Last night was the first dress rehearsal and it went quite well. Uh, well, Act
I went well. I assume the second act did, too. I left
after getting good footage of the actors in costume and of the finished set to drop
into the podcast. I didn't shoot Act II because actor
Michael Taint couldn't be there. I got footage of him during the run Sunday
afternoon. He wasn't in costume but it was on the finished set.
I also took photos of the sisters for picture frames as set dressing -- thus,
technically the set isn't "finished" but it's 99.999999% so.
I shot the final DV footage Sunday at the first Tech Run and then last night at the
first dress rehearsal. This morning and early afternoon I finished the podcast to
final cut. It should be on the
DTG youtube channel by
midnight, then at the DTG
soon after. Should be up on the front page of
The DTG website by Thursday.
I did a reading of the portion of
that I've chosen, for the Advanced Acting Class at
The Human Race Theatre Company with
I did not get to read that portion of
but it is still on the agenda. We are spending a lot of time on the concepts of
comedy, as I said. Kay has start to write a comedic bit, but we didn't get very far
into that. I assume we will come back.
She also wants me to spend more time on Act II of
Clybourne Park; I've spent more time with the first act because what I pulled
is from the end of it.
First rehearsal tonight for Edgar.
Love to say I have become quite familiar with the script, but not so. But I spend
the rest of today before rehearsal tonight looking at it.
Last night was the first, of very few rehearsals for Edgar. It was
just Director Wayne Justice, Josh Katawick, and myself. Along with a couple poem
readings, Josh is
"The Cask of Amontillado."
We walked through the blocking for that then did a table read of all our respective
parts in the show. Along with "The Cask..." I will also give voice to
two poems: "The Bells,"
which will be split into three sections, spread out over the evening, and
Time to break out the index cards -- and quickly. The show is up Oct 19 & 20!
Yesterday morning I went to the Belkin website
only to find that they have moved the release of
Thunderbolt Express Dock to
January, 2013! It looked like I would be capturing DV footage for podcasts, or
whatever else, on the
MacPros in the Mac Lab
on campus for the rest of the damned year! I
was NOT thrilled about that in the least. However, fortunately Apple has
finally released its
Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter
and I ordered one last night; should be here before the end of the week. I will
still buy the dock when it comes out. It will be quite handy.
I'm still contemplating getting an
iMic for recording from
external sources, but I'm not yet completely sure it works with OS 10.7.
Most of the cast shown during notes at intermission from the dress
rehearsal last night.
I will miss Final Dress tonight,
but I was there for last night's rehearsal. The show is most definitely
coming together very solidly.
This weekend I am pretty much the house management host for all the shows; but I was
going to be there anyway, as producer, so no big deal.
Honestly, since I am producer and plan to attend as many performances as possible,
I don't mind hosting a lot so haven't been aggressive about filling spots.
On the other hand, there are some other theatre productions I want to catch, and
hosts covering those days are my big interest.
I have some personal life business that could be attended to, as well.
Meanwhile, the show opens tomorrow night!
Of course, the reason I must miss the ReardonFinal Dress
tonight is that I have my second rehearsal for Edgar.
The ideal would be that I get off work at
the rent-payer at 3:30, buzz home and
get in some study on this script. That may not be what can happen. I have some house
management shopping to do for The Guild; then I really ought to go into Dayton and
do some house management prep for Opening Night tomorrow. This afternoon is the only
guaranteed time I will have for it.
With Edgar rehearsal starting at 8:00, I have myself scheduled to work
9:00-5:30 tomorrow. That leaves no time for any of the house management stuff.
However, I was home by 10:00 after Tuesday's 8pm rehearsal, so it could be
that I can work my regular 7:00-3:30 shift without being a zombie in the morning.
So, the prep work theoretically can be done tomorrow between rent-payer quitting
time and Doors Open at DTG.
If all I have to do is the shopping today, that could work. It may be worth the risk
to go for the compromise: shop today; study Edgar before rehearsal; work
regular hours tomorrow and get to The Guild in time to prep the theatre for the
Guess I ought to be grateful that this is my "big
dilemma" for the day, huh?
Last night was that second rehearsal
Ms. Andrea Klinker (Eleanor) was there, so, since she narrates
"The Cask of Amontillado,"
Josh Katawick and I were able to walk through some blocking
to coordinate and time our actions to the narration.
We also walked through a lot of the show, but there was little interpretation of the
delivery. I hardly gave any drama to the sections of
"The Bells," but simply
discussed and tried some placement on the stage. I didn't actually read all of any
section of it. Same for
But it's about to get real. We have
scheduled rehearsals left. So, the words for this production have got to be my
focus from this point on. My promise to Director Wayne Justice last night was that,
though I would still have the book in my hand next Tuesday, I would be as familiar
as possible with the words. And I'd like to be at least at the
off-book-though-need-a-prompter level on Thursday.
STRONG OPENING NIGHT FOR MISS REARDON AND HER SISTERS:
Being the host for last night, my attention was pulled from the performance quite a
bit, but I did spy what I could. The cast rocked it! The audience loved it! It was a
Naturally I discovered the need to tweak sound a bit. The pre-show and intermission
music was barely detectable. It's difficult to judge how much sound will be soaked
up with an audience in the space. Last night that music was so close to inaudible it
might as well have not existed. I didn't cherry-pick all that music, even the several
1968-70 pop songs I personally, um, well,
HATE, for them
to not at all be heard. The balance is, of course, that you can't impose the
atmosphere music on the audience. Pre-show and intermission music is just that,
atmosphere music, background music. But it's there to help set the tone; if it can't
be heard, it sets nothing. Of course, now it's probably too loud to that undesirable
point of imposing on the audience and I'll have to reset it all after tonight's show.
Yes, I will be there again, but I am hosting again, so I will miss most of the show.
But the cast is going to kick ass again, be assured of that.
Let's see how much I need the book on Tuesday. As little as possible is my goal....
HOUSTON, WE HAVE "CAPTURE":
My brand new
Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter
arrived yesterday. I borrowed a
and last night before I headed off to bed I grabbed a mini cassette containing
Final Cut Express,
created a new test project I titled, "Thunderbolt to firewire," then
executed the "Capture" command. I am please to report that I am now able
to capture footage directly off the DV camera onto my computer. No more need for the
MacPros in the Mac Lab
on campus! This is good.
The Thunderbolt Express Dock is
still on my agenda. That'll be in January, right
Belkin? I am going to buy an
iMic to mix down and otherwise
record from external sources. I have gotten firsthand confirmation that it works
with OS 10.7. Thunderbolt Express Dock will have a stereo audio input, but I may
want such ability before January.
As did Opening Night, the rest of the first weekend went fabulously! The audiences
certainly liked it; the cast members all felt good about their work; a lot of
kudos flew their way from theatre people who saw the show.
For myself, I am impressed with the work. Some of these actors, whom I already found
to be some of the best in the area, are out-doing themselves!
Seriously, setting aside my clear bias toward the production, it's a show worth far
more than the ticket price to see.
Why would one want to believe there was nothing left to fix in the sound design?
Yep, yep, yep. Remember how I upped the volume on the pre-show and intermission
music after both were barely audible on Friday night? Saturday night, all was well.
Sunday, however, one particular pop hit from 1970 came on and it was
waaaaaay too loud. I
had processed all the songs for both pre-show and intermission to stabilize the
overall volume level to something consistent. Somehow, that particular recording is
louder. So, before Friday I need to process that one down to the same volume level.
Cassandra Engber (Anna) & Teresa Connair (Ceil) during
a performance this past weekend.
Amy Diederich (Mrs. Pentrano) & Cheryl Mellen
(Catherine), also during performance this past weekend.
Cheryl, Cassandra, Jennie Hawley (Fleur) & Michael
You should come to the show just to be
sure I got that volume problem fixed
I was able to push into some time to get back to Act II of
for the Human Race Theatre Company acting class with
Kay also gave us selected sides from
which I assume we are working on tonight.
As for the comedy focused stuff. I still have the monologue from
Not sure where else we are going with this angle. I suppose I will find out more in
This morning I did a screentest at the
PC-Goenner Sharonville office for a national
commercial. It's a SAG/AFTRA gig and I may
need to discard my
option and instead opt to join in order to get residuals. I am not at all versed in
this area, so I'm not sure. I do hope to find out sometime soon. But this is
"cart before horse," isn't it? I would first need to land the gig before
the particulars of residuals is a viable issue.
As yesterday afternoon proceeded I began to feel a bit crappy and was seriously
contemplating blowing off the class with with
then I rallied a little, sucked down a 5-Hour Energy and went.
In class I read the comedic monologue from
It seemed to work well. I did not read the scene from the sides from
Managing Maxine, two
other men in class did. Kay had them play with the readings and by having the
straight man almost be deadpan, the scene was very funny.
Though I did spend time with Act II of
Sunday evening, we did not get to it.
Two sessions left.
To this point I have about the first half of
"The Bells" mostly
memorized; that which for this production is parts 1 & 2 of four parts. I have a
few hours between getting off work and rehearsal tonight. So maybe I'll get a little
more solid on those, as well as get into the rest of "The Bells."
"The Cask of Amontillado"
and "Eldorado" are sure
to be all on-book tonight, however.
Sunday evening, the 21st, after Reardon closes, the is a production meeting.
Just enough time for me to actually give the script some kind of decent reading.
We had a good rehearsal last night. Director Wayne Justice is pleased with what
both Josh Katawick and I are doing. I gave decent readings on everything, but there
will be honing involved. I still have that goal of at least being at the first stage
of off-book at tomorrow night's rehearsal. That is what my evening tonight is about.
In other news, see to the right the trailer for this mounting, featuring moments
from the movie section of the multi-media night.
Last night my mind was so fatigued that I had horrible problems concentrating as I
attempted to memorize. Far too early and inconveniently, I fell asleep!
The result is that I am using one of those coveted vacation days today to meet my
goal of being at least in the first stage of off-book at the rehearsal tonight. Now
the idealized goal of at least 120 hours vacation leave (three weeks) banked has
been pushed to accruing on my March 8, 2013 paycheck. Then, if I use no more from
now until then, and I think we all know I am likely to.
As for the line work, I also recorded all the poems and Cask and have them on
my laptop and on my phone.
But hey, I'm wasting precious time; back to the script and the flash cards....
My big goal of "being at least in the first stage of off-book" for the
rehearsal last night was pretty much a miserable failure, despite that I took the
whole day off yesterday from the rent-payer
to work on lines. Oh, I don't mean to suggest there wasn't some progress; it
just fell far short of what I wanted. I mean:
the damned show opens a week
from tonight! There are precious few rehearsals left and I'd like to not be
stumbling through my lines during them.
I was best at getting through
"The Cask of Amontillado,"
mostly because the dialogue is just that, dialogue. It's also sparse, which helps.
Plus I'm responding to Montressor (Josh Katawick), which makes recall easier. I
actually found that many of those lines I already knew, simply from the previous
The first two parts of "The Bells,"
I more-or-less knew, though I called for line quite frequently. The third part I
had worked on a lot yesterday during the day, but still had such a vague
memorization that I eventually just used the book. I have not worked on the last
part of this poem.
I did relatively well with
certainly was not perfect.
Director Wayne Justice has been able to add a rehearsal tomorrow morning, which is a
good thing. Any additional rehearsal is more than welcomed by me. The bitch is that
I have precious little time to work on lines before then. I have to host at the
performance of And Miss Reardon tonight; my evening would be better spent
working the Edgar lines, butwhatayagonndo?
Not sure how much progress I will make before then.
And for those who will say: "So, why are you not studying lines now instead of
) I'm eating lunch at the rent-payer
) It's noisy in here and I'd never retain a damn thing
So, the time is, at this very moment, according to the clock on my laptop, 8:44 a.m.
Now, 8:44 a.m. on a Saturday morning does not exist in my world unless theatre or
acting is somehow involved, a board meeting at
The Guild or, oh say, working on
lines for a mid-morning rehearsal. The second being the event of the present. Gee,
wonder what specifically I might be working on.
