<![CDATA[Ned Donovan - Blog]]>Fri, 12 Feb 2016 04:29:20 -0500Weebly<![CDATA["I'm a Wreck, but I'm Okay"]]>Thu, 11 Feb 2016 21:31:48 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/im-a-wreck-but-im-okayPicture
"How are you doing?"

"My condolences on your loss"

"I'm so sorry for your loss"

"My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family"

Well intentioned, and heartfelt phrases are said in my direction about 50 times a day at this point. They are as required a social contract as "Hello" and "How are you?" Every single one that comes builds me up, and improves my mood. What I can't describe, and what I'm acutely aware of, however, is the weariness with which I respond to these sentiments. When my father passed away, I found myself trying to respond to each outreach personally and individually, because I wanted everyone to know how much I appreciate their words. This became impossible very quickly, and so I prepared a list of stock phrases that I hand out now like candies. They are wearisome, they are cumbersome, and I hate the obligatory exchange it has become. 

"Thank you, I really appreciate that" has become my standard reply. Last night while talking with a close friend, what was so refreshing was that we had a great conversation without it ever coming up. When I mentioned offhandedly that I had a lot of things on my brain, he responded with "I know that life," followed by an awkward pause, and "though not exactly. You know, my condolences, and all that." It was so honest, and it was so real. All I could do was laugh, and laugh I did, it was one of the most cathartic exchanges possible. I just want real interaction, and real conversation. People underestimate the power of ​laughter. You don't need to handle me with kid gloves.

​So how am I?



"I'm a wreck, but I'm okay" is the closest I've been able to come to explaining where I'm at. People are incredulous at my lack of collapse. The shock they express that I can be grieving and be fully functional is weighing heavily on my mind. If you ever met my father, the first thing you learned was that no matter what he was going through, he was going to stay proactive, and he was going to keep living his life, keep accomplishing things every day. I am my father's son, and so I approach my life the exact same way. I've thrown myself into previously committed projects, I've worked on my father's estate, I go through his house planning the next steps, and I reach out to people when I need it.

In the aftermath of sad events there is a protective feeling that comes over people to ensure the sanity and happiness of those affected. The problem is that there is a weariness associated with dealing with those instincts. When 300 people are trying to protect me, I don't have time to protect myself, I can only worry about their worrying of me. It's counterproductive and exhausting. I'm here to tell you that I am the master of my own happiness. Happiness is a frame of mind. I could wallow, and grieve, and mope, and I'd be fully justified in those reactions. I would also not be truthful to myself or my father in doing so. So instead I am forging ahead. I have my bad moments, and in those moments I reach out to someone to help me get back up. 


People feel helpless in these situations, I understand that. I think that is a noble feeling, because it implies the help they wish to give to those going through bad times. However I think that feeling of helplessness is important to acknowledge, because the following sentence is one of the hardest ones I have to respond to multiple times a day, "I wish I could help" or "I don't know how to help", or the worst "I just feel completely useless in this situation."

You can't actively help, and that's okay. There's no solution to this situation. My father passed away barely over a week ago, and the only way to heal that is time. Even then it's something that I'm sure will never go away. Please don't try to make it go away, that feeling is my connection to Dad. That anguish fuels me to be better every day, to keep achieving, to keep pushing onwards. That's why I haven't collapsed, that's why I'm fully functional, and that's why I'll continue to answer "I'm a wreck, but I'm okay."

Because I am okay, really.

ADDENDUM: I received a very poignant text from a friend of mine after he read this in which he made a very important point, and he's right, so I'm adding it here. There are hundreds of people coping with my father's passing in their own way, not just myself and my family, and their grief is just as real and just as important as mine:

"
The only other thing I’ll say is remember that those 300 people trying to protect you are also grieving themselves, and that’s part of the reason they feel the need to be there for you, helping others process grief helps us process our own."
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<![CDATA[In Memoriam: William Michael Donovan]]>Sun, 07 Feb 2016 03:26:57 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/in-memoriam-william-michael-donovanPictureJune 16, 1953 - February 3rd, 2016
Hey everyone,

​On February 3rd, 2016, my father, William Michael Donovan, passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 62 years old. We held a memorial service today, Saturday February 6th, 2016, at the Liberty Bell Church in Allentown Pennsylvania, with Pastor Bob Stevens presiding. My brother and I kept the service simple, and easy, just the way he would have liked it. We celebrated the wonderful man he was, with great family and friends, followed by a gathering at the Allentown Brew Works to raise a glass to Michael Donovan.

Treasured family friends spoke or read today, so thank you to Bill Hoffman, Carol Pulham, Bob Stevens, Ce-Ce Gerlach, Mark Smith, Don Ringer, and Joyce Marin for lending their voices to our celebration of Dad.

I wish I had more to say, but it's just been a long week. I'm sure there will be more in the coming days and months.

At the request of many, I'm going to give record of the service we held. Below you will find each of the readings that were read, as well as the full text of my words I spoke in honor of my father. 

Thank you to everyone who has been here for me in the last week. Your support has meant the world.


Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep
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James 2: Verses 1-4, 8, 14-18
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Chuang Tzu 18: 6-8
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To Those I Love and Those Who Love Me
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The Road Not Taken
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In remembrance of William Michael Donovan
Saturday, February 6th, 2016

​Hey everyone. Hey Dad. Here we all are. Not a bad turnout for a guy who almost exactly one week ago told me that a room that would hold 40-60 people would be more than enough. I wish you could see how people from all sides have come together over your passing. I mean, Mayor Pawlowski wrote you one of the most beautiful notes out of anyone, and he gave me a personal phone call that meant the world to me. On the lighter side, I received a letter from a former student of yours who you stayed friendly with. And apparently you kept telling her that she needed to meet and go on a date with me. So her email basically summed up by saying "soooooo, should we do that?" I've never met her, so I haven't answered her yet. Is she cute? You don't have to answer now, you can tell me later. If you answered now it might legitimately terrify everyone in this room. But seriously, Dad, I’ve received an absurd number of letters from people who include some variant on the sentence “I disagreed with your father on most things, but...” followed by a sentence invoking your integrity, your honor, your steadfast truthfulness, and your adamant conviction in your beliefs.
 
But more than that, they cite your humor, your grace, your loyalty, your passion, your honesty. You describe yourself on your website as “Urbanist, Thinker, Optimist, Cedar Crest College Associate Professor of Business, Partner with Koa Labs in Cambridge, MA., former Allentown City council VP. Also very lucky to have experienced a wonderful and interesting life with setbacks now and then.” We should all be lucky enough to describe our own lives that way.
 
But that’s what made you wholly unique, Dad. You earned respect from people, and you never demanded it. You never belittled people, you always made sure to hear the differing opinions. When you were going through hell, your path to salvation was to go help someone else find theirs first.
 
The night you died I walked into Ringer’s. I found a quiet room with about 6 patrons. I walked straight to your favorite table to sit down and have a beer in your honor, and I was stopped by a man at the bar. He said “Do you mind not sitting there? Could you sit at any other table?” I stammered and mumbled a confused apology and moved to the next table over. He followed up with “It’s just, a great man passed away this morning, and that was his table.” It was in that moment I saw the single rose in a vase sitting in the center of the table. And I realized everyone in the room was staring at me with the same, protective expression on their face.
 
That’s the power of you, Dad. I have letters from all over the world, from people on all walks of life, with no discernable emphasis towards Gender, Politics, Race, Religion, or any other defining feature. Well, with one exception, like 1 in 3 women who wrote me have told me that you had a crush on them, and that you used to flirt with them, you Casanova, you. But you truly were a man of the people, all people. And when I say all people, it’s important to note I don’t just mean the little guy. There’s this common misconception that “Man of the people” simply means you’re a Robin Hood, giving a middle finger to the establishment. I have countless letters from members of that establishment, expressing their sincere grief at the loss of your presence in their life.
 
