Interview Transcript (autogenerated)
Dane: [00:00:00] You booked it. Episode 10, Hey, entertainers and performers of the world. I’m your host, Dane, Reis, and welcome to you. Booked it. Where I chat with inspiring entertainers, seven days a week by digging into their journey. We’re going to discover everything you need to do to be a successful entertainer, you know?
[00:00:25] Cause. Training, usually skips that part about how to actually make your skills work for you in the real world. Fellow entertainers, my drive here at you booked it is to share the inspiring and incredible journeys of successful entertainers. We are here to support your journey. So go to youbookeditpodcast.com and join the, you booked it, email community, where we dig deep into truly actionable things you can be doing right now to help you book that next audition, submission or gig.
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[00:01:22] Let’s do this. All right, let’s get started. I am excited
[00:01:28] Shai: [00:01:28] to introduce
[00:01:28] Dane: [00:01:28] my guest today. Shy, Yemeni shy. Are you ready for this?
[00:01:34] Shai: [00:01:34] I am indeed.
[00:01:35] Dane: [00:01:35] Fantastic. Shai graduated from WAAPA, the Western Australian Academy of performing arts and has had the pleasure of working consistently in the entertainment industry, which has taken him all around the world.
[00:01:49] While in Australia, Shai performed in the marriage of Figaro rent into the woods and Irene the musical with Debbie Reynolds. Shai was also a member of the Western Australian opera company and performed an opera as such as the magic flute, Traviata, Aida. He looks through love Norma
[00:02:11] and the Pearl fishers. Eventually an opportunity took Shai to Macau China performing at the Venetian hotel and casino. For a few years, I took a break from performing and was a Butler for the Lord mayor of London, the Royal opera house in London, as well as members of the Royal family of England, making his way to the United States.
[00:02:32] Shai headlined, the Los Vegas tenors saying lead vocals in Jubilee at Bally’s resort and casino and performed in cocktail cabaret at Caesar’s palace, as well as the farewell national tour of mamma Mia. When not performing shy as a freelance photographer, videographer imagery, touch her and video editor shy.
[00:02:54] That’s a quick intro of who you are and what you’ve done, but why don’t you tell us a little bit more about yourself filling those gaps, who you are, where you’re from, where you’re currently calling home and a little bit more about what you do as a professional in the entertainment industry.
[00:03:09] Shai: [00:03:09] Of course, thanks for the introduction, Dane.
[00:03:11]it’s always fun when you listen to your resume, read out like that, you’re like really did I do all that? Right? Well, as you said, I’m originally from Australia and, I called Perth in Western Australia, my home. ah, as you mentioned, I started out in classical music, so I was a pianist first and then I moved into the dance world, but now I’ve tend to focus more on music theater.
[00:03:35] And so since leaving Australia, which feels, Oh, it was over a decade ago. I’ve lived in London, New York, Macau, Los Angeles, and now I call homeless Vegas.
[00:03:48] Dane: [00:03:48] Fantastic. All right, well, let’s move on to the next section here. Look, I am a sucker for a good quote. What is your favorite quote that you’d like to share with our listeners?
[00:04:01] Shai: [00:04:01] I have a quote, which I love, I think it’s by a Reverend, but I’m not entirely sure what the original origin of this quote is, but it is what would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
[00:04:15] Dane: [00:04:15] I love that. And how have you applied that quote to your daily life?
[00:04:21] Shai: [00:04:21] Oh, well, I feel like there are countless possibilities and roads you can take in life.
[00:04:26] Lots of interesting ideas and places in the world you can explore. So I think everyone should follow their curiosity, attempt the impossible and you’ll be taken to places you’ve not ever considered.
[00:04:41] Dane: [00:04:41] Absolutely. And I think that’s really true in this is. Entertainment industry, because I think for a lot of people, when they first think about it, they just think either if you’re thinking Broadway, you’re thinking the song and dance, or if you’re thinking LA you’re thinking the movies and the TV shows, but this industry is so broad and so diverse that I think you don’t even quite realize how far reaching this entertainment industry is and how far it touches, until you really get into
[00:05:10] Shai: [00:05:10] it.
[00:05:10] Definitely. Yeah. I totally agree.