"The Bells," of course. At
this very moment, in this break I'm taking from the study, I feel something akin to
80% confidence. There are still words that don't want make themselves readily
accessible, but there has been improvement. At one point last night I was feeling
very defeated, but I am feeling a bit of hope, now. I doubt I will be anything close
to off-book perfect this morning at rehearsal, but it has to better than that train
wreck this past Thursday.
I am about to do the whole thing in sequence. "Bells 1," then, "Bells
2," the "Bells 3," then
"The Cask of Amontillado,"
which I haven't worked on much since I was near -- um NEAR -- perfect on
Thursday, then "Eldorado,"
then "Bells 4," which I worked on vigorously last night and finished off
when I got up at this godawful earliness this morning.
Tomorrow I plan to spend my entire day on Edgar
SECOND WEEK OFF TO A GOOD START:
Near full-house and one that was most responsive to the show.
The progress toward "off-book"
is much, much better, which is a good thing, because Saturday I told
Director Wayne Justice that I just refuse to call for line during
Tech Week, which we are officially
in right now.
YEP! The show's up this coming Friday & Saturday!
We have two more rehearsals scheduled, tomorrow night and Thursday.
I felt an new ulcer hole burn in my stomach as I wrote
that sentence. The rehearsal this past Saturday morning was, by-the-way,
much "better than that train wreck this past Thursday," though it was
still very much a stumble-through,
especially for most sections of
"The Bells." I had a little
bit of problem with "Eldorado,"
"The Cask of Amontillado"
was near perfect.
Yesterday I spent some good time on all the work and have come much closer to the
coveted completely off-book status, though I still have some sputters in
smooth recall -- there are some words that just want to elude me. There always and
it just takes drilling the spots. I have tonight after acting class, and windows of
opportunity during the day today as well. So, if I have corners to get myself out of
tomorrow night, let us hope they are rare.
sent an email last night for us to look at Shakespeare's sonnets, especially
since it employs both the English and Italian sonnet forms. Kay wants us to look at
other of his sonnets, as well. I must admit, with the lateness of her email and with
Edgar, especially "The Bells," tolling around me. The most I have
done is grab a collection of his sonnets from the collection here at
the rent-payer, and looked up one
study version, on-line, of "Sonnet 12," that which is linked to earlier in
I am considering asking to do at least some of "The Bells" in class
tonight, but we'll see. It is a great example of honoring the meter of the poetry
yet still almost ignoring it in delivery, which is usually the performances of
Shakespeare that are the most vibrant and that vest bring the words to life, at
least for me.
There have been tentative plans for the class to attend "Can Night"
this Wednesday for the new play Under a Red Moon, by
this is the official world premiere of the play. So, I am likely to see it even it
can't be this Wednesday -- and Edgar might make that "can't" a
NOS 4 THRU 6:
Though still not able to attend to much of the performances, as I was busy with
House duties, I do know that Friday and Saturday went well. I was not there Sunday.
The response from the audience has still been most receptive both Friday and
Saturday, however, and I have no reason to doubt it went over well yesterday.
By virtue of Edgar performances I will miss the seventh and eighth shows. It
is my hope that I can be in the audience for the closing show next Sunday.
Of course, I am most familier with this production and the great performances the
cast members are giving, but it would be nice to sit in the audience unfettered by
any distractions and just be an audience member.
As of yet I have not looked at the script to tag the many sound cues. But after I
have wrapped Edgar I can focus on it. I will have the task ticked off before
the production meeting Sunday evening.
In the first volley of pre-production for the podcast I have contacted playwright
Ed Howard, who appears to be the point-person for the writing team, in regards to
clearance to use dialogue text in the DV movie.
Saturday evening I saw The Zoot Theatre production of The Hobbit at their new
permanent home at
The Dayton Art Institute. Now I
will tell you, I do not regret for one moment accepting the role of Carl in
Opus; yet, sitting there watching the Zoot show this weekend, and knowing
there was at least some sort of possibility I could have been on that stage, I was a
little jealous of those who were. As has always been the case, this Zoot production
was very nice, and I would have been happy to add it to my résumé.
The puppets were all so cool and Smaug (the dragon) was just simply bad-ass. I was
tempted to sneakily grab some unauthorized photos, but behaved myself.
There are a few other productions, up now, or about to be, that I may or may not get
Dayton Playhouse -- I am sad to say I
will not be able to make this one. I am obviously committed next Friday and Saturday
with Edgar and then Sunday with the Reardon closing. I'd forgotten that
DPH is only doing two weekends of the straight plays (i.e.: the non-musicals) so had
forgotten that I did not have the weekend of Oct 26-28 to see it. Too bad, too.
It has an abundance of special effects that I understand are working out smashingly
well. Otherwise, as well, those who have seen it so far have given rave reports
about the show in general.
Under a Red Moon at
The Human Race Theatre Company -- as
I wrote above, "Can Night"
is this Wednesday night. If I feel good enough about my
Edgar lines, I'll probably avail myself of Can Night. If not, I will have to
buy a ticket for later in the run.
A Few Good Men at X*Act -- later this
month my current Edgar castmate, Josh Katawick, opens as Lt. Kaffe in this
Aaron Sorkin military
courtroom drama. I hope to attend
The Sugar Bean Sisters at
Beavercreek Community Theatre -- at the same
time that the Sorkin play is up in Xenia, this
Nathan Sanders play runs in Beavercreek.
The story takes place in same swamp of southern Florida as did Sugar Witch,
which we produced at The Guild the comparable Halloween season of 2010. That
directed by the same director as this mounting, Doug Lloyd. Also in both our cast and
the new one is the most talented Sarah Caplan; some members of the DTG board of
directors are also in the new cast: Steven Strawser and Jill Proudfoot. Plus, Doug is
using a smidgeon of the flying cats sounds that I created as sound designer for
The Sugar Witch, so I really must make this one for a variety of reasons.
Top Dog/Under Dog, produced by Red Hammer Theatre at the YellowCab --
local actor Patrick Hayes, whom I have worked with only once (The Best Man at
The Guild, several years ago), but seen on stage a few times, is directing this
short run mounted by the new local theatre company, Red Hammer Theatre (no website
yet, according to my web search today). It runs Nov 9 at 8 pm and Nov 10 at 4 pm
& 8 pm. My facebook invite says:
Topdog/Underdog tells the story of two brothers, Lincoln and Booth, who
abandoned by first one parent and then the other, have had to depend upon each
other for survival since they were teenagers. Now in their thirties, the
brothers struggle to make a new life, one that will lead them out of poverty.
These two brothers struggle for power over each other. Topdog/Underdog
reveals a crazy world in which Lincoln and Booth live, a world that is very
The YellowCab is located at 700 east Fourth Street in Downtown Dayton. For Tickets
call: 937-397-0023; the ticket price is $15. The cast is Jared Roper as Lincoln and
Marcus L. Simmons II as Booth.
I am sure there are productions I am not remembering that are in the near or
present future; not to mention the ones I just missed seeing, such as Taming of
the Shrew at
Sinclair Community College Theatre,
which closed recently and had among its cast, Chuck Larkowski.
With Parts I, II, &
IV of "The Bells" I am reasonably close to
perfectly off-book. Part III is still giving me problems,
though there has been much improvement. But I tell you again:
I am NOT calling for
lines tonight at rehearsal. If I go up, I cover. I am sure my line notes will
be a novelette this evening.
"Cask" and "Eldorado" are in good shape, too, by the way.
In class last night I did no work in front of the group. We talked about
Shakespeare's sonnets, and some other students did some readings from his work, not
sonnets, but in most cases work that is in
is going to find something classic for me to read in next Monday's closing class. It
may not be Shakespeare but it will be from the same general era. It will be a cold
read; she knows my focus is Edgar and will be all week. And I have to deal
with the Tuna Christmas script, starting Sunday morning.
I've not decided yet about auditioning, but I have heard good things about Short
North. I know at least one actor, Chris Shea, who has done a show there, and he
seemed to have a good experience. What will weight my decision toward doing an
audition, aside from whether there is a role for me, is if Short North is an
EMC house. If it is,
that greatly increases the odds that I will decide to audition. They are not on the
official list from Actors' Equity and I
saw no statement of such condition on the Short North site, but they still may be. I
have put in an inquiry.
I also found out in class last night that there is a legitimate procedure if one
has a desire to audition for a show at
The Race which he or she did not get
a call back for. The proper channel is to contact the company manager and inform of
the desire to audition for the show, and the specific role. The CM will then let
the director know and the director will then decide to audition or not audition the
Though I did not get a callback for
Next To Normal
by Brian Yorkey
and Tom Kitt,
I really have an interest in Dr. Madden/Dr. Fine. The vocals are comfortably in my
range, if I remember correctly. The caveat is that the role is usually described
along the lines of "young side of ageless rock star type" with words like
"gorgeous" included. I may not consider myself a troll, but I am not
living in reality if I ever decide that gorgeous fits me well. I also am
not sure that the young side of ageless works in my favor, either. I think
he's supposed to be sexy in very obvious manner. If any one out there finds me
"sexy" -- which I'm pretty much thinking would be a rare assessment, it
is most certainly not in an obvious manner.
I still may try to land the audition.
Speaking thereof, I need to add the new involvement with Edgar to my
Well, I did better than I was afraid I'd do with the off-book quotient during the
rehearsal last night, but
"The Bells III"
was still my Waterloo. I went up several times in that one; it continues to be the
trouble spot, no doubt about that.
"The Cask of Amontillado,"
"Eldorado" and the other
parts of "The Bells" were fine, though there were some glitchy lines
moments in some of those.
It was all a little less smooth than I would like.
On the drive in to the rent-payer
this morning, I was able to speak "The Bells III"
verbatim. Let us see what happens during the dress/tech rehearsal tonight.
Yesterday I got a call back (Um -- the return of a
phone call, not a "Callback" audition) from
The Short North Stage in Columbus in
regards to my inquiry as to whether the theatre is an
EMC house. They are not,
but hope to be in the "near future." They do cast
Equity actors, but under the
special appearance contract
and hope to be a bona fide Equity House offering EMC points as soon as they can.
Of course, if their "as soon as possible" meets schedule like
my "as soon as possibles" do, their AEA status may not exactly be
around the corner.
My conversation with Rick from Short North also included the fact that there really
is no role that I am a fit for in their next production,
Ordinary Days by
Adam Gwon, that which I had a casting call
announcement forwarded to me. Thus, all considerations of EMC or not are moot in
this instance. But, I do have the email address for their company manager now, and
in the future, may be taking the drive east for an audition, perhaps rehearsals.
"Let us see what happens during the dress/tech rehearsal...": humph! Yes,
I went up during
"The Bells III."
Definitely the obstinate, sticking point for me in this show. I always have one. The
difference here is a much shorter time frame to conquer the little bastard.
This morning I was not scheduled to come in until 9:00, then, theoretically work
until 5:30. I was already going to leave at 4:00, and I called io ask for the
morning off. I will work Noon til 4:00; actually I may leave earlier if the
mandatory webinar that is to end at 4:00, ends early.
I guess I never got to the point where I
"The Bells III."
Friday night it ceremoniously kicked my ass! I went up higher than I had at the
Thursday tech/dress. Pretty much, "The Bells III"
owned me. How did it go down, you ask? Essentially I stumbled at "In a clamorous
appealing to the mercy of the fire," and had to improv my way for a little
while until I could bring down a line to move forward from. I said something
that was somehow vaguely relevant to the actual text of the poem in that area then
got back on track around "Oh, the bells, bells, bells! \ What a tale their
terror tells \ Of Despair," although I am not sure if I got that verbatim. I
have no idea what I said during the improv riffing, either.
Plus I made a little snafu during
"Eldorado," too. I said
"might" instead of "knight," but then, keeping in mode and
rhythm, repeated the line correctly, so what the audience got was:
A gallant might,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow....
On the other hand, my boss from the rent-payer
was there Friday and I asked today if she could tell that I was screwing up one of
the poems; she had no clue. So, from a rather small sampling of the audience, it
seems I covered my ass well. Still,
The Saturday show, however, was different. At least for the evening, I did
own "The Bells
III." I think perhaps I got every word perfectly
correct. No "might" in "Eldorado," either. Everything, all
"The Bells," "Eldorado" and
"The Cask of Amontillado"
all went great for me.