And you inspired people. I mean people would walk through fire for you. My god, over there is Will Boyajian, one of my closest friends from college, who in a matter of seconds of my asking on your behalf, agreed to play music at your funeral. In one short conversation with you a couple years ago, you inspired him to leave the United States and go teach theatre to Ukranian kids at a summer camp outside of Kiev. That is an absolutely insane sentence to say out loud. You inspired a movement here in Allentown, a movement that cannot be stopped. You inspired me to follow my dreams.
 
Because you always followed yours dreams and goals, in your own way.
 
You wanted to play first base or coach the first base line for the Boston Red Sox so you coached my little league team.
 
You wanted to be the Mayor of Boston, so you successfully ran for and became Vice President of the Allentown City Council, and then ran for Mayor giving the aforementioned Mr. Pawlowski quite a run for his money.
 
You wanted to reach the pinnacles of higher education, so you became a teacher that challenged students at an Ivy League level. I received a letter from a former international student at the Southern Maine Community College. He holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Graduate degrees and yet still names you as his “best teacher” and says he often found himself wishing his Phd professors were half the teachers that Professor Donovan from Community College was.
 
You were robbed the chance of raising one daughter, so you raised your two step-daughters as your own.
 
You wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail, so you took your sons on hiking trips to the Appalachian Mountain Club and taught them about nature.
 
You always wanted to perform and sing on stage, but that terrified you, so you made me do it. Well I followed my dreams. Dad I now make most of my (remarkably meager) living as an actor.
 
You wanted to see the world, so you inspired your other son to spend almost the last 10 years traveling the globe working in the fields you always loved.
 
You wanted to make a difference in the world, so you traveled abroad to bring a wholly unique educational experience to kids in Ukraine.
 
You wanted to meet your Grandson, so you hopped a plane to Dubai because you happened to be in London. Which, what?
 
I could keep going, but I hope you get the picture. You, Dad, inspired hundreds of people, many of whom sit in this room right now.
 
So now we come to the part where I have to wrap this up, figure out how to say goodbye to you, and acknowledge that this might be the last time anyone ever sees me talk to you directly. Because make no mistake, I will talk to you every day, I just probably will try and avoid looking like a crazy person.
 
So, thank you, Dad.

Thank you for supporting my dreams.

Thank you for inspiring me to be a better person.

Thank you for showing me the way I hope to always treat others.

Thank you for making sure that you were always a constant, positive presence in my life, after moving to Pennsylvania, despite living hundreds of miles away.

Thank you for sending me to college, a debt I can never repay you (and will never repay Sallie Mae)

Thank you for always including me in your life here in Allentown.

Thank you for teaching me about how to be the father I one day hope to be.

Thank you for the laughs, hugs, stimulating conversation, guidance, debate, friendship, and most importantly, love.

A friend of mine’s sister passed away suddenly around Christmastime. There was a loud outpouring of support, not unlike for yourself. Through the powers that are terrifying of Social Media, it made its way to your feed. And you followed the story closely, bringing it up to me quite a few times. She was 22 years old. Far too young to go, her family would have been well within their right to sit down, and shut themselves off to the world, allowing grief to rule them for a little bit. And no one would have thought less of them. A Jewish family, they sat shiva at their house, but they hung a sign on the front door that read,

“Dear friends, thank you for being with us today. This is not a house of mourning, it is the home where Jordan lived, was loved, and will always be remembered. Thank you for joining us in that spirit. Warm laughter, happy memories, hugs and smiles are encouraged.”
 
That message resounded with you, Dad, and so it’s the spirit I choose to hold myself. When we leave here today, we’re all gonna stroll up to the Allentown Brew Works, (literally all of you, come) where I’m going to have a beer (hopefully in your #4 mug, Fegley’s, can we make that happen?) and I’m going to swap stories with your friends and family. I’m going to have a smile on my face, and the same twinkle in my eye that you got when you talked about something you cared about deeply. And I’m going to continue living my life to the fullest, just as you taught me taught me to do.
 
Goodbye, Dad. I’ll see you when I see you. But not yet, I’ve got a whole world to inspire first.
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<![CDATA[New Website!]]>Wed, 09 Sep 2015 13:23:00 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/new-websitePicture
Hey everyone!

Thanks for checking out my new website! It's a period of new beginnings for me, what with new headshots (taken by the fabulous Chris Macke and Danny Bristoll), a new Equity card, I'm freelancing with a new agent, and a new set of audition songs, I thought a new website would go really well with all those things! The content is mostly the same as the old site, but over the next few weeks I'll be rolling out some rewrites and updates to all of that, so be sure to stay tuned. In the meantime if you have thoughts on the site, or possible edits/improvements, don't hesitate to drop me a line or leave me a comment!

Thank you for continuing to support me!

~Ned

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<![CDATA[Let It Go / I'm Blue Skies]]>Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:14:02 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/let-it-go-im-blue-skiesPicture
Hey everybody!

Today I have some VERY exciting news!  I'm excited to unveil to the world a song/music video almost a year in the making.  In 2014, Christina Carlucci and I were planning on doing a New York City cabaret.  We brought our Andy Collopy on board to music direct it, and started brainstorming what exactly we wanted to do.  The one thing Christina wanted, was to sing "Let it Go" from Disney's Frozen.  As we were brainstorming how to put it in our show but have it be unique and different than any of the other covers of the song, I mentioned offhandedly that the song had always reminded me of "I'm Blue, Skies" by Cheyenne Jackson, off his pop cd I'm Blue, Skies. Quickly we realized that we should do a mashup of the two songs, since they were lyrically and thematically so similar.  We hired my good friend and composer extraordinaire Chris LaRosa to arrange it for us.

Well then Christina booked work on a Disney cruise ship, and we had to cancel the cabaret.  However we were stuck with this incredible arrangement and not sure what to do with it.  I called my childhood friend (and composer/guitarist extraordinaire) Marcus Bagala to see if he had access to a recording studio, and of course, he had incredible equipment set up in his home studio in Astoria.  Christina and I sat down, and decided we would studio record the track, and we'd film the session to make into a music video.  My friend Garrett Kafchinski was brought along to record and direct the video for us, and then Greg LaRosa (Chris' brother, and drum savant) was brought in to play the Cajon on the track, and Kate Marley was brought in to make us look pretty with her Makeup intelligence.  One night in March 2014, we gathered in Marcus' apartment and over quite a few beers and pizzas, we recorded the track.

At this point it seemed to be smooth sailing, and then of course, life got in the way.  Marcus started working for a couple major television shows, and the final mix of the audio was put on the back burner.  Garrett started working on some major film projects and didn't have time to edit the footage for us.  Christina was on a cruise ship, and I was working in upstate New York, and the whole project got put on hold.

This winter I decided to change all that, and forced myself upon Marcus to finish editing the audio (I bribed him with beer).  I got the footage from Garrett, taught myself Final Cut Pro X (an unnecessarily confusing program), and began editing the project together myself.

Well here it is, it's finished, complete, kaput, done-zo.  Check out our video below, and if you like what you hear, leave us a comment/share it with the world!  If you would like to download the track, it's available for free on SoundCloud.com!

Check out the original tracks below!
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<![CDATA[Night of the Living Deb - Behind the Scenes]]>Tue, 10 Feb 2015 20:04:46 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/night-of-the-living-deb-behind-the-scenes Hi everyone!

