The final cut of the video was done Tuesday, but there's been a bit of a glitch
getting the damned thing posted on YouTube. As I wrote before I changed
The DTG YouTube account
to a Director's account, which I thought meant we could post videos longer than ten
minutes, but I was mistaken.
The Director account lost the right to post videos longer than ten minutes several
years ago. Now, one has to get a Partner account. I have applied for a Non-profit
Partner account for DTG. I can't conceive that we would be denied, but will have to
wait until YouTube corporate responds.
But all of this gets ahead of myself. From Tuesday through Thursday I had several
failed attempts to upload the video to our existing account type, the new but
ineffectual Director's account. Tuesday night before I headed off to an audition I
started an upload, which it seemed would take maybe four or five hours. When I got
home a few hours later, the upload was stuck at about 5%.
I tried again and after a few hours it again stuck at about the same spot. Wednesday
morning I tried again and it git stuck in the neighborhood of 30%, but the DSL
modem was flashing, so I assumed that the reading was wrong but it was still
uploading. Close to twenty-four hours later, it was clear it was not happening.
I then made another attempt on Thursday with a link that I saw for large files --
the movie is 2.8 gigs. Fourteen hours later YouTube was processing the video for
posting. However, when it was done and I went to the DTG video listings page, the
message I saw was that this new movie was removed because it was too long (longer
than ten minutes).
Thankfully it did not take forever to find out on the FAQ page what the deal was --
(as any person who's had to spend time in those dreaded places knows, it might
have been for-god-forsaken-ever). As it turns out, any Director's account
created after 2007 does not have the ten-minute limited lifted. In order to exceed
that time limit now, you have to have a Partner account. I have applied for
Non-profit Partner account for to switch our DTG YouTube account to. So I can't post
the video again until it's been approved. I can't really imagine that it won't be
approved, though, as I said above.
So, here's the video. *This is the version uploaded to the
The DTG facebook account.
There will still be a YouTube version once all those ducks are in a row:
*) This fb video swapped in on July 5, 2010 for the 180 mgb version
that was originally here.
I showed the final cut to Greg Smith yesterday only to find that it wasn't
altogether final. I had one misspell to correct. That was easy enough to do.
Mixtape -- Tuesday night I went to The dayton Urban
League to do a screentest for this independent film. This was the one that they
were doing production for the Dayton shoots last Wednesday through Friday. I was
not cast. I don't think I did a bad audition, they just wanted something
different or saw another actor who better fit. I was asked to do a little
improve thing and whereas I again don't think I tanked it, it wasn't fabulously
Freerunner -- Friday morning I did a screentest at
the PC-Goenner office for this one. Again,
I did well enough. Callbacks are Wednesday, so we'll see.
The process has begun of going through the script and identifying sound cues and
determining how those will be created (if they need to be) and then executed.
Music is a big issue. Director
wants music that reminds one of TV soap operas. I'm not sure we need a lot of scene
transition music but we do need music for the open and close of the acts, and, of
course, for the pre-show and intermission.
I actually have an idea for the our main theme music. Somewhere back in the
(AKA: "The Late 70's"), I wrote some music for a set of lyrics my
music partner, Rich Hisey, had penned. The resulting song is a piano ballad called,
"Memories of the Times Before." When I first created the chord
progression, which was before we married his words to it, I was instantly reminded
of the theme music to a particular soap opera -- mind you, not in a plagiaristic
manner, but just that it was similar in style, approach and cadence.
My thought here is to use that chord progression under a new melody for
Frank's Life theme music. Now that I think about it, the original melody
may work. Back a couple years ago when we were doing trailers for shows at the
Guild, I used the "Memories..." chords for the basis of music for the
trailer for I Ought to Be in Pictures. I most definitely wrote a new
melody for that, but, perhaps I don't need to here. I do want to use a real
acoustic piano for the chords though -- I used the Yamaha PSR-180 keyboard set on
piano voice, for ...Pictures.... I'm going to search out a friend or
acquaintance who has a baby grande sitting in a nice acoustic space so I can record
the chords there. For the rest of the arrangement I can use the Yamaha set on string
or horn voices, or both. I'd throw my bass in there, but I have a pick-up problem
right now, and can't get good volume on the E string. Though, I suppose I could mike
the bass, as it is an acoustic bass. That's what I did for "Candice
Leaves Corinth," which is the closing music for
The Chorus for Candice.
There is a definite need for audio from TV shows, including one scene from the TV
show Frank's Life (inside the play). It will be a playback of action that
just previously occurred on the stage. Depending on how the set is designed, we may
need to shoot, or have, video for the TV, too, if the audience, or part of them,
can see the TV screen.
So, there's some work ahead. Though, the sound cues -- sans the TV needs -- will be
pretty straight forward, with most of them being phones ringing. Those will most
likely be "practicals," meaning actual working phones on stage that ring
I knew that making this movie would be a vast learning experience in a hands-on,
classroom-in-the-field (as it were) environment; I just had no comprehension of how
much of a challenge some of the coursework would be, particularly this color
I'm still missing some fundamental trick o' the trade in the realm of
color correction. Using the eye dropper cursor I can get a particular color hue and
temperature from one window but I have not discovered how to transfer that to the
other window where I am trying to match the colors.
I have spent a few hours the last few nights and it has been slow going. I've had
to adjust all that I've done by eye.
My process was to take a still and do an auto color correct in
I've been using that still of the scene as a template for all the different clips
for editing The Audition. Actually, I'll use the same still to match color
correction for another segment shot on the same set.
The clips I am color correcting are the clips that have the sound sweetened and
synced from the last time I attacked editing this sequence. I use the sound track
from the takes off camera 2 for all three cameras. That worked quite well. The sound
is not an issue; it's the matching the color from all three cameras that is the
To the left, I'm sitting at a study carrel on the third floor of the
Paul Laurence Dunbar Library --
where I am known to be seen lurking about during the work day -- working on
this dreaded color correction. As you five who read this blog regularly may recall,
I have decided to try working at this on campus after work, rather than going back
to my apartment, to keep the
Child of Television, hidden
none-too-deep under my surface, from turning on a rerun of some sitcom or cop drama,
that I've already seen twenty times.
The point is that this is much slower going than I anticipated. I often have gotten
so frustrated with the struggle that I've wanted to quit particular sessions early,
and must admit I did so at least once.
Ahead is this monumental mountain of work to get this movie to its final cut; and
man does that drag on my enthusiasm and motivation!
This is gonna take forever, it feels like.
VOICEOVER WORK OFFER:
I was approached about doing some voice acting for, I guess, some sort of industrial
presentation. I was asked to send a sample voice file in the proper dialect -- let's
say, "generic southern U.S."
I have done that and now I have some copy to record and send back as another
UPCOMING THEATRE OF INTEREST:
Bruce Cromer Reprises His Eccentric Librarian in Underneath
the Lintel -- Don't know why I kept forgetting to post this but tomorrow
night Bruce Cromer is doing a one-night-only
performance of this great one-man show. I ran sound for this in a limited engagement
fundraiser for the Guild a few years back. He was awesome. If you can make it, you
It's free, though you have to order an eticket on-line.
Free Shakespeare -- Local actor
has started a roving Shakespearean company called
Free Shakespeare. They will be performing
works of the Bard in various outdoor locations around the Dayton area. The first
offering, which begins tomorrow* is
Recorded the sample copy and emailed the mp3 and a résumeé, Saturday
NEW LOOKS FOR THE CARYL D. PHILIPS THEATRESCAPE:
The new lobby floor from the artistic brush of Greg Smith.
Work has been underway for few weekends now to give the theatre some new looks and
to install our new, permanent seats before the new season starts on August 20 with
Progress has certainly been made, but there is A LOT to get done in the next
several weeks to make our deadline. What we need to do:
weed the flower garden
clean out the Hugo stairwell and paint it if possible
finish painting the office
install baseboards where needed
carpet the office
paint the green room
finish up the makeup room downstairs
paint the backs of the new seats
clean/refinish the armrests
cut the fabric for the seats
upholster the seats
finish the risers
carpet the risers
install the seats
touchup/cleanup the family restroom
finish painting the stairwell at the main entrance
and, of course, build the set for Frank's Life
We are working Saturdays and Sundays through Aug 8, or later. 9:00 am through mid
afternoons. Some weekday evenings will be involved, too. We welcome all the help we
However, as you can see form these pictures I took this past Saturday, some very
cool changes have happened, the big one being the lobby floor, which Greg Smith
designed and painted, that, of course, incorporates the DTG logo which Fred
Blumenthal designed many years ago.
The variation on Fred's design, now a part of the lobby
floor. The marble look in this photo has to do with the
exposure; it's really the blue as reflected in the other
John Spitler on the lobby floor
The chair risers will be raised so that each row has an
unobstructed view of the stage.
Carol Finley attaches wood strips as part of the process
of raising each riser platform.
Lois Bigler applies glue before also attaching wood strips
to raise the riser platform.
The boardroom office is being refurbished as well as the
Caryl D. Philips TheatreScape.
Boardroom office, again.
Chair backs for the new permanent seats that we are
shooting to have in the theatre by the opening of Frank's
BRUCE CROMER AND UNDERNEATH THE LINTEL:
Friday night I was in the audience for Bruce Cromer's
wonderful work as the lovingly eccentric Danish librarian in Glen Berger's one-man
show, Underneath the Lintel, at the
Glen Helen building in
As to be expected, he was fabulous. Someday I may cultivate the guts to do a
OOPS! FREE SHAKESPEARE BEGINS THIS COMING FRIDAY:
I erred in regards to
roving Shakespearean company,
Free Shakespeare. Its first offering,
starts its tour this coming Friday, July 16, at Dayton's Courthouse Square.
So, along with just the frustration of tweaking this color comes the occurrence of
a slight bit of headache since by the time I'm doing this work, my eyes have been
trained on a computer screen, already, all day long.
On the good-news side, though, I have --
I BELIEVE I have --
gotten the color correction to all the clips virtually set to match. I am quite sure
I'll have to tweak from clip section to clip section as I reassemble the edit for
The Audition, which I think is about to get a slightly new title.
The new cut will be, perhaps, a much different edit than the original rough cut. I
need to clean a lot up and it needs to be shorter. The sixteen minutes version is
too long of a riff; the joke wears thin.
So here's hoping there's a new cut of this, and one that is out and about, sometime
Then, there's the whole full-length movie to contend with.
FRANK'S LIFE SOUND DESIGN:
Last Wednesday I attended the production meeting and we have some gameplans for
various things, such as the placement of a particular speaker so the sound of the
doorbell and of a key in the lock have a verisimilitude of direction for the
I also have begun my campaign to find access to a baby grand piano. As I have
already stated, I need access to a baby grand piano for about an hour sometime in
the near future. It needs to be in an acoustic environment where recording will
work, but not necessarily "studio quality" conditions. I need to record a
chord progression for the Frank's Life theme song.