I also must say that all three of my castmates, Shane Smith, Andrea Klinker, and
Josh Katawick were very certainly on their games as well; and not just Saturday, but
There is the possibility of doing this again, in the future. If I'm available, I'm
game. Maybe by then, "The Bells III" will be
Here's to Wayne Justice for such a cool concept that he conceived then realized.
My Fortunato in the midst of one of the sections of
"The Bells" at the tech/dress last Thursday.
Myself and Josh Katawick (Montressor) at the same tech/dress,
during "The Cask of Amontillado" as Montressor
guides Fortunato to his doom.
Thanks to Mr. Bob Mills, who volunteered to host the show yesterday, I was able to
be an audience member for the final performance. Of course, I already knew what an
outstanding job the whole cast was doing, but it was nice to be able to sit in the
audience as an audience member only, and watch the whole show from that perspective.
Admitted bias aside, this was a stellar production with excellent work from the
actors, some of them giving the best work I've seen from them; all the design work
was good, too.
The audiences and the critics loved the show.
So, we have ticked off two great productions so far this season. We are batting
Yesterday, after the Reardon strike -- actually, really sort of
"during" (long story) -- I attended the production meeting for this
and Director Kathy Mola and I got ourselves on the same page as per the sound design;
that which now becomes a creative focus for me.
Tonight at their first read-through I will drop in to talk with the cast about the
podcast production so they will have an idea of what's coming. Of course, I still
have not a whole idea, myself, of what's coming, just that I will be there, trying
not to invade their space; and also, of course, that I am able to use dialogue from
the script in the DV movie.
Sound design for the show has officially begun, with the aggregation of ninety-plus
Christmas songs for pre-show, intermission and production, and that shall be
sweetened to stabilize the volume levels to a consistent mark. Gathering together
the sfx cues for the production is on the short list, too.
Also on the agenda will be the recording of several monologues (i.e.: radio chatter)
by Thurston Wheelis and Arles Struvie, the Tuna, Texas radio personalities from
local radio station OKKK. Those pre-recorded segments will cover some of the
many costume changes
our two actors will make during the show.
As it ended up, I did not do a cold read from a Shakespeare work, as
had originally planned. Instead, I read a couple scenes from
Becky's New Car,
by Steven Dietz, with some
of my classmates, with me doing the character Walter.
It still was a cold read, however. The good news is I am getting much better with
that; I am much quicker to make and commit to a choice based on what I understand
about the context -- and to realign that choice and commitment if my understanding
is adjusted and I realize I need to adjust my interpretation. Would have been
interesting to see even how much of the context I could have discerned in some
Shakespeare work, without a concord, Shakespearian dictionary and study guide close
Under a Red Moon at HRTC -- I will see this one
tonight. of course, it was a $40 ticket as opposed to
a half-dozen cans of perishable food (re: Can Night) --
then, this afternoon, some 24 hours after I bought my
ticket, a 25% discount for tonight's performance was offered to The HRTC's facebook
friends, of which I am one
Good Men at X*ACT -- In the
audience this coming Saturday. Josh Katawick as Daniel Kaffee.
Yesterday I ordered an iMic from Griffin Technology. According to the tracking at
UPS it should be delivered tomorrow "By End
of Day." Stereo sound input into my laptop will become quite easy soon.
Of course, the Thunderbolt Express Dock
from Belkin theoretically will have that
capability, but it's not due out until January, and I'm going to go out on what is
most likely a very hardy, sturdy limb and say: January At The EARLIEST.
I already have used my AvidM-Audio Fast Track II USB Audio Interface,
which I picked up in August, to record via an omni mic into
Garageband. But that is mono
input work. That recording was my reading the text of the Poe material for
Edgar, so stereo was not a
need. But I will have many an occasion to send a stereo mix into Garageband, or
some other software; I have Audacity,
for instance, though I have yet to use it; really ought to test drive it a bit.
Be assured some of what you are about to read will be my whines about my own
performance; yet, I can still report right here that overall I'm pretty damned
satisfied with the work I did, though I have my bitches.
Last summer, at a performance of
Brookville Community Theatre,
a fellow actor and I were talking about the upcoming audition for Opus. I
told him that I figured I was actually right for any of the four male roles and that
I would be able to do any of them quite well, but my guess was that if I got cast it
would be as Carl. At the time I was least interested in playing Carl, though I
obviously wasn't opposed since I accepted the role.
It was during the table read that I warmed up a bit to him. Of course, I'd read the
play a few times already, and certainly wasn't repelled by him, but it was giving
him voice that did the trick. As I was interacting and reacting with the other
actors I started to see what a strong emotional range was in Carl's arch. Then the
real work began.
There was a lot of work, too. All of us thought this was one of a most challenging
show. The big thing was bowing the string instruments correctly, both in terms of
proper form and also in terms of stroking in synchronization with the recordings of
the music our characters were supposed to be playing. That took some practice; I was
very aware that since Carl is the cellist, the sound of his instrument would be a bit
more distinguishable for the audience, and being out of synch, stroking when no
cello sounded or not stroking when one did, would be more potentially obvious to the
I spent some good time out of rehearsal working on that synchronization, especially
for the Bartok "String Quartet Number 2," which, if I do say so myself, is
an amazing piece of music. That one, alone, was a few hours of work one Saturday
afternoon at the theatre. It's the piece that the quartet uses to audition Grace at
the top of Scene 2, and I believe we all brought off the verisimilitude of playing
it with great success.
With only a few mis-steps (very few), we faux played all the music well, with great
coordination from our sound tech, Chris Stipp. Chris had to be on his toes watching,
in most cases for when whichever of us was to play a particular composition first
would touch the bow to the string, and likewise, when whoever gave the visual cue
that the playing was to stop. He was on top of it and played a major part in the
success of the illusion of musical performance.
Of course, even with Chris being on top of it, had not retired
Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra
violinist Karen Young coached us on the proper way to bow, we would have looked
hinky. The fact is, as I've mentioned in previous blog entries, we did not finger
the necks, which is, as we know, how a string instrumentalist will control the pitch
of the notes in the real world; but, the audience simply ignores that lack of true
instrumentalism and allows it as part of the suspension of disbelief. However, had
we bowed poorly, the audience would likely have not forgiven that. So not
only did we have to bow in sync, we had to bow in good form. Karen certainly coached
us well to that end. And the occasional musicians or very musically
inclined/informed who attended performances were complimentary about the look
of authenticity we commanded.
Then there was the text. We had some problems with lines in some of the scenes: the
ones that were supposed to be edits of each of us, cut together from different
interviews in a documentary about the Lazara Quartet. These were the moments where
are lines were intermingled sentences, all on the same topic but non sequiturs to
each other. We did get them into shape, but I will admit there were no flubs on
occasion during the performances.
I have to say though, the performances were pretty damned good! My castmates did
fine work. Michael Boyd's Dorian was a bi-polar mess at some points, a vulnerable,
passively aggressive jilted lover at other points, and a man with a plan in the end.
Franklin Johnson's Alan was affable and charming. With a very comfortable and natural
stage presence, Mary Mykytka's Grace was at first tentative and a little insecure
then quite assertive as she grew into her place in the quartet. And Matthew Smith's
Elliott was wonderfully self-absorbed and utterly unwavering in his confidence that
he was always right. It was a strong ensemble that surrounded me; I was fortunate to
be in their ranks.
My Carl? My personal assessment is that it was a "good" performance with
some spots that were elevated to perhaps "very good." As I wrote already,
I came to recognize the nice emotional arch Carl travels in the story. In his
review of the play,
Russell Florence, Jr. called
Carl "wonderfully grounded," which I believe is the nature of the
character Michael Hollinger wrote; it
was his intent that Carl be an underpinning, perhaps the real underpinning of the
quartet. In our discussions about the characters and the play, the consensus of the
cast and our directorial staff was that Carl was "Dad." It's really, in my
estimation, a no-brainer to anyone as they watch or read the play. It's interesting
that when it's time to vote, in most cases, it's Carl who is called first. And in
the one case when it's left open, he is the first to voice his vote. He's also the
one who's name is called first when frustrations are starting run high in conflicts.
And, in the final scene of the play, when it's revealed that Dorian has been
parlaying his return to the quartet and Elliot's commensurate departure, it was Carl
Dorian brought the proposition to first, not Alan, nor Grace. Elliot acts as the
frontman and initiates many leadership actions, but the quartet turns to Carl first
before they move forward. I don't think Carl is "in control" of the group,
but his opinion seems to be viewed as weightier, even by Elliot, who would never
admit such a thing.
If you saw our production, or another, or simply have read the play, you know that
Carl loses his cool in a dramatic way at the climax of the play -- that is in fact
the moment of the climax of the play. The build to that was a fun ride for me to
take as an actor. A fellow actor, whose work I have seen I have much liked, gave me
a fine compliment just the other day, telling me that I played Carl with
"subtly and finesse." The subtly was demanded by the Carl the script
shows us. He's a quiet, level-headed man, one of few words, but whose words are
usually of merit and/or poignancy when he does speak. He's survived cancer, we find
out earlier in the play and because he has done so he doesn't "have time for
Yet he accepts that disagreements, even sometimes intense arguments, are a part of
the nature of collaboration between "four opinions in the room....four strong
individuals2." And he actively participates in the arguments. In
fact, my favorite line from Carl comes from an argument he has essentially initiated.
It's about an unwritten crescendo someone has played during a rehearsal of
Beethoven's Opus 131, that rehearsal which is in preparation for the quartet's White
CARL: Whoa whoa whoa...
ELLIOT: What now?
CARL: There's no crescendo there.
ALAN: (Clarifying) Poco crescendo.
CARL: There isn't any, poco or otherwise.
ELLIOT: Well, there should be.
ALAN: It parallels bar sixteen
CARL: Except bar sixteen has a poco crescendo.
ELLIOT: So it's an echo.
CARL: An echo?
ALAN: Setting up bar sixteen.
CARL: Since when does an echo precede
the sound itself?3
The blue text would be my favorite line from Carl.
Recently, from its facebook pageBackstage posted a quote from
"Work for the actor lies essentially in two areas: the ability to consistently
create reality and the ability to express that reality." For me it all goes
back to an axiom I have for the acting craft: "Less acting, more being."
That is why I was impressed with
How to Stop Acting by Harold Guskin,
which I read last summer, because it is basically the same philosophy. My goal is
always to make the person from the script real to the audience; to lift his
emotional existence from the page and embody it for those sitting in the seats, so
that we both have the experience the playwright (or screenwriter) intended. In order
for that reality to be met, I cannot appear to be acting; if I do, the suspension of
disbelief is destroyed (or never built) for the audience members.
This is all really another very in-depth essay, asking to be addressed, so I will
forgo a present journey further down this path at the moment. I will say that I do
believe I and my castmates created the reality of the Opus world and then
most successfully expressed that reality to our audiences.
Playwright Michael Slade's Under a
Red Moon is a very compelling script that I would love to someday be a part of
on stage. If you can make it to the production, do. I highly recommend it. Kudos to
Mr. Slade as well as to the cast: Bradford Cover
(John George Haigh), Dee Pelletier
(Dr. Ruth Covington), and local talent,
Daniel C. Britt
(Ralph Gow); kudos, too, to Director
Like David Harrower's
Under a Red Moon is a one-scene psycho-drama that pits two strong, compelling
characters against each other, and having the same arena of intensity as
Blackbird, which, of course, I have performed, I know it is an exacting and
energy-demanding task to be on the Red Moon stage. Yet, I yearn to make it
onto a Red Moon stage as John George Haigh at some point -- some point before
I get too old, which is not too long away. Technically I may be too old already, but
if it were soon I could still be a plausible casting, and I would love the challenge.
So, tomorrow night it's
A Few Good Men
at X*ACT with Josh Katawick as Daniel Kaffee.
Kaffee is, of course, in my rearview mirror; but there is Colonel Jessep....
The iMic from Griffin Technology
has arrived and is in my hands. Tonight, as I work on Tuna Christmas sound
design, I put it to the test.
If one wonders why I included the Movie Production Stuff icon in the subject
graphics bar, it's because well, naturally, sound is a big element in movie
production. Even if I were to do something as a stylized silent film, in the fashion
of The Artist, there would still,
pretty much inevitably be music. I have tended to not mix my DV movies in stereo,
but that isn't a hard rule, it just hasn't been my practice.