I've been a bad blogger, and 2015 is the year I try to fix that.  I also say that every year, so we'll see if that actually works this time.  However some exciting developments have been going on in my life!  Since last time I wrote, I wrapped my first feature film (Night of the Living Deb) as a Stunt Coordinator, I took part in a production of Damn Yankees at the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, and I played my first romantic lead role since high school in White Christmas at the new Jenny Wiley Theatre in Pikeville, Kentucky!  Now I'm in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin at The Fireside taking part in the ensemble of The Wizard of Oz and understudying the scarecrow, tin man, and cowardly lion!

Night of the Living Deb, however, is why I'm writing now.  Our behind the scenes footage guru David Meiklejohn put up some footage from week two of four from our shoot in June which features a lot of the work I got to do, including my featured zombie role! Check out the video below, and stay tuned for release information, it's gonna be an awesome movie and I can't wait to share it with you guys!

All my love,

~Ned
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<![CDATA[Night of the Living Deb - Feature Film!]]>Fri, 30 May 2014 15:50:43 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/night-of-the-living-deb-feature-filmPicture
Hey everyone! 

I am so excited to announce that I'm heading up to Maine for a month-long filming process for a feature film!  It's a Zombie Romantic Comedy called "Night of the Living Deb" written and directed by Project Greenlight winner Kyle Rankin!

I am coming on board as a Stunt Coordinator (alongside my partner in crime, Nick Shuhan) as well as a Stuntman and will be playing a small role in the movie.

The movie is sure to be fantastic, I've actually been following the movie for a few months prior to getting asked to do the project as it is starring a couple of my favorite actors from TV and Film.  I first heard about it through the twitter account of David Krumholtz (Numb3rs, Serenity, The Santa Clause - IMDB page).  He announced he was joining the cast of a movie filming in Portland Maine, and my interest was officially piqued.  Then I saw the male lead was being played by Michael Cassidy (Argo, Men at Work, Smallville, The O.C. - IMDb page) and I got really excited.

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from my good friend and all around mentor/guru Mark Bedell asking if I was free to head to Maine to take part in a zombie project filming in Maine, and the stars aligned.  After talking to Kyle, talking to Nick, and reading the script, I can tell you that this is going to be an awesome project, and I can't wait for you all to see it!  Kyle's put together a fantastic team, and the script is absolutely hilarious.

To learn more about the film, and to contribute to its fundraising (every little bit helps make a better product!) visit its website at www.nightofthelivingdeb.com!

Below is some information on the Cast and Crew of this film as well as the AWESOME kickstarter video showing some of the effects we'll be using!

*UPDATE* Also a 207 interview with Kyle Rankin and Michael Cassidy about the upcoming film!

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Kyle Rankin - Director - IMDB Page

Career Highlights

Kyle attended the University of Maine Orono where he founded the Film and Video Club.  He now lives in Los Angeles as an independent filmmaker.

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Maria Thayer - Deb - IMDb Page

Career Highlights

Maria Thayer studied acting at Julliard in New York City, and now lives in Los Angeles as an actress.  She also appeared on Arrested Development, during the Netflix produced fourth season.

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Michael Cassidy - Ryan Waverly -IMDb Page

Career Highlights

Michael Cassidy studied acting at The New Actors Workshop in New York City, and now lives in Los Angeles as an actor.  

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David Krumholtz - Treat Waverly - IMDb Page

Career Highlights

David started on Broadway at age 13 in Conversations with my Father and in film was part of the iconic Tim Allen movie, The Santa Clause. He now lives in Los Angeles as an actor.  He currently plays Gigi on the viral website, www.weatherfrom.com

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Ray Wise - Frank Waverly - IMDb Page

Career Highlights

Ray Wise is a Los Angeles based actor.  He has been featured on many television shows such as Chuck, and The West Wing.  

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<![CDATA[Remember, Remember the 5th of November...]]>Wed, 06 Nov 2013 06:05:10 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/remember-remember-the-5th-of-novemberPicture
Hey everyone,

Tonight, at around 1045pm, my father conceded a Mayoral race to the incumbent Ed Palowski.  I could write at length about the problems with this race, and about the admiration I have for my father for fighting as hard as he did (and accomplishing as much as he did), but I'll narrow it down to a few bullet points because there's a wider point I would like to talk about.
  • 60-40%. That is just about the percentage my father held for most of the night as various precincts reported. It varied on either side of the numbers a few times, but averaged in around that (EDIT: Final is looking like 61-39%) 2/5ths of Allentown residents believed that the incumbent mayor (who was projected to win by at least 80-85% of the vote) is not doing a good job and that it's time for a change. This is the message my father sought to bring to the forefront during his campaign.
  • 11.7%. My father raised $13,140 to the mayor's $112,135 (mostly outside money) in this race. (Source: Lehigh Valley Live) That's 11.7% of the mayor's total fundraising, and still he took 2/5ths of the vote.  This is before final budgets have been published, I will update these numbers once everything comes out.  Also it was pointed out to me that the last time Pawlowski ran, he raised almost a quarter of a million dollars, and he wasn't running for Governor. This time, while raising money for a Gubernatorial bid as well, he raised less than half of that?  There's some money left over from four years ago that's going to come out in final budgets is my guess.
  • The mayor ran an aggressive "Get Out The Vote" campaign throughout the day, driving voters to polls and knocking on doors, paying reportedly $100/day to do so. Something my father simply can not compete with.

However there's one thing that I will remember about today more than anything, and that is the power of the party line.  You see, something I never knew, is that in some states, you don't have to read the ballot at the top, one of the first things you are asked is "would you like to vote for a specific party?" Press the democrat button and voila, your vote is tallied, you didn't even have to see the candidates.  The same goes for Republican.  Now whether or not you agree with a two party system, this already put my father, running as an independent, at a severe disadvantage, because any party-line vote excluded him without his name even being seen by the voter.  This meant at every polling station we were imploring people to not vote party lines, and to read the ballot.  Even if they voted party lines in the end, they needed to take the time to recognize each race and who was running.  According to the mayor's wife (who was at my polling place all day, and, by the way, is an extremely nice lady who had wonderful conversation with me for the 13 hours that we polled together, and I wish her and her family all the best in the world) a large amount of voters take this option and vote their party line.  

Now I grew up in a state where I don't remember this being an option, ever, sure you could vote all in one party, but you still had to fill it in as such yourself, and when I voted in New York State, it seemed to be much the same.  The reason that this is a problem, is it does not support the American people it supports the American political machine, locking in the two party system even more concretely, and not allowing people to make up their own minds, issue by issue, candidate by candidate.  It locks out third party options and essentially nullifies their races.  However there's an even bigger issue, and that issue came to play in Allentown on November 5th.

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If no one is challenging the incumbent mayor, that mayor only needs 100 write-in votes from the others side in the primary to get their name on that ticket.  That's right.  Ed Pawlowski had 100 people write in his name during the Republican Primary where there was no candidate for a Republican to run in the election, and became both the Democrat and Republican nominee in the mayoral election against my father.  I could talk for hours about the ethics behind this, but I won't, except to say this:  By acknowledging that you think one way and simultaneously claiming that you think another, you are either showing yourself to be a flip-flopper at best, or showing yourself to be a career politician at worst.  It shows you are willing to mislead a people in order to gain an upper hand, and that is an immoral way to lead.

