WHERE I NOW PLAN TO TAKE THIS COBBLED COLLECTION OF LOOSELY CONNECTED
I believe I have arrived at the decision to edit the full-length as more of a study
of the improvisational work being done than as a focus on the so-called overarching
story. The truth being that there really is no overarching story and the parts are
so disjointed that making them cohesive as connected "stories" is not at
This concept had originally been an idea for a supplemental commentary disk or
chapter on the DVD. But, now I think it's best if this becomes the focus of the
movie. It wasn't shot with this in mind so there's a lot of backdoor footage that
would be great to use that does not exist. But, I think I can get a decent edit with
this approach that gives the full movie a unification and continuity that it would
otherwise lack or struggle damned hard to support.
I don't know if this concept is going to be a rock-solid continuity, but it'll be
less of a burdon to achieve by using this approach.
And, as I have intimated again and again and again, however the final cut is cut,
overall, the performances from the actors range from good to excellent.
Over the weekend we did three of the five trials in the Mock Trial Process series. I
always go into these things, I mean the U.D. Law gigs in general, not just trial
settings, feeling at least a little unprepared, but it all turned out more than
One participant told the acting coach/coordinator (and actor),
that, in the last trial, Sunday afternoon, "all of the jurors discussed how
amazing the doctors were. In fact, they asked...if you guys were real doctors. I
imagine that is about as high a compliment as an actor can be paid...."
So, kudos to my fellow performers: John Beck, Kara Ganter, Sandy Lemming, Jenny
Meyer, and, of course, Fran.
PRE-PRODUCTION WORK FOR THE MUSICAL:
Tonight we will record the accompaniment for the music to this show so that the two
men who are cast have the music to sing along with outside of rehearsals. That is,
karaoke style rather than with the Broadway soundtrack that has vocals as well.
Though I did buy the B'Way soundtrack and it might not be a bad idea to loan that
to them as a tutoring device, as well. It certainly helped me to have the B'Way
recording of Caroline, or Change.
Such will ultimately be up to the director and the musical director, but I cannot
see how it would be detrimental.
Last night I attended a pre-production meeting for the
Brookville Community Theatre
mounting of Stephen Temperley's Souvenir, which was our second production of
this season at DTG, and which was
the area premier. This new production is the same cast and much of the same crew.
I am not going to sound-tech it myself so I am now searching for someone with a lap
top that runs Windows 7 that I can temp install the
Show Cue Systems software on.
Once that is found, running the sound will be as simple as hitting the space bar at
the appropriate time for each cue.
Wednesday evening we recorded
Raymonde Rougier playing on electric
piano the portions of the score that our actors will need to practice the songs on
I must admit I have not yet listened to the tape nor have I begun to process the
recordings toward the eventual CDs. One reason is that I left my ac power adaptor
at the rent-payer yesterday, so the
evening that could have been about at least starting, if not mostly completing, the
mixing, digitizing and burning, was thwarted. Even with two relatively new batteries
for the computer, I don't like tasking the computer as I would have when only on
So, I guess we know how I will spend this evening.
GOLDEN SLUMBERS FILL YOUR EYES!:
Unfortunately I missed this past Monday's
HRTC acting class, not because of the
potential commercial shoot gig, which, once again, I did NOT book!, but because
I was ASLEEP!
I finished the move out of my old place into my new one early Monday morning. I got
to bed at just about exactly 4:00 a.m. Then, I had to get back up at 8:30 to meet
at the old place so we could haul off the office partitions and lattice sheets, which I
had used to make a false wall and accordingly a small back room in my old apartment's
main space. We took them to the theatre, as I have donated them to The Guild.
I got back to bed about noon, maybe later, only to be awoken at about 1:00 by a
phone call. I'd set my alarms
for 3:30, giving me plenty of time to get ready and make the 5:00 class.
When I awoke at 8:03 Monday night, I did not at all
recall my alarms sounding four-and-a-half hours earlier.
Now it will be the case that I will end up having missed 33% of the class sessions.
I do have a U.D. Law gig on Monday,
the 16th at Montgomery County Common Pleas Court
Judge Mary Huffman's
Trial Practice class. It's pretty much the same time as my acting class, so that
will now be the second out of six class sessions with my absence.
We have a showcase, with invited guests, at the last class on April 23. I have some
worry about my not being present the week earlier for what will constitute a Final
Dress sort of day. Only because I am part of the ensemble work with the rest of the
students for Act I of
Jules FeifferHold Me!.
I will also, of course, be doing Pozzo's "Ah yes! The night...." monologue,
Waiting for Godot.
I am less concerned about missing the "rehearsal" for that on the 16th,
yet I am not wholly thrilled about missing such, either. But at least I can rehearse
that on my own with more encompassing thoroughness, than I can my part of an
Foote is perhaps slightly more imminent in need than Bartram/Hill, since the show is
up first and I am designing the sound for it. But, the auditions for the latter are
this coming Monday and Tuesday, and I will likely be scheduling a production
meeting very shortly. I ought to be completely familiar with the show by that
meeting; although I have listened to the B'Way soundtrack several times and the
show is pretty close to a sing-through.
It's true that as well as producer, I'm designing the sound for Story, but
the need to know what I'm talking about and to know what questions to ask about
production needs is more vital than the very limited sound design needs of the show.
Dividing's sound needs are probably going to only be scene transition music,
for that matter. It is clear that I need to read both plays this weekend, however.
And that doesn't include that I need to read
Waiting for Godot this weekend for the acting class, so I will be able to do
my monologue in context. I haven't read the play in a very long time and I really
need to refresh my memory. Of course, "in context" is a VERY relative term
when you're talking about a Beckett play.
And leave us not forget
by Michael Hollinger, which opens the
DTG 12/13 season. I have some interest in being the show's AD and have been told I
ought to audition. So, that needs to be read, too; perhaps not sometime soon, but it
does need to be on the short list.
TIME'S GETTING SHORT, DUDE! GATHER THE FRICKIN' RECORDS FOR YOUR
2011 TAX RETURN FILING:
I mean, come on! It's April the
already! Gather the frickin' records for 2011 taxes together and start filing!
Gather! File! Gather! File!
Gather! File! Gather! File!
Gather! File! Gather! File!
TurboTax® has been recently sending me reminder emails, close to
When I started this entry yesterday, I was on the patio at my new
apartment. Now, mind you, the layout of the new place is exactly the
same as the old place, the patio is a carbon copy of the old one.
The setting, yet, is different. My new apartment is on the other
edge of the complex right next to the main road and a little more
The road has some traffic, perhaps a car driving by about every
minute or two. The road is one a main road into the little burgh
where I live.
But yesterday afternoon was a nice coolish, sunny day. There was a
symphony of varied bird songs softly playing in surround-sound. The
intermittent passing cars were a decent accompaniment. An occasional
propellor plane flew over, I'm close enough to farm land to guess
at least a few were crop dusters, to add to the "music."
And, of course, the midwest is in bloom.
It was a nice place to sit and start this entry. Okay, honestly, I
wrote good portion of this on that patio yesterday.
The HTML code for this page and this entry
Closer look (more or less)
My new place
My new view of the road
I got all of that score music digitized for the actors cast as Tom and Alvin --
whoever those men may be.
AUDITIONS TOMORROW NIGHT AND
TUESDAY NIGHT AT THE GUILD!
Only one glitch: there's a finger snap before one of the songs, that is a cue into
the start of the vocals, which start with the music. I didn't get it onto the
digital version. I couldn't remember which song it was, so I had to go back to the
tapes and find it and redigitize that one. The singer needs that snap to get his cue.
I will fix that today, then the practice piano accompaniment disks will be burned
and ready for the actors; well, save for the printed song lists.
I believe I can get fairly easy access to the copyright holders for both
Dividing the Estate
The Story of My Life.
This, of course, to get clearance to use text, and in the case of Story,
perhaps a little bit of music, in the promotional podcasts for each.
For the Horton Foote play there is the Horton Foote Society website,
hortonfootesociety.org, which won't be
the copyright holder, but I bet I can get in touch with his estate through the
My DSL isn't up and running at home just yet, so I'm using my
myTouch 4G Android cell phone
Wi-Fi hotspot feature to go on-line at home. I have a limited monthly data usage
plane on the phone so I'm being stingy and conservative about when and why I am
on-line at home until my DSL is installed. I go on-line usually just long enough to
check my email, or to FTP this blog entry, for instance. I may wait until I'm at the
rent-payer tomorrow, where I can
use the campus Wi-Fi. But either today or tomorrow I'll contact Bartram and Hill
about clearance and at least enquire about who to contact for the Foote play.
DELAY FOR SHORT-SUBJECT NARRATIVE MOVIE:
Since the original word on the scheduling of a pre-production type meeting for the
short film I have a cameo of sorts in, I had heard nothing else, especially about
the location, which was not determined at the time. The meeting was supposed to be
yesterday afternoon. I spoke with
Josh Katawick, the
casting director, late yesterday morning. The meeting has been postponed and the
project seems to be moving into a holding pattern.
So, more when there's more to tell.
THE PROGRESS TOWARD MY 2011 TAX RETURN FILING:
My little patio sit yesterday didn't include catching up on my 2011 actor's and
volunteer's mileage. I'll do a patio session on that right after I have posted this
then gone to the store for some coffee creamer. I'll also work on catching up my
records for actor's expenses and charitable contributions. Don't know that I'll
get complete;y done but I'm sure I'll have taken a major step toward completion.
So then then it'll be:
Finish and file! Finish and file!
Finish and file!
Finish and file! Finish and file!
Finish and file!
I'm taking off work early today to get some time in working on the Pozzo monologue
from the Beckett play,
Waiting for Godot.
Not quite as concerned about the Jules Feiffer,
but will still probably give that a look over, too.
Again, I'm somewhat worried about missing the Apr 16 class as the next one is the
last one and when the showcase for the class will be.
Short-Subject Student Film -- Have a line on a short
film audition that I will do next week. Don't have the sides yet but I've sent my
résumé and a bearded and beardless actor's photo to the producer.
There is one role I think I am prime for and another than is a solid maybe.
Season Generals -- This Wednesday I make my appointment for the general
audition for the Races 2012/13 season. I may do a song this year, but I have not
decided yet. If I do, it'll be a character song because the whole point would be to
set myself up for a callback for Avenue Q.
I took out something like 99% of the actor's mileage yesterday, but I need to check
to be sure I have it all. I still need to plug in most of the non-profit volunteer
mileage, and I have most expenses and donations to still gather together.
Thus it's still:
Finish and file! Finish and file!
Finish and file!
Finish and file! Finish and file!
Finish and file!
In the class last night we spent the first half of the evening going over the
Jules Feiffer play,
where I had to catch up on the blocking from the week before -- my
golden slumbers absence, if you remember.
also cut quite a few pages from the work we're doing in Act I,
a move which was fine with all of us, as far as I know; certainly was fine with
I worked on the Beckett monologue (Pozzo
Waiting for Godot)
at the end of the class. I'd remembered Kay's note from the last time that I needed
to make him haughty and condescending. So that was how I rehearsed him yesterday
afternoon, and how I played him during class last night. Then, Kay had me take him
very big and very broad.
Love to say my hands were empty, that I was off-book, but, alas, no. And, of course,
unfortunately I am not back into class until April 23, the last class. But Kay is
looking to find times when we each can get with her out of the Monday night class
time. And it would be nice if we could get together for the Feiffer piece, else I
won't do it with the rest of the class until we are in front of the invited guests
for the showcase. And I'd really like final notes on Pozzo before that showcase,
Checked these librettos out of the library this morning. I was
actually only looking for Next To Normal to see which songs
the characters I am type for sing. But the Ave. Q was almost
next to it on the shelf, so what the hell.
Season Generals -- The screen shot above was the twenty-four hour warning I
set weeks back when the appointment day and time was first announced. There have
been iCal alerts before that and were some after, as well as some alerts on my
The appointment is set, Saturday, April 21. And I will sing. I contemplated
that decision up to almost the last moment. I've been on the fence for weeks, hell,
As you, gentle reader, may or may not know, I don't really consider myself a musical
theatre actor, though I have been interested in a few musicals over the years:
Little Shop of Horrors, Man of LaMancha, I'd love to do Pilate in
Jesus Christ, Superstar -- actually I'd love to do Judas, but that ship has
Some will know that I have never sung at The HRTC General Auditions before.
asked me one year if I was interested in any of the musicals on upcoming season and
I replied something along the lines that I hadn't done a musical at all since high
school (Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and I
would rather have at least a few community theatre musical experiences under my belt
before I presented myself for a professional production of one.
Funny how things work out.
The advent of the unexpected call and subsequent casting in Caroline, or
Change has rendered moot the explanation
(perhaps "excuse") I gave Marsha. Plus, I am
interested in two of the three musicals up next season at The Race, and not
opposed to booking the third, though won't at all be heartbroken if not called back
I got the B'Way soundtrack for
a few weeks back and I just got the same for
Next To Normal.
And you can see the pic of the librettos for both, above. In fact, it was listening
to the Next To Normal soundtrack this morning that gave that final push to
sing this year.
Of the two audition choices that include music I am opting for the "Both"
option: one monologue of sixty-seconds or less and one "song." And I did
verify during the appointment phone call that it is a full song, not just sixteen
bars or so. And I know exactly what song I'm doing.
But I'm not telling.
It is a song that suits a focus for both the musicals already mentioned, and one can
argue it can showcase toward Oliver, too (the third musical on the HRTC
season). It's a song that calls for a range of vocal approaches and covers my vocal
scale range. And it's got some rock and roll in it. And I could throw in a character
voice for Ave. Q. And I'm very confident that no one else will sing this song
nor anything else from the project it comes from -- and, yes, it is a known song by
a famous and most successful composer and from a very critically and
commercially successful vehicle.
I'll say what song it is, after the fact.
Short-Subject Film, Ember -- The producer sent me
the needed sides for the April 17 screentest for this short movie. I'm not
completely sure now that it's a student film. The audition tonight is in the
Creative Arts Center on the Wright State campus,
but then so were the auditions for
The Monster's Mind and
that was a full-length feature by WSU film school alumnus
Brett Hatten. My reason to suspect
it's not a student film is that the producer is not in the on-line student
directory. Regardless of that, I will do the screentest next week.
IDEAS & CONCEPTS:
Conceptual approaches for the last two podcasts of the DTG 11/12 season are
formulating. The more imminent of the two needs to be that for
Dividing the Estate,
since that production is up before
The Story of My Life,
and in only two and a half weeks. So bottom line: I have to start dropping in with
a DV camera in hand pretty soon -- next week, in fact.
My original concept for Dividing was frame in frame images, still photos and
DV movie clips of 4:3 aspect ratios, floating to and fro inside a
16:9 master frame. That was a concept based on the assumption that I would not have
clearance to use dialogue text from the script. Now I have that clearance and that's
a game changer, at least to some extent.
I think I'm going to still use the motif but will be less dependent on it. I'm not
sure how I'm presenting the sound-byte's from the cast yet, save that, with a cast
this big, they are all going to be short. I've done the group thing a few times
this season so I'm doing individual interviews this time.
