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

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Wed, Jan 5, 2011

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MARSHA HANNA: a view from the cheap seats

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Marsha Hanna
1951-2011

This next paragraph was my status on facebook as of just shortly after the news of Marsha Hanna's passing had been confirmed for me. It stands as a good way to start this.

One proof of a person's impact in the world is that when they depart this mortal coil, that even those who only briefly, and in most ways superficially, have known them are stricken in the heart with the sadness of the loss. So strong was Marsha's presence, that this man, who barely knew her, is most saddened by her leaving.

When one became involved in the theatre world in Dayton it was not long before Marsha's name became one you were familiar with, whether you had occasion to meet her or not. If you had aspirations to make it into a professional theatre setting in the area, you were going to have to meet her. Along with Scott Stoney and Kevin Moore Marsha was a founding member of The Human race Theatre Company (which was brought to reality as Dayton's professional theatre by Suzy Bassani, Caryl D. Philips and Sara Exley). Marsha was the artistic director at "The Race" for twenty years. Again, if you were at all involved with the theatre world in Dayton, Marsha was on your radar in some manner. Due to her legacy I have no doubt it will still be that way for a long time to come.

I, being one of those who was not in a circle close to Marsha, still had interactions with her, some I consider to be significant. I don't remember the first time I heard her name but I remember the first noteworthy talk I heard of her. A new theatre friend, Natasha Randall (with whom I had just shared the stage in my first production in twenty-seven years, The Cripple of Inishmaan), had just finished appearing as a Pigeon sister in The Odd Couple, on the Victoria Theatre stage, a production which Marsha had directed. I'm not sure if that was the first time Natasha had been directed by her, but I know it was not the last, and she spoke that night, at a belated cast party for Inishmaan, with high praise for Marsha's directorial skill. That would be nowhere near the last time I would hear such strong endorsement of Marsha as a director, and I would eventually get a little taste of her directing myself.

The first conversation I remember having with Marsha was sitting at a table during a Christmas party that December (2004) at Greg Smith's home. She, fellow actor Lisa Sadai, and I were having a discussion about how many theatre and film directors will not direct their own words under the premise that the script needs another eye, beyond its composer, to form a full, robust interpretation. Over the next six years I would have a few more occasions to discuss the art and craft of theatre and acting with Marsha in mostly social settings, but in a few cases during one classroom setting when I took an advanced acting course she taught through The Race's educational programming. It was always stimulating and informative to share thespian concepts with her. Marsha knew her stuff.

My first true experience with the power of Marsha's professional presence came on May 1, 2006, when I gave my first professional acting audition in front of Marsha: the general audition for the Human Race 2006/2007 season. I don't mean it was my first professional audition in front of Marsha, I mean it was my first professional audition, period. Needless to say, despite that I was no kid, I was forty-seven at the time, I felt more than a little anxiety. I walked into an empty Loft Theatre save for Marsha, sitting at a table just in front of the stage apron, she smiling in a most friendly manner at me.

During that acting class that I would take several years later she told us all that any auditor worth working for wants the actor to succeed at the audition. "We're on your side," she said.

Her smile and countenance on that day in 2006 said the same thing. At this point, clearly the strongest reference point concerning me was my involvement with The Dayton Theatre Guild, so she asked me how things were going there, then talked a little about where I lived and that she had a relative that had lived in the same area. She made a few humorous observations -- that I am not going to share here -- then, in that Let's get down to business way she had of smacking her hands on the table she smiled, dropped her head and tilted it up a little to look at me through her glasses, then with a friendly smile she said firmly, "So, what are you going to do for me today?" By the time we were there, which was hardly any time at all, my anxiety was dissipated. With ease and lovely gregariousness, Marsha had brushed my nervousness away.

In about one minute or so, Marsha had transformed a nerve-wracking situation into what stands, still today, as one my best audition experiences. I have stood in front of her several times since, both in later annual generals and for several callbacks, and everyone has been a good experience, every one has ranked at the top of my good audition experiences.

One of those later ones could have been a really bad experience, but she and Kevin Moore did not allow it to disintegrate to that. Here recently, at my 2009 general, I went up, completely, on one of my monologues. They were both most gracious about it. They allowed me to take five, regroup myself, and come back in to start over. When I came back in I did quite well. I am most grateful for the graciousness they both showed me.

I have directed a few movie projects but as of yet have not auditioned actors. Sooner or later I will direct theatre and will eventually be an auditor for both stage and screen. I hope I give as much kindness and respect to those standing in front of me as Marsha (and Kevin) showed me.

During the same time as that infamous audition was when I took the HRTC acting class that Marsha taught. There was the occasion of my all-too-brief taste of her as a director. There, through her coaching and guidance at directing us students, did I (we) fully experience her great love and enthusiasm for the craft, and her wisdom about the craft. I and my scene partner, Robert Martin, did a most telling and emotionally charged scene from Richard Greenberg's Three Days of Rain, where I portrayed the brilliant but terminally self-conscious Ned, bullied into submissive humiliation by the end of the scene by Robert's megalomaniacal Theo.

With uncanny questions she was able to get me to quick understandings of Ned's emotional place and the dynamics of the scene, and on a deeper level, the relationship between Ned and Theo.

"Was that really a question," she challenged me at one point, "or was he (Theo) really telling you something?"

"Yeah, he's saying I'm stupid," I said.

"He's calling you a fool, isn't he? He's the genius, you're the fool!"

I can't say for sure that she would take the inquiry that far in a non-classroom setting, in an actual theatrical production, and I will now never know firsthand. But I remember her saying during that acting course, in an earlier session, perhaps the first night, that the truth of her job as a director was not to tell the actors what to do but to create an atmosphere where actors could fully understand the play and their characters and reach within themselves to bring out their best work. That's my interpretation of her message, but I believe it to be the true essence of what she said.

This was also where she had said that those casting a show want the actors standing in front of them to succeed. We had this discussion in the next class after my melt-down audition for her and Kevin, which they had graciously let me recover from. We talked about the incident in class. She did point out that there wasn't much chance of that allowance happening if one was auditioning in New York or Chicago, "But in Dayton? Yeah, we can be a little more forgiving."

Obviously this class run was another opportunity to share some philosophical discussions, sometimes before, sometimes after class about the craft and theatre life. I left that classroom experience with more respect and a deeper admiration of Marsha. And I left with a hopeful anticipation of eventually being directed by her in a real production.

Selfishly, I am sorry that I will never experience a production with Marsha at the helm. More generally, though, I am truly sorry to see this lady leave the world. I liked her and really respected her talent. In most all ways of real meaning, I stood on the outskirts of her circles and her world, but I still will miss her and am sorry I could not have grown a closer friend. As that facebook status of mine ends: I wish great comfort to those who were truly close to her and feel a loss I am not privy to.




INTO TECH WEEK FOR RAVENSCROFT:

RAVENSCROFT & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Don Nigro
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Down to the wire now, two more tech rehearsals before the opening this weekend. I did not attend Monday's or last night's rehearsals but I was there for both dry tech and the tech run with the cast on Sunday. The day went well.

I must admit, some of my time was spent getting the podcast re-posted to The Guild's facebook page. My goal, which was not met, was to have the video in final cut and posted to both facebook and youtube by early morning Jan 1, at the latest. I did not get to the final cut until about 2:00 am Sunday. So I rendered the facebook version first and uploaded that to the DTG facebook account -- *the "version" has to do with file size (which, unfortunately, also means video quality) and aspect ration (in this case, a 16:9 widescreen video letterboxed in a 4:3 full screen mode).

Since I suck at proofing my own text, I spotted -- after the video was live -- several errors in the closing credits including the misspelling of orchestra as "ochestra," and the lack of inclusion of a tech credit for the show. But, I was due at the theatre shortly for the dry tech so I deleted the video, corrected and rendered the movie again, then left for DTG. Since we have high speed Internet there, I started the upload again, only to have it pointed out to me, while it was uploading, that I had also spelled someone's name wrong.

Upload number three was live at facebook late afternoon Sunday. The youtube version -- a true 16:9 screen format -- was live about 10:30 that night, and is what is embedded above.

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Screenshot of start of podcast closing credits.
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The set up for the actors' comments for the podcast video.
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The set up for the actors' comments for the podcast video.
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AUDITION ICON

  • No word yet about the Permanent Collection casting. I'm of the mind that were I to have been cast I would have been offered the role by now, but was told that it usually takes a couple weeks. So, I guess I will not yet assume I was not cast.
  • I got a call this afternoon that I somehow thought might be The Race calling about said casting; it was, rather, PC-Goenner calling about a movie audition this weekend at the Dayton office. I'd planned to be out of town but with the information about the nature of the audition I think I am changing my plans. It all boils down to what the production dates are. And if I can at all accommodate them I most certainly would.


  • Fri, Jan 7, 2011

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    OPENING TODAY

    RAVENSCROFT by Don Nigro at the Dayton Theatre Guild.



    Sun, Jan 9, 2011

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    FIRST TWO PERFORMANCES:
    RAVENSCROFT & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Don Nigro

    I really wasn't present much during the Tech/Dress week rehearsals. I was there Wednesday and Thursday, but wasn't feeling well either night so I left early. Likewise, I missed Opening Night, sick again. But I do know that there was a decent house size: seventy-one, or about 60%, which is not bad for an opening night. There was a standing ovation, which is a good sign.

    Last night I was there and we had a good show with the cast doing well. The audience, somewhere around the same size, liked the performance. So, we are off to a good start.


    AUDITION ICON

  • I have been told that at this point I have to still be vague, so here it goes, in a vague manner....

    Yesterday I did an audition through my representation for a sweet supporting role in a full-length SAG feature. If cast, I'll only be in one scene, but it's a key scene in the story line; it's the big-bang starting point of the plot conflict, and it's a great scene for an actor to make his or her debut in a professional full-length feature. There's a lot more to tell, but right now "prudence" is the word. And, for myself and many compatriot auditioners, waiting is the game.

  • I cancelled a trip west to Indianapolis for yesterday's audition. I had rescheduled to next weekend. Now, it looks like I am pushing the trip back another week as an audition for short-subject narrative has come up next Saturday. I sent a pic and résumé yesterday, to the producers. Just waiting for word on the appointment time, and location.
  • Still no word yet on the casting of Permanent Collection at the The Human race Theatre Company. I may contact the company manager during the week and reiterate my need to know asap if I am not cast. I'm sure I would know asap if I were.



  • MARSHA HANNA MEMORIAL:
    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    It's doubtful there is anyone in the local or regional theatre community who is not already aware of this, still it bears repeating. There will be a memorial for Marsha Hanna at The Loft Theatre on Saturday, February 5. Click here for the details.



    Mon, Jan 10, 2011

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    AUDITION ICON

    I have confirmed an audition appointment for mid-afternoon this coming Saturday for a short-subject narrative indy film.