An upright will work but is not my first choice.
I also need to borrow a boom mic stand for this very recording.
Of course, we still have upcoming work sessions at the Guild with that painting and
a various and a sundry of cleaning and like stuff. Here are the remaining work dates:
Saturdays: July 24, 31 and August 14
Sundays: July 25 and August 1, 8
The work sessions will start at 9:00 a.m. and go until mid afternoon. You do NOT need
to be there for the whole time. As previously stated, there will also be some
weekday afternoons and evenings involved, too.
You would find out about those weeknight sessions when you show for a weekend
Those who come to any should be dressed to clean, paint and move stuff around,
and, maybe even saw and hammer.
This past weekend a lot of work was done on raising the back platforms for the
theatre seats. We are raking them to give each row unobstructed views of the
The platforms have been torn down to their frames and we have been building onto
the frames. That was pretty much how I spent my Saturday and Sunday.
The goal is to have the new seats installed in a month -- August 20 -- when
Frank's Life opens.
Because I am doing what I suppose can be loosely called "attacking"
post-production editing for the improv movie, I am not committing to week nights.
This coming weekend, too, I am going to attend
-- albeit as an audience member all weekend rather than an actor in a show.
I could feel like I am derelict to my DTG duty; but I don't. The DTG board is no
different than any other group or organization: there a few faces that need to be
visible at work sessions a little bit more (and in some cases AT ALL) before those
of us who are usually there should feel any guilt about not making a few. If we miss
our goals I blame the consistently absentee folk.
But, now, off of my soap box.
In the meantime,seriously, there is a good wealth of things left to do before the
weed the flower garden
clean out the Hugo stairwell and paint it if possible
So, this year is the first year since 2005 that I will be at the festival as an
audience member only. 2005 was, in fact, the very first year I had ever attended
FutureFest and I saw all but one play that year. I missed one because I had an
audition for a college film in Saturday afternoon.
What play did I miss? you ask.
by Beau Willimon,
which is pretty much the superstar script from the history of FutureFest. When I
returned that weekend, after my audition, it was already a given that the play
was going to win the festival that year, and it did. It went on to be slated for a
Broadway production with Jake Gyllenhaal that was eventually cancelled. It debuted
in a commercial production at the Atlantic Theater Company, off Broadway, with a
cast that included John Gallagher, Jr., Chris Noth, Olivia Thirlby, Kate Blumberg
and Isiah Whitlock, Jr., some, including Noth, who reprised their roles last year at
The Geffin Playhouse in
Los Angeles. The movie version is
in development and is slated to go into production next year, with George Clooney
directing and Leonardo DiCaprio currently attached in the lead role. And I missed
its stage premiere, though it was not a fully staged production, it was a reading.
I missed the reading, though I did get to met Mr. Willimon, shake his hand and
congratulate him on his win.
This year I opted out of auditioning for any FutureFest play because I'm devoting
as much time as I can to the improv movie post. Auditioning, of course, would not
have guaranteed that I'd be spending evenings in rehearsal (having been cast);
not auditioning does, however, pretty much guarantee not being
in rehearsals -- well, it usually does.
But, I still want to make the festival because I don't want to miss witnessing the
next Farragut North's debut on the FF stage. Plus, I really like FF. At some
point during the weekend I will feel out of the loop because I'm not in a show, I
am sure of it.
Setting up under the
early in the morning.
The migration down to the underground
campus tunnels, a few minutes
Told ya the name of the out-take short was going to change. It's now Trying Out
Robert rather than the generic The Audition. And this new title may yet
get tweaked some.
The bare beginnings of the assembly edit has begun. It'd be at least a little
further along had an intended one-hour nap not turned into sleeping until morning --
not a new phenomenon. This occurrence resulted in my awakening at just before 5:00
this morning. So, after taking care of some business at home, I headed into
campus early to work in the edit there, like I
used to every morning when I was actively working on
Got on campus a little before 6:00 and was going to work under the overhang at the
Paul Laurence Dunbar Library. But,
it was a bit tepid and muggy and after about mosquito bite number three, I elected
to head down into the basement tunnels.
This new edit, for Trying Out Robert, is virtually a start from scratch. I
did leave the opening credit sequence, with the exception of the title change. That
sequence includes the images of the back entrance to the library with "Bellcreek
Community Center" superimposed on the glass door, and the image of part of the
library building with the WACI radio station call letters superimposed there.
*SEE TO THE RIGHT
There is still a lot of production left for this little segment, after the final
edit is assembled. I still have to produce the radio station programing that runs on
the monitor in the background; actually, at first it will be forefront. First we'll
hear the announcer speaking the same announcement about the audition for
Hamlet that we see on the bulletin board inside the community center. That
will essentially be reinforcement of the establishment of our premise. That'll be
processed to sound like it's coming over a PA system. There already is the crowd
ambient sound under the shots of the board. The music will be mixed a bit above that.
Then we cut to a brief shot of Marian Clark, the director of Hamlet
sitting at a table in a mostly vacant studio area at the radio station. Cut to
the exterior shot of the radio station building *(see over to the right). Then back
to a shot of Robert Green
as he comes up the steps into the studio to audition for Ms. Clark. The radio station
music will be clean and forefront for the start of this section then brought down
and processed into the programing running on the station monitors in the background
for the rest of the movie.
I have all the pop songs, (the supposed hits), to play during the whole
sequence, at least one by David Dawn, the adult incarnation of the protagonist, L.D.
Cooper, from my novel. I still need to produce a few
commercials and I need to write the news copy that I am going to have local actor
and radio personality,
voice for me.
FRANK'S LIFE SOUND DESIGN:
Several good and viable options have materialized from my canvas to find a baby
grand in an acoustically viable venue to record the basic chord progression for the
Frank's Life theme song. I should be laying that track sometime next week.
It's time to start getting busy. There are some things to produce. We need audio
content to run when the faux TV is supposed to be on. In a couple instances I need
to pre-record the actors doing dialogue from the script, as later the script calls
for one character or another to be watching a playback of a previous scene.
Of course, I also need to arrange and record the whole theme song, and mix it down.
I may need to produce a couple faux commercials for the TV viewing moments, too.
Yes. Time to start organizing and time to start scheduling recording sessions
with the actors.
Beyond all that, I need to pick appropriate music for pre-show and intermission,
And I'd like to find someone to operate sound. I really don't want to do it.
I have to say, that though some plays certainly needed more work I did not find
that there were any god-awful turkeys in the six that were presented. The two that
appealed to me the most were Marc Komblatt's Refuge and
The Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt.
Between those two it was a toss-up for me. I did vote for Amada's play in the
"audience choice" survey, only because of the two, I thought it was the
one closest to finished. Refuge was, however, the play that won audience
choice. I fully expected it to win. I actually thought it was the probable winner
of the adjudication.
Joel's play was inspired by his observation that there need to be more meaty roles
for female actors. So he write a two-woman play with two strong and interesting
I suppose I would have guessed An Uncommon Language right after the three I
listed above. My guesses are not based much on my personal response to these but
more my sense of the adjudicators' responses during the adjudication assemblies that
always happen on the theatre stage right after each performance of each play.
An Uncommon Language is set in London in the early twentieth century. A
free-spirited French woman is a most talented sculptor but is in the shadows of
her husband, another talented sculptor. It is a strong story about the inequity
toward women, even in the art world -- especially in that time and place.
Refuge is a well-crafted story of two men who meet under the odd circumstance
that one is about to commit suicide. They and their wives become entwined in, at
first, a reluctant friendship. My thought, and I wasn't alone, was that the last
scene is too long and has too much in it. One of the things I love about FutureFest
is one has the opportunity to have discussions with the playwright about such things.
I was able to have this talk with Mr. Komblatt, and he was gracious and receptive to
The Judicial Murder of Mrs. Surratt is pulled from American history. She was
the first woman executed by the United States Government. Hers was a story of a
political ploy that went awry; there is some strong suggestion that the charge of
complicity in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln was hasty and perhaps not sound
beyond circumstantial evidence and a few leaps of logic. It's not a traditional
"plot line" story, which bothered some. It has a similar presentation and
The Laramie Project,
though to say they were exactly comparable would be incorrect.
The other two plays, by-the-way, which I also liked, were Dancing Backwards
by John Fiorillo
and How It Works by
Fiorillo's play is a most touching story, but I believe the adjudicators were on the
right track when suggesting one character should take on a different incarnation and
that some trimming is needed. Cary Pepper's work is most funny, but a tad long for
a comedy. There are a lot of laughs in it though.
I still, despite a few quarrels I may have had with certain aspects of the shows,
thought they were all good works. And kudos to some fine performances from many of
the actors on that FF2010 stage -- a few that were just downright excellent.
FRANK'S LIFE SOUND DESIGN:
Monday night I dropped by
J. Gary Thompson's
and used one of his electronic keyboards to record the "acoustic grand"
piano chords for the Frank's Life theme music.
I've yet to do anything else for that, but should be able to lay the rest of the
Beyond finding pre-show and intermission music other sound files I need will be a
doorbell and a key going into a lock. We need to set up two practical phones, too.
And we need still to strategically set a speaker from which to run both the door
bell and the key-in-lock sound effect. I, by-the-way, have not yet found or created
that key sound, but, really, this will not be a difficult task, either way.
Still need to produce all the audio portions for the on-stage TV viewing, too, some
of which, of course, will be the actors voicing specific dialogue from the script.
A MAYBE AUDITION:
Along with, I'm sure, perhaps more than a few other local male actors of my age and
type, I've been sent info on a small non-singing
role in the forthcoming
Dayton Opera production of
Porgy & Bess.
Interestingly sporadic performance dates: Saturday, October 23; Friday, October 29;
and Sunday, October 31.
I am considering sending the requested résumé and actors photo.
Laying a layer of electronic strings into the Frank's Life
I made some relatively good progress on the Frank's Life theme music, and in
the early morning hours today.
Here's how it went.....
Monday: take my Fostex 4-track recorder to
J. Gary Thompson's
and lay down a little more than a minute of the chorus chord progression from the
unknown hit ballad, "Memories of the Times Before," (music:
K.L.Storer, Lyrics: Richard Earll Hisey Jr.)
Tuesday and Wednesday: life gets in the way of my ability to do things I
want to do.
Thursday, right after work:
Believe it or not, ACTUAL
session in the gym, working with weights!
Same night, right after working out: time under the
library overhang, editing
Trying Out Robert, the out-take short from the improv movie project
where, geez, maybe
I'll just take a little nap.
What? Oh, it's now
almost 11:00. I've slept for a few hours.
I'll just set an alarm for, say, 4:00 a.m.
I'll work on the theme music before work.
Damned if that didn't
work out this time!
