K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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Mon, July 3, 2006

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INTERLUDE FROM INDIANAPOLIS

Was sitting in the Starbucks on Broad Ripple in Indianapolis when I began to write this, last night. My best friend, (the photographer of the picture for "Down For Me"), Dave Sims, is the manager. He was getting ready to do some inventory, and I was sitting there on my Powerbook.

Nice drive over yesterday. Did my full vocal warm ups, for the hell of it, then jammed out with McCartney's Ram album. Lots of great vocals to sing with. This is actually one of the albums that helped teach me how to sing as an adolescent -- I, analyzing Paul's vocals and imitating his techniques. Great vocals: "Too Many People," "3 Legs," "Heart of the Country," and "Monkberry Moon Delight" being the ones I love the most. In fact, I think "Too Many People" and "Monkberry Moon Delight" are two of Paul's best rock vocals.

I also, Fran would be glad to know, went over my Fake lines on the drive, too. I also processed some pics I took last Sunday on my last official day on the Ghostbusters: Spook University production, after I arrived at Dave's yesterday afternoon. They will be posted sometime soon.

So, whilst I am here, on vacation, I shall do a few things. As I said in the last post, I'll at least start the shooting script for the short-short. I also will work more on the production of the upcoming WriteGallery virtual chapbook On the Edge of the Pulsewave. I may grab some stills from more video I shot of the Ghostbusters production -- the footage from June 4. I've brought a few plays to read, and re-read, Moonlight & Magnolias (Ron Hutchinson) being a prime one, since I am of the understanding that I have an audition callback for that sometime this month. Then there's Brooklyn Boy (Donald Margulies), the first show up at The Guild in the coming season; not completely sure there's a role for me, but I am going to likely audition, unless, by some weird happenstance, I am already cast at The Human Race Theatre Company.

But of course, I will also be workin', practicin', stud'yen that ol' script fer the Fake play.

I have also brought along other plays for possible reading: Pride's Crossing, by Tina Howe; Frozen, by Bryony Lavery; The Beard of Avon, by Amy Freed, some of the other 06/07 Guild productions.

Oh yeah, I have signed on as the producer for Paul Lucas' The Dice House at the Guild, with Greg (Smith) as director. But, if I were cast in the other Human Race play I'm getting called back for, Take Me Out, then I will have to drop off as Greg's producer. Hey, I won't mind even if he does -- but I wouldn't think he would.

Now that I look at this entry, it's really not much of an interlude, is it?



Tue, July 4, 2006

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY
TO THE
UNITED STATES OF
    AMERICA!!!

MORE GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY PICTURES IN MY PERSONAL ALBUM: I have added thirty-five pictures to my Ghostbusters: Spook University (Fan Film) photo album, though six are from the May 29, 2006 blog entry; I have removed the thumbnails from the blog page and made them the first row of the album page. The other twenty-nine are photos I took in the morning on June 25 while we were shooting at the Washington Township Rec Center. I am in none of those. But I swear I did appear on camera quite a bit that morning. Right before those June 25 pictures is an area where I will insert stills from the digital video I shot on June 4; there are only four blank picture frames in that space right now -- don't worry, I'll add more than just four images, so the area will expand. Stay tuned.

Again, the album link is: www.theWriteGallery.com/gbff/.

Um....oops -- well, grabbing stills from the June 4 Shoot will be a little difficult while here in Indy. One of the key ingredients for transferring DV from the camcorder to the computer is a firewire cable. I left mine at home and there is not one here.

Guess that leaves more time for work on Fake, the shooting script for the short-short, production of On the Edge of the Pulsewave, and reading at least one of those other plays.

Maybe I ought to slip some actual "VACATION" in here somewhere, too, go see fireworks or something.



Thu July 6, 2006

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INTERLUDE -- LEAVING INDIANAPOLIS

Well, "Vacation" is over, nearly. I am a few minutes away from getting in the car and driving back to Ohio. I don't need to be home for about seven hours (I have Guild business, then Fake rehearsal), so I am likely to take my leisurely ol' time on the drive home. Stop a few time to add to this entry. I also have Fake line study on my agenda for the bulk of this afternoon. No reason that can't happen during stops on the way. It is 10:45 a.m. right now.

Noon    Lunch (strawberries and bananas) at the Greenfield rest area on I 70 East, about 10-15 minutes outside Indy. (photo) A tad windy, but all in all a nice sunny day with warm -- but not balmy-hot -- weather. Were there a kite flyer here, I'd snap a shot.

It's two hours between the Dayton and Indianapolis area. I have, as I said, nowhere to be, back in Dayton, until 6:00 (five hours and forty-five minutes from this very moment I am typing). I have my lap top, I have the Fake script; there's no reason to stick to I 70; there's no reason to not take several hours and more than a few stops, to get home.

I, by-the-way, read absolutely not one word from any play, save for Fake. Screw it: I'M ON VACATION!.

1:05    Still on I 70, at the rest stop by Richmond, Indiana, the Ohio border not terribly far. The drive from my last spot being the length of Side One and about half of Side Two of Wings' Venus & Mars Are Alright Tonight album. At some point soon I'll detour off the interstate.

This seems like a good place for some line and character study, hey?

As for another thing whilst I was back in Indy, I did do some graphic arts work for the chapbook.

2:35    Took Rt. 40 about a half mile before the Ohio border, so I could see things like (this) or (this). I am pulled over a few miles east of Lewisburg, maybe two miles north of Brookville -- stopped to snap the pic of that small lake/large pond -- abut to head out again.

Currently jamming with Steely Dan, Can't Buy A Thrill.

A few minutes down the road I came across this cemetery in the hamlet of Arlington, Ohio: (pic 1); (pic 2).

3:25    At the lake shore at Englewood Dam right now (photo). More line study.

4:47    Home. Just enough time to shower off the road and head to the Guild. Then, rehearsal.

10:40    Home from rehearsal. Did better than I expected, though I did go up on lines a few times. Still have a lot of adjustments to the character to make. Fran wants him all business and a little hard in his first scene, a little more cautious in his second and totally off guard by the end of his third. I have achieved the last but not the second as much as I had thought; Fran wants more than I gave her tonight. Well, tomorrow night is another night.

Tomorrow morning. . . . . . . . . . work.



Sun July 9, 2006

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FAKE: Thursday and Friday rehearsals went pretty well for us all. I suppose I am happy with my Stevens. I have some experimenting still to do, to put fine points on him. I am also of the mind that maybe I cast an early mold of him from which I have a hard time breaking away. Stevens is a utility character in the play and certainly should not have any of the excitement, eccentricity, and flavor of, say, Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean, yet, I feel there is something missing from my Stevens. I'll find it (or them). I am not afraid the missing element or elements are out of my reach.

One thing that will help me is to do a better back story than I have already. All I have decided about Stevens is vague at the moment. At this point all I have decided is that he is divorced and has two kids -- a teenage daughter who's starting to become real trouble, and an eight year old son. The divorce was messy and he and the ex are not on good terms. I have no more detail than this.

We don't have rehearsal again until the seventeenth. That makes this sophomore (borderline freshman) actor nervous as hell. Fran Pesch (the director) refers to this as our break, but it can't be a break for me -- I will have to keep at it, work on Stevens, get some better insight into his agenda for each line he delivers as well as what his internal dialogue is while he listens to those in his scenes; and, I will metamorphose this guy into whoever it is I am sensing he should be. I do think I'm close with him, but. . . . .

I will, of course, also use this "break" for pre-production work on my short-short movie project -- which, I might insert here, I have begun the shooting script for; let's not forget that this week is the Guild's special presentation of Dearly Beloved -- *see below. And there is production work to do for On the Edge of the Pulsewave.

It is saddling up to noon right now, and, as much creative-type work as I have on my plate, the bulk of this Sunday must be devoted to an activity that is all too rare: K.L. needs to clean his damned apartment -- (and I do mean "bulk of the day").

Of course, it is great opportunity to attack getting Stevens' lines absolutely forged into my memory cells. Ya know: go over lines whilst I vacuum, etc. Have to be sure I have instrumental music on the stereo, classical or jazz. Music with lyrics always distracts me from other mental concentrations.

DAYTON CITY PAPER'S "THE YEAR IN THEATER": Last Wednesday, Russell Florence Jr. put forth his view of the 05/06 Dayton theater season. The self-involved part of me notes that the only production I was attached to that he mentions is I Never Sang for My Father, which he gives an honorable mention for best community theater productions. Actually, since Russell attended that show Opening Night (being one of the performances where my Dr. Mayberry had the famous prop business debacles), I am relieved he didn't have anything to say about this actor's work in that play.