    Tue, Jan 11, 2011

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    AUDITION ICON

  • Short-Subject Film -- The production company, Physis Films, has sent me the screenplay in order to look at the role I am auditioning for this coming Saturday. It's a nice little script, currently titled Gold. Probably will run about ten to fifteen minutes. I and another actor would play the same character at different ages, so this is a hyper example of looks counting toward casting -- the two actors really ought to resemble each other quite a lot.
  • Permanent Collection -- Via email this morning I reaffirmed my request to be notified as soon as possible about the casting decision, obviously, in the event that I am not cast. And I don't think I am cast, least I would have, I'm pretty sure, already received a call offering me the role. So I want to know for certain whether or not Blackbird is free and clear for April.
  • The Big Deal Movie -- Despite great anticipation and hopefulness, I'm trying to keep my feet solidly planted on terra firma and am trying to remind myself that being cast is as much a crap shoot as it is a condition of talent. And while I make this attempt to live in the cold hard truth there is this schizophrenic-like debate thundering inside me.

    The pessimist in me is convinced that I have a look and presence that casting people just do not cotton to. Meanwhile, my head is playing out a scenario where just having this gig as an entry on my résumé will instantly alter the perception of many casting people. It's all quite neurotic.

    As for the actual screentest I did last Saturday, I was neither horrified nor ecstatic about it. As I left I felt that I had done "well," that it was a "good" audition. Now I am second-guessing that and wondering if I blew it. To quote myself: "It's all quite neurotic."




  • PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

  • More Voice Acting -- Got a call at lunch today, in fact, as I was writing this blog entry, from Audio-Rabius. Inc. about another voice acting gig; I think possibly for the same client as last time. Tentatively we record tomorrow in the late afternoon/early evening.
  • U.D. Law -- I have some kind of courtroom acting gig coming up next week. As yet, there are no details.

  • I'm all for listing a lot more next to the "a paying gig" icon. Most assuredly I would be more than thrilled to list "Big Deal Movie," from above, in such a spot.



    Wed, Jan 12, 2011

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    AUDITIONS AT THE GUILD:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    The incoming snow caused the second night of auditions for Fat Pig to be moved to tonight. The starting time is still 7:00 p.m. and the location is still at the theatre:

    430 Wayne Ave., Dayton, OH, 45410

    Casting Requirements:

    • Helen: late 20s-30s, attractive, very plus-size woman with wit and charm.
    • Tom: late 20s-30s, good-looking, warm, sensitive, very aware of what others think about him. Works with Carter and Jeannie.
    • Carter: late 20s-30s, good-looking, direct, abrasive, cynical.
    • Jeannie: late 20s-30s, attractive, thin. Previously dated Tom.
    *swim wear is required for a beach scene.

    Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script.

    Please note: if this is your first time auditioning for the director (Fran Pesch), be prepared to present a one minute contemporary monologue.

    Cast meeting and read through will be Thursday, January 13th.

    I will be there at the reading to begin the production of "DTG Podcast 1011-06 Fat Pig."



    Thu, Jan 13, 2011

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    THE VOICE ACTING GIG:
    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    Last night I did another voice acting gig for John Rabius at Audio-Rabius. Inc. This was another chapter in the same marketing campaign for the company Teradata. I was the same character as I was in the studio session last month.

    This one was essentially a cold read. The script was not ready until sometime during the afternoon yesterday so I did not see it at all until I got to the studio. I literally read and rehearsed each line right before we recorded it, with John often coaching me as per context, etc. We got it wrapped in about and hour or so, however.

    It too was good for me to perform professionally for a gig on the same day that I got the news that is discussed next.


    WELL, UM, NO, NO BIG MOVIE FOR ME:
    AUDITION ICON

    Yesterday I found out that the casting people for the big deal movie have asked to see more actors audition for a couple roles, one of those being the one I auditioned for. They did not see anybody they liked in round one, which was my round. So, I am out.

    I was most disappointed and felt quite disheartened and discouraged by the turn of events. This was/is a big deal for us actors in this area and, like many others, I was greatly excited about the opportunity.

    For the rest of the day yesterday, save for while I was at the voice gig, I allowed myself to wallow in what I'd at least measure as a mid-grade level of self-pity. But now, it's time to rally back. I gave myself a day to feel somewhere in the area of despondent about not getting this great opportunity and experience. It's time now to remind myself that a lot of others have gotten or will get the same bad news. And for any of you whom may be reading this, for what it's worth, I grant you all the same right to feel sorry for yourselves for a little while. And piss on anybody who gives you grief about it!

    I still feel a dull but not-too-small pang of disappointment, I will not lie. But it's Move On Time. And I'll gradually pick up steam as I go. But I still will employ some of my coping mechanisms.

    For one thing, I'll tell myself how this is just more proof that casting people can make serious errors in judgement just like anyone else. And maybe they possibly diluted the value of this movie, if only by a tiny little bit, by screwing up and passing me over.


    PRODUCTION OF DTG PODCAST 1011-06 BEGINS TONIGHT:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    The table read through for our next DTG production is tonight and I will be there to start production of the accompanying podcast video promotion of the show.

    The cast list announcement is not officially released, yet. After it has been made public via The Guild, I'll post the list here.



    Fri, Jan 14, 2011

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    POST-PRODUCTION SLOGS ALONG:
    Improv Movie Project Icon -- black and white photo of DP Fred Boomer behind the DV movie camera with Director K.L.Storer standing next to him, watching the action they are shooting

    The radio news reports will be recorded in the next few weeks and will I produce the radio commercials.

    My hope is that I have enough stock music on hand to throw behind the commercial copy that I don't have to write and record, or pull out of the vault and record, anything, or at least much of anything.

    It's a time thing and an impatience thing.

    There's also the question of voices for the commercials....

    CAST -- PODCAST:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    the cast:

    CHARACTER            ACTOR
    Helen            Wendi Williams
    Tom            Steve Strawser
    Carter            Nicolas Bauer
    Jeanie            Amy Askins



    As planned, I did the first of a series of shoots for the show's podcast last night as the cast gathered for their "table" read through. I put that in quotes because the reading was in the boardroom office, and it was a bit nippy. So, Director Fran Pesch put them in a semi-circle around the space heater.


    Mon, Jan 17, 2011

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    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

    I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

    Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

    I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

    I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

    I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

    I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

    I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

    I have a dream today.

    I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

    I have a dream today.

    I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

    This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

    This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

    And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

    Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

    Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

    But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

    Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

    Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

    And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

    CLICK HERE FOR DR. KING'S SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY



    REPOSTING THE "SEEMS LIKE A CRIME" MUSIC VIDEO:
    HEART WALKS a full-length double album by K.L.Storer

    Yesterday I re-edited the music video for "Seems Like A Crime." It is essentially the same video that I posted last month on my facebook account, save for the lack of any holiday graphics or messages, though I don't think a lot of people even saw that.

    I uploaded it to my YouTube account in the early, early hours this morning then linked it on facebook mid-morning today.

    So, here it is, for what's it worth:




    CASTING NEWS:
    AUDITION ICON

    • Permanent Collection -- I got word (not but a few minutes after I had posted the orginal version of today's blog entry, in fact) that I am not cast in this one. I don't who did get the role of Paul but I do know that Alan Bomar Jones is cast in the lead as Sterling North.
    • Gold -- Saturday I drove to Mason, Ohio to audition for this short-subject movie, Gold. I suppose it was a good audition but I am not cast. That honor goes to another actor, a most talented actor, Peter Wallace. Peter was waiting in the rafters as I was auditioning. I had a feeling he would be cast; he really has more of the sort of presence that the screenplay calls for, in my estimation and apparently in the producers' estimations, too. I left the audition predicting it might be Peter. Plus, depending on who is playing the younger version of the character, he may look more like that actor, which really needs to factor in as much as possible.

      The director was in Toledo, so the audition was performed live on-line through cam to cam through a messenger software, I think perhaps Windows Live Messenger. Not the first on-line audition I've done, but the first that was real-time live; the rest were recorded on some sort of pc video recorder, Quicktime at least one time, then the file was later emailed or FTP'd to the client.



    SO NOW IT'S BLACKBIRD SINGING:
    BLACKBIRD logo. Play by David Harrower

    So, now that we know that I am not cast in the Thomas Gibbons play, which I was skeptical in the first place I would be, it's on to David Harrower. As an actor it was good to know that I was absolutely guaranteed to be on stage this spring in a good role. The question was would I be Paul Barrow in Permanent Collection or Ray in Blackbird at The Dayton Theatre Guild?

    Now we know that Blackbird will absolutely run for one weekend, April 22-24 of this year at The Dayton Theatre Guild. There will be at least three shows but I suppose, it could be bumped to four shows. Right now it's three.

    I wish it was a full run, but there is some concern that nine performances of such a touchy script might not be tenable.

    If you're one of the few who visit here often you may notice that the Blackbird icon is a new one. This one is also not yet the official graphic, but it may be, or is very close to what may be the official art work for the production.


    SECOND WEEKEND:
    RAVENSCROFT & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Don Nigro

    This is proving a most successful run for The Guild. We had really nice houses the first weekend. This weekend every performance was sold out. And the audiences have enjoyed the show greatly.

    I sat in the audience for yesterday's show and can report that the cast did well. It's a good production of a good script.



    Tue, Jan 18, 2011

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    U.D. LAW:
    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    Tonight, after the gym, it's all about getting the facts for tomorrow's gig firmly engrained in my memory cells.

    At this moment, I don't have all the facts yet provided to me, but the rest should be coming along during the day, today.

    The gig starts tomorrow at exactly when I'm scheduled to get off work at the bill-payer, so I arranged to leave and hour early tomorrow and make that up by working a half-hour later each of today and Thursday.



    Thu, Jan 20, 2011

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    ...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 5 AM EST FRIDAY... A LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE ACROSS THE TENNESSEE VALLEY TODAY AND THEN CONTINUE TO THE ATLANTIC COAST BY FRIDAY. SNOW WILL DEVELOP ACROSS THE AREA THIS MORNING AND CONTINUE THROUGH THE DAY BEFORE BEGINNING TO TAPER OFF TONIGHT. THE SNOW WILL BE MODERATE TO HEAVY AT TIMES WITH 4 TO 5 INCHES OF SNOW LIKELY BY FRIDAY MORNING. GUSTY WINDS AND MUCH COLDER TEMPERATURES WILL OVERSPREAD THE REGION TONIGHT INTO FRIDAY MORNING. THIS WILL RESULT IN AREAS OF BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW AND BITTERLY COLD WIND CHILLS BY FRIDAY MORNING.

    So!

    I've been intending and postponing and intending and postponing to get over to Indianapolis to see one of my best friends in life, Dave (whom I believe you have read about here before, if you are a "regular.").

    First there were different aspects of pre-production for Ravenscroft, including getting the podcast to final cut. Then, those movie screentests came up on consecutive weekends. You know, The Ides of March* and then Gold.

