One of the things I started doing several podcast productions ago was getting as
much finished as I can before shooting even begins. I get the text of the credit
scroll as finished as I can so when it's time to generate the actual key mat for the
movie all I have to do is copy and paste from a .txt document. Likewise, I create
all the matted photographs (headshots, the graphics for the show, etc) so they are
ready to be inserted when the time comes.
As I said I would, I did revert back to shooting in standard definition with
three Canon ZR800 DV Camcorders
rather than using the
Flip MinoHD camcorder.
The quality of the picture may be a little lower, but not really all that much in
the end. And there is not that annoying audio/video synch problem with the SD, nor
did I have the major annoyance during editing of re-rendering after almost
every edit change or addition to the movie.
I think the three-camera shoot worked well. I placed one on a tripod a little down
left (DL) to the side of the four men sitting at the bench on stage (the cast &
the director), a second in the relative DR, and I hand held the third, taking roving
positions in front of the men. And in case you're interested, in Editing, I imposed
the audio from the footage from the camera I held onto the footage from the two on
tripods, because the mic was more directly in front of the men on mine and thus is
Gil Martin, Tom Stiver & Richard Young during the
Jan. 2, rehearsal.
Another view of the same rehearsal night, from the Tech
Getting the DR & DL pov cameras ready to shoot the
podcast on Dec 30.
Last night I recorded an audition for PC-Goenner
for a voice acting job through Audio-Rabius. Inc.
The end-of-line client is Teradata, whom I did
another marketing campaign for this time last year. I'm thinking that might work
against me, since my voice is already associated with the series, as another
character, but what the hell? What do I know?
The first weekend is down. There were three really fine performances from the whole
cast, but meager audience counts.
That facebook post coming, via my
myTouch 4G Android cell phone,
at just about the closing curtain on Opening Night. Because, meanwhile, I had
brought in Rachael Pope, one of our new folk, to do sound so that I did not have to
be at absolutely every show. Unfortunately, between production needs I should meet
as producer, and an unfortunate need to fill host slots, I will be at every show.
Unless I am cast in that full-length feature which may start shooting before the
The show has three new people on the crew; well, two -- one hasn't been around for a
long while. As producer I picked up Travis Dalhoff, our stage manager, and Ms. Pope,
our sound technician, from the
on-line volunteer application
at the DTG website. Scott Wright, who is sharing lighting technician duties with our
lighting designer, Nick Vanderpool, has crewed at The Guild in years past, but it's
been a while. Before I showed up on the DTG scene. He crewed Old Wicked
Songs, which had Gil Martin as one of its stars. Travis, Rachael and Scott are
all doing great work for us!
Now the trick: Keep 'em around without burning them out!
But a little bird says Ms. Pope is on the crew for
Part of the audience, Opening Night for Heroes, from
the pov of the sound & light booth.
More Opening Night audience, from the booth, with Thomas N.
Stiver & Richard Young on stage.
Thomas, Gil Martin, & Richard during the Opening Night
The cast on stage during the third performance on Sunday,
Jan. 8, 2012.
Again from the third performance.
Once more from the third performance.
And it's time to start really looking at -- working on -- the sound design
for this one. I have found one particular sound I need, and a song that the director
wants in a particular place, actually, several versions of the song.
Where Heroes was an easy and straight forward sound design with only three
sound cues outside of opening, scene transition, and closing music, Wittenberg
calls for more.
Well, I guess there is also the out door ambient sounds that run through the whole
of Heroes: mostly the occasional bird chirping or singing, a few scattered
cars and trucks driving by in the distance, one airplane flyby and a far off train
passing; plus the low-volumed, airy, mid-toned white noise as a constant.
Still, Heroes was an easy sound design to build and an easy one to run.
Wittenberg proves more challenging and I am conscious that I need to simplify
the operation of the sound as much as I can, as I am not the one who will be running
it and it's much easier for one to operate their own complex design than for someone
else to run it.
The biggest challenge I see: tennis ball hits. The sound itself isn't a problem,
that is the "one particular sound I need" that I found. It's the timing
of the cue to keep the first hit of each volley, the one representing the hits by
actor on stage, synchronized to that actor's swing. It's making sure that
the "POW!" is playable instantly.
And there's some incidental background noise and such. It's not demanding the
overall complexity of something like Kimberly Akimbo, Frank's Life, or
Sugar Witch, or the mother of all sophisticated sound designs, Park Your
Car In Harvard Yard, but it's a bit more than completely straight forward.
I'm headed to Audio-Rabius. Inc. at noon
today to do voice work for the Teradata
marketing campaign. However, this was an independent booking based on the work I did
for A-R last year. One of the several scripts he's producing for Teradata calls for
the same character I did before so John Rabius has called me back in, separately
from any audition, and actually before he'd received the new audition mp3 file I
recorded earlier this week. As I wrote in the last post, I wasn't likely to be
booked for any new character, anyway.
Though it didn't hurt to do the audition -- if for no other reason, the practice at
doing a DIY voice audition. For one thing, it has highlighted how I need a more
"True" sound-studio-like acoustical environment at home, even if only
rudimentary and virtual.
As I begin to prepare for my 2011 tax return filing I am painfully aware how much I
have to catch up with hundreds of actor and volunteer miles -- if not moving into
the four diget realm. And I have income and expenses to record. I remember a few
years back when I was smart enough to have diligently recorded all these elements as
they occurred and placed all documentation in a safe place. Perhaps, I ought to catch
myself up here on Day Number 12 of 2012 and then get back into the intelligent
habits of old.
...Rather they're things that nag me as all needing my attention. Okay, okay,
perhaps they aren't nagging me about themselves as much as
I am nagging myself about them.
Let's start with the damned improv movie project. Fred Boomer and I started shooting
that in November of 2008 at The Guild
Wayne Avenue building before it was the Carly D. Philips TheatreScape, before there
was an L. David Mirkin Main Stage, while the theatre was still producing shows on
Salem Avenue. We wrapped principle photography at the home of Mike Rousculp and
Debra Strauss the next June.
I've done some pick-ups since then, mostly outdoor, snow-covered road shots, as well
as specific pick-ups for the outtake short, then known as The Audition.
Those specific outtakes being a series of shots on the front end, the establishment
sequence. Those happening in November of 2009.
Color correction proved patience-draining and then it got worse. It almost drove me
to, I don't know, one of suicide or homicide; or some kind of "cide."
After months of trying to get a viable color edit of "The Audition"
I finally bowed to the inevitable and turned both the short and the full-length in
As some reading this will know, (you five regular
visitors), The Audition became Be Or Not which met it's final
cut in late August of 2011, was submitted to the
Sundance Film Festival and was,
um, NOT accepted.
Be Or Not is in final cut, but the rest of the project? I have done no
editing on the rest, whatsoever. The plan, in 2010 was to attack some big chunk of
it during the summer. I even skipped auditioning for
in order to keep time open. But....
As I've said in the past, the several segments shot for the project are a bit
disjointed from each other and it may be difficult to edit together something
cohesive. I may have to ignore cohesiveness.
But, even though I may not have a final cut that will rip through the film
festivals, I do feel a need to get it there.
Meanwhile, Be Or Not, though not blessed with the greatest production values
out there, it's a funny film with wonderful performances and I really need to submit
it to more film festivals.
And some may remember that I wrote a screenplay for a longer short narrative back a
few years ago. That one needs some real fund raising to shoot. I am so out of the
know about how to do that.
I may be a good producer, as some praise me as, but a "good executive
producer": not so much. And I have a couple other ideas for screenplays.
From about 1984 through 1987 I recorded what eventually became the album Heart
Walks, from which there is one music video on
"Seems Like A Crime."
I wrote that one with my music partner at the time, Rich Hisey. I also pretty much
used all equipment owned by him to make the album. All the Moog synthesizers and the
Fender Rhodes piano were his, as was the four-track cassette recorder the tracks
were laid on. I used my bass guitar.
Though, ironically, there is not bass -- YET -- on "Seems Like A Crime."
The video does not have the finished mix on it. I've actually composed a bass
line in my head, quite a while ago, but I'm gonna have to bone up on my bass-playing
skills before I could execute it.
What I need to do, even if it's piecemeal, is gradually take each track, of each
of each four-track recording, convert it to digital from the original analogue
recordings, and finally get Heart Walks mixed.
And then there's my novel.
Recently I and a friend from my childhood have reconnected and I sent her the
most recent draft of Startung for the Sun. "Most recent" is a
relative turn; that draft is about three years old, and a re-write that has not
fully made it through the manuscript from beginning to end.
Mixed emotions about this one. Part of me wants to stick the damned thing on a shelf
and forget about it for a couple decades. The other part wants to dedicate all my
time to a re-write starting right now. Has to be
a middle-ground, somewhere.
As for that last icon in the left column above -- the newest addition to my new
practice of making icons for things: before I started acting again, I was in the gym
at least four times a week and usually six, and on some occasions, seven days a week.
I have never gotten back on a regular routine. It's been eight years now. It's hard
to fit it in when I'm involved in a production and it's been difficult to pick up
the routine in between.
What I want is to no longer have to have that eight-hour a day job. It is simply in
my way. But breaking away from the regular work hours thing is not happening
probably any time soon. Yet I am embarrassingly aware that I am so far out of the
shape I want to be in. I don't have be Mr. Buff, but certainly want to be back
where I was in say, late 2003, and then improve on that. That means pushing for
regular time in the gym -- and better, soon.
Yeah, yeah, that means perhaps maybe eating a little
SECOND WEEKEND OF HEROES:
The performances went quite well, and the audience sizes improved, with close to a
The gremlins plagued the sound booth, however, very especially on Sunday. The
sound levels were off and channels kept cutting out.
To be honest, our gremlin is most certainly very Homosapien. I checked the whole
sound system hook up after the Sunday show and found things unhooked as well as
hooked differently. Someone did that. And right now it's best if I do not know the
identity of this person.
I stayed for a while and put things back and ran a couple dry techs. It seems things
are okay now. I'm hoping to run a dry tech before the show on Friday, just as
insurance. And I've put the world out for people to just stay the hell out of the
I didn't threaten violence, but perhaps that's not out of
In the meantime, here are some pics from this past weekend:
gives the curtain speech during a performance last weekend.
(Gustave), Thomas N. Stiver (Henri), & Richard Young
The prop table, illuminated in blue light and the stage manager's script
stand, illuminated in red, just back stage at the up left stage escape.
As you may know, in solidarity with Wikipedia.com and many other internet
web sites, I made my whole website dark for just less than forty-eight
hours to protest the ill-conceived congressional bills SOPA & PIPA.
Both acts are theoretically intended to combat piracy and other thefts of
intellectual copyright on the internet. That is a real and valid concern.
But you don't cut off people's heads in order to cure their headaches.
In their current forms the bills circumvent due process and make it possible
for corporate executives as well as the federal government to censor and
suppress free speech and the free flow of information and ideas. All that is
required is the accusation of copyright infringement to shut down a web site,
or the accusation of collaboration, including unintended collaboration, in
It is a slap in the face to the Democratic idea of Due Process, which is a
cornerstone of America jurisprudence and that of other free societies.
At present both SOPA and PIPA make it possible to unfairly and with false
or at best questionable, accusation interfere with the free flow of ideas
that are disagreed with or that are a threat to particular points of view.
That may not be the intention, but it is only the most unintelligent of
fools who will believe that such opportunity will not be ceased upon.