However that's not the problem that happened in Allentown on the 5th of November, 2013.  What happened in Allentown was Ed Palowski just stole the vote of every single person who decided to vote party line.  Let's say a Conservative Republican walked into the voting booth, not knowing that Ed Pawlowski was the Republican on the ballot (something the Palowski campaign kept carefully quiet for this campaign, and something we fought to educate voters on at the polls).  They get to the option of whether they would like to vote on a party line, and say vehemently "yes, I am a Republican, and dangnabbit, I'm going to vote only Republican. I don't want to select each option individually, I'm just going to click this button that says Republican."  Congratulations.  You just voted for Ed Pawlowski, a democratic Mayor.  Let's say you're a Left Wing voter, who hates everything conservative, and is as liberal as they come.  You walk into the booth and say "yes, I am a Democrat, and dangnabbit, I'm going to vote only Democrat. I don't want to select each option individually, I'm just going to click this button that says Democrat."  Congratulations, you just sided with your arch-nemesis the conservative voter, and voted for Ed Pawlowski, a democratic Mayor.  The worst part is, there's no way to check what happened.  You can't select the option and have something pop up that says "Are you sure you want to vote for _____" or "Please review your choices".  Your choices are set, and neither of those voters would have ever even seen my father's name on the ballot.

That is not right.  You know what, no.  That is dumbfoundedly, mindblowingly, outrageously wrong.  It is unethical, it is governing by deceit, it is lying to the people, it is manipulating a system, and it is 100%, absolutely legal, it is good politics, and utterly immoral.  In today's day and age of increasing partisanship, when people more and more are voting party lines, more and more people are going to take the option of voting by party; the inability for them to even know that a third option exists is a slap in the face to our political process, where an Independent on the ballot has just as much right to be there as a Republican or a Democrat.  

Beware the Party Line Vote.  Beware people who let their party think for them rather than them thinking for themselves.  And beware systems that make decision for you based on a set of values that someone other than yourself prescribed for you.

It is time to bring the message to the people of Allentown, that this well-oiled political machine needs to be broken.  It's time to start governing for the people of Allentown, not just the rich, white ones.  It's time to start working to better the city, not line people's pockets.  And tonight was the night that Allentonians announced they do not want a Part-Time Mayor, and I think that point was made, loudly and clearly with 40% of the vote.

Look, I'm not saying that W. Michael Donovan, the Independent Candidate for mayor would have won without the Party-Line vote option.  However if we're saying that 40% of the voters who came out to vote, decided to forgo that option, and vote for my father, and the Mayor's Wife says that a large amount take the party-line option?  Let's assume a large amount equals 30%, that means that the people who actively made a choice to vote for Pawlowski without the Party-Line option, comes to 30%, and my father takes it 40%-30%.  Now I'm not naive enough to think that the people who chose party line did so without knowledge of my father.  But many of the Republicans I met today who came out to vote, were unaware that voting the party line meant voting for Pawlowski.  So all I'm saying is that if you take away the confusion, you force people to make a choice, then you actively reduce the gap between the two candidates, and I'm guessing (and this is all conjecture) down to at least 55%-45%, maybe lower.  

It seems fitting that today was the Fifth of November. The day of the old Guy Fawkes poem.  A man who decided that the monarchy had overstepped its boundaries, and that the citizens had been forgot along the way.  A man who decided that the Monarch had taken over, and it was time for a citizen movement strong enough to overthrow the king and government, and give power back to the people.  This poem calls for violence, and I disagree with that notion entirely.  However as citizens of the United States, we are given the privilege to vote, and by not exercising that right, we are allowing the political machine to operate without oversight and without check.  Citizens of Allentown, especially those who I talked to who are irate with the current mayor and his policies, and do not look forward to four more years of them, while he is off campaigning for a gubernatorial bid:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November.  Remember, and work to increase voter turnout in the years to come, and beware the Party Line vote.  It does not always bring the outcome that you think it does.

Remember, remember the fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and plot.
I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason
should ever be forgot!

Guy Fawkes and his companions did the scheme contrive
to blow the King and Parliament all up alive.
Threescore barrels laid below, to prove old England's overthrow.
But, by God's providence, him they catch
with a dark lantern, lighting a match.
A stick and a stake for King James' sake!

If you won't give me one, I'll take two.
The better for me, and the worse for you.
A rope, a rope, to hang the Pope,
a penn'orth of cheese to choke him,
a pint of beer to wash it down,
and a jolly good fire to burn him.

Holloa, boys! Holloa, boys! Make the bells ring!
Holloa, boys! Holloa, boys! God save the King!

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<![CDATA[What I am Thankful For: A November Project]]>Fri, 01 Nov 2013 17:49:07 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/what-i-am-thankful-for-a-november-projectPicture
Hey everyone,

It is now November (duh) and that means it's the month of my favorite holiday.  Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving for me, has always been about reflection.  It's about time spent with loved ones, be they relatives, or friends, about eating far too much food, and finding yourself generally happy and merry in the company of others.  I have said for years that Thanksgiving is about the 5 F's and a B.  Family, Friends, Food, Fun, Football, and Beer.  But at the heart of all those things is love, camaraderie, community, and relaxation.  I saw a post on Facebook earlier today from a friend who was trying a new project, and I've decided to try it too.

So every day this month, I am going to post one thing that I am Thankful for, but rather than have it just be about my life, I'm going to have it tailored to each day.  Because I know the things that I am thankful for overall, but I'm hoping this project will help me remind myself of what I'm thankful for on a day-to-day basis.  I think it will be a lot of fun, it will be a great way of lifting my spirits each and every day, and if you guys decide to read it, then yay!  I'll be posting each one to Twitter/Facebook with the Hashtag #30DaysofThanks and if you all are inspired to do so, I think it could be a great way for people to remind others that life is wonderful on each and every day in some capacity, and we need to see those individual things just as much as we need to look at life on a grand scale!

So, without further ado.  Here we go:

PictureWaynflete School Crest
November 1: I am thankful for having been part of an educational community that cares enough to keep me, as a graduate, updated on school happenings, and will bring the new  head of school to my city for a meet and greet with alumni. The tight-knit Waynflete community is something that has helped me personally and professionally, and I hope to stay connected to it for my life to come.

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November 2: I am thankful for the discovery of CrossFit into my life. I went for a 3.5 mile run today, a run that usually finishes with me winded and exhausted, and today I finished it and felt like I could run 3.5 more. That is entirely thank to the 10 weeks I trained at CrossFit Fort Atkinson, and to the people who trained with me and pushed me along the way. They pushed me to be a better version of myself, and it worked!

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November 3: I am thankful that I grew up knowing how to be alone. I spent all day with myself, organizing my thoughts, and relaxing.  Too many times I hear my friends say that they don't know how to spend time by themselves, and that is unbelievably sad to me. The ability to be happy with my thoughts is something that I treasure greatly, and often find all the drive and focus I need to succeed in those moments alone.  After today, I'm ready to take on the world again.

PictureI may hate it, but it works
November 4: I am thankful for the invention of vehicles that allow us to span great distances in short amounts of time. Today I packed a bag, walked to a bus station, and within 2 hours was in my dad's car just under 90 miles away.  100 years ago, that concept is significantly more complicated, and can not be planned on the day of. In today's day, if someone is sick, if there is an event, if you just are feeling homesick, you can go and see your loved ones, and that is something that I am so grateful for.  I am a homebody, and the ability to go home when I want to or need to makes me feel a little less vulnerable in this big bad scary New York City World. 

PictureDad, Will, and I
November 5: I am thankful for a family that continuously makes me proud. Today my father lost a mayoral race to incumbent Ed Pawlowski. Projected to receive less than 15% of the vote, raising less than 10% of the incumbent's budget, and practically ignored by his opponent, my father was able to persevere and win nearly 40% of the vote in Allentown. 40%. No matter the nay-sayers, my father fought, and fought hard, and he proved that the little guy can make a statement and be heard, and I am so very thankful to be his son.