Well, I didn't actually get up until circa 4:32-ish, after alarm number three
went off. But I was up in time to lay two different electronic strings tracks
next to the percussion rhythm track and the piano chords.
And, before I left for work, I got all four of those tracks converted to
AIF files on my laptop. Those, along with at least one more track, will be
imported into a Final Cut project; I use Final Cut to mix music because it
pretty much has all the bells and whistles I need, and I am relatively
acquainted with it.
So, probably tonight I will add some sort of lead instrument with a melody line
based on the original one from "Memories of the Times Before" -- a fact
that will mean nothing to anyone besides Mr. Hisey.
My hope is that I'll have a mix before Monday.
EARLY MORNING MUUZAK MAN
EDITING "TRYING OUT ROBERT":
Spent time last night on the assembly edit for the first time since before the
I haven't gotten very far into the movie. However, thus-far the color differential
from cut to cut is not as grossly drastic as it was in the first rough cut. It
seems tweaking the color will be much less of a monumental task than it proved with
rough cut #1.
This cut may take a little longer because I am being far more judicial and
discriminating about what I use. Natasha and Craig gave me a wealth of great
material but if I use too much of it, it'll run too long, the joke will wear thin,
and the overall humor will be weakened.
I will have to adhere to that Quiller-Couch maxim of murdering some of my little
darlings. The first rough cut is sixteen minutes, as I have reported before. At
least six minutes ought to be shaved. Some funny bits that are hard to edit in
logically (I'm pulling from two improv takes and melding them into one scene) will
probably be casualties, as well as at least one pretty funny audition exercise that
Marian (Natasha) has Robert (Craig) do.
But, you know, it's better to cut some funny stuff to keep it tight and strong than
to let it drag out and kill the power of the humor these two good actors gave me.
The title, by-the-way, is most likely to change to Marian Tries Robert.
AUDITIONING FOR THE
I have sent in my résumé and photo to be considered for an audition
for that non-singing role in the
Dayton Opera production of
Porgy & Bess.
As for the importance of it being a NON-singing role: I may have wowed them
with my rendition of "Hey Jude" in 1975, 76, & 77 at Wilbur Wright
High School; I may have received some well-deserved kudos for "How Tedious And
Tasteless" in the DTG mounting of The Diviners, I may be able to carry
my own in a lot of corners as a singer -- but I am not about to have the gall to
present myself against trained operatic singers.
So, a nice, small, non-singing role would suit me just fine.
Saturday morning I recorded the melody line for "Frank's Theme" (aka:
"Memories of the Times Before").
I used two different voices on the Yamaha. The main one is theoretically a guitar
sound and it, um, well, more-or-less comes somewhere into the realm of that sound.
For my purposes, which was to create theme music that sounds very muzak-esque,
polyester and pedestrian, the voice is perfect. Underneath that main melody voice I
used the vibraphone voice which actually is quite accurate.
I occasionally strayed from the melody with the vibes line for some countermelody
work. You can hear some of that at the very end of the sample of the finished
recording which is at the bottom of the images column on the left here.
What's down on the left is the second mix of the song. I pulled the rhythm track
out of the first four bars then brought it up to a low volume, keeping it light in
the background. There is a syncopation to it that director
finds unsettling, so I dropped it down from its prominence in the first version of
There's actually a version of the mix with no rhythm track. That is for placing
under the dialogue in the forthcoming DTG podcast that features Frank's Life;
that which I should be producing next week.
Meanwhile, tomorrow night I will record the scene dialogue by the actors for those
moments when characters (actors within the show) are surreptitiously watching
scenes from the TV show Frank's Life -- scenes they had previously played out
We're doing that using the Fostex four-track recorder, and probably both of my
microphones. I actually am half planning to seek and buy two boom mic stands this
I also have to produce some other TV audio content for other moments when someone is
watching TV. And I have some bar ambience to create, including juke box music.
The sound effects files are not a problem. I have the key in the lock sound. I
probably already have the doorbell, too, just haven't located it. If not, that
will not be hard to run down. The only one I have come across in my library was not
right for our purposes -- but I haven't given the library a thorough look yet.
I did, over the weekend, paint a small speaker black in preparation to mount it on
the wall in the main entranceway into the Mirkin theatre area. That vom will serve
as the front door area of Frank's apartment and thus both the doorbell and the key
in the lock are to come from that area. I believe I have covered this before.
Between Nick Vanderpool and myself, we need to hook up the lines for the practical
phones, too. Frank (Danny Lipps) needs a ringing phone in his apartment and
TV producer, Pruett (Duante Beddingfield) needs one in his office.
Okay, okay, Nick will be doing most of that hooking
up thing. He's the electrical engineer, I am, well, NOT the electrical engineer.
Not that it takes an electrical engineer to do this, necessarily; it's more of that
of the two of us, Nick will be the one with a clue as to what the hell he's doing.
My sense of such procedure is vague at best.
In further developments, I am hoping that our producer, Barb Jorgensen, has been
able to find a sound tech to do the show. I now have an audition during the Monday
tech rehearsal of Tech/Dress week, and if I am on sound duty I would rather not
leave the cast and crew with no sound person during one of the very few tech
rehearsals they have.
Fred Blummenthal as he is about to give out the 2009/2010
Murphy Awards, as well as the Guild coffee mugs.
The Murphy Award
A Guild mug
Sunday we had the annual DTG smorgasbord that concludes with the theatre's in-house
theatrical awards, The Murphy Awards, named after Murphy's Law. The winners:
Best Lighting Design: Nick Vanderpool for Kimberly Akimbo
Best Sound Design: K.L.Storer for Kimberly Akimbo
Best Costume Design: Greg Smith and Carol Finley for Les Liaisons
Best Properties: Dawn Roth Smith for Kimberly Akimbo
Best Lead Actor: Saul Caplan for A Case of Libel
Best Supporting Actor: David Shough for A Case of Libel
Best Lead Actress: Amy Clase for Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Best Supporting Actress: Charity Farrell for Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Best Ensemble Performance: the cast of The Hallelujah Girls
Best Director: Saul Caplan for Kimberly Akimbo
Best Over all Production: A Case of Libel
Best Set Design: Blake Senseman for Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Best Special Presentation: Precious Heart
SPECIAL MURPHY AWARD
Best Newcomers: Don and Lois Bigler
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL!!!
Guild Coffee Mugs -- DTG veteran, Fred Blummenthal, has been
in charge of Guild awards for many years. Along with getting the Murphy awards made
he also sees that the Guild coffee mugs are made. The mugs are awarded to volunteers
who have worked five shows during the year or have otherwise meritoriously given
their time and energy to DTG throughout the year. They are lettered in gold
calligraphy with the volunteer's name.
According to Fred, this year was a record year. I am not going to attempt to name
all those who received a mug this year. There were more than a half-dozen and I will
undoubtedly miss naming someone.
The Biglers -- But, I will mention Don and Lois Bigler, who
each received a mug as well as their very own Murphy. Their contributions to the
new location have been immense and impressive. A very lot of what has happened in
the TheatreScape has been directly the result of their good work. Don has done a
lot of electrical wiring and he and Lois are very much the driving force behind the
remolding of the seat risers to raise them for better views of the stage from all
Both have done many, many hours of work on the risers and many other projects. Don
has at times been in the building thirty, forty, fifty hours in a week. Lois has
logged almost as much time. That's why they each get a mug; that's why they got the
Newcomers Murphy Award.
EDITING "TRYING OUT ROBERT":
In the famous WSU tunnels again,
this time at lunchtime, yesterday.
I have been able to put some more time in on editing. I did a good half hour
yesterday at lunch time, on campus, then last
night at home before I headed into Dayton to a social event then to conduct a short
amount of business at the Guild.
In June, when I had decided to focus on the post for the improv movie, I had this
grandiose idea that I'd be perhaps as far as thirty minutes or more into a cut of
the movie as a whole.
Where I am is about two minutes into the outtake project.
I have a confirmed audition on August 16 for the role of the coroner -- this being
the audition that would conflict with Frank's Life tech. I have the side,
which is, of course -- (this being an opera), the coroner's dialogue
contained within sheet music.
From work, I borrowed two CDs of
different performances of the opera in order to listen to the section I will be
reading from. Usually I steer very clear of other performances of something I am
going to audition or further perform in production. But, in this case, since the
genre is most definitely foreign to my experiences I believe I have to have some
sense going in of what the mode and method is. I have the original 1935 production
with Alvy Powell and Robert Mack and I have the performance at the Glyndebourne
Festival Opera with Cynthia Hayman and Willard White.
Don't get the idea that I am the least bit
knowledgeable about either of these performances -- I just put the information out
there for any of you five readers who may be so knowledgeable, yourself.
I recorded several little audio segments last night that we needed the actors for.
One is the scene that represents the playback of what was seen earlier played out on
stage and features Danny Lipps and Wendi Williams.
Ame Clase voiced another character, a minor character who only appears in a short
scene being watched on the TV.
And we recorded the network television announcer, voiced by a fellow whom we'll
call Nick Davider.
I've also started the process to create the audio content for a couple other times
that Frank or someone else is watching generic TV.
EDITING "TRYING OUT ROBERT":
In the last couple days I've added a few more minutes to the assembled cut and I'm
happy with the cuts I'm making. However, as I place moments from the three different
cameras next to each other, it is clear that I have more color tweaking to do than
I had thought I did when I was finished with the initial color correction this
Editing -- This time around I am trimming each gag a
little, taking out some dialogue as well as trimming some pauses to tighten things
up. However in one case I have actually elongated a comic pause by a few beats.
The editing process is an even merge of the philosophies of editing a prose piece
and editing a musical recording. As you may recall if you've read this silly blog a
lot and manage to follow along, there are two takes of the scene, each with a camera
1, 2 & 3. This being improv work there is a lot of disparity between the content
of Take 1 and Take 2. The scenario and the basic theme stays the same, of course,
but the actors went down a slightly different path the second time. As I did last
time, I am picking and choosing from both to manufacture one scene that uses the
very best moments from both, so long as there is logic to the melding.
So there's a literary edit approach that deals with pace, timing and the actual
organization and inclusion/exclusion of material. It's as if I'm editing the script
during post-production. Then there's an edit approach concerning pacing and flow in
a visual and audio sense that is very akin to editing a piece of music when one
wants to alter the original performance. Two good examples of that might be editing
a seven-minute album cut to a 3:05 single version or, if you are a big
Steely Dan fan, the way they actually have
recorded different arrangements of the songs on their last several albums then picked
and chosen sections from different arrangements for the final product on the album:
the result being performances on the album that were never actually performed as
That second part of the editing process for this, of course, is simply the approach
I have to take as the movie editor on this piece because of the nature of what was
shot -- improv work as opposed to scripted performance. Honestly, the "literary
edit," as it were, is due to the same factor, but that is novelty to the movie
editing. Whereas, the second aspect, the music-recording-like editing, is a direct
morphing of usual movie editing practice.