    *I think the beans have been spilled locally about the Clooney film.

    Now, I finally have a free weekend and Old Man Winter is snickering at me that he wants to make it at least a little difficult. Big issue is that I'm renting an economy class car for the drive. Let's hope the roads are good by the time I hit the road, circa 4:00 or so tomorrow afternoon.

    And, according to the news, the possible snow fall has been upped to six inches from the max five that the National Weather Service states above.


    U.D. LAW GIG LAST NIGHT:
    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    Interesting evening playing a guy accused of attempted murder, felonious assault with a deadly weapon, felonious assault to commit bodily injury, and aggravated assault. Unlike some of the scenario set-ups, this one was simple and straight-forward, so I didn't have to write a copious amount of flashcards to memorize all the facts of the case.


    AUDITION ICON

    *THE BEANS:

    Yeah, well, by this point, as I stated above, the beans are totally spilled, the cat is all the way outta the bag, the word is heard, the news is dusty and moldy. The "Big Deal" movie that I and many other local and regional actors auditioned for back on January 8, was the script The Ides of March, based on the 2006 FutureFest winning play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon.

    It's the big George Clooney project that starts shooting next month in Oxford and Cincinnati, Ohio as well as some locations in Michigan. Clooney is, if you aren't aware, directing and producing and has the major supporting role of the presidential candidate Gov. Morris. Leonardo DiCaprio is the executive producer. Ryan Gosling has the lead role as Stephen Myers.

    The rest of the major principal cast members are pretty impressive, too: Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Max Minghella, and Jeffrey Wright. To the best of my knowledge I will not be cast, but had I been, it would have been in a key scene along with Gosling and, perhaps, Wood.

    The reason I am pretty sure I am out, as I wrote in previous blog posts is because a few days after the screentest I was informed that the casting company wanted to look at more people for the role I had auditioned for. Now, it's been pointed out to me that that may not mean that someone from the original round of screentests won't be cast, and I suppose there's merit to that. Still, I think there was a broad enough net cast that first day, in several different agencies around the state, that they got a big variety of options. So I'm jumping to the conclusion that they didn't see an option that appealed to them. I am, as always, way more than willing to be wrong about that, but I am not holding my breath. But, man would it have been a sweet role to have landed because the character is an important element in a major event in the story line.

    Farragut North is the one play that I did not see during the 2006 FutureFest weekend, which I attended as an audience member only. That was the Saturday afternoon show and I had an audition for a short-subject narrative film that afternoon and missed it. I came back to the festival to a raving buzz about the play.

    So, I guess I've missed out twice on this one.



    Sun, Jan 23, 2011

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    CLOSING TODAY

    RAVENSCROFT by Don Nigro at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

    The cast of Ravenscroft

    CHARACTER            ACTOR
    Inspector Ruffing            Robb Willoughby
    Marcy Kleiner            Rachel Wilson
    Mrs. Ravenscroft            Wendi Michael
    Gillian Ravenscroft            Danielle DeLorme
    Dolly            Jenna Burnette
    Mrs. French            Jennifer Lockwood

    the DTG Ravenscroft podcast



    Tue, Jan 25, 2011

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    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    HOW I SPENT MY
    WEEKEND VACATION:

      xxxx
    • Drove one-hundred-and-some miles west to Indianapolis in a twenty-five-pound, economy-class rental car. A cheaper rental to be sure, and probably thirty-five MPH on the highway (if not forty). Fortunately the highways were not snowy or icy or the little matchbox I was in would've been a problem. My own car is a bigger mid-size and seems to do well in snow, and relatively well on ice. But it's an older car and though it could easily do the two-hundred mile round trip, if it's going to break down within two-hundred miles of driving, I'd rather they be two-hundred miles of driving right in my own neighborhood.
    • xxxx

    • Returned to the text of Blackbird to begin the process of serious line study for the April production. I have lot's of lines but I have some time to get them down and I might as well make that process as easy as I can. I got no further than highlighting Ray's lines with my yellow highlighter, but, forward is forward.
    • Looked over the specs for an audition that was coming up back in Dayton on Monday afternoon *(see below). Not much to look over so it demanded but a few minutes of my time.
    • Most importantly, I got to hang with a good friend and his lovely daughter (and for a few fleeting moments here and there: his teenaged son), my soul brother and niece-and-nephew-in-spirit.
    xxxx
    A section in the older part of the Indianapolis Public Library where the Indy folk and I spent a few hours Saturday afternoon. I didn't snap a lot of pics in there but I gotta tell you, it's a really nice library.
    xxxx
    Dave cookin' up a fine Saturday night dinner.
    xxxx
    A terminally cool dork.


    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    closeup of K.L.'s hands as he highlights the BLACKBIRD script

    Again, during the little mini-vacation to Indianapolis I took over the weekend, I had rather loose plans toward work on the Blackbird script.

    My goal was to keep the time in Indy open to whatever fell down as the action of the moment.

    So, I brought the script but had no goals except that if there was free time to do any work on it I would seize it.

    What happened was what I reported above; I at least got all of Ray's lines highlighted; which, of course, reminded me that I have HALF the lines in an eighty-minute show.

    xxxx
    Recording myself reading the script, using Garage Band as the recording software and my MacBook Pro's built in mic, for the sake of convenience and ease, since a high quality sound file is not necessary in this instance.
    Could be worse: could be George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf.

    When I got home late afternoon Sunday, I did begin to get the lines down in an audio recording, however. This, for the mp3's I intend to listen to constantly for weeks and weeks. Not my only way of learning the lines, but one of the points of attack.

    Which reminds me, I need to finally procure that iPod I have never gotten around to getting.

    I'd hoped to finish the recording last night to be ready for the next step: to edit the audio files to a rendition that will better serve my purpose. I had to do an audio edit job for a friend however, as a favor, and that ate up the evening. It completely slipped my mind to do it while in Indianapolis, where I could have easly got the edit job all finished and wrapped up.

    The iPod is for, of course, mobility, so I don't have to be confined to my laptop or the tower pc at the bill-payer job, in order to listen to the files.

    I'm making two versions. The first will have both mine (Ray's) and Heather Atkinson's (Una's) lines. Then I will graduate to a version where my lines are dropped out and all there will be is Heather's lines to cue me.

    I am doing what I have done a few times in the past with my reading of my lines on the recording -- a flat, almost deadpan delivery to help me focus on words and not influence my line interpretation. The second is most important to me. I have found that when I listen to the lines in deadpan delivery I am able to better think about the varied possibilities for what might be going on emotionally and mentally with the character. It's a better line study for me. In fact, it jumps into character study.

    Now, of course, I will still make and veraciously use my trusty index-cards (flash cards). But, the audio files will be good for all those many times when I can't practically use the cards. And having the lines in my ears on a frequent bases for a while is nothing but a very good thing.

    I was going to finish off the initial raw recording tonight, but probably won't get to it because I have been ask to do a favor tonight which may get me home too late to finish the recording off.


    AUDITION ICON

    About and hour before I left for Indy on Friday I got call about an audition for the Hoosier lottery. So, ironically, I came back from Indianapolis -- capital of the Hoosier State -- to audition for a commercial for that state's lottery back in Dayton. I went yesterday afternoon. I'm not turning cartwheels over my performance but I'm not ready to tie a noose, either.


    AUDITION SEGMENT AT FILM DAYTON TONIGHT:
    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    Shaunn Baker, who directed the Hoosier Lottery audition yesterday, invited me to participate in his portion of a presentation about auditioning and casting calls for the regular Tuesday night meeting of the Film Dayton organization. I have been meaning to investigate and possibly connect myself with Film Dayton for a couple years now. The problem is there has almost always been something to do on the Tuesday when the collective's meeting happens. I believe it's the forth Tuesday of every month.

    I know at Least one other actor who is helping out Shaunn tonight.


    A ROUSING SUCCESS:
    RAVENSCROFT & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Don Nigro

    I don't know the exact numbers, but Ravenscroft has officially taken the lead as the best attended production at The Guild's new home.

    It got good critical review.

    The audiences responded well to the performances.

    It was a hit.

    Congratulations to all involved.


    PRE-PRODUCTION FOR PODCAST 1011-07:
    GOLDA'S BALCONY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by William Gibson

    Have been in contact with the copyright administrator for William Gibson's estate and I'm waiting back for word on whether we can use any of the text from the play in the podcast.



    Wed, Jan 26, 2011

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    LINES LINES LINES LINES LINES......:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    As it turns out I was able to knock off the rest of the raw recording of the play's text last night when I got home.

    Now to do some engineering and mixing. There are a few things that I will do to enhance the recording. For one thing, there are various spots in the script where lines overlap in a rather choreographed manner. When I read for the raw recording I took all of Ray's lines and all of Una's and read them in blocks, out of sequence. I'll go back and separate and edit them all together so they meet the placement and pacing that the script suggests.

    I also will electronically bump up the pitch of my voice on the Una lines, where I already raised my timbre some as I spoke them. There are also a few false starts where I read part of a line wrong and had to repeat it to correct. Those errors will be edited out, of course.

    As an added bonus, as I am in this process of editing the final sound files, I will be in the midst of line study as I attend to the text I am editing.


    AUDITION DEMONSTRATION AT FILM CONNECTIONS:
    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    Enjoyed the evening last night at the monthly Film Connections meeting of Film Dayton. If you remember, Monday, Shuann Baker invited me to participate in a demonstration of film auditioning for the film makers who may not have ever held an audition. My partners in crime were both actor friends whom I've worked with, Megan Cooper and Dave Nickel. Saw a few people in the audience I know, including Chris Tung, who helped with a few shoots for that infamously unfinished improv movie project, and one of the fellas from Physis Films where I recently did the screentest for the short movie, Gold.

    The presentation was facilitated by Shuann and Karri O'Reilly. Shuann is a partner in WorldStage Media here in Dayton, which produces video and audio for both the arts and for corporate clients. Shaun studied acting in Wright State University's theatre program. He was once a member of the Generic Comedy Troup with fellow WSU alumnus Brad Sherwood who went on to Whose Line Is It Anyway. As well as directing for the camera he has also directed theatre including productions for both The Human Race Theatre Company and tHe zOOt TheATre ComPAnY. And, I met him in his capacity as a director for screentests at PC-Goenner. Ms. O'Reilly, a WSU Motion Picture Production graduate is a producer who has worked on feature films, including Boogie Nights, Nothing to Lose, Linewatch, and Saving Shiloh to name only a few of more than one-hundred features or shprt movies she's been attached to.

    We read sides from one of the Pumpkinhead productions -- I don't know which one, but I believe it was one Ms. O'Reilly was attached to. Shuann had Megan show the contrast behind small acting for the camera, which is what a film maker wants, and the broader performance the stage needs. She did it forst the right way then did a stage peformance that, on the big monitor looked like bad, over-acting.