The current versions of SOPA and PIPA need to be fatally wounded and those
who are pushing them need to be reminded they are members of a free society
and such shameful disregard for that society is intolerable.
Fortunately, for the moment at least, The White House seems to be responding
in support of the petitions and the protests. And some congressional support
for both bills has waned. It's best to not assume more than a battle has
been won, however.
at the only Wikipedia page that was up during the blackout.
is casting director for a short-short narrative movie and he contacted me to offer
a cameo role, as it were. As I told him, if Spielberg or Scorsese or Soderbergh
haven't called me in on a project, I should be available for the several hours --
tops -- it would take to shoot the moment in the short.
The little close-ended web series I was approached by
about last fall still seems to be on hold.
Shaunn did contact me about participating in a table read for another web series
project, however, one connected with
Film Dayton. I have no
The Human Race Theatre Company
-- I attended the Pay What You Can, Final Dress this past Thursday. Really good work
from both Michael Kenwood Lippert (as Mark Rothco) and Will Allen (as Ken). It's a
nice script, though I was not as impressed with the words as I was the execution.
The Color Purple at The Kuss Auditorium
-- Next Thursday, Jan. 26, I and several of the local Caroline, Or Change
cast & crew will go see Ms. Taprena Augustine
as Shug Avery in this this touring compnay, making an Ohio stop in a performance
presented by the Springfield Arts Council
as part of its Broadway and Beyond series. Tuprene was fabulous as Dotty in
Caroline..., and I have no doubt she will be fabulous as Shug. Here's an
intersting piece of trivia:
Robert Griffin III,
who won the Heisman Trophy last December, is Taprena's cousin.
Springfield StageWorks -- I
hope to catch this one, which opens Thursday, Feb. 2. Probably will have to go that
Saturday, the fourth.
Sabath Does Sondheim -- And then there's another
castmate from Caroline..., Bruce Sabath
(Stuart in Caroline), who will be playing Joe Josephson "as well as my
clarinet and saxaphone" in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along at
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in
March. Guess it's getting time to buy a ticket.
Nabbed a few sessions in a series for the U.D. Law students about a medical
malpractice case. I will be a doctor. I don't have the material yet so I don't know
exactly what this doctor's role is, but I know he's testifying on the defense team's
side. If he's an expert witness or the defendant I'm not 100% clear on; though it
looks like I may be an expert witness.
Have a few sessions spread out over what I assume is much of the length of the
class term, starting in mid February and ending in mock trial in April.
Don't know if that wil be a conflict with any possible movies, but I did warn
that I'm not turning down a good movie gig if it shows itself.
Got six short scripts for the web series being supported by
Film Dayton; they're in
the second draft and it's expected they'll be in at least one more draft by the
table read at the Film Dayton meeting next Tuesday.
I haven't had the chance to read them yet, but I'm looking forward to the reading.
And I half suspect this "reading" is serving, at least to some extent,
as an audition.
Monday night marked the first of six new acting classes in Round 2 with
I'd been leery of enrolling at one point, when I was hoping I'd be in the last
stretch of rehearsals for Oleanna at
Springfield StageWorks during the
wealth of the class sessions. That did not come to be, as we know. With not being
cast in that, with Heroes wrapped *(see next), and with less obligation to
Wittenberg than I might have had *(see next after next), things are a
little more open.
Kay is even thinking of having me do something from Oleanna in class. So I
may still get some sort of chance to be John.
It being the first day of class we all did some sort of introductory performance.
Mine was a loosely paraphrased
"Cockroach monologue" from Jake's Women: my fallback monologue. We
also did a freeze-tag improv and I was not on my game at all. As the "story
line" progressed, with other students yelling freeze then taking one of the
two scene partners places and moving the action in a different direction, I was
sitting there, coming up with nothing. And when I did finally go up, what I did
was lame, lame, lame.
But I did also do a relatively decent and fairly cold read of a monologue: an
African-American teenage boy, which was in obvious ways a method of having me do a
Of course, Heroes closed last weekend. It was a charming script with very
nice performances by all three men and it's a shame the audiences weren't bigger. I
think we had one house that was close to full; most other shows were around half,
with two shows that had much less: one about twenty-four, the other about thirty.
A day-time work colleague and long-time season subscriber to the Guild asked me
which role I would have wanted in the show. I think I would have most liked the
Philippe character, as it's the one an actor can have the most fun with. I know
Richard Young enjoyed the role a lot. As well, I would have loved to play some of
Henri's bemused and bewildered moments as he listen to the cockamamy statements and
ideas the other two had. But Gustave would have been fun, too, with his
So, all three, but in order of preference: Philippe, Henri, then Gustave.
as Gustave, Thomas N. Stiver as Henri, & Richard Young,
whose Philippe is sure he just saw the limestone dog move.
"There! What did I tell you?"
"I'll move it for you."
"There. How's that?"
"We'll all keep our eyes on it!"
Bare bones of
Well, okay, not exactly "Up," yet.
And In Rehearsal.
The sound design is in a slog at the moment, but I plan to take out much of it over
this coming weekend. I still have some sound and music to gather up, but beyond that
I need to get familiar with the new sound operation software Bob Mills has installed
on the pc he donated to The Guild.
That software is, of course the Show Cue Systems software previously mentioned here.
As the pics below show, the new booth set-up has happened. The DVD/CD player and one
of the two minidisk players have been removed to storage, as has the littler mixing
board. Though the bigger one really ought to be replaced as some of the pots are
dirty and occasionally failing -- we had some problems during the run of
Heroes with pots cutting out on us. The new system by-passes the mixer,
though we are keeping as a precaution.
Back on exact topic: I have a learning curve to immediately address before I start
assembling mixes and edits. I need to know more exactly how SCS does what it does
so I can tailor the design to it. Though there are two segments that need the same
music and effects, the music being rather ethereal and mystical, and I am
contemplating writing and recording that music tomorrow evening.
I also have taken steps to be able to work on programing the show cues remotely,
meaning not being tethered to the DTG booth at the theatre.
See the next entry, which touches on that.
Screenshot of the Show Cue Systems edit window
The new sound technician set-up in the DTG booth.
A closer look at the computer.
The mixing board. Not quite as many cable plug holes filled
The one minidisk player we kept, setting under the mixer.
Nothing to do with the sound system, and not destine to
stay in the Wittenberg production, but still a cool
image to shoot and to display.
Yep: $752.80. That's how much I have spent this week on tech stuff for myself, the
bulk being for more external harddrives.
The impetus was the Show Cue Systems software and my desire to, as I wrote above,
not be tethered to the booth in the theatre on Wayne Avenue to work on programing a
show. SCS is a Windows-only software. What that means is one of two things:
I either buy myself a Windows pc, one new enough to run the software or...
I buy a virtual machine and run Windows on my Macbook, thus SCS on my
I opted for the second choice. So I bought
VMware Fusion 4 and
Windows 7 Home Premium.
The latter in which the 2.8 gig set-up resource file will be downloading most of
this evening, if not all night and into the morning. I started downloading it while
at the rent payer today, but it became clear it was going to be time to leave before
the download was complete, so I cancelled it and rather downloaded the executable
instal file as well as the other smaller set-up file. But FedEx did deliver VMWare
Fusion to the office today.
Though the VMware Fusion emulation software will only take up 5 gigs on my laptop
harddrive, I still have been thinking about moving all audio and graphics off it,
anyway, so I can always have a s much free space as possible for current movie or
audio projects. I've already been keep almost all movie files, save for whatever I
am presently working on, off the main harddrive. I have been keeping them on a 1
terabyte external, with another 1 tb as a back up.
Those external movie drives were both up to about 900 gigs, so it was clear I was
soon to need more space. So, earlier this week I bought two 2 tb drives for the
movie drive and its back-up. All audio, music and sound effects are going on the
1 tb drives (with one a back-up for the other).
I did have pretty much all my music, i.e.: my entire iTunes library on a 235 gig
external, which is now designated for graphics (all still images, be they digital
photos or graphic arts). I bought a 500 mgb drive to serve as the other graphics
drive; and, actually, I have another 500 mgb drive that will end up as the second
graphics drive and the 235 will be retired as an extra for whatever miscellaneous
needs arrive. That other 500 mgb serves right now as the Time Capsule for my Mac
Tome Machine (the whole system and memory back-up for my computer). But, here
soon, I'll get a 1 tb for that and then reassign the 500 to graphics.
Well, hopefully, sometime in the next day or so I will be able to work in Show Cue
Systems on my laptop.
Taprena, just this week was voted Broadway World D.C.'s 2011 Best Featured Actress
In A Musical Touring, for this very production.
Click here to see.
OH YEAH... In my litany the other day of current and forthcoming shows I hope to
see, I did not mention Spring Awakening at
Encore Theater Company, which is
being billed as "a new rock musical." That opened last Friday and runs
through Feb. 4, at the Courtyard Crossing, which is on 2nd St. in Downtown Dayton,
across from the Schuster Center, and next to Boston Stoker.
And there's another Bruce playing in Cincinnati soon, this of the
Cromer variety. Bruce is appearing in
Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell, also at
The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as is
Bruce Sabath who's up next in the same
venue in Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along.
A young lady classmate and I have officially been assigned some pages from Mamet's
as our major scene work for the class.
But the library copy from
is checked out by someone else!
has a copy and she loaned it to my scene mate and I was able to borrow a copy from a
fellow Guild board member.
This past Tuesday evening I participated in a table read of six scripts for a
no-pay short web series titled Freak Club. The series is a collaborative
sponsored by Film Dayton.
The screenplays are by a young woman named Alexandra Grizinski. The work is good.
There were a few folk I know, or at least have met, reading at the table with me,
as well as some new acquaintances. It was a fun time. The character I read is a
fun one for an actor and I very much hope I am considered for the role when the
production begins shooting. Oh, I mean
offered the role.
Click here for a FilmDayton blog
entry about Freak Club.
Here's an interesting point: as of yet, I haven't worked on the sound design at all
in Show Cue Systems on W7 in the VMware Fushion 4 on my Macbook. All my work has
been done in the booth at The Guild on the booth pc. And it's safe to say I'm on the
home stretch with the design. There's been a bit of a learning curve with the SCS
software, but I am starting to actually know what I'm doing.
The were a few segue moments from one cue to the next that I was sure I could
program in and make automatic. At first I could not find the correct programing
commands and had to come up with a rather clunky manual method to execute them.
But I eventually came to see how to porogram them, so I went back and fixed all
the spots already in the production cue file. Andm for the few remaining spots: I
now know what to do.
There have been a few other set backs which can be attributed to miscommunication,
but in spite of some obstacles, the design seems on track. With the exception of the
tweaks and the switch-out of a few sound cues, we are "wired
for sound," and I am ready for the
cue-to-cue rehearsal tonight.
I'm sure I'll then be at DTG late tonight working on the adjustments I'll need
Working with the new sound operation set-up & Show Cue
Systems, in the Dayton Theatre Guild tech booth this past
Meanwhile, preproduction on the Wittenberg podcast is done and shooting
started Wednesday night with the first two of the four (or five) interviews for the
movie. I finished the cast interviews last night. I may get the director this
weekend and will shoot rehearsal footage over the next few days. And since the
playwright, David Davalos has granted permission to use dialogue in the movie, my
hope is to stage at least a brief moment or two specifically for the camera.
Now the question is how to fit post-production in and have a final cut that is
on-line by at least Friday. I actually can do some post work right now. I can get
together the opening DTG logo splash as well as the ending credit scroll.