Then there are music videos, like mine for my own
"Seems Like A Crime," are a
given as being audio mixed in stereo. Mostly with those I would not image I would
bet the stereo sound files by inputting through iMic, but, let's not rule it out.
The iMic's big function will be to import stereo signals from my four-track Fostex
cassette tape recorder onto my computer, either into
Garageband -- so far, the norm
for me -- or into Audacity, which I
may give a try tonight.
First the Bad news; well, really
more "inconvenient" news. As you can see from the last post, my new toy,
iMic from Griffin Technology
arrived Friday. The plan was to spend some of Friday evening testing it's
functionality with my
In order to do that, especially to test the stereo input and output recording, I
needed my stereo splitter cable, both to record stereo channels to the computer
from my Fostex four-track analog tape recorder, and vis versa. I could not find the
little devil. Some of what I needed to use the splitter for Friday evening was
related to the Tuna Christmas sound work.
Instead, I worked on volume stabilization of all the music so far chosen for the
show. I got it about 65% finished. Did not get back to it yesterday as I had a
rather busy day, which included helping with set construction for the show. But,
it won't take long to finish that.
DV movie shooting officially began yesterday during the set construction. Obviously
such is simply potential b-roll.
No more dropping into the Mac Lab on campus
to first capture the footage on a MacPro,
then copy it to my external Hard Drive, then copy it from there to my lap top. That
which I had to for both the
Opus and the
And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little
podcasts. Though, at least I did have that option, as inconvenient as it
Three views of the start of the Tuna Christmas set.
The last one is back stage with Set Designer Fred Boomer and,
almost shown, Head Carpenter Blake Senseman.
Okay, so in all reality, it's truer that it was yesterday, late-afternoon/early-evening,
not Monday, when I voted early, because I dropped my ballot off at the Board of
Elections after work yesterday.
But it was Monday evening that I actually filled the ballot out. It was nice to
have the convenience of internet access on demand to check-up a bit on some things,
mostly judicial nominees. I have often not voted for judges in the past because I
just was not informed enough to make a thoughtful decision.
This voting early thing, it works for me.
I had every intention to attend Film Dayton's
gathering last night, but, I was feeling a cold coming on and I already missed a
day and a half from work last week due to illness; I stayed home and went to bed at
about the time the meeting began. Kind of a bummer; usually I can't make those
meetings because I am somehow involved in a theatre production; I'd really like to
make as many as I can, few as they may be. Perhaps next month.
The recording of the radio announcer voiceovers is slated for this evening. I'm not
sure yet if I will record them directly into the
or if I'll first lay the tracks down on my
Fostex X28 four-track analog cassette tape
recorder. I will bring my
M-Audio Fast Track II USB Audio Interface
as well as my iMic and my portable four-channel stereo mixer in case I decide to go
direct into the computer rather than remix into the Fostex after the fact. Some of
my decision about how to record will be contingent on whether the Clear Channel radio
station from a few blocks away is infringing on my Fostex. It happens sometimes, as
you five regular followers may remember.
I will shoot video tonight, which will absolutely include footage of the audio
recording of the voiceovers. I will, of course, hang around and shoot actual
rehearsal footage, too. The over-arching concept of the podcast has not come to me
yet, at least not fully. I have some ideas about style but I still have as yet to
crystalize my idea in a firm matter. So, I'll just shoot in the meantime.
No Fostex X28 four-track analog cassette
tape recorder for the voiceover recording; that local Clear Channel station did
bleed through profusely, as it usually does when I try to use that machine in most
areas at The Guild. I went the more direct route, running through the portable
four-channel stereo mixer, into iMic, then into
Garageband on the
It went rather smoothly, with nothing taking more than a few takes at most. We
recorded in the sound & light booth since there is a good sound-buffered wall I
could put the actors in front of.
For the podcast, I shot a bit, about a half-hour's worth, of footage last night. I
shot the recording of the VOs and part of the rehearsal. Tonight I'll shoot more of
Again, I can't repeat enough how nice it is to be able to dump the footage
Final Cut Express at
home rather than through the multi-step actions via a
MacPro in the Mac Lab
on campus, then transfer to my portable harddrive,
yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda....
Low contrast between background and foreground makes it
challenging to see, but this is the mic setup in the sound
& light booth for our actors to perform the voiceovers.
Garageband open on my MacBook Pro, with iMic going into the
laptop, the four channel mixer going into iMic, and the two
mics going into the mixer. Trust me, that's what this is
a photo of.
Myself, engineering, with David Hallowren (Thurston) &
Ian Manuel (Arles) on mic.
David & Ian rehearse, while Stage Manager Jared Mola
& Director Kathy Mola look on.
The construction, engineering and mixing of sound files has begun. I'm not
programming in Show Cue Systems just
yet, but that may start taking effect later today. Today is all about sound design
and perhaps some pre-production for the podcast. As is the usual case for me, I have
a sound design project going in
Final Cut Express for
the construction and mixing of the sound.
A few decisions have been made for production music. We know what song will take us
out of Act I and what will take us out of the end of the
show -- the curtain call music. I also have an instrumental version of "Away in
the Manger," as is called for in the script: "...as
the lights fade and an instrumental version of 'AWAY IN THE MANGER' swells."
We also know what song will be played in the ending section of the last scene, over
the show's final action, right before the closing/curtain call music. I also know
what I want to use to take us into Act II.
I still have more scene transition music to find, actually, to pick. I have a large
cannon of music gathered together for this show, and most of it is ripe for use as
production music. I also have several sound files to build, yet. The goal is to
have close to most of the sound built, designed and programmed by the end of this
I also started a little bit of pre-production graphics and other work for the
podcast. I have created the Tuna Christmas show logo for the DV movie -- that
being Wendi Michael's original artwork for the show set on a background of colors I
created based on the color scheme of her art (which is my SOP for show logos in the
podcasts). I havent created the special holiday graphics just yet, but that may
happen later today. The headshot panels can't be cretaed yet, because I don't yet
have the headshots.
The text file for the closing credits roll is as filled out as it can be right now.
There are sure to be corrections and deletions, and, since the run crew, including
the booth technicians, have not been fleshed out yet, there will be additions.
I have a few "XXXXXX"s to replace with names. But I have finished what I
can finish to this point on the credits roll.
I also have found the underscore music for the podcast, a country instrumental
version of "Deck The Hall" by Nicolas Major. I found this at
Premiumbeat.com. Another good resource for
royalty-free music and for SFX has been discovered and added to the list.
As for footage: I was at The Guild yesterday, allegedly to help with set
construction, though I actually did very little of that. I also did not have a
DV movie camera on me. I hadn't really thought I was going to shoot footage. After
being there, and while Fred Blumenthal was working on his design of the Tuna, Texas
town, it occurred to me that footage of this would be good b-roll. After all, I
shot b-roll last weekend of set construction. So I shot a little bit of footage
using the video camera app on my
myTouch 4G Android cell phone.
I took and opertunity to get some interesting b-roll.
Enter a glitch in the plan: The myTouch phone shoots video in the
3GP movie file format. Last
night, as I tried to import the two short clips of Fred into the Final Cut project
for the podcast I found that the file format is not supported by FCE. Hmmmm. Guess
I was not going to be able to use this nice footage. But, I know from past experience
that QuickTime will play 3GP files, so
the format is not completely foreign to the Apple systems. So I opened them in QT,
which was successful, then imported them as
MP4 files. Still, FCE would not
Glitch overcome: I was about to go online in search of an application that would
convert the 3GPs successfully -- and I'm sure there's more than one out there --
when it dawned on me, I have
Compressor 4, which I
have as yet to really look at and use at all, though I really ought to start
investigating what it can do for me and experimenting with the software -- yet
another program I have barely used that probably has robust uses for me as an film
maker and a sound designer. Long story short, I was able to convert the files
successfully in Compressor 4 to files that FCE accepts. I do get to use the
footage after all.
As for "(SET -- more or less),":
with the exception of giving Fred a little bit of assistance, such as helping him
tape off part of the sign to better paint straight lines, I really did not work on
set much at all yesterday. But, by god, I helped get the walls up last week!
Set Designer Fred Blumethal's rendering of the Tuna, Texas
Fred, in the early stage of bringing that rendering to life.
Last night I spent a fun evening at
Beavercreek Community Theatre watching a
few actors I know, Sarah Caplan, Jill Proudfoot, Steve Strawser, and a couple I
don't know, Monique Hobbs and Terry Larson, in another of Mr. Sanders' plays that
happens in Sugar Bean, Florida, deep in the swamps by the Watchalahoochee River,
the same little village where
The Sugar Witch takes
place, the latter for which I designed sound two season back at The Guild.
As The Sugar Witch was, this mounting of The Sugar Bean Sisters is
directed by Doug Lloyd. If you're local and read this in time, there is a 3:00
matinee, today. It's the closing performance. It's a fun show, check it out if you
can make it.
Chris Harmon designed the set, and as is the usual case, his set is great. We have a
handful of wonderful set designers in Dayton theatre; Chris is among that special
sect. I'd post pictures of his set, but BCC is not my home theatre so I don't have
that privilege of taking and sharing pics. Tony Fende designed and ran the sound for
this production and kudos to his work. I also appreciate that he and Doug honored my
SW design by using one of my "Flying Cats" follies in this production.
And while we on the design subject, kudos to John Falkenbach and his lighting design.
John also designed the Sugar Witch lighting and grabbed a
Daytony for it.
Oh, yeah! I forgot to mention a cast member: The Baron
Samedi as The Snake! The Baron is Sarah's own pet, and as she played The
Reptile Woman in the show, Baron was cast as Reptile Woman's pet. I'd tell you what
kind of snake The Baron is, but I am not actually sure. I'll guess he's/she's
a boa constrictor, but......that's a guess. Although, The baron looks like the
images I just googled of such species.
And one more point: Monique Hobbs is the wife of one Keith Hobbs. That of course
will mean nothing to you, but, Keith and I were high school class mates. He, Monique
and I ran into each other at a performance of And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little
at The Guild. Keith actually almost joined one of the configurations of the band
my music partner, Rich Hisey, and I tried to put together some thirty-plus years ago.
You've heard the term, "Progress Not Perfection?" Yesterday I gained a lot
of ground on the sound design, but that goal to "have close to most of the
sound built, designed and programmed by the end of [yesterday]" was not met,
at all. Still, I can say that if I'm not ahead of the game, I am at least not behind.
Most of the work is still being done in
Final Cut Express as
I am still in the process of building sound files and editing some musical
recordings to fit the needs of the show.
The project in Show Cue Systems has
been started, though. That, because I needed to make sure I could program a
particular sequence as I wanted. There's a spot in the show when a piece of music
takes us out of a scene then cross-fades into another song that is supposed to be
on the radio (and opens the next scene); that song is, as per the script, cut off by
a voice-over; shortly after the voice-over (a commercial n the radio), the actor is
to turn off the radio off not ;long after the commercial is over, but not necessarily
immediately after. In light of that, I changed it some. Rather than cut the song off
at the VO, I want to lower the volume of the music during the VO then bring it back
up afterward; this gives the actor some slack-time for when he needs to be at the
prop radio to "turn it off" (that stop of the music being a programmed
cued). There is a level adjustment command in SCS, but I wanted to be sure I
could actually program all the cue commands in. I can, which I suspected I would be
able to, but before cementing it into the design blueprint I had to be sure. Now, to
get to the place where everything before and after that spot is programed in.
This coming Wednesday is my next shoot day for the podcast. Despite that I have
learned how to utilize video from my
cell phone, I will be using a
Canon ZR800 DV movie camera.
I probably will shoot Thursday night, too, and possibly Friday. I'm really more
interested in footage from nearer the end of their rehearsal process, though,
especially since we have clearance to use dialogue from the script in the podcast.
With that clearance, more footage of them later in the game when the actors have
their books out of their hands and their characters more fully developed is
desirable since I can use the audio from the footage.
Yesterday I did create a few more graphic stills for the podcast: the general
podcast logo that identifies the DV movie as "DTG podcast 1213-04 A Tuna
Christmas," and the artwork that identifies it as the holiday extra.