    Dave and I read the same part in the same scene to illustate how the director will get different interpretations that are viable based on what the director needs, or possible based on who else might be cast in an adjacent role. I did pull my performance down from what I'd do on stage, but Shuann asked me pull it down even more. I thought my character should be a bit viscerally aggitated and I went a little bigger than Shuann wanted. But, I pulled it down.

    The room appreciated all of our work, so that was good.

    The only other goof on my part was that I had a black shirt on. Not to purposely demonstrate what not to wear, but because when I got up to go to work yesterday morning, this event was temporarily off my radar and I did not choose the clothing I would have for an audition. I always go with earth tones or other muted colors.

    That aside, it was a nice evening and perhaps I will now actually investigate joining Film Dayton, since I need very badly to greatly increase my flim making savvy.



    Sat, Jan 29, 2011

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    GETTING BLACKBIRD ON THE DTG STAGE:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    As any "regular readers" may know, I started in motion, somewhere in the fall, if not late summer, of 2009, a move to get a production of David Harrower's excellent full-length one-act play Blackbird up at The Dayton Theatre Guild, as an extra production.

    I had seen a production of Blackbird at The Victory Gardens Theater in Chicago in August of 2009, starring William Petersen and Mattie Hawkinson. I was blown away by the finesse in which Harrower was able to delve into a sensitive and taboo world and make a compelling story in which any thinking audience member has to challenge their preconceived notions that will inevitably attack their hearts and minds in the early part of the play.

    The script is intelligent and gripping with twists and turns that take one to a finale that is not at all foreseeable. Petersen and Hawkinson were magnificent in their portrayals of the two damaged souls in this play. I left the theatre that day with a strong desire to mount this show with myself in the role of Ray (the male lead).

    Actor Heather Atkinson and I had occasion to help each other prepare for an audition for a show for the 2009/10 season at The Guild and during the course of such we discussed my hopes to present this one. Heather knew Blackbird and equalled my strong passion to do the play. In a very informal and really unintentional way, she more-or-less auditioned for the role of BB's Una through her performance as the woman she was prepping to audition for in the other play. We were, you see, rehearsing our auditions for the other play by reading and acting scenes from it off each other. By the nature of the conflicts in some of those scenes we both saw that we could work well together. I clearly saw that I had found a perfect woman to play Una.

    Thus, Heather was on board in the role of Una against my Ray. We got together a few times to dramatically read it as we were looking for a director. I approached one person I thought might make a great director for the project, but, he doesn't really like to direct and only does it because he is sometimes required to.

    Meanwhile in discussion with a couple DTG board members, the idea came about to present a private staged reading of the play as part of the proposal to add it as an extra show. As we were getting that in line we brought in fellow actor Natasha Randall to attend a rehearsal of the staged reading. We had already given the script to her in her capacity as a member of The Guild's play reading committee. So she came in having read the script. She enthusiastically offered to direct, having already given this complex and emotionally charged play some considerable thought, thoughts which she shared. We enthusiastically accepted her offer. I also officially took the mantle of producer -- I really already was.

    I set up the private reading for the board in April of 2010. About a dozen people attended. They liked the performance and, even if made uncomfortable by the text, admitted it was well-written and forceful theatre that meets the high demands of the better work we present at The Guild. The next weekend at the board meeting it was approved as an extra during the 2010/11 season. It wasn't unanimously approved, but the professed objection did not regard the quality or even the sensitive nature of the play; it was a concern that we already had a full enough season of productions. But, I'll point out that the slot we proposed it for was already allotted for an extra show and was a slot approved unanimously by the board when the season was originally approved.

    We picked April because it met several needs. First, it was -- we thought -- out of the way of any professional productions at The Human Race Theatre Company that any of us were hoping to be considered for. Also, the consensus is that Blackbird will attract college students and their contemporaries, and if we waited until summer, a lot of that target audience would be gone. We knew that Permanent Collection would be up during the time we wanted, but we were erroneously under the impression that it was an all African American cast. We were wrong.

    So, we applied for the performance rights for Apr 22-24, 2011, shortly after the board accepted the show. The first response from Dramatist Play Service was that they could not yet grant a license, we had to contact them again after June.

    Not long after we reapplied for the rights, I was informed by The Human Race that I had a callback for Permanent Collection. I immediately researched the play only to find that the only possible role I could be considered for was most probably Paul Barrow, who is a major supporting role and the antagonist.

    Despite the fact of the size of the Barrow role, my first instinct was to walk away from the callback. But everyone, including Natasha, Heather, and some members of The Guild board, advised me I shouldn't pass on such a plum opportunity on a professional stage. They were, of course, correct.

    Not but a day or two after I got the news from The Race about the callback did we get the news that the rights for Blackbird were approved. So, now Blackbird was approved by the board and the rights were granted, but there was a conflict, which we had originally thought we avoided. But now it's a moot point.

    The actual callback for Permanent Collection wasn't until just a few days before this past Christmas, so, the ultimate fate of Blackbird in April was in limbo. I was notified on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (quite apropos considering the storyline of the Race show) that I was not cast. I was pretty skeptical, as I have written and said many times before, that I would be cast. I think a director would consider it a big risk to put an actor who's never appeared on a professional stage into such a big role. Not that one might never do so, but, I think the odds are not in favor of such. But I was considered viable, and despite my desire for Blackbird, I went and give it my best because it was a great opportunity.

    Well, now it's Blackbird, free and clear. I am quite happy about that. As much as I don't want to seem like I would have been miserable to have landed the role at The Race -- I most emphatically would not have been -- I would have been sad about the delay of Blackbird, and even a slightly-potential loss of Ms. Atkinson if we could not coordinate a reschedule that worked for her. I would have tried my hardest to avoid that, and would have only and most reluctantly accepted her absence if she, herself, made the decision to bow out.

    Our co-star, Heather, by the way, is about to begin rehearsals at The Gorilla Theatre in Tampa Bay for Sweet Storm by Scott Hudson. It is another two-person play, so she's starring in two in a row. The Florida gig runs a bit longer, Feb 24-Mar 20 and is a professional house, though I don't know if it's Equity. I wish her broken legs and such!

    xxxx
    Meanwhile I have more luxury than she in learning my half of the words for Blackbird and, as reported before, I have begun. To give an update on that: a couple nights this week I've been mixing the raw recording I made of the script, six master audio files, each that cover about a sixth of the pages. I did exactly what I'd planned, I created a copy 2 of each master sound file, and on the copy I bumped the pitch up and am using that one for the Una lines on the mixed master -- Una being channel 2 (the bottom channel of green blocks) in the screenshot on the right. The original master files are for the Ray lines -- Channel 1.

    It's taking some time to create what will be the finished sound files. I've created the first finished aif file, "Blackbird text sec 1." That was several hours of work and it's only sixteen minutes. So, there's a little time to go before I have the whole play in my earphones.

    For one thing, I have caught a few line errors I made, and, no less, while reading the friggin' lines straight off the page. Fortunately they've all been line errors I could fix simply by editing. In two instances I added superfluous words, "that," in once case. It was simple enough to just edit those words out of the sentence on the mix master. I also forgot to record a drop in word by Ray at one point, the word, "okay." Fortunately, there is the same word later in the script, so I just copied that second instance and used it where the first one should go.

    There are many instances where Ray and Una overlap, and I just simply recorded all of one character's lines and partial lines together then the other's, then cut them up and laid them on each characters audio track in the strategic spots that the script dictates. So I have a mix with the overlaps and interruptions in a pacing that is suggested by the text on the page. This is a major reason why this mix edit is a little laborious.

    However, this slower, patient assembly is affording me some opportunity to attend to the text at a casual pace that gives me some time to begin to investigate what is going on in each line. It's the bare beginning, but I really feel like it's a good, strong beginning.

    On the other side of it, April 22 is T-Minus 83 days and counting.

    BLACKBIRD, FEATURING HEATHER ATKINSON AND K.L.STORER WILL BE SHOWING FOR ONE WEEKEND ONLY, APRIL 22-24, 2011 AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD.

    TICKETS GO ON SALE MARCH 22, 2011.



    Tue, Feb 1, 2011

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    xxxx
    xxxx xxxx

    Woke up to a text message saying that work -- (the rent-payer work) -- was delayed until 10:00 this morning, due to the iced-over roads. So I got to go back to bed for another hour and a half. Then woke up, again, to a new text, another version of the message above. So, let's see what the rest of my day will reap.


    HIGH-TECH LINE STUDY, PART 2:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    The iTunes library list of the repeating audio files of the four sections of the BLACKBIRD text

    My mixed audio files are finished, rendered, and I am, in fact, as I key these words, listening to one right now, "Blackbird text sec 1," one of four.

    I finished off the audio mixes Sunday; it was pretty much my day. It was a little more tasking in a couple places because there were more of those mis-reads by me, but this time they were goofs that could not be simply fixed with an edit or move around. I had to re-record the readings of a couple sections to get the correct, precise readings.

    Now, with the exception of the majority of Una's (Heather's) seven-page monologue*, the whole play is in audio form. That section is the only place I truncated, using the first few lines then the last few, cuing into Ray's lines that follow.

    I played the four files in a loop all of last night and the night before while I was in bed, and did so much of today and yesterday. I will be doing this frequently for a while.

    I have a systematic repeat sequence in an iTunes playlist so I hear section 1, then 1 & 2, then 2 & 3, then 3 & 4, then 4, then 1 though 4, then back to the start of the cycle. **See to the right.

    I still haven't bought that iPod, but it's on my agenda.

    And now it's time to move into the "low tech" stuff, the index cards, i.e.: my flash cards. As well, there's that plain, old fashion work with the pages of the printed script.

    Coming sometime in the near future will be some dramaturgy and other background building, for the character work in general.

          *) Granted, the poetry-like layout of the text extends the pages the monolgue spans; yet, it still would be at least three to three and-a-half pages in a regular actor's script layout.


    Thu, Feb 3, 2011

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    So, yesterday was the second of two days in the midst of the cross-continental winter weather extravenganza, myself, here in the eastern part of the mid-western United States. It was, my second day, like many, many, many others, home from work (the bill payer, that is). Could be worse; could be Chicago, points parallel west of that, or New England.
    xxxx xxxx
    Yesterday afternoon I ventured out for groceries. I had to let the car run for about 20 minutes in order let the defroster attack the quarter-inch sheet of ice on the windshield before I could start chipping and then make the trip. That IS ice on the road, in the to IGA & back from pics above.


    MORE NEWS COPY FOR THE OUT-TAKE SHORT:
    Improv Movie Project Icon -- black and white photo of DP Fred Boomer behind the DV movie camera with Director K.L.Storer standing next to him, watching the action they are shooting

    Been grabbing small town news off the web to adapt some news stories for the copy for the Trying Out Robert movie.

    And remember, I am not at all convinced that Trying Out Robert will be the final title, any more than the horribly generic The Audition was.