I've already picked the underscore music. I'm using "Chord Sounds," which
is written and recorded by Moby. Moby granted
permission, through his
Moby Gratis web site, to use
that instrumental for the underscore for the podcast for The Boys Next Door,
last year. When the movie was cut, however, the music didn't fit any more. It
will work this time, so I re-applied for permission. I haven't heard back yet,
but I am working on the assumption that he will grant permission again for this podcast.
So, I now have a massive amount of info from Ms. Barb Jorgensen about the character
I'm playing in the upcoming trail practice class. Barb usually does this character
and has amassed a good amount of most helpful research.
I hope I can soon get to a slowdown with Wittenberg so I have the material
in my head before the gig on February 15.
An Exceedingly Mean-Spirited Gremlin In The Booth & Other
"Monkey Wrenches In The Machinery" -- There have been all sorts of,
um, let's say,
technical developments concerning Wittenberg during the move into Tech Week.
Let's start with the theatre gremlin being a real punk Friday of last week.
A serious punk!
Here's the story: When I arrived at the theatre around 4:00 Friday I had about 90%
of the sound cues programed into SCS
and was in early to finish that work then do a dry tech for myself before the
scheduled cue-to-cue commenced later that evening. Besides that as my agenda for
the day, the other item was to record cast and crew singing a Martin Luther hymnal
to use as a sound cue, "All Praise to Thee, Eternal God."
I got there, booted the pc then headed off to set up the mics and the recorder for
the song. When done with that I went back into the tech booth only to find that
Windows had started CHKDSK and it seemed to be frozen in the process. I had to do a
hard reboot and after that I could rarely get the pc to boot all the way into an
account; and when it did it would auto shut down after only a brief period of time.
I contacted Bob Mills and he came in to take a look. While he was on his way I
called both the director and stage manager for Wittenberg to let them know
it was not likely there would be a cue to cue with sound on Friday.
The final determination was that the pc was now a very large paperweight. And, of
course, I had not backed up the cue file, so even though Bob brought another pc
as replacement and installed the Show Cue Systems software on it, I still had to
rebuild the whole show cue program. That I did, late Friday evening and much of the
day on Saturday; and I did so on my Mac, finally employing my
VMware Fusion 4 and
Windows 7 Home Premium.
Clearly I did not need to stick around for all of the run of the show that replaced
the cue to cue on Friday. I went home to work on rebuilding the show cue program as
well as digitizing and mixing the analog recording we'd made of "All Praise to
Thee, Eternal God." We did two takes of a total of about a half dozen people
singing the song a capella. And, as it turned out, both takes were at the same tempo
and in the same key, so I was able to combine the two to get a dozen voices without
needing to tweak the speed or pitch of either take. The only minor glitch was one
pause between verses that differed in the two takes, but I was able to synch up the
following verses in the editor. Thus, no, this is not a "monkey wrench"
But here's one...:
To meet a need of the show, Bob and I determined we could place some mics (which I
have loaned to the production), hooked to self-contained speakers, just off stage in
two different locations, in order to amplify some off-stage dialogue and also keep
the sound focused in the locations. Bob would bring in a karaoke machine he had and
I would bring in my small, bass practice amp I've had for years. Except that: I don't
seem to have that practice amp anymore. As I was about to head to bed Saturday
evening, I gathered things at my front door to be sure I took them to the theatre
for Tech rehearsal on Sunday. This is when I discovered I have no practice amp in
my apartment. As I posted on facebook right before bed, and after several rounds of
checking the apartment again: I may have loaned it out, or gave it away, or sold it;
and I have this wisp of a memory of something along these lines, but I am simply not
cognizant of what happened to the damned thing.
Because my discovery was made late last Saturday night ~~ technically most early
Sunday morning ~~ the dilemma was at a state of urgency; it was important to
be able to incorporate the amplification into the tech rehearsal at 2:00 pm on
Sunday. I decided the best route was to pick up a new practice amp on the way to
the theatre. A replacement bass practice amp was the ideal purchase but not an
The final down left off-stage amplification set up for some
moments in Wittenberg.
*The small self-amped speaker, the
microphone & mic stand, all being mine.
Imperative, however, was that I be at the theatre with plenty of time to transfer
all the sound files and the cue file into the "new" pc in the booth, then
do a dry tech. Let's not forget set up the off-stage amplification. So I left my
place at probably a little after 10:15. I mapped out several different places
between my home and the theatre where I might be able to pick up a small practice
amp. The pawn shops were not in that plan as none are open on Sundays. My first
stop was a Best Buy, but the Sunday hours, as I found out when I got there, start
at 11:00 am, and I did not have time to wait. My last stop, if necessary would be
the Radio Shack that's about five minutes from DTG; but it wasn't necessary because
just a little bit further away from the theatre is a music store named Pace Music
that had an amp that I could use, though it's not a bass amp. Unfortunately, Pace is
going out of business; however, due to that, I got the small practice amp at less
The built-in amp is a little weaker than what we need so I've run the mic through a
small mixing board that was donated to the theatre. That does the trick and now we
have the volume we need for the down-left off-stage voices to be adequately heard.
And now I have a small practice amp that I have little personal use for. If it were
a bass amp it woud be a little more practical for me.
I'm sure I will be able to employ it usefully
once again at some point after this show closes.
It's still a mystery
what happened to my original bass practice amp.
Another monkey wrench was thrown in when I lost crucial
flexibility to shoot the way that would have better served the podcast. The podcast
is done and up, as you see, but there are some problems directly resulting from not
having the shoot opportunities that I would have had. The schedule was changed from
doing two full runs on Monday and Tuesday of Tech Week to doing only Act
I on Monday and then II on
Tuesday. I was depending on the two full runs to, in some cases get two takes of
good moments to use, and in other cases to note moments I missed on Monday that I
would be sure to grab on Tuesday. I wasn't able to do that. So I had less good
material to pull from than it could have been possible to have had. I made do, but
there could have been better choices for the final cut. And Wednesday night, rather
than be shooting, I needed to be editing, which was what I was doing.
The interviews could have been lit better, as well, but that's wholly my fault.
One last monkey wrench: weirdness with the pre-show music.
The last glitch -- and let us underline that "LAST" --
came up at last night's performance. There was a problem with the pre-show music.
The pre-show music is in a Play List as part of the Wittenberg Cue List in
Show Cue Systems. All the music files
that are part of the pre-show music list are in one folder, appropriately titled,
"pre-show music." When I created the play list I simply selected all
those aif files, about fifty, which added them all to the play list. Then I checked
random play so that each night the pre-show will be different. There is more than an
hour of music there, maybe almost ninety minutes. Pre-show music starts a half-hour
before the curtain, so obviously not all the pre-show music will be played. And with
the program choosing randomly from well more than thirty minutes of music, each
performance will have unique pre-show music: some small to great amount of different
music from the previous and the next, and a unique order of play for any duplications
from the others.
Last night, the list kept stopping. Fortunately I was there as host and was able to
make a fix by going in and disabling the random play command, which at first seemed
to be the malfunctioning aspect. But then I stayed after the show and ran the play
list again with Random activated and was able to determine with 99.9% certainty what
the problem was.
After the list was first created, Saul Caplan,
the director, decided we needed more music in the production, at a scene change that
takes longer than anticipated. So, I pulled a song from the pre-show to use there.
We really don't want any production music in the pre-show or intermission, so I
moved the song from the "pre-show music" folder to the "production
music" folder. I had thought I had deleted it from the Play List in SCS, but
apparently I did not. When I was running the pre-show play list after the show, to
discover the exact problem, it did finally halt again, and I was able to see that
the program was looking for that specific file in the pre-show folder. So it was
clearly still on the play list and the program was resting upon that title as the
next song to play and since the file was no longer there, the program came to a stop.
I had moved at least one other song from "pre-show music" folder to
"production music" folder, so, just to be sure it was all clean, I
deleted the whole Play List cue and rebuilt it again with the contents of the
"pre-show music" folder as it is now. But before I rebuilt it, I moved
another song to "production music" folder, which I know I am adding to
the show cues for next weekend's performances; thus, it's also not on the list the
program is reading, thus the program is not going to search for it where it's not
Just because the show is up doesn't necessarily mean that the sound design is done.
In the tradition of a show in preview on Broadway, we have some tweaks in the works.
During Tech Week, a particular sound cue that Saul had conceived, perhaps months
ago, did not work as he had envisioned it would, so he had me kill it from the
design. But, after seeing a light cue that was incorporated late in Tech Week, he
has decided that a variation on his original idea will work.
Unfortunately I had pressing personal business the night of Final Dress and I was
dead-sick Opening Night, thus home in bed, so the word could not get to me until
last night when I was back, this time to host ~~ and, as we also know, to
Last night Saul also asked to have the transition music added, which I alluded to
above. That and the reintroduction of the pulled sound cue (but in a revised manner)
will show up next Friday.
One other change was requested, which I took care of last night while working on the
Play List snafu. Saul believed a sound cue at the end of Act I
was too long, so I changed the programing to facilitate its reduction.
As for how the show is going: What I saw of rehearsals, especially during Tech Week,
suggests it's a mighty fine production with mighty fine performances.
Perhaps biased, but Saul felt good about the opening show, and what I saw and
heard last night was good stuff.
Today, I missed the Wittenberg performance because, with the exception of a
break or two to finish off the text for this post*, I've been studying the massive
amount of material I need to know for the series of gigs coming up for the U.D.
Law School case.
But some breaks have been necessary unless I want my head to implode, or explode,
whichever event might occur.
Fortunately I am basically free both tomorrow night and Tuesday night to continue the
study before the first gig this Wednesday. I do have acting class tomorrow but it
ends at 7:00.
attendance at a rehearsal this week!
*) Most of the text for today's post has been in progress for days, some was
written last Sunday. SHHHH! Don't tell!
Saturday, the 4th, I took a break from re-programming the Wittenberg sound
cues to catch some live theatre at another venue. As my facebook post above says,
it was nice diversion. Congrats to all involved!
Yikes! tonight is the fourth session in this course series. We are more than half-way
through. I need to start working to get off-book on the Oleanna pages my
scene mate, Kelly, and I are doing for the class. But, that's going to have to wait
until after I have kicked out the first night of U.D. Law gigs, that which is this
Wednesday. Until then, all my mental efforts must be about getting all the info for
that into my head.
There is a lot of information for me to cram in my head. I wish I had not been so
busy with sound design last week. Some serious work on this starting several days
back would not have been a bad thing at all.
As it is I have arranged for the day off Wednesday for one last chance to study the
material before the late afternoon call for the first gig.
Of course, to burn as little vacation time as possible I have arranged to work
late tomorrow, Thursday and Friday (and a little later today). I will end up having
to use 1.5 hours, which is better than eight.
The plan Monday night was to get home from the acting class, take care of a couple
chores around the abode, eat, then study the material for the U.D. gig. I did the
chores, then ate, then settled in to study. I guess my error was to grab the material
and climb into bed.
Yep, I fell asleep, and it seems pretty quickly. I don't remember looking at one
new piece of information.
To about a 98% degree, I had already committed the character's pedigree to memory,
but I had not studied the facts of the case at all. And there is a bit to know.
Strike that: there is a "LOT"
to know. So Tuesday eve I began that process, starting, of course, by creating my
handy-dandy flash cards. More, to be precise: I had already made some to get the
doctor's bio info memorized.
After I got all the flashcards made, I took an hour nap, then woke up and began the
memorization-by-rote process. Every couple hours I took another one-hour nap. So I
didn't really sleep through the night at all Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.