Sometimes in collaboration with their directors, sometimes not, movie editors
usually chose between shots for a scene and how much space to leave at the cuts to
control the pacing of the scene. Usually the choice to remove a scene is not in
their purview -- at least as the final word -- though directors may take their
advice on such a thing very seriously.
In this case, I am literally collaborating with the actors in creating the story
and its plot -- loose as that plot may be. I have actually created a moment already
that Natasha and Craig actually didn't play, by marrying two moments from the two
different takes. That is likely to occur more than once again before the final cut
is locked. Not that such a thing never happens when editing a scripted movie; it's
not as likely, as far as I know (and I don't think I'm wrong about this), and not
-- So, I'm not as far out of the woods on this procedure as I had thought I was.
Like I wrote above, I have more color tweaking to do than I predicted. The color
discrepancy between the different cameras is not as pronounced as it was the first
time around, but it's more so than I anticipated.
What I'm going to do this time, however, is adjust the color, and the contrast &
brightness (because there is some disparage there in a few cases, too), from
cut to cut. That way, even if there is some stray of the color temperature,
saturation, and the contrast/brightness, it'll be over the course of the movie and
not a drastic difference that calls attention to itself at the point of a cut from
one shot to another.
That may be cheating, but it's better than my ultimate solution, which, if it
comes to it, will be to turn the movie into black-and-white. But I consider the
"black-and-white" solution the last resort, and an unhappy surrender.
Remember, those of you who are in the Dayton area, that August 3 was the official
release date for the latest novel,
The Blessing of the Animals,
from Dayton-local novelist -- and actor -- Katrina Kittle.
Katrina will be reading from it tonight, 7:00 pm., at a book signing at
The Greene in Beavercreek, Ohio.
Perhaps I'll see you there.
CASTING CALL FOR A SHORT FILM:
Film producer Joshua Smith is working on a short-film project, titled, Monday.
The project is involved with the production house Feifous and House of Wobbey and
will be shot in Cincinnati and Dayton.
An open audition will be held on August 14 in Mason, Ohio.
I've completely mixed one of the in-script TV clips -- that being the scene that
Ame Clase provided the voice for. As well I have mixed both the BRN ("Biograph
Reality Network") announcements, voiced by "Nick Davider".
There is some more mixing to do.
As I write this I'm actually home, off work sick -- (no, Really) -- and I'll
take advantage of that some to mix some of this sound today. Despite that I went
home yesterday from work sick -- (no, Really), I needed to go to the theatre
last night and watch the Act I rehearsal run to observe
and take some notes. And, despite that I am home sick today -- (no, Really),
I have to go tonight, too, to watch Act II.
One important thing that I did last night was time segments to make sure there is
enough sound, specifically two bar scenes with crowd ambience and all TV audio
content that runs in scenes.
There's also a mixing need for that playback of the scene that is performed earlier
on stage. In the live performance, a character is watching TV at the beginning of
the scene so in the produced audio playback, that TV needs to be present and match
what was live, and needs to end at same line where the actor had turned the TV off
in the live performance. I had to know when to cut the background TV audio in my
produced mix of the playback.
So a lot work has been done and that's all good. There are still some mixes and
edits to do, but most work is done.
What else is good is that our producer, Barb Jorgensen, was able to find a sound
operator. Another reason I need to be there tonight, because Barb is bringing her
down to the theatre to introduce her and I want to be a part of that.
Plus, it makes it easier for me to make my audition
Monday night for Porgy & Bess
without feeling bad because a tech (me) will miss at
least part of the rehearsal.
But, as soon as that audition is over, I'm at tech, but as designer only.
I attended the first public reading of Katrina's new novel,
The Blessing of the Animals,
last Friday night. Standing room only. The line for the book signing afterward was so
long that I had to leave before I could get my copy signed. How cool is that?
2009/2010 DAYTONY AWARDS:
The Dayton area theatre awards -- The Daytonys-- and Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame
inductions happened Saturday night.
For all practical purposes we are ahead of the game on sound for the show.
The cue-to-cue Sunday will be mostly about light cues and a few places where those
should coordinate with the sound cues in and out of scenes.
Honestly, though, throughout the rehearsals this week I have been working in the
sound and finding and addressing kinks and sound levels. Many levels are virtually
set for the show, some may have found their settings -- any can change during tech
this Sunday, naturally.
The sound techie for the show, Kathy Mola, has been in twice already; once just to
get to know the place a little, in the behind the scenes aspect (she's seen shows
at the new place); the other time, last night, she sat in the booth with me as I
ran all the sound cues; she watched me and she watched the show.
We still have to run cord for two practical phones. Actually, we many only need to
run cord for one. There seems to already be a cord ran that comes out up stage right,
just by where one of the phones sets, so, providing that it's live, we're good for
that one. But the button box to ring the phones does need to be hooked up in the
booth. And, according to Bob Mills, with his Ph.D in Electrical Engineering, it
needs a transformer. But, Nick Vanderpool, with his MS in Electrical Engineering
will be able to handle that.
This week I have also shot video of the cast rehearsing as B-role for the second DTG
podcast of the season, "Podcast 1011-02 Frank's Life." Tonight I
am going to interview cast and crew for voiceover for that footage. I hope to have
the podcast edited and posted by Tuesday.
Along with taking a vacation day Monday in hopes of finishing the podcast edit, I
also will spend time prepping for the audition Monday night for the
Dayton Opera production of
Porgy & Bess.
Meanwhile, I just got an email from PC-Goenner
regarding an upcoming interview for a full-length feature SAG/non-SAG production
that shoots in Ohio in mid September.
At first this opportunity presented some dilemmas for me. The original message, which
I got at noon today, said the screentest is tomorrow in Cincinnati. So I was looking
at bailing on both production and non-production work at The Guild, both also being
in the realm of urgent care.
But, later, another email came saying, oops, it's next Saturday. Much better.
DTG Podcast 1011-02 -- As my Monday evening
facebook status put it:
"The goal was to have the new DTG podcast edited by bedtime
Remember that I took off work Monday specifically to edit this DV movie. And I did
spend all morning and the first half of the afternoon on it. And whereas a lot was
accomplished, I had to break well before done to concentrate on prep for the
audition Monday evening for
Porgy & Bess
*(see below). I also had to drop by
The Guild to deal with some sound
issues concerning the show.
Though the podcast will not be done as quickly as I'd like, it will be up soon. I
have committed every open minute to editing.
Friday I interviewed all the cast members, but I wasn't able to get Blake until
after the Sunday evening tech run. I set up in the back corner of the lobby.
I actually stayed overnight Saturday to Sunday at the theatre. I'd brought a change
of clothes and toiletries because I had --
had -- plans to attend an
all-class reunion for my high school alma mater. Between helping work on the
remaining theatre house remodeling, which is not timid in it's scope, ironing out
some sound design items, and frankly, getting all the video footage captured into
Final Cut Express
on my laptop from the DV camera, which was immanently crucial to have happen ASAP,
I had to relinquish my plans for the reunion. I also had another social engagement
Saturday afternoon that I missed.
I was, at some point, perhaps 7:30 or so, about to head back the twenty-some miles
to the apartment to start the process of dumping the footage forward to the
harddrive, when several things dawned on me:
I had all the equipment and material with me to dump footage and edit the
video -- even back it up.
The drive to the apartment was only about sleeping in my own bed.
The theatre has an abundance of relatively comfortable sofas.
I had a change of clothes and toiletries with me.
Seemed simple to me; why drive round-trip for forty miles when the only benefit was
the bed? So, I stayed over. I captured all the video Saturday night and captured the
audio oif the interviews from my four-track into
on my laptop. The process started in the sound & light booth but could not stay
there. As I did on the four-track audio I had recorded for the Fleet Mae video, I
was getting a radio station, quite loud and clear, through the system, and it was
indeed picked up as loud and as clear on the digital renderings in Garage Band. So,
since the WiFi doesn't work in the board room office I figured I wouldn't receive
the radio station in there. Fortunately that was a correct guess, so I was able to
do the work in there. I think the Clear Channel station complex is about
two-and-a-half blocks away, so the signals from the several different stations are
probably pretty hot in the theatre.
Then, it was on to Tech Sunday, after some work assisting with the morning on the
remodeling efforts. The only things left to do was get Blake's interview, which we
did Sunday evening, as I said, after the full tech run, and get that audio captured
on the harddrive.
Well, and then there's that whole editing the podcast DV movie thing.
About 8:30 Monday morning I started assembling the edit of the podcast and kept at
a good pace until around 2:00 p.m., when I began studying and rehearsing the sides
for the Porgy and Bess audition. I did work a little more on the edit after
I got home from the Monday night Frank's Life rehearsal, too, but got nowhere
close to "final cut." I worked on it again after the rehearsal Monday,
then before and after Tuesday night, actually during Act II,
as well. Yesterday I was home sick in bed and didn't do anything on the editing.
But, being home again today, I am hoping to finish it off, or get close.
Sound Design -- Meanwhile, the sound design, itself,
for the show has worked out quite well. I am pleased to say that our new sound
operator, Kathy Mola is working out very well. She's not at all new to theatre
in general, having directed and worked various aspects of tech. She's only a
newcomer to us, and she knows what for in terms of theatre and theatre production.
After I had sat in the audience area during Act I
Monday night, to hear the sound levels for a few sound cues, I decided it was not a
problem whatsoever to head home to work on editing the podcast, because Kathy had
become acquainted with the quirks and personality traits of our sound equipment and
was good to go without me hanging around.
Our only technical problem -- and a quite minor one -- is that the "wireless"
phone that had been used in rehearsal for Frank's apartment on the set did not have
a power source, so we could not use it as it could not ring. I found a set that would
work but specifically it was not a wireless. It however does not need a power supply,
which in some ways is good as getting power to that part of the set is more than a
little hassle. The only wireless we found that would work has a horribly
unpredictable first ring -- as it wakes up from setting any period of time -- that
really causes major cue problems. Every first ring from Frank's phone needs to hit
with pretty precise timing. The phone we had on set would give us that sharper cue
response, despite that it wasn't really a wireless. We had just simply pulled the
cord off the the hand set.
However, Blake has a wireless from his home that he brought in and we swapped in
Tuesday before rehearsal. We had used it in KImberly Akimbo. It also has a
slight delay on that first ring when it awakens from being asleep, but it's
consistently about one second, so at least that is predictable.
The cues with that phone seemed to go well Tuesday. Last night I wasn't there
because of this being sick. And, still being sick I may not be there tonight,
though it is Final Dress and I'd rather not miss it.
It was a relatively good audition. At least I felt good about it. The auditors
seemed happy, though they also seemed very polite and probably would not have
telegraphed less-than-impressed impressions.