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November 6: I am thankful for this wonderful, crazy, upsetting, glorifying, profession that I find myself a part of.  Tonight reaffirmed why I do what I do, reaffirmed what I feel that I'm good at, and made me once again fall in love with acting, even without ever falling out of it.  That's the power of this world, the power of New York City, and the power of a community so welcoming that they'll always give you a chance.  Today I'm so thankful for this profession and for the amazing community of people that I find myself a part of by being an actor.  If you're a member of the theatre community in some capacity, I am so thankful for you.

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November 7: Today was one of those days.  I didn't sleep well last night, I woke up feeling groggy and irritable, and then I had my morning coffee.  Mmm.  So today, I am so thankful for Coffee and the lovely things it brings into my life.  It picks me up, it allows me to keep going longer in the day when I need to, it warms me up when I'm cold, and all around, it's just an AWESOME INVENTION.  Kudos to whoever discovered that if you ran hot water over the grounds of the coffee bean, that person did humanity a great service.  Though I still feel like a super hipster having a Starbucks Gold Card with my name on it...

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November 8th: I am thankful for the inherited or trained ability to type obscenely fast. As I finished 97 minutes of Transcription today, I realized that I would be incapable of doing this job if I couldn't type fast, because in New York City, you never know what's going to get in the way of budgeting your time over a couple of days. Like yesterday I was unable to complete the 30 minutes I set aside for myself due to unforeseen obstacles. However thanks to I'm guessing something I got from my parents, I made up for it in typing.

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November 9th: I am thankful for video games and the entire video game industry. Call me a nerd, but I have said it for years, the reason I was able to make it through my Musical Theatre program and the source of much of my relaxing and unwinding over the course of my entire life is my Xbox. Video Games have been one way for me to lose myself in a story.  I find myself more in touch with my creative side when I play a great game, in the same way as when I read a great book.  So today, I am thankful for a day of losing myself in Video Games.

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November 10th: I am thankful for the gift of MoviePass in my life. In New York City it gets increasingly hard to get out of my apartment for fear of spending money, an easy thing to do here.  But for $35/month, I get up to a movie a day in the movie theaters. It allows me to get out, take a walk, enjoy being in the city, and get to see a movie every now and again (or frequently).  If anyone's interested in checking it out, let me know, I have some invites and then I'll have more movie date partners! Also, Thor 2 is really cool, go see it.

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November 11: On Veteran's Day, I am thankful for the men and women who have fought to allow me to live the life I lead. I live a unique life, one that doesn't exist in many countries, but exists here, and I know that the freedoms I am allowed are only possible thanks to the men and women who have served in the armed forces and protected this great country and all of its citizens.  So thank you, Veterans, from the bottom of my heart.

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November 12: I am thankful for this woman right here.  Yep, that's you, Kathi Kacinski.  When I was starting out doing theatre, this woman was one of my theatre mamas back in Maine, and she has always been with me for a laugh, a hug, and a great time.  Whenever I call her it brightens my day, and when I see her everything is awesome.  She was in New York today, and I got to see her, and for that, I am eternally thankful!

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November 13: I am grateful for the gift of Rational Thought.  I grew up in an environment where the ability to use logic was encouraged, and taking the time to explain every step in a problem was the only way to answer questions fully and thoroughly.  Today I heard too many people making irrational claims, jumping to irrational conclusions without examining the steps that lead them there, or simply denying logic because it didn't suit them.  In a word increasingly run by emotional and "good enough" thought processes, the ability to rationalize, and logically trace steps is something I am very, very thankful for.

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November 14: I am thankful for literature and books. There was a period in my life (we'll call it high school and college) where I really lost my reading bug.  It wasn't that I didn't love books and stories anymore, but that I never had time. I re-read a few of the same books every year (The Phantom Tollbooth, Ender's Game, The Dark is Rising Series), but I didn't read new books, or invest myself in new stories.  After graduating college I've made it a requirement to fix that.  Today I took a break from work to read a Jack Higgins Novel about Sean Dillon, my favorite literary character.  Tomorrow I intend to continue that trend, and for the rest of my life. I never want to lose the time to read again.

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November 15: I am thankful for my friends. I have had a terrible day, I have been lied to, screwed over, and generally used.  What kept me on the edge of my sanity, were my friends who bonded together to be good to me and bring me joy.  They are my rocks, and they are the reason my world goes round.  Friendship is not as rare as people pretend it is, what's important is cultivating it and being a good friend to people.  I don't know how I measure up, but I can say that my friends are beyond incredible to me.

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November 16: I am thankful for the non-acting sides of theatre.  I was hired today to do electricians work at Ars Nova, and had an amazing time with a new group of people, loving the work I was doing, and feeling great pride at helping a side of theatre I don't often get to indulge in.  I'm also super thankful for Mark Bedell and everyone who ever helped teach me the tech side of theatre, so while I made at least somewhat of an ass of myself, I wasn't a complete ass as a whole.  It's important to be mindful of all sides of your profession, and I'm so glad I have such good friends in the sides I'm less familiar with.

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November 17: I am thankful for Lazy Days.  Today was a Lazy Day, no question about it.  I spent most of my day in my pajamas, watching football, and enjoying life.  Towards the end I got to see many great friends, but all in all it was not a productive day.  Sometimes those are necessary and good, and I'm so glad that I could have one today.  In fact, I'm so glad that I am eternally grateful.

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November 18: I am thankful for the love and compassion of pets.  I had a really terrible day, just a terrible, terrible day, and Lucy, who generally isn't a cuddler, came to me and slept only my lap, laid on my shoulders, and generally demanded and gave love.  Nothing brightens my day like a purring cat on my lap and in the face of an awful 24 hours, it made me feel a whole lot better. Sometimes I think we forget the power that pets can have on their owners, today, Lucy was the reason I had a smile on my face, all day.

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November 19: Call me a nerd, but today I am thankful for Crossword Puzzles.  There's something very calming to me about the structure of them, the brainpower needed, but also the logic and reasoning required to answer questions you don't know.  It calms me to use that part of my brain sometimes.  Often I find myself stuck in the artistic, creative side of my brain, and that is a trap (cue Admiral Ackbar) that can send me spinning. When I reach those places, stepping back, and doing something with order, structure, reason, and logic, calms me, helps me pass the time, and gives me a chance to think without the noise of the day filtering in.

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November 20: Today I am thankful for my Audition Binder.  Built over the course of my junior and senior years, my Audition Binder has been carefully constructed to have anything I could need in the audition room.  I know each song in it and each cut in it like the back of my hand, and today, walked in and performed a 16 Bar Cut that I haven't used in 8 months, and got myself a callback (See what I did there?  That was an Explanibrag).  It's a good feeling to be able to feel secure in my audition abilities.  In this crazy industry, sometimes I can get lost in the chaos of it all, but by remembering the things that I can control, I can put myself in the best position for success later.

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November 21: Today I'm thankful for Magic The Gathering. Yep, it may be nerdy but try and tell me that if you're around my age, that doesn't take you back to the nineties! It sure does for me! My love for Magic has been rekindled by Sarah Peed and Myles Allen, Sarah for playing with me, and Myles for having a ton of cards from which I can build some decks.  Tonight Sarah and I played Magic for quite a while and it fulfilled all my nerd needs for the week, so thanks Magic!