I was relatively fresh when I did the gig late Wednesday afternoon into early
evening. I was not as well-versed with all the material as I would have wanted, but
I was familiar enough to be able to get though the sessions with the different
teams of law students. The agenda was deposition prep so I did have enough memorized
to do my work appropriately.
In two weeks it's the mock deposition and I do need to be better schooled in the
After the U.D. gig I dropped by the theatre to implement the addition of the two
sound cues (actually five) that
Director Saul Caplan had asked for
Why "actually five," you ask? Well, you see, in
Show Cue Systems, as in most of not all
such sound cue management software you can, and usually should, program in a Stop
Cue command, so for each sound cue you usually have at least two commands: Start and
Stop. Of course, sometimes the cue is to play out to the end, so those only get the
There also a command that can be programmed in to change the volume level or change
the stereo balance. One of my cues has this feature to even out a volume swell in
the original sound file. That one is an automatic cue that the sound tech does not
need to execute.
So, two sounds files; five cues (or commands).
Meanwhile, this morning I discovered a gratifying message that had been left at
the DTG facebook page
on Opening Day of the show:
The cast table read happened to be last night so when I was done with the sound
design modifications for Wittenberg I spoke with the cast about shoots for
I haven't been dropping in to get random early rehearsal footage for a while. I
probably will with this one. And since
Playwright Lee Blessing has
granted us permission to use dialogue in the podcast, there is again a chance that
I will shoot some intense moment -- that isn't a spoiler -- as played specifically
for the camera. Certainly I will try to get some good footage of the rehearsals
that can be used, too, as is SOP.
The book, Being A Director: Life In the Theatre by
Di Trevis (London & New York: Routledge, 2011).
It's time to start in motion the final preparations for a slight paradigm shift in
my theatre life.
Obviously, the idea from the very beginning of this particular sojourn, back in
late 2003, was to do some directing. It was all
about directing for the camera in those days. It was all about acting for the camera
for that matter.
Of course, in the intervening eight-plus years since that October 2003 awakening I
have done some directing for the camera; I would not say I am far advanced from
still much more than a novice. I would not be so self-abusive as to say what I've
done thus fas has been horrible, but none has reached any sort of brilliance, either
-- at least not in terms of the director's work.
My degree in Communication does have a bit of focus on directing for the camera,
though that has mostly been closer to the realm of documentary style directing,
which really a big portion of my cannon of work falls in line with. The podcast and
the previous DV promos I did for The Guildare essentially documentary in approach and execution, sometimes perhaps like
video news magazine productions.
In terms of narrative movies, I've only directed one script:
The Chorus for Candice.
Be Or Not is, though not wholly
free-forum improvisation, not setting on a screenplay. With Chorus I did do
some adjustment to the actors' performances, but not really a lot. We had a read
through before the shoot and each actor and I discussed what we thought was going
on with his or her character and I may have pulled some of them away from their
visions some, but I don't remember doing very much of that
I do remember a couple specific adjustments I made during the shoot and certainly I
gave some direction right before each part of the shoot, but I would not say I did
any sort of "intense work" with any of the actors in that movie. For Be
Or Not, which is of course an out-take from the longer, as of yet untitled,
improv movie, most of my direction for the actors was done in pre-production when I
sent them basic backstory, bio and intention info for their characters as well as
the scene set-up write-ups. I don't believe I made a single adjustment to performance
during the shoot that became Be Or Not.
I did make a couple performance adjustments in some other shoots for the improv
movie, but overall, I was less inclined to because of the highly improvisational
and collaborative nature of the project. There were some basic underscores to the
characters and the universe they inhabit, which I conceived and gave to the actors
to prep for the shoots, but there was still a predominant On-The-Fly approach to it
all, though setting on top of the foundation I had laid.
Only in very rare instances have I directed talent at all when making a DTG podcast
movie. There have been a few times I have had the actors perform a moment from the
play directly to the camera, and in some of those instances I had them bring the
level down; mostly all the direction will be in these cases is to alter the blocking
for the screen.
But usually what I do is candidly shoot the rehearsals in a documentary film maker
fashion. Directing the podcasts is really a documentary process. Even when I shoot
the commentaries by the actors (and sometimes directors), I may feed them questions
or ideas, but my voice is not part of the edit; it's a director guiding the
All this thus far has been about directing for the camera. What of directing for the
stage? Yes, well, on that Saturday evening in October of 2003, that night of gnawing
internal anguish, of standing outside myself and looking into that man there, of
surrendering to my escalating need to return to theatre arts, on that night,
directing for the stage was not on my radar at all. For that matter, any subsequent
"acting" for the stage would simply be a means to an end, as far as I was
I am not completely sure how long after I had been absorbed into local theatre that
any aspiration to direct for the stage began to germinate. I'd guess at least a year,
maybe two or more. I do know that at some point people were beginning to ask me when
I was going to start directing and my response for a very long time was:
"In time. I am not ready yet. There's a lot to know just to begin
and I don't know it, yet."
It's gratifying to have at least a few people tell me they think I'll be good at it.
I would not be so silly as to believe that such is everyone's opinion. The truth is
I have a bit of trepidation about directing plays. Far more than movies, even a big,
ambitious full-length with a real crew and some kind of real budget. It just seems
to me that directing for the theatre requires the director to know way more than
films (movies) does. As a film director, what one needs is the ability to clearly
communicate your vision; all the myriad of technical intelligence that is needed can
be in the minds of those on the very large team: director of photography, art
department, wardrobe, sound engineer, etc., etc., etc.
And the handling of the talent is a much different animal between stage and screen,
just as much as the style and approach to acting is. In an over-simplified nutshell,
it seems to me that a movie director's biggest job is to help actors remember where
they are emotionally on the story arch, since the movies is 99% likely to be shot
way out of chronological plot order. The other job is to make sure they look as
needed on camera. For a stage director it's nourishing and collaborating with the
actors in their understanding of their character. Both, of course, need a director
with a vision for the work, an idea of how he or she wants to tell the story; and
any director needs to be a good traffic director and an excellent communicator.
But it just seems to me that there is a much stronger need for stage directors to
have an intrinsic understanding of the stage and how to make the performance a
conversation with the audience, in a way that is not present in film making.
Or maybe it's that I have a sort of intrinsic knowledge about directing for the
camera and not for the stage, so I am acutely sensitive of what I need to develop
for the stage.
Actually, as this just occurs to me, I think perhaps that is the gist of it.
Whatever the case is, now a few months into my eighth year back into the art of
acting I have decided it's time to ready myself to direct plays. What's the time
frame? Oh, beats me. I'm not, for instance, throwing my hat into the ring to direct
at The Guild in this forthcoming 2012/13 season. I wouldn't suppose I'd be voted
into a spot even if I did. A complete novice just doesn't get a director's seat at
Tentatively, I've discussed being an assistant director for a show. Of course, I
need to read the season, first to see what I'd like to audition for, and then to
see what shows interest me otherwise. This may come as a shock to you, but, were I
on the DTG play reading committee, there are few plays we've done the last few years
that I would not have voted for and am still not enthused that we did: all
hail diversity of taste and thought.
My movement this direction has been a little while coming. Quite a while back I
found myself questioning decisions directors made. Why did the director put an actor
in such an awkward place on stage to deliver the character's most important
monologue? I've actually asked that question more than once and in more than one
venue. I also sometimes wonder if it's just an actor who has missed the potential of
a moment in a scene or if the director was as blind to it as well. On some occasions
I've been in the play and watched the director miss the opportunity along with the
actor, or, in some really unfortunate situations, contrary to the actor who clearly
saw what should be, the director over-ruled the obvious good choice of the actor. I
have been that actor who was over-ruled, but I have seen it done to others as well.
I do not believe these instances were questions of a matter of opinion; I believe
they were instances of a director blowing it, and in one specific case, pretty much
dishonoring the obvious intent of the playwright.
Of course, the "put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is" aspect says that once
I am to sit in the directors seat, now I am to be charged to not miss the obvious
moments myself. The simplest solutions to that are to really study the texts and to
attend to the instincts of the actors I am working with. I will at least owe it to
all of myself, the actor and the production as a whole to listen to what they have
to say about it. For a director to not believe others may have a valuable insight
that she or he has missed is the mark of a foolish director who ought not be
Here's the deal: if I'm going to piss and moan about the directing others have done,
well first of all, it means I am at least flattering myself that I am thinking like
a director -- though I am pretty sure it means that I am. And perhaps it's time to
step up to the plate. It might not be a bad idea, while I'm standing there, to
remember the things I was pissing and moaning about concerning others' work, too.
It's probably wise to mention here I also notice many, many things that have impressed
the hell out of me: The Better Lessons To Learn. I have watched some directors move
a scene from blah to interesting, even dramatically tense by working with the actors
in terms of exact motivation in the moment, or by adjusting the nuances of how the
actor's character reacts. I've seen pictures painted on stage by directors that are
like an illustration of what's happening in that moment, much in their movement and
placement of the characters -- in all of when, where and how.
I certainly have seen collaborative directors who know how to partner with
their actors -- and designers -- to better fulfill their own vision and make it more
than they originally conceived. And I have seen some strong communicators who are
able to get their idea and needs across without unnecessary arrogance and disrespect.
Along with instinctual notions that occur to me, as I have been watching from the
audience and the rehearsal period there are many things that have impressed me and
many that have not. And, I have been attending with such acute interest because, it's
getting close to time.
So, along with my "discussions" about AD'ing a show or two, I also
borrowed the book, shown above,
Being a Director
by Di Trevis from
the Paul Laurence Dunbar Library. No,
Virginia, I don't think reading one book on directing for the stage is going to make
me a good theatre director, but it is part of that: "Starting in motion the
final preparations for a slight paradigm shift in my theatre life."
"REALLY GOOD READ, BUT, 'NO.'":
Yesterday I went to the PC-Goenner office
and did an audition for a commercial that will run in the Indianapolis market. If
cast I will be a doctor for a local Indy hospital system. The screentest was
another case of driving for almost an hour for just a few minutes in front of the
Hey, at least I got called. Whenever there's some period of time between the calls
for professional audition I always am convinced the agency has finally blown me off.
I am booked, well, almost Never!
It'd be nice to stick the results of one of these damn audition calls next
to an icon like this:
I'm serious. For the longest time (too long) my claim to fame is two days on the set
of The Ides of March as
the stand-in for Michael Mantell.
Granted, that was a very cool experience, but it is quite disheartening to go to an
audition and go to an audition and go to an audition, and be told that I read well,
that I give a good audition, but still: no bookings except for the rare exception
Yes, it was a good to be on a real, big-time movie set. It was great to watch
George Clooney both act and direct.
It was exciting to have minor brushes with Ryan Gosling,
Paul Giamatti, and the amazing
Philip Seymour Hoffman. It's nice
to be able to legitimately name-drop -- ignoring the fact that these brushes were
so slight that it's not likely at all any of these men would remember me more than
perhaps very vaguely, at best, including Clooney, who on occasion did pay
real attention to me, but only because I was part of the composition of a shot.
It was also cool to have a couple nice conversations with Michael Mantell. He may not
be the "big star" these other gentlemen are, but since those two days on
set I have realized I've seen a lot of his work and the guy is a talented character
actor. For instance, if you ever catch the
How I met You Mother rerun of the episode,
about the day Marshall and Lily get married, Michael has a hilarious scene as
Uncle Ben, who has a bad toupée. Plus, although he isn't listed in
IMDB or credited in the closing role, he's in the pilot episode of
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.