I'll do the same for Story. And the concept formulating in my head is to do
almost a documentary style movie. Certainly I'll show the musical work early and as
it progresses. The challenge will be to shoot this so I don't intrude on the work.
Once again I try to actually go see some theatre. Some cases will happen,
others are certainly on the dockett.
Gem of the Ocean -- Speaking of The Human Race
Theatre Company, I'll see this tomorrow night.
Two Chances To See A Midsummer Night's Dream --
The Bard is up with this one at both
Springfield StageWorks, opening
tomorrow night, then, opening next Friday, April 20, at
Edison Community College. Hope I can make
both. It'd be interesting to see to different mountings (Interpretations) so close
2011 TAX RETURN FILING:
Really do have to take out as much of the records gathering and ducks in a row for
filing as I can tonight. All of it if I can.
After I'm done with the gig Saturday, I need to zip home and do the filing.
I now am even more disappointed than before that I did not get cast in this!
Another One I'm Going To Miss -- Well, The Pearl,
The Zoot Theatre Company's latest
production opened last night at the Mathile Theatre
(The Schuster), for a limited run.
Between prepping tonight for tomorrow's U.D. Mock Trails wrap-up, then taking the
2011 tax return filing to its necessary conclusion tomorrow, after the U.D. gig, I
will once again miss a Zoot show. Too bad, too. They do great work!
The last deposition transcript finally made its way to me so I will be prepared, so
to speak, for the last two mock trial sessions for this series, which take place
tomorrow morning and afternoon. A big focus tonight is once again brushing up on the
factoids of this case. Though, some tax records stuff is surely in the mix,
A couple days back, I got the material for the Trail Practice Class I'll be a part
of this coming Monday night with
Judge Mary Huffman. A
need to get familiar with that, fit in over this rather busy weekend, is much on
2011 TAX RETURN FILING:
There really isn't a whole lot else to write, save that: What I have not finished as
of yet, must be finished, and quickly.
This is the last stretch of the raceway.
I have calculated, by-the-way, over 4300 miles attributed to acting. And I
know I have missed some that I am just going to give up looking for. The
count for volunteer miles (re: my other time and travel for The Dayton Theatre
Guild) is at 1131 miles, but I am nowhere close to done scrutinizing my records and
calendar to compile them.
That Record-the-mileage-as-it-happens rule: it really,
REALLY, R E A L L Y needs to return to my procedural
Through the wonderful academic research service known as
OhioLINK, I have
a music score book on the way to me at my
rent-payer (status last time I looked
was "In Transit"). That score book has the song I will do next Saturday
afternoon during the
2012/13 Season General Auditions
for the Human Race Theatre Company. Don't
worry, I don't need the score to learn the song. I know the song and have for a
A lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ong time.
The score is for the accompanist who will be there Saturday at the Loft. All I have
to do is use my limited* knowledge of music theory to cut some bars and make sure
the key on the score is the same as what I'm used to. Though, honestly, the song was
written for a first tenor, so if it were a step or so down, that wouldn't be a bad
thing. *(And believe me,
"limited" means just that.)
Of course, before that audition I screentest for the short-subject narrative film,
Ember. That happens tomorrow in the late afternoon/early evening. As I
indicated a couple posts back, I have the sides. I don't have them memorized, but
both are short and I will likely do that after I wrap the U.D. Law gig tonight.
2011 TAX RETURN FILING:
Least-wise I hope so.
Here's the thing: My Caroline, or Change gig in October and November at
The Human Race was an independent contractor gig. I may have declared my
Equity Membership Candidate status
but until that day, not terribly close, when I earn the union card, there's no
withholdings taken out of my paycheck. It's the situation with the overwhelming
predominance of my actor-for-hire work. Even usually when I will gig through the
The irony there is that the management company that paid my wages for the two days
Ides of March
set, which I booked through the agency, did take out the withholding, despite
that I wasn't SAG -- which of course now would be
Between the HRTC and several other independent contractor acting gigs in 2011, I was
prepared to either owe or to get a refund of about five dollars. I was pleasantly
surprised to have TurboTax tell me an extraordinarily different story, for both the
Federal and the State. I have pretty decent refunds coming back from both the
Feds and the State.
My paranoia is that, by doing the sole proprietorship as an actor for hire that I
will get flagged sooner or later as a matter of course for an audit. TurboTax rated
my risk at medium, which is too high for my own sense of well-being. I know my filing
is legit, but I just don't want to deal with the stress and trouble of an audit.
Also, though what I am getting back is no amazing amount, at all, it's just a big
surprise to me and I am making myself anxious about it.
But I know that all my deductions were real and true, so if it comes to the dreaded
ordeal, I believe I'm not going to be in trouble when it's over. I live a relatively
different life than most people, and the best example is the miles I drive during
the year. Just about 60% of my annual driving has something to do with theatre or
acting in one way or another, whether its travel to auditions, rehearsals,
performances, movie shoots, or some other involvements at my home theatre as a
volunteer, board member, sound designer (or tech), or producer; or it's some other
theatre arts related trip. This year I could legitimately claim 4400 miles as an
actor and another 3000 miles toward DTG volunteer work.
The worry to me is that some who look at that may be skeptical. Save for others
in the theatre arts. They will know it's true and real.
I got an email yesterday that the federal return has been accepted -- whether that
means to stop fretting or not, we will see. The state one has not, but they always
seem to take a little longer.
Finished the last two mock trial sessions for this series on Saturday. Tonight it's
Judge Mary Huffman's
trial practice class, which I studied up on last night and as much already today as
The case tonight does not have anything close to the amount of information to know
that this mock trial series that was just wrapped did. Some spot work during the day
today then some work before the gig tonight and I will be in good shape.
This is another one where I will play both the man who was robbed and the man
accused of robbing him. And in the second case, I and at least one other actor who
has these same roles in another courtroom tonight, are a bit mis-cast as we are
both a good 25-30 years older than the character. That's happened before and it
will happen again. This U.D. Law work is more about giving the law students practice
on their skills, so what's needed more than anything is a client/witness that is
giving them real reactions and behavior, not that the actor totally meets the
physical specs of the character profile
The show has been cast:
Scott Knisley as Thomas Weaver
Jeff Sams as Alvin Kelby
There was not what could be labelled a giant turn-out at auditions last week. First
off the amount of male double threats (actors who can act well and sing decently)
is limited in the local acting community -- tripple threats (add dancing) are
even a rarer bird. Second,
Beavercreek Community Theatre is holding
auditions for Chicago tonight and tomorrow night, and there is no question
that many double and tripple threat actors (male and female) have their eyes trained
on that production.
One would think that a slim group of auditioning actors would make Director
Debra Kent's job of casting the show easier. That was not, however, the case. The
fact is there were no "bad" auditions. It had to boil down which two
actors seemed best fitted for each other in all the terms of chemistry, the
blending of their voices, their look together, and all the other various points a
director needs to consider. So it took Ms. Kent a little longer than she'd
anticipated to cast the show, because she had a lot of variables, a lot of pros and
cons to weigh, and more than two people who were justifiably cast-able. That's
always a good thing but still, you gotta tell actors who could do the work, who in
slightly different circumstances would have won a role, that they are not in the
show: a yucky duty to perform.
The rehearsal process has now begun, though in a slow mode since Mr. Sams is
currently in rehearsal for The Guild's next fare, Dividing the Estate. The
Story table read was yesterday morning; I did not attend -- up late the night
before, doing that tax
thing. Now the two men have a coule weeks to look at the script and work on the
music. Both will likely spend some time working with our production's vocal
instructor, Reneé Franck-Reed. They have the piano score CD we recorded two
weeks ago, the Broadway cast recording, the score and the libretto. Blocking will
start after Dividing is up and Jeff is free for full-on rehearsals.
and I have had a few communications, including a brief conversation yesterday, about
the music for this show and he has given me more than a good idea what feel he is
looking for, both in terms of the production music and the pre-show and intermission.
In fact, intermission will probably be mostly his pick of music, but I think it's a
good choice, so I don't mind at all.
I have not began to assemble anything but I will have it ready by this coming Tech
Sunday. It should not be difficult at all. One evening this week and some time
Saturday night should do it.
During this week, I'll also be shooting footage for the podcast, starting tomorrow
after I finish the screentest for the short film. This week will mostly be about
getting those brief interviews with the cast shot, especially earlier in the week.
Likely I will get some rehearsal footage shot early but want the meat of rehearsal
footage with dialogue used to be from tech/dress rehearsals so there is a fuller
stage set on the screen. I believe I am going to have to do a vacation day next
week to edit this one to final cut, since I am not sure which tech/dress next week
will wrap my shooting.
Speaking of the stage set, I did pitch in on set construction this weekend,
yesterday, to be exact. Not sure if I'll get another session in, but the pictures
on the right are from Sunday.
One glitch. In studying up on the information on the accused character, one of the
two characters I portrayed, I missed an important fact. It seems that my character
wrote a letter from jail to another character in the scenario and I missed that
The defense attorney, my character's defense attorney, asked me while I was
on the stand if I'd had any communication with "Ms. Bar" after the time I
saw her in The Chicken Shack -- which was my alibi.
I said, "No."
He looked puzzled.
I thought: uh oh
He said, "Are you sure you didn't perhaps write her a letter."
Then one of the students acting as prosecution objected that the last question was
leading the witness.
Bottom line: I screwed up!
But, other than that it was
I did the screentest for the short-subject narrative film, Ember, last night.
It seemed to go well. Who knows. It felt okay, at least.
Last night I shot a little more than half the podcast interviews with the cast. I
have a few left. I had planned to polish them off tonight, but the spot I'm using is
in the back corner of the boardroom (a location I have used before) and as it turns
out, someone else has dibs on the office tonight during the time I would be in there.
Not a problem. I can finish the interviews during Tech Sunday.
Podcast production is still on tonight, mostly so I can get B-roll of Act
II, and especially of one actor who is only in the second
act, and thus I'll get no good B-roll on her from this week's rehearsals unless I
shoot tonight. She does not need to be there when only Act I
is on the agenda.
After tonight no more podcast shoots until Sunday. But I will certainly shoot as
much of I can both for B-roll, and possibly I'll start to get more probable footage
where the dialogue makes it to audio in the podcast. Certainly Monday and Tuesday
that will be the case; I will be focusing on getting good sound-byte footage of the
script on stage.
I have scheduled a day off from the
rent-payer next Wednesday to get the
podcast edited to final cut, so principal photography needs to be done Tuesday
Tomorrow evening is all about working on the sound design: the show music, the
pre-show music and the intermission music. Some preliminary work has been done, but
more direct action to fulfill the necessary repertoire for all these needs will be
made. Saturday, after the HRTC Generals audition, the rest of the day is allotted to
get the music to completion so all is ready for Tech Sunday, the next day. I hope
there is a sound tech because I will not be available to run this.
NEW LIGHTS UP!!!:
Recently we DTG board members
approved contracting Light Fantastic to
upgrade our lighting system in the Mirkin Theatre.
We are more than doubling our dimmers and upgrading to newer models, plus
introducing lights that are better suited for our new space and the further distance
from the lights to the floor (read: the actors and action).
I am happy to say that when I arrived at the theatre yesterday, two techs from Light
Fantastic were just finishing up an installation day. I don't believe they were
finished. But, who knows? See a pic I snapped:
By-the-way, for those keeping score: my State tax return was "accepted,"
so the paranoia has wained considerably, though not dissipated completely.
That song book from
needed for the generals today at the
Human Race Theatre Company did arrive,
but a day late, as it were. When it had not arrived by later Thursday afternoon, I
needed to take action. I consulted the head of my department, Marty Jenkins, who
also happens to be the university music librarian. He suggested I try
Sheet Music Plus, on-line. I did and
was able to download the score for the song for $4.99.
The songbook arrived the next day, and I have checked it out into my account; might
as well. I like all the songs in the book. And that $4.99 for the download of the
one song is a legit business expense for the 2012 tax return next year.
For decades, more than forty years, I've been singing the song. I discovered two
days ago that I've been singing some of the lyrics wrongly.
But no worries; it has not thrown me.
As for the song as performed in my audition program, there's a rather long musical
introduction that I have cut from the sheet music and edited off the front of the
recording I have been singing with. I have also cut an interlude section from both;
I think in terms of musical theory it's not technically an "interlude" but
it is several bars, about thirty seconds, of music with no vocal, so I slashed it
from both; at least I think I have made the same cuts to the sheet as the
recording -- my ability to decipher sheet music is almost at a level of musical
Last night, especially, but also Thursday evening, I have practiced the song. As I
said, I really know this song quite well and have been singing it since I was
eleven, (and now, of course, with the exactly correct lyrics). However, I have a
thing I am doing that has needed practice. It is very much "The Risk" of
this audition. That point when you most go out there on the limb and risk looking
stupid and being, well, Less than
I'll give details tomorrow, about the song, the associated risk, and the monologue I
am doing. That monologue is newer to me, but not brand-spanking new. I believe I am
also risking that I am not the only one to do this one, or something from the play
it's from, yet it still seems a good choice.
The song, on the other hand, I am still willing to bet is far afield from anything
anyone will do. It's a choice that I will defend tomorrow when I share the title.
No word on that short-subject narrative film, Ember, but I don't believe
the production staff is done auditioning actors yet.
There's another casting call in about a week for another short. Looking at the
character specs at face value, however, there's not a role for me. Still might give
it a try.
Well, but, as an old mentor used to say: "The game is today." So, it's off
to a Guild board meeting, then a
little production business, then a few hours before the HRTC audition to prep for
it one last time.
Dumping footage from the DV mini-cassette tape onto the laptop hard
The podcast production seems to be on schedule. I am not wholly thrilled with
the footage from last Tuesday and Wednesday. There is a high ringing on the audio
track, which is bothersome in the interview sessions.
The rehearsal footage will be B-roll without the sound, so bad audio in that footage
The audio for the interviews is another story. That will need to be sweetened now
to filter some of that pitch out; that does matter.
Beyond that, the quality of the video images isn't as good as I expect and usually
get. I have borrowed a camera again for the rest of the shoots; I made sure I did
not get the same one. In fact, that one is now on my No list.
So, Sunday: the rest of the interviews; B-roll of production stuff happening; B-roll
and maybe even A-roll of the rehearsal run. Monday & Tuesday: footage of dress
rehearsals for the focus on performance and Mr. Foote's dialogue.
The "sound design" is coming along. I have my preferred repertoire
of songs for the production -- the open and close music of Acts
I & II, and the scene
transition music, subject to Directer
approval, of course. And I have four hours worth of pre-show music, which I believe
I am again going to program for random play, a practice I like, so each pre-show is
unique. Intermission will have the same line-up for every show, starting with a
rather long track that Ralph suggested.
I'll run this by Ralph after the board meeting this morning. I'll program it into
Show Cue Systems this evening, after
the HRTC audition is history.