[00:05:13] Dane: [00:05:13] Absolutely. Well, let’s get into the next section. So shy. Of course you are an entertainer. Okay. And entertainer, and I think you’d agree. That the entertainment industry is one of the most subjective, brutally, honest, personally emotional industries, either of us know about.
[00:05:32] Shai: [00:05:32] Yeah.
[00:05:32] Dane: [00:05:32] You know, as well as I, that in order to have and created a successful career in this industry, like you’re having now, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. And while of course, yes, there’s that outrageous amount of fun and excitement being on stage and having all those highs as an entertainer.
[00:05:49] We also experience our fair share of obstacles, challenges, failures, and we’re inevitably going to experience them and we’re going to have to move forward through them. So tell us, what is one key challenge, obstacle or failure you’ve experienced in your career? How did you come out the other side better because of it.
[00:06:12] Shai: [00:06:12] Well yet, I completely agree with you. it’s such a subjective industry. and the challenge that I’ve faced, throughout my entire career is that I don’t look the way that this industry’s things of as the norm, because I’m actually of Asian and Latin descent. So I never quite fit the mold. I never quiet.
[00:06:34] Yeah. I never quite fit the expected look of characters that are written in musicals or plays except for the stereotypes. And, so once I accepted that I was able to concentrate on just being me. I didn’t actually go for roles that were traditionally written for ethnic minorities. And by doing that, surprisingly, not, not since leaving college, have I ever played a role that was specifically written for an
[00:07:04] Dane: [00:07:04] Wow. That’s fantastic. And you’ve had such a diverse career playing loads of roles just in the time that I’ve known you.
[00:07:10] Shai: [00:07:10] Yeah, it’s been it’s it’s, it’s great when you don’t pigeonhole yourself. and yeah. Allow yourself to just open your mind and go off to things that you wouldn’t technically think would be suitable for you.
[00:07:23] Dane: [00:07:23] Absolutely. I think that’s fantastic advice for everyone out there, whether you’re new or experienced veteran in this industry. Just to hear that again is so valuable. All right. Well, let’s move on to this section and it’s what I like to call your spotlight moment. That one moment in time that you realized, yes, I am going to be an entertainer for a living or maybe it was, yes, this is what I need to be doing as an entertainer.
[00:07:53] Tell us about that.
[00:07:55] Shai: [00:07:55] Well, I actually find, this is really funny, but I never had the aha moment. performing was something I, I always enjoy doing, whether it was when I started studying classical piano as a child, or I was dancing flamenco. Doing these things. I realize that the performing industry was a place that I felt accepted and I could find aspects of myself that I didn’t realize were there.
[00:08:21] And I just, I kept doing it and doing it. And eventually 20 years later from graduating, I’m still doing it. So I never really had that moment where I went. This is what I wanted to do. Right. Yeah.
[00:08:37] Dane: [00:08:37] Yeah. Everything was just a, your journey was just an evolution and it’s continuing to be that as well.
[00:08:41] Shai: [00:08:41] Exactly. And it also means that I don’t think of myself only as a performer. I like to explore lots of different, hence me being a bottler for a while or being in photography and videography. I’ve never pigeonholed myself. I like to just follow. Where things take me. And, yeah, I’ve enjoyed the road so
[00:09:02] Dane: [00:09:02] far.
[00:09:03] Absolutely. I love that. Yeah. In, just from our friendship, I have seen that from anything from tech to videography and photography, I mean, your photos and your photography is fantastic and it has its own style in of itself, which I think is so great. And It really is. Amazing to see. Oh, the diversity of the things that you do as an entertainer, not just as an entertainer, actually, but as a, as a human being.
[00:09:30] Shai: [00:09:30] Thank you. Thank you.
[00:09:32] Dane: [00:09:32] Let’s piggyback on that a little bit and, well, let’s look at your number one, booked it moment. Walk us through that day. If auditions or callbacks were part of that. Talk about that. What was going on in your life and what about that moment? Makes it your favorite? Booked it the moment.
[00:09:52] Shai: [00:09:52] Okay, well, this one, this moment actually came about after I left Jubilee. the show that you and I actually worked with together in Las Vegas and, yeah, it basically shows that you never know what life is going to throw at you. So yeah, a couple of years ago, there was an audition in LA for the national tour of the Broadway production of mamma Mia.