I voted a week ago, but, you, if you're in the U.S. and its
environs have the rest of the poll hours today to participate
A friend of mine who teaches at a university posted this
message this morning on a social media site: "To any of
my students: If it's a choice between vote and class? CUT
CLASS and VOTE."
All I got to say is: Yep!
And, if some treasonous bully tries to intimidate you out of
your right as a citizen: The FBI voter intimidation hotline
is 202-514-1888 or 866-687-8683; the NAACP voter hotline is
313-664-2424. Just sayin'......
Progress is happening on the sound design. Worked a bit in
Final Cut Express last
night, building tailored sound files for the show. I am still not as far along as I
wish I was, but, again, I am still not behind the game, so I am good.
AN UNEXPECTED GOOD NEWS EMAIL:
Yesterday, Kryss Northrup, the company manager at
The Human Race Theatre Company
emailed me to let me know that I was still under consideration for
which is the material for HRTC's new play workshop, up the weekend of
March 9 & 10, 2013, with rehearsals the two weeks prior. I hadn't even realized, or
remembered, that I was under consideration. The good news is that I'm available
for those dates, both the rehearsal and the show dates. The serendipity is that the
rehearsals begin the Monday after
100 Saints You Should Know
opens at The Guild, so producing the
DTG podcast for 100... would not become tricky in terms of being able to
schedule and budget time to shoot and edit.
When I got the email yesterday I knew nothing about Gingerbread Children; a
little research shows that it's by
Michael Slade, whose Under a
Red Moon just played at The Race and is now being produced at
The Carnegie Visual Arts and Performing Center
in Covington, Kentucky -- a migration of the same production. I am quite impressed
with the Red Moon script, so the potential of working on this new one has
become a more exciting prospect for me, especially after I read the synopsis at Mr.
Kryss says that
(HRTC's Producing Artistic Director) will finish with final casting decisions
sometime in January. Plus, I am still on the callback list for
Could there be a chance that I am on The Loft stage twice in 2013? That would be
great. Though I am 99% sure the workshop will not earn me
Equity points. Still. .
. . . .
Dayton's Annual Transylvanian Convention is mounting a production of the infamous
cult-classic musical. The shows are tonight, tomorrow and Thursday at Timothy's on
Brown Street close to a section of East Dayton fondly referred to as The U.D. Ghetto.
My recent castmate in Opus, Mary Mykytka, is in the show as Columbia. I am
again feeling a little under-the-weather, so I may defer my original plans to see
this tonight, and switch to tomorrow evening. But, I do want to check it out. It's
only $5 at the door; and, Mary is most talented -- as I
am sure the rest of the cast is.
While most of America was following the progress of the election results last
night, I was in bed asleep. Accordingly I can report no progress on any of my
creative tasks toward Tuna. Tomorrow night is officially slated as a
podcast shoot night, though, and there is all sort of little tasks toward sound
design that I can sneak in here and there throughout my day and early evening today,
as well as tomorrow.
The Rocky Horror Show,
as produced by Dayton's Annual Transylvanian Convention, and which has within its
cast Ms. Mary Mykytka as Columbia (recently my castmate, as Grace in Opus at
DTG) continues tonight and tomorrow
night at Timothy's on Brown Street in Dayton. As I've already stated, I'd planned to
go to the opening last night, but was feeling under the weather and changed my plans
for tonight. As I said above, I spent last night asleep.
I did not realize the curtain tonight is not until 10:00! Which puts me getting to
bed in the neighborhood of 1 a.m. I would like to catch the show, though, not only
to support Ms. Mykytka, but because I was invited to audition for this production
and I had to decline because the original production dates had a conflict for me
from my life outside theatre arts. Thus, I have arranged to work some flex hours at
the rent-payer to accomodate going in
later in the day tomorrow.
The Rocky Horror Show
-- First a correction. This "Dayton's Annual Transylvanian Convention"
production is not the same production for which I was invited to audition. That
was another production that I am not even sure came to fruition. But this one, with
Mary Mykytka as Columbia, at Timothy's in Dayton last night, was a campy version
------ *Because, you know, there are
versions of this that are NOT campy
------ with the actors performing against the cult-classic film running on the back
wall. This one was a charity performance with the benefits going to AIDS research.
Of course, there was audience participation all through the show; it was a lot of
fun. Ms. Mykytka was fabulous, of course.
Before the rehearsal last night, I programmed just shy of the first dozen and a
half sound cues into Show Cue Systems,
then ran them off my laptop last night during the rehearsal. Of course, many will
need tweaking before its all said and done, but the cast did appreciate hearing
As was planned, I shot a little bit of video, but not a whole lot. Again, the
shooting will get heavier as the off-book factor gets stronger for the actors and
they also start getting into costume.
Tomorrow -- The screening of Ray Gambrel
Zombie: A Musical, Romantic Comedy. Ray wrote and directed it over a decade
ago, but it has been accepted to screen this weekend at second
Blood At the Beach Convention in Virginia
Beach. Ray can't be there so he decided "it would be fun to have a local
screening on that same weekend." So, I'm gonna go check that out. It sounds
pretty campy and like it'll be a blast.
This weekend the big push is on to take out virtually all the sound design. There's
been, and will continue to be, a lot of sound enhancement and building with
Final Cut Express this
weekend. I'm pretty much just going along in the script then sweetening or building
the sound files, then programing them into
Show Cue Systems in blocks, before I
get to far along. Once this morning I had to go to
Sound Rangers to buy some sound files,
blue jays the most important of those, and may make more trips there or some other
sound effects store.
I'd created one vocal add-on of my own voice to put into a sound file of applause,
me, calling out the name of a character who's just won an award. I had used the
on-board mic on my laptop and I've decided I don't like the quality of the sound,
so I'm going to, probably sometime soon this evening, re-record the voice using an
external mic running through my
M-Audio Fast Track II USB Audio Interface.
I may go on-line and grab some particular sounds using
iMic. I also may need to go
to iTunes to get at least one particular
piece of music for the show.
It is good that I have the day off tomorrow for the holiday.
Last night: Zombie: A Musical, Romantic Comedy - -
Went to a screening of Ray Gambrel's movie and had a blast. What a fun movie with
some really hilarious stuff in it. No word on how it did this weekend at the
Blood At the Beach Convention in Virginia Beach.
I am happy to report that I met my goal of having the sound design finished over
the long holiday weekend, at least the first full sweep. My hope now is that all
further work will only be in Show Cue Systems.
I have built and edited all that needs built and edited and gathered together the
rest of the sound needs. The whole show is now programed into SCS, but of course,
there will now be adjustments made.
Certainly, volume levels will be tweaked all across the board; as well, some cues
may be shortened. I also have some stereo programing to do so that some sounds will
pan across the theater. I chose to not do any pan mixing in
Final Cut Express
because then it would be fixed in the sound file and to tweak I would have to go
back several steps. This way, I just change settings at the end of the process, in
the delivery vehicle rather than in the source. It's nice to have a buffer of the
chance to tweak before the tech rehearsal this Sunday -- well, I ASSUME there's
a tech rehearsal Sunday and heard nothing that says otherwise; I just don't know the
what-time part, yet.
About to put the full-court swing into finishing off principle production of the
podcast and get it into post and to final cut before the opening. At present I'm
waiting for word on a good time to shoot the "interview"/commentary
footage; my personal choice is either this Friday or Sunday at some point during
If I am placed in the
position to have to run sound for the show --
can ya tell I don't wanna?
-- that will make shooting next week during dress rehearsals a bit of a, well, a
bit of damned bitch, and I will be in a bad mood about that. I do not want to be
fettered to the booth during those tech/dress runs because they will serve as the
meat of my principle photography for the DV movie, and static shots just are not
as good, *i.e.: footage taken from stationary tri-pods rather than from a camera
operator (me) on his (my) feet, mobile and able to shoot shuttles, and pans, etc.
If I have to set cameras on tri-pods while I am in the booth otherwise occupied, the
nicest thing I can say is it will
piss me, /\/\0+43&|~v¢!|\|6' off!
Not that I have any strong thoughts on
the subject, or anything.
Nothing done yesterday. I went home after
work and went to bed, sick...again.
In fact I was off work today, slept past noon, and have lazed since then. I
did do a mixture of chicken noodle and chicken with rice soups, with a
chicken broth cube thrown in.
I will go to the rehearsal tonight to play the sound cues through the rehearsal,
even though the design points are not tweaked and adjusted.
No footage shot tonight or tomorrow night, but I will shoot the commentary on Friday.
I'm using the multi-camera setup, the three camera setup: one camera on a tripod
down left of the group, one on a tripod down right, and one in my hand, mobile, in
front of the group. Since I have all three cameras over the weekend, I will utilize
the three-camera shooting during Tech Sunday, too.
The other good news is that a sound tech has been found, so I am free to roam to
shoot principal footage Monday and Tuesday during those tech/dress rehearsals.
Um, yeah, gotta add two sounds to the design, one
oops, one not so. First the
Last night I transferred all the sound files and the
Show Cue Systems program file onto the
Guild computer and ran the cues during the run last night. We did all of Act
I and a portion of Act II. In
II I discovered there was a horn honk that I had
completely overlooked. Fortunately I have lots of those sound files, and even if
not, a horn honk is easy to create with almost any electronic keyboard devise. This
one, we have decided is going to be an angry hink from a compact car. I have a long,
persistant honk that I created -- with a keyboard -- for Kimberly
Akimbo a few season back. It's a bit low pitch, but a little magic with the
pitch adjuster in
Final Cut Express and
whallah! we're in business.
There's also a spot, close by that honk, where I need to add the sound of a hair
dryer; this isn't a sound I missed the need for, it's one I thought was going to be
a practical (the actual sound of a working device or organic thing as opposed to a
sound effect). there are a few practical sounds being created: a cow bell, a crash
box, the sounds of some other items falling. The hair dryer will be from the
I was not sure I had a sound file of a hair dryer, but knew that
finding such thing was not going to be difficult at all; it would probably take me
less than five minutes at one of the sound effects services, on-line, to find one.
As it turned out I have one in a "household" folder in my SFX library.
I should be able to have these additions incorporated in before rehearsal tonight.
Most of the show was run last night, though a bit out of order. We started with Act
II, then swung back around and got about the first half
of I. The irony is that I was able to get those two new
sounds into the program before rehearsal last night, but the portion of the script
where they exist was erroneously jumped, so they did not get played last night.
As for the horn honk, we needed what I have dubbed an "angry little horn
honk" and as I said before I had a comparable one that I created for Kimberly
Akimbo but that would need to have the pitch bent higher in
Final Cut Express. I
did pop it up quite a few frequency levels, but was getting pops in the resulting
compression that I was having great difficultly eliminating. I surrendered and used
a virtual keyboard in Garageband
to create "angry little horn honk", which was what I should have done in
the first place
Meanwhile, I have come across a glitch in my plan to use the Level Adjustment
function in Show Cue Systems to
program some stereo pan movement. I want some sounds to move across the theatre
space. When I programed one of them last night, I was able to get the effect when I
tried the sample feature in the edit mode, but when I was in the project performance
mode, the said sound not only did not pan, it had no sound whatsoever. Clearly I'm
doing something wrong. If I can't find the solution soon, I will just go back into
FCE and created original edits of these files that have the stereo pan movement,
built in. I really wanted to incorporate the pans at the end because there much less
involved in tweaking them, but, ya gotta do what ya gotta
I may just go ahead and create the pan-move files and have them ready if they are
needed, maybe a couple different pan speeds of one of them -- the one most likely to
need tweaking because it needs to coordinate with lighting movements.
Yep, the big push for principle footage begins this evening with the commentary
shoot. I also shoot rehearsal footage tonight, but it will more likely be b-roll.
I shoot a lot Sunday, taking advantage of still having the three
all weekend. I will be busy as sound designer so the three cameras will be a big
convenience. There may be a lot of static footage from Sunday, but it will be footage
that otherwise would not exist.
Monday and Tuesday I'll likely be back to just one DV camera, but the sound tech
will be on deck in the booth running things herself -- with me close by for problems
-- so I will be able to get the different movement shots I want.