One year ago on this date my amazing costar and I opened for a far-too
limited run of this intense and challenging play. It is by far one of my
favorite experiences thus far as an actor and certainly one of my favorite
roles. And I could not imagine stepping onto a stage as Ray again with any
other woman as Una than the lovely and talented Heather Atkinson.
Our director, Ms. Natasha Randall, was awesome and perfect for the task. And
young Miss Melanie Engber was wonderful in her work at the end of the play.
I believe the audition went well yesterday. It didn't suck. I took several risks yet
did not fall on my ass. A few things I could've done better -- but I didn't suck,
and that's the important thing.
So what were the risks? Well, first is just the fact that I sang. It was dulled as
a risk greatly by the fact that my first gig with The Race happened to be in a
musical, of course. But yesterday was the first time that I purposefully auditioned
with music at HRTC. I don't count Caroline, or Change because that was them
calling me and asking if I can sing, then sending me a score sheet from the play in
question. It's just different; even if I can't eloquently express why.
The second risk was my choice for a song. It was not at all traditional, but it was
a choice based mostly on one of the two musicals I'm more interested in,
Next To Normal.
So my song was Lennon & McCartney's "You Never Give Me Your Money" --
"legally" it's by Lennon &
McCartney, but in actuality it's pretty much all a Paul McCartney song.
It is indeed a big risk to not use a song specifically from a musical when singing
for a musical audition. The tradition is you sing one from another show than the
one you are auditioning for -- and the other smart idea is to not use
anything by Sondheim. But the conventional wisdom is to go with something from a
musical not unlike the one you are trying out for.
Of course, it is very optimum for you to try to do something different for any
audition material in your program. So, my first point in defending my choice is
that I am quite confident that I was the only one who sang "You Never Give Me
Your Money" all day yesterday, and as confident that no one will sing it today.
The big defense is this: The first part of the song would pass for a ballad in any
hundred musicals to have been out in the last forty years. Then it moves into a
rocking second half, which suits my target of Next To Normal.
So here comes the next risk, and one that targeted my other focus from the 12/13
If you are familiar with "You Never Give..." you'll remember the vamp at
the very end, where the Beatle's sing, in falsetto, "One, two, three, four,
five, six, seven \ All good children go to heaven." So I had the accompanist
play the vamp three times. First time I sang it straight, pretty much right off the
Abbey Road recording.
Then I did my best Kermit/Ernie voice for the second vamp. The last time I did my
best Cookie-Monster-like voice, then, after the piano stopped, I added, in Cookie
Monster voice: "For Porn!"
By-the-way, I didn't say I did great Kermit/Ernie or Cookie Monster voices, but I
gave them a shot, by god. And if you don't get the "For Porn!" reference,
you need to search for "The Internet Is For Porn" on
My monologue was from the top of scene two of
clearly due to
next spring at HRTC. Now, for this one, there is a certain risk that the material
made or will make at least one other appearance over this weekend. I felt it was
worth the risk.
What are the few things I could've done better?:
I will say again that I was worried that my cuts to the sheet music were
not the same as my edits to the recording, *(see image above of my edited
version), but I was able, as it turns out, to reason out the measures with
my limited knowledge of sight reading -- and as I've intimated before, the word
"limited" gives me a lot of credit.
In audition performance, however, I did, I think, slightly miss the cue into the
section that's starts with "One sweet dream." The accompanist, whose
name I did not catch, seemed to almost instantly adjust to get me back on track.
Now, honestly I'm not sure that's what happened, and I just plowed on through,
regardless -- but I am reasonably sure that's what happened. Unless, of course,
I didn't miss the pick-up.
Also, with that same spot, I didn't hit that high A on "sweet"
as on the nail as I could have. The pitch was there but the quality wasn't.
McCartney may not have needed to punch that by singing it in falsetto, though he
did, but I really do. He's a first tenor; I'm a second tenor. That high A is
right on the edge of my mid-range and the jump from middle-C♯ to the A
(four whole notes), for me is punched much better in this song if I switch to
falsetto for the A. I actually lose a little volume, but the falsetto, if
executed fully, compensates by carrying a little better and it is ultimately
more effective and a stronger sound. A few measures later, the same thing happens
with a second "One Sweet," and you can be damned sure I hit that nail
squarely on the friggin' head!"
Overall, I had good focus during the song, and, without overdoing it (I
think), I gestured in the mood and meaning of the words I was singing; I sang
with feeling. At least once, though, during a short musical lead in right before
the "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven..." vamp, I dropped
character, for lack of a better term, as I waited for the pick-up to sing again.
Doing it again, I would have kept a focus and "stayed in the character of
the guy speaking."
I was pretty pleased with the John monologue from Oleanna, but I
did that occasional "looking at the floor" thing I'm too often guilty
of. Countless times in the past directors have told me to stop acting to the
floor. I eventually break that during rehearsals, but it needs to be eliminated
from my acting period. It was only on occasion here, usually when I was
accessing words from my memory; mostly I focused on an invisible Carol, off
to the left and slightly behind the auditors.
Despite these notes I have for myself, I was mostly pleased with the audition.
With the exception of tweaking sound levels, my work for this production is done.
And I am happy to report that the production has a sound tech, whom I will be
familiarizing to the sound system later today at the show's cue-to-cue and tech run.
I pick up the podcast production shooting today, as well.
So, Dividing the Estate opens this Friday and there's a bit of deja vu from
The Guild's last production, Going to St. Ives. One of the cast members has
needed to drop out for health reasons.
The change of actors comes not quite as deep into the eleventh hour as last time,
the last time the news came on the afternoon of the final dress rehearsal, some
thirty or forty hours before the show opened. This time it was at the end of the
week before the show opens, the Friday before Tech Sunday.
put the last-minute call out to a few women he knew who might fit the bill. The
character needs to be African American. None of those he contacted were a go.
At the Saturday board meeting Ralph first told us all the situation, and said a
woman was coming in the afternoon to audition. I happened to stick around for some
Guild related business as well as to do my final prep for my
HRTC season audition. That afternoon,
in walked a very talented young lady, Lolita Price, who happened to be in the HRTC
acting class with me that was to finish up in two days on Monday (just this past
Monday). She, coming to audition for Ralph fresh off her own audition for The Race.
Ralph did cast her; it's been baptism by fire for Lolita but I know from
class that she's a talented actor and a can "get it" fast, which she has
proved so very well thus far as she is climbing inside the role of Mildred with
speed and savvy.
The "sound design," as it were, is likely tweaked. We got the levels set
on Sunday, with the inclusion of one major
moment during the day. Coming out of Act I and into
intermission, we are using a very long, jazzy funeral march that starts with several
bars of a drum roll cadence, then into a sluggish New Orleans march. I need the drum
roll up in volume then, when the horns, etc., start, I need the volume to drop. In
Show Cue Systems I use what is called
the Level Change Cue command, set on automatic, to drop the level just when I need
it to. Ralph wanted the volume level dropped even further.
During the break after the cue-to-cue, I was setting all the levels to the spots
ralph wanted. When editing this particular item, I had the software in the edit
mode and had the specific Level Change Cue command open. The sound file was
running. I adjusted the sound level down even further and
B A M ! ! !
the volume level did not drop, it blasted. And I mean it
And in my frantic attempt to stop it, I found no way to stop it. Eventually it
dawned on me to turn the master volume down on the mixing board, probably only
after a few moments, but it seemed like several minutes -- and not just to me, I'm
sure. I had to close the program to get the sound file to stop playing.
I still don't know exactly what happened; I'll try to duplicate it at some point, to
add it to the list of "Lessons learned" that myself and the other frequent
sound designer, Bob Mills, have started. Bob is actually who found this software and
set up the new system.
I have shot all the footage for the podcast.Last night I really shot very little.
the cast was not in costume so there was not as much need. I shot the run on Sunday,
when they were in costume and the plan was to shoot Monday and last night to
get different angles of the same moments in scenes for cross-cut editing. But with
no continuity of clothing that's not as hot on my editing agenda now.
Today, I am on vacation for the express purpose of editing the podcast to final
THE FINAL SESSION OF THIS LATEST
HRTC ACTING CLASS:
Monday, before the Dividing rehearsal, I and Ms. Price attended the final
session of this latest set of acting classes with
We did a showcase for a small handful of invited friends and family.First was a series
of monologies or short two-person scenes, there in which I did the Pozzo
"Ah yes! The night...." monologue from Beckett's
Waiting for Godot.
We did all this work off-book, then we did reader's theatre, with blocking for the
material from Act I of Jules Feiffer's
There were some really very good moments in there. I did well enough with the
Beckett piece; I made one error against verbatim but it was really only a minor
One of our audience members was playwright and publisher
Michael London, who is currently
teaching a Wednesday night
class at HRTC
on playwrighting. He is looking for actors to come in at the top of the remaining
sessions and read the students' work, so that all of those taking the class can
listen and attend, regardless of whose work is up. I had actually wanted to take
the class but knew I didn't have the time outside of the sessions, right now, to
devote to doing the actual writing. But, I am likely to be there for at least one of
the sessions, doing the table read work.
Michael is, by the way, the one who write that great response a few weeks back to
Going to St. Ives and was gracious enough to allow me to republish in my
March 26, 2012 blog entry.
In light of my audition for The Human Race's 2012/13 season last Saturday, and my
own discussion and defense of using the song I used, I thought I'd pass this along.
Someone recently pointed out a post on a social medium by a production person who
had just sat through hours and hours of auditions and posted about a few more songs
to be added this particular person's Please Never Do This Song At Auditions
list. One mentioned was "My Unfortunate Erection," from
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Would suck to see a list like that with "You Never Give Me Your Money" on
The podcast was finished late Wednesday evening and posted to the
Dayton Theatre Guild youtube channel
overnight. Editing it together was pretty much an all-day affair, from about 9:30
that morning until just about 11:30 that night. There were a few breaks in there,
but mostly Wednesday was all about
Final Cut Express in
the one room of my current apartment that I have actually "moved into"
-- long story.
I've been to a few of the rehearsals during the final stretch, mostly shooting, of
course, and I'll report that the cast is doing good work with the show. As for
Lolita Price, who auditioned as a last minute replacement not even a week ago, is
impressing everyone. She is caught up to the rest of the cast and is shining in her
role. Last night at the Final Dress one would have never been able to tell that a
week earlier she had no idea she'd be connected to the project.
Last night Ralph asked me to tweak one thing as far as sound (music). The song
we've picked to come out of Act I and that plays for
most of the intermission is a long, live jazz number. I edited the several seconds
of audience from the start of the track, but left the band leader announcing all the
members of the band at the end of the track. ralph asked me to shave that off; and
so, there will be a new AIF file in the program folders on the booth computer before
the show tonight. I also have personally decided to drop the master volume for the
pre-show music, as it is just a level or two, too high.
There's a little flurry of professional auditions going on for me. Went down to the
PC-Goenner Talent Agency Sharonville office
yesterday to screentest for the Kentucky Lottery. A last-minute audition was added
to the agenda for an on-line industrial.
It turns out that the second short movie I referenced here on April 21 may have
some pay -- with the frequent label in the independent film world of:
"Low Pay" I'm willing to bet. That audition is tomorrow and I'll
be there, despite that I am not wholly sure I meet any of the types in the specs. I
still have contacted the production team about sides for a couple characters.
Earlier in the year, during the sound design work for Wittenberg I expressed
here a serious interest in upgrading from Final Cut Express 4 to
Final Cut Pro X and, at least
Compressor 4, of not
also Motion 5. I also
expressed these desires around a few other filmmaker types and was discouraged by
many of them who told me that the new X version was more of a swing toward iMovie
than anything else. That it wasn't worth the bother.
As the result of these cautionary advisories, I pulled back back on this upgrade
ambition. But yesterday I watched the overview movie on Apple's page for the
software and think maybe it will be worth the $300, after all.
There's some sort of a chance that before this day is done I will have purchased
at least the FCPX and Compressor 4, if not also Motion 5.
This is the one where I am not terribly confident that I completely meet the specs
for any of the characters as outlined in the casting call. But I presented myself
for two of them, one, a priest that I seem the closest type to, and another, a truck
driver, that is a little bit of stretching. Mr. Severt had me read only for the
priest. It seemed to be a good reading.
That "some sort of a chance that before [the] day [was] done I [would] have
purchased at least
[Final Cut Pro X] and
Compressor 4, if not
also Motion 5" was,
and I imagine as no shock to most of you five reading this, elevated to a
certain bet. I bought all three through
Apple's App Store
Friday afternoon. So now I'm $427.97 lighter in the bank account, but an investment
that is worth it. *Someday such purchases will be legitimate tax deductions.
I have not uninstalled
Final Cut Express 4
yet. FCPX is such a different interface than the old Final Cut softwares that I
need some playtime to familiarize myself with it. I have another 2011/12 DTG podcast
to produce and I may fall back on FCE4 to edit it.
Principal photography of each podcast gets wrapped very close to opening night. My
habit, which is the best choice, is to get footage from at least the first couple
nights of Tech/Dress rehearsal week, especially if I have clearance to use text. I
would simply rather use such footage, with dialogue from the script, that has a more
finished set and the actors in costume. That puts a crunch on editing the podcast
final cut in a very compressed period of time if I want the podcast out by the time
the show opens.
This new remodeling of Final Cut is actually very similar to the revamped
iMovie. But I have never really
worked with that new iMovie interface. There was actually an instance where a friend
asked me to help her out with an academic project she had to complete using the new
version of iMovie, and I was so ignorant of the software that I was of little use to
her. Now, I guess, I learn the logic of this interface system.
For The Story of My Life I am almost guaranteed be too green with FCPX to get
a decent edit. So, FCE4 is the likely post-production editing tool for this last
podcast. But, be sure that the 2012/13 DTG season podcasts will be off of FCPX, as
well as the auxiliary softwares: Motion 5 and Compressor 4.
However, I may still not uninstall FCE4. I have used it quite frequently to mix
audio and created AIF files. Until I know for sure I can do this with FCPX --
though I actually am pretty sure I'll find that I can -- I'm keeping FCE4
for this purpose, at least.
Meanwhile, I'm impatient to find time ASAP to play with my new stuff!
GOOD OPENING NIGHT:
The show had a strong opening night with a virtual sell-out audience, (only shy by
a few seats), an audience that was most receptive to the performance. I was the host
so, as usual when hosting, I was barely attentive to the performance. The performance
was clearly a hit since the audience buzzed and raved both at intermission and after
the curtain call.
I was not there yesterday nor will I be today, but I will be back next Friday, but
to again host. I may sit in the audience either next Saturday or Sunday.
One thing I did do Friday was monitor volume levels for the sound design and found
that more tweaks were needed. You five may remember that I had decided that the
pre-show music was too loud and I had dropped the master volume. I did that as soon
as I arrived on Friday. As I was taking tickets at the door when the house was open
I discovered I had erred. I'd failed to take into account the how the audience would
absorbe the sound. You could barely tell there was pre-show music playing. So, after
the show I kicked the volume up, even a little higher than it had been originally.