[00:10:13] And this, this was going to be the final tour before this show was dismantled completely. And the rights released to the public. And it’s also a show that I’ve never really considered myself for. it’s a show that I’ve seen, basically every one of my friends be a part of, but I’ve never actually thought of it as being a show that I would be.
[00:10:33] Yeah. So I came to this day and I actually wasn’t feeling well. And I didn’t want to make the five hour drive from Vegas to. The studio is in LA. but my wife, who also performed with us in Jubilee, she convinced me to go. because at the time it was a very dry spell in the industry and there really weren’t many open calls happening for theater in general.
[00:11:01] So after a lot of persuading, Jess made me get my music together and I made the drive all the way to LA, went up and did the audition at the Debbie Reynolds studios. No, the addition felt good. but I still wasn’t feeling that well. And so I didn’t really think much of it. All I was thinking about was the drive back to Vegas and yeah, as I was preparing to drive back, I received a phone call saying if I wouldn’t mind coming back later on that day, audition again, this has be more extended panel.
[00:11:37] And so they sent me, A couple of sides. And I think that just wanted to see, talk and come back and do the songs again. So, I found a cafe little cafe somewhere to go over the material and came back in and did they call back? And yeah, yeah, really well. And I got chatting with them. There was so friendly and then they asked me a question that.
[00:12:01] What was kind of a turning point in how I viewed myself as a performer. And the question was, would I be willing to play the part of one of the dads now up until this point? I still thought of myself as being in a younger age bracket,
[00:12:22] Dane: [00:12:22] right?
[00:12:22] Shai: [00:12:22] Obviously not. Yeah. so yeah, that changed my perspective on myself.
[00:12:30] And so of course I said yes, and was given the sides and some of the score for the character of Sam Carmichael. And so, aye, I got the material and I drove back to Las Vegas. And about a week later, they flew me to New York for a couple more rounds at Pell studios. And yeah, it was very interesting. This audition felt really different from my normal audition experience, mainly because all the other auditioners were mature, very experienced performers who obviously had a lifetime of experience behind them.
[00:13:12] And normally I’m used to going into a rehearsal room where, you know, where there’s. Dancers stretching their legs up on the wall and everyone is so this energy of excitement and, you know, wanting, and whereas this one was very calm. Everyone was just was there. And, and we all talk to each other. We were, we had some great conversations and we were all really supportive of each other because everyone had been in the industry for so long.
[00:13:41] Dane: [00:13:41] Yeah. And they get that look, if, if you book it, congratulations. If I don’t, then it wasn’t meant for me, they really come to terms with that in their career.
[00:13:50] Shai: [00:13:50] Exactly, exactly. And I mean, that was, that was the basis of the whole day. everyone was just so good. it was, it’s one of the rare times that.
[00:14:00] Every time someone came out of the room, the other people in the room would applaud them for the great job we heard them do. Oh, wow. It was amazing. And it was, it was really fun because we all knew that, Hey, you know, we come in, we do our job. and they will choose who they seem, will fit the best. And it’s got nothing about us.
[00:14:21] It’s got nothing to say about Apple performance. It just comes down to, do you fit the vision or? Okay. Do you fit the costumes? They have right. Something as arbitrary as that. So it was a really wonderful addition experience. And so, yeah, so I was there for ’em the third round, and then I was asked to come in again for the fourth round and.
[00:14:47] After the fourth round, I was asked in the audition room, if I’d be willing to accept the role of Sam, which of course I accepted.
[00:14:56] Dane: [00:14:56] That’s fantastic. And it’s great that it came right in the room. It wasn’t another phone call.
[00:15:01] Shai: [00:15:01] No, and that was the wonderful thing. that very rarely happens and it was really nice for them to actually.
[00:15:08] It was interesting. The fourth round of auditions, they really, threw a lot at me. They had the sides and then they would give me up a lot of situations to play. And I think they really wanted to see how versatile and how malleable I could be. So yeah, it was, it was, it was a long audition. It was much longer than what I was at that I normally have.
[00:15:29] And, so they really, really tested me out. They okay. Tested my vocal range and they cause, Sam Carmichael has to hit fairly high notes and I’m in the show. And so they, it made me sing it over and over again to see how much can my voice take. And, but it was great. it went really, really well and yeah, them, it led me to, a wonderfully creative rehearsal period, followed by.