    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    • Lines -- Though still not quite yet at the aggressive level, I am continuing to listen often to the lines. I will probably, at lunch today, begin to get the lines onto the index cards to get my flash cards going.
    • Post card -- I have created the layout for a promotional postcard. I haven't decided if this is the finished layout yet, but I hope to have it locked soon. Then I'll get some printed and will be sending them out to freinds, family and colleagues, especially those in the theatre world.



    PODCAST PRODUCTION:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    The lovely weather has gotten in the way of the rehearsals for this show. Tonight I will be there to shoot copious amounts of material for the podcast. Probably tomorrow and maybe Saturday (pick-up rehearsal). Though I hope to do most, and maybe even all of the editing Saturday evening.



    Fri, Feb 4, 2011

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    LINE-FLASH:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    The creation (writing) of the flash cards began yesterday at lunch, just as I planned.
    xxxx

    Took out a few more last evening before the cast showed for the Fat Pig rehearsal. The photo to the left is me at the box office console at DTG placing pen to index card.

    When I left off last night, I was at card number 54, and was thirteen pages in. After lunch today, where I worked at it again, I'm at card 72, on page 24, the seventeenth page of text. At the moment, not counting the full pages of Una's lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-ng monologue, there are 54 pages left. At the current estimated rate, I have somewhere in the neighborhood of at least 200 to 250 more cards to create.

    I am in that early place where as I look at the words and contemplate how I have only the bare beginnings of memorization accomplished, I think to myself:

    How in the HELL are you going to learn all these lines!?

    Truth is, memorization is hardly where I am at, or, having anything memorized is hardly where I'm at. I have, perhaps a few lines, but mostly, where I am at is that I at least have a pretty good familiarity with the story. But it's early.

    But, again, on the other side of it, April 22 is T-Minus 77 days and counting.


    PODCAST PRODUCTION:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute
    xxxx

    As the cast played catch-up, last night, on lost rehearsal time, I played catch-up in terms of shooting material for the podcast. And I'm not done. I need to shoot more today and tomorrow.

    On the off chance that there'd be time available to get the voice over comments from the cast, I brought my sound equipment last night, and, indeed, we did get the cast comments for the podcast recorded.

    My actual intent was to plug a microphone directly into my laptop and use Garage Band to record their comments. However, I could not find the approriate 1/4 inch to 3.5 millimeter mono adapter to plug the mic into the laptop. All I could find was a stereo version, which the mic cable's 1/4 inch plug will not fit into.

    Fortunately I had the tape recorder with me, that which takes the native 1/4 inch input from the mic cable and taped their words.

    So, we set up in the DTG board room office with two lamps, in order to avoid the hum the mics pick up from the florescent lights in the ceiling.

    I got nice soundbytes from all four cast members -- the director declined to make any comments for the video.

    Naturally, within an hour of getting home, not only did I find the correct 1/4 to 3.5 mil adapter, but it was hidden away in a case that I had with me during production.

    That's a Murphy's Law kind of a thing, I believe.



    Mon, Feb 7, 2011

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    THE PRODUCTION TIME CONTINUUM:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute
    xxxx

    I believe that just a few posts ago, up there, in reference to the Fat Pig podcast, I wrote, "...I hope to do most, and maybe even all of the editing Saturday evening." That was a lovely goal, but it was not, as it turns out, realistic.

    Let us remember the production axiom:

    Whatever you reasonably estimate as the production time will be much less than what it actually will take.

    I finished principal production on Saturday, with more than 500 photographs taken during the course of that rehearsal. My grand total of stills for the project was just shy of 1100. In order to make assembling the edit much more manageable, in terms of finding appropriate images for any given moment in the edit, it was necessary to re-named each picture file from the generic file names the digital camera gave them to something that at least identifies who is in the photograph. Such as "SteveWendi039.JPG," as an example, rather than something like "DSC04146.JPG."

    Somewhere around 6:00 Saturday evening I began the process of re-naming, or labeling, each picture. In some cases, deleting pictures that did not turn out. In fact, I illuminated about 100 shots that were too blurry or had other like problems. That whole process was much more laborious than I had anticipated. It was my whole evening Saturday, and my whole day Sunday.

    Yep, a thousand-plus pictures take a bit longer to scrutinize, even if briefly, than I would have guessed. That goal of having the podcast on-line by today -- by yesterday, actually -- is not met. In fact, I haven't transferred the actors' comments from Thursday evening from analogue to digital as of yet. Though I do have most other elements ready for the editing to begin.

    Thanks to Peter Wine, I have some background music for this particular podcast. At my grousing about not finding appropriate music from my usual sources for royalty free material, including my own limited repertoire of original music, he suggested D.A.W.N. Music and I was able to find a nice piece there at a reasonable licensing fee. This is a nice new resource to add to the arsenal.

    Love to say I'll have the final cut wrapped tonight, but that's not practical. For one thing, I have to drop by the DTG theatre to orientate the sound folk for the show to the odd little audio setup in the booth. Right now, my goal for the podcast's postings at YouTube and facebook is: before Friday.



    Tue, Feb 8, 2011

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    LINE STUDY:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Flash card creation continues.


    PODCAST PRODUCTION:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    The assembly edit has begun, but barely. Still have a deadline of a final cut up before Friday.



    Fri, Feb 11, 2011

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    OPENING TODAY AT THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD:

    THIS PLAY CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE AND THEMES

    Got the movie finished Wednesday evening and sent it uploading to YouTube as I hit the sack. Woke up the next morning and watched it on YouTube to judge the quality of the compressed file. Still have some complaints about that issue, but it was "okay" enough. Next I uploaded the facebook version. Again, and as usual, the facebook version was originally rendered at a lower quality yet manifests at better quality one on-line than at YouTube. But the big problem were a few small proof reading errors in the closing credit scroll -- "Go figure, " he says with no little irony in his voice. First I noticed that I had not capitalized theatre in Dayton Theatre Guild, which I was going to tolerate until I later saw that I had put the wrong zip code in the TheatreScape's address. So I deleted both on-line files, fixed the errorsm re-rendedered and re-posted.

    And there's still a proof-reading blooper. See if you can spot it.

    Well, here's to a good run and many broken legs to the cast and crew.


    LINE STUDY:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    And flash card creation continues.









    T-minus 70 days, and counting.



    Mon, Feb 14, 2011

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    HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY

    A Love Song
    by Anne Foxbank

    You bring the emblems
    (icons of your desire),
    satiate my id,
    stroke softly on my needs;
    you are an ergot
    that trips me into sleep;
    a passion fugue.

    It could be heroin,
    this visceral pull
    into these brief moments
    out of my body,
    a fetus on the town,
    deep insanity,
    close to the blade.

    You speak, and I taste
    bitter almond in my
    resolve to not hear.
    It is by your power.
    And the noise of joy,
    that song of equal depth
    and mass, is sung.

    Our bonding comes in waves.
    I fight my conflict
    (my head on my pillow
    has lost all respect,
    will shun sympathy, for
    the soul entrapped by
    affinity).

    Your eyes drive it out.
    I want you to be blind
    to the adventure,
    to the pride that tries to
    beat your love away,
    tries to draw you from the
    masque your soul hosts.

    Yet my larceny,
    be it born from fearful
    memory, is weak.
    My rituals are all
    exposed to you for
    the drifting lies they are.
    You know my vice.

    So you breathe the breeze
    and it betrays my spine,
    and I feel the boom,
    the demise of my wall.
    I have gone to trial --
    you have found me guilty.
    Now, denouement.

    *from the virtual chapbook Soul Dancing
    poem © 1998 Anne Foxbank, all rights reserved.

    Love Songed

    Love Songed

    Love Songed

    The illustration, Love Songed, by K.L.Storer.
    © K.L.Storer, all rights reserved.




    BLACKBIRD by David Harrower at The Dayton Theatre Guild

    The Guild hard-track promotion hasn't begun yet -- they have two shows ahead of Blackbird to promote. However, my personal promotion of the show is now going into a higher gear. That includes this "unofficial" postcard that I've designed and will have printed this week.

    And, line work is continuing.

    T-minus 67 days, and counting.

    Meanwhile, on February 24, Heather opens in Florida, co-staring with Chris Jackson in Sweet Storm:

    SWEET STORM by Scott Hudson at the Gorilla Theatre in Tampa, Florida



    OPENING WEEKEND:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    We seemed to have a good opening weekend for the show. The audiences on Friday and Saturday were positive. The cast felt good about their work. I was in house manager host mode, so I didn't see but a few moments of the show each of the first two nights. And I have purposefully never attended to the end of the show, so I will be mostly surprised when I sit in the audience; allthough someone inadvertantly spoiled the end for me to some extent.

    Yesterday, I stayed home to work on other things, including Blackbird.



    Wed, Feb 16, 2011

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    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines Lines......

    Last night I did one of those "one-hour" naps that became a several-hour nap. I seem to be quite famous for those. I had the audio of the lines playing during this event. So, I was up at almost 11 p.m. and worked more on the index flash cards. I am now past my biggest monologue and should be wrapping the flash cards soon.

    T-minus 65 days, and counting.



    Thu, Feb 17, 2011

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    ON TO THE NEXT STAGE IN LINE STUDY:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    xxxx

    Last night I finished the creation of the flash cards.

    A two and one-sixteenth inch stack of 294 cards covering 273 lines -- some of the longer lines and monologues cover multiple index cards.

    So, I've been listening to the recordings of the play (the lines) for over a week now, and will continue to do so. But now, I up the gears by starting the rote learning of the lines. Then I'll use the index cards to drill sections as I have finished the relevant rote sessions.

    It all works toward the goal. Writing the whole play on the index cards was a part of it.

    The rote work is the meat of the memorization. The rote will be burning the words in. I'll still be deliberating on the reading of the lines while doing that. I will continue to listen to my droll recording to help with interpretation, as well as some reinforcement of memorization.

    I feel a bit ahead of the game but I must remember that there is a two and one-sixteenth inch stack of 294 cards covering 273 lines and that opening night is:

    T-minus 64 days, and counting.


    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

  • Voice-over Work -- Received the paycheck for the voice acting I did in January for Audio-Rabius. Inc., with the lovely surprise that the wage was bumped up 50% because the role was larger than had originally been anticipated. So, that was nice.
  • U.D. Law Gig -- Next month I'll reprise some roles for Judge Mary Huffman's criminal trial practice law class. This will be, I believe, the third year I have appeared in this class doing these particular four roles that span two different cases and class sessions. I do need to brush up on the facts, etc., but, with the megathon of line work I have for Blackbird, it's nice to not have completely new facts to ingrain.