He's in the war-room scene when the network execs gather to discuss what to do about
Wes's outburst. He's the one who gives Jack Rudolph
(Steven Weber) the update on the
latest developments. And he has another line a few minutes into the scene. Spot him
a lot of points for that!
But I digress.
My point here being that as cool of an experience as that Ides of March
booking was, I was not acting. Sure I played a part: I helped make the day possible
with my own very small contribution. But the actor did not get to act. It was a
"show-biz" gig but it was not an "acting" gig.
I just bought The Ides of March at
but haven't watched it yet. If you have seen it, know that I did a screentest for
the hotel janitor in the hotel room crisis scene. I was psyched because I knew
that scene is pivotal and it was not going to hit the cutting room floor. I
was greatly disappointed when I learned I did not get it.
And I both felt that I did a good performance for the screentest and I was
told I did a good audition.
That is some sort of recurring theme: I give a good audition, sometimes maybe even a
great one, but I am not cast. There is something about my look, or my presence, or
my energy that turns these commercial and film casting people off. Perhaps it's that
movement thing of which I myself am so self-critical.
Whatever it is, it is discouraging. It should be solace that this is not at all an
uncommon place for any actor, or at least more than just a few actors, to be. It's
Next Wednesday my character, the medical expert witness, has several depositions
with several teams of law students. There is so much to know. My weekend is much
about getting as solid as I can on it all.
So is my Monday evening after the acting class. So, too, my Tuesday evening and my
It's like I'm back in college and cramming for a mid-term or a final.
It seems I will not be doing the whole David MametOleanna
scene in the final session of the class with
My scene mate has not been at the last couple classes and there is no word on
what's going on. I told Kay I would just do the truncated monologue from the start of
Scene 2, which I would have done anyway. That is something else I need to have
wholly committed to memory as well, and it probably ought to be the whole scene in
case my scene mate is there. So some of my weekend is about that work, too.
Last Monday I stood in for a missing member of another scene team doing a few pages
from Time Stands Still
by Donald Margulies.
Fortunately I was not expected to be off-book.
Hmm. Last session. Seems like we just started only a week or so ago.
It would be easy to say that Davy Jones's career existed simply because The
Beatles scoffed at the notion of doing a half-hour sitcom in Hollywood, as
pitched to them not long after the release of the movie
Hollywood's response to that rejection was to develop another TV show,
loosely based on Help, featuring the fictional band,
the original "Pre-Fab Four" long before
were ever heard of.
I believe Davy was destined to be a pop star with or without The Monkees.
Many know the great trivia bit that he appeared on
The Ed Sullivan Show
as a cast member of the then-current Broadway production of
on the same February 1964 night The Beatles made their first appearance. He,
and his cast mates, were barely noticed by America.
But Davy Jones had star quality. If not cast in The Monkees he was
going to be cast in other TV shows and movies. And there was a "Daydream
Believer" in his future even if it was another title.
He had cute; he had charisma; he had an easy-going voice; he had talent.
Rest in peace Davy. We are sorry you left so soon.
Class closed out this past Monday. Unfortunately I did have to do
on my own. My scene mate, I believe, was intimidated by the scene or the class or
something. I did the Plan B where I cobbled together a few of the short monologues
by John at the start of Scene 2.
The performance was okay, I suppose. It was not verbatim.
It was a bit gratifying at the end of the scene to have
say, "You have got to do this play."
My response was, of course, along of the lines of: I know. Tell that to the
director who just passed me over for someone else.
There's a very high likelihood the class will be offered again starting in a few
weeks. I have an interest but am not sure I can schedule it in and make all the
sessions. With only six, missing one is pretty critical.
The mock depositions were yesterday for the U.D. Law mock trial series. As I was in
the midst of last-stretch study yesterday morning I posted on
facebook how I felt like I was
prepping for the Medical Bar; I found out later that the proper term is
Faux paux or not, I felt wholly unprepared as I sat in those mock depositions with
those law students. And I felt like I fizzled on at least one point in all of the
five sessions. Sometimes it was because the opposing counsel student would go down
a path that was not part of what i had prepared. I think for the most part these
were legitimate questions for a lawyer to ask, but they were outside of the material
I was given.
Some of them took me down paths of hypotheticals and I'm willing to bet some if that
would be sustainable objections in court. Others were about other actions that it
might have been reasonable to take, and not actually being an expert in emergency
medicine I had absolutely no idea what to say. I winged it and I think mostly
And it ain't over. In four weeks is trial prep and then the mock trial sessions.
I have no immediate gig -- non-paying or otherwise -- to design sound for
anyone. Though Stephen Temperley's Souvenir is transplanting to
Brookville Community Theatre
this coming summer with the same cast and I think much of the same crew as the
original DTG area premier of the
play. Saul Caplan is directing again
and has requested the sound design that I did for the Guild production.
Don't think I will be running it, but I am going to program the design into the
computer for this production. Depending on what sort of computer the Brookville
production will have access to (I.E. Microsoft or Apple) they will get either an
SCS version or a
I am however, going to first make the QLab version regardless of the need this
summer, simply because I have not really played in that software and programming a
real design into it is good way to get acquainted.
Yes, yes, I have qualms about the production values of this little movie. I have
many qualms about the production values.
But it has elicited much good comment, mostly regarding the excellent work of Ms.
Randall and Mr. Roberts.
There's a good, funny story there and really fine performances. I need to be looking
at more film festivals.
And, there's the whole full-length it's
PRODUCER'S HAT AGAIN:
*another new icon makes an appearance
It's getting time to start pre-production for The Story of My Life, which I
agreed to be the producer for.
Actually, the director, Debra Kent, has already started pre-production and much of
what she's done is really producer's work, but, hey:
Less for me to have to do!
I have been requested to do some sound design; as this is a musical there will not be
a lot of that to do. Whether I do or not I haven't decided yet. And I really don't
know if I'm running it.
Also have been asked to record the accompaniment which I am likely to do.
As of the day of this posting, if you note down below, either just below here, and/or,
after the close of Going to St. Ives, in the Coming Attractions for DTG
closer to the bottom of the page, the auditions for this will be April 9 & 10.
Also as of the posting of this entry, specs for audition are soon to come.
MOVIE PRODUCER/DIRECTOR'S HAT:
Next week I will begin shooting footage for the official DTG podcast for this.
It's all going to candid rehearsal stuff and B-roll.
Though, since Mr. Blessing
has granted clearance to use dialogue from the play in the podcast, this candid
footage may not all be destined for B-Roll only.
Want to get with the sound designer, Bob Mills, to see what sort of music he is
shooting for as production icing. I'd like to match the podcast underscore music if
I have half thought about composing and recording an African-style instrumental
along the lines of the music for the old TV series
Daktari, if in style perhaps a
little more than tempo and attack.
MID APRIL IS GETTING CLOSER:
"The Business of 'Day Job'" is also part of this. I believe I have all the
W-2's and 1099's from my 2011 earnings. Now it's time to, as I had stated in the
Jan 12 blog post, catch up on documenting actor and volunteer miles driven and
complete the records for income, expenses and donations.
I.E.: I have to get my 2011 records in order so I can fire up TurboTax and do my
I'd also stated on Jan 12 how it might have been a good idea "to have
diligently recorded all these elements as they occurred and placed all documentation
in a safe place" and how "I ought to....get back into the intelligent
habits of" keeping up with things as they occur.
Guess what? Really hasn't happened, yet.
Fortunately I have a bit of free time here in the immediate future to prep for the
2011 tax work and get the 2012 records up to date.
But, for what it's worth, here's the Caroline, Or Change cast and crew with
links to their websites or at least to some web page with info on most of those who
don't have their own site, any websites or links of which I am aware of, anyway.
I may have written this previously, but just as my first theatrical production as an
adult -- The Cripple of Inishmaan -- was
a magic experience that I hold close to my heart, so too was this first adventure
onto the professional Equity stage.
Again, at the risk of repeating myself, as I sat in the rehearsal room that first
Monday evening n October for the first sing though of the show, and I hard the
voices of that incredibly talented cast I'd been thrown into the midst of, my only
coherent thought was:
Well. I can "sing," these people, however, can
I remember posting something along those lines on
facebook, that night or the next
morning and then Saul chimed in
with, "Scary, ain't it? Welcome to the Big Show."
Maybe not everybody, but pretty close to everybody in that room outclassed
me as a vocalist, or were at least as good. Mostly, though, they outclassed me, some
by a very large margin. I probably cab put myself up against any of them as an
actor, but as a singer, I was: good enough to be there but nothing special
It was such a pleasure and honor to be in a production with all these gifted
performers and such a crack production team. Scott was one of the better directors
I've worked with: very good at communicating his needs and visions, and a good
vision of how to stage the show, too. Heather Jackson is a great stage manager:
never overbearing but always in charge. Scot Woolley really brought the best out of
"we" singers and was quite patient with those of us with a little less
formal musical training. And all these people had good people working under them:
the PA's, the orchestra, the other production people. The designs were good. And
here's a big kudos to choreographer Teressa Wylie for her own amazing level of
patience with my two left feet; I certainly didn't showcase myself in that Chanukah
party dance, but man it could have been so much worse than it was.
As others in the cast have said, especially a couple of the Equity actors who have
been on a lot of Equity stages, the lack of diva's and megalomanic behavior was
impressive, too. One local actor also commented on how much more cohesive the bond
between the visiting Equity actors and local EMC and jobbers was. Often, as this
person pointed out, the pros who come in have an air about them that says, We're
the professionals; you're not.
I understand that sometimes it can be more than an air, it can be a pretty acute
Perhaps it was because this was my first venture onto an Equity stage, but it was a
magical experience for me and I could have done this show with this cast and crew
for months. I would have been very okay with that. Even given that
first-time-sparkle, however, it was great material and great cast and crew
and a truly rewarding experience.
I feel, I believe, that I held my own, and I got a lot of feedback that agrees with
that. I am also privy to some opinions of my work here that are not at all
complementary: oh well.
It was gratifying to not have to get up-to-speed on having a professional attitude
or behavior. It was nice to come in and be right there with the folk who do this as
their major income.
Just for the record, I missed call once, I was much later than should be, because I
screwed up and got the call time wrong for the first morning performance. I will
point out that I was usually at least (AT LEAST) thirty minutes ahead of
call. And I otherwise had a professional approach to learning my words, my musical
notes, my...dance steps (!!!!) and listening and taking direction. And I was
always in place for my entrance cues, with the exception of a couple blunders, one
in early rehearsal when I misjudged the time I had to wait; then once later during
the cue-to-cue when a section just zipped
up and I was caught unawares.
I had a few blunders during actual performance, too. I was a tad out-of-synch at
least one time during the bit in Act II when Kay and I
were the clock's taunting Noah. And in one performance, I switched state names. I
was supposed to sing "Mississippi" first, then in the next line,
"Alabama." I started to say "Alabama" first, then heard Kay
(Grandma Gellman) saying the correct "Mississippi." I ended up noting
the great state of "Ala-sippi."
One thing that really surprised me. I felt some nerves before each show, but really
not a lot. I was ready to experience some heavy-duty jitters, some panic. I was
wholly comfortable. Perhaps the cast and crew created such a warm and supportive
environment that it engendered a strong confidence in me.
I do know that I felt most at home on that stage. I am more than ready to do it
Pre-production for the Going to St. Ives podcast officially began yesterday
morning with an email to cast and crew outlining what I want to do.