I wasn't there to monitor it last night, but no one has contacted me to gripe, so
it must be okay.
It also was clear that the curtain call music needed to be louder to compete with
the audience applause. So I kicked that up, too.
I did the audition yesterday at the PC-Goenner
Sharonville office for the educational video series for
Sinclair Community College. It went....meh,
"okay," but I certainly did not impress myself. I read with Scot Knisley,
who is now in rehearsal for The Story of My Life.
The agency called me later in the day to schedule an audition for today at the
Dayton Office -- which I honestly didn't think was still open -- for a local
commercial. So, late afternoon I get to do another audition.
So let there be a freakin' booking from one of these damned recent auditions! Huh?
PERHAPS WE SHALL IMPROV IN LIVING COLOR:
I have as of yet sat down to log any time whatsoever on Final Cut Pro X. I did
shoot a couple short HD videos with my
Android to see what happens
when I try to work with HD footage in FCPX. In
Final Cut Express I
would have to re-render after each manipulation. It was real a pain.
You may notice that the Improv Movie Project icon on the right is in color, as
opposed to the black-and-white version that I've used since I made the decision to
make the movie B&W. I'd made the decision after driving myself close to insane
trying to color-correct the footage of each take, from the three different cameras
used, while editing Be Or Not.
When I watched the on-line videos for FCPX Friday, one of the several key points
that sold me on making the purchase was that FCPX seems to have simplified color
correction considerably, so I may be able to get all the footage to match color
without going crazy.
Further: maybe, just maybe, the new software will motivate me to get to the full-on
editing of the movie and get it out of the shop and out of what hair I have to get
it out of.
REHEARSALS ARE OFFICIALLY UNDERWAY:
Last night the rehearsals for the show officially began, though both Scot and Jeff
have each already met a few times with the production's vocal instructor,
Reneé Franck-Reed; but last night was the beginning of the blocking
rehearsals and scene work. I wasn't there last night but will be tonight, and will
give all those autobiographic text deadlines, etc., that are the producer's job.
Though I didn't attend, I did text Director Debra Kent yesterday to tell her to
let everyone know that I'll probably be shooting a lot of footage through the whole
rehearsal schedule, since
Neil Bartram and Brian Hill
granted clearance for both dialogue from the script and music from the show for the
podcast. I will shoot some tonight, in fact.
*Blocking: The management of the movement and location of actors on stage as
tied to moments and passages in the script.
Without going into detail I auditioned as a sleazy salesman for a commercial that
will be shot in Dayton. I wore a getup that was tacky, even for me. I was going for
that Herb Tarlik look, for those of you who remember
WKRP in Cincinnati. A
cliché, you say; yes, that's true, but still verily apropos.
This was a chance to go big, loud and big. It was fun. Here's hopin'....
Being greedy, I also wished to be called back for both of
Next To Normal,
The only downside to getting a coveted spot in AQ would be that it would
automatically kill any possibility of being cast in
The Guild production of
since the two shows greatly overlap in rehearsal and performance schedules. At least
that period, late spring/early summer, 2013, has a lot of potential for me!
Plus, if I'm not going to be in the McDonagh show, Avenue Q is the best reason!
And if I don't get on The Race stage, doing Pillow Man is decent emotional
If I'm cast in neither, then
both directors need their heads examined! That despite that one is a friend and
A REPERTOIRE OF CLOTHING:
I really do need to have an expanded and more eclectic collection of clothes to wear
to auditions. Most specifically I mean screentests for commercials. Sometimes I
must really stretch it to dress as the character I am up for. And commercial
auditions more so than any other type are where it is appropriate to come "in
costume." Other auditions are not so much so; some, for it's a really bad idea.
Of course, in any audition you don't want to dress against type, unless you're going
in for the role of a Knight of The Roundtable, or something else very period or
But if I'm going in to read for a lawyer or homicide detective I certainly should
not be in jeans and a plaid work shirt, no matter whether it's a TV show, a movie,
or a stage production. If I'm going in to be a farmer, I may not wear the plaid, but
I am likely to be in jeans and some sort of shirt that would work in the fields. If,
however, I'm going to read as a Shakespearean character, I'm likely to just wear my
generic dark slacks and a solid, light-colored shirt.
So: if I'm auditioning for the role of John Adams in a stage production of 1776,
I'll show up dressed in that generic audition garb I just mentioned. If it's for a
commercial for a bank, or whatever, I might be in period costume with a
white wig -- sometimes the specs for a commercial audition will actually request
*When I go in for my AQ callback, I will NOT be in a furry, brown
Beyond all that, in terms of what I guess we could call "regular citizen's
clothing," I really have very little in my rag-tag personal wardrobe that does
not fit inside my own -- and I use this term loosely -- fashion sense. It
can't be to my disadvantage to have some clothing at quick reach to suit specific
audition needs, and even performance wardrobe needs, for that matter.
I am really very sorry to say that K.L. Tarlik will not hit the airwaves and
assault people's sensibilities. Of all the recent screentests I've done this was
probably the one that most enthused me.
He was going to be fun.
The up side is that, according to
the interested party was "VERY impressed with the audition." He added that
the party in question is trying to do more screen type projects and that I am
"definitely on their radar." So that has some good emotional merit to it.
Yet, Not Cast is still Not Cast.
Got a voicemail last night from PC-Goenner
that I have been booked for the educational video series for
Sinclair Community College. That shoots next
week, a week from today, in fact.
As of the writing of this passage I have not heard back about the specifics, but I
don't believe it is the exact role I read for at the screentest because that role
was specified as a full-day shoot and I am going in for a half-day shoot. But,
a booking is a booking is a booking.
And all I got to say is:
IT'S ABOUT TIME I GET BOOKED THROUGH THE AGENCY AGAIN!
CAN YOU SAY, "ENTHUSIASM IS
ON THE WANE?":
I've only played but a little in the new software but I can report that thus far I
am wholly unimpressed.
I'll come back with more detail later; but at the moment, I'll at least say that it
appears I erred greatly by not heeding the warnings I was given about a clear step
in the wrong direction for a once great movie editing brand.
I only have looked around in FCPX a little bit more, but still am not embracing any
upswing back to giddy enthusiasm for the software. Maybe it's just that I am still
on the first slope up, before the peak in the hill of the learning curve, but at
this point, my inclination toward reaction is, as in my fb post this
*and, yes, in this case, "shure" was an intentional
"[sic]," i.e.: an execution of poetic license. Though now
that I look at it, "shur," (without the "e")
would have been better to illustrate an exaggerated, hard U & R.
Apple developers actually removed important professional features and made the
software compatible with fewer DV file types. The logic behind that would be
entertaining to hear an Apple rep justify without a contrite, quivering voice. They
then made things "easier" that sophisticated editors don't need easier,
and the new version makes users play "Where's Waldo" with frequently
needed professional tools! It's mind-boggling that they seem to be thinking so much
like Microsoft on this that it's embarrassing and, frankly, awkward to associate the
idiots behind this "enhancement" with Apple.
And the company has the audacity to tack the word "Pro" on this crap
product; despite what the company may believe, once-loyal pros will notice
they've had their intelligence insulted and their loyalty spit on. Apple is going
to see movie makers moving away from it now, and the company has nothing to blame
but its own ill-conceived foolishness with the boondoggled Final Cut Pro X.
Apple may have hurt the Final Cut reputation so badly that there will not be a v.11.
The company may have effectively sounded the death null for one of its premiere
products. FCPX would have been fine as an enhanced iMovie with the developers then
working on a v.10 of Final Cut Pro that made real sense and did not dumb it down and
remove features and compatibilities. If they do rally back with an intelligently
developed v.11, the PR better be very good and aggressively proactive, because Apple
has some fences to mend with a creative group that has been betrayed.
I have already visited the on-line product pages for both
Avid Media Composer
and Adobe Premiere. Both
have OS X Lion versions and both have legions of fans. Of the two, most film makers
and editors I know of use Avid if they aren't on Final Cut; but Premier has its
fans, too. I was told by a vid/movie tech on campus that Premier is essentially
fashioned after the real Final Cut Pro -- not this identity thief with an
"X" behind its name. Both Media Composer and Premier have very hefty
sticker prices, but most things connected to making movies do, even if the sticker
shock is not always as bad as it used to be, overall.
And if Apple is going to drive me away from Final Cut, so be it. They have no one to
blame but their own short-sighted selves. Of course, perhaps I'll trudge over the
pinacle of the learning curve hill and soften my assessment on the downward slope.
I suspect that I won't soften my harsh evaluation much. The prospect of my becoming
a raving fan of FCPX appears pretty slim.
Principal photography for the "DTG Podcast 1112-10 The Story of My Life"
began Tuesday evening. I shot Wednesday evening, as well.
There's probably a little more than an hour of aggregate footage thus far. Whether
that will all be relegated to B-roll is not known just yet. These podcasts have
very much of a documentary approach and flavor, so often I must see what all I have
before I know how to tell the story.
And do I need to state that this is a
Final Cut Express 4
project? It was already going to be, as I stated in another blog entry, simply
because I knew I would not be proficient enough in FCPX to edit well. Now, of
course, there's some kind of high likelihood that no DTG podcast will ever
be the end product of FCPX.
With my show producer's hat on, I'm about to arrange a brief production meeting. I
need to start attending to finances, too. I need to also start getting bios and
headshots, yadda, yadda......
Jeff Sams (Alvin Kelby) & Scott Knisley (Thomas Weaver)
What managed to get me to this local, very convenient art event, that I am close to
ashamed to confess I may not have otherwise attended, is that a workplace colleague,
is a member of the Midwest Paint Group
and had several pieces in the exhibit.
How "local" and "convenient" was it? My day job (the rent payer)
is in the next building; the Stein is literally a two-minute walk from my desk, tops.
Same building, by-the-way, where several times a year there's great college theatre
happening that I so, so, so, too, too, too often miss!
But, about the work in the exhibit: I was most impressed with all the work. Click on
Debra's name to see some samples of her work, which is expressionist in style. Some
of that work was in the exhibit.
*(I've made the hyperlink for the exhibit to an article, rather than
the WSU event page, because there's less chance of the page going away
after it's outdated -- feel free to let me know if the link becomes
Sometime today I am supposed to get more word on specifics about the educational
video series shoot for Sinclair Community College I am doing this Thursday. At the
moment I have only a general, vague idea of wardrobe; I was also told I'd get the
compensation fee number today.
On another note, I have already received the actor's fee check for the
U.D. Law Mock Trail Sequence and the
Trail Practice Class exercise. I mention it because I did not expect it until
perhaps late May, maybe even June.
Since, as almost all my actor's compensation has been and will be, it is as an
independent contractor, and no withholding was taken out, I have dropped 30% into
my Money Market Account -- set up specifically for this purpose -- along with the
30% for the voice work I did for Audio-Rabius in January, because I did not put
that in at the time. At this moment, all my record keeping and personal withholdings
as an actor for this year are up to date
-- *see next.
2012 ACTOR'S INCOME & EXPENSES + :
This weekend I played catchup on recording income (not very much), expenses, and
mileage for this year for professional acting related events as well as for all my
other acting and theatre related volunteer work (which means mileage). Now, the
idea is to, as I used to do, enter every item as it comes up so there's no more
"playing catchup" necessary.
FINAL CUT PRO X FOLLOW-UP:
Friday afternoon I contacted Apple through an iTunes customer service on-line form
and requested my money back for all of
Final Cut Pro X,
Compressor 4, and
also Motion 5. I got a
response back not soon after that there would be a refund in five to ten business
days posted to my credit card account.
However, over the weekend I was encouraged to at least struggle through the learning
curve period before uninstalling the software. So, yesterday I sent another message
to cancel the refund. But I did still give some critical feedback.
I wrote that the interface is far too different from previous versions and it was
unnecessary to make it so drastically different except to feed the egos of those
who wrote the new version. I said it appears there are fewer tools on the arsenal
such as transitions and generators -- there used to be a very rich array and now
there appear to be much fewer, and what there is really not much of a menu for pro
editing and that for a "professional" editor that makes absolutely no
sense. I added that the old way of adjusting sound was much more intuitive as well.
Further I wrote:
If Apple and your developers are not aware, you need to be aware that many
loyal Final Cut users are now looking at Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere.
I am telling you it is wide spread. FCPX is getting trashed and bad-mouthed
quite widely. I would suggest that v.11, or even the updates of X fall back to
something with the libraries and functionality of legacy FC, and maybe something
closer to the old interface. This new magnet feature and the video analyses is a
good idea. but most of the rest of the ill-labelled "enhancements" are
driving loyal users away. If the FC developers don't take notice, Final Cut will
be known as has-been software. It's falling out of favor and there is no one to
blame but those who made the bad decisions to make it more like iMovie and less
like a premium DV movie editor.
About canceling the refund, I also wrote that if I end up not warming up to the
software, so be it, but if I don't warm up, it's not likely the next version of
Final Cut is in my future unless the developers wise up. I suggested that if a new
version does return to former glory that Apple best pull out all the stops if they
want to win back those who have been alienated.
In other words, that message was much like my rant here on Friday.
Whereas, neither may be the most fabulous product out there, I really ought to be
sending out both my finished shorts as submissions to film festivals.
In the past month alone I have received twenty-one FYI emails from
without a box about forthcoming festivals.
I'm sure not all of these festivals are viable options for me, but I have not even
opened any of the emails yet to see if any might be magically perfect. The emails
keep coming, too. So eventually coming across films fests that are good fits for one
or the other is inevitable.
I'm self-conscious about the production values; that is the crux of the matter. The
actors' work is all fabulous, but the big problem for me is mostly some of the
photography, that being my camera work as opposed to that of D.P. Fred Boomer
and second camera operator Dara Bornstein (both on Be Or Not), both who know
much better than I what they are doing.
It was once pointed out to me that telling a story well can often trump production
values, that some really pretty movies have no substance. Still, there are some
visual problems in my movies that bother me, especially in Be Or Not, despite
that the work from Natasha and Craig is excellent.
On the other hand, both works really deserve to be submitted. What's right about
them both outweigh any shortcomings. I need to get over myself and put them out
The shoot yesterday went quite well. I had the privilege of working the scene with
Bryant Bentley, who played Caesar
in the recent HRTC production of
Gem of the Ocean,
so, "theoretically" we almost worked together before. Our part was
wrapped ahead of schedule, which I am sure pleased the production team. Several
shots were done in one take and I don't think any went over four (maybe five).
By 12:45, Bryant and I were getting in our cars. I could have then actually
went into the office at the
rent-payer, but elected to not.
Though, due to being off sick from that job on Wednesday, and time I have to spend
this afternoon waiting for the cable repairman, my vacation time for yesterday has
bloated up from 0 to probably 7.5 hours. In retrospect, I perhaps should have gone
Regardless, it was good to actually do an agent-booked acting gig after a
horribly long dry spell.