Truth be told, my only major participation this year as an actor, that would have been fodder for an article like this, was in Endgame at Springfield StageWorks. But that new theater company wasn't on anyone's radar yet. The irony is that I actually think my Clov would have merited good mention. Well, public acknowledgment is nice and all, but it was a great experience with or without any such kudos.

The last SSW production, Our Town, was another of Russell's honorable mentions for community theater. I hope that in its sophomore year, Springfield Stageworks is attended to a little more. This is another of the better venues to have a live theater experience; thus, it's another great place for an actor to take the stage. I believe the company deserves the area's full attention and I do hope SSW receives that attention.

For the record, The Guild's production of Other People's Money was Russell's first pick for community theater productions. Click here for the whole article.

AGAIN:
Dearly Beloved
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jaimie Wooten
directed by Greg Smith

featuring the talents of
Barbara Coriell, Henni Fisher, Barbara Jorgesen, Heather Martin, Kimberly Reiter, Blake Senseman, John Spitler, Elizabeth Wilemaitis, and Travis Williams

July 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2006
at the Dayton Theatre Guild

click here for more details
*there will, of course, be no details after the show has closed

ANOTHER COOL EVENT AT THE GUILD: I am not sure how much I can yet share about this, but there will be another special presentation at the Guild in mid August. I believe it will be a production much worth attending. As soon as I know for certain that I can, I will give the details. For the half a handful of local theatre people who might drop in here on occasion. . . .

ONE MORE THING: In case you visit here, but not the rest of the web site, a little WriteGallery promotion is in order:

On the Edge of the Pulsewave


Tue, July 11, 2006

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SHORT-SHORT MOVIE PRODUCTION UPDATE: Pre-production is moving along. Just brought someone on board as boom mic operator, Jason Frisbie, who is a friend of Loren Goins (Byron McClain in Ghostbusters: Spook University). We actually met during shooting of that on the Wright State University campus. The irony is that he's not on board my project directly from that. He came in to interview for a student assistant job for me in the library. Technicalities beyond control of either of us made it impossible for me to hire him, but we did solidify his involvement in this project.

I have ordered some polyclear laser print label paper from a company in California, rippedsheets.com. A local printer, Digital Depot, will put the design of the cartoon character, by my current Fake cast mate, Alex Charmical, on the sheets. Then I will see if I can transfer the image onto a sixteen ounce glass, or two, for the set piece I need. For those interested enough to wonder exactly what the value and purpose of the set piece is to the movie, I have decided it's okay to be a little less opaque about the script. It is based on a short story by me that is posted at the site proper, "The Chorus for Candice," and bears the same name. To help translate the story onto screen better, I have put the children into the script, rather than having them just be mentioned. The cartoon rabbit was, in the very early drafts of the original short story, Bugs Bunny, but I changed it for publication and certainly cannot use Bugs in the movie -- not without clearance from Time/Warner which would cost me a ton of cash, I am sure. So, enter Alex and his fine work for me. But you still can't see it.

The shooting script is coming along, too.

CHAPBOOK PRODUCTION: Still doing the graphic art thing.

On the Edge of the Pulsewave


Thu July 13, 2006

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TONIGHT:
Dearly Beloved
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jaimie Wooten
directed by Greg Smith

featuring the talents of
Barbara Coriell, Henni Fisher, Barbara Jorgesen, Heather Martin, Kimberly Reiter, Blake Senseman, John Spitler, Elizabeth Wilemaitis, and Travis Williams

July 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2006
at the Dayton Theatre Guild

click here for more details
*there will, of course, be no details after the show has closed

Saw Act I last night. Really funny stuff! Tonight I host. so won't really get to see it. Saturday afternoon I am in the audience.



Fri July 14, 2006

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AND STILL:
Dearly Beloved
by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jaimie Wooten
directed by Greg Smith

featuring the talents of
Barbara Coriell, Henni Fisher, Barbara Jorgesen, Heather Martin, Kimberly Reiter, Blake Senseman, John Spitler, Elizabeth Wilemaitis, and Travis Williams

July 13, 14, 15, and 16, 2006
at the Dayton Theatre Guild

click here for more details
*there will, of course, be no details after the show has closed

I hosted last night. The audience loved the show. Lots of laughs. From what I attended to I could tell the cast did a fabulous job. If you are close by and are considering attending, be advised that the run is close to sold out.

ALSO:

The Dayton Theatre Guild presents
A Very Special Presentation

Annie Pesch as
The Belle of Amherst
by William Luce
directed by Greg Smith

August 18 8:00 p.m.
August 19 5:00 p.m. & 9:00 p.m.
August 20 3:00 p.m.

at the Dayton Theatre Guild
937-278-5993 for reservations

click here for more details
*there will, of course, be no details after the show has closed

This is the cool event in August I referred to in the post from last Sunday. Since we have promo inserts of it in the Dearly Beloved playbill, it's clear I am good to mention it. Annie is, of course, a current cast mate in Fake, as well as an actor I have seen on stage a few times and whose work I have liked. And, Fran, our illustrious Fake director is her mother. I am trying to grab a copy of the electronic file for promo flyer; I'll post it here when I have it.

FRIDAY IS FOR LINES AND TESTS: Tonight will be me and my Fake script. I also will flesh out my character's back story, as I had said I need to do. After dark I will be doing some experimenting with my DV camcorder and various lighting possibilities as more pre-production for my short-short, The Chorus for Candice.



Sat July 15, 2006

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THE BEST LAID PLANS...: Had something come up that interfered with the lighting experiments last night. Tonight is good. I am going to the matinee of Dearly Beloved, so I'll have plenty of time after dark tonight.

I did get line work in for Fake.

THE ANNIE PESCH PROMO:

Annie Pesch as 'The Belle of Amherst'


Sun July 16, 2006

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THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE PRODUCTION UPDATE: I may loose one cast member and one crew member, both who may be out of town the day of the shoot. Will know for certain sometime soon.

UNWRAPPING THE GHOSTBUSTERS WRAP: That potential green screen work that might have come up for Ghostbusters: Spook University has come up, next Saturday.

DEARLY BELOVED AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: I was in the audience yesterday for the matinee performance. I stood by an exite, actually, having to give up my seat to another customer. The whole run sold out.

It was a good strong performance that I saw. I guess the two things I'll pick to mention are: 1) Henni Fisher, Heather Martin, and Kimberly J. Reiter sing together at one point and sound very good together; 2) it's nice to have Elizabeth Wilemaitis on the Guild stage -- I think she is an impressive young talent.



Mon, July 17, 2006

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GLORY BY ASSOCIATION: Major congrats to Dan Yohey, thrice my scene mate in Ghostbusters: Spook University, for winning two regional Emmies over the weekend. Along with WDTN TV news anchor Mark Allen, Dan won an Emmy as videographer for Best Feature Series "Road to Recovery," a series about Hurricane Katrina. He also brought an award home for the videography on a report called "Becky's Crusade" along with former WDTN reporter Glen Barbour.

CLICK HERE for the posting at WDTN's web site -- though at some point this may become a dead link.

Speaking of the film project: there are, I just discovered, production stills at the official site. These are from the actual production footage. Check 'em out: myspace.com/ohiogbfanfilm.

FAKE: Rehearsal tonight after ten days away. I did get a bit of line study in over the weekend -- though I have not fleshed out that bio on Det. Stevens, yet.



Wed July 19, 2006

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FAKE: With a few exceptions rehearsals have gone fairly well so far this week. Last night was our first night on the actual Sinclair Blair Hall stage, and it did throw us all a bit, working with the actual space and the actual set pieces. I can safely say it threw me more than just a bit. I paraphrased and came close to going up on lines more last night than I have in quite a few rehearsals. Monday was way better for me on lines than last night was.

Well this is one of only two rehearsals on the actual Blair Hall stage, which I have been told is one more than last year -- when each show got only one Blair Hall rehearsal.

I also am not satisfied yet with my Stevens, especially in his last scene. There is a character modulation in that last scene that I have not found the proper execution of yet. He's not ending up at a place I am happy with.

Haven't finished that Stevens bio yet, either.

THE MOONLIGHT FOR ANOTHER MAGNOLIA: Yesterday I received an email from The Human Race Theatre Company. The callback for Moonlight & Magnolias has been cancelled. They have cast all or most roles already. I know another actor who received this same email.