  • THE CAST OF THE BOYS NEXT DOOR:
    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    CHARACTER            ACTOR
    Arnold Wiggins            Darren Maddox
    Lucien P. Smith            Franklin Johnson
    Norman Bulansky            William Fulmer
    Barry Klemper            Craig Roberts
    Jack            Jeff Sams
    Shelia            Lisa Sadai
    Mr. Klemper            Greg Smith*
    Mrs. Fremus, Mrs. Warren, & Clara            Ellen Ballerene
    Mr. Hedges, Mr. Corbin, & Senator Clark            Darren McGarvey

    *Greg Smith was later replaced by Mark Jeffers in the role of Mr. Klemper

    Congratulations to the cast!

    On another front, this morning I initiated contact with Tom Griffin's agents to request permission to use some text from the play in the podcast. The arrangement of podcast shoots also has begun.

    In a related note: I have yet to hear back from the lawyer for the estate of William Gibson as per the use of text from Golda's Balcony in the promotional podcast for that show.



    Mon, Feb 21, 2011

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    WAIT! MIGHT TRYING OUT ROBERT (or whatever it ends up being titled) MAKE IT TO FINAL CUT IN SOMETHING MORE OR LESS LIKE THE NEAR FUTURE?:
    Improv Movie Project Icon -- black and white photo of DP Fred Boomer behind the DV movie camera with Director K.L.Storer standing next to him, watching the action they are shooting

    As a manipulation of myself, I have scheduled the recording of Ms. Wendi Williams' voice-over work as the news announcer on Bellcreek's WACI FM ("Lite 97.5"). This forces me get all the news copy written before then.

    Deadlines do work.

    And though not directly related to the news broadcast that will run as part of station programming in the background of the scene, it also motives me to get the damned radio commercials I need for that same programming done, too. This is all I need to get Trying Out Robert to final cut. That, and a better title.


    IN SOME GENERAL PRODUCTION RELATED NEWS:
    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    Artist Moby has a cool site set up for independent and non-profit film makers, offering free music he has composed and recorded to use in non-commercial productions: www.mobygratis.com.

    You can even apply to use the works for commercial projects with the fees going to the Humane Society.

    What a cool thing! I have created a user account. This may be great for both my improv movie project and for DTG podcasts which need royalty free music in them.


    SUNDRY HARROWERING THINGS:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    BLACKBIRD promotional postcard
    • Rote Memorization Has Begun -- Thursday evening I began the process (That's right S.C., I said "process") of memorization by repetition. I started whilst doing the dishes. Got a little more study in on Saturday and a bit more on Sunday. So far I haven't yet delved terribly deep into the script, hardly but a few pages.

      But one reason to start this process early is that the lines are fraught with built in stammers and incomplete sentences and nervous repetitions, much of it well choreographed by Harrower's prose.

      I am shooting for verbatim, so spending a lot of time on smaller sections is the way to go, in my mind.

      T-minus 60 days, and counting.

    • Postcards -- I have printed several-dozen copies of the postcard in 4x6 size for promotion. I also ordered some custom mailing envelopes, which fit to the 4x6 size, through a cottage company, Creatively Invited. The envelopes arrived Thursday and they are perfect for the job!

      Friday, out went the first small postal mailing of cards in the fitted envelopes -- before the U.S. Post Office completely shuts down; right?




    DTG PODCASTS & OTHER PRODUCTION STUFF:
    Dayton Theatre Guild

    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen Tonight I'll shoot the first footage for the Boys Next Door podcast. This will be b-roll shot at the read through, though some audio of the lines from the play might make it into the DV movie, provided that the clearance to use text from the play comes through.

    There will be other work going on this week that I'll shoot. The first week of rehearsals are taking place in the home of the director, that Natasha person, who, as I understand it, is directing another show at the Guild this season.

    GOLDA'S BALCONY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by William Gibson I also need to shoot footage for Golda's Balcony this week. So, I'm juggling between the two. I haven't heard back yet about clearance on the text of this one for the podcast, either. So, I have to, in some ways, just shoot in a zen state of mind and then edit together what I am able to. I have to edit next week so I have to shoot as much footage as I can as quickly as I can. I've shot none, yet.

    A big thing for both of these is the copyright clearance to use the text in the podcast. Without the permissions, it can't be done. A lot of producers do it. On occasion they get themselves sued; and they lose in court. The idea that on-line podcasts and video trailers that are promotions for a legally sanctioned performance are "Fair Use" is false. I, as you will read in earlier posts to this blog, once was of that assumption myself. I was incorrect. I will assert that indeed I do believe it is an unnecessary and short-sighted lack of fair use. I believe such use of the text ought to be covered by Fair Use. But, it's not. So, clearance I seek.

    I likely won't, by the way, seek clearance for Blackbird from Harrower. My concept for that podcast does not call for the text to be used whatsoever. I may change my mind; probably won't, though. May b-roll some rehearsals, but there will be no audio of the lines from the play. Which reminds me: I will need a camera operator for this podcast.

    SECOND WEEKEND:
    FAT PIG & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Neil LaBute

    The second weekend seemed to go well, too.

    Again, I wasn't on site on Sunday, as another board member graciously took the hosting duties from me for the day. I notice that whenever that happens, it is, for the most part, someone from the same small group of names who do that. The same ones of us to habitually show up for other work days at the theatre?

    Why should the board of directors for a community theatre company be any different than any other volunteer organization?

    But, I digress.

    The play, itself, leaves many a bit uncomfortable -- but we knew it would do that. Wait till they sit in the seats for Blackbird; this will be Easter Parade in comparison. Two comments from audience members after the show this past Saturday:

    "Those were some pretty harsh people on that stage!"

    "Well, I liked it better by the end. But the actors were really good."

    Those are common and predictable responses to the material.

    Meanwhile, the show has received a good review from Russell Florence, Jr.: "He Almost Loves Her The Way She Is." There's also good coverage by Brian Sharp in Dayton City Paper, for which I cannot find an on-line link, and in the "Life" section of The Dayton Daily News: "Theatre Guild's 'Fat Pig' confronts notions of beauty," by Meredith Moss.



    Sun, Feb 27, 2011

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    CLOSING TODAY
    FAT PIG by Neil LaBute at the Dayton Theatre Guild.

    The cast of Fat Pig

    CHARACTER            ACTOR
    Helen            Wendi Williams
    Tom            Steve Strawser
    Carter            Nicolas Bauer
    Jeanie            Amy Askins

    THIS PLAY CONTAINS ADULT LANGUAGE AND THEMES



    Thu, Mar 3, 2011

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    A MOST UNFORTUNATE ANNOUNCEMENT:
    GOLDA'S BALCONY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by William Gibson

    What follows is an official announcement from The Dayton Theatre Guild that I am most sorry has be made. I know Mrs. Jorgensen was anticipating this production and I saw enough of the rehearsals to know that she was going be great.

    "DUE TO UNFORESEEN REASONS ALL PERFORMANCES OF GOLDA'S BALCONY HAVE BEEN CANCELLED

    "We hope to be able to bring this production to you at a later time.

    "If you have already purchased tickets we will be contacting you. We will offer the option of transferring your tickets to our next production, The Boys Next Door, or refunding your purchase. If you purchased via your credit card and you choose a refund, your credit card will be credited. If you purchased via check or cash, we will send you (or your group organizer) your refund check.

    "937-278-5993."


    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    Well, I get onto the set of The Ides of March, as a stand-in, today and tomorrow.

    However, I'm not going to be able to blog about it as that is not permitted.

    The most I can say is that I got the job.

    That's at least good news to report.


    LINES LINES LINES LINES LINES:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    The word crunch continues. I do feel like I ought to up the pace a little. I am only at page 33 (26 pages into the script text). Granted, we are talking just under two months from opening night, but I need it be virtually or almost perfectly off-book when rehearsals start on April 4. We will have, at least on week nights, only twelve rehearsals. It's not inconceivable some weekend rehearsals are thrown in there.

    The gradual ingraining is suiting that purpose of verbatim execution of all the built-in stutters and starts-and-stops. But, I much want to approach the rehearsal period with a high confidence and comfortability with the words. there's so much else to work on in that short window, and struggling to much for the words will inhibit all that other emotional and character development.

    T-minus 50 days, and counting.


    THIS JUST IN, THE NEWS REPORTS FOR TRYING OUT ROBERT:
    Improv Movie Project Icon -- black and white photo of DP Fred Boomer behind the DV movie camera with Director K.L.Storer standing next to him, watching the action they are shooting

    Last Sunday I recorded Ms. Wendi Williams as Lite 97.5 W.A.C.I. news anchor Wendy Davis.
    xxxx

    Last night I recorded myself for the several soundbytes from various news stories from that report. I'll process my voice to change it up somewhat more than I already had, at least for two of the three soundbytes I recorded.

    Sometime soon I'll have to record the news intro music.

    And there still are the commercials to produce as well.


    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    I shot more footage for the podcast this week.

    I lost some good footage last week because I was sick at the end of the week and there were a couple nights of prep work for the cast that would have been good to have as possible material. But, you know, it is what it is.



    Wed, Mar 9, 2011

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    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    Ides of March:

    Okay, so here's an attempt to blog about this experience in an innocuous manner that does not violate any restrictions on blogging about the experience. That means no details of significance about the production or about anyone involved. Certainly I will say nothing about the contents of the scenes shot; and no dirt or gossipy type things. This is going to be very general observation and more reflective of the artform than of the specific production. It focuses almost completely on what I saw "craftwise" in a quasi-generic sense.

    So, if you're web surfing looking for inside info on the movie, you are not going to find anything here. Sorry. I am not going to be party to spoiling.

    First of all, being a stand-in on a big-time movie set with major players was really cool -- but, god, now the desire to be a guy with my own stand-in on such a set is tickling me so hard it's a flaming sword in my gut.

    I was the stand-in for character actor Michael Mantell who plays a Democratic contender for the Presidential candidacy, Senator Pullman. I did get to talk with him a little. Seems like a pretty nice guy.

    I think it's safe to say that I got to watch George Clooney switching hats from actor to director; and I was most interested in watching him as director -- he does have an Oscar as a director, you know. Kinda interesting watching the actor work, too. Kinda cool to be there watching him do both!

    I got to see him in both capacities on both Thursday and Friday. Though later in the day on Friday he was done as actor and was in his civvies to direct some other actors -- we'll get to them. Since they are known cast members, you bet I am going to name drop! But, no dirt -- I really have no dirt, but even had I....

    So, here's a scenario: mid-afternoon on Friday, not terribly far away in front of me, several people were watching the video playback of the scene just shot. Those people were: Naturally, the director, Mr. Clooney, as well as Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, and, Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was really an awesome moment for this green, star-struck, movie-set novice.

    I'd love to tell you about the great meaningful connection I made with one or more of these men. Alas, I can't report that. My direct communication with all these men was very slim and very incidental. The general rule on any set is not to initiate conversations with any of the principals or the director.