Wednesday evening, despite not feeling well, (having been home sick in bed all day),
I shot a bit more podcast footage of rehearsals in the board room office area. That
was really the last time to do that, since the rehearsals take the main stage on
Monday. It still would have been the last time I shot in there. I have more than
enough of that footage. I need main-stage rehearsal footage. Since we are doing both
dialogue and music from the show in the podcast I really want more of my rehearsal
footage to be on the back end, when the performances and the set are both more
As the producer, I am starting to gather things: info, pictures, bios. We have our
production meeting Monday evening.
And, perhaps I ought to start attending to what
money is being spent, hmm?
Check out a nice review, not a RAVE but not a pan , either:
AS THE COUNTDOWN TO "OPENING NIGHT" TICKS -- REHEARSALS,
THE PODCAST, AND SET CONSTRUCTION:
The show opens in eighteen days. Including tonight, there are fifteen scheduled
rehearsals left before the show opens. Mr. Knisley & Mr. Sams are up to the
task -- no worries.
Grandiose, self-important Producer dork has scheduled a brief --
-- production meeting this eve, before the rehearsal. It shall be a quick gathering
to be sure all ducks are in a row, or to facilitate making it easy to get such later.
Producer did spend the weekend getting what I would call the
"third-millennium paperwork" finished, i.e.: mostly meaning the different
sheets in the Excel workbook up-to-date. Tonight I'll plug in some numbers on the
budget sheet, I am sure. I'll likely be unhappy as the result, too.
I have as much pre-set for post-production editing of the podcast as I can. Though
I have some mixing to do on the underscore music. The habit for over a year now has
been to go to D.A.W.N. Music and purchase
some royalty free music that fits the needs of the podcast -- thanks to the tip
about the site and service from
Peter Wine. This
time I'm going another route. Since
Bartram and Hill
granted permission to use the music from the show in the podcast, I am going to use
the piano accompaniment of the show's music, which we recorded so our actors could
rehearse the songs on their own. I'm going to tie a few of the songs together to
run low, underneath, (as the underscore music is always used in these DV movie
podcasts), in the spots where we don't see and hear the actors actually singing
moments* from a song in the forefront.
*I will not be placing any whole song or large continuous portion of a song,
with the vocal included, in the podcast; that would absolutely be an abuse of Mr.
Bartram's and Mr. Hill's generosity.
I'll shoot tonight, since I'll be there, anyway. Not sure I shoot again this week. I
may shoot set construction this coming weekend, as I have occasionally done for
other podcasts, as B-roll.
Which brings us to another item: Our set designer
only has one weekend, this coming weekend, to work on the set. Tech Sunday is
Sunday, May 27. Beyond that fast-approaching date, Greg also can't work on the set
the previous day, so set must already be done. The set will not be a major,
elaborate set, but the more who can help, the better. Certainly as many as can be
there this weekend, the merrier it will be. The times this weekend will be about
11:00 Saturday morning then about 10:00 Sunday morning until mid to late afternoon
both days -- (maybe later). Greg also will be working during this week (starting
today), and anyone who can drop by........
If you want to help out with set construction, that would be great. If you know Greg,
you can call him or email him about when he's working during the week; if you don't
know him well enough to have contact info, email me here and I'll forward your email
on to him.
YESTERDAY'S CLOSING PERFORMANCE OF DIVIDING THE ESTATE:
Finally actually sat in the audience to see the show, yesterday. I seem to have a
habit of picking the closing Sunday since I try to be there for
strike for our shows, if I can.
The production was pretty entertaining with a lot of very good performances.
Congratulations to the cast (in alphabetical order): Claire Alemdar, Geoff
Burkman, Tori Easterling Doby, Lori Grissom, Julie Hauwiller, Franklin Johnson,
Barbara Jorgensen, Wendi Michael, Lolita Price, Burnadette Rose, Jeff Sams, Gayle
Smith, and Greg Smith; congratulations to Director
What's really great about this production us that just shy of half the cast
members made their debut on the Guild stage, and one other, Gayle Smith, returned
after a long absence.
Greg Smith needed to get started on set construction for The
Story of My Life after Dividing the Estate closed
yesterday. After the set strike for Dividing he got some
preliminary set-up work done. The sooner we could get the
Story set started, the better. Here are some pics of the
Scott Knisley & Jeff Sams, helping tear down this set
to make room for their set for Thomas & Alvin in The
Story of My Life.
Saturday I migrated the sound files for the sound design for Stephen Temperley's
Souvenir into Windows 7 in my Fusion virtual machine where they are now
ready to be used in the
Show Cue Systems software. You may know
I originally designed the Souvenir sound for our
DTG production earlier this season.
Director Saul Caplan has arranged to
take the production -- pretty much in tact -- to the
Brookville Community Theatre
for a July mounting. As I have previously said, I won't be running the sound myself,
and there's a need to find a laptop that SCS can be temporarily installed on for
the execution of the show. I haven't programmed the cues yet, but will soon.
After an initial visceral bad reaction to this mediocre de-evolution of a once fine
piece of movie editing software, I have reconsidered and communicated to Apple that
I was going to give the program another chance, and to cancel my refund. However,
I didn't seem to get to them in time. The refund was still credited and for all of
Final Cut Pro X, Compressor 4,
and Motion 5. I feel no
obligation to uninstall them, however. I was most timely in getting back about my
change of heart, so this is on them.
AND in other discouraging news, I have, through new avenues,
received FYI's about the auditions for two short films.
The two I've done screentests for in the last month.
This suggests the directors have not seen what -- or much of what -- they are
Meanwhile, The Dayton Playhouse's FutureFest 2012
auditions are coming up the first weekend of June. I know nothing at the moment
about any of the plays, but then, I didn't last summer, either, even the day I
auditioned. I do know that the weekend passes go on sale later this week.
Either way, I will be at The Dayton Playhouse July 27-29.
Reneé Franck-Reed, Becky Childs, Scott Knisley
(Thomas) & Jeff Sams (Alvin) workshop some songs last
Mr. Producer Dork -- TWENTY-MINUTE PRODUCTION
MEETING, BABY! I'm tellin' ya: "30 minutes
or less or the pizza is free!" Okay, yeah well there was no pizza, but
the meeting was no longer than it needed to be.
It was loose but productive and I am most happy about a particular budgetary
discovery revealed -- not going to go into detail but as producer I am pleased as
pleased can be that several hundred dollars will not apply to the creative budget
Self-impressed Podcast Guy -- The
rehearsal last night was virtually all musical woodshedding, with the two actors
working with Musical Director Reneé Franck-Reed and accompanist Becky Childs.
I did shoot footage but not a large amount. Certainly a few moments of this type of
work is good material for the podcast.
I shot a total of about twenty minutes but lost the first five or so. The first
minutes would not track when importing into
Final Cut Express,
which was a problem I ran into with a few minutes of footage shot last week, as well.
My best guess is that it is because I re-used some video tape mini-cassettes, which
I had "erased" by recording over the original video information. I did so
recording over the whole span of the hour-long, used tape with the shutter closed
and a jack in the mic insert, this gives me black video and blank audio. This
isn't a new practice on my part, but I have never had this event of video that won't
track right and import from the camera to the computer before.
Though it's never happened before, I still believe it is the result of re-using the
tape, rather than being a mechanical problem with the camera, since these two
separate occurrences of the same problem have been with two different DV camcorders.
Clearly, it's wise to go back to the practice of only recording once on a cassette,
then retiring it.
Tonight I drop in to shoot with a fresh cassette tape in the carriage.
"Designer" -- there's one sound effect that shows up five times in
the script. That will not be a problem. It's the door chime in the book store that
rings when a customer comes in or leaves. I'll be using a sound file I have of a
bicycle bell, which I will slightly edit and process.
Beyond that all that is needed is pre-show and intermission music. That will be a
mixture of ballads from other musicals, adult contemporary pop songs, and standards.
Some of this music I have, the rest will be easy to get.
This will be kind of a rant, maybe a "rant lite." I saw a promotional
email today about a forthcoming event featuring a local artist in a particular genre
that touted him by saying he "has put Dayton on the creative map."
I must assume that wording was an unfortunate, and I hope, unintentional,
misstatement. This man is a fine artists at his craft, and certainly one of the many
artists from the Dayton Community who continue to keep the area on the artistic map
-- but Dayton and the Dayton area's placement on the artistic map goes back long
before this man ever began his artistic endeavors, and he is only one of many local
artists of all genres, from novelists to song writers and musicians through actors
and film makers, painters, ad infinitum (some with international acclaim) who made
amazing contributions to their disciplines. Some did so int distant past.
A lot of great art from all aspects of the spectrum has came and continues to come
from the local artistic cannon and has kept, and still keeps, Dayton and its
environs a vital stopping point on that "creative map."
It just bothers me very much when all the credit for Dayton's artistic recognition
goes to any one artist, no matter who, and I had to make a statement about it.
So rehearsals are just on the brink of the last stretch before
Tech Week. Next Sunday is
We started work on the set this past Saturday. Actually, that's not exactly correct.
The major push started Saturday; some preliminary work was done prior to
that. But over the course of this past weekend we got the bulk of the work done,
though there's still work to do.
Unfortunately I took the publicity photos last Friday evening. It's not unfortunate
that they were taken but several aspects are unfortunate:
I am not a "world-class photographer," to say the least, for one
My little cybershot, though not a bad camera, just does not have the
capabilities to get great shots under the lighting in the theatre. We did not
have the stage lighting on, and shot with the work lights and the house lights
on. I tried using the flash once and got really sepia-toned pics that I know from
experience cannot be color-corrected well. I played with the color and the
contrast of the pictures, but I am still, personally dissatisfied with the pics
in general. Our house photographer, Craig Roberts was unable to be there Friday
so it was left to me and my various handicaps.
The set behind them was barely there and it's really a background that is
clutter and theatre junk. So the environment of the photos is not terribly
But the pics needed shot so Publicity could have access over the weekend to start
getting them out.
I also took some other photos to be used as part of a conceptual design for the
production's lobby poster. Those pictures suffer from the same maladies as the
publicity shots. In fact, I am skeptical that our graphics designer, Wendi Michael,
will be able to successfully use them for the intended purpose.
For all intents and purposes, sound design for this show is done. Scott Knisley
(Thomas, in the show) has a home recording studio, so last week two young boys
went there to do voice overs of young Thomas and Alvin for a sound cue at the
top of the show. That was engineered by Scott, though I did a slight amount of
tweaking, for pacing, mostly. I also threw in a little stereo pan so one kid's
voice will favor stage left and the other stage right.
There are five other sound cues, though they are all the same sound: the bookstore
doorbell. It took a little bit of searching to find the ring that was appropriate to
our needs, but I finally found it on my third visit to
SoundRangers, that particular visit being
Saturday evening during rehearsal. Technically, the sound file, in its raw form, is
titled "dinner bell 03," yet it still has the exact characteristics we
need for our store door bell. I did add just a slight amount of reverb to it
because the original cuts off far too abruptly.
I also have a couple-hours-worth of pre-show music, about twenty-five or thirty
minutes of intermission music, both set to random play so each will be a different
play list for each show. Of course, pre-show will be only thirty minutes, and
intermission will be theoretically fifteen minutes (though more probably about
eighteen to twenty minutes). So, with both set up at random play, there will be a
pretty unique play list for each performance of the show, especially the pre-show
music which has a large pool of songs to pull from. Pretty much how I like to do
both these incidental music spots for all the shows I design.
The sound design is programed into
Show Cue Systems. I finished it off
Saturday night at the theatre. Of course, there will be some volume level
adjustments made, but there's not much to adjust.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, podcast shooting is going well, though I've slowed
down for a bit. I did shoot some set construction footage over the weekend as I'd
planned, but not a significant amount of more rehearsal footage. At this point what
I need, as I've indicated before, is the more polished rehearsal performances, what
I'll get the Monday and Tuesday evening of Tech Week. Between now and then my other
big need is the interview footage, and I need to decide post haste who all I want
for that. It could be as many as six people.
The agency called earlier today about an
audition Wednesday at a Holiday Inn in Cincinnati. It's for a commercial and it's a
gig that seems to pay reasonably well. There's a callback next Thursday, which will
cause a conflict for me as I have a luncheon date at the rent-payer to help send off
both my two current employees and other students, all who are graduating. But, if I
have to miss that, so be it. The shoot will one or more days in early June.
KEEPING IT UP FOR THE 2012 TAX RETURN:
Thus far I have been keeping on top of recording mileage and expenses both for
professional acting and for my theatre volunteerism.
So, I shall at least be
for this year's festival.
I bought a weekend pass last Wednesday.
As to whether I will be
for one show, remains to be seen.
Rehearsals, sound design, and the podcast shoots are all coming along. Sound design
is, again, essentially done, save for volume tweaks and the rehearsals are growing
toward that golden polished point.
This weekend through Tuesday I finish principle photography on the podcast. I have
a two-camera interview with our principles slated for sometime during Tech Sunday.
I've elected to only also get comments from Director Debra Kent, rather than
expanding it to other production team folk.
Since Monday is Memorial Day and I'm off from
the rent-payer, I will edit the
podcast DV movie as much as I can. I'll have the interviews and all the b-roll.
Monday and Tuesday evening will be when I get the better performance footage, as
these are both tech/dress rehearsals. Then, wit any luck, my vacation day on
Wednesday will be just about inserting that footage, dropping in the underscore
music and finishing up all the titles and the credit roll; those last two items may
be greatly dealt with on Monday.
Scott Knisley (Thomas) in rehearsal this past Monday night.
Jeff Sams (Alvin) at the same rehearsal.
View from the sound tech's side of the booth, during
rehearsal on Tuesday night.
The Commercial Audition Yesterday -- This one went well
enough, I think. At least I didn't leave feeling lousy about it. This is one of those
cases where I did go "in costume," at the specific direction of
Peter at PC-Goenner Talent Agency. I went
dressed as a doctor, in a white lab coat, blue shirt and dark blue tie, my stage eye
glasses (no lenses) that I first used as Dr. Mayberry for my horrible work in
I Never Sang for My Father
at The Guild back in 2006. I brought
a stethoscope with me yesterday, too. The lab coat and the stethoscope were
specified by Peter, the shirt and tie were simply logical, and the glasses were an
accessory that I figured would work. The director had me do takes with and without
the glasses and decided he liked it better with them. So, good call on my part, I
guess, to bring them.
I saw several other actors I've worked with on stage, seen a lot at auditions, and
in one case had an acting class with; all of them were in a white lab coast with a
stethoscope, too. At one point there must have five of us in the waiting room, all
clearly going after the same role.
The call back will be next Thursday. I borrowed the lab coat and the prop. I'm
keeping them a little while just in case.
This probably means nothing to anyone but me, and it doesn't mean all that much to
me, but, I had thought this audition took place in a Holiday Inn I'd never been to,
since it was identified to me initially as "The Riverfront Holiday Inn in
Cincinnati." It turns out it was actually the Holiday Inn across the Ohio River
in Covington, Kentucky, where I have auditioned several previous times, all of them,
including this one, for Clover Casting.
Clover is who placed me on the set of Clooney's
The Ides of March.