Wasn't expecting this exact scenario -- no callback at all -- but, I can't say I was thrown off guard by it. It would have been nice to at least get the experience in of the callback; and, it would, naturally, have been great to walk out on stage at The Loft on September 28.

Sooner or later.

Maybe next June with Take Me Out.

This does open up the field for a few other auditions coming up presently.



Sun July 23, 2006

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FAKE: Wednesday and Thursday rehearsals were productive. Director Fran Pesch concentrated on pacing, among other things, for all of us in one scene or another. Along with changing the pacing of my Stevens in a couple places she also had me change his intent for a few lines here and there, which caused me to adjust his thought process in some of those moments. Actually one change, the delivery of one line in a scene caused a change of intent for Steven's for pretty much the whole first half of his appearance in that scene.

Fortunately, there was no case of me thinking to myself, This is really not the best internal dialogue for my character. There have been times in my short time back as an actor where such has been the case. In at least one instance, I eventually came to agree with the director. In a few others, I still, to this day, believe the director's idea for the particular moment in question was wrong. Must add here that, in general, these second scenarios have been very few and very far between. I did go with the direction in all cases, despite my unease.

It's down to the wire time, now, for Fake. Three rehearsals left. Our final tech, and the second of our two rehearsals on the Sinclair Blair Hall stage, is this coming Wednesday. For reasons that are paycheck-job related, I am taking vacation that day, but it is advantageous for me in terms of some final wood shedding on my lines and character, least wise in one nice chunk of time, probably in the afternoon. I will do some pre-production for my short-short movie that day, too -- some errands that require regular business hours.

Bet any regular visitor here would not be surprised to read that I am at a picnic table at John Bryan State Park right now. As I was driving over and running my lines on the trip, I decided that I am close (that is "close" -- not yet "on the mark") with Steven's character.

What has congealed for me is that, being an investigator, he knows how to read people and that 90% of the time in this play nothing comes out of his mouth that is not calculated to meet his ends. Even how those things come out are tactical. I have had to alter his style a little due to some changes Fran has made, mostly related to the rhythm of the scenes; this has been most of that "altering his thought processes" I mentioned earlier.

Steven's was born Ernest William Stevens, March 12, 1955 in Philadelphia. He moved to New York City in 1983. He's three times divorced with three children from his first marriage, one from his second, and three step children from his third. He has custody of his twelve-year-old son, Peter, from his second marriage; his ex did not want custody. His first wife moved back to Philly with the children after a 1989 divorce. Ernie is a good guy who's just trying to do his job and get to the truth of the matter at hand.

As for that character modulation at the end of his third and last scene. I am a little happier with it, yet I don't think I have found exactly what I want. There's a reveal going on and I have not quite come to terms with what that reveal is.

Now for something related but somewhat of a digression. A little background first. Some will know that in high school I was acting a lot. My theatre director there was Chuck Scott, he being who introduced me to The Dayton Theatre Guild. During the twenty-five years I was not acting, I would have periodic dreams that Chuck had called me to fill in for some actor in a production he was directing -- never really was determined in the dreams if these plays were at my alma mater, Wilbur Wright High School, or not. These are those actors' dreams where the actor doesn't know his or her lines, whatsoever. They are, actually, quite common.

Since I have been back acting these last couple years, I have not once had such a dream. Until Friday night. And I think it was because I mentioned them to the Fake cast in the green room during our Blair Hall rehearsal last Tuesday. In this one, the play was more or less Fake, except that I was on stage with an actor who is not in the Fake cast, and the director was not Fran. Both are folk I have worked with before. The actor (well, actress) did not know her lines either. Finally, the director walked on stage and fired us both from the cast right in front of the audience.

". . . . . then I woke up"

GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY GREEN SCREEN YESTERDAY: For the sake of continuity I got a hair cut yesterday morning (a number 5; rounded in the back). Got one the day of, or the day before, each shoot.

Spent probably about an hour doing the green screen work at the Miami Valley Communication Council. Well, I was there for about an hour. We shot what amounts to around two minutes of footage, at the most. Mike (that is, director Mike Soprani) also got a few ECUs (Extreme Close Ups) of my face and eyes as inserts. Then he got a piece of voice audio from me to use in a scene we shot the first night.

Green screen studio

Mike does believe yesterday was it for me. He also believes principal photography for the production will be wrapped today. Now it's the big edit and a lot of special effects work. Mike hopes for an October viewing of the final cut, as I may have mentioned before.

I'm waiting for the forthcoming wrap party, which should be this summer. It's supposed to be at Hooters, where a short scene was done for a "busting" montage.

THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: Before the GB green screen work yesterday, and just after I got my Dean Schultz haircut, I dropped into The St. Francis thrift store in Fairborn and bought a few glasses for the cartoon character to be placed on as well as a robe for Candice -- which will, of course, take a trip to the dry cleaners before my actress wears it in scene.

Also, earlier in the week, the clear label sheets arrived to print the cartoon rabbit, whom I will reveal here is named Wally Rabbit, onto. There are ten sheets with labels perforations for twelve Wallies per. That's a possible 120 Wallies. But right now, I only have five glasses to attempt a good placement. I wouldn't mind if I got five good placements, either, so I'd have four back ups; this being one of those "we shall see" things. It's going to be relatively inexpensive to print each sheet out, so I may go for all 120 copies of the little guy.

Rippedsheets also sent me a sample sheet that is one standard 8.5 x 11 cell, as a sample. I want to print a bigger copy of Wally on it, then place that on a mason jar or such. I want a tight close up of Wally and I am concerned that the smaller version on the glass will be too small for that shot. So I want to cheat that shot with the larger printed rabbit on the larger glass vessel. It will be tight enough that the camera (i.e.: audience) won't catch the switch. I have not located the larger glass vessel yet. All the jars at the thrift store today were too far afield in terms of geometry (vertical angle from the base to the rim) to be cheated in as the glass, up close.

I plan to get with the printer on that aforementioned day off this Wednesday.

Tonight after dark come more lighting experiments. Hey, when it comes to lighting, I am relatively close to clueless. Got to go into this with something that at least resembles a clue or two.

Also glad to report that I will not have to replace my AD/SS (Assistant Director/Script Supervisor) nor my young male cast member.

The shooting script is coming along. I must admit I haven't worked on it for a few days. I hope to get it close to finished, if not completely so, today.

MINUTIA OF MISCELLANIOUS STUFF

  • Have a few play scripts I am reading for upcoming auditions. I also have caught wind of some possible movie opportunities.
  • It occurs to me that I have not moved to approach a talent agent, as I said I was going to this summer. That needs to change here soon.
  • Dropped into Brookville Community Theatre Friday night to see a few friends in Man of La Mancha. There certainly was some very good vocal work in the show. Of all the fine vocalizations, I'd say the one that made the biggest impression on me was that of Robert C. Banks -- this, because he is a most excellent tenor. I'm a tenor, but I ain't even close to his league. He was the Padre, which means he sang the song with the most enchanting melody of the whole show, and one that needs such a fine vocal as he provided -- "To Each His Dulcinea (To Every Man His Dream)." I think I have just realized that the thought of singing this is far more intimidating to me than "The Impossible Dream (The Quest)," despite that this second song is written for a baritone.
  • The graphic artist in me (such as he is) is also busy on illustrations for the WriteGallery virtual chapbook, On the Edge of the Pulsewave. I still think I can get it posted in August.
  • Just saw that there will be a special on the Paul McCartney 2005 U.S. tour next October on A&E, called "Paul McCartney: The Space Within Us." I assume that, just as the Red Square A&E special, this will be released as a DVD.

    I mention this because this is where that footage of me in the audience at the Columbus concert would be. Look for me during "Drive My Car."



  • Wed July 26, 2006

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    FAKE: To be sure, whipping a fully staged show together in so few rehearsals is a new experience for me, one that I needed. As a friend said last night, it stretches a muscle not used in this way before.

    If I were to assess a grade to myself, in terms of this aspect, I am inclined at the moment to give myself something like a C+. It is just that I have a focus problem at the start of one scene. There are some timing issues and I am not getting it the way I should -- (yeah, I used the word "should" -- I am "shoulding" all over myself, as a dear friend would say). Nevertheless, there is a problem for me at this point in the script that needs to be fixed, like, oh, um, tonight. It begins with this little glitch. My scene mate has a line with a beat pause: two short, quite similar sentences with a beat count in between. I step on that beat and say my line too early, before my actual cue, which is the line after the beat. That often interferes with all the short little lines we both have coming up. I end up thinking just a half an instant too long about what some of my following lines are. The rhythm and pacing is then thrown and the timing is now stilted. Last night it effected me several minutes into the scene. I finally just looked at director Fran and asked to start the scene over. Not ideal for the second to last rehearsal, but I was not doing the scene anywhere near as well as I can and I felt the need to get it right. The second time it all worked as it "should."