The only sides I had were for the role of the coroner so I prepped for that role,
listening to that CD of the original 1935 production as well as the performance at
the Glyndebourne Festival Opera. At the audition, the director, Gary Briggle, also
had me do a cold, cold read for the detective.
I believe I did okay with the coroner read; not as sure about the detective.
As I said to Frank's Life director, Blake Senseman, after I got to the
theatre for our Monday tech rehearsal, it's good for me to be forced into dead cold
reads; it forces me to learn to reach inside swiftly for a character choice and to
be more emotionally spontaneous and in the now. (Least I THINK it does).
Still hate, hate, hate cold reads, though. You'd think, since I am drawn to improv
work that I'd not have a distaste for cold reads. Perhaps my attraction to improv
is an unconscious attempt toward "learning to reach inside swiftly for a
character choice and being more emotionally spontaneous and in the now."
THE FILM AUDITION THIS COMING SATURDAY:
A little more info about the audition. The film is definitely a professional
independent that is calling SAG and non-SAG actors. There's little chance all the
major principals have not been cast nor that they aren't all SAG actors. The movie
David Della Rocco, and
Lou Beatty Jr.
I'm pretty much betting there will be a lot of south-west Ohio talent there. Well,
probably also outer region, including tri-state and beyond. I bet I will see many
Dayton-area faces I know, and perhaps a few I've worked with.
Opening weekend was a success. I was there Friday and Sunday. The sound came off
well. There were a few cue glitches, at least one of them attributed to a
I hosted Friday and was available for the host on Sunday. I did get to watch the
performance to some extent both times. I especially tried to be in the safe vom
(the one the actors did not use for entrances and exits) during certain sound
cues just to judge how well they worked with an audience in the house.
And, they worked.
I did have someone actually ask what the purpose of the crowd noise in the bar
scenes was, which might possibly be the stupidest question I have been asked in
the last several years.
The auditions for the next Guild show, directed by Doug Lloyd, are tonight and
tomorrow night at the theatre.
I am designing sound for this show, too, and it's time to start making that a
THE FILM AUDITION THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN LAST SATURDAY:
Yeah, no audition happening for me Saturday. My throat was sore like it had pins and
needles wrestling in it and I had such a hacking cough. As well I felt most drained
of energy. I thought I was having allergy problems but I think this is some flu bug
or such: "is," since I still am congested and have a sore throat. though
not as bad as it has been.
Despite the fact that staying home was absolutely justified, and that I would have
been in no shape to give a good audition, I still have this voice inside chiding me
for passing up such an opportunity. This is a movie with a real budget and name
principals. Sure, were I cast it would have been day player work but still....
In fact, I was apartment bound all day. I missed the DTG board meeting in the
morning -- of course I would have done so had I gone to the audition, and, as
indicated in the entry above, I missed the Saturday night performance of
Frank's Life. Instead I lounged, coughed & hacked, and watch more than
half of the first and only season of
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
from my iTunes collection of all
The auditions for the next Guild show, directed by Doug Lloyd, end tonight at the
theatre. Casting requirements:
The audition consists of cold readings from the script.
Sisser - Female - Late 20's to late 30's - Southern,
obese, and somewhat mad. A wheel chair bound lover of little
Debbie snack cakes. She is capable of anything - even murder.
Ruth Ann Meeks - Female - Late 20's to Mid 30's - Southern,
Racist, and half insane. A "church-goer," plain, not
necessarily pretty, most likely the product of incest.
Annabelle - African-American Female - Mid 40's to 50's -
Southern swamp mystic and conjure woman. She brews magical
potions from sugar cane molasses. Annabelle is the last in a
long line of powerful "Sugar Witches."
Moses Bean - Male - mid 20's - Southern, Handsome and
boyish. He is a mechanic at the local Texaco station. Innocent
and virginal; a gender reversed "Sleeping Beauty."
Hank Hartley - Male - 30's - Southern, handsome and strong.
He is the play's "gentleman caller." He has recently
returned to Sugar Bean to take over his family funeral home
business. Hank is madly "in-love" but yet hiding a
Granddaddy Meeks - Male - 60's to 70's - Southern, redneck,
racist, abusive and mean. He is Ruth Ann's Grandfather.
I did not attend last night, so I have no idea of how it went.
As for sound design: last night, I began reading the play to identify sound needs.
The table read is this Sunday. I believe footage will be shot for the podcast.
Sound design has made a good start. I have found quite a bit of the sound the
playwright recommends and I know how to get or create the rest of it.
Producer Debra Kent needs to get someone to run sound, however. I have a wedding to
attend during one of the performances. I suppose I could show someone how to run
sound for that one show. If necessary we'll go that way, but I'd rather there not be
a sub for a performance.
BACK TO EDITING THE STAND-ALONE, TRYING OUT ROBERT:
My crappy, yucky sore throat, sinus infection, and all around power-drained allergy
symptoms have made me less than ambitious toward plenty of opportunities in the last
week-plus to work on this. I did nothing.
At lunch today, however, I added some footage to the assembly edit.
Some progress, at least.
I've put the word out to the cast and crew that I'll be shooting DV footage and
taking photos for the DTG podcast over the course of rehearsals.
I'm also on the lookout to meet more of the show's sound needs.
I finished pass two of the rough cut for the outtake from the full-length. It still
runs fourteen minutes without the closing credits, but I still think it's much
tighter than the previous version. Whether it retains the new title or gets
another title, is yet to be seen. I'm not overly excited about Trying Out
Robert as the title, though The Audition was too generic for me.
As I have already indicated there is more contrast in color than I expected there
to be, after my prelim color correction, between the images from each of the
three cameras. So I still need to color correct from cut to cut.
I also need to sweeten sound in a few spots.
And there's a lot of sound to add, some of that, (much of that), which still needs
to be produced. I still, in fact, need to create faux news copy for the news spot in
the radio programming that will run in the background. Plus I have news theme music
and other radio programming elements yet to produce.
There are a couple very minor continuity issues that I am going to leave be. Actually,
I may notice them only because I know the edits. Ironically there's a spot that
looks like a continuity error but really isn't one. The camera is on Marian
as she speaks to Robert
Her hands are free and being expressive. Then we cut to Robert for a few moments.
When we cut back to Marian, she has his résumé in her hand as she
speaks. We cut back to Robert then back to her again and her hands are once more
free and expressive. Those are cuts from different cameras during the same action
for the same take. While we see Robert that first time, Marian picks up the
résumé, then lays it back down during the cut back to Robert.
It appears like I sandwiched in a shot of Marian holding the résumé
from a different take; but in reality, it's just happenstance. And my reasons for
cutting as I did have to do with Robert's reactions in those spots.
So it's like Hitchcock leaving the take with the young boy who puts his fingers in
his ears in anticipation of the bang of the blanks in North by Northwest.
Sometimes, there's some compelling reason to live with either a blooper or what
appears to be a blooper.
All in all, though, I am happy with this cut, thus far.
Podcast -- At the Sunday evening table read-through I
shot about twelve minutes of footage, of which probably less than thirty seconds and
almost assuredly less than sixty seconds will end up in the final cut of the
I took a few photos, too.
I'm beginning to formulate my gameplan for the podcast's approach. I believe it will
call for two DV cameras. but I think if I get two of the same model from
campus the color temp and white balance will be
comparable. I used more than one unit for different shoots for the last podcast and
had no color-match problems in post.
This time I'd like to do a group interview, though I want to find someone else to
conduct it. I'll also need at least a second camera operator. I'm going to give my
multi-track tape recorder a try again, and hope for no radio station interference.
I used it for the off-screen interviews for the Frank's Life podcast and had
no problems -- though the radio station showed up when I was trying to dump the
audio from analog tape to digital files.
Sound Design -- Only a little ground has been covered
since last I mentioned this, that being that I have acquired two sound cues that I
have been hunting. Also, I have been considering how to do a lot of things,
including the actual production of some sound effects and how many sources will be
needed for performance. So, I still feel like I am at least in pace with the game
if not out in front.
FRANK'S LIFE LAST WEEKEND:
Meanwhilst, the second weekend of Frank's Life went well. Though the Sunday
audience seem to take forever to finally warm up. It was halfway through the second
act before they started to really respond.
One observer believes that Act I is slow to develop. I
disagree. I think there's nothing tantalizing in the first act and some people,
like the one who rendered that response, have to be titillated or they lose interest
in development that is for others of us intellectually viable and interesting.
AND THE DAYTON AREA THEATRE SEASON IS NOW MORE THAN OFFICIALLY
Well, the 2010/2011 Dayton theatre season is gaining momentum. Here's what's up in
the next month:
The Producers opened this past weekend at
The Dayton Playhouse and I've
heard loads and loads of good things about it. I'll be there Saturday the
GlenGarry, Glenn Ross opens this coming Thursday at
I was pretty tempted to audition for this one, were it not chiefly for my
attempt to gain some kind of ground with the movie post. But I'll be there, in
the audience, if not this Thursday, then next week.
Last night was all about sound work, for both projects on the front burner.
TRYING OUT ROBERT, THE IMPROV MOVIE OUT-TAKE:
Last night I didn't get a lot accomplished on the edit but I was able to do some
sound sweetening. I began to level out sound gain and I eliminated a few
unwanted noises, including one snorting chuckle from a crew member.
There's another such snort, for which the start of is right under the last part
of a word from a line delivered by Marian
a line that I want to keep. I substituted that same second or so of sound from
one of the other sound tracks, from camera 3 (a sound track which I am not
otherwise using for the edit), because the snort is less pronounced on it. It is
still there but lower in volume compared with Natasha's voice. It's actually
almost completely void in the other bad sound track from camera 1, but there is
a hum on that sound track.
I might find later that after adding in the radio programming sound track, and
possibly adding a car horn or something (from outside) that I might be able to
mask that brief hum. That might be a viable option, and if it can work I'll do
it because that takes the snort virtually out.
I have tied down one piece of music as "underscore #2" for a moment
of magic incantation. And I believe I have another that will work for
"underscore #4," which has Annabelle (Catherine Collins) recounting
a previously untold story. I may have the other two underscores needed, too.
Meanwhile I continue to think about how to produce the several sound effects
that are needed.
Unfortunately, I never got to see the show as an audience member. Yesterday was my
last chance but I have been attacked by my allergies and stayed home altogether. I
was going to be in the audience yesterday, but I missed that as well as
missing strike after the show and a work session in the morning.
However, with the exception of the first Saturday, when I was also home sick with
allergies, I've been there at all the performances working house. I've popped in the
back of the theatre or in the tech booth as much as I could to check it out.
Okay, okay, I was actually mostly in there during
specific sound cues to see how they were going.
I can still report that the show's had a good run and the cast has collectively done
Another production, in my opinion, that is up to the Guild standard.