The Zoot Theatre Company
-- The general company auditions for the 2012/13 season for this most interesting
theatre group are Saturday, June 16. I've made an appointment for the afternoon.
The audition calls for the actor to do a one-minute monologue with a puppet (which
Zoot will provided at the audition if need be) and then a one-minute non-speaking
movement piece (be it dance, pantomime or other non-verbal), something that tells a
story without using words. This is all virgin snow for me, which is good and, of
course, a little intimidating.
Stretching the envelope,
broadening the horizon, adding to the tool box, (insert
another cliché here), that IS part of the game I want to
I think I know what monologue I'm using; it's one I found a few years ago but have
only been able to employ once in an audition, (a screentest back when my agency was
still Roof-Goenner). My first thought was to simply show up and have Zoot provide me
with a puppet and the wing the monologue using an approach and a character voice
based on what I feel about the puppet and the character it suggests. Another actor
who has an appointment, and who also has done no puppet work, expressed that he is
definitely finding a puppet and working with it beforehand, and I believe I am
becoming inclined toward that route myself.
I think I have an idea for my movement piece, too. Personally, that is the more
intimidating part of the audition. Yes, performing with a puppet is an unknown for
me, and I know that my skill will be green, green, green, but you five people who
follow this blog know how dissatisfied I am with my movement on stage, in general,
so that's the part about which I feel the stronger risk. Oh well.
Meanwhile, I've made a cursory start at finding a puppet to borrow, rent or buy to
begin my prep work.
A problem, however, is that The Hobbit, which runs mid-autumn may be the
best fit for me, and I have my eyes fixed squarely on
at The Guild, up just a few weeks earlier, which would be a definite schedule
conflict. On the other hand: what do I know about what fits me best in a
puppet/mask theatre troupe?
AFTERNOON ADDENDUM: I meant to put this point in, but
left the writing for a while and when I came back I let it slip my mind. That point
being that there is no reason to pretend my pending callback for
at HRTC does not somewhat factor in
to my decision to audition for Zoot. However, I will assert that I have been
interested in doing a Zoot show for a while; AQ simply is the final nudge.
FutureFest 2012 -- The auditions for this are coming up.
I am not wholly sure at the moment if I will be auditioning for the festival this
Of course, I will be there for the weekend, but it's still open as to whether I am
on stage at any point -- and, that would be true even if I do audition, I realize.
Opus at DTG -- In mid-July the auditions for our
2012/13 season opener will be held. I have every intention of being there.
Today is Tech Sunday. Should be a relatively easy day for me.
Sound will be a synch.
I will shoot the interviews and some other footage for the podcast. As already
stated, Monday and Tuesday will be when I get the meat of the rehearsal footage I
want to feature. I do plan on editing a lot of what can be edited, during the day
on Monday, at the apartment. I'll finish off the editing Wednesday, and hope to
have the final cut posted Wednesday evening or Thursday morning.
I wanted to at least get the sequence of sounds and sound stops programed. Volume
levels, at least the final designations, will have to happen at the theatre.
Tomorrow, I can spend some of the day on the sequence programming.
"GREEN" WOULD BE GIVING ME CREDIT:
Friday night I watched a public access show called Viewfinder, from Cincy,
hosted by a film maker named
Zo Wesson. The subject was the
The Ides of March.
The guests were
Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission
and two locally-based grips,
Jeff Fisher and
Brandon Cundiff. It was cool to
hear a couple references to the Hollywood crew of Ides, like the chief
Rafael E. Sánchez, whom I
remember from my two days on the Ides set at the Miami U. shoot. Since he was
who worked the most with me in my stand-in work he's one of the folk I remember the
most, aside from the principal actors, and the amazing First A.D.
David J. Webb. When they were
speaking of how Raphael is a giant, the guy is tall and hefty, I was able to say,
"yes, indeed, the guy's Goliath!" Pretty cool to be able to hear them
talk about a major pro from the movie industry, to be able to hear them comment on
how nice the movie crew in general was to everyone, and be able to shake my head and
honestly verify they speak the truth.
But, aside from the talk of that project, they were referencing the technical
aspects of making movies (in the big people's arena) and I realized that in all
reality I know almost nothing about the intricate, involved process of making movies.
I'm having a difficult time not feeling like a delusional joke.
Yesterday was such a nice day out in my little neck of the woods that I
decided to not take anything like a direct route to the theatre. Here's
some indication of the route I took:
KUDOS TO SCOTT, JEFF AND THE STORY OF MY LIFE PRODUCTION CREW
FOR A VERY PRODUCTIVE TECH/DRESS REHEARSAL LAST NIGHT!:
To quote Music Director Reneé Franck-Reed, "I think we have a
The actors actually ended up with most of the weekend off, or at least Saturday and
Sunday. We decided they would not be necessary on Tech Sunday,
that we could get what we needed with a simple dry tech.
So Jeff and Scott got both Saturday and Sunday away from the Guild. And it seems
they needed it. I wasn't there Friday, but my understanding is that Friday was the
"rehearsal from hell" night -- every production has that one. But,
apparently, between being mindful of that dog and the two days off, they kicked
some serios ass at the rehearsal last night!
This thing is beginning to rapidly gell into the show we all knew we had.
As for podcast production, since the cast was not there Sunday I did not get the
commentary portion shot. Last night there was bit of a rush to get a lot done so I
postponed the commentary interviews until tonight. I did shoot just shy of the first
forty minutes of the show and will again tonight, from a different angle. That's
what I'm using for in-front performance footage. I don't see any reason to go
deeper into the show; as I already wrote, I will not be using anything close to
all of any song, either. I actually think
Bartram and Hill
would not object if I did, but still to me that's an abuse of their generosity and
in some ways a sort of spoiler in its own right.
Tomorrow is still the full-on edit until final cut day, though I have already
put together the opening splash and 99% of the closing credits. And today I got a
really cool graphic -- a slight redesign of the show logo (for the lobby poster) --
that is most certainly going in after the closing credits.
So stay tuned for the podcast.
Jeff Sams (Alvin) & Scott Knisley (Thomas) in last night's most
productive tech/dress rehearsal. Also pictured, Accompanist
Raymonde Nicely Rougier.
In basic raw fashion, I have the Souvenir sound design programmed into
Show Cue Systems, for the July
Brookville Community Theatre.
I have all the sound cues in the show file and in correct order, but I have also
put in a few fade-out commands that I don't remember whether are needed or not. At
the moment I don't have access to the sound design copy of the script; it's packed
in box with some other theatre related things, done so when I recently moved from my
old apartment. For reasons I won't detail here, I have not really unpacked and
settled in to the new place, yet; a factor I didn't know about when I was packing.
So between digging out and looking at the actual script to see such things as whether
a sound file (audience applause in every case) is run till the end or faded on a
cue, and the need to be in the Brookville space with the show running off the computer
that will be used, so I can program in proper sound levels, this programming has gone
as far as it can at the moment.
On the way toward good news: an agent from
PC-Goenner called yesterday to let me know
I have a callback from Clover Casting
for that commercial which I went to Covington, KY to do the first audition last
week. I go back tomorrow afternoon.
Good thing I kept the borrowed lab coat and the stethoscope.
Rehearsal is swimming along very well. All the elements are coming
together and the show will be a damn good send-off for the 2011/2012
And the podcast should (SHOULD) be finished today.
Jeff Sams & Scott Knisley during last night's rehearsal.
Scott & Jeff again last night. No, I'm not going to
reveal what the heck they're doing in this moment from the
show. You gotta come see it to find out.
Transferring the last of the production footage from the
Final Cut Express,
last night, for today's major push toward THE final
cut of the podcast.
The Laramie Project
at Sinclair Community College
-- Bought a ticket Saturday afternoon for the Saturday evening performance of this
production. At the time I had a slightly nagging lower back ache. As the afternoon
progressed it started to be more than a nuisance and about the time I should have
been getting ready to leave, the thought of sitting in a theatre seat, even the
rather comfortable seats in SCC's Blair Hall, for two hours was not very inviting.
So I guess I donated $16 to the SCC Theatre program.
at The Human Race Theatre Company
-- So tonight is "Can Night" at The Race; for those who don't
know what that is, and I'm betting most of you five do, it's the Final Dress
rehearsal that is opened for an audience with the admission being a donation of
cans of food or of money, which all go to local food pantries and other charitable
organizations. I forget which ones exactly. My goal is to have the final cut of the
Story podcast done in time to get down town and be in line for a good seat.
If not, well, okay, I spend the $30+ later to see this one.
Yes, that's right, as producer I am planning to miss the second to the last
tech/dress of Story. If the podcast final cut isn't done, I'm missing it
anyway, as well as Band Geeks.
The callback for the commercial seemed to go okay, and seemed to be a good audition.
My scene mate happened to be
Bryant Bentley, whom I just
worked with on the Sinclair Community College
industrial a few weeks back, and who, of course, was Caesar in
Gem of the Ocean
at The Human Race Theatre Company. I
think we both gave them what they asked, even took it more subtle when that was the
direction. All the people back there at that table behind the camera seemed to like
the work they saw. So, now, the wait. But it won't be much of one. In fact, since
the shoot is this coming week, there's some chance that I am not cast or I would
have heard already.
GREAT OPENING NIGHT!:
I'm sorry to say the audience was rather small last night. Nevertheless, Scott and
Jeff gave strong opening night performances and the audiences was very -- and
rightfully -- impressed.
As I finish this blog entry up, the sophomore performance is underway, so those who
live in the Dayton area, or close enough to travel here, you have seven more chances
to see a fine production. It's worth the ticket and your time!
According to the audition specs for the commercial for which I had the callback last
Thursday, the wardrobe fitting is scheduled for today in Cincinnati. As the time is
on its way to noon as I write this, I'm thinking I have not been cast. The shoot is
to be one or more days from this Wednesday through Friday.
Does the above make it clear I acquiesced to my inclination to go for stage work
rather than divert my attention toward other artistic ventures which I claim to have
a passion? Yes, indeed I have done such.
I did, indeed, audition last night for FutureFest 2012.
Last night was the final auditions for the three fully staged shows, A Political
Woman, Curve, and This Rough Magic. Though I was truly only
interested in Curve, and mostly that's still true, I did read for the other
two plays when called by the respective directors -- despite that I indicated my
limited interest on the audition form.
The staged readings have their second auditions tonight and I am not going. I'm not
as endeared with staged reading as I am fully staged work, and really, I'm sort of
hedging my bets toward that theoretical time to work on the other projects -- such
as a full-length movie that needs editing and the mixing of a music album that was
recorded in the 1980's. If I'd stuck to my guns I would not have read for anything
but Curve last night, but I did read for the others, so I guess I've made
myself fair game for those. I will be somewhat disappointed if I don't get what I
was actually shooting for, however.
The "Cold Read" part was as interesting and comfort-challenging as
always. Beyond the silly-assed faux pox mentioned in the facebook post I quote
above, there was that inevitable factor of getting half-way through, or all the way
through, a line and realizing I was giving an incorrect reading. The important
thing was to make the appropriate adjustment from the point of realization forward.
As I discussed with one of the other actors after we were dismissed from the
audition, I also often have a difficult time getting to the natural delivery in a
cold read, especially when there is some obvious character work called for. My only
solace is that two of the three directors (Jim Lockwood and Cynthia Karns) should be
familiar enough with my work to know I will get to authenticity during the rehearsal
process. And the third director (Gayle Smith) happened to have me read a character
where I found a natural reading easy.
So, we'll see whether I sit in the audience for all six shows or miss at least one,
maybe two -- as in: miss the one I am on stage for, and possibly another because I
have that last rehearsal to attend while this other show is on stage, which happened
*The playwrights' names are currently unavailable since the
festival adjudicators have not yet made their initial rankings
As for that commercial, the writing is now most clearly on the wall:
Larry Coressel interviewed
Director Debra Kent for today's edition of WDPR's ArtsFocus concerning the
production. The segment was first broadcasted this morning at 7:55 and will be
re-broadcasted at 4:55 this afternoon. As well, at some point today the segment
will be available to hear on-line at
FutureFest 2012 -- It's
only a little past noon as I post this and the final auditions were only last night,
so it may be premature to give up the ghost on being cast in one of the shows. I got
the idea from a fb post last night by one of the other actors that he had been cast,
but he did not specifically indicate such, so I may be guessing wrongly. Certainly
by Friday I'll know whether I miss one or more performances from my seat in the
The Zoot Theatre Company
2012/2013 Season Audition -- I have yet to get hold of a puppet to use for
the puppet monologue portion of the June 16 audition. I have picked the monologue,
as I believe I already wrote; it'll be from
A Separate Peace.
It's been several years back that I picked this particular monologue and I have
only used it once, for a commercial audition back when Jim Payne and Marsha Roof
still owned and ran Roof-Goenner Talent Agency -- before Peter Condopoulos took over
the franchise and it became PC-Goenner. But
the monologue will lend itself to many different character readings and
interpretations, so it is a good fit for this more unique and stylized audition.
Now all I need is to find the puppet.
Prepping for Opus Auditions -- Have yet to read
this play for the July 16 & 17 auditions, but it's on the short list. I haven't
been on The Guild stage since
Were she alive, my mother would be Ninety-Five years old today.
Happy birthday, Mom
The Zoot Theatre Company
Audition -- Headin' out after work to Toys R Us to see if I can get a decent,
reasonably-priced puppet for next Saturday.
FutureFest 2012 -- It's
Friday afternoon and I have not been contacted about any role. I must assume that I
will not be on stage at this year's festival.
So, no excuses for not working on some of them "other" artistic
REVIEWS AND OTHER PR:
Next Tuesday, Scott Knisley and Reneé Franck-Reed will appear on
WDTN Channel 2's Living Dayton
program, at noon, to promote the show. I will provide some performance footage from
Tech Week and I'll edit and render some files this weekend to that end.
As many already know, the wonderful character actress
Kathryn Joosten died on
Saturday, June 2. Like many others, I remember her best from
The West Wing
where she was The President's personal secretary, Doris Landingham. Joosten's
performance as Mrs. Landingham painted an excellent character, warm but
practical, kind but not suffering fools and more importantly, not suffering
foolishness, even from the chief White House staff members. I must admit,
having never seen even one episode of
I didn't see her work on that hit show, but I risk the wrath of DHW
fans to say that Mrs. Landingham may have been the role of Joosten's
lifetime, though I loved all her work that I saw. Her recurring role on
Dharma & Greg
was funny, as were her many other guest appearances on other sitcoms, and
her dramatic guest appearances on TV dramas were always good work, as well.
Kathryn began acting in community theater in 1982, at age forty-two, in
Lake Forrest, Illinois, a suberb of Chicago. On the bio page at her website
(kathrynjoosten.com) it says,
"Kathryn never forgot the anger and bitterness her mother expressed on
her death bed for having put aside dreams and plans for the future that
would never be. After a few successes at Community Theater, Kathryn decided
to see if she could follow her dream."
Of course, she appeared in the first two seasons of The West Wing,
with two more appearances as a guest in flashback segments after Mrs.