The shoot starts tonight. Thursday I plan to do a three camera shoot for
a group interview segment, the same way I shot such for Heroes in January.
I'm fairly sure, along with shooting this week I will at least shoot the tech/dress
next Monday, and maybe Tuesday; though I'd prefer to be editing Tuesday evening. And
sometime between late this week and early next week I want to shoot a brief moment
from the play as performed for the camera -- I.E. not just me capturing dress/tech
performance. It needs to be a moment with punch that can be used at the top of the
I hope by Thursday to have read the play, so between myself, the production team,
and the cast we can come to consensus on what that moment should be. The moment
needs to both smack the viewer and not be a spoiler.
As it turns out I did not shoot footage of rehearsal for the podcast last night.
There was a last-minute cancellation of the rehearsal.
Unfortunately I did not get word in time so I drove into Dayton. At a few minutes
before the rehearsal should have started, since I was still in the TheatreScape all
alone, I called
Director Greg Smith
and found out about the cancellation.
Forty miles that I could have not driven.
So oh well.
As far as I know it is on for tonight. My plan is to shoot what will most likely be
earmarked as B-roll since I am using my Cybershot to shoot the video. The quality
will be a bit lower than what I'll get with the DV camcorder; the audio will be a
bit compromised, too.
The interview/commentary session is scheduled for tomorrow night. I have access to
three cameras for that shoot. So I have 99% locked that down with the cast and
Not sure what the rest of the rehearsal schedule is but, as I said before, I really
want shooting wrapped after the Monday dress and to be editing Tuesday after work.
The medical malpractice mock trial series I am gigging isn't done yet, but I don't
have anything until March 28. That is Trial Prep with the students on the defense
I am a few weeks away, and unfortunately, right in the middle of my move into a
new place. I do need to both keep fresh the material I have learned and perhaps get
a bit more placed in my head, in the meantime.
The actual mock trials are March 31. April 1, and April 14.
Did shoot last night as planned and with the Cybershot rather than with a
mini-cassette DV camcorder.
I didn't bother to control the audio environment last night, since I will use the
footage as images without sound during the close of the podcast with the credits. By
"controling" I mean that I didn't bither to kill the HVAC blowers, which
most definitely are picked up by mics when they are on.
I have picked the moment I want to have the actors play for the camera. I see a lot
of other moments I want to get footage of, all pretty much from Act
I. Of course,
Director Greg Smith
and I have discussed the sort of things that must not make it into the podcast at
all, certainly 90-99% of Act II, but also some key
moments from the first act as well.
Tonight I shoot the interview/commentary session with the actors and Greg. I will
have three cameras, however, one is a different model than the other two, which
causes me concern about color-synch. Maybe even some worry about audio synch, since
I am most likely to grab the best audio track from one of the three camera's
footage and impose it on the other two before editing the cuts.
They are rehearsing Act II tonight after our little
interview session, so I may not stay for the whole thing. But I still should
probably shoot a little b-roll. and I might get a nice -- SAFE -- sound byte
of text from the rehearsal. Though I really want to focus on tech/dress rehearsals
for the script text used in the DV movie.
I do plan to be there Sunday for the Tech rehearsal, for B-roll if nothing else.
That may be when I have the ladies play the moment for the camera, which will mean
different shot set-ups, etc.
I still am shooting for Tuesday and Wednesday evening as my slots to edit the movie
to final cut. Looks like I will be doing it at the theatre, rather than at home.
Sound designer Bob Mills can't be there those nights so the sound tech for the
second weekend will need to run sound for those two tech/dress rehearsals. Bob asked
me to be around in case there's a problem that needs addressed. I can edit there as
well as at home, so, no problem.
(some frame stills from last night's shoot of the rehearsal)
AND STILL ON
Must say that after yesterday's workout I do have a muscle ache in my upper back
that caused me to get a very crappy night's sleep last night. So much so that I
didn't make it into the office until almost 11:00 this morning: trying to catch
some of that missed sleep.
I Shall Be In The Gym After Work Today, However.
"About 30 Dolphins stranded and saved by
local people at Arraial do Cabo (Brazil) in the morning at 8:00 AM on
March 5th 2012."
With all the nonsense we are subjected to all the time that shows how
horrible humanity can be, it's good to see the contrary, that which shows we
still can be decent and loving and have true spiritual value.
Shot the interview/commentary portion last night. As the frame stills below show,
there is a bit of color temperature difference between the cameras, but I
hope, with some confidence, that I can fix the difference with brightness
& contrast control. I think that will do the trick.
I shoot more tonight, Sunday and Monday. I renewed my check-out of the camera I have
determined is giving me the optimal color temperature for these shoots.
Last night I discussed with the cast the moment I want to direct for the camera and
they are in agreement it's a good moment, as is
Director Greg Smith.
We will do that Sunday.
Tomorrow I plan to do quite a bit of editing on elements I have. I'll create the
opening splash, that for which I have created some graphics already. I will also
process both audio and images for the three camera angles of the interview so I
can get it all matched up for cross-cut editing. And I hope to edit the interview
Now, I will be inserting rehearsal footage with dialogue into the interview section,
most of which will not have been shot yet -- though some may be tonight. And I will
be able to impose b-roll, sans audio, over it, but I will likely wait until Tuesday
to do that, so I have all the choices at my disposal. I may, however, edit the
closing credits sequence tomorrow. In fact it's likely I will.
Also, I still need to find the underscore music. And I am pleased to say that the
stage production music I am matching is exactly the feel and style I had originally
envisioned. And there's actually music I recorded back in the 80's that can work. I
will look first at royalty free music to see if I find something that fits better,
(frame stills from the interview/commentary & the rehearsal last night)
Katrina Kittle (Cora), Greg Smith (director), & Catherine Collins (Mae)
during the interview shoot
Greg & Stage Manager Angela Riley
Assistant Director Ellen Finch
Greg & Angela
YEP, STILL ON
Yesterday, AND YES I DID GO, was cardio-vascular (elliptical machine). Today I am
still sore from the resistance work on Wednesday. A voice in my head is whispering
to skip today. I believe I shall ignore it.
The routine used to be six days a week. That was pre-return-to-acting/theatre-world.
Six days a week is rarely, if ever, posible with the dynamic schedule I have. So the
process now will be to have a document on my phone with the rotation cycle of
focused workouts (muscle groups, etc), and I will record what is done and move to
the next. Even if I only hit the gym twice in a week -- with a concerted effort
to never let it be less than that except when absolutely necessary -- I will
know what's next. To be honest, I hope to make it at least four days a week, and I
will do six whenever I can, even if infrequently.
Yes, the gremlin has been back to make more mischief. I had shot a little bit of
footage last Friday night then the DV camcorder took an unfortunate fall a few feet
to the floor; after that it malfunctioned. There seems to be some sort of aperture
problem or damage. It appears only a very small amount of light is getting in.
This last Monday morning I dropped that camera off on campus and now I'm waiting for
word on whether I will be billed for repair and for how much.
As for the rest of the shoot over the weekend and Monday evening:
Fred Boomer To The Rescue!
Distressed as I was that someone else's property had been damaged while in my care,
the bigger concern was shooting on Sunday, with a little bit of concern about
shooting Monday evening, too. If I was going to bring back a camera to the campus
facility, one that had been damaged on my watch, I felt a little awkward about the
idea of borrowing another one at that point.
Perhaps only in a mild panic, yet in a panic nonetheless, I called Fred, whom some
will recognize as the director of photography for the improv movie project. I called
him just as soon as I realized I needed a way to shoot on Sunday. Fred not only
agreed to loan me one of his DV cameras, he offered both, just in case I needed a
back-up. As it turns out, I did. See below for
mischief number two.
The plan for last Saturday was to do what editing I could, such as the opening logo
splash and perhaps part or all of the closing credits. That did not happen; other
things got in my way. But I was able to drive to DTG and pick up the cameras and
one tripod Fred was also generous enough to throw into the mix.
I wouldn't label this a
escapade, but though I did shoot on Sunday, what was supposed to have been
Tech Sunday, I did not shoot what or
as much as I had planned. There was no cue-to-cue.
It wasn't the Tech Sunday that had been planned, due to unavoidable situations for
some participants. So my plan to shoot b-roll of tech work didn't pan out. There is
also a few moments from Scene 1 that I wanted to direct for the camera with multiple
camera shot set-ups. I wanted the stage lighting for that, and that was not possible
on Sunday, so I nixed that until Monday eve.
Before and after the Sunday rehearsal I was able to get started on the editing
process. After I arrived on site Sunday, for instance, I edited together the opening
logo splash while I waited for the day to begin.
One thing I did remember from the improv movie shoots was that one of Fred's cameras
has a minute but present audio hum and the other is audio clean. I knew that for any
footage where I wanted the audio I needed to be sure I used the one better suited.
That would be his camera 2. So I shot with 2. And when I left Sunday, that was the
only one I took home, with the plan to dump the footage off the cassette into the
mischief number two. The camera would not send to the computer, least not through
the FireWire cable. I did still
have the damaged DV camera, which would still play back, so I was able to use that
to get the footage transferred.
mischief number three: aspect ratio problems. Starting with the podcast about the
2010/2011 season, all the Guild DV movies have been in what is called wide screen.
It is a screen aspect ratio of 16:9, in other words the image is just shy of twice as
long as it is tall. It's the new standard aspect ratio for TV screens and for TV
programs. The old aspect ration is 4:3, known as full screen; the image is about 33%
longer than it is tall. Be Or Not
and The Chorus for Candice are both full
screen (4:3), as are most of the photographs I post here.
The Monday night dress rehearsal footage I shot was 4:3 despite that I had set the
camera to 16:9. That switch to 16:9, however, was made the day before and I suspect
that when I removed the battery Sunday night, it defaulted back to 4:3, which I
believe is the native AR for Fred's cameras. So, in the final cut the footage from
the dress rehearsals, including that which I had Katrina and Catherine specifically
act for the camera, is 4:3 framed into the 16:9 screen. It actually, in a way,
works, though it's just me making lemonade instead of the intended apple juice.
first row: the traditional "full screen"; 4:3 aspect ratio
Katrina Kittle (Cora) & Catherine Collins (Mae)
Director Greg Smith watches rehearsal
Katrina & Catherine
second row: "wide screen" 16:9 aspect ratio
Stage Manager Angela Riley
Greg & Catherine
Katrina, Catherine, Angela, Assistant Director Ellen Finch,
As I indicated above, I did get some editing in before the shoot on Sunday, then a
little bit Sunday evening at home. I also worked some at lunch on Monday and before
the final shoot Monday evening. Tuesday at lunch, again, some more, then a really
good session last night. I'd say I am in the final stretch, about 80+% to the finish
line. I expect the podcast should be up at
YouTube and at
tomorrow, and up on the DTG site by Friday.
I met and briefly spoke with him on my campus,
Wright State University, where he was just
finishing up a short residency with the
Musical Theatre Department.
I spoke with him for only a few minutes, and like to believe I did not at all take
him hostage -- but most probably did, at least a little. I did get to
compliment him for his work as Richard on the TV show,
Caroline in the City,
where I found his to be the best of the work. And I attended a small concert he did
that following weekend, to cap his stay. That concert was the pivotal moment that
forced me to FINALLY return to acting, as the early blog entries and most
especially the essay demonstrate.
Don't know if I'll get the opportunity to meet him again and share this with him
this weekend. It would be cool to be able to let him know his unintended role in my
life as it is today. We'll see, but I'm guessing there's only a little better chance
than I had of meeting
William Petersen when I saw
Blackbird in Chicago in 2009; and I had a pretty slim chance for that, which
did not pan out.