THE SUGAR WITCH:
Sound Design -- Having today off for the Labor Day
holiday I will work on several different production projects, sound design for
The Sugar Witch being first on the agenda. I procured a 2:03 sound loop of
daytime swamp ambience and another 2:00 loop of nighttime swamp ambience. Our
wants the swamp ambience running all through the show. Rather than play each as
loops, I'm going to mix together two sixty-five to seventy minute sound files to
burn onto CD. The reason is to eradicate the two-minute pattern repeats of bird
What I'm going to do is splice together a file that's about ten minutes long but
the repeats of the original two minute files will not be head to toe. I'll run the
file the first time, perhaps all the way through, but then will be placing each
additional version of the file as different sections of the original, including
several in a row that will consist of only spots where there are no bird chirps,
to extent a spot with only crickets.
I'll then take that whole ten minute section and repeat it to get my full length. A
ten-minute pattern of this is not as perceptible as a two minute pattern. Beyond that,
to interfere with the pattern, I'll randomly drop in isolated bird chirps and such
all along the full length.
The longer length of the pattern, the random added sound and the low volume of the
ambience -- it's just going to be loud enough in the theatre to set the atmosphere --
will eradicate any perception of a pattern, I do believe.
The big question is: will my computer balk at rendering the big-ass, long-ass sound
file? I'll know in a few hours, because this job is up first after I post the
Podcast -- There are a few pre-production things that
need attention. I need to see, for instance, how many tracks on my four-track I can
record on at the same time. My memories seems to insist I can only use two at a time,
but I want it to be three. Though if it's not, that's not a big problem, just not as
readily convenient for me. I'm going to test this three tracks issue later today.
As I have indicated before, this podcast is going to be a group interview. What I am
hoping to do is set up my two microphones down left and down right of the group
and then have the subjects project their voices. My expectation is that the mics
will pick them up well. The interviewer, who is as of yet undetermined, will be
fixed with a lavaliere mic -- hence my hope that I can use three tracks on the
recorder at the same time.
Since I'm shooting with two DV cameras I may grab the audio from those, too, and
perhaps mix all the different audio files together.
I'm also looking for appropriate music to run under the main body of the podcast.
There's a piece of royalty free music at Soundrangers
that might work, though I'd have to tweak it a bit. This one needs a country band
music feel I am not going to readily create by myself; so no original music from me
The really cool news is that I contacted the playwright, Nathan Sanders,
through his official website
and asked permission to use scenes of the cast rehearsing where his dialogue would
be audible, and his response was "use whatever you need...." He also
asked us to send him production pictures and promotions -- like the podcast -- and
he'd post them at his website.
As well, he requested that I pass on to Doug that he's added some lines at the end
of a scene and would Doug please incorporate them into our production, which
Doug is doing.
I love it when playwrights are accessible and turn out to be cool.
So I am doing a guided improv gig for a law professor at U.D. next month and then
in November. I'll be an "Afghan interrogator/security professional working for
an international security contractor." This will take a certain amount of
suspension of disbelief on the part of the law students, since, though I will, by
the time I sit in the mock depositions in October, have a decent Afghani dialect
down, I look about as Afghani as a Scottish brogue sounds Afghani.
In news related to all of the improv movie project, other
DV movie projects, The Sugar Witch and any other future sound design
projects, and to my computer work in general:
Doing some regular routine maintenance on my
a few days back there were a few newer movie files that my
would not defragment. So I ran a check on my disk integrity and found that
some file sectors were bad.
This was a concern because once that starts happening it can just snowball.
I wasn't readily able to repair the sectors since all my maintenance software
is on the same hard drive as the corruption. But, after some investigation I
discovered I could run the Disk Utilities off of my OS X install DVD. And
that did the trick.
I also have been concerned that I hadn't noticed my coolant fan inside my
laptop run lately. But I have decided that I've not been running the machine
hard enough to overheat the processor enough to warrant the fan starting.
As I have most recently been doing the more energy-demanding processes in
both movies and sound production. the fan has kicked on.
Beyond that I also used my old Mac G4 desktop tower (400 mgz & 832
SDRAM) to reformat my 1 terrabyte external desktop HD from MS-DOS Fat 32 to
OS 10 Extended (journaled) -- this, so I can copy movie files of more than
4 gigs to it. At 5:30 when I started, it said I had eight hours left. At
10:15, when I checked, it said I had eight hours left.
Next morning when I got up to go to work I checked on the progress and was
met with a message that formatting failed due to "an error upon
exit." So, right before I left to see a play, Friday night, I started
the reformatting process all over. The next morning I found I had been
I have procured two more portable external hard drives, both formated for
Mac. One is a 500 megabyte that I am using for a system back up, with the
software that comes standard now. The other portable is a one terrabyte that
will act as one of two sources for all Final Cut Movie files. So I'll 'have
all the movies and movie projects on two HD's, this new portable and the
desktop HD that I just reformatted. The desktop HD will be the official
backup disk. The portable will travel with me.
I still will copy projects to the laptop when I am actively working on them,
and that, of course, will be where they are started. But after every
production session, the new files will be copied at least to the portable
movie drive -- there will always be two copies of every movie file.
Now that I've bored all but the most geekish of
you, slim population of readers that you are to begin with, I move on....
TRYING OUT ROBERT:
Doing a brightness correction right now, with some contrast correction.
Have been writing news copy and getting my thoughts in line to start making some
faux commercials. I also have decided to try new mixes of some of my music that
will masquerade as "hits" on the radio along with work by others
that will also be presented as such. I may do the radio announcer -- once upon a
time known as the "disk jockey" -- myself, perhaps with some production
tricks. Maybe an homage to Big Dan Clover*.
* Let's see if there's anyone who gets that
You'd have to be at least in your fifties and you'd have to have grown up in
the Dayton area and listened to WING Radio when it was a premier Rock And
Roll station and far more relevant than what trickles onto the airwaves at
1410 AM these days; albeit, Mr. Clover was on the end-train part of its
relevance, right before it became middle-of-the-road crap music then
de-evolved into talk radio dip-goon bullshit.
THE SUGAR WITCH:
The biggest progress has been the daytime swamp ambience which I have relatively
close to finished. I've done exactly as I had planned and took the two minute
sound file and repeated it, with variances of the sections of it used to create a
seventy-minute base. On that I peppered various additional bird sounds to keep a
sense of freshness throughout the seventy-minute soundscape.
The big job after that has been tweaking the extra files to keep any of them from
being intrusive. They need to add to the soundscape but not call attention to
themselves and draw focus during the performances of the play.
The best way to be sure of that was to play the file at the appropriate volume in
the Mirkin theatre area and sit and listen. The ambience should be just loud enough
to be there and perhaps slip out of the front of audience members' consciousnesses.
So a sudden influx of geese flying overhead at a higher level in the mix might
distract. The idea is to have those geese there but keep them low enough ion the mix
that audience members hear them but don't focus on them rather than the action
unfolding in front of them.
So I spent Saturday afternoon listening in the space and remixing in the tech booth.
I have a couple more spots to mix down that I haven't gotten to, yet. But I know
where they are.
The nighttime ambience will not be as difficult. The basic ambience file is an army
of frogs with very little differentiation. I am going to throw a few selected added
sounds in, but not many. I am still going to make a seventy-minute file because these
are going to be burned to CD and played on an extra CD player for the duration of
the acts. I don't want to be concerned about the file running out.
Actually, if I were able to run sound for every show I would run them off my laptop.
However, I have to attend a family affair one evening and I am not leaving my
MacBook there to be used in my absence for that performance.
I've met with the instructor last week. I have a bit of studying up to do with this
one. There are a lot of Arabic and like names to remember and the names being from
an unfamiliar language scheme will mean they will be a bit harder to imprint in my
memory. And there is a certain complexity to the story line and the connections
between the characters that will take some time to memorize.
I also have procured both an Arabic and a Farsi dialect tape and converted them to
digital so I can start working on an appropriate accent. And since my character
was educated in Great Britain I have to skew his accent toward British for his
English as a second language.
So this one is a bit of a challenge. But what great exercise for my actor's skills.
MY AUDIENCE SEAT POV OF THE STAGE:
Remember, I do not consider myself a critic and I do not offer any responses or
observations I make to plays I have seen as anything more than my personal ramblings.
Friday night I saw an admirable directorial debut by Josh Katawick who was bold
enough to take on a difficult David Mamet play. Like Mamet's work in general,
Glengarry... demands a very disciplined attention to rhythm that the
actors need to deliver with a seeming haphazardness, that the off-kilter cadence
of human conversation. They must jump in to interrupt other actors in a precisely
prescribed manner without making the choreography of the interruptions obvious to
the audience. Mamet's plays also take a caliber of acting that takes the
performances all to the behavior-level of subtle verisimilitude even on the
proscenium stage where one must make the performance bigger than life to reach
Kudos to Josh for drawing a line in the sand and not backing down from the
challenge. I believe he's announced himself as a director of which to take
Saturday I found that the buzz around this production of the Mel Brook's musical
was well-earned and most deserved. Despite that the theatre's physical
atmosphere became a bit stuffy -- an air compressor problem, I understand -- the
three-hour production did not drag on and on as the danger might have been.
Major congrats to the cast and crew as a whole, and super major kudos to the
principals who, as I told several in person after the show, "kicked serious
This was one of those times, though I usually don't have much interest, I really
felt like being in a musical as I walked to my car afterward.
Actor Kevin McCarthy died over the weekend. Mr. McCarthy is quite literally the man
whose namesake I am. My mother picked my first name because she liked him as an
actor and liked the name. At that time, 1958, she knew personally of nobody with the
name Kevin, so she gave me that name. Apparently, a lot of other parents had similar
ideas in the same era.
Regardless of my "personalized" connection, I always liked his work. I
remember first seeing him in the original
Invasion of the Body Snatchers,
probably on the Saturday afternoon horror matinee on TV. I was always torn between
his Matthew Bennell and Donald Sutherland's performance of the same man in the
1978 remake. I am such a big fan
of both actors. I resolved to like them both for their distinct approaches to the
I do believe I have the daytime swamp ambience tweaked and I also believe I have
created and finished the nighttime swamp ambience, as well.
Tuesday I was at the theatre pulling double-duty for the show. Some of the cast
wanted to have a line rehearsal and there was no other authorized person available
to open and close the building. So, I was there for them but did not sit on-book
for them. I used the time to check the sound mix on the daytime swamp ambience
over the theatre space's PA speakers -- the final output for that sound.
The mix works: enough distinct bird sounds to keep the a monotonous pattern from
evolving, but none of the added birds are too loud to draw attention to themselves
and pull focus from the action on the stage.
The nighttime swamp ambience was much easier, so it's done, too. I only added one
extra bird track. A echoey one that sounds pretty much like an owl, a little under
the mix about a minute or two in. The rest of the seventy minutes is the nighttime
frogs and crickets blended together.