[00:16:00] 11 months of touring, the USA and Canada, I think I went to, well, I think we only missed two States in the whole of the USA, so we traveled a lot. Okay. And I got to perform for some of the most energetic and excited crowds I’ve ever seen. It has such a huge following the movie the musical has been around for at that time.
[00:16:25] I think. 18 years or 20 years. And, the crowds loved it. They loved the music. They, they loved the performances and yes, so I got to perform for this amazing crowds. And I also got to work with the magnificent director, Martha banter, as well as the wonderful MD David wholesome Berg, and. An incredible creative team and cost.
[00:16:51] Everyone was so professional and they knew what they were doing. And, and I also got to explore a side of myself. Aye. Really never considered before.
[00:17:02] Dane: [00:17:02] I love that. That’s a fantastic story. All right, well, let’s move on to the present. What projects are you working on now? Or what are you looking forward to?
[00:17:12] And of course, this is a very unique time. We are amidst this global pandemic and a lot of racial injustice, but how do you see this entertainment industry moving forward in the next couple of years?
[00:17:28] Shai: [00:17:28] Okay. well, in terms of what I’m working on right now, I’m currently working with a film company called VR Lu.
[00:17:35] It’s a virtual reality film company. So yeah. We create entertainment commercials, educational videos. Yeah. In 360 degrees with the VR headsets. so I’m a videographer with this company. Very cool. Yeah. I get to play with some very cool toys. Okay. So, yeah, that’s a, that’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to doing a lot more with that, where we’re creating a new master’s program, which, we get to interview and, and have them teach tutorials on things that they are the masters of.
[00:18:09] So I’m learning a lot too while I work with them.
[00:18:12] Dane: [00:18:12] Yeah, absolutely. Fantastic. It’s kind of the, the best of all worlds.
[00:18:16] Shai: [00:18:16] Yeah. That’s fantastic. And so, all right, so what do I, what am I looking forward to? I’m actually looking forward to moving into a new age bracket in my career. Okay. And playing roles that I really couldn’t do before.
[00:18:31]Yeah. We always feel in the industry that we need to stay young and that we want to play romantic leads. and now I’m moving. Out of that age bracket and I’m also moving into a new chapter of my own life. So I’m looking forward to exploring all aspects of me in the industry, as well as my
[00:18:54] Dane: [00:18:54] life.
[00:18:56] That’s fantastic. I love that.
[00:18:58] Shai: [00:18:58] Yeah. And yeah. And it’s interesting with the industry. At the moment. I mean, of course it’s been hit extremely hard right now. there’s yeah, but the thing is, I do think that it would eventually bounce back. I mean, nothing beats live theater. The thing is we will now definitely be exploring new avenues, of getting performances to a wider audience.
[00:19:24] And going back to what I’m doing now, I find the, the, the new areas of, AR augmented reality and virtual reality, to be really interesting. Mainly because when I think back to myself, growing up in Perth, Australia, there was a very limited amount of theater that came through town. so trying to keep up to date.
[00:19:47] With what’s going on was extremely difficult. And I was, I wonder if I had the ability to watch live theater, performed that on the other side of the world, who knows how much inspiration I would have experienced. I mean, how, how I would have grown as an artist from a young age being exposed to it. So I think now that we’re starting to stream a lot of the performances and now with augmented reality and virtual reality, it’s very exciting time in terms of outreach.
[00:20:23] So people around the world.
[00:20:25] Dane: [00:20:25] Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, I think that the younger generations that are coming into this industry as professionals now, and I guess into the future, It’s a very different world from an, we were growing up. We have, so, I mean, with social media, with Instagram and Facebook, with every single platform that is, you really get exposed to the entire world in the Palm of your hand and you can.
[00:20:52] You can see how good people are that are your age, you know, and it’s okay.
[00:20:58] Shai: [00:20:58] Oh, and that blows me away. Just how good the young performers are now. It’s incredible. I feel like there’s so far go ahead of where I was at that age.
[00:21:08] Dane: [00:21:08] Absolutely. And. To that point as well. I think it’s also something too, also keep in check because you are still only looking at a very small amount of people.