Wednesday: a vacation day to get the DV movie to final cut and posted on DTG's
accounts. That now puts my three-weeks of banked
vacation time up to April, 2013, and that will inevitably move to later in the
"The best laid schemes of mice and men \ Go often awry":
Sound is going well save for that movement across the stereo pan problem I
discovered Thursday. I have not been able to determine what I am doing wrong that
will not allow a pan-change command in
Show Cue Systems to work properly, so
I went ahead and remixed three sound files, all car drive-bys, to have the pan
movement built into them -- I, of course, did that in
Final Cut Express.
Another sound is going to be handled with a manual pan through the mixing board
during performance because it will be coorinated with a moving spotlight, and the
exact timing of that light move will vary from night to night, so it's best of the
audio pan is manual....
AND SINCE I AM NOW RUNNING THE
DAMNED SOUND BOARD FOR THE SHOW (see more on this in the next section)
....it makes my confidence in the success of the manual pan a little better.
Yes, the major development that interferes with podcast production is that it is
quite clear that the person who was to run sound has very likely fallen through.
Thus, rather than being on the floor getting good moving shots of the
dress rehearsals tonight
and tomorrow night, it's pretty much 99.99999...% certain I will need to be
in the booth on the sound board -- a situation I was very much trying to
Now, the principal footage
of the actors performing will all be static shots rather than the various
sorts of moving shots that are far more compelling to watch. I have the three
borrowed from The Center for Teaching and Learning, on campus
and they were gracious enough to renew my borrow on all three cameras until next
Monday. That will enable me to at least have some different angles and the ability
to edit crosscuts during action.
I used three camera shooting during the dry tech
and the cue-to-cue sections of
yesterday's Tech Sunday, and I
do have some nice moments of footage from what I have seen so far. One new
thing I think I've discovered is that there seems to not be a
disadvantage to using the long-speed setting to record. This gives one a
ninety-minute tape when using what is a one-hour, standard speed mini-DV cassette.
On an analogue video recorder it would have made a difference, because, without
getting into the details, the faster analogue is recorded, the higher the quality.
Since the format I'm using is digital, if there is a quality loss, it seems to be
indistinguishable. I may find as get into the editing process that I am wrong, but
for the moment it looks like utilizing the slower speed won't compromise quality.
Footage from the Tuna Christmas Tech Sunday being transfered
from the DV minicassette (via the DV camera) into the Final Cut
Express movie project on my laptop.
I shot on six cassettes yesterday, at the long-play speed -- two sessions using
three cameras set up in different spots, so it amounts to nine hours of raw footage.
SInce I set the cameras on tripods, let them roll and left them unattended, there
are dead spots, sometimes of many minutes, so not all the raw footage will be
transfered to the movie project files on my computer. Though, since transfer with a
DV cassette tape has to be done in real-time, getting what I want into the project
is time consuming. I have been multi-tasking today at
the rent-payer, by running the
capture in Final Cut while at me desk attending to my work duties.
Depending on how I feel about the footage tonight, I may not shoot tomorrow night.
For one thing, I haven't dumped all of yesterday's footage yet and the project folder
for movie files in the capture scratch directory is bubbling just below 100 gigs
already. With just tomorrow night, it's already looking like at least 150 gigs if
not closer to 200 gigs total. yet, I still may want to get both the Monday and
Tuesday dresses just to get two different performances of the actors during key
moments that are ripe for the podcast. I'm likely to only pull from Act
I, anyway, so that will trim the footage to some big
Though one rehearsal short, due to the holiday, Tech Week went well and I do believe
we got a show on our hands. Technical challenge that it is, Tuna Christmas
has some real promise.
One may note that, as of the date of this post, November 23, the embed of the
youtube video for the podcast is not yet here for the opening day statement*, as
is the tradition here. I always post the embed of a show's podcast on the opening
day post for the duration of the run, then switch off to the static
"banner" graphic as the embed is displaced to the show's closing day
statement. As the screenshot of the DTG facebook status from this past Wednesday
says, post-production is waylaid for a myriad of reasons that I'll detail when I
have time. The editing process is still underway, and not nearly as far along as
I would want -- especially considering I wanted the
final cut posted by noon yesterday, and may not be posted until Sunday,
though tomorrow is a good possibility.
At this point, there is only one slight little tweak to the sound design; it's an
idea that came to me after the Final Dress, Wednesday. I want to start some music
for a scene transition underneath the last line of the actor at the ending of the
first scene in the transition. Both the actor, Ian Manuel, and Director Kathy Mola
like the idea. I'm going to program a volume control in so the volume is down during
his line, then swells up for the scene change.
Also, for a brief period of time (Monday evening & Tuesday during the day) it looked like we would have another sound tech,
rather than me, in the booth, after all. But by Tuesday rehearsal that had fallen to
the waste side; so I am in the booth for the run.
Perhaps I'll see some of you in the audience, tonight or otherwise during the run.
Wednesday, PC-Goenner notified me that I
have booked the web commercial with
Lancaster Bingo, which I did the
screentest for two weeks ago. At the time I said I wasn't sure exactly what to do
so "I gave what I gave and [we would] see what that means." It means, in
this case, I got the gig. This is another case where I was not too terribly enthused
with what I did give; it's not that I thought I sucked; I just didn't feel anything
that might come close to the label
brilliant or such.
No ETA on the podcast, yet. I am still very far behind; even feel a little guilty
for bothering with this sparse blog post, as if I am back in eighth grade and am
watching afternoon TV rather than doing my homework. I hope the podcast is up by
tomorrow, but, no promises.
Wonderful Work From Monsiers Hallowren and Manuel -- I must
say these gentlemen are doing good work. Comedy's hard enough to pull off, by
itself; pulling off a comedy where you play eleven different characters is a
monumental task; it certainly intimidated me and was very much a big reason I did
not audition. Gotta give the run crew, especially the dressers, their props, too. We
had three really good shows this weekend; everybody brought it home. The audiences
A New Lesson In Patience & Acceptance -- This has been the
most troublesome podcast production in the three seasons we've been doing this.
Various obstacles jumped in the way. Some of those obstacles were beyond my control;
at least one was from an error I made; one was a tech problem that was half my error
and half simply the problem itself.
One problem, as I've written before, was being in the booth running sound during Tech
Sunday and the Tech Week rehearsals. This kept me from being able to move freely on
the floor to shoot interesting mobile, moving shots. Unlike Opus, which had
similar but unavoidable problems -- since I was in the cast -- Tuna allowed
no real spots at all to shoot such shots as I had to stay in the booth. At least
during Opus there were many scenes I wasn't in and could play camera operator.
So there the only wholly static shots from the dress rehearsals were those with me in
them because those were tripod shots. This time, with me on the sound board, all the
shots were tripod. I have been able, as I edit, to put some slow zooms in and out
into the mix. But there are no dolly zooms (moving the actual camera closer or
farther away) or tracking shits (moving the camera along side the action) -- and
those both make for more interesting visuals when they can be generously thrown into
the mix. It would have been nice to have some good medium, closeup, and extreme
close-ups for the DV movie, too. Such can be edited by editing a zoom-in of the
wide shots, but unless I have very high-resolution, high-deffinition footage there's
going to be bad quality pixilation to those editing-room zoom-ins. I don't have such
resolution so such postproduction manipulation is out.
Another way being committed to the booth was a problem was that it somewhat put the
final cut behind schedule. Since I had to be in the booth for final dress, that was
several hours I was mandated away from editing. Although, one qualifier here is
that had the new volunteer, who was to run sound, worked out, I may have still been
there since that person was untried and had never run sound before.
Another glitch was that the audio mic for one of the three
was turned off so, all footage (several hours total) from that machine had no audio.
This was a fact I did not discover until I was starting to edit Wednesday morning.
I simply had not checked any of the machines before shooting for such a problem and
that is my culpability. I also transferred the video from the cameras to the
Final Cut Express
project with the sound down on the monitors, so catching the lack of recorded audio
at that stage was out. Lesson learned, though, seriously, it was a pretty amateur
mistake. Fortunately I had footage of the all the same action, with in-tact audio,
from the other cameras, so I had the ability to copy the good audio and sync it to
the silent footage. But it meant delaying editing as I rendered those several hours
of footage into new "sweetened" movie files.
Enter the next problem - totally my fault. I rendered those "sweetened"
movie files at too low a resolution, which I discovered when I returned to
assembling an edit in FCE. So, I had to re-render them at the good resolution.
Bottom line: it's the Monday after Opening Weekend, and the podcast is not
only not posted, it's not even close to the final cut. It will be before Sophomore
Weekend begins. I will likely take a major chunk out tonight, but I am sure I will
not finish tonight.
Meanwhile, even if I am bias, this is a show worth the ticket price....
*P.S.: if the "Great Opening Weekend"
animation is too much for you......Too Bad.
Unless I feel I'm too terribly far behind editing the Tuna Christmas podcast,
I am going to attend the Film Dayton monthly
meeting, Tuesday night. The topics are motion tracking and green screen technology
and this session will be at Reynolds and Reynolds and facilitated by
I am especially interested in the green screen portion, but the motion tracking is
IT'S A WEEK LATE, BUT THE TUNA CHRISTMAS PODCAST IS
Yesterday I missed worked at
the rent-payer due to
automobile trouble, so I took advantage of the afternoon to finish editing
the podcast to final cut. It was posted on
the DTG You Tube channel
the DTG facebook wall
last night. It will likely be live at the
DTG Web site today or
tomorrow. Let's hope this is the last time I have to miss deadline so
There was a slight bit of color correction and other adjustments to make,
a little bit more than usual, and the audio equalization is not uniform in
a few spots. I could have fixed that EQ problem but I was impatient to get
the thing posted so I elected to ignore it as a minor blemish.
Despite not having the podcast done I elected to still attend the Film
Dayton November Film Connections meeting Tuesday night, which was
replanted back to Think TV,
its usual location. The presentation was still on motion tracking and green
screen technology, and hosted by
Reynolds and Reynolds.
facilitated, with help from some of his R&R colleagues.
It was pretty interesting stuff, heavy on the tracking with little
directly about green screen (which was what I have the most immediate
interest in). Though I now have a little better understanding about 2D
and 3D tracking -- also referred to as
match moving --
and that knowledge will come in handy at some point.
Last night was Can Night for the
The Human Race Theatre Company
Had I not had cleanup on the podcast I would have attended. Now I'll have
to splurge on a full-priced ticket, which is often what I have to do.
Just had to turn down a paying singing gig that came up at the last minute
for this evening. I have to work too late to make it on time; I have some
business that I need to take care of this evening; and I have a soar
throat. Too bad, too -- I could use the money!
Last night marked the start of a push to complete a project that began
almost thirty years ago.
Geez! thirty years
In 1983 I began laying tracks down on a Fostex four-track cassette
recorder owned by my friend and then music partner, Rich Hisey. At that
point it was the start of work on songs by the band we had formed, called
SeazonWind. The song recorded was a song I'd written titled "In the
Heat of the Heart." Technically it's two pieces of music I'd written,
because that song segues into a short instrumental titled, "Heart of
the Universe," with which we recorded as the ending of the first song
and at the same time.
Later that year, after one live gig with the line-up we had at the time,
Rich and I decided to disband the current band and start over. In late
1983 or early 1984 we next recorded a collaboration titled "Seems
Like a Crime" -- *see below. Things went a little disheveled
after that and "SeasonWind" -- which was sort of, in our
minds, at least, our own hybrid version of Steely Dan and Hall & Oats
-- was not recording; I started to lay some tracks of my own, however. By
somewhere in 1987 I had what accounted for and old double-LP, including
the two SeasonWind tracks. At some point during that year, I gave it a
title: Heart Walks. That title has stayed.
This project, this "album," has essentially been dormant since
1987, with some brief, more recent, stirrings. I mixed a portion of the
closing instrumental, "Seeking," to be underscore music for a
trailer I shot for two one acts the Guild put on back in 2007. It was
used as underscore for the part of the video trailer about the play,
by Pamela Reeves,
which featured Barbara Jorgensen and
Katrina Kittle in the only two
roles in the script.