Landingham's death at the end of Season 2. Since she left The West
Wing her already burgeoning career became even hotter, with some of the
credits I've already listed above and eventually her role on Desperate
Housewives, as well as full-length features, including
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel;
and, of course, a whole lot of other credits I've not listed.
The point of this abridged recounting of Ms. Joosten's career success is
essentially that which is illustrated in the graphic above. When I heard
over last weekend that she had passed from this world, I had intended to do
my occasional thing of creating a memorial image to post here -- and, the
last few years, on facebook, too -- but I became preoccupied with other
things and did not get to it. A few days ago, another local theatre person
(actor, etc) re-posted the image above to facebook, and since it was creative
commons, and since I would not be able to improve upon the elegant import of
the message, I figured, what the hell, let's just share that image; I can't
get much more poignant than its message, anyway.
For me, the message hits close. Having returned to acting at forty-five,
after over a quarter century away from the craft, going several years after
that without any bone fide professional credits, and not making it onto an
Equity stage until I was
fifty-three, I find great solace in the points the image makes about
Joosten. There is an apocryphal story that may be moldy, dusty, stale and
tired to many, but still demonstrates the point here with acuity.
The story says that a man went to a wise friend and said, "You
know, I've been thinking a lot lately about going to medical school,
but with all the pre-med, the medical school itself and the
residency, I'll be almost fifty before I'd actually become a board
The friend thoughtfully sat for a moment, then said, "Well,
how old will you be then if you don't go through pre-med, go
to medical school, do your residency, and take the medical boards?"
Often I suffer great doubt about this whole game of entering into acting in
middle age. "Returning" is a luxurious word to use after having
been away from May 1977 -- my high school senior musical, A Funny Thing
Happened on the Way to the Forum -- to the start of rehearsals for
The Cripple of Inishmaan in
January of 2004 at The Guild.
Essentially, I was, indeed, "Entering" into acting at forty-five.
There's just no way to avoid the fundamental truth that by-and-large, the
game of breaking into acting as a career is predisposed to be a young
person's game; at least it is far more likely to get a break when one is
younger. The odds are already against you, even if you're twenty, gifted and
beautiful. Start adding numbers to your age and the odds tilt even further
the other way.
Another general rule is that you have more opportunity if you are in a
show-biz hub: New York, L.A., Chicago, or the like. My theory on this rule
is that it applies more-so if you are younger. Once I had a conversation
with a SAG actor who was visiting locally and was part of the panel of an
acting seminar I attended. Though it was only his personal opinion, he told
me something that was already my own suspicion.
He said that a new actor in my age range probably has a better chance of
getting cast in a SAG project outside of the established industry towns.
If I were to go to a casting call in L.A., there will be dozens, or more,
men of my type, at my skill level, all with rich résumés, and
unless I was exceptionally brilliant, I was going to be overlooked by the
casting directors as a matter of course, simply because there would be
equally talented men that meet the type and dwarf me with experience.
He said I have a better chance of getting cast in some sort of principal
role, though most likely a smaller one, in a production shooting on location
in my local area. So far that has mostly seemed difficult, too. Most
screentests I have done for SAG films, all that have been independents, have
still seemed to have most all principal roles cast out of a major industry
hub; though I know that at least some of the smaller principal speaking
roles were local talent for
The Ides of March,
and I at least was afforded the opportunity to screentest for a small
principal role, though I did not win it.
Granted, Ms. Joosten went to Hollywood in her fifties, but she had some SAG
credits on her résumé. On the other side, I once met actor
David Dwyer, who has
appeared in over one-hundred movies (83 titles at IMDB) and has never lived
in L.A., New York, or Chicago. I can't say I have any inclination to live
in either L.A. or New York, myself, but I might be persuaded toward Chicago,
if I could ever toughen up my winter-weather tolerance. And I certainly would
commute for good work at good pay to either coast.
Of course, the argument against this concept of staying in south-west Ohio
is that of shear numbers. There are more SAG movies casting in any given
week in an industry hub city than all year where I live.
The yin and yang of it is that whichever way I look at it, often I feel
a great hopelessness about it all. Often it's: Jesus! You really think
that an average-looking, middle-aged mug like yourself can get anywhere as
an actor? You really think you have a chance to make a career of it?
Often the feeling nags under the surface -- or not so much underneath
-- that I blew my chance, it's too late.
During the late eighties and early nineties, when I finally went to college,
in my thirties, I would have this same recurring nagging sense creep into
my psyche -- Really? Just what do you think you're doing? You know how
old you'll be when you finally finish? That was when I would summon up
the medical-school-musings story. The shortcut would be for me to ask
myself, "How old will you be then if you don't?" I still need to
ask that question, sometimes on a fairly frequent basis.
Perhaps almost eight years ago I was with two other actors during the strike
of a show, The Guild's first run of Sordid Lives, I believe. We were
at the storage facility the theatre was renting at the time, dropping off
larger set pieces. One of those I was with said of all three of us, to a
sculptor leasing space next to ours, "We're all actors," and it
rather took me back a bit, to think that at that point I would be called an
"Actor." Of course, I was one. If this was indeed after the
wrap of the first Sordid Lives run, I had only been on stage once,
thus far, but it was as Johnnypat in Cripple and I certainly do
believe I proved I had the chops. If it was after the second run, I had
only a couple more credits added, but still, I had stage-cred.
I remember a smile inside myself at having been identified by another
actor as a "fellow actor." Yeah, I thought, I
AM an actor!
I'm not going to rehash the whole story of how I came back to acting in
middle age after all that time away. If you don't know the story, but for
some reason want to, you can read the first blog entries from early 2004
here, and/or read the 2003 essay,
"The Knowing In Me: the artist becomes himself."
However, I do want to touch on that almost twenty-seven-year hiatus between
Forum and Cripple. When I graduated from high school in 1977,
I was voted my class's most talented student, like my then music partner,
Rich Hisey, had been voted so the year before for his class. I also got the
Best Actor award for my performance as Psuedolus. Most people assumed I
would pursue an acting career and some supportive folk believed I would be
on TV or in movies in no time.
Why did I not pursue acting? I was seduced by Rock-&-Roll. At about
seventeen I started writing songs. By the time I graduated high school I
had partnered up with Richie and we were looking to do a sort of Hall &
Oats or Steely Dan (Fagen & Becker) thing. We did not collaborate a lot
as songwriters; mostly we wrote songs on our own. But we were definitely
artistic collaborators and we complimented each other with enough in common
musically, and enough in contrast musically to make a solid team.
I believe my plan was to become a major recording artist, then circumvent
paying my dues as an actor and move straight into lead and major supporting
roles in movies off the muscle of my....
Stardom....No EGO there!
And, well, um, yeah, I guess we all know it did not work out that way. Today
I will adamantly defend my right to have serious regrets about not going
after an acting career right after high school graduation in June, 1977.
Some say, "Oh no, don't do that. Regrets are useless."
I disagree with that. Mostly because I find those who might say such to me
to have a different concept than I of what regrets can be. It's not, I believe,
the regrets that might be useless, but one's reactions and treatment of his
or her regrets. If you focus on them in an obsessive way, or allow them to
keep you sad or in a bad vibe -- that serves no good purpose in your life.
If, on the other hand, you take the lesson they have to teach you and
implement it and use the cold hard truth that can be garnered from those
things, those actions, those moments you regret, that is another thing
The simple truth is that when I was twenty, it was viable for me to play
Romeo, and I had Lear to look forward to. Now, or in a few years, it will be
viable for me to play Lear; Romeo is off the table. I denied myself almost
three decades of experience and a big cannon of work by not pursuing the
craft when I could have. There was a place set at the table for me
thirty-some years ago, and I let the chair sit empty. I regret all this
That regret, though, I utilize in two major ways. First, I keep it and the
undeniable truth it belies in my mind and remember now to look for, try to
recognize and seize opportunities. I'll eat my meal at the table today, by
god, while the meat is still hot and the milk is still cold. I also will
share my regret with youngins whenever it seems opportune to do so. Most
may not attend to the lesson offered, but some will. So "Regret"
is not an albatross hanging around my neck, it's a useful part of who I am.
The important thing for me to remember is what's on today. I made the
mistake of not acting for twenty-seven years, but I AM acting
Today! If I give myself a lot of credit -- maybe a bit too
generously -- I am at about what can be called the sophomore level of
experience; mind you, I am talking experience, not talent and ability; I am
mostly happy with my ability as an actor, though there are a few things I
know I need to improve upon greatly. But, I am doing it, now. I am on the
path, now. It certainly is later than it could have been; I certainly am
earlier on the journey than I would have been. But I am on the damn road
heading toward the emerald city. I am acting, damn it! Isn't that the real
point? The real game?
The hard reality is that if I ever, indeed, do make it to the place where I
am a bone fide, full-time actor, working regularly on Equity stages and
SAG/AFTRA sets, I may be in my
sixties before I get there. There's something about that which is
frustrating, yet, it is the craft that is the most important thing, and I
am in the craft, right now. So, I may never be able to call myself a
full-time professional actor, or film maker, for that matter -- but that's
a whole other essay. And if I ever can, it may still be a while off.
Enter that all-important question, re-affirmed recently by the life of
OLD WILL I
BE THEN IF
Still, regardless of that poignant question, I am in the game
Toys 'R' Us, several Goodwill stores, the St. Francis Thrift Store, Meijer, Foy's
Halloween Store and a couple novelty-type stores were all a bust for a puppet. Looks
like a rush purchase on-line is my only bet if I'm going to not do cold work with a
puppet next Saturday at the audition. And I really would rather not do that
puppet work cold.
I do have a couple options at the house, but I'm trying to avoid using those.
As for the movement piece, where I must tell a story without using words, the
concept is becoming clearer to me all the time. I am excited to take that
MORE PR TOMORROW:
I have edited and made available several clips of performance footage from Tech
Week rehearsals for the producers of
Living Dayton for
the interview tomorrow at noon with Scott Knisley and Reneé Franck-Reed on
local television station WDTN. I also sent a few
photos for possible use as cut-aways.
Currently I am in prep for Saturday's audition for
The Zoot Theatre Company's 2012/13
season. I have the monologue some 90+% memorized. I have not yet started real work
on the movement piece, but I will likely start work on that tonight. and I do
have a very strong concept of what I want to do.
I spoke yesterday with someone who works parttime at the same Toys 'R' Us I went
into a few days back to look for a puppet. She said they do have muppets, so
I went back yesterday afternoon. I think there was a miscommunication; what they
have are stuffed toys of the muppets, not operational muppet puppets. So, that was a
bust, still again. I'm back to either doing cold work with a Zoot puppet on Saturday,
or utilizing one of my options I have at the apartment. I have thought of a
way to maybe augment one of those home-spun options so it's not quite as
Tinkertoy as I'm concerned it might be.
It turned out that only Music Director Reneé Franck-Reed was able to appear
on yesterday's broadcast of Living Dayton on
WDTN TV Channel 2. But she did a bang-up job
talking up the show as well as Jeff's and Scott's work.
The prep for the audition tomorrow afternoon for
The Zoot Theatre Company has
revved to full power. Wednesday night, and while hunting a few other items, I looked
for one of the puppet possibilities at the apartment. I moved recently and most of
my things are not yet unpacked, including the puppet viability I was thinking about
falling back on if I had to: that would be K.L.Shnorrer, the sock puppet I created
for Fuddy Meers, which closed the old Guild back on Salem Ave. (aka: Hinky
Binky, in the play). I did locate Shnorrer/Binky and once found, I tweaked him a bit
by adding a stick to his left hand, so I could control that. It worked but I was
still not 100% on board auditioning with a sock puppet, even one that was a tad more
elaborate than sock puppets usually are.
While doing my initial work with Shnorrer Wednesday night I found it a little more
difficult to successfully animate him while doing the monologue than I would
have guessed, which now gives me even greater trepidation about using a Zoot puppet
cold on Saturday.
There was another possibility that I investigated yesterday, and I am happy to say
it panned out. I was able to borrow a puppet from what is called
The ERC, or, Educational
Resource Center, located on campus. This is not
as elaborate a puppet as what Zoot builds and uses, but it is better than a sock
puppet, even K.L. Shnorrer. It also has a stick for the left hand/(arm) so the
principle for operating it will be the same as with Shnorrer.
I have had to adjust the vernacular of the monologue a little bit; the
original vocabulary and idioms are very British, and such British language use,
even without a British dialect, just doesn't fit the puppet I'm using. So, the
message is the same, but I've tweaked the language a little.
Last night I switched off between rehearsing the monologue with the puppet and
rehearsing the movement piece, that which requires the auditioning actor to tell a
story without words. I'm "relatively" happy with both, though the puppet
work is much more iffy.
Am I ready for tomorrow: Meh. I want to think so; I think probably yes, but I have
some concerns -- which is the way it ought to be: keeps me on my toes.
* By-the-way, just to set the record straight, it was
the director of Fuddy Meers, who named the sock puppet K.L. Shnorrer.
He even wrote a faux bio for Mr. Shnorrer for the program playbill.
This past Monday evening there was a basic line/sing through rehearsal of
Souvenir, in preparation for the July re-mounting of the show at
Brookville Community Theatre.
We met in the home of Chuck Larkowski (in the role of Cosmé McMoon). I did
bring my laptop and fired up
in VMware Fusion 4
to run the sound design in Show Cue Systems,
but I did not have my script with the sound cues, so mostly I ran nothing. I did
try to run a couple cues, but I kept forgetting to make the window with SCS in it
active, so the cues did not play when I hit the space bar. Won't be an issue when
the show is actually up.
A computer to run the show has not been located yet, but there are a couple lines
At the same time that I was looking for Hinky Binky (K.L. Shnorrer) in the mountain
of boxes in the living room of my apartment, later ion the week, I also looked for
the script with said sound cues noted. I successfully found this, too. At least
I don't have to reinvent the wheel, as it were.
The Tech Rehearsal is June 29, at Brookville. I don't know that I need to be at
any rehearsals before then, though I might be. The production staff needs to find
that computer for me to do a temp install of SCS so the sound tech run the show,
and I hope that search is finished sooner, rather than later.
Two shots from this past Friday night: the show before the
unscheduled hiatus night.
NICE RUN FOR A GOOD SHOW WITH GREAT PERFORMANCES!:
First, let's talk about last night....
After my audition for Zoot -- *(see below) -- I went back to the Guild to
hang out and was actually going to at least the start the blog entry about the
audition. So, I set my laptop up and was about to start writing the entry. At this
point there was a torrential downpour going on outside, with lightning.
One rather loud lightening crack at just about 2:30 and the power in the lobby,
in the theatre building, in the neighborhood, in much of the East Dayton went out,
about two-and-a-half hours before the scheduled curtain, ninety minutes before the
doors were to open.
The call I subsequently made to the power and light company only garnered a promise
of power "today"; a more precise commitment was, and quite understandably,
After other DTG board folk began arriving, about an hour later with still no power
restored anywhere it was out, we decided to move curtain down an hour to 6:00. All
those with ticket reservations were called. We still opened the doors at 4:00 and
put the refreshments usually designated for intermission out.
