Friday, June 22, 2012


The reason why I chose to pursue my masters degree in criminology was two-fold. First and foremost, I felt my employment status at the time did not reflect what I truly wanted to do in life or what I was capable of doing. Working security for a nightclub that had no room for promotion and a commissioned sales job reliant on quotas, led me to a very unhealthy lifestyle in which I gradually became depressed, exhausted and without a social life. The second reason for coming was I found myself always talking about ‘Australia this’ and ‘Australia that’ with friends and such. I wanted to continue with my education and felt not only could I go back to Australia and obtain my masters degree in Criminology but because universities in Australia did not require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores as do US universities for postgraduates.

I have always hated standardised testing and while many of my friends slaved away hours a day studying for the SATs for college in 2003 and taking the PSATs numerous times to prepare for the SATs, I went in winging it. I feel a standardised test is just that, standardised. Why try to cram for a test where you should either know the information or not? And because so many of my friends crammed for it, they obtained higher than average scores that did not truly reflect their true knowledge of skill level for a university setting. I took the PSATs scoring 800/1600, and then the SATs scoring 960/1600 and again scoring 1000/1600. No studying whatsoever and good enough to get into Washington State University and graduate with two bachelors degrees.

But at the time, I was also looking at Arizona State University (ASU) and University of Southern California (USC) because of their excellent criminal justice programs. However, all three universities wanted GRE scores of which I refused to pay for to take once if not two or three times on top of study materials if I chose to actually study. So I packed up, left and came here to do my graduate degree.

After obtaining my masters degree, I then contacted WSU, ASU and USC once again to possibly come back to the United States and pursue my PhD in criminology with an emphasis on crime prevention. And once again, all three universities advised me they needed my GRE scores even after obtaining my masters degree. So it looks as if I have to bite the bullet and go full guns blazing for this damn test.

I have signed up to take the GRE in Sydney Wednesday, July 4th (Happy birthday America!) at 1:30pm. I’ll be flying down to Sydney right after work Tuesday morning to give myself time to relax and unwind before doing some last minute studying before the 4 ½ test Wednesday afternoon. Afterwards I’ll do some sight-seeing and relax with friends living down there before coming back up to the Gold Coast for work Thursday night. A relatively quick trip nonetheless, but only with one purpose in mind that could re-shape my academic future.

I’ve also decided to do somewhat of a basic skim of the material, seeing how a lot of it is high school math that I not only failed twice in college, but also haven’t touched it since 2004. So for the next 2 weeks, in between work and sleep I’ll have my eyes fixated to a computer screen and in my GRE prep notes to prepare for this gruelling beast of an exam.

If I pass with acceptable scores, I am hoping to apply at ASU, USC and my alma mater WSU in hopes of pursuing my PhD in the US instead of here in Australia. While these plans are not set yet and anything can change pending what the scores will be and if Bond University ever gets back to me regarding the possibility of doing my PhD here, I don’t want to put all my eggs in one basket…

Until next time.

Cheers and


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Public Transportation vs. Walking

For the past six months while working at Griffith University, something was reconfirmed to me that I have always known throughout my two years of being in Australia, public transportation in Australia is HORRIBLE. It may just be Queensland (aka Translink) or even just the Gold Coast, as I have yet to verify this with Sydney (New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria) or even Brisbane (Queensland).

Not only do Translink services abruptly stop or Translink bus drivers blatantly miss stops or never show up to stops, but the fact that buses start running earlier/later at certain platforms than others is annoying. They don’t sync up! Moreover, with the Gold Coast being a predominantly tourist population, the system overall is always delayed as tourists are continually asking questions to drivers about what stop to get off of, how much the fare is, and what bus they would take to get to such and such destination.

Working at Griffith University in Southport is an easily fun and equally laid back job, getting to and from work though is a whole other story. For my journey to Southport (20 mins by car), it takes roughly 90 mins to get there by bus with one. This means that working 5 days a week, I waste 450mins (7 ½ hours getting TO work) when if I had a vehicle, I would only be wasting 1 hour. Luckily though, I’ve been able to keep busy with PhD readings, GRE studying, etc. On top of that, because of the timing, I can either get to work an hour early, or be late by 10 mins. Therefore, I also waste 5 hours of down time before I actually start my shift. With Queensland security industry standard pay at $24, I waste $120 sitting around at work before starting,

Now, I clock off at 0400hours every night. HOWEVER, the bus from Griffith University does not start running until 0550hours. This means I have to wait almost 2 hours before I can even get on the bus for another hour of travel before getting home; 3 hours total down time and home by 0730hours. Again, 5 days a week, that's 15 hours of garbage time wasted. So I wanted to experiment with taking the 24-hour bus from Australia Fair shopping centre, which is 4km away from Griffith University.