Since then I have mixed more of the recordings down to stereo. "Seems
Like a Crime," as heard in the video embedded here and, like
"In the Heat of the Heart/Heart of the Universe," another
song/instrumental pairing, "Freedom From Bondage/False Evidence
Appearing Real," portions of which can be heard at the end of
Be Or Not. Actually, the
first song I mixed from Heart Walks was about ten years ago. I did
a mixdown of my song "Rabid Rack." I mixed down the second
version of it, what I call the "Eleanore Rigby" version. The
original version is a progressive rock version. The "Eleanore
Rigby" is sort of a staccato ballad version, with several different
synthesized string voices as instrumentation.
About two years ago I decided to finally do something with the
Heart Walks project, at least get a whole stereo mix of it into
digital form. The idea was to first just do a stereo mixdown from the
analog tapes to a digital format (hence most of what is already mixed),
then go back later, transfer each single track of the original four-track
analog masters into digital format and do a digital mixdown from scratch
-- actually what I'd done with "Rabid Rack" (version).
Last night, I transfered each individual track of the four-track master
for the instrumental "Seeking," and will, in short order, do
the same for all the music of Heart Walks. Everything will be
re-mixed; the mix of "Seems Like a Crime" associated with the
music video below will be obsolete. That song will also finally get the
bass guitar line I never laid, once I woodshed my chops back to the point
that I can play what I have in mind (I wrote the bass line in my head
years ago, but have never taken it farther).
The bottom line: I am making Heart Walks a
finished entity in some sort of near future!
Next up -- Vignettes in Bellcreek.
I actually am going to create several signs to place around that ask me
what have I done toward post on this "Today."
If I do just a little bit every now and then, it'll be a damn sight better
than the absolutely NOTHING I've
done since I edited the outtake, Be Or Not.
Oh, I did one thing: I finally arrived at the title for the full-length.
More needs done, and now is when it's needed to begin.
Look, Ma, another new subject-icon
I am also in the ongoing process of digitizing my actors' accent and
dialect cassette tapes.
With a few, I already had done so. Now the push is on to get them all
converted to digital sound files.
Earlier today I emailed
Casarotto Ramsay and Associates Ltd,
literary agency in London to request "clearance to use performed
dialogue from Ghosts in [the] podcast, for information on who to
otherwise contact for this clearance, or to request that [they] pass along
my request to the proper person."
Honestly, with a playwright as much a heavyweight as Mr. Hampton, I am
skeptical that clearance will be granted. Then again, I made that
whom I also originally thought I'd never be able to personally contact;
yet, not only was I able to email him directly, he was quick to get back
with a very gracious granting of the request to use text from
Going to St. Ives,
which we did at DTG earlier this year. So you never know.
In a few cases I did not even bother to attempt seeking clearance:
(Lost In Yonkers),
Tom Stoppard and/or
With Harrower it wasn't as much that I was incredibly skeptical
clearance was going to be granted as it was that for Blackbird
using text was not what I wanted to do. For Neil Simon I simply did not
believe there was a chance at all, and still don't; with Stoppard/Sibleyras
it was both a question of getting in contact with both and getting
clearance from both as both copyrights were in play, Sibleyras' original
French play and Stoppard's English translation.
And there have, of course, been a few cases where the playwright or his/her
agent denied clearance. Well, I have put the request to Hampton's people;
we'll see what the answer is.
Next up, I show up at an early rehearsal and warn the cast of my impending
presence at their rehearsals, DV camera in hand.
Last night I digitized more of the raw multitrack masters of the Heart
Walks album. The titles will mean nothing to anyone reading this, save
that I have mentioned most of them before, but, they are:
"Freedom From Bondage/False Evidence Appearing Real"
"In the Heat of the Heart/Heart of the Universe"
"Fugue: March of the Teachings; Heart Walks"
"Rabid Rack (Ballad)" -- I.E.: The Eleanore Rigby version
I seem to be missing the master tape for the song "When We Are
Walking," which is the album opener, but I am not panicking as I
believe it's around my place, somewhere. There is a long, instrumental
collaboration between Rich Hisey and myself, entitled "I Think,
Therefore..." that I have to digitize as well as some other music
that likely won't be in the album line-up but will be associated in
some way. There's a live recording of the original progressive rock
version of "Rabid Rack" and another multitrack studio recording,
a ballad titled "Star Gaze."
I may do another enhanced mix of the instrumental "Astroterph,"
which I had done so to back in 2007, for the first part of that trailer
that I used an older mix of "Seeking" on. And I may grab some
other originals from the same source, a SeazonWind rehearsal tape.
"Astroterph" and any other originals from the SeazonWind
rehearsal, probably wont be directly associated with Heart Walks,
but like the rest of what I have, that tape is getting older and dryer
every day, so whilst I'm digitizing other recordings from my old music
I'm happy to report that just as I suspected, the original tape four-track
master cassette of my song, "When We Are Walking," was very easy
to locate; it took me about five minutes of hunting to come across it.
Thus, the four master tracks are digitized and ready for stereo mixdown.
Also digitized last night were my instrumental collaboration with Rich
Hisey, "I Think, Therefore...," and the song, "Star
Gaze," the latter not part of the album line-up but one of those
titles that will be associated with Heart Walks.
The live recording of the rock version of "Rabid Rack" is still
in need of digitization, and there is another longer instrumental titled,
"Now," that will get the treatment, too. "Now" is
not at all associated with Heart Walks but I might as well get it
digitized on that same philosophy that the ape is getting older and dryer
every day. I also have not located the original tape of the SeazonWind
rehearsal that includes the my instrumental "Astroterph," and
other originals, but, again, I am sure it is not lost, just hiding, and
that I'll find it soon.
However, as the headline, or whatever you wanna call it, for this section
of today's entry says, all the music destined for the Heart Walks
line-up has been digitized and the album can be digitally mixed down.
The mock CD jewel case for a shot in Vignettes in
*By-the-way: the album artwork will not be what is shown here. The icon
I'm using here is based on a mock CD jewel case in a segment of
Vignettes in Bellcreek; it's supposed to be an album by the
fictitious rock star, David Dawn -- also the protagonist, as a young boy,
of my not-soon-to-be-published novel,
Starting for the Sun. In Vignettes
there will be music from the actual "K.L.Storer" Heart Walks
playing in the scene, coming from a boom box. For the real album, I
actually did a pencil sketch, years ago, that if I locate, will be the
Vignettes in Bellcreek *WILL* be worked on in the very near
future. Something starts this week! I will, at the very least,
place the movie files folder and the
Final Cut project file
for the first thing to be edited onto my
hard drive and at least start prepping files for assembly edit.
I'm not sure whether that will be the first acted sequence or the
opening credits sequence; I suppose that'll be up to the caprice
of the moment.
The show had a stellar sophomore weekend with some fine, fine work from
David and Ian and strong positive responses from the three audiences.
Must admit that I did tweak some sound a bit. There's a music fade-in at
one point in Act II that just sounded too
haphazard, I shortened the fade-in time then realigned the spot in the
music where it begins so it begins at the start of a stanza. It works
much better now. There's also a place in Act I
where blue jays chirp at the top of a scene. I'd originally programmed it
for the birds to sound for the first ninety seconds of the scene. That has
proven to be overkill, so I have shortened the period to thirty seconds.
That will work much better, I am sure. I also adjusted one music volume
that was a bit too loud.
PC-Goenner called about noon
yesterday about a gig this coming Sunday. It's a U.S. Bank commercial for
which the client specifically requested me, according to the phone call.
Apparently this is off a previous screentest for another U.S. Bank
commercial I didn't get. That one was a national commercial so I have to
assume this one is, too.
Problem: having to sound tech A Tuna Christmas in the afternoon
on Sunday. But I told the agency I would try to find a replacement. I had
until 3:00 yesterday afternoon to let them know whether or not I was
available. So, I starting making some calls. Enter Rick Flynn to save the
day. He's agreed to cover the sound tech Sunday. So, yay!
I'd have been one unhappy S.O.B. had I been forced to turn down the
commercial. This is possibly a residual payment situation, and I really
don't want to pass that up.
Meanwhile, though all the details aren't in, I do know that the Lancaster
Bingo web commercial shoot is a week from tomorrow.
It certainly does feel damn nice to have booked two commercials
that are shooting within days of each other for a change, rather
than: audition, audition, audition, screentest, screentest,
screentest, audition, screentest, audition, screentest, audition,
screentest...... and no bookings to show for any of it.
With the advent of Rick coming in to cover for me, he and I need to get
together for a dry rehearsal, which may be Thursday evening. In the
perfect world we'd get for at least one dry rehearsal, he'd shadow me in
the booth during the performance Friday, and then he'd run the show with
me sitting with him on Saturday. Unfortunately, he may not be able to be
there Friday, though if he can arrange it he will.
Of course, I am very grateful that Rick stepped up when I got hold of him.
I also greatly appreciate Director Kathy Mola's support and understanding
about the opportunity of commercial gig and her not wanting to see me miss
STEREO MIX-MASTERING HAS BEGUN:
It's a humble beginning but yesterday I started the actual mixing for the
stereo master. Since "When We Are Walking" is the opening song,
I started mixing that one. Barely got it started, but, it's started. I
think I will, for the most part, mix the music pieces in the intended
line-up order. The exception will be "Seems Like a Crime," which
is still missing the bass guitar part. I won't mix that until I have
recorded the bass line for it, obviously.
As is my habit, I am mixing the sound in
Final Cut Express,
because why not? I am familiar with mixing sound in it. Though I ought
to do some work in
Audacity; I really do
need to utilize them both a bit more. I used Garageband to record the
digital versions of the original analog tracks, but I have not delved into
actually using it to mix. I will write about
this a bit more before I finally take the plunge.
MORE DIALECT TAPES DIGITIZED:
4. Yiddish *(tonight)
I'm still waiting for a response from
Casarotto Ramsay and Associates Ltd,
or whoever it is that will be responding, with a granting or a denial of
clearance to use dialogue text from
in the podcast, currently in early pre-production. Still guessing there's
more of a chance of a denial than a granting, but: can't get a
"yes" if ya don't ask the question. I also decided to go ahead
and seek clearance for the following Guild production,
100 Saints You Should Know,
and to that end I managed to contact the playwright,
Kate Fodor, last night.
Ms. Fodor has not yet responded, either.
Further on the Ghosts podcast pre-production front, I will drop by
the theatre tonight to warn the unsuspecting cast members about my
drop-ins on their rehearsals, with DV camera in hand. And of course, I'll
prepare them for the commentary shoots later in their rehearsal process.
While I'm at the theatre tonight, I'll also tweak some labels in the
Show Cue Systems program for
the Tuna design. There are a few execution labels that a person
running the sound, who is not the person who designed it, might find
confusing. I am going to relabel those to make more sense and be more
justified to what the design actually is.
"Huh?" you say -- An example:
The last scene of the show ends with a song; at the fadeout of the scene,
that music fades then the music for the curtain call begins. I programmed
the fade of song number one, then I programmed song number two to
automatically start about two seconds into the fade of song one; I also
hid that auto-starting song in the program execution console -- I hid all
the automatic starts to eliminate clutter and to only have sounds that are
manually executed in that section. It's cleaner and simpler. Thus, the
only thing that is seen is the manual execution for the song 1 fade, not
the auto execution of song 2. I'm going to go into the program edit side
and relabel the song 1 fade; I'm going to lie; I'm going to give it the
name of the closing music because that will make more sense for a sound
tech who is not intimately familiar with the sound design of the show.
There are a few other spots with the same situation where I will employ
the same alteration.
The hero of the hour, Rick Flynn, will be able to do a dry rehearsal
tomorrow night, shadow me at Friday's show, then run the show with me at
his side Saturday, the optimum situation.
After the scrambling to get sound tech covered for Sunday's Tuna
performance, I got a call yesterday from
PC-Goenner to say that the U.S.
Bank commercial has been moved to Monday. So, not only had I scrambled, but
someone else had scrambled to rearrange his schedule to accomodate the
Sunday tech substitution only for it all to become moot. I did propose
that we go ahead with it because getting a new person's foot in the
tech waters is never a bad thing.