Other sound work for the show has at least begun. I have migrated copies of a lot
of sound files into the sound production project folder for the show. I have
twenty-four cat cries and growls and a few actual infant human cries, all for use
in the creation of the flying cat sounds.I've grabbed a baker's dozen of wood
groans, too, for potential use somewhere -- perhaps in the sound mix of a house fire
needed for the play.
Right now I don't have specific auto sounds or gun shots that I need. And I also
need to have a low hum, like an electrical currant.
I still need to pick some underscore music for two places that call for such, also.
Tuesday evening, I listen to the nighttime swamp ambience
in the L. David Mirkin Mainstage area over the PA speakers.
One of the four speakers, each that now hang in a corner of
the Mirkin Mainstage.
Several Sugar Witch cast members have a line rehearsal
in the lobby of the Dayton Theatre Guild Caryl D. Philips
TheatreScape. Present: Sarah Caplan, Lynn Kesson, Nicklaus
Moberg, & Catherine Collins.
Meanwhile, as far as the Sugar Witch podcast pre-production is concerned,
I have at least confirmed that I can record on three tracks simultaneously
on my Fostex four-track cassette recorder -- in fact, I can use all four at once.
So, I know I can have two mics on booms, aimed at the cast group, and one lavaliere
mic on the interviewer, each mic having its own track, all for better mix control.
As of yet, I've not started formally studying the complex scenario for this gig,
but that will have to begin soon. I have started listening to the dialect
lessons for both Arabic and Persian (Farsi) accents. I've plugged them into my pc
at work and listen on headphones most of the day. I also have been running them, in
a loop on my laptop all night long, whilst I sleep. Yes, I really do believe that
helps in a real, palpable manner.
Pre-production for Ravenscroft has officially begun.
Auditions will be Monday and Tuesday, November 1 and 2, at the Guild. 7:00 p.m. I
have just began pestering the director, Debra Kent, for character specs.
At Debra's intiative, we have contacted Dialect Coach
who we originally brought into the Guild to coach for the Gloucester, Massachusetts
dialect for Israel Horovitz's Park Your Car in Harvard Yard.
But D'Arcy had an idea. I'm going to make some assumptions here, but I bet I'm right.
I bet that D'Arcy and his wife had been using
to talk with friends and family back here in the U.S. and in their native Canada.
And I bet he thought, why not use it for dialect coaching? And they did. And he has
since coached actors internationally via Skype on what I assume is a regular basis.
And the same arrangements are being made for Ravenscroft.
Sound -- Worked for a few hours yesterday afternoon
to create the "sudden sound of a bass chord -- almost like the hum of an
electrical current," but after several hours of recording and sweetening I
was wholly unsatisfied with the results I was getting. I'd bought several
different static buzz sound files from
Sound Rangers, yet ultimately nixed
their use in this. I also recorded a couple initial bass chord sounds with my
that again, I decided I couldn't use.
I'd played those original chords directly into my
and on into Garage Band. I
didn't like the depth of the low chord -- I felt it should be a little lower
than what I could get. So I re-recorded, this time into the Fostex four track
first, then I transfered that over, slowing the speed down there as it didn't
dilute the texture of the chord richness as did dropping the pitch
It all came down to K.I.S.S., aka:
Stupid." What I ended up doing was
playing a three-note chord using the trombone voice, all the way down at the
bottom of the sixty-note keyboard. If you're interested, it was C-major 9th
minus the 5th. And, as planned, I slowed the tape playback into Garage Band down
as slow as it would go, which had to have dropped the pitch almost an octave for
the digital recording. So all that overlaying of different sound files, all that
adding reverb and echo at various settings, all that processing and gain
adjusting, all that from earlier was all just detoured footsteps toward the
easier path I ended on.
So then it was a break, a pizza, then on to the infamous flying cats. My goal
was to end the day yesterday with, if not a whole flying cats sound file done,
then some good progress on one. I will have seven different files for the cats.
They show up seven times and I want each instance to be its own sound file.
The sound of the wings flapping in the air was the first challenge I attacked
because I assumed it was the most difficult. It was. I started at about 8:30
manipulating woosh-like sound files. At 11:30 I as of yet had nothing that
I went to bed having not created the wing sounds. But I believe I know how to
do it. Just before bed I hooked a mic into the MacBook Pro and recorded my hand
as I whipped air at the mic. I was picking up a high pitched hum from the
laptop, however. I will try it with the four track first chance I get.
I'm also going to have to foley, at least to some extent, vehicles pulling up
and leaving the Bean home. These trucks and a car will be traveling on a
"long dirt road" and I want the sound of tires on the dirt
passageway. I may have the vehicle motor sounds, but I probably will need to
create the tires rolling on the dirt. I have not found any ready-made sound
files of such.
Barn Salvage for the Set -- Today, Set Designer
is salvaging some old barn siding and wood for the set. Unfortunately, my day
is spoken for with some personal stuff. But, isn't it cool that we'll have
this verisimilitude* for the Sugar Witch stage?
*I just like to use that word whenever I can fit it in.
Well, at least, as I take care of some of my business today, I'll have some
time to work on the flying cats.
Pre-production for the DTG Podcast -- I've approached
a couple people about being the other camera operator for the shoot of the group
interview. Neither is available. I also haven't found the interviewer. Well, to
be honest, I haven't asked anyone. Though I have at least one person in mind,
PRODUCING RAVENSCROFT -- AUDITIONS ANNOUNCED:
Auditions will be held Monday & Tuesday Nov. 1 & 2, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at
the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio, 45410
Production dates are weekends January 7-23, 2011.
THE STORY: Ravenscroft is a comedy about deception that takes place on a snowy night in
December 1905. Inspector Ruffing is called to a remote English county manor house to
investigate the death of Patrick Roarke. He becomes involved in the lives of five
alluring and dangerous women who lead him through an evening of contradictory
versions of Patrick's demise. There are ghosts on the staircase, skeletons in the
closet, and much more than the Inspector bargained for. His investigation leads
into the nature of truth itself, and ends with a hilarious and unexpected
All actors should come prepared to audition with an English accent.
There will be cold readings from the script. An actor's photo and résumé
are not required but are strongly encouraged. Please also bring all conflicts
between November 3 and January 23.
The director is looking to cast the following roles:
Inspector Ruffing - age 45 to 55, an inspector sent to investigate a death
Marcy - age 30 to 40, Gillian's governess
Mrs. Ravenscroft - age 38 to 45, Gillian's mother and the lady of the house
Gillian - age 18 to 22, the daughter who seems to live in her own little
Dolly - age 18 to 25, the young maid
Mrs. French - age 50 to 60, the housekeeper and cook
If you cannot attend the scheduled auditions and need to make arrangements to
audition prior to November 1st, please contact Debra Kent at
For all other inquiries, including borrowing a copy of the script, please contact
K.L. Storer at KL_Storer@yahoo.com
GENERAL DTG BUSINESS AS HOUSE MANAGER:
I am K.L.Storer, the house manager for the Guild.
I'm looking for some good people who might host a performance at The Guild.
We love welcoming new people to help us make our performances great theatre
experiences for our audiences -- hosting a performance plays a big role in
As many may already know, our Guild hosts are not able see the performances
they host, so we make available to each host one comp ticket for another
performance. You may bring someone to help, but please understand that only
one comp ticket, not multiples, will be offered, if you wish to avail
yourself of it.
Our current show is The Sugar Witch, and we
have the following performances still open for a host:
A host needs to arrive 90 minutes before curtain (30 before doors open) in
order to attend to the lobby areas and bathrooms (vacuum, stock, etc) before
the doors open. The times above are curtain times. The doors will open 1
hour before each of those times.
If you have never hosted before, you will be with a host who has, so you can
better learn the ropes. Then, I hope to call upon you again during the
season, if you are available.
There's nothing to report here, but, I do need to move this to the top of the
This is a variation on the
CD cover I
created and printed for use in a shot in the improv movie project,
in the scene that takes place in Kate and Dave's apartment (Elena
Monigold and Gino Pasi). That version of Heart Walks is by
David Dawn, Rather than K.L.Storer.
I actually had drawn a sketch years ago as the intended artwork for
the front cover of the real Heart Walks album, the one by
K.L. Now, however, think the sketch will be the back cover.
THE LOST TAPES:
Well, "lost" may not be exactly the appropriate word.
As you five who read this blog regularly may remember, I have written before of the
fact that between 1984 and 1987 I recorded an album, titled, Heart Walks,
that the recording of is finished save for one bass guitar line.
Some of that music will appear in the improv movie as music by the fictional
recording star, David Dawn. David is the adult version of the young protagonist,
L.D. Cooper, from my almost-finished novel, Starting for the Sun.
"David Dawn" being L.D.'s professional stage name.
I need to mix some of the songs from it for the movie; in fact, I had done
monophonic mixes of two songs from the album, "Freedom From Bondage" and
a song my ex-music partner, Rich Hisey, co-wrote the lyrics on, "Seems Like a
Crime." I was simply going to mix a couple more songs, again as mono mixes.
But recently I discovered that it is much easier to mix directly in stereo into my
than I had anticipated it would be. I can run a stereo mix right out of my four
track and into any of Garage Band,
Audacity -- which I admit I haven't
played around with enough to know how to use, or
Thusly, I am abandoning those mono mixes I have already done, and will mix the
entire one-hundred minute album in stereo, get it out as my work, then go back and
do a more thorough and enhanced digital remix.
Look for "Freedom From Bondage" as a single sometime soon
-- though, admittedly, "soon" seems to have
a loose definition in my world.
A NICE LITTLE FRANK'S LIFE DENOUEMENT:
DTG Box Office Manager
sent an email out to the board of directors this past Friday, which says in part:
"We received a call from Mark Dunn, the author of Frank's Life. He
wanted to pass along his gratitude to K.L. and Blake for the
He said that was exactly the concept he was going for when he wrote the play
and couldn't be more pleased...."
Today, I celebrate twenty-eight years sober. Thanks to what, in the wee
early hours of the day on September 29, 1982, seemed like a misfortune --
but most certainly was not -- to the love and support of a group of sober
people who held me until I could walk on my own, and, most importantly, the
Love and Power of God as I know Him, Her, Them (whomever or whatever).
My life ain't near perfect. I am as prone to make large-scale mistakes as
I ever was. Often I grieve for things that never were and may never come
about in my life. But my life is not the hell it would have been. And for
that I am truly grateful.
THE SUGAR WITCH:
So, not all my time on the laptop Sunday of last week was spent on
Sound Design & Helping With the Set --
"Suddenly, the sounds of flying cats can be heard high above the
The name of the game as far as sound design for the last week has been
Last blog post recounted the hours spent Saturday evening, the 18th, working to get
the wing flaps. As I had brought it down to
Stupid" to create the low bass hum, I
got back there at the end of the night -- early that Sunday morning -- by
discovering the best thing to do was hook up a microphone and whip my hand in front
of it, whipping air at the mic.