    There were a couple other snafus of this nature, last night, that aren't recurring, they just happened and I am not worried about those.

    I also am still not satisfied with that character modulation I have written of in other posts. One thing I did last night that I think does work, is I made the change more abrupt. I had been incrementally moving toward the shift a bit earlier in the scene, using some logical happenstance of the scene to foreshadow the point where Steven's modulation is marked. Last night I made it stark and clean at the marked spot; I had made the decision while going over my scenes earlier in the day. Still, I am not totally comfortable with the Steven's on stage after the change. Fran has no problem with him, but I hope to get some sort of inspiration before showtime that makes me 100% happy with it.

    Tonight is that final tech on the Sinclair Blair Hall stage. Maybe the down-to-the-wire energy will smack me into best shape. I still have time this afternoon for one final big chunk of line and character work. Were but that I could take time off from the paycheck job on Friday, but I cannot. And Thursday evening I have plans to attend the FutureFest Convocation at The Dayton Playhouse.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: I got the uni-directional mic today from Timbeck Two, owned by an high school friend of mine, Tim Guth. I'll test it over the weekend, whenever I find the spot to fit it in; might actually find a spot in the next few hours here. I can do that and run lines at the same time. The mic is not exactly what I expected. It's a small mic, about the size of the end of pinky finger, much like a lavaliere mic.

    Dropped off the label sheets from Rippedsheets at Digital Depot. We ran into a little bit of trouble with the 8.5 x 11 sheet for the larger version of Wally. The sheet jammed in the printer the first time. I did get a print but the sheets a tad wrinkled. Going to contact Rippedsheets about a few more for the larger image. They sent that one 8.5 x 11 as a sample. The image did look good -- in that it printed well -- but I need one without the wrinkles. The smaller version will be ready tomorrow. Digital Depot needs to create a template with multiple images, each positioned to print on its label perforation in the right spot.

    GHOSTBUSTERS: SPOOK UNIVERSITY Got the word that Schultz is definitely done in front of the camera. There may be looping, but no more camera work. There is also likely to be a commentary chapter on the DVD, but I don't have to look the same, and in fact I like the idea of not looking the same, anyway. The result is that I can shave the mustache this coming Saturday. Sometime soon, when I can afford it, I'm getting new head shots, this time in color because black and white is no longer desired by casting folk.



    Thu July 27, 2006

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    FAKE: We had a really good final dress rehearsal last night. There were a few dropped lines; I was responsible for one incident. I also got a word wrong in another scene, this one being a recurring error. My line is, "Someone want to fill me in?" I keep saying, "Someone want to clue me in?" Not the worst thing, but still, it is not what the script says.

    I was at least happy with my work last night. I suppose I can upgrade that self assessment to B-, maybe.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: Digital Depot is not quite finished with the regular size prints of Wally. I should be able to pick them up tomorrow afternoon.

    NONA UPDATE: Receive an email from Tony Bushman, co-director and DP of the Stephen King Dollar Baby movie, Nona, shot in the spring and summer of 2005, where I appear in the final scene. Tony promises there will be a final cut sometime soon -- I, as always, am not sure his "soon" is any more immediate than mine often is, which is often not too much so.



    Wed Aug 2, 2006

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    FutureFest 2006: First of all, Fake went well last Friday evening. We had a good show. I was more than just pleased with my own work, despite a few complaints I have about it. The cast as a whole did great work. Once again I had the fortune of being thrown in the mix with some very fine actors who have helped me learn more about the craft, as did the director.

    One big lesson I took away was about focus. It's not necessarily that this cast was "more focused" than others, but certainly no less, and it is a point that I have already been attentive to lately; so their good examples of focus were prominent on my radar.

    I still was not completely satisfied with that modulation of my character in his last scene. I don't think what I did failed, but there was something not there, something that didn't click for me, and I don't know what it was that was missing. I also had one brain freeze in a scene where a word -- a character's name -- escaped me for a moment, just as I was opening my mouth to say a line. I had to pause for what seemed like a few seconds, though the actor I was giving the line to told me later she did not detect even a hesitation. I guess my panic stretched the time.

    Yet I otherwise felt very good about my Det. Stevens. And, to my gratification, some theatre people whose opinions carry much weight with me gave me good complement on the work.

    Had the privilege of spending the evening after the show in the company of the playwright, Jim Gordon, along, of course, with the rest of the cast, director Fran, some of the other playwrights whose works were up at FutureFest, and other assorted folk belonging to casts or FutureFest in general.

    Fake has been a good experience for me.

    Here's a picture of the whole cast. This, along with a FutureFest t-shirt signed by us, was given to our playwright. As always, if you click on the image here you'll get a larger version.

    Picture of FAKE cast and crew

    Back, left-right: Fran Pesch (director), K.L.Storer (Ernie Stevens), Megan Cooper (Linda Meyers), Alex Carmichal (Mike)
    Front, left-right: Teresa Abshear (Grace Barlow), Roger Watson (Fred Meyers), Annie Pesch (Helen Chisholm)

    You may or may not be able to see that my hair is grayed a little. I am not too sure it showed well under the stage lights. Perhaps it was a case where people didn't notice that they noticed, which still would be effective, as it would mean there was something not directly associated with K.L., even if it was perceived covertly. I had not much of a chance to experiment under the stage lights. Didn't want the grey too pronounced, just subtle. I went with the notion that it was better to not have enough than too much. Either way it was a good external character tool for me, even if only for me.

    The rest of the festival was great, too. There were some very fine performances on that stage over the weekend. Nice words coming from the stage, too. And it was really a neat privilege to spend time with the playwrights and adjudicators -- not mention the other actors, the directors and the audience members.

    The winning play, by the way, was Estelle Singerman by David Rush of Murphysboro, Illinois. Playhouse Executive Director Adam Leigh directed; the cast was: Joan Harrah (Estelle Singerman), Charles Larkowski (Warren Spencer), Kimberly Warrick (Hannah & Narrator), Elena Monigold (Sister Rose, Francine, Doris, & Narrator), Art Barer (Big Guy, Rabbi, & Narrator), and Ben Norsworthy (Rudy, Seymour the Giraffe, Unicorn, & Narrator). The play is a surreal, contemporary mythic adventure. It is an interesting script. All six plays were, actually, to one extent or another.

    Of the three local theatre writers, only Dayton Daily News writer Terry Morris' article has been posted on-line: Click here. DDN does not keep articles up for long, either.

    I'll post the URLs when Dayton City Paper and Oakwood Register have posted their coverage.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: Wally Rabbit has been printed onto the labels

    Tested the microphone from Timbeck Two. It's actually a little too powerful, though I am thinking about renting it again for the shoot, just in case I can make it work. I may go with my cheapo Radio Shack mic.

    BROOKLYN BOY AUDITIONS AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Spent Monday and Tuesday evening at auditions for this Donald Margulies play at my home theatre. If I am cast, it seems very likely that I will be cast in the supporting role of Manny Zimmer. It's the vibe I got, anyway, mostly due to the fact that I was not read in all the Eric Weiss (lead role) scenes, and a few others were not only read in all, but more than once in each. Writing seems pretty much on the wall.

    You know I gotta do this second-guessing; it's part of the ritual. But, I also need to see the pragmatic side of things, and that tells me it's either Manny or "it's on to the next audition." Actually, there is at least one terribly interesting audition coming up sometime soon. Springfield StageWorks will audition for Yasmina Reza's 'Art' sometime soon. The show isn't up until October 27, so I may actually be able to audition for that even if cast in Brooklyn Boy. Our Guild show opens September 8, so there may not be a scheduling conflict. I am contacting the 'Art' director soon about the audition dates and when rehearsals begin.

    There are a few other good options coming later this fall, too. Actually, there more than a few plays this coming season that I have a strong interest in.

    Camelot auditions at The Dayton Playhouse were this Monday and Tuesday, too. After my last fiasco with a musical, I wanted to be well prepared with a song; in my situation that means having an accompaniment CD. I was not ready by the time this audition came around. The Playhouse is doing The Wizard of Oz at Christmas time. There's a fun idea to play with.