At 5:15, when there still was no power, the decision was made to make 6:00 the kill
point: if we still had no power at 6:00 we would cancel the June 16 performance.
At 6:00: no power.
We sent the hopeful audience members home. At about 6:05, just enough time for those
people to almost all have vacated the theatre and left the parking lot...
THE POWER CAME ON!
Damn you, Murphy!
aside, the run has been mostly really great. We have not had the audiences the show
deserves, but those who have been have by-and-large loved the shoe and Jeff's and
Must admit a little envy, this would have been a nice musical to have been in; but
I simply was not right for either role.
BUT HERE'S TO A FABULOUS
PRODUCTION AND ALL THOSE WHO CAME TOGETHER TO MAKE IT SUCH:
DEBRA A. KENT (DIRECTOR),
(MUSICAL DIRECTOR), DEIRDRE BRAY
ROOT (PRODUCTION STAGE MANAGER), REBECCA
NICELY CHILDS &
RAYMONDE NICELY ROUGIER
(THE MUSICAL ACCOMPANISTS), GREG SMITH
(SET DESIGNER), NICK VANDERPOOL (LIGHTING
DESIGNER), TRAVIS DALHOFF (LIGHTING &
SOUND TECHNICIAN), LINDA SELLERS (COSTUME
DESIGNER), DAVID SLIVKIN (PRODUCTION
ASSISTANT), WENDI MICHAEL (PRODUCTION'S
GRAPHIC ARTIST), JACKSON SMITH (VOICE OF
YOUNG THOMAS), LUCAS SANSOM (VOICE OF
YOUNG ALVIN) AND CAROL FINLEY &
DENNIS KENT (SPECIAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO
I will sit in the audience today.
I've seen the show, a lot, of course, but it will be nice to see it from this
exact perspective for once.
So, no closing performance pictures -- least not from me.
My audition for the Zoot Theatre Company 2012/2013 season, went pretty well. Not
sure I'd say it was fabulous, but it weren't horrible, either. I certainly did not
fall on my ass or embarras myself. The auditors seemed to enjoy both the
puppet monologue and the movement piece.
As I wrote a little while back, I used some text from
A Separate Peace
by Tom Stoppard. It was a
little speech by the character Brown, all about how he loves being a patient in the
hospital because he gets all his meals in bed and is not expected to do anything
except be in bed and lounge around. As I said, since the puppet I borrowed from
on campus, is a construction worker, I decided
the very British vernacular of Stoppard's text didn't work -- not that there aren't
construction workers in Great Britain, but just the cultural context of the audition
seemed to suggest that an American English vocabulary would work better.
So I changed such things as "But in hospital," which is most British, to
"But when you're in the hospital."
I believe the puppet monologue worked, as well some dramatic gestures and movements
I had the puppet, whom I named "Lazy Dude," make.
I kept the movement piece simple. It was a guy showing up some place he'd never been
before and trying to use a security card to get into a locked door. He had no
success. He tried to use his leg in the wall and his shoulder on the wall to get
leverage. He texted some person for further instructions. They gave him a code to
punch in; no success. He finally realized the door opens in, not out.
Yes indeed, yesterday, as I put my foot on the brake to stop at the end of the
parking lot at my apartment, to turn onto the road; I barely stopped. The ensuing
addition of brake fluid -- that which the dash indicator said was low -- did not
improve the braking. Never mind the fact that the facebook post has the wrong
homophone, "breaks," rather than the correct "brakes"
There was simply no way I was going to travel down the road at highway speeds with
such poor braking response. So I missed the closing performance and my opportunity
to be an audience member for the show. Also, I missed
strike and I missed the wrap
dinner party yesterday evening.
Today, I potentially and unfortunately burn valuable vacation leave hours while I
have my car looked at.
MANY YEARS AGO, IT SEEMS
For the heck of it, here's a photo taken in the spring of 1977 on
the stage at Wilbur Wright High School, on the east side of Dayton,
Ohio. I and some cast mates in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way
to the Forum. That's Preston Welch as Marcus Lycus, me as
Pseudolus, Scott Creech as Senex, and Robert Hughes as Hysterium.
My next role on stage would be just less than twenty-seven years
later: Johnny Pateen Mike O'Dougal in
The Cripple of Inishmaan at The Dayton Theatre Guild
in March, 2004.
Just in case you see this floating around in
facebook or otherwise out
there in cyberspace, be aware that I created it and I originated it
on-line as a facebook post at about 9:30 a.m. (DST) on June 20, 2012.
MY OFFICE, THIS WEEKEND:
I don't think that for any of you five who actually (for whatever
god-for-saken reason) follow this blog, it's a secret that often parts,
sometimes large portions, of an entry on a given day were actually not composed,
or not wholly composed on that day. Some particular sections of a dated entry may
have actually been several days or more than a week in the making, especially if that
section is more essay in form. In this light, some of this entry was started and
almost wholly written before yesterday -- then edited to update time references
if necessary. A good portion of it was written yesterday, and finished this afternoon.
Both yesterday and today I took advantage of the lovely summer days, grabbed my
laptop and headed to
John Bryan State Park. It's simply one of
the greatest offices around!
Indy Movie -- Tomorrow afternoon I'll do a screentest at
the PC-Goenner Talent Agency Sharonville
office for an independent movie shooting in Northern Ohio in several weeks. The
agency gave us breakdowns of all the characters being cast and asked us to give them
one (or two) characters we thought we might be typed for. I picked on supporting
principal and one smaller supporting role. I am sort of both hedging my bet as well
picking two characters that at least I think I am
The monkey wrench here is that my car -- with its brake-system problem -- was not
fixed as of the end of business on Friday, but there's some chance it will be ready
to pick up, oh, say tomorrow afternoon. That will mean dropping of the rental, which
will have racked up a week and a day of rental fees (I am hoping they give the
week discount rate rather than eight, one-day rates). It does seem unlikely I will
get my car back tomorrow, though. In fact, the mechanic hadn't even called yet to
consult on the repairs by the end of day Friday. So even if the car is ready on
Monday, it would not be in the morning, and that is the only way to not have a rental
charge for another day. If I don't return the rental by late Morning Monday, I get
charged another twenty-four hours. So, returning it Tuesday morning, at that point,
makes no difference.
This is actually why I scheduled my screentest for Monday afternoon. A Monday
morning appointment would have interfered with getting the rental back on time to
save the extra day, if the slim chance I could return tomorrow morning is even
realized. Tomorrow afternoon it becomes moot; return in the afternoon or on Tuesday
morning and it's still the same charge.
Usually, you see, I go to the Sharonville office for an audition in the morning if
I can. Only when there's a schedule conflict do I divert from that. Now, if the
audition is at the PC-Goenner Dayton office, which is less than fifteen minutes
from the rent-payer, I'll
schedule those for after work. For many months now, however, there has only been
one at the Dayton office, and that, I believe, was on the weekend.
This evening is about studying the two sides I have for the screen test
I have heard nothing from last weekend's audition for Zoot Theatre Company's new
season. That may not mean anything, or it may mean:
"No Zoot for YOU! " Sorry; couldn't resist.
Based on my conversation with the audition panel after I was done with my program, I
got the sense that there was some interest in me for the company's first production
of the season, The Hobbit. I was forthright and out front in letting them
know I have a strong interest in Opus,
at home, and would not know if I am
available for The Hobbit until mid-July. That probably did not work for them
and that is quite understandable. Whether there is or will be interest for any
other productions remains to be seen; ain't it the way?
The Guild -- As of yet I haven't
taken a concentrated look at the script, but I did do a cursory look several days
ago and I very much liked what I read. My agenda must quickly have studying this
play fully at the top of the list: the real start at prepping for the July 16 &
I MAY NEED MY HEAD EXAMINED...:
...because I have agreed to come back to the house manager position for the Guild.
Actually, there's a change-up, and it will now be the "house committee
chairman," or, what I like better: the house management chair. And I will not
at all be interested in having to invest the kind of time in this that I have had to
in past seasons as the HM, so I will have a committee.
And I may just allow things to not get done if I am getting no one else to do them.
I'm not going to be placed in the position where I am constantly picking up slack
within this monumental task of keeping the theatre house in shape. Honestly, it's
never been as in shape as it could be, and when I was house manager before my
hiatus, I allowed myself to be perhaps too committed to the duty over other parts of
my life; I need to avoid that this time in.
TWO SHOWS YESTERDAY:
Yesterday was a very nice theatre day for me:
Much Ado About Nothing at
X*ACT -- I saw the 3:00 matinee of this
Bard show at X*ACT: Xenia Area Community Theater. It was pleasant afternoon
expenditure with some good work on the stage. Director Lisa Howard-Welch quite
cleverly and effectively incorporated some Gershwin standards into the
production. And it was nice to see fine work from those I know as well as many
I did not know.
As for who I know: Jared Mola (who happened to play Hamlet in Wittenberg
at DTG earlier this season); Liz Dillard, who is actually away at college but
back for the summer and whom it's nice to see on stage again (Liz, whom I first
met when we both were in the staged reading of Work Song: Three Views of Frank
Lloyd Wright at The Westcott House
for Springfield StageWorks);
Josh Katawick (like Liz, a veteren of several Springfield StageWork productions,
including the Bond version of Sweeney Todd, in which we appeared together);
and Cher Collins (who worked with me on stage in A Woman on the Cusp last
Beavercreek Community Theatre --
Then, last night I managed to get in to what has been touted as a very fine
production of this show. And the touting is correct. It was fun; it very well
performed; it was a great way to cap off a Theatre Day.
So, yesterday was a fun "audience-member day" for me.
This coming Tuesday evening is the June
meeting, conducted by Film Dayton, and I believe I will be able to attend, not as
invited actor, brought in to help with a demonstration or a table reading, but as an
aspring -- if horribly green -- film maker.
Film Connections is regularly scheduled on the last Tuesday of the month at
WPTD: ThinkTV (Channel 16) on Jefferson Street
in Dayton. Sometimes it's at another location or scheduled for a different night. It
will be at ThinkTV this month. It's $5 for non-members. I am not ready to join yet,
but I really ought to.
Although, often my
Theatre involvement keeps me from the Film Connections meetings;
I've only made a whole two, and they were both as the afore-mentioned "invited
actor." As a wannabe film maker, I really need to start enriching my know-how
in major spades. Film Dayton and Film Connections is a valuable avenue to that end.
If you were to compare what I know about film making to all there is I have yet to
learn: I know pretty much nothing.
Looks like we have the laptop for Souvenir at the
Brookville Community Theatre.
I will be at the rehearsal tomorrow night, at least to get the pc and load both the
Show Cue Systems temp install and the
temp load of the necessary files for the sound design for the show. I do have to run
through the sound script from last production to be sure my programing in SCS is
in line with what's needed. When we ran the show at DTG, SCS was not in the mix,
yet, so is was all manual operation of mini-disk players, CD players, and Quicktime
& iTunes off my MAC. I ran it. This time it's simply, hit the space bar when
the cue comes up.
In terms of the screentest yesterday, all I gotta say is: meh. There was the
unfortunate circumstance where I had to watch the damn playback of the audition --
not a good thing for me.
Of course, I was wholly unimpressed and cannot imagine why a casting director would
want the guy that gave the performances I was subjected to witnessing in that
Never mind that the first booking I ever got through the agency was off an audition
I felt was horrible. Never mind that on Wednesday, January 21, 2004, I opened an
that had me in the list of cast members for The Cripple of Inishmaan off of
an audition I felt was horrible...
...Just trying to bolster my spirits, here...
...was unimpressed with the audition, yesterday, nevertheless.
In other audition news, got an email yesterday from Dawn Roth Smith, the outreach
manager for The Zoot Theatre Company,
that email which said that the directors would be making casting decisions soon and
that a follow-up was coming in a few weeks.
So, there is that.
Still on track to attend the June
tonight at WPTD: ThinkTV (Channel 16). I'll
probably see most of the several people who warned me about
Final Cut Pro X,
and I'll have to confess to them how I ignored their prudent advice. Though to be
fair, even if moving again further off this section's main topic, there are some who
are not unhappy with FCPX, as exemplified
The PC Windows laptop, on loan for Souvenir at the
Brookville Community Theatre,
Show Cue Systems temporarily installed
on it as well as all the necessary files for the sound design of the show. I went to
the rehearsal last night and picked it up. My intention had been to install SCS there,
on site in Brookville, but I didn't have the registration key code handy. I had not
saved it anywhere on my laptop hard drive. I went home to find it and was
unsuccessful, so I contacted Bob Mills, who was able to give me the magic numbers.
Now it's installed and ready to drive. I did a cursory test just to be sure
everything was working and it all seems fine. The only possible concern had been
that the sound card would not be quite up to snuff, but I don't believe that is an
In her book on the process, craft and art of writing,
Writing Down the Bones,
Natalie Goldberg writes of how one should
not just put a "dog" on the page. If there's going to be a dog, what kind
of dog is it? Give it an identity, make it something more than "a dog."
To further that, if it's someone's pet, what's its name? The idea is that the more
integrity and respect you give the elements of your work, the more integrity the
work as a whole has and the more respect and verisimilitude it commands.
There is a similar principle at work here.
I have just found the title for the full-length feature that will be the final cut
of the improv movie project: Vignettes in Bellcreek. I will readily admit
Bellcreek Vignettes sounds a bit less awkward but it's also more toward
predictable and on the verge of sounding generic.
So Vignettes in Bellcreek it is.
My emotional, my visceral reactions of the moment are that the project now having a
proper name will energize me to start moving with true vigor and push myself toward
that elusive final cut. I guess we'll see if this current motivation is more than
Whatever this immediate outcome, there is great value in the work finally having a
proper title, even if it changes later.
"LAW IN THE FILM INDUSTRY":
I did make it to Film Dayton's
meeting Tuesday night at WPTD: ThinkTV (Channel 16).
The session had a guest speaker, Brian Sullivan, a copyright and patent attorney
who taked about the proper use of others' intellectual property rights, visual or
audio, in one's own motion picture.
There really was no new information for me in Mr. Sullivan's presentation but it was
still interesting and it was a reminder to me about how I have to edit some
outside crowd shots -- quite simply, no one can be recognizable; I already knew
I really need to do what I can to set time aside for these meetings, and to go ahead
and pay the membership dues.
Have an appointment Saturday morning to screentest for the forthcoming web series,
Freak Club, produced by Film Dayton. This is the project of which I was part
of the table reading at a Film Connections meeting back in February. The role I
read then, however, is gone from the script now. But I do have sides for another
character for Saturday morning.
MORE "YAYS!" DUE:
-- Ms. Campbell (the Washing Machine in Caroline or Change at The
Race) not only has her summer EP financed, see above, but she has been cast in
a short run of the new musical,
Born Blue. with book, music and
lyrics by Caren Tackett.
The production runs July 27-29 at Manhattan's
Cutting Room theatre.