    George asked me once, on Friday, how I was holding up as I had been standing in the same spot for some time while the crew set the lights and some camera angles. I happen to run into Ryan Gosling as he was entering on Friday and we exchanged quick how-you-doing? greetings. I had one other very brief exchange with him later. I shared a brief jovial conversation with Paul Giamatti in the lunch line. My exchange with Mr. Hoffman was just hello since we made eye contact while he was sitting and waiting to be called on set.

    Now, I wanted to at least tell these men that I love their work. I especially wanted to tell Paul Giamatti and Philip Seymour Hoffman this. In fact, as I was nodding my head hello to Phillip, what I desired was to grab and shake his hand and tell him that I believe he is one of the most gifted actors to ever appear on screen. The man has such an impressive range as an actor it almost makes me hate him from envy. But, I don't, I am in awe of the man's brilliance. I was a little sad that I had to keep quiet and not tell this man how much I admire his work.

    They all seemed quite nice, certainly not rude or self-involved. But they were at work and didn't need that kind of fandom type stuff thrown at them on the job. They needed their space respected. And we were all, quite rightly, expected to give them that respect for their working space.

    I have to tell you, I wished I had been in a situation with any -- or, let's be real, all of them -- where complementing their work would not have been inappropriate. I kind of was, at lunch, with one of them, but elected to err on the side of caution.

    As for watching the Oscar winning director direct. As a hopeful, barely freshman movie maker, myself, it was one of the most advantageous things about the two days. George set a wonderful tone, in my mind, on the set: professional, down-to-business, yet laid back and amiable. And the guy's just charming. He was enjoyable to watch as he addressed the large crowd of extras who were on set Thursday, and the smaller crowd on Friday. He had them eating out of his hands.

    Seeing him in the wheels-turning mode as director was one of the things I will remember the most, and, watching him work things out and relay his wants for shots was edifying, too. I witnessed many exchanges between him and his first AD, David J. Webb, and, of course, with many other crew members. Really interesting was to watch George make a few on-the-fly decisions about shots or blocking or involvement of featured extras in the scene. And it was obvious that he has a crystal clear vision and knows how to see that to fruition -- which is certainly as it ought to be. Those "on-the-fly" things were obviously not pulled pall-mall out of the air; they spoke directly to Clooney's vision for the movie, or at least for the scene. They were created toward specific purpose.

    The thing that I took away from this, in terms of my blog's agenda of "Things Artistic" is that the artistic processes for the director and the actors and the rest of the creative team are the very same as they are for me, just with bigger and better equipment and much more skilled experience.

    I was but a peon on that set, yet, I left with heavy invigoration for my possible future as more than such on another similar set in the distance, some tomorrow.

    * I THINK I haven't written anything that can be considered leaking confidential information. I certainly was deliberate about not mentioning the content of the scenes I saw shot. And I can assert with certainty that nothing private about any of the celebrities mentioned here was shared (Really, I am privy to none such). So, I hope I shared creatively and with discretion about these two days and won't cause myself trouble.

    U.D. Law Gig Monday Night:

    It all went smoothly. Since this was the third time I had acted the scenarios for both cases in this trail practice class all that was necessary for study was to refresh my memory on the facts and such. As I believe it was last year, if I remember correctly, I played both the plaintiffs and next Monday I will play both the defendants.


    LINES LINES LINES LINES LINES:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Harking back to the big days on Thursday and Friday last, I did stick some flash cards in my pocket in an attempt to work on at least a little line memorization while I stood there as the stand-in. Needless to say, it was not at all fruitful.

    It was like when I was in college and would take weekend social trips where I brought text books and materials to do some study. It never happened.

    I actually did make the effort last Thursday to work on lines, but there was so much cognitive stimulation surrounding me that I soon realized it was futile to think I'd retain any of the lines while in the midst of all this. By mid-day Thursday I had surrendered to the inevitable.

    Otherwise there is steady progress being made. However, as I see the date of first rehearsal approaching I am feeling even more like I need to up the pace. I'm still less than half-way through the script. April 4 is less than four weeks from today. And, as for Opening Night:
    T-minus 44 days, and counting.


    THE NEWS REPORTS FOR TRYING OUT ROBERT:
    Improv Movie Project Icon -- black and white photo of DP Fred Boomer behind the DV movie camera with Director K.L.Storer standing next to him, watching the action they are shooting

    The radio news reports by Wendy Davis (AKA: Wendi Williams) for Bellcreek Ohio's WACI FM ("Lite 97.5") are in finished, mixed form.

    Through editing different portions of some different takes I was able to make the two separate news reports unique to themselves. All the stories are exactly the same news copy save for one, which has an original report and an updated report. But by using different parts of takes with slightly different inflections on some words or phrases, we now have two live broadcasts.

    I doubt the second newscast will be a part of Trying Out Robert; it will more likely surface in the next segment of the full-length, which features Natasha Randall and Duante Beddingfield.

    That segment takes place in the same space but in timeline directly after, with the station programming still on the hallway monitor speakers of the WACI building and running in contiguity from the previous segment.

    What's left for the short (and for the full-length, considering the next sequence) is still to build a few radio commercials and then I should be ready to do a final cut on the short.


    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    I will shoot footage at least one night this week for the podcast, now, number 1011-07 rather than "-08."

    I have not heard anything back about permission to use text in the DV movie, so that may turn out to not be an option for the podcast content.

    I haven't shot any stills whatsoever for this one, and I am thinking I won't. The only stills will probably be actors' headshots, which I use SOP.


    Dayton Theatre Guild

    The 2011/12 season has not been officially announced yet, and stay tuned for that, but I have already agreed to be producer for two productions.

    As soon as we go official, I will re-post the announcement here.



    Mon, Mar 14, 2011

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    AUDITION ICON

    I was to have an audition for some sort of industrial this past Saturday, but the client has delayed everything. Sometime soon, I guess, it pops back onto the schedule.

    There's a small indy movie auditioning in Cincinnati next month that I may email a résumé and pic for. It is slated to shoot in May. Just so long as it doesn't threaten to be in the way of Blackbird in any way, it is an option.


    U.D. LAW GIG TONIGHT:
    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    The second installment of Judge Mary Huffman's criminal trial practice law class is tonight. This evening I will be the defendants: an accused arm robber and an accused ponzi schemer.


    LINES & STUFF:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Though I am only slightly panicked right now, I am on the verge of full-blown panic. At present I'm just a tad more than 51% into my memorization. That does not feel far enough along to keep me on my goal of virtually off-book, if not completely so, on April 4.

    I just working on the first monologues of relatively significant lengths. I am now into a section with several of those. And after about twelve pages of that comes my longest monologue. Twelve pages with lines for Ray that is. There are also in there Una's (Heather's) major monologue which is, I must admit, longer than mine by a long shot, at least with no interruptions.

    Seriously. I need to gain decent ground every day. That April 4 start day for rehearsals is three weeks away. And, as for Opening Night:

    T-minus 40 days, and counting.

    Meanwhile, check out the very good review for Heather's current show in Florida: "'Sweet Storm' performances fresh, superb."

    Sweet Storm, showing at The Gorilla Theatre, in Tampa, closes this coming Sunday.


    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    Got soundbytes from the principals and shot more rehearsal footage last Thursday. I also shot a few minutes of set construction on Saturday.

    I still need a soundbyte or two from the director and possibly the rest of the cast. My only concern is keeping the time of the final cut down. And I have to shoot more rehearsal footage after the cast is off book, just to have visuals of them without the script in their hands.

    And, by-the-way, from what limited time I have spent witnessing the rehearsals, I can guarantee this is going to be a good show. This cast is top-notch all the way around.

    The director ain't bad, neither.



    Thu, Mar 17, 2011

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    K.L.Storer as Johnnypat, Jim Lockwood as Dr. McSharry, and Matthew W. Smith as Billy Claven on the set of the 2004 Dayton Theatre Guild Production of THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN
    In honor of St. Patrick's Day, here's a picture from my first theatrical production as an adult, the 2004 Dayton Theatre Guild production of Martin McDonah's The Cripple of Inishmaan. I am Johnny Pateen Mike O'Dougal, and with me is Jim Lockwood as Dr. McSharry and Matthew W. Smith as Cripple Billy Claven.



    THEM LINES AND OTHER ASSORTED THINGS:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower
    xxxx
    My flashcards with all my lines (and the cue lines) for Blackbird. On the left are the lines left to memorize, -- *as of 9 a.m. this morning -- and on the right are the cards for what I have committed to memory. This represents about 65% of the whole that I've taken down!

    facebook status update - 'So the stack height between the index cards (flash cards) of memorized lines verses yet-to-be-memorized lines is now officially in favor of the memorized stack -- A good thing.'

    This above was my facebook status early yesterday evening. I did plenty of work last night to improve upon the situation, too.

    *By the way, the L in my name above is lowercase because the facebook interface won't seem to allow me to have an uppercase L.

    This won't mean much to many but I am now buttressed up against Una's (Heather's) mammoth monologue. And I am soon to be into my own. Mine gets broken up a bit by interruptions by Una but still, I'll be spending some time on my (Ray's) version of events -- that being what the two big monologues are: Una's then Ray's stories about the key episode from their past.

    As for last night, I actually recorded Criminal Minds rather than watching it, so I could take down those pages of the script up to Una's story. I may do the same tonight with CSI and such.

    By piecemeal, I've been working on the lines while at work, too. Whenever possible I grab an index card, or open the script, and concentrate on a sentence or such for sometimes an extended period of time, since I am competing with cognitive demands from the job. Travel on foot from one place to another at work always involves the flashcards; and I always grab a chunk of the stack containing the latest part of the play I have in memory to drill on during lunch time. And I usually have been adding new lines to the mix for the lunch sessions.

    This has resulted in a more significant progress to the goal than one might guess.

    I haven't been listening to the audio files lately but will be returning to that once I have the whole show in memory cells. At least once a day, usually at least three times, I run everything from the start of the show to wherever I have completed memorization, with also more frequent repeats of the later parts of the play learned.

    Would that I had the luxury of this kind of time ahead for all plays I am in. Wished I'd had it for American Buffalo; I had a couple performances with some rough moments.

    Beyond the lines, I am now starting to do some producer duties. And we are all patiently awaiting the return of our lovely Una from her successful run in Sweet Storm at the The Gorilla Theatre, in Florida.

    T-minus 36 days, and counting.


    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

    I know, I know, I am so often a wet-behind-the-ears, dorky, green freshman! But I can't help displaying little trophies of the little hallmarks of any forward motion.

    I received my first paycheck ever from the production of a major motion picture project.

    I look forward to such checks being much larger, for more significant participation and for my reaction to be oh so blasé.

    xxxx
    And, how fitting that I cashed that check, for participation in a cinematic project titled The Ides of March, on March 15.


    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    Gotta tell ya, I've been periodically dropping into rehearsals and seeing great work being done. And these guys and gals aren't even fully rehearsed and at their peek with this show yet. It's a gonna be goooooood!