    Sat Aug 5, 2006

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    AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION

    Got the call last night that I was not cast in Brooklyn Boy at The Dayton Theatre Guild. I however, met briefly this morning with Jerry Boswell, who is directing Yasmina Reza's 'Art' for a joint production by Springfield StageWorks and The Springfield Museum of Art. We've set up an audition for next Wednesday evening. The show goes up October 27, and rehearsal would begin in early September. There's still room for some other opportunity in the immediate future.

    MORE ON FutureFest 2006: The article by Russell Florence Jr. has bee posted at the Dayton City Paper web site. The Oakwood Register did not seem to cover the event, least not in the on-line version.

    Click here for Russell's article.

    Again, click here for Terry Morris' article from The Dayton Daily News. And, again, DDN does not keep articles up for long.

    Another thing, I have to say that I was not finished performing Fake. We had a nice chemistry going and one performance is a bit of an emotional let down for me. Don't misunderstand, I loved the experience, but this one performance thing leaves me feeling like I wasn't finished with Ernie Stevens yet.

    I could just as easily be saying, "OH THANK GOD THAT IS OVER!" and I recognize that, so, I am not bitching. Yet, that one performance left me feeling like it's unfinished. I guess that says something good about the whole experience -- well, yes, it does say something good about it.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: It's all moving along well. The shooting script is close to done. I have been in contact with the cast about various aspects of their roles. Tomorrow is pretty much committed to the production. I will put Wally on the drinking glass, as well as the larger jar. I will record some ambient sound to drop into the final cut. I may do the voice over for the lawyer -- whom we hear on the phone at the start of the movie. I have some other set pieces to create, too. I need a court summons and at least one poster from a theatrical play.



    Tue, Aug 8, 2006

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    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: Bit of technical trouble rearing its beauty-challenged head. The printouts of little Wally on the clear labels do not show up well at all on clear glass. Seems it needs a white background. An aspect I had not anticipated. All is well though. I bought some white plastic tumblers at a dollar store today, as well as a larger white plastic water pitcher for the larger Wally -- the one for the ECU (Extreme Close Up) of Wally's face.

    I've also have lines on a floor rug (from the Guild) and a whiskey bottle. I also have samples to create the legal summons the movie need. I already have a pistol, again, borrowed from the Guild.

    Then, I've composed the actor's release forms, two versions, one for an adult actor, one for a minor actor. Actually, I found a well-written sample on-line and tweaked it to suit my needs.

    'ART'FUL AUDITION: The Rest of today is focused on studying Yasmina Reza's 'Art' to audition tomorrow night for the Springfield StageWorks/Springfield Museum of Art production.



    Thu Aug 10, 2006

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    I AM 'ART'FUL: Happy to report I am cast in Yasmina Reza's 'Art' for the joint production by Springfield StageWorks, Springfield Civic Theatre, and Springfield Museum of Art. I am in the role of Serge, but the director is placing the action in America, rather than France, so Serge has become Stephen. Am cast with Randy Benge (Marc) and Dennis Latimer (Yvan -- who may become "Evan"). Nancy Mahoney (Nell in last season's Endgame) is the AD. Jerry Boswell is the director, as previously stated. Randy was in both Creation of the Universe and Other Business and Our Town at SSW last season. Dennis was in Our Town. So the whole cast, and the AD, are returns from StageWorks' Season One.

    The show isn't up until October 27. We have two rehearsals for this month, one August 23, the other August 30. We will start picking up days in September -- though we three cast members may do a few line reads at someone's house.

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE: A little post-production hitch -- the resources for converting my analog sound track to digital will not be available to me after the shoot. I have some other sources I can call upon, and have already started that ball rolling. I was going to use the resources at my own Wright State University Libraries, in a place called STAC (Student Technology Assistance Center), but they will be down for maintenance and upgrading during the whole break before fall quarter begins. I could not make my August 31 deadline, Now I am trying a source, whom I will name if he can oblige me.

    In slightly more promising news, I have almost finished the shooting script. Am likely to have it done by bedtime tonight.

    DAYTON STAGE -- PERFORMING ARTS CALENDAR: Local actor and graphic artist Alex Charmical has created an on-line calendar of performances and auditions for Dayton area theatre productions. The URL is home.earthlink.net/~daytonstage.

    Alex, of course, designed Wally Rabbit for The Chorus for Candice as well as once again playing against Megan Cooper in Fake -- the latest installment of their local Tracy/Hepburn routine.

    BELLE OF AMHERST STORY IN DAYTON CITY PAPER: There's a nice article/interview with Annie Pesch, by Russell Florence Jr., in the August 9 issue of the Dayton City Paper. Click here for the article.



    Mon, Aug 14, 2006

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    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT PRE-PRODUCTION UPDATE -- Or, How To Ignore The Concept Of Keeping It Simple And End Up Driving One's Self Batty: But First -- the post-production sound processing hitch has been resolved. I will employ the services of Wayne Justice (Hamm to my Clov in last year's Endgame). We will be digitizing and making any enhancements needed on Monday afternoon, August 21 -- one week from now.

    Hey, I'll be in post production this time next week.

    And now for our feature presentation...

    Shooting Script, made more difficult than necessary....

      I spent quite a bit of time on two versions of the shooting script, one a sequential version, the other a production version in order of shot set ups with space for notes by the script supervisor. But I found I was making it all far too complicated for a five-minute movie. There were all these little 10 & 20 second sequences all being shot completely out of story sequence. I finally realize, as an actor, how hard this would be to follow mentally and emotionally during production.

      What was going on was I've been so focused on my vision for what the final cut will be and my intent on keeping all the lighting for the different shot set ups in continuity, that I was setting this up to be a far too complex process.

      I have devised a third shooting script, based on the first sequential one, that will allow for much larger chunks to be shot in one shot set up. I'll shoot far more longer master shots (wide shots of a chunk of action) then go back and get the closer shots of particular actions and reactions from the same sequences. This is, for one thing, going to make it much easier for the actors to keep the context straight in their heads. It will also, I believe, make for a shorter evening.

      I have also made a new production shooting script for Lisa to make production notes, including the all-important continuity notations. But, I am not going to number shot set ups in a predetermined order of when I think they will be shot. They will be numbered from the start of the script and the actual order of shooting will be, perhaps, somewhat predetermined, but I am allowing myself and the crew much more flexibility.

      I have been driving myself crazy the last few days trying to determine the "perfect, best" shooting order. I am letting go of that for something far more organic and open to change.

      I know my vision, and that will well guide me.

      I haven't quite re-designated all the shot set ups, yet, but this new, simpler system will make it easy going.

    I don't even want to talk about the story boards I started. They were sketches, but I have such a hard time getting perspective and distance correct in graphics -- I can do it, but it takes a long time of trial and error. That drove me nuts, too. And I soon gave up in frustration.

    Between now and Friday there are a multitude of last-minute details to deal with (sometimes discover first). So, there are plenty more opportunities for this particular neurotic to go nuts again.

    2005/2006 DAYTONY AWARDS CEREMONY: Last night was the 2006 Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame / 2005/06 DayTony Awards ceremony. Can't possibly remember who all won, and listing them mostly is only of interest to Dayton area people. However, I will mention a few here right now. Of the shows I had some sort of involvement with -- of those eligible for Daytonys -- I Never Sang For My Father netted lead actor awards for both Gil Martin and Ralph Denlinger. Ralph took an award home for directing Bright Ideas at the Guild. Natasha Randall won for supporting role in that same play; Megan Cooper took home an award for lead role in that one as well as a second one for lead role in Hollywood Arms at the Dayton Playhouse.

    I was a little disappointed that Belles garnered no awards. I expected at least an ensemble performance award for the cast as a whole, and thought a couple individual performances merited awards.

    Well, a lot of other wins that I may get the detail wrong about, so I'll just refer you to the official Daytony web site, which should have the list of 05/06 winners sometime soon: www.daytonys.org.

    Nope, I won nothing, but did not expect to. As I have mentioned before, in reference to this last theatre season, my only performance that would merit an award was Clov in Endgame at Springfield StageWorks, and SSW hasn't joined the Daytony amalgamation, yet, so I was not eligible. And though I was technically eligible for Dr. Mayberry in I Never sang..., well, it was not what I would label my finest moment on stage.

    Honestly, going to the awards ceremony, knowing I had no chance of winning anything was the same as that date you go on where you know there is not going to be sex; it's a bit of a relief, in its own way.



    Wed Aug 23, 2006

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    NO, REALLY, A BLOG UPDATE IS COMING: Post-production for the short-short is involved. I am at the point where I can sit down with FinalCut and put the footage together. That process has begun, in fact, at about 9:00 this morning.