[00:21:18] And if, for instance, if you’re out there and you’re looking at all these people that are so good, that doesn’t mean that. You can’t have a professional career out of this. Oh yes. Industry has so much to offer. And just because you can’t do 60 foot tase. Hmm. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a professional career because there’s so much more to it than just the technicality of it.
[00:21:42] Shai: [00:21:42] Yes. I agree. Also, there’s a danger as well. We have, I feel like we have to protect the younger artists from looking at someone who has a unicorn of a voice, or has the ability to do, tricks in their dance form. That that is just abnormal. Incredible, but not the norm. And aye, I feel like we need to protect people from going okay.
[00:22:07] Fine. You can’t belt that note. So. You don’t need to, and you need to protect your instrument, grow the instruments, have it develop strength as you go through your ages because unfortunately, a lot of there’s the other side of the industry is that it’s very easy to just, it takes someone in, chew them up, take what they need and spit you out.
[00:22:31] And we need to be able to have a foundation that protects the artists. Okay. Damaging there, instrument. To a point where they can’t have a career.
[00:22:43] Dane: [00:22:43] Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. Well, let’s move on to one of my favorite sections of the interview. I call it the grease lightning
[00:22:52] Shai: [00:22:52] round. Now,
[00:22:54] Dane: [00:22:54] I’m going to ask you a handful of questions.
[00:22:56] I want you to answer them as quickly and concisely as possible one after another. Are you ready?
[00:23:03] Shai: [00:23:03] I am indeed.
[00:23:04] Dane: [00:23:04] All right. First question. What was the one thing holding you back from committing to a career as an entertainer?
[00:23:12] Shai: [00:23:12] Okay. Okay. That would be self doubt. It’s something I dealt with. Every time I finished a contract, but you’d have to just keep believing.
[00:23:20] You can do it. Unfortunately as artists, we always judge ourselves by what we’re currently doing and what our last job is. Oh, it was so yeah, self doubt is something that I’m constantly battling with throughout my entire career. I
[00:23:34] Dane: [00:23:34] think that is not a, that is not a unique feeling for most entertainers.
[00:23:39] Shai: [00:23:39] Yep.
[00:23:40] Dane: [00:23:40] Second question. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
[00:23:46] Shai: [00:23:46] Be curious. Ask questions and always come to your own conclusions. my parents were very much into developing, free thought and they would encourage me to even question them just because they said something doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s right.
[00:24:02] So they taught me that I need to question research, develop, understanding, and then come to my own conclusions. I love
[00:24:11] Dane: [00:24:11] that third question. What is something that is working for you now, or if you’d like to go pre COVID, what was working for you before our industry went on
[00:24:22] Shai: [00:24:22] pause? something that I was delving into that was working for me then and now as well is my photography.
[00:24:31]it’s such a vast world of opportunity to create an explore. And even during. COVID-19, I’m still able to find an outlet for my creativity and curiosity, and also it’s the best time to be a photographer as well, but never before. Has there been more instructions available online on YouTube or say creative live or the portrait?
[00:24:53] Masters. Okay. It’s just so available now. And it also helps me. It’s helping me understand the language. That the body gives an expression and by helping others find it, it helps me understand it, bashing myself
[00:25:09] Dane: [00:25:09] wonderful. And the fourth question, what is the best resource? Whether that’s a book, a movie, a YouTube video podcast, a piece of technology hardware, software that you found is helping your career right now.
[00:25:25] Shai: [00:25:25] I’d say online resources, such as creative live or the masterclass courses. I watch incredible videos from the technical aspects of photography, too. How to develop scientific ways of thinking too, how to break down a monologue and tap into its meaning. There are so many different genres in these online courses that you can always find something to pique your interest.
[00:25:50] Dane: [00:25:50] Fantastic. And the fifth question, I think this might be my favorite questions. If you had to start your career from scratch, but still had all the knowledge and experience you’ve collected from your career in the industry, what would you do or not do? Would you do anything differently or the same?
[00:26:11] Shai: [00:26:11] Aye.
[00:26:12] Wish I had taken more chances. Well, I know I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve traveled around the world, performed the no wide variety of styles and have met incredible people. But I truly wish I took greater emotional chances and not let fear direct my choices. I’m finding as I get older. I find that my fears, the most interesting part of me and they create challenges that I’m able to dig into and explore.