    Tue, Mar 22, 2011

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    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    I'm happy to report that I have taken down the first and the longest section of the longer monologue. Actually, it's what I see as a longer compartmentalized monologue where Una interjects some dialogue and Ray responds with a few shorter lines then finishes off the longer monologue. That may not be technically true, but it's what I'm telling myself so I can feel like Heather isn't saddled with the one mammoth monologue of the play. Granted, Ms. Atkinson may see it differently.

    I have also conquered those "few shorter lines" and am into the considered second part of the longer monologue.

    It still feels like getting completely off-book with the whole play will be tight, but I think I'll make it before April 4 and the first rehearsal. That is my goal. At the moment I have roughly less than one-third of my lines left to defeat. Rehearsals begin just shy of two weeks from now.

    T-minus 31 days, and counting till Opening Night!

    And, you can get your tickets as of today: daytontheatreguild.thundertix.com.


    AUDITION ICON

    Tomorrow afternoon I have an audition for a Safe Auto commercial. Not the first time I've gone up for a spot for this company.

    I guess, sooner or later.....

    So, I say: "Sooner rather than Later," like This Week !


    A SPECIAL FULL-RUN REHEARSAL:
    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen
    xxxx
    Director Natasha Randall about to snap a picture while she mingles with caregivers and residents at the meet & greet before last Friday's first full run rehearsal.

    Friday I was back to shoot more footage for the podcast.

    It was also a really nice night to be there because the cast had guests for the rehearsal: residents from several homes for mentally challenged people. They were really very lovely and, as a matter of fact, a good audience.

    There was a dinner in the lobby beforehand and members of the cast and crew mingled with the residents and their caregivers. Though I took a few photographs during the eat, meet and greet, I shot no video of that.

    I did shoot a little bit during a period when some residents were with some cast and crew in the theatre space before rehearsal started. A few seconds of that may end up in the podcast, depending on what direction the DV movie edit goes. I shot more "set-building" footage on Saturday, too. Just a little more footage, including some more soundbytes, and I'll be ready to edit.


    In the audience icon

    Lately I've missed a bit of theatre that I wanted to attend, partially because of my schedule, but more directly because of cash flow, or the proverbial lack thereof.

    Ironically I did get to see the most expensive of the recent productions, The Human Race Theatre Company's mounting of The Drowsy Chaperone at The Victoria Theatre. That opportunity was afforded thanks to theatre colleague and Drowsy Chap cast member, Saul Caplan who had a comp ticket that he could float my way. And I much appreciate the favor and kindness.

    The show was a lot of fun. It's pretty light on plot, but, as Man in Chair, i.e., the narrator (AKA: actor Wally Dunn) says at one point -- and I'm paraphrasing here: musicals are like porn; there are insubstantial plot points, usually how to pay for a pizza, in the case of porn, whose only purpose is to carry you between the exciting parts.

    Along with Saul, also in the cast, of folks whom I know to one extent or another, were Scott Stoney and J.J. Tiemeyer.

    I thought everybody did very good work and I was especially impressed with Mr. Dunn, who was just hilarious as Man in Chair. As a fellow actor put it, he's a comedic actor who knows how to use silence; and I would add how to milk it to the very precise correct portion.

    Meanwhile I've missed a lot of shows: Beyond Therapy at The Dayton Playhouse, The Foreigner at Sinclair Community College, it's been a few weeks now, but The Last Five Years at Springfield StageWorks, not to mention the whole season, thus far, of the Wright State University Theatre Department. And that's just the stuff that's popping into my head right now. There's a lot of other work I've missed, too.

    Oh well.

    By the way, see the next item. Saul's auditions for Mauritius continue but end tonight. (Weird that the seeming contradiction is still true).


    AUDITIONS FOR MAURITIUS:
    MAURITIUS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Theresa Rebeck
    Auditions finish tonight at 7:00 p.m.

    It is directed by Saul Caplan and produced by Debra Kent.

    Production dates are May 13-29, 2011.

    The director is looking for three men and two women:

    Jackie - 23-30
    Mary - 35-42
    Dennis - mid-30's
    Phillip - 45-60
    Sterling - 45-60

    Actors will be asked to read from the script.

    Head shots & résumé are not required but are encouraged.



    MISCELLANEOUS ICON

    The video I have embedded here is, I understand, a few years old. It's back and I think will become quite viral due to it's overwhelming relevance to the indefensible attack and bashing of teachers in general that is being fostered by the members of the political right who have little integrity and are embarrassing themselves, their more noble constituents, and our country as a whole.

    The video was introduced to me several days ago, and now I can say that after seeing a few more of his clips on YouTube, I have become a Taylor Mali fan. This guy is just damned cool!




    Fri, Mar 25, 2011

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    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Rehearsal starts in ten days. I have 55 lines left to memorize, 56 index cards (because one longer paragraph is on two cards), 11 pages.

    Tight? Yes, but to be fair, some of those lines are only a few words; some as simple as "No." And I have found many instances where I have come to a particular line, few words or not, where simply from having read the play on occasion over the last year, and from the period a few weeks back when I was listening to the audio of the script a lot, I already knew the line. So, that is good.

    It also does not hurt that I am familiar enough with the play that I am coming into each new page with a strong understanding of what's going on and have a good start on what's up in Ray's head.

    So I have the luxury of being rather bitchy with myself about precision. A few nights ago, rather than run the lines I have studied thus far, without looking, I sat down with the book and read the play from the start to the point where I still need to pick up memorization. I found a lot of spots where I have been making consistant errors. Things like missing the written repeat of a word. Such as where Ray says:

    But I, I told her what my life was like then. I wasn't in a good way."

    I have been consistently saying, "But I told her what my life was like then," leaving out the repetition of "I."

    In other places I've been doing slight paraphrases or saying "I" rather than "I've" or "we" rather than "we've." Things like these errors,

    Small things, I suppose it can be argued, but, as a writer, albeit mostly in limbo from that craft, I am conscious that the repetition is written there and that David Harrower is using Ray's starts-and-stops, his repetitions of words, his unfinished sentences, as part of the construct of Ray. It's also part and parcel of the rhythm and poetry of the play and its dialogue. So, a few strays from the written text here and a few others there add up to more than a small thing. And my aim is a 100% verbatim bulls eye. I may not -- probably will not -- hit that, but the stronger my aim is, the closer my strike will be.

    T-minus 28 days, and counting till Opening Night!

    Get your tickets now! daytontheatreguild.thundertix.com.


    AUDITION ICON

    Despite my usual stingy resistance, I took a vacation day Wednesday so I could both focus better on the script for the audition in the afternoon as well as to continue work on the Blackbird script.

    The first alarm for the morning was set to 9:00, I tend, you see, to need more than one alarm going off in the morning to finally get me out of bed. Wednesday morning, however, I woke up just a few minutes after 7:00. I ran Blackbird lines, then memorized the short script for the audition.

    The agency suggested that my attire might include some sort of jersey -- under a sporty dress jacket. All the jerseys I had were either black or very dark blue -- not good for camera work except in specific circumstances. So I left for town early and dropped into a thrift store and picked up an earthy blue and a medium gray jersey.

    Then I decided I had enough time to grab a haircut.

    As it turned out, we went with the blue jersey, over my tan shirt, under the brownish-blue dress jacket. I also brought one of my microphones as a prop, since I was auditioning for "Announcer."

    Like I said, I've been rallying for a short-cropped beard for Ray in Blackbird, though if cast in the commercial, any growth of Ray's beard is untenable because the commercial will likely shoot in mid to late April, and Announcer can't have a beard. That postponed audition for an industrial, that I wrote of in the March 14 entry, would probably kill the beard, too, if it comes back around before BB closes.

    Oh, and, I think the audition went well.


    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    Podcast production tonight.

    What I hope is the last of the footage shot so I can start editing tomorrow.

    Though I am contemplating shooting some during the tech run on Sunday. But Since that would be b-roll, I can start the edit Saturday, still, then drop shots from Sunday in alter in the post-production process.


    MAURITIUS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Theresa Rebeck

    THE CAST OF MAURITIUS

    CHARACTER            ACTOR
    Jackie            Amy Brooks
    Mary            Teresa Connair
    Dennis            Alex Carmichal
    Phillip            Pat Santucci
    Sterling            Geoff Burkman



    Tue, Mar 29, 2011

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    BLACKBIRD OFF-BOOK IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT:
    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    I am virtually off-book. That is "virtually."

    Virtually: in effect, all but, more or less, practically, almost, nearly, close to, verging on, just about, as good as, essentially, to all intents and purposes, roughly, approximately; informal: pretty much, pretty well; literary well-nigh, nigh on.

    Where I place the measurement is approximately 95-98% off-book. I have technically made it all the way through to the end of the script in my memorization process, but still have drilling to do to fully commit it all. And I have various spots through out, especially in the second half, where I am still too loosely paraphrasing, or switching words around, or substituting a synonym.

    And in one case, as I sat down with the actual printed script yesterday to run the whole play, I caught a line exchange toward the end that I'd missed, that wasn't in the index flash cards. Those lines are there now.

    I have now begun to listen to the audio files again, the dry, almost monotonebaritone audio files where the Una voice sounds like a baritone ET. My co-star requested copies of these sound files; I can only imagine how weird they sound to her. I'm wondering if she's been able to use them without it being too weird and too funny to concentrate correctly.

    And we have tentative plans to do some pre-rehearsal line work with each other this week.

    T-minus 24 days, and counting till Opening Night!

    Get your tickets now! daytontheatreguild.thundertix.com.


    DTG PODCAST 1011-07 THE BOYS NEXT DOOR:
    screen shot of the Final Cut software open to Podcast 1011-07 The Bys Next Door project, with the show logo in the video canvas window
    THE BOYS NEXT DOOR & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by Tom Griffen

    Editing of the podcast is underway.

    It should be posted on the web tomorrow.

    Should be.



    Thu, Mar 31, 2011

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    BLACKBIRD & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo. Play by David Harrower

    Did line reading with Heather last night and we will do a couple more before rehearsals start Monday.

    I'm fidgeting some to close that gap between my "95-98%" and the coveted One-Hundred Percent. I ran the whole play with my flash cards late last night and though it was really pretty good, there were still snafu's. I think closer to 95%, or perhaps a little lower than that, is accurate.

    T-minus 22 days, and counting till Opening Night!

    Get your tickets now! daytontheatreguild.thundertix.com.


    DTG PODCAST 1011-07 THE BOYS NEXT DOOR:




    AUDITION ICON

    Yesterday I had an audition for a minor principal role in the full-length feature Perks of Being a Wallflower that shoots in Pennsylvania in late spring and summer. That issue of too much movement on camera, that I sometimes am too kinetic as I was James Carville's brother or something, came up. I don't know that it was a crap audition for me, but I don't know that it was a fabulous one either. Whatever.




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