As for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, I am sorry to say I did not get down to
that same theatre to see Bruce Cromer in
Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell.
It's a great script, one that we did at The Guild a few years back, and it would
have been a treat, I know, to see Bruce take on the challenges of the play.
ANOTHER HRTC ADULT
ACTING CLASS & AN HRTC SPONSORED PLAYWRIGHT CLASS:
Another installment of the acting class with
is scheduled to start Monday, and I am still undecided about enrolling, though I am
leaning in favor of it.
Later in April there is a playwright class starting with playwright and
publisher Michael M. London, who owns
London House Publishing.
However, I can't see how I can afford either the tuition or the time for both
*due to unforeseen circumstances, Marianna Harris stepped into the role of
As I write this the morning of Opening Night, I do not know if Ms. Harris will be in
the role of Mae for the entire run. I do know that if so, I will miss Catherine in
the role, though I understand that Marianna is a great last-minute savior.
My plan to get the DV movie to final cut on Wednesday evening was not accomplished.
That "nap gone awry" syndrome struck
I was able to work some after I finally arose from the run-away nap.
I had to finished to final cut during lunch at the rent-payer yesterday.
So the podcast went up yesterday afternoon rather than late Wednesday or wee-early
I did, indeed, sign up for the third installment of the acting class with
However, there need to be six students and when I enrolled I was number 4, and
that was yesterday.
Two more students or no go.
I may find out later today that the whole class has been cancelled.
TWO INDY CAMERA ACTING GIGS...well,
contacted me about the short-short narrative movie for which he is casting director.
The production team is looking to have a production meeting at the end of the month.
Unfortunately the date currently bandied about is one I could not make.
web series, for which I was one of the actors for the table read in January? It's a
series titled Freak Club, written by Alexandra Grizinski. I have an interest
in following through and appearing as the character I read at the table read. I have
made my interest known. No word back thus far. Don't know what that means or if it
actually does mean anything. We'll see.
That third installment of the acting class with
Looks like we are right at the minimum line for the class, six students, which is
good, in my mind. The smaller the class the better.
So, Monday, once again.
I was host and didn't really see much of the show, but I did pop my head in a few
times and I could hear most of the show.
As many know, original cast member Catherine Collins had to leave the show for
medical reasons, and it's does not seem likely she will be on the mend in time to
step back into the show.
Marianna Harris, who stepped into he role on Thursday afternoon, took the stage
last night, book in hand, of course. Listening to her performance last night I
must say it sounded like she'd been in rehearsal with the lines for weeks.
Everyone connected is impressed with her. The audience last night certainly was.
I don't want to make promises for another actor, but I am willing to bet that next
weekend she's off-book. But, remember that's me and my own speculation, no one
At the risk of making it appear as if I am reviewing the show, I must say I
find this mounting a very good interpretation and staging of the show. And Bruce's
is one of many excellent performances. There isn't a weak performance on that stage.
There are a few elements of this production that I find quite interesting.
Director John Doyle
put the orchestra instruments in the hands of the cast members for this mounting --
Bruce played clarinet (as he did as Stuart in Caroline) and saxophone
(tenor sax, I believe, but don't quote me on that). Doyle also choreographed
the show, and the choreography was chiefly about a multitude of smooth transitions
of actors switching off instruments, both in the realm of one actor or another taking
over on an instrument (mid-song) to free another actor (usually Malcolm Gets) to
move into conventional blocking, and in the realm of an actor getting to or picking
up an instrument in a manner that was as seamless to the action of the story. This
was done flawlessly, with one highlight being the smooth act of getting actor
Leenya Rideout (Gus) and her bass
violin on top of the grande piano in the fraction of a moment. I personally did not
see it happen. I was watching some other action, not far from the piano, and all of
a sudden there she and her full-sized bass violin were, towering on top of the
The bass was also fixed with some sort of furniture-caster-like wheel at the bottom
so Ms. Rideout and the three others who played it during the show could easily move
about the stage. Bruce told us at dinner that the ladies all had to master the art
of smoothly locking and unlocking the caster quickly and without making too much
noise. They certainly did well yesterday.
Bruce also shared another very cool aspect of the production. The stage had several
tall stacks of sheet music that acted as the furniture, with the cast rearranging in
liquid flows during the production, and again, flawlessly. The back walls of the
stage were also all sheet music, and though we couldn't tell from our nose-bleed
seats, so was the floor. The very cool aspect of this is all that sheet music is
duplications of Sondheim's original score for the show, complete with his handwritten
notes, that which John Doyle got permission from Sondheim to incorporate.
One last element from John Doyle was casting the role of Frank Jr, (the son of
Gets' Franklin Shepard) with an adult actor
(Ben Diskant) who was on stage the whole
time observing the biographical play-out of his father's life. On many occasions Gets
played directly to or played off the phantom son while Diskant, whose few lines as
Frank Jr. are as a small child, would react to his father's deeds and misdeeds as an
adult son would. It was a very effective conceit and compelling way to slant the
perception of the story telling, to have this outside observation, occasionally
break another fourth wall, a fourth wall on stage.
And that's not a review because I
it isn't a review; even if it's "reviewish." It's a
You gotta problem with that?
By the way, I did not meet and speak with
Malcolm Gets. I actually did have
an opportunity but I elected to not take it. As Saul and I waited for Bruce to come
out after the show, Mr. Gets came out first and was met by a few friends of his,
one who is a SAG actor I recognized, though I don't know his name. After his
encounter with his friends was over, he appeared to me like he just wanted to get
out of there for his break between shows and I didn't want to be the annoying
obstacle between him and the door.
Like I said before, I want to believe that the last time I met him I wasn't some
annoying guy who took him hostage for five minutes, but I suspect that I indeed was
that guy -- which embarrasses me now, and I wanted to avoid a second offense.
Perhaps some day I'll have a more appropriate opportunity to share with him his
unintentional and unknowing participation in my return to the theatre world.
End of the month marks continuation of the mock trail class gig.
And I've just signed on to do an end of the semester trial gig for
Judge Huffman's class.
At the moment it looks as if it is a case I have gigged before. Always better to
refresh one's memory of details than to have to learn a whole new set.
Down side is I will have to miss one session of the new HRTC acting class.
Speaking thereof, round three with
starts this evening.
Gearing up to configure the Souvenir sound design for its run at the
Brookville Community Theatre
this summer. There will be a meeting early in April at the theatre. I'll see what
the sound system at that theatre is and find out what computer system the sound
design will be on: Windows or Mac. That will dictate which software I migrate the
sound design into, SCS or
QLab. I hope it's a question of what sort of
laptop the person who runs sound has. That's the optimum scenario.
The first session was last night. There are currently only five students, but the
powers that be decided to let the class go on anyway. Five isn't bad. Our instructor
(of course), is going to contact one of the actors from the last go-around to
pursuade her into this session. Six is still good; but really, six should be the
maximum rather than the minimum, as far as I am concerned.
Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and
Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua
outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia
divine athambia divine aphasia....
Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the
records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for
2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes!.....
The sputtering beginning of the return to the gym has faltered a little. But,
by golly by golly by gum I will not allow it to fizzle into a nullifed nothingness.
So, I step back up on the platform. Today.
One may ask why I mention gym workouts in a blog touted as "A Diary of Artful
Things." The answer is that beyond it just being good for anyone, and certainly
for this man who turned around and there he was, no longer twenty-something but
FIFTY-something, it also is a
pretty good idea for an actor, especially a stage actor, to be in as good of
physical shape as he or she can be.
Stage work can be damned physically demanding and more often than not requires more
than an average level of stamina. And let's face it, it's easier to make an
in-shape actor look out-of-shape than it is to do the opposite, either on stage or
on screen. It's simpler to hide muscle than fat. And unless a character is defines
as "out of shape" the tendency is to cast someone who is in shape, even if
physicality and stamina are not necessary for the role; I'm willng to bet it's
especially true for TV and film, and I think more often for the stage than many are
willing to admit. And for TV and film, thinner is usually better.
One of my local actor friends has a close friend out in L.A. who told her that she
was auditioning and auditioning and nothing was happening. Once she dropped weight
she was booking gigs left and right.
The guy on the right here, circa mid-summer 2007, may not be a contender for the
Mr. Universe Award, but he's in much better shape than the later version of him
sitting here at this laptop writing this entry. At least he has some tone and
some form to his musculature and something that more-or-less passes for
In terms of camera work, he could stand to be a little thinner, but he's still
doing better than the five-years-older him.
And thus the "five-years-older him" is carting his flabby derrière
back into the gym today after the rent-payer work day is done. And though he's
faltered at getting the routine back to a, well, back to a routine, he will keep
smacking himself on the back of the head until the routine is once again a routine.
One way to smack himself on the back of the head: keep writing here about how he's
making the routine a routine again, then write here to admit when he slacks off so
it's embarrassing when he does slack off.
Okay. So I did not cart my "flabby derrière back into
the gym [yesterday] after the rent-payer work day [was] done,"
but I did use my free weights at home last night.
.....Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather
the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records
for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the records for 2011 taxes!.....
Got clarification from
that Lucky's monologue "Given the existence as uttered forth...." is,
indeed, one of a couple choices she is recommending from
Waiting for Godot.
The other, which is the one she is recommending more so, is Pozzo's:
Ah yes! The night. But be a little more attentive, for pity's sake,
otherwise we'll never get anywhere. Look! Will you look at the sky,
PRE-PRODUCTION MEETING FOR A SHORT FILM:
Josh Katawick, who
is casting director for that short narrative film I have written of above, has
contacted me about the new date for the pre-shoot meeting, which will be Saturday,
Apr 7, a good date for me.
I will be totally moved into my new place by then, though the new place will not be
organized, I am sure.
At least couple other actors I know are involved, including one of my favorites, and
for whom appears in the improv movie project.
TOWARD A PROGRESS ONE FRICKIN' WAY OR ANOTHER! Or, Smackin'
Myself In The Back Of The Head:
Okay. So rather than go to the gym I decided to take a hike in the forest
Yeah, that's a lie. I did go to the gym. 30 minutes on an elliptical machine, some
abs-intensive leg lunges, and some back curls. I did, however, try to talk myself
out of the gym as the time to go was approaching, using the carrot of a hike in the
I resisted the argument. Some days I won't. And it'll be okay so long as the
distraction is a hike in the woods or some other actual physical activity. But it
usually is better to make that trek into the gym than not, regardless of the
GATHERING THE RECORDS FOR 2011 TAXES!:
Gathering the records for 2011 taxes! Gathering the records for 2011 taxes!
Gathering the records for 2011 taxes! Gathering the records for 2011 taxes!.....
STUFF TO SEE:
There are a few current or forthcoming shows I want to see.
Going to St. Ives at
The Guild -- If I'm
sitting in the audience for this one, it's going to have to be this coming
Sunday, in between moving into my new place. This Friday I probably will
be knee-deep in packing and moving. Saturday, moving plus a social engagement,
and the shows last weekend, U.D. Law gigs and last stretch of moving.
Time Stands Still at
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
-- There's talk of the HRTC acting class doing a group outing to see this one,
which has Bruce Cromer in its cast.
Actually the talk is a hold-over from the previous class, where a portion of
the script was workshopped, and I ended up stepping in to cover for a student
who missed class the week it was up. I also have
my library's copy to read, along
with a slew of other plays to read.