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November 22: I said it only a week ago, but I am again thankful for my friends.  Today was dedicated to see those that I haven't in a while, and boy did I ever.  It started with bringing Lunch to Mary-Elizabeth at NOLA while she worked the Fireside auditions (ok I saw her a few weeks ago, but just hang on a second!)  Next I headed over to 43rd and 9th and got coffee with Priya.  Then I walked East and met up with Jessica, Chance, Jason, and Matt for coffee at 28th and 6th.  Last I walked back west and met up with the one and only Jason Barrera. We got drinks, dinner, and then went and saw Matilda on Broadway! I would say today was an amazing day and it was all thanks to my friends.

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November 23: Today I am thankful for Beer & Board Games. Might seem like a cheat to thank two things, but we held Beer & Board Games Day/Night in our apartment and it was awesome! It started with some rousing games of Settlers of Catan.  We moved to a new game called Pandemic (highly recommended).  We played some CatchPhrase as more people arrived and made home-made pizza.  We played cards as we split into groups of multiple games.  Beer, Board Games, and fun.

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November 24: Was there doubt in anyones mind that today I would be thankful for the patriots?  Did you see that game?  I mean did you?  But back to the serious.  Ever since I stopped playing sports (Saturday, 4/24/08) I have had to find other ways of nurturing that side of my spirit.  That saturday when my knee blew out was when I knew my time as an competitive athlete was over, and that was destructive to me.  What saved me in the years later, was my love for Boston sports. It gave me something to root for, something to fight for, and most importantly, it gives me great joy to watch them win (which has been in abundance the last few years, which I'm also thankful for)

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November 25: Today, like so many days, I'm thankful for JetBlue Airways.  I've been a fan of JetBlue since they first founded, when they started flying out of Portland, Maine.  Although lore says that the owner picked Portland just because his son was attending Bowdoin College and he wanted to get there for free on his own airline, but whatever, a win's a win.  Over the years I've flown JetBlue exclusively when I book my own flights, only flying other airlines when someone picks it for me.  They are always reliable, friendly, they are insanely comfortable, they check my first bag for free, even when I don't need to check bags, and they do that to alleviate time in security lines, and stress at the gate/getting on the plane.  Plus they have the greatest Social Media team known to man.  Seriously, check them out on Twitter, you won't be sorry.

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November 26: Today all my thanks go to the connections between people.  I have been in a jam looking for a sub letter, and voila, along comes Facebook to save the day.  A friend of mine from college recommended a friend of hers from high school who she felt would get along well with me, and therefore by extension my roommates.  Over he came, and she was right, he was super cool, super chill, and exactly the kind of person I've been looking for to take my sublet for January through July.  It took all of 36 hours to learn about him, have contact with him, talk to him about the space, have him come see the apartment, meet him and get to know him, and declare him my subletter.  Now that kind of stuff just doesn't happen without a great friendship and connection network, and I am so thankful to be a part of mine.

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November 27: Today I'm thankful for blessings in disguise. Awful things can happen, and yet often they could be much worse. Stepping back and looking at them, I have to ask myself, is it awful that it happened? Yes. Is it a blessing that it wasn't worse?  In every way.  Blessings come in all shapes and sizes, and today I'm thankful for the ones that sometimes stop bad situations from becoming horrible ones.

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November 28: I am thankful for my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving.  This year I have so much to be thankful for, especially in light of recent events in my life that could have severely ruined this Thanksgiving, or really, every Thanksgiving to come.  So today I'm celebrating the 4 Fs and a B of this holiday, that would be Family, Friends, Food, Football, and Beer.  Thanks to everyone is a part of my life, and to whoever decided that this definitely needed to be a National Holiday.  Because it did, and now I will go stuff my face.

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November 29:  Wow, two shoutouts to JetBlue in my November thanks! Today, however, I had to jump a last minute plane to Maine to take care of a family emergency, and JetBlue helped me the whole way.  From helping me on the phone, to reducing my rates to the lowest possible, to giving me a $50 travel voucher out of the kindness of their heart to help with the "hardship of last minute emergencies", I can't thank JetBlue enough.  Fly them always, people.  Also you should get their American Express Card, because you earn points super fast, and it's a really cool shade of blue...Is that a good reason?  Probably not, but the card is awesome.  As is TrueBlue.

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November 30: To close my 30 Days of Thanks, I thank the Maine Medical Center for taking such good care of my family over the years.  When my mom was in the hospital last, they gave me a chair to sleep in the room with her, they have always been gracious, welcoming, and wonderful.  They treat me, my mom, and even my puppy (let's be real, especially the puppy) with the utmost respect and for that I am so thankful for and to them.  The fact my mom lives 100 yards from the entrance is a blessing.

So that's it!  My 30 Days of Thanks are over, and it feels good.  Day to day thanks is something that our culture is increasingly bad at, and I've loved sitting and thinking about what I'm thankful for on a day to day basis.  Sometimes, it's harder than it might seem, and in those moments, I recognize more the need to acknowledge daily blessings.  So thanks for bearing with me guys!

~Ned
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<![CDATA[The Free Sampler's Practical Guide to New Yorkers]]>Tue, 10 Sep 2013 01:09:41 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/the-free-samplers-practical-guide-to-new-yorkersDear New York City,

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Ned Donovan, but you may know me better as that guy who hawked falafel all summer on the corner of 6th Avenue and 17th Street at The Hummus & Pita Company.   For visual reference, here is a picture of me in my work garments with my roommate’s cat, Lucy, on my shoulders.
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Her full name is "Lucy Fur". I know. It's brilliant. Also I'm remarkably unphotogenic...is that a word?
Look familiar?  No?  Well then I can’t help you.  But since this is my website and my blog, I’m going to give you some thoughts I’ve had about you since I became a very visible member of your city. 

You see as an actor, I’ve made a living out of creating characters, becoming characters, and incorporating characters into the various roles I’ve played over the years.  When I became the “Weekend Falafel Guy” for The Hummus & Pita Company (or as multiple heart-melting small children have said to me, The Hummus and Pi Taco) I didn’t quite realize how close you and I were going to get.  I got to know you and your residents very, very well.  I was given a job as the face for a company, handing out their fantastic product, for free, to the people of this city, and nothing brings out a person’s true character, like seeing how they react to something that is free.

A few caveats before we jump in.  This is not a demonization of any specific person or persons, or any specific group of people; in fact, the types of people I have observed are refreshingly devoid of delineation by race, gender, class, nationality, sexual orientation, creed, etc.  This is also not meant to belittle any of the customers of The Hummus & Pita Company (please don’t fire me, Dave, for writing this), I love this restaurant, the people are great, the food is unbelievable, the customers for the most part are patient, friendly, and exceedingly polite, and the company as a whole really does a great job.  If you haven’t eaten lunch/dinner there, do yourself a favor and go.

Alright, now that I’ve done the prerequisite “don’t fire me” speech, here we go.  In my observation, there are six different types of people walking your streets in regards to free samples, and I would like to offer other samplers out there some advice on how to recognize them, and how to deal with them.
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I spent my summer holding a lot of trays that look like this...Did you get one from me?