One night, I decided to walk the 4km to Australia Fair after my 0400hrs shift to catch the 0500hrs bus (24-hour running bus to Gold Coast airport) home. Lo and behold, I was home by 0600hrs and typically in bed by 0630hrs. Crazy and annoying that I can either wait for the bus and be home in bed by 0800 or walk 4km (usually takes me 40mins, I walk fast) and be home and in bed by 0630.

But I guess the better question is why I don’t just go out and get a car…

Anyways, just a random observation (and great workout!)

Until then,



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Life of a student actor.

I decided to try something different and get into acting. While I would like to say it’s a hobby, I feel it is something I would definitely spend much more time on doing if something better came from it (unlike my music); therefore, continual courses, films and criticism to help me become better at it. I mean, I’m already a pretty amazing bullshitter. So I told myself, get in touch with a talent agency and begin my quest.

Now something that needs to be mentioned in regards to Australian ‘talent agencies’; they aren’t what they seem. As someone from the US with a few friends in the entertainment industry and in some very high profile feature films, I’ve come to think to get into acting you needed to go to college and study drama/theatre for 4 years followed by doing some small/unpaid roles before getting into the bigger scheme of things. But then, when I came here, I saw all these advertisements from talent agencies looking for people both with skills and fresh to the new industry to represent them and find them work on TV shows, commercials, movies, etc etc.

I was excited when a company called ‘Blackbox Management’ and a representative from them called ‘Anita’ was willing to sign me on and represent me. The only concern I had was when ‘Anita’ stated they needed $180 to start up my web portfolio and get me listed on casting agent sites. I was hesitant but paid the fee as she had told me there was plenty of work out there for me, I just needed to be listed for casting directors to see. After three months of never hearing from her and continually being charged $10 a month for my ‘monthly profile fee’ I emailed the company stating to cancel everything and called ANZ bank to let them know to cancel and block all further debits from the company. I never heard from them other than the initial signing of my ‘contract’ and have found out that ‘Anita’ now works for ‘Showcase Management’ and that ‘Blackbox management’ is no longer a business. A couple of weeks ago, I continually was receiving calls from the company AND HER before putting them on my block list.

Then, about two months ago, I came in contact with ‘Global Talent Management’ and subsequently had a meeting at their office with ‘Danielle’. Again same story of which she had work they could get me, blah blah blah, but that they needed headshots for me as I did not have any. This time around, GTM stated they needed $260 for the headshots with their photographer, Chris Goode. I hesitantly paid, knowing I needed headshots but was content that GTM did not need any website fees, sign up fees, etc. I was also fortunate to meet Chris and immediately get all 300 of my photos taken that day without any watermarks added to them so that I could continuously use them for future use (of which they have been extremely useful). At first, Danielle would send out occasional emails looking for pregnant moms, families, that sort of work that did not apply to me. Then I received emails from her stating she was putting my name out there but getting work was hard because I did not have a standard showreel and would need to come in and get one done for $60 with Chris. I hesitated and decided not to, and for good reason. A few weeks having gone by without hearing from GTM or Danielle, I emailed her to have my message bounce back. Furthermore, GTM’s website was no longer operational and even Chris said he was unable to get a hold of her or the company. However, he did inform me that he believed Danielle was now working for a company called ‘Unique1’. Instead of attempting to pursue, I again kicked myself in the ass, ate my loss and moved on.

I guess the moral of the story is if it’s too good to be true it is and that if a talent agency is asking for money up front, they are usually a scam. Talent agencies are there to represent their clients and issue them work as they are looking to make commission off you if you succeed in getting work. Moreover, there are an ABUNDANT amount of talent agencies that all gloat the same thing: plenty of work, good pay and they want you NOW. Obviously before you go around signing up, do your research or ask around. Look at reviews from people based upon their own experience with these companies (even my own words of advice).

Since then, I’ve done freelancing work on my own and have secured over a dozen roles with Bond University, Griffith University, New York Film Academy, Viscaria Films, School of Digital Filmmaking, Queensland University of Technology and a commercial for Australian Private Hospitals Association), ALL in the span of two months and without any outside help of some 'talent agency'. Some of these have been paid and some have been volunteer work (as they are for student films) but it has also allowed me to cautiously talk to other actors in the industry and get a feel with what talent agencies they are with, if they have gotten any work through them and what they have to say about other agencies. As I always like to say, ‘the art of good business is being a good middle man’. I’ve learned this from Blackbox Management, Global Talent management and through countless actors whom have warned me regarding certain talent agencies on the Gold Coast that boast the same perks but offer nothing but a signed contract that is meaningless and ties you to a non-existent company that isn’t work for you. So on my own I go.

Until then,