Bus Stop at
Dayton Playhouse -- This is
more than likely to fall into that "not in the audience" category
because it closes this coming weekend and I don't see how to fit it into my
schedule. Maybe Friday evening, but that is more than a little improbable. Too
bad, too, because I know much of the cast and would like to support them as well
as Director Matthew Smith.
The Gem of the Ocean at
The Human Race Theatre Company
-- I'd love to go see this one next Wednesday, the Pay what You Can Night. But I
have a U.D. Law gig in the late afternoon through early evening that will make
it difficult to get there in time for a good ticket. So, I may end up paying
full price for this one.
As is often my practice, I did a little art project to make a momento gift for all
my castmates and the production folk for Caroline, Or Change. I did not get
one to all of those involved. I still have maybe a dozen to get to individuals.
I made arrangements with staff at The Race to get these to those who are out of town,
and there were a few in town who I still need to get one to, but I just have not sat
down to write and sign these gifts yet.
I'd post a representation of the gift here, but on the off chance that some who will
be getting one happens upon this before they get theirs (really an
"off" chance they'd happen across this), I will not.
PC-Goenner is submitting my picture and
résumé for a commercial shooting "locally" in early April.
I don't know if "locally" means the Dayton area or the Cincinnati area.
HEY! GATHER THE DAMN RECORDS FOR 2011 TAXES!:
Seriuosly! Gather damn the records for 2011 taxes! Gather the damn records! Gather
the damn records! Gather the damn records! Gather the damn records! Gather the damn
records! Gather the damn records! Gather the damn records! Gather the damn records!.....
Perhaps only for the sake of mentioning this, in the midst of anything else I'm
doing for the rest of the month, I will spend much of my time, if not pretty damn
close to most, moving to a new home. A point I have dropped in a few times before, I
And I mention it here because it is the latest reason progress toward my tax returns
has been retarded.
Saw the show yesterday -- my respite and break from moving into my new place. Really
a fine, fine performance from both ladies.
Marianna did still have the book in her hand -- remember I said I was NOT
speaking for her when I projected that she might be off book this weekend --
but she still embodied Mae N'Kame.
Seriously, this is a show to see. It's the reason why I have seen people honestly
surprised to discover that The Dayton Theatre Guild is not professional theatre.
It's the sort of example of how our "community theatre" status is only a
Last week, local playwright and publisher Michael London wrote a really great essay
on facebook as a response/review of the show, and he has granted me permission to
republish it here:
GOING TO ST. IVES
By Michael London
As I was going to St. Ives, I had a show with several lives. That may be the
refrain that Director Greg Smith might pronounce at the end of the run of
the play Going to St. Ives by Lee Blessing currently at the Dayton
Live theatre is often about surprises. Sometimes the surprises are those one
can do without and others are those one can never envision, onstage and off.
The production of Going to St. Ives, currently at the Dayton Theatre
Guild presents for you exactly what playwright Lee Blessing intended, a
story with many levels of surprise.
A renowned British eye surgeon living safely in the village of St. Ives and
the mother of a merciless African dictator come together with requests of
each other that not only provide a bit of surprise but a basis for both to
explore their own truths and life dilemmas.
Cast in this production are Katrina Kittle and Catherine Collins, both
experienced actors. Directed by Greg Smith, also a veteran of the theatre,
this cast and production have also seen their share of surprises. Moments
before this production opened, Catherine Collins became seriously ill and
was unable to continue. A surprise one can do without. Moments before the
open, Director Smith found himself convincing a gifted actress, Marianna
Harris, to step into the role of Mae N'Kame with no time for rehearsal. She
would have to go onstage with a script in hand. A surprise neither could
Then the biggest surprise of all came for the audience. It worked. It made
no difference. These two talented actors did not let a script-in-hand or
their worry about a colleague's health or anything else get in the way of
the story. They connected and they made a little magic on the stage at the
The actress Marianna Harris incorporated this book in her hand as a prop and
it became part of the story. The character Mae N'Kame may well have been
looking at her notes that she wanted to remember as she spoke to her doctor.
She didn't miss a beat. Her performance was not about the prop it was about
the life and conflict of Mae N'Kame. And it was Mae who we came to know.
Katrina Kittle is a successful and talented novelist and her notoriety might
bring some into the theatre to see her. They will be disappointed. She's not
there. She brings Dr. Cora Gage to life in a sensitive way that compels you
to pay attention to her story. Her work is about the play. She rolls with
the challenges of the cast change and for the audience it is seamless.
What is fascinating about this event in the theatre is that in spite of the
fact there are these other "reality" stories behind the scenes,
both of these talented actresses are able to take us past any other reality
and straight to the story of Going to St. Ives, straight to the
engaging story that Lee Blessing wrote. And we are engaged and we are moved.
Live theatre is a collaborative storytelling effort. Go to this theatre and
take advantage of this collaboration. After the playwright has finished
penning the last line and the director has given the last note, the actors
are the final link in the collaboration. This link is strong. You have until
April 1, 2012. Spread the word and do yourself a favor. Go to St. Ives.
Watch the magic.
This session has turned out to be the
Theatre of the Absurd session,
especially for me, but to some extent for the whole class. Of course,
has me doing the BeckettWaiting for Godot
Pozzo monologue, "Ah yes! The night...." Beyond that, the whole class is
doing Act I of
Jules Feiffer's absurdist play,
Each student did a cold read of their monologues last night. Mine was very cold; I
have not attended much to the material yet; in fact, I've not re-read the play -- I
read it quite a long time ago, before I returned to acting.
Then we did a cold read of the Feiffer play.
Then I went home and packed things in the old (current)
apartment and moved things to the new one.
As I work on moving tonight, I will brush up on my "medical
I note that thus far only one team of student lawyers has contacted me with any sort
of information for tomorrow.
I also note that though I requested them, I have received no copies of any of the
deposition transcripts from a couple weeks back.
Bus Stop at
Dayton Playhouse -- I am sorry
to say i did not make it to see Director
Matthew Smith's show, which
closed this past Sunday. With my move from the old to the new place going on, the
whole weekend was spoken for save for a
DTG board meeting and attendance at
the DTG Going to St. Ives production.
The Gem of the Ocean at
The Human Race Theatre Company
-- This one will probably not be an actual "Not In The Audience" item, but
I will not make tomorrow night's Pay what You Can Final Dress. After I am
done with the U.D. Law gig I need to scoot home and do more of that moving stuff.
So, I catch this one with a full-price ticket later in the run.
Got off at 12:30 from the rent-payer Wednesday for the mock trial prep sessions with
the law students; 3:00 till about 6:30. First two trials, with the first two teams
Since last I posted, and last I griped, I have received all but one transcript of
the mock depositions, which is good. Good, because since I am the same character
testifying for the same case for each of the five sets of law students, I need to
be able to refresh my memory on what exactly I said in each dep, and right before I
testify in each set of trial sessions.
And the one who has not sent me the transcript isn't putting me on the stand until
April 14, so I'm in good shape.
And I'm off the rent-payer today at 1:00. But this, to
meet the cable guy/gal at my new place.
But I'm betting I get a chance to look over the mock trial material whilst I
THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD
Come see our palette of plays that will take you right to the edge,
whether in a theater filled with laughter or the
lean-forward-in-your-seat intensity of great drama. And some will be
a little bit of both. You'll love the intimate confines of our new
Oregon District home which now backs our award-winning casts with
the very latest in technology, yet still maintains the Guild
tradition of family where no one in our audience is ever a stranger.
Come join us.
Season tickets membership is $75
* add the Holiday Show for an additional $10 for a total of $85
individual ticket prices:
Seniors (60+): $17
Students: $12 daytontheatreguild.thundertix.com
* all individual tickets are $1 less
when paid for in cash on site at the Box Office
Opus by Michael Hollinger
Showing: August 24-September 9, 2012
A world-class male string quartet struggles with the loss of a
member, the recasting of a woman to replace him and the day-to-day
tensions of exacting, temperamental artists struggling to make
perfect music onstage, as well as to make sense of their lives
offstage. This one-of-a-kind contemporary script is filled with
quiet drama and surprising humor.
Directed by Greg Smith
Produced by Barb Jorgensen
(auditions dates: July 16 & 17, 2012)
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little by Paul Zindel
Showing: October 5-21, 2012
Three sisters are each misshapen in a different way by a childhood
without order or stability. Anna is a science teacher convinced
she's contracted a life-threatening illness; Catherine, who has her
own life issues, is the sister who cares for her, and Ceil, also in
the business of education, has manipulated life often at the expense
of the other two. From this twisted mix playwright Zindel has
created an unexpected, delightful comedy.
Directed by Debra Kent
Produced by K.L.Storer
(auditions dates: August 27 & 28, 2012)
A Tuna Christmas by Ed Howard, Joe Sears & Jaston Williams
Showing: November 23-December 9, 2012
It's Christmas time and local radio personalities Thurston Wheelis
and Arles Struvie tell us all about the annual Christmas lawn
display contest that Viola Carp keeps winning (14 times), the
troubled local production of A Christmas Carol and along the way
introduce us to a host of colorful characters, each one funnier than
the last, in this little mythical Texas town. Two actors portray
more than twenty roles in this hilarious production.
Directed by Kathy Mola
Produced by Deirdre Root
(auditions dates: October 8 & 9, 2012)
Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
-- translated by Christopher Hampton
Showing: January 11-27, 2013
A brilliant new translation by Christopher Hampton breathes new life
into this classic drama. The "ghosts" in this play are
taboo topics that cannot be openly discussed. This drama is one of
IbsenÕs most powerful works, but also one of his most controversial.
Family sins are revisited when a son returns home to dedicate an
orphanage in his father's name and becomes involved in a tryst that
ends in the painful knowledge of long suppressed family truths.
Directed by Matthew W. Smith
Produced by Steve Strawser
(auditions dates: November 26 & 27, 2012)
100 Saints You Should Know by Kate Fodor
Showing: February 22-March 10, 2013
Father Matthew McNally has served his congregation well but now
finds he needs some time to reflect on his own faith and suddenly
leaves his parish. Theresa, a cleaning woman at his rectory,
searches him out for spiritual advice. She needs help with her
sixteen-year-old daughter, Abby. And Garrett, a grocery delivery
boy, desperately seeks Father McNally's guidance in search of his
own identity. An unexpected crisis brings these characters into
confrontation. Faith is tried and shaken as Father McNally faces his
own spiritual demons and his greatest fear -- living without a
connection to God.
Directed by Ellen Finch
Produced by Debra Kent
(auditions dates: January 14 & 15, 2013)
Leaving Iowa by Tim Clue & Spike Manton
Showing: April 5-21, 2013
The annual family vacations of one family are remembered as the son
tries to take his father's ashes to a former home. His attempts to
reach the final resting place are interspersed with memories of
family vacations the kids often hated. The actors play themselves as
teenagers, as parents and as their older selves, on the road-trip of
life. A sentimental play of good humor that is sweet and often
Directed by Robb Willoughby
Produced by Greg Smith
(auditions dates: February 25 & 26, 2013)
Pillow Man by Martin McDonagh
Showing: May 17-June 2, 2012
"With echoes of Stoppard, Kafka, and the Brothers Grimm,
The Pillowman centers on a writer in an unnamed totalitarian
state who is being interrogated about the gruesome content of his
short stories and their similarities to a series of child murders.
The result is an urgent work of theatrical bravura and an unflinching
examination of the very nature and purpose of art." --
Dramatists Play Service.
For mature audiences only
Directed by Natasha Randall
Produced by Ralph Dennler