Picture"New Yorkers" make up the majority of street traffic
1.)   "The New Yorker"
This may seem like an odd choice to kick off this list of people within New York City, but the vast majority of human beings I interact with belong to this group.  The New Yorker is busy.  Very busy.  They are on a schedule, they are focused, and they are going to get wherever they need to go.  It doesn’t matter if they’re going to work, or if they’re walking to Wendy’s for a Frosty, their entire focus is on that Frosty, or on the phone conversation they’re having while walking to get that Frosty.  Generally these people don’t care about you, or your company.  They will, however, be happy to indulge in a free sample.  For all you samplers out there, LET THEM TAKE IT AND GO! Do not pitch them, do not try and engage them in conversation, do not stand in their way, do not pass Go, because you will not collect $200.  In doing any of this you will accomplish only two things, you will annoy them, and you will guarantee they will never give your business any time of day ever again, AND to make matters worse, they’ll refer to your establishment as, “that place with the pushy sample guy.”  As a sampler, this person is not really to be liked, or disliked, because the fact is, you have no bearing on their day, and therefore they have no bearing on yours.  They are a fact of the business, and they will take most of your samples, let it go.  If they like the sample you give them, they will come back, or they will stop, 15 feet up the sidewalk, to look at your sign and make a mental note to come back.  

NOTE RIGHT HERE AND NOW: Your entire job as a sampler is based on THESE people.  Because they are the majority of people going by.  Your job is to get them to take a sample, and mentally note what your establishment is called, all while not bothering them, hampering them, delaying them, slowing them, and without having anything that makes you seem pushy, obnoxious, or like a car salesman.  I recommend saying "Fresh _________ samples, all made right here at _____________."  That's all.  Do not say "COME AND GET IT!" Do not say, "IF YOU LIKE THIS, THEN YOU'LL LOVE WHAT ELSE WE OFFER."  Do not say ANY of that to these people, or they will never become your customer one day.  If your restaurant does delivery, it's also distinctly possible that they will order from you some day, and that's also a win for you. So don't be annoying!


PictureAvoid this Person. Hate this person.
2.) "The Free-Loader"
The Free-Loader is the opposite of the New Yorker, because where the free sample had no bearing on the New Yorker’s day, the free sample is entirely the purpose of The Free-loader’s day. Free-Loaders are broken into two sects, the overt, and the embarrassed. 

The overt Free-Loader is upfront with their wants, and can generally be recognized by a very simple act.  They’ll see you standing there, saying whatever you say to get people’s attention, they’ll pause, look at what you’re offering, then point at it and say, “For free?” When you say yes, they will immediately rush to grab one for themselves, for their friend they’re walking with (even if their friend happens to be allergic to your food), for their children, and then usually say, “can I take two?” When you say, “only one per customer, please” they’ll respond with, “oh it’s not for me, it’s for my (insert significant other pronoun here) that I’m on my way to meet.”  You get to make your educated guess based on the circumstance whether you’re going to say yes or no.  Just know that if you DO say yes, they will be back every single day.  They will, however, always point at your samples and ask, “For Free?” even though they found out that was true yesterday.  Note that if you say “no” there is at least a 75% chance they will shrug and take the second free sample anyways.  If you say yes, there is a 50% chance they will take two more and wink at you with a smile that says, “it’s totally okay that I just was a complete asshat and did that, because I winked and smiled at you in a manner akin to putting a finger on your lips and saying ‘shhhhhhhhhh’ while taking the sample.”

The other Free-Loaders are embarrassed to be recognized as such, and so they put on some form of act to pretend like they’re doing anything else.  Some such acts include walking around the block with purpose, so they pretend to be a New Yorker every time they go by you and grab another.  Or they’ll ask to use your bathroom; whether or not this is an actual necessity in their lives, they will take one more on their way out.  The most common embarrassed Free-Loader act, however, is standing and talking to you about anything that is not directly related to a possible future purchase, i.e. sports, television, how long the restaurant has been here, a “crazy thing” they saw a couple of blocks back, etc.  At the end of this conversation, they’ll lean in as though you’re now their friend and ask, “can I have another one?”  Sometimes they’ll say it sheepishly like, "I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I'm just SO hungry."  Sometimes they’ll say it jokingly like, “look at me making fun of all the people who ask you for a second one, hahaha those people are the worst--wait, I can? Oh well then don’t mind if I do.”  Sometimes they’ll say it conspiratorially, like “I know I’m not supposed to do this, and neither are you, but we’re friends now, because we talked about the Red Sox for like 0.5 seconds, and so you must now like me more than your boss, because bosses are the worst, right? So therefore you know how you could stick it to the man? By giving me a second sample. Thanks buddy-ol-pal!”  Despite them not knowing that I have a great relationship with my boss, and frankly, enjoy his company significantly more than this person who’s invading my personal space for no reason at all.  Regardless of their approach, they will have reached for, and probably grabbed the second sample while still in the middle of asking for it.  

Now here's the catch.  If there’s no one around, it’s not worth the argument, just say yes.  If there are people around and you say no, and you catch them before they’ve grabbed it, they’ll leave nonchalantly like, “it’s cool, because I stopped just to talk to you because you seem awesome, and I didn’t really want the second one anyways”. If they HAVE already grabbed it, they’ll look at you with their hand in the cookie jar, and usually think of something brilliant in the moment to say like, “well I’m already touching it so I shouldn’t put it back”, or more commonly they’ll revert to the line of the overt Free-Loader and say, “oh it’s not for me, it’s for my (insert significant other pronoun here) that I’m on my way to meet.”  The Free-Loader is the worst.  The worst.


Picture"I think that's the Statue of Liberty!" "Honey, we're in Times Square."
3.) "The Tourist"
The Tourist is a tricky person to read, because it’s hard to tell if they’re going to come in and be a customer for a day.  Tourists have very specific plans.  They have sights they need to see, people they need to meet, experiences they need to try, and therefore, convincing them that using one of their precious vacation meals on your establishment is based entirely in how hungry they are, how broke they are, how good your sample is, and how cheap your menu appears to be.  Since I’m assuming as a sampler you’re a nice person (which is probably an assumption I shouldn’t make) you will be a relief to them.  You see it’s not that New Yorkers are rude, it’s that they don’t have time to slow down for even a half second, and therefore with a tourist pausing every 10 steps to look at a map, a phone, a sight, whatever, they have experienced a lot of negative energy today.  By being friendly, smiling, and creating a “safezone” on the sidewalk where people are allowed to stop and stand for a second, you have given them an oasis.  From here, it’s time to sell your product.  The easiest approach for this person is to give them directions or ask what they’ve seen thus far on their trip.  Once you’ve made that connection, offer them a sample with a “why not? They’re here, aren’t they?” attitude.  This usually gets you a laugh, which is also a great help in your pitch.  Once they enjoy your sample, give them your pitch.  You have great food, the prices are right, and this way they’ll save for that super expensive New York City meal they’ve been planning to have before they leave.  Access to Beer and Wine is also very helpful.  These people also are the most common Yelp, TripAdvisor, and VirtualTourist reviewers, so treat them nicely!