    I also have the finishing of graphics for the forthcoming virtual chapbook On the Edge of the Pulsewave; And, I have a rehearsal tonight for 'Art'.

    There's a lot to report, but, like I said in the previous entry, which I have not preserved here, I am in the midst of it and so "doing" is the name of the game; "reporting" will be the tailgate party. Again, stay tuned.



    Mon Sep 4, 2006

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    COMING SOON

    'THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE'  a film by K.L.Storer, featuring Kimverly J. Reiter with Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai

    I will be back with a blog of the adventure, which I am writing, here and there as I attend to the movie and other projects. It may be as soon as tomorrow that I post it.

    "A LITTLE CATCH UP" -- ANNIE PESCH'S ONE-PERSON PERFORMANCE:

    Annie Pesch as 'The Belle of Amherst'

    Annie's weekend was a successful event. She was, well, excellent. I know the Daytin Daily News reviewer Terry Morris wrote a good review on her, but, as is often the case, if it's on line, I cannot find it. Russell Florence Jr. from Dayton City Paper also gave her a good review. Click here for Russell's review.

    "MORE CATCH UP" -- DAYTONY AWARDS FOR THE 2005/06 DAYTON THEATRE SEASON, AT THE DAYTONY OFFICIAL SITE

    Click on the home page button there for information about the 2006 inductees into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame, Kay Bosse and Burt Saidel. You'll also find the list of all this year's Daytony award winners.

    If the link is still active, here's news coverage by Terry Morris of Dayton Daily News (while the link is still good), "Local Theater Honors Best Work at DayTony Awards."

    Afternoon addendum
    OH YEAH, ALSO, OPENING THIS FRIDAY NIGHT:

    'NROOKLYN BOY' at the Dayton Theatre Guild

    September 8-24, 2006 at
    The Dayton Theatre Guild
    2330 Salem Ave.
    Dayton, Ohio 45406
    937-278-5993



    Sun Sep 24, 2006

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    A MARATHON ENTRY OF CATCH-UP: SInce last entry there's been much happening. Taking time to blog it has been low on my list. It bears blogging, and I will try to get it in. Truth be told, the long essay-style segment about the movie has been worked on since before the September 4 blog entry, but sporadically. This is going to be a long entry, and I am sure I will have to put an addendum in later.

    NOW SHOWING

    'THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE'  a film by K.L.Storer, featuring Kimverly J. Reiter with Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai

    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE SHORT-SHORT MOVIE: MY THOUGHTS ON THE PROCESS FROM PRE THROUGH POST PRODUCTION

    Making this short movie has been a good classroom for me. I've learned a few things and have come to a few decisions (unfortunately most all the decisions have money involved -- ultimately several thousand dollars). The whole process, from recognizing the short story as a prime candidate for a short movie through to the dilemma of rendering a high-enough quality video file to share, has been fruitful and invigorating for me. For one thing it is another part of that element in which I belong, another part where I have finally fully placed myself. I have a finished dramatic movie that I directed even though I do not appear in it, as had been the original plan -- well, I sort of do appear in it, but certainly am not a featured player. The movie is a small thing in this new world third millennium of technology, yet still, it's personal artistic progress.

    It's true that back in late 2003 I shot and edited Muse, the short that I still can't show, because I have not received permission -- or even a response, yet -- from Pat Metheny to use his instrumental recording, "Midwestern Night's Dream." The song is pretty integral to the movie; and the sequences it accompanies are cut to it, so I really don't want to substitute another song. A good two minutes could stand to be edited out of the movie, on the other hand.

    Around that same time, I digitally re-mastered a song of mine I had recorded in the mid-eighties, "Rabid Rack" then I shot quite a bit of footage for a music video; in fact, if you go back to earlier entries in this blog you will note that I shot the last of that footage the morning of January 19, 2004. That evening I went to the first of two nights of auditions for The Cripple of Inishmaan at The Dayton Theatre Guild. I started that day off in a full beard and ended it in mutton chop side burns.

      I will stick a little note in here that now that I have begun to actually understand how to ride that horse known as FinalCut, the music video is highly probable as being edited to completion as my next movie project.

    Chorus.... was a planned production with development, a lot of pre-production, a script, the certain and most invaluable involvement of others (cast and crew), and a post-production process (though the others have been in, or will be in, post-production, as well).

    I'll discuss the lessons from pre-production and from production, later. Right now I'll share a few post-production gems of wisdom that are, at the moment, uppermost in my mind.

    For one thing, I need that high-end three CCD digital video camera sooner rather than later. My one-chip, consumer-model DV camcorder gives a "nice" picture, but it is just not up to par to give me the high quality of picture image I want. The movie does not look awful, especially in the editing suite, yet, unless you view the movie on a state-of-the-art computer, there are color pixilation problems that arise that would be at least greatly lessened if not totally eliminated if I had the better original video information that would come from a three-chip DV camera. This is even more relevant for slower processors and lower quality video cards. I just know that I buy short films from Itunes all the time; the compression rates and file sizes are comparable to my movie, yet I get a much better picture with those. One key factor is they started in the editing room with better original source pictures. I will say that my movie looks pretty good on high end computers. But a better camera will lower the standard of computer needed. John Golub, the D.P. for Ghostbusters: Spook University, has suggested I consider a one-chip HD DV camera, which I could probably pick up for about half the price of a three-chip regular DV camera. I am not sure which way I will go, but I will go one way or the other as soon as I can.

    I need a more powerful computer. It is taking several hours to render video files of the final cut. I am on a 400 megahertz Apple G4 Power Mac Tower, with about .8 gig of RAM and it is just barely powerful enough to edit and render this five minute movie. I have plans to make longer movies, up to full-length features. I need the tools to do that properly. Editing perhaps even a thirty-minute movie on my current machine could easily crash it.

    Along with the other items on an inventory wish list, I need a better (as in "an actual") boom mic. I used a cheaper microphone (in both price & quality), which resulted in dialogue sound tracks that didn't work. Not to worry, I have the dialogue, just not as I had planned. More on that later. I have priced shotgun booms and already had plans to buy one, and will, again, as soon as I can.

    "Yes, but how did the shoot go?" Pretty well, I have to say.

    Now there were off-screen dramatic moments as well as on-screen drama, this extra drama brought on almost exclusively by the director's neurosis and oft-times scatter-brained nature. A large portion of the neurosis, I think, caused by the melding of excitement and anxiety over the shoot. The whole production had become so much more than those before because of the involvement of all the others: the actors, the crew, the people whose services I had employed during pre-production. In the days leading up to Production Day, a little voice in my head kept asking, Is this really going to happen? Like I said, I think it was the involvement of others, which made it a "bona fide" movie shoot instead of just "K.L. playing around," which made the difference. It's been another of those put your money where your mouth is epochs.

    I took a vacation day on that Friday, August 18, the day of the shoot. The day was about packing everything as well as shopping for some things, including the food for the meal that would precede the brief production meeting/read through; I bought way too much food for the evening, too; I am lousy at guessing that stuff. There also were a few production tools I still needed: a collapsible aluminum broom handle to serve as the boom extension for the boom mic; a folding step ladder for the boom operator in shots where the mic needed to be higher up; electrical and gaffer tape; other miscellaneous tech items.

    Over the last several days before the shoot, I had created, or rather re- created, the production script. I had not yet plotted the sequence of shooting, however. That was to be done in the afternoon on the 18th. Ah yes well, the best laid plans....blah blah blah.

    Enter the first big neurotic's drama for the day: when it was time to pack my microphone -- a key element in the boom operator's tool kit -- I could not find it, anywhere. Nowhere. I double and triple checked every conceivable place it could be in my apartment; I combed every inch of my car. Then I did it all again and then again after that. (Little did I know at the time that this was nowhere near the disaster it seemed to be). The afternoon was burning away while I panicked. The time allotted to consider the order of shooting was gone. The call for our meet, greet and eat was 6:30 and it was pushing 5:30. So, I left, stopped into an electronics store in a mall, bought a new mic and headed on to my movie shoot.

    Cast and crew all got to actor, director, and Dayton Theatre Guild treasurer, Barb Coriell's place in good time. We had a nice little socialization with some nice commensality, feasting on the overabundance of food, then had a relatively informal production meeting. We did a couple read-throughs of the script. We discussed the characters a little. Then it was production time and we began to set-up.

