve had so far.
A Columbia student hired me to go to class while she was out of town. I looked like a college student, so no one questioned what I was doing there.
I sat there for an hour-and-a-half and took notes. There was even a part where we had to split into groups and answer some questions, and my group won! We got granola bars as a reward. Good ol’ positive reinforcement. I miss the days when teaching a college student was like training a dog to fetch.
Even with that free granola bar, I’d rather work in the real world. Compared to work life, college is boring. So just in case you think college was the best time of your life, remember:
I wonder if anyone will miss me there. I purposely didn’t make friends so that no one would care that I disappeared.
Job #9 - Improv Show Videographer
Wonder why you never see videos of your favorite comedians from their theater days? Think of Steve Carrell, Stephen Colbert, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler- why don’t you see videos from their time at Second City?
There’s something about the live nature of improv that doesn’t come across on video. In live theater, pauses are valuable in a way they can’t be on YouTube. Improv also feeds of the audience atmosphere to create a scene that can never be as funny when you see it on screen. When my sketch team recently shot The Barista, we edited it down to almost half it’s original length- just because comedy on YouTube has to be a lot quicker to be funny than in person.
I edited the video above to highlight one single idea that spanned Herschel’s 25-minute set. You’re watching excerpts taken from the first through last scenes to show how an idea evolves over a show.
Oh yeah, and for the first time ever, no one came to their show. Gary DeNoia blogs about it here.
Remember my post about working the Tostitos Fiesta in the Square?
I got in OK Magazine!
You can see me in the back, behind Nick Lachey.