[00:26:42] Yeah. And,
[00:26:42] Dane: [00:26:42] and really that’s where the that’s where the interesting stuff lives. It’s all that, all the vulnerability parts of us.
[00:26:49] Shai: [00:26:49] Exactly. Yes.
[00:26:51] Dane: [00:26:51] Great. Well, last question. What is the golden nugget knowledge drop you learned from your successful career in this industry that you would like to leave with our listeners?
[00:27:02] Shai: [00:27:02] Okay. It’s interesting, but it’s not the normal thing in the arts world, but the golden nugget of knowledge through all the years has been how to learn financial literacy. I know as creators, this is far from our thoughts as, as we can even imagine, but I wish I’d learned when I was younger to invest my money, to understand compound interest and exponential growth to take slightly more hardship when I was young.
[00:27:32] So that. I can reap the benefits now that I’m older. I mean, nothing stifles creativity, more than worrying about finances, actually, for the young and older performance out there, you really should pick up the book. I will teach you to be rich by Ramit Sethi. Now I don’t worry about the title, but it’s such an easy book to follow for personal finances.
[00:27:56] And I really wish I had that resource when I was young.
[00:28:00] Dane: [00:28:00] Fantastic. I am 100% in agreeance with you. The, the business side, the financial side of things is so important because I think naturally as a lot of entertainers evolve, Into a professional career. It started off as a hobby. Most people don’t start in the arts thinking I’m going to be a professional, whatever you might be in the industry, it just kind of evolves into a professional career, but you really have to take note that when you choose to make this industry and this career choice.
[00:28:35] Yeah. It has to make a switch in your head where this is no longer just for fun. And just for the art of it, it is how you support yourself and make a living. And yeah. It’s such a unique industry in the fact that we don’t get one or two jobs and working for 40 years and retire, we work for dozens, if not hundreds of different people through our careers.
[00:28:56] And because of that, even if you’re working as a W2, regular employee worker, , you have to think of yourself more entrepreneurially, but as a business, you know, is future thinking as investing in compound interest and is. In the moment as can I deduct this coffee?
[00:29:16] Shai: [00:29:16] Yes.
[00:29:17] Dane: [00:29:17] All those little things add up and knowing about 10 99 versus W2’s and LLCs of course, us as artists never really want to get into because for the majority of us, that’s not really how our mind naturally wants to go, but it is so important.
[00:29:33] And it’s when you really get into it. It’s really not all that complicated, but it is your responsibility to learn.
[00:29:39] Shai: [00:29:39] Yes. And. Yeah, it, it really has come down to the most important aspect. We are a business. our business is performing. Yep.
[00:29:48] Dane: [00:29:48] It is called show business.
[00:29:49] Shai: [00:29:49] Yeah, exactly. And we need to do this as just to, to cover ourselves because I hate to say it, but our performing arts industry, our lifespans can be limited, especially when you’re looking at.
[00:30:04] The dance world when you’re, we’re lucky as singers too, we we’ve got a more extended okay. Lifespan, but there are only so many jetties you can do when you hit 50. And, so we need to prepare ourselves and our lives to make life easy for us. Once we’ve gotten to that point in our careers.
[00:30:26] Dane: [00:30:26] Absolutely. I’m so glad that you, I brought that up and address that.
[00:30:30] All right. So, well, that’s a wrap up this baby and. That means it’s time for you to give yourself a plug. Where can we find you? How do our listeners connect with you? Is there anything you want to promote?
[00:30:43]Shai: [00:30:43] okay. Well, I’m really terrible at social media. I need to really pick up on that, but, I am on Instagram, so my personal page is.
[00:30:52] Shy underscore Yemeni. Yeah. So that’s S H a I underscore Y a M M a N E all my photography page, which is shy, underscore productions, and also my website, which is Shai yemeni.com. And that’s where you can find some information as well.
[00:31:12] Dane: [00:31:12] Fantastic. Well, Shai, thank you so much for being on today. It was a pleasure having you.
[00:31:17] Shai: [00:31:17] It was my pleasure as well. It’s always fun. Chatting with you. Take care. Thank you. Thank you so
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