Picture"Let me tell you why you're not qualified to serve this food."
4.) "The Expert" or "The Snob"
I am honestly not sure that this applies to all samplers, it certainly applied to me, being that I worked for an establishment serving primarily Israeli Food.  However, I imagine The Expert will show up regardless of cuisine.  They are either from or have visited the country of origin, or region of excellence for your particular sample, and they will loudly proclaim why yours is just simply inferior to the "real" cuisine from ________.  Now it really doesn't matter the history behind your establishment.  For instance, those who designed the recipes for The Hummus & Pita Company, are indeed, from the countries of origin.  Many of the people working behind the counter can actually talk to you, in the proper language, about each and every item on the menu.  Most of those workers, will also tell you how great and "real" the food is, and how it tastes just like it did back home.  Doesn't matter.  If someone who had ever once been to the Mediterranean or the Middle East came by my samples, they would loudly remark how offensive it was that Americans think they can make falafel.  When I would tell them about how real it is, they would usually ask me, "are you Israeli?"  I ask each of you to look at the picture of me above to realize how ridiculous that statement is, and so I would answer, "no, I'm Irish, mostly" and they would say, "exactly, what do you know?"  Or, they would take a sample, take a bite, and then proclaim I was lying, because no true Israeli would ever make falafel so horrible.  (Don't mind the fact, that I will stand by the sentence that The Hummus & Pita Company has the best falafel in New York City, bar none, and that sentence is backed up by countless customers and "experts")  Didn't matter if they were from Israel, or had visited once.  This person will turn off an entire group of interested potential customers without fail, because the person will trust the "expertise" of this random person in a bad mood, over your product you literally just handed to them.  They could have already eaten it, and tell you how wonderful it was, but after The Expert walks by, they'll say they are looking for something more "authentic".  There isn't much you can do about these people but hope they have an open enough mind that when they try YOUR product (which I'm sure is of high quality, if it's not, well then your establishment is screwed) they realize the folly of their ways, and bring back all of their "Expert" friends.  You have about a 25% chance of that working, though.  So really all you can do is hope that you don't meet them.  The Expert will also have the annoying tendency to quiz you, by pretending they don't know about the product, and asking you questions.  If you get one wrong, they will loudly tell you the correct answer.  Or laugh at you and walk on their way.  Resist the urge to punch them in the throat.  It's really not worth it.


PictureI hate entitlement..
5.) "The Entitled Customer"
I know, I said it earlier, the Free-Loader is the worst.  This is true, except for in some instances when it’s not.  Those instances are always with an Entitled Customer.  The problem with these people is there is NO WAY to spot them coming and therefore no way to start a conversation with anyone else that will keep them away from you and your tray.  They can be old, young, male, female, any race, any creed, and height, weight, whatever.  The entitled customer is a problem with society that can not be helped or fixed, so far as I can tell.  I blame it on society’s amazing need for recognition.  I would say it goes back to the recent explosion of “Achievements” as a whole. I think it started with video games giving you achievements for certain acts, and then everyone got in on the game.  Websites now give you achievements for looking at some pages, airlines give you achievements for flying certain routes, FourSquare gives you achievements for going to 10 different pizza joints in 12 different cities between the hours of 10 and 12 with 3 other people named Margory (I made up this last one, but seriously, achievements are getting ridiculous, people.)   Now that this is an industry standard thing, people feel it should apply to them all the time.  Here’s how it will apply to you as a sampler.

A person will come out the door and walk up to you to take one for the road, this is OKAY and a common practice, let them, it makes them feel special, it allows you to make a joke, and everyone feels good about themselves, plus that person feels like they got an extra little bit for their money.  What you run into, however, is this person who takes it too far.  “I’m going to take a few, okay?” How anyone thinks that’s okay, is beyond me, and therefore you, as a good employee, respond with, “well you can have one!”  They will then get irate and say the exact same sentence every single time. “Come on, (pronoun, most often it’s “man” but sometimes “buddy”)! I just spent a (noun meaning amount of, most often “ton” but sometimes “bunch”) of money in your store!”  The first thing to remember is their concept of (noun meaning amount of, most often “ton” but sometimes “bunch”) is a completely useless argument.  Regardless of how much you spent, you will receive the proportional same amount of food as someone who got more or less of the same thing.  For instance if you go into McDonald’s and buy $50 worth of Big Mac Meals, to then ask for the guy handing out McChicken sandwiches on the street to give you one McChicken sandwich for every meal purchased is absurd, because you received $50 worth of food for your $50.  End of transaction.  I usually say to this person, “and we gave you a (noun meaning amount of, most often “ton” but sometimes “bunch”) of food for that money! Here’s your sample, have a great day!”  They tend to dislike this. 

The other kind of entitled customer you get, though, is the entitled Regular, and in a way, they are harder to deal with, because you really don’t want to lose their future business, so you have to tread carefully with how you interact with them.  This customer LOVES being recognized as a regular, and so what they tend to do is come up when they see a bunch of people with samples, deciding whether or not to come into the store.  They will then say “Oh my god, you HAVE to eat here, the food is incredible, I come in every day for (lunch, dinner, brunch, 5th meal, whatever) and am never disappointed! Seriously it’s great, go here!”  While they say this amazingly awesome sentence that truly does make your job significantly easier, they will reach for five samples.  Yep.  Count ‘em.  Five.  Now you have a problem.  If you do not stop this regular, you will have every one of those people standing there go and reach for a second, or even a third.  However, when you do say, “only one sample please.” They will ALWAYS retaliate with the following.  “Come on, (pronoun most often it’s “man” but sometimes “buddy”)! I eat here every day, and I recommend your place to everyone. I bet you get 50 customers a week because of me, and you’re gonna get on my case because I want more than one?!”  There is no good way to deal with this person.  I recommend thanking them for their patronage, telling them you’re glad they love the food, and giving them their one sample.  If you see them again and there aren’t people around, apologize profusely but tell them you don’t want others grabbing for more, and give them an extra one for putting up with you.  Always make the regulars feel special.  Except for when they’re being asshats.  Then don’t.


PictureLook for this person, and get their business!
6.) "The Potential Customer"
The sixth and final class of New Yorker, is the customer.  These people are actually looking for what your establishment has to offer, and they are going to stop and have a sample in order to see if what you offer is what they are about to spend their money on.  They will stop and ask you questions much like the Free-Loader, but rather than about trivial things, they will ask you about your product, about your price range, about how YOU like the food (hint, don’t lie if they ask you about a specific meal, because they’ll know), they’ll ask how long the establishment has been there as a gauge to see if it’s successful, and most of all, they’re looking for something nice.  Be nice.  Be friendly.  Answer their questions truthfully, and if you don’t know, DO NOT LIE, because they will ask again inside.  If you don’t know, tell them you’re not sure, but someone inside can answer that for them, and make a mental note to learn the answer for future people.  The potential customer is a hard one to find, because they only make up about 1-2% of the people you will see on the street on a day-to-day basis.  So you need to grab each and every one of them that goes by you.  They generally are walking slower, and you can see them coming because they’re looking in the windows of restaurants down the street, or they’re looking at every sign they go by in search of something catchy.  When you greet them, greet them just like the New Yorker, except be ready for follow-up if they give you ANY sign of recognition.  Do not be a car salesman, be knowledgeable and friendly, and trust that your product sells itself.  That will get you significantly farther than working hard to convince them to come to the store.  Talk to them as though you already know they’re coming in.  Confidence in product from an employee begets confidence in product from a customer.  Pushiness of a product implies that you think it’s less than average, and you’re making up for the rest with a sales pitch.  This is an obnoxious trait, and people can smell it a mile away.


Picture
So there you go, New York City, those are the type of people in regards to Free Samples.

Perhaps you want to work on the crappy ones?

Love,

~Ned

Think I'm right or wrong, or know of a category I didn't put up here, leave them in the comments below!
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<![CDATA[Once Upon a Mattress at The Fireside!]]>Mon, 09 Sep 2013 20:46:45 GMThttp://www.neddonovan.com/blog/once-upon-a-mattress-at-the-firesidePicture
Hey there everyone!

As many of you have probably heard, I am playing The Minstrel in Once Upon a Mattress at The Fireside in Fort Atkinson, WI! We are now open and our first week has finished and I can tell you that this show is AWESOME. Audiences have loved it, we've gotten people laughing so hard they've cried, and have raved about the show afterwards!

We're running from now until October 27th, with matinees on wednesday, thursday, saturday, and sunday, and evening performances on thursday, saturday, and sunday!  

Be sure to come out and see the show if you find yourself in Wisconsin, and say hi afterwards!

For more information, including dates, and tickets, please click here!

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