    My idea for sound recording was, as I think I have elaborated here in earlier entries, to record the dialogue on my four-track analogue Fostex cassette recorder, then digitize it, hence the need for a microphone and a boom operator, not to mention the clap board in order to better sync the sound. As I pulled the four-track recording machine out of its pouch, what do you think was in the bottom of that larger compartment of the pouch?

    That would be the microphone I had wasted all afternoon looking for.

    So here's a point for insertion of "DOH!" But we are not finished inserting "DOH!" quite yet.

    "DOH!"-factor number 2: Not but a few minutes later I realized that the white tumblers and the larger white pitcher, both which have the images of our cartoon rabbit, Wally Rabbit, were still at my apartment, thirty minutes away. I had gotten so caught up in my panic about the "missing" mic that I left what is essentially the co-star of the movie behind. It would have been a pretty big hassle to kill an hour going to get these props. Fortunately I did have the extra decal labels of Wally with me. My leading lady, Kim, lives but a few minutes from Barb, so she went home and grabbed a cup that might work. It turns out it couldn't work because there is printed graphics on the cup that we would have not been able to hide. However, Ms. Coriell saved us with the white coffee mug that is in the movie.

    The serendipity here is that Wally fit on the mug much more smoothly than on the tumblers. Because of the inward-angled shape of the tumblers there were little air pockets I could not get out of the perfectly squared patch of decal label. The perfectly vertical angle of the mug's circumference suited the application of the label decals much better. And as a friend later pointed out, a middle-aged alcoholic woman drinking whiskey out of a coffee mug makes perfect sense.

    My struggle on the learning curve was not done yet, not by far. Next on the list: an overly-optimistic estimate of production time. My goal was to be packed and out of there by 1:00 a.m. I missed my goal, I really, really missed my goal. We did not have a lot of long stalls between shots, either. There was one point where I and boom man Jason had a technical problem with the four-track sound recorder, and there was a break at one point later in the shoot -- brought about by the wisdom of assistant director and script supervisor Lisa; the director would not have thought about how it was time for a break; in fact, he did not until the ad/ss interjected the notion.

    I am counting shot set-ups as part of the shots, thus a long set-up is not what I call "a stall between shots"; set-ups are an active part of the production day progression; they are not hold-ups in production. Having said that, I did not fully take the shot set-up time into account; I thought I had, but I was wrong. A few hours in, as the clock moved much faster than I wished it to, I began to cut many coverage shots, at least two dozen, maybe more.

    More learning curve: if you are ever on a movie set you may hear the director say something like, "And, cut. Okay that was a good take, but let's do one for safety." There is a reason for that. Here's a primary example of why that should always come out of the director's mouth. The first take of the master shot (the wide shot of the action) for the opening thirty seconds or so of the movie was a good take. Kimberly did exactly what I wanted and the camera work was good.

    Two critical "DOH!" moments here. I did not say, "And, cut. Okay that was a good take, but let's do one for safety." Beyond that, I did not look at the footage after the shot. I did not do that all night, so that's sort of an overall "DOH!".

    Are you with me so far? I did the opening master shot in one take, a shot with some critical action on the part of Candice, in one take. I did not do a safety take. I could even add a third "DOH!": there are few close up coverage shots of that opening action.

    In post I discovered there is bad video information throughout that take. It is not usable. I did not (do not) have usable footage of a few pieces of key action; one critical piece of action: Candice hanging the phone up on her lawyer who's trying to talk some sense into her.

    So now it was time to make lemonade. The audience has to know that Candice gets impatient with her lawyer and hangs up on him mid-sentence, and I don't have good footage of her doing that. The number-one rule for screenplays and the movies they become is a simple one that may seem obvious, yet is not always obvious to many new screenwriters and directors:

      If the audience can't see it or hear it, it has not happened.

    The event must be captured on camera, or be heard, or a character must discuss it or allude to it. There must be some visual or audio evidence or suggestion of it. That's why I added the children as characters on screen in the movie. They were only mentioned in the narrative in the original short story. The children are key to the story, though, and seeing them on camera works much better than some awkward mention of them. I added the lawyer on the phone at the beginning to help dramatize the exposition, as well.

    What is important in the current dilemma, namely the bad video of the good take, is Candice hanging up on her lawyer in the midst of a sentence. This is an important action in the movie. If you can't see it, you have to at least hear it. So, now you see a close up of our co-star, Wally the Rabbit, and hear the beep as Candice presses the off button on her phone; then you hear her set the phone on the table. It actually is an effective moment, but I will reveal the secret that it came about because I had to cover my ass from a careless mistake I made during the shoot. I did not say, "And, cut. Okay that was a good take, but let's do one for safety."

    We shot the segment with the Charity and Benjamin (Elizabeth and William) first. So Ben was wrapped first. He, of course, could not leave because his mother happened to be the assistant director and script supervisor. But he was able to go off to another part of the house and sleep.

    Erroneously, I told Charity I'd probably wrap her at about 10:15 or 10:30. She was wrapped at a little after midnight. Kimberly was wrapped at about 2:00 a.m., maybe 2:30. Jason was, too, since what was left was shots of Wally that did not require audio. By-the-way, Jason's lady friend Miriam was there and performed the great service of dog wrangler. Barb Coriell has a dog named Casey, who though he's a good dog, was of course, troublesome for the shoot. Miriam kept him occupied and that is the reason she is thanked in the credits. Such help is not to be underappreciated. She was wrapped at the same time as Jason and Kimberly.

    Lisa and I began packing up at something like 3:15, 3:30, around in there. I think I got home at about 4:30 in the morning. I did not look at any footage or any piece of paper related to the movie after I got up for the day Saturday -- I just felt like I needed a little "time out."

    I dropped by the Dayton Theatre Guild Sunday to record traffic on Salem Avenue. The Guild is on a busy urban street, Salem Avenue. Barb Coriell lives in a relatively quite neighborhood in Oakwood, Ohio. Candice lives in urban Chicago in a less quiet neighborhood; thus, I wanted traffic down low in the sound track.

    Unfortunately, I had tech problems getting the traffic recording, the big one being that a fan motor in the building kicked in and was sending a strong hum through the circuits. That evening I hit the web looking for ambient and foley sound. I ended up buying three comparable two-minute ambient sound WAVs of traffic from a newly discovered resource, Sound Rangers (www.soundrangers.com). I also bought a thirty second WAV of the subway, that has become "The L," which I use in the movie to both help place the setting and, for those symbolically inclined, to help tell the story. This site is also, by-the-way, where I got the phone beep, the sound of the phone being set on the table, and Elizabeth's door shutting after she leaves.

    That Sunday I also produced some foley sound of my own. I created the sound of the soda gulping out of the liter bottle once it hit the floor. I recorded two tracks: 1) the sound of the soda sizzling; 2) the pronounced sound of water gulping out of a plastic bottle. Those were mixed together for the final effect. During editing I took some sound from one portion of the actual sound track and moved it to use in other spots. I used the impact sound of the Elizabeth setting the bottle back on the table from another take from another angle, because it had a crisper sound to it; I then enhanced (or "sweetened") that.

      *Foley sound (as per Internet Movie Database) is: "The art of recreating incidental sound effects (such as footsteps) in synchronization with the visual component of a movie. Named after early practitioner Jack Foley, foley artists sometimes use bizarre objects and methods to achieve sound effects, e.g. snapping celery to mimic bones being broken. The sounds are often exaggerated for extra effect - fight sequences are almost always accompanied by loud foley added thuds and slaps."

    I also recorded the voiceover of the lawyer. It ended up being me more because I had not managed tocast anyone for it, mostly because I knew that if push came to shove, I could do it. That day I also composed and recorded the closing credits music, "Candice Leaves Corinth," though it was re-recorded Monday night.

    Monday evening I was in post sound engineering with Wayne Justice (Hamm in Endgame). As well as acting, Wayne is involved in sound production with his production company, ZoRanda Records. He processed all the analogue sound recordings: the dialogue tracks, the bottle spilling, the lawyer voiceover, the closing music, which we re-recorded digitally. When I left Wayne's, I had all the elements to edit together my movie.

    Despite the many "DOH!" factors, I still had enough good material to cobble together a pretty good little short movie. Let's see how many of you who watch it can spot what I consider three glaring technical bloopers -- there are at least three. There's another technical problem that is not deadly to the movie, but was a problem, though I was able to work around it.