Unfortunately, the next day -- or later that Sunday -- I had business at a
friends. I took my
but still I could not give any project my undivided attention. And, of the several
projects I could have worked on, Sugar Witch sound was the one I worked on.
While at my friends, I tweaked some cat cries and and some human baby cries -- cats
can sound like babies. Ultimately I have thus far used very little of the human baby
I worked some on sound during the week. For one thing, I went back and recorded the
wing flaps, using my hands on the mic, like I had the previous Saturday. To eliminate
that high hum I was getting going direct into
Garage Band, I recorded onto
tape with the four-track cassette recorded, then transfered that to digital in
A couple nights during the week I had some down time, though. I pretty much slept
through the evening a couple times. One evening I was at The Guild on other business.
A few others and I learned a little about how to assemble the new seats for the
theatre. After school was out I did stick around for a while and watch rehearsal.
And snap a few shots.
This past Saturday was, virtually all day, a day of FLYING
CATS. It was a day of taking the several individual tracks of
"whoop, whoop, whoop," that I'd created with my hand and the mic and
processing those into seven separate and subtly unique tracks that sound like the
wings of a flock of flying cats in flight.
I'd thought that there are seven instances of flying cats overhead in the play.
Turns out there are six. What I counted as number one and number two turn out to
simply be two references to the same instance.
To get my final sound files I've been mixing these flock of cat wings mixes with
what I am labeling "cat choruses." I'm taking all the individual files of
cat cries, screeches and growls and putting together groups of cats. I have
tailoring each of these cat chorus files to the instance they belong to. So each has
been made with then the finished flying cat file for that instance has been mixed
The first instance is the "What's that noise?" introduction. So I put a
few seconds of the wing flaps then some cat cries and such. I mixed so they cat
vocalizations would garner attention but not be startling. The second time, though,
being startling is the point. So that starts with a cat screech that jumps on the
start of the sound file. The third time is another "What's that noise?"
instance, but it's only for a character, not the audience as well. I tried mix
what I guess I'd call a generic cat chorus for that one. The fourth one, which is
the last I've done thus far, calls for the cats to be affected and a little haunted.
In an incredible stretch of the imagination and in the spirit of
venturing onto virgin territory, here am I, creating an upholstered
seat for the set's rocking chair.
I mixed the finished Flying Cats prototype this past Saturday night, then tweaked
it some Sunday morning before I headed off to the theatre to work on both the set
construction and work in the booth on the sound.
My contribution to the set work was to fix an old rocking chair for the set. I cut
out a piece of plywood to cover the missing seat panel on the chair; then I cut some
foam and fabric to cover the new piece. Then put them on the chair. *(see right)
It was a time to fully embrace my Tim Taylorness
as this was the very first time I ever operated a radial handsaw, and the first time
I'd ever sawed wood in anything but a straight line. And the end result looked just
like it was my first time to have dine either. But, apparently it didn't matter.
told me the work did not need to be perfect, that it should look
"home made." Good Thing!
After that task and grabbing some lunch with various affiliated show and DTG folk
(commensality), I took some photos of the current progress of the set, then took
advantage, after everybody else left for the day, of a quiet theatre house to work
on sound design.
One thing to address was a response i got to my prototype of the finished flying
cats. the wing flaps sounded "someone thumping on a roof," according to
Blake. So I remixed "Flying Cats 01" with the pitch on the wing flaps
bent up and the volume lowered in the mix. I then went in and upped the pitch on
all the subsequent flock of wings for the further finished flying cats sound
As for bending pitch, I've been playing with the speed and pitch for each use of an
individual cat cry, screech and growl to add a lot of variety and to help make
overall effect of each file meet various levels of creepiness. That fourth file for
instance, is all the longer cries, and other cries only. No screeches; no growls.
And all of them are slowed down. That particular instance of cats overhead matches
what they follow: "the distant and anguished cries of restless dead."
After a couple hours alone in the theatre building I got the four flying cats sound
files finished before I called it a night; "finished," save for approval
after he gave a listen last night we came to the conclusion that the wing flaps
still need some tweaks. I hope that upping the pitch more and some lowering of the
volume in the mix is the solution.
As for that "distant and anguished cries," I hope to employ the cast to
help me start that sound file.
There is a bit of sound design left to do in this show. But, I'm in relatively good
Recording the sound of the flying cat wing flaps
Lynn Kesson & Sarah Caplan rehearse a scene on that set.
This past Sunday morning, mixing a pass of the flying cats.
Somewhere around Flying Cast SFX no.3, at the theatre,
Maybe you can't tell, but the guy in the right of the frame
is shooting video footage for a podcast.
Dave Nickel, Chris Harmon & Nicklaus Moberg rehearse.
Podcast Production -- Looks like I have my second
camera operator. Now I have to approach someone about being the interviewer. Need
to settle on when the interview's being shot, too.
Monday night I did finally shoot a rehearsal with the actors on their feet. Was to
do so last Thursday, but it was one of those nights I was down for the count and I
was in bed by 7:00 that evening.
I really didn't shoot a whole lot of footage Monday night. I'd plan to shoot more
last night but wasn't able to get into Dayton. Tonight I'll be there.
TRYING OUT ROBERT:
Well one thing's for damned sure: I need to stop being committed to so many artistic
projects at the same time.
This piece of the movie, and the movie as a whole, both need a lot of time and
energy and both commodities are currently in short supply.
The fledgling filmmaker in me needs me to stop committing to other projects
or my last real movie project will never see the end of post.
Meanwhile the actor in me is pining for stage or camera work.
The sound designer (a newer hat) is satiated.
The freshman novelist is standing in the back of the room, jumping up and
down, begging for some time and attention.
The potential stage director is in an adjacent room, waiting to be finally
Yep! I'm a Gemini!
The only progress to report on the movie project at all is a little bit of editing
I did on some of the news copy for the radio news report in the background of the
scene. And that was days ago.
Must stop adding things to the plate!
Auditions will be held Monday & Tuesday Nov. 1 & 2, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at
the Dayton Theatre Guild, 430 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio, 45410
See below for details, *until November 3.
MORE AUDIO DESIGN:
Despite the words above, I have added to the plate. Greg Smith needs sound for the
encore production of Precious Heart, and I told him I'll help him out. I
don't think the demands are very heavy, however. I hope to not have to run it,
WANNA HOST A PERFORMANCE OF THE SUGAR WITCH?:
As DTG house manager I'm looking, as always, for some good people who might host a
performance at The Guild. We love welcoming new people to help us make our
performances great theatre experiences for our audiences -- hosting a performance
plays a big role in this.
As many may already know, our Guild hosts are not able see the performances they
host, so we make available to each host one comp ticket for another performance.
You may bring someone to help, but please understand that only one comp ticket, not
multiples, will be offered, if you wish to avail yourself of it.
Our current show is The Sugar Witch, and we have the
following performances still open for a host:
Friday, 10/22/10, 8:00 pm
Saturday, 10/23/10, 8:00 pm
Sunday, 10/24/10, 3:00 pm
Friday, 10/29/10, 8:00 pm *
Saturday, 10/30/10, 5:00 pm *
Sunday, 10/31/10, 3:00 pm
Friday, 11/5/10, 8:00 pm
Saturday, 11/6/10, 5:00 pm
Sunday, 11/7/10, 3:00 pm
(*): AN ASTERISK MEANS THAT DATE IS
ONLY OPEN TO THOSE WHO HAVE PREVIOUSLY HOSTED AT THE NEW THEATRE LOCATION
A host needs to arrive 90 minutes before curtain (30 before doors open) in order to
attend to the lobby areas and bathrooms (vacuum, stock, etc) before the doors open.
The times above are curtain times. The doors will open 1 hour before each of those
If you have never hosted before, you will be with a host who has, so you can better
learn the ropes. Then, I hope to call upon you again during the season, if you are
Before anything else is written, it's important to clarify that the artwork
here that represents the Blackbird entries is, at least at this point,
NOT the official artwork for the probable DTG production.
I, however, want it to be.
Well, other than my covert -- (or
perhaps not-so-much "covert") -- argument for my own artwork
being used for the production, there's not a tremendous amount to tell here except
that in answer to my recent query, the company manager for the
Human Race Theatre Company, Kryss
Northrup, informs me that the callbacks for
will "probably" be in either December or January.
Pretty much what I had already guessed.
All we Blackbird folk are still on board in the event that I do not get cast
in the Race show. And I am skeptical that having my hopes high about the Race
show is a prudent move. I probably have stated this before. It's not a lack of
confidence about my ability, rather it's an understanding of the realities of the
The only role I could possibly be read for in Permanent Collection is Paul
Barrow, which is a major role: the antagonist. I have every confidence in my ability
toward Barrow. My skepticism is that an actor, untried on an Equity stage, has as
much of a chance as those with professional pedigrees on their
résumés. That doesn't mean that I won't show up and give them the best
Barrow I can.
Not being cast will have its sting deadened though. If I'm not in a major supporting
role as the antagonist, I'll be in a lead role as, well...
It's one of the great draws to the role of Ray in Blackbird; one can take
either side of the argument: whether Ray is a good guy or a bad guy. Both sides
can make a compelling argument.
So, do you like the new graphic for these types of
NON-CRITICAL REVIEW entries?
Spit Fire Grill -- I saw this most
entertaining production last Saturday night at
Beavercreek Community Theatre. A lot of
really strong vocals and a few nice songs. The story is a little thin. But the
actors and the musicians took it where they could.
It's always better, in my mind, when the production and its performances
out-stripe the material. Kudos to the whole production team and their captain,
Doug Lloyd (mentioned earlier in this post, concerning his next directorial
August: Osage County -- Get to see this one
this coming Saturday evening. Hearing nothing but good things about it.
This was one that I was on the list for a potential callback for, but that never
happened. Would love to be able to look out into the audience from the proscenium,
but, alas, no.
WHO IS HARRY NILSSON, and why is everybody talking
I was made aware by fellow actor
(a castmate in the
production of Sweeney Todd) of this soon-to-release documentary film that
sports the title I used for this entry. I'm happy to see that "The Infamous
Harry Nilsson," (as he was lovingly
known in the 70's), rides again.
If you've even heard of him it'll most likely be through the top-40 hit,
"Everybody's Talkin'," from
The Midnight Cowboy or his
amazing vocal on his biggest commercial hit, "Without You." Known as much
as a songwriter as he was a singer, it's ironic that neither of these two, his
biggest hits, were written by him. The former was written by Hollywood composer
Fred Neil, the latter, classic
love song written by Badfinger's
Pete Hamm and
whose band also recoded the song. Harry's is the signature performance, however.
If you see this documentary you'll discover that Nilsson was far more prevalent in
pop music than the uninitiated would guess.
Here's the trailer for Who Is Harry Nilsson?:
Harry pictured with John Lennon
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