    That "other" would be the dialogue sound track. In post-production at Wayne's it was painfully clear I blew it as far as the dialogue sound track and my great plans that utilized my analogue four- track. The main problem, as already stated, is the cheap microphone. I also did not spend any time showing my sound man, Jason, around the Fostex recorder. There may have been some gain adjustments that could have been made on set that would have helped. That those adjustments were not made is my fault. I am the one with the better expertise (if you want to call it that) with the machine. Wayne did his best to clean up the analogue as he digitized it. He could only do so much. Ultimately I ended up using the sound track from the camera's mic. The other sound work, the lawyer, the spilling bottle, the music, they all worked out great, since Wayne had better source material to work with.

    The last step was to approach my close friend Lou Lala about using one of his recordings as sound-effect music for the movie. I wanted Elizabeth to turn a stereo on in her room after she left the scene. Lou's band, The Hip Replacements, has one song that is perfect. It is the right genre and it has the right musical mood to fit the scene it underscores. That is how "Coma" makes its appearance at the end of the movie. The Hip Replacements will make similar appearances in the longer movie I have been developing for last couple years, too.

    And then there is the wonderful design of Wally the Rabbit from Alex Carmichal that was reproduced with care by Mark Lewis at the Digital Depot.

    The final cut of The Chorus for Candice has its flaws. They all fall squarely on the director and the producer. They all stem from his decisions. I give the movie a B- when I am in better mood, a C+ at other times. But that is not a reflection on the actors or the crew.

    At the risk of seeming maudlin, I had just a great cast and crew. I have no complaints whatsoever about any one on my set. Everyone was professional and stayed on top of things and gave the project their full interest and care and I appreciate their good work.

    I give myself an A+ for casting and I give them all A++ for their work. They raise the quality of the movie with their talented performances. Kimberly J. Reiter, Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai, all got it. I had only a few, very minor adjustments to make to any performance.

    When I decided, because of On The Lot, to move the script I had already began to work on into production immediately, I did not want to take the extra time to do auditions and screen tests. I quickly thought of Kimberly for my lead, Candice, and Charity for the supporting role of Elizabeth. I was sure they could both easily pull it off, and I was right. I also knew that fellow actor Lisa M. Sadai had a son about the right age who had already been on stage, so I sent her the screenplay and asked her if she thought he had the skill for the role -- and also, of course, if he'd be available. I trusted she would give me a forthright response. As you will see, or have seen, Ben did very well.

    The caliber of these three actors put the pressure on for me to make something real and valuable for their efforts. Seeing the final performances they gave me, I feel a strong obligation to them; they should have a good result for their fine work.

    Candice was done perfectly by Kimberly. The woman obviously has serious mental and emotional problems, but she needed to be played so as not to be a caricature. The character is more effective if not done over the top. Kimberly gave me that. She gave me a desperate woman with what turns out to be bad logic stemming from an understated disturbance.

    Charity's Elizabeth is as well drawn. With very few lines and much good internal dialogue (the fancy name for "non-verbals" such as facial expression and other body language) she shows the love, the shame, the desperate caretaking that defines Elizabeth.

    Young Benjamin did an excellent job of showing the camera (which means: the audience) what is needed to be seen to understand how William feels. William is only on screen for perhaps a total of thirty seconds, but those few seconds are important. How William expresses himself and without any words helps to tell the whole story, and Benjamin did exactly what needed to be done. Ben also had some insightful comments about what he thought was going on in the story. Newer to the craft, though he may be, he thinks the way an actor needs to think, just as his two more seasoned co-stars do.

    And the crew was great, too. Considering the mic Jason had to work with, as well as the slim orientation he was given on the rest of his equipment, he still gave me the best results possible. Those audio problems, to reiterate, are the fault of the producer (that would be me) and the equipment he provided.

    Then there was Ms. Lisa M. Sadai. Lisa was invaluable as AD/Script supervisor. She jumped into the deep end with very little instruction from me and gave me better assistance than I had expected, and I had already expected she would do well. She did better than well. I especially appreciate how she anticipated where I was going next or what I needed and in a few instances where I am sure I was vague at best with her. And I am very thankful that she helped me manage the plotting of the shooting schedule as on-the-fly as it was (since I had been distracted by that silly microphone drama in the afternoon). Quite in-the-moment she assessed what my style of directing was and then set about putting the production script in order based on that. And she was incredibly good at keeping her eye on continuity issues. How much easier did she make the shoot for me.

    Lisa and Jason both made things much easier for me.

    I also am grateful for everyone's willingness to tolerate the very late hour there which I kept them, and to Barb Coriell, who did not kick me out when it went so long!

    I suppose the main point in mentioning all these folk, the actors and all the others who did such great work, is to point out that even a five minute movie takes a good team to produce. If you watch this movie and like it, the congratulations go to a whole lot more people than just the director.

    You wanna hear the real kicker? On August 30, as I visited the On The Lot web site to check on a few submission details, I noticed that the deadline for submissions had been moved from September 1 to December 1.

    Well, I do have a finished product. Had I known the deadline was moved, that may not be true. So I am not going to bitch. And if I feel a need to re-edit, I do have time. There are a few technical glitches I'd like to fix, anyway, like that frame of the credits that mysteriously pops up before they begin to roll, for one thing. Still, here is the movie, for whatever it's worth:

    'THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE' a film by K.L.Storer, featuring Kimverly J. Reiter with Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai
    THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE
    a short movie by
    K.L.Storer

    click on the image

    'ART' REHEARSALS: We began in earnest to rehearse a couple weeks back. I'd say they are going well. For me it is the same old story of my impatience for my character to get fully developed. I am on my way, but I still have not made a few critical elements real to me. I am trying to rush this blogging today because I have much line study to do. I want to get off-book soon so I can play with charatcerization and movement.

    The final decision has been made to move the action and characters from Paris to New York. It was potentially L.A., but director Jerry Boswell decided NYC was better and I agree. That comparable feel between cosmopolitan Parisians and "meterosexual" New Yorkers makes a lot of sense.

    MIDDFEST 2006: I am again on board for the staged readings at Middfest in Middletown, Ohio. The performances are next weekend. Under the direction of Deirdre Root, Sarah Gomes, Helen Raymond and I will this year read works about China. We had our first read through yesterday and will rehearse again next Friday.

    BROOKLYN BOY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD: Director Ralph Denler and his cast had a hit on their hands. The reviews were all good, the audience reponse was raving, and the box office fared well.

    Our season is off to a good start and we have such great work coming up. The next regular season feature is Pride's Crossing, by Tina Howe, in rehearsal now under the direction of Mr. Gil Martin.

    We also have a special Christmas feature:

    'CHRISTMAS BELLES' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    Notice a couple names in there also associated with my movie.

    And, then, Fran Pesch's theatre troupe The Young at Heart Players are also mounting a limited engagement of Driving Miss Daisy this coming weekend at the Guild. Legendary Dayton actress Virginia Garcia is in the leading role. I have never seen Ms. Garcia perform, but her reputation precedes her. I have met her and find her to be a lovely, classy lady. I am done with my Middfest gig early enough on Saturday that I will be able to see this show.

    'DRIVING MISS DAISY' at the Dayton Theatre Guild,

    STUFF I'M MISSING: The Dayton Playhouse is, in fact doing a special fund rasier tonight, "The Broadway Broads," featuring Joan Harrah and Reneé Franck-Reed. It is being billed as the resurrection of their "critically acclaimed cabaret act." It sounds like great fun, but I just have too much going on. I also have to miss The Playhouse mounting of Blithe Spirit which has the creator of Wally the Rabbit, Alex Carmichal, in its cast -- in fact in the lead role. My schedule and repsonsibilities sometimes make it hard to see it all. I have not even looked at my own Wright State University Theatre season.

    STUFF I HOPE I CAN GET TO: The Exonerated, coming up next month as the first FliPSide show of the season at Dayton Playhouse. Lisa Sadia and John Spilter are both in it. Speaking of John Spitler, a few of us from the Guild production of The Cripple of Inishmaan are putting together and outing to see the upcoming Sinclair Community College production. And I am getting to Moonlight & Magnolias at The Human Race. If you remember, that was one of two shows I was to be called back for this season at The Race. The other is Take Me Out, for which I have been told it behooves me to read before I consider going to the callback. That is a separate blog entry, altogether, that I think I probably will devote some time, to. Lastly, I have sent off for tickets to Oliver, being produced next month by The Children's Theatre of Mason, Ohio. Charity is in the role of Nancy. As well, the production is directed by Carry-Ellen Zappa the Equity actor who taught both the Human Race classes I took this spring and summer. A few other people from both classes are involved, too.

    AND: I am still trying to get the graphics right for On the Edge of the Pulsewave, the virtual chapbook that has been delayed again and again since last April.




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