The move to Monday also causes me to burn vacation time at the
rent-payer that I would
not have to otherwise burn. Even though I have another commercial shoot on
Wednesday, for Lancaster Bingo, I would have been able to avoid taking any
vacation time from "work" due to being allowed to flex my forty
hours at the office. The plan before this U.S. Bank shoot on Monday
development was to work ten hours both Monday and Tuesday, then shoot the
bingo commercial Wednesday.
That shoot is scheduled for 10:00 to noon in Lancaster, which is about
ninety minutes from the rent-payer, so I'll probably be able to get to
said rent-payer and work at least a few hours Wednesday afternoon, perhaps
as much as three; then, with the four extra hours I'd worked Mon & Tue
I would have little or no hours to work over on Thursday to get my forty
in for the week. However, the Monday U.S. Bank shoot means, even if it's
only a half day, I'm burning some vacation time to get in the forty.
not so fast.
Last night I got an email from Goenner that says the U.S. Bank shoot is
back to Sunday in Cincinnati, and later in the day so they can shoot an
exterior Magic Light shot.
So, we are back to the original game plan. The truth is I will not probably
have to be in Cincinnati until about 6:30, which will theoretically make
it possible to run the sound, but I really don't want to risk shaving it
close like that.
Though I had started the stereo mixing of the first song in this project,
the opening song of the album, "When We Are Walking," I had to
There was a synchronization problem and to make it a clean fix, I just
started the process for the song all over.
Not too big of a deal since I wasn't that far in, anyway.
AND MORE DIALECT TAPES DIGITIZED:
2. Down East New England
3. Boston Upper Class (Kennedy-esque)
Rick Flynn and I did a dry rehearsal of the sound programming for the show
last night. Really it was a demonstration, with me walking through the
show, playing the sounds with explanations of the cues or what's going on
with the programming (hidden sound executables, etc). As planned, Rick will
sit with me during the show tonight then run it with me present tomorrow.
More toasted dialect tapes: Polish and Norwegian & Swedish. The tapes,
which are second-hand, may be twenty or so years old, maybe almost
thirty, so I am not shocked some are garbled goo.
Looks like I may be going to
David Alan Stern's
website to replace a few. Thus far, it's these two and the Texas and Boston.
I haven't dropped the West Indian & Black African, the British North
Country, or the Australian into a cassette player for a long time. Those
are what's left, and they may be toast, too.
It turns out the golden hour shoot is tomorrow at dawn not at dusk. My
call is 7:30 in the morning. So I will be up at about 4:30 or 5:00. I'm
supposed to attend a party tonight; believe I will be leaving early. Also,
since the shoot tomorrow morning is exterior there are two potential rain
dates. One is Wednesday.
Problem?: My call for the other commercial, which I booked first, is 10:30
Wednesday morning. I have sent an email to the agency.
Show Number Seven went well. It was a smaller but appreciative audience.
Mr. Flynn sat in booth and is feeling some good measure of comfort, having
watched me run it.
Most importantly to me, he asked the right questions, which is always a
Tonight Rick sits in the driver seat.
Meanwhile, I am now off for a quick haircut (re: tomorrow's shoot) before
heading to the theatre
As it was overcast yesterday morning when I headed out before dawn for the
U.S. Bank commercial shoot outside of Cincinnati, there seemed some real
chance that the shoot would be cancelled. My only hope was that if it was
going to be, it would be before I had travelled to far along the
seventy-five-mile sojourn to the location in Mariemont. I made the trek
and the shoot went on as scheduled.
Southbound I-675, on the portion passing South Dayton, at
about 5:45 yesterday morning. The barron highway is proof
that I do not live in a major metropolitan area, which is
by far and large, fine by me.
Besides meaning that I did not get up at the ungodly hour of 4:00, then
drive some unnecessary portion of a 150-mile round trip for nothing, it
also means that i now have no potential scheduling conflict for the
Lancaster Bingo web commercial shoot Wednesday morning. The 12th was one
of the rain dates for the U.S.Bank shoot, and had it been a dawn shoot in
Mariemont on Wednesday, the trek to Lancaster for the 10:30 a.m. call would
have been more than problematic. The two cities are two hours from each
other, so it would have been tight at best.
The shoot went quite well. It didn't tax my acting skills much. All I do
in the commercial is drop of a deposit bag in the outside drop box. If
this is a national commercial it makes no difference; I am on b-roll with
no lines so no residuals; commiseratively, there's no big initial paycheck
or buy out. Not that it wasn't a nice wage for the time put in, even if
you count the three hours total travel time. The compensation will be a
little better for the Wednesday gig.
ONE STEP CLOSER TO TREKKIE MONSTER:
The callback dates for
The Human Race Theatre Company
have been slated for January 25 & 26. Company manager Kryss Northrup
will be getting with us who are called back soon to set appointments and
give more details. For instance, I have no idea what character or
characters I'm being called for nor what exactly is expected in the
After a good run the show closed yesterday on good note with a most
receptive audience. I made it to the theatre a few scenes into Act
II and everything was sailing along.
Yes, the show had a good run with fine, fine work from David Hallowren and
Ian Manuel. Kathy Mola did herself right with her Ohio directorial debut,
and Jared Mola put together a crack run crew for the show.
As an admin for the
DTG facebook page,
I posted the following last night to the DTG fb wall: "Special thanks
to Rick Flynn who came in at the last minute to do a great job
pinch-hitting as the show's sound tech!" And he did a great job.
Like I wrote before, he came in Thursday evening and he and I did a dry
rehearsal of sorts where I showed him the
Show Cue Systems software and
went over the sound design for the show. Then he shadowed me during the
Friday performance and watched as I ran the show. Saturday, Rick ran the
sound with me there, but he really drove on his own with a few comments,
reminders and warnings of potential pitfalls. Only one mishap occurred,
but it was minor and easily remedied. Sunday it was all his and he did
well. As I have told him: Now he's marked and
destine to log far more time in the booth!
I-70 East horizon at dawn. There's a bit of on-coming
traffic on the horizon under the overpass, if you look
hard enough. The road is part of the dark of the lower
half of the image.
The shoot went off yesterday without a hitch; I was even wrapped early.
The shoot was slated for 10:00-12:noon, but we got started early and I
was pulling away from the location at 10:35.
One cool piece of trivia: one of my castmates for the shoot was a veteran
actor named John Schmidt
who was in the chorus during the original run of
Brigadoon on Broadway.
We shot the segment in the recreation house of Lancaster Bingo founder
Mark Sells, on his property. His rec-house masqueraded as a bar where I
was Snarky Bartender, though the director had me pull the snark back a bit
from the screen test.
It was a pretty smooth shoot and I even did some prop work, watering
down some coffee to serve as beer in glasses; and I made a key observation
about a continuity problem
that certainly saved the director a headache in post.
Podcast production officially began with the shooting of about fifteen
minutes excerpted from about the first hour of table-read rehearsal last
night. Only so much footage of actors sitting around looking at their
scripts is necessary. I got some shots of each actor in some state of
animation and some of them studiously following along, as well as some
footage of production folk following along, making notes, etc. But again,
only so much of that is needed before it becomes a major case of
Still no word back from the
camp concerning clearance or no clearance to use dialogue from the
translation in the DV movie.
I saw the interesting, conceptualized production of this classic musical
at The Human Race Theatre Company
last night. I have to say the cast gives a stellar performance that makes
me jealous and even a little intimidated; the choreography especially
intimidates; I don't know if I could have pulled it off.
The concept tells the story as a frame-piece that is conscious of the
Dickensian tale as both literature and the classic musical offering, with
the clientele of a period bar acting out the story, even often donning in
their hands what appear to be librettos of the original musical version.
In this manner it's fairly reminiscent of
Man of La Mancha.
Some audience members last night did complain that they thought the story
got somewhat lost and I had a conversation today with a local actor who
pointed out that she felt the character Oliver was pretty fuzzy most of
the time, that it almost didn't seem like it was his story. I really
can't argue with those points, but I will say I liked Director
Alan Souza's idea of the
frame story; I especially like the evocative ending. Others did not like
the ending and some were not sure what to think. I loved it, I found it
like a good jazz piece that does not give a chord resolve at the ending.
Some people need that final resolution; I find the discord that refusing
the resolve can effect to sometimes work, as I think it works here.
Regardless of any conceptual complaints anyone may have, the production
was compelling to watch and the cast kicked some serious ass. The show's
extended until Dec 22.
As I've already wrote, it was interesting to see the revisioning of
Oliver! at HRTC. It was equally as interesting to see the
puppet-work interpretation of A Christmas Carol that Zoot offered
up. It's always interesting to see what Zoot creates in that world of
masks and puppets that they inhabit. And it was fun to see what music and
songs a composer, Leslie Bricusse,
would come up with for the same classic Christmas tale. I think my favorite
from this musical version is "I Hate People," wonderfully
executed by Michael Stickstill as Scrooge, by-the-way. Dies it say
something about me that this was the one I walked away liking?
I migrated the movie files and the
files (Final Cut Project files) for both the opening title sequence and
a sequence titled "Prison Visits" from the external harddrive to
the harddrive on my laptop. "Prison Visits," by the way, may end
up being split between the first and third narrative segments, depending
on whether I edit the story linearly. There's no music or Foley
for either. The title sequence needs the music, obviously, the prison
sequence needs lots of Foley. But at least I can get assembly edits even
with no added sound or music.
The idea of doing a non-linear story edit has occurred to me. I am
weighing the option. Introducing the precedent of these segments as
vignettes that do have connectivity to each other but are still
independent does keep non-sequential story telling from being unviable. It
may not make much difference though and there's not a lot that can be
jumbled up unless I get too creative with the mixing of sequences and
create something that can't be followed.
I'm just thinking out loud here.
Regardless of how I place the parts of "Prison Visits," I will
make two segments to be either placed side-by-side or with one or more
other segments in between.
I also am reconsidering the black-and-white aspect. I may have gotten a
bit better at color correction and I may give that a shot again. B&W
works for this, but it has not real purpose except to cover the disparate
color temperatures. If I can fix that incongruent aspect, I should, I
Note the poster above; I have prints of that strategically placed
around my environs to nag me about progress on this. It's time to
get this moving along. It has been for a long time.
Tonight I shoot a run of the show. It's primarily intended to be b-roll,
and since I have not heard "yay" or "nay" from the
people about use of dialogue in the final cut, I must assume the no
for the time being, and relegate tonight's footage to b-roll with no audio.
On the front for the next podcast, I was given another route to contact
about clearance for the 100 Saints DV movie.
I have reiterated the request through the new channel.
Just picked up an audition for Friday, here in the Dayton area, for an
asthma video -- I think it's an informational, instructional, or otherwise
an industrial, rather than a commercial or a promotional video.
I dropped in for about an hour last night and shot thirty-two minutes of
footage, b-roll, of course.
I'm not going to over-kill the footage on this one. I still hold to the
philosophy Better too much
material than not enough, but still: last podcast I had
something like five or more hours of footage that amounted to in excess
of a half terabyte of files...
Still no word back from the
camp about dialogue clearance. Still not holding my breath.
Annnd......A Yes --
Back on the front for the next podcast,
got back with me last evening very graciously granting clearance to use
dialogue from the script in the 100 Saints You Should Know DV
Last evening was another of those instances were I lay down to take a nap
for an hour or two and it became sleeping into morning. So, the things
that were on my agenda were not attended to.
So, oh well!
Yet another new subject icon!
Though I don't have the exact appointment time for the
callback at HRTC, nor do I
know exactly what I am being asked to do for the audition, I have been
doing prep work. That mostly consists of listening to the
Broadway cast album,
but also a lot of experimenting on the best way to get to, to do, the
character voices. To that end, and I'm not wholly sure what this amounts
to save for a cool coincidence, but as I have been studying and practicing
I have been concentrating on two characters, their songs and their voices:
Trekkie Monster and Nicky.
In doing some research on the show, what I discovered is that usually, if
not always, the same actor performs both characters in a production, along
with one of the Bad Idea Bears.
The research also explains what types of puppets each are. Trekkie Monster
and Nicky are both live-hands puppets that require two puppeteers, each
with a hand and arm dressed with a long sleeve and glove that matches the
puppet's costume. These are the arms and hands of the puppet. The actor
puppeteer controls the puppet's left hand and head & mouth. The
straight puppeteer is silent and controls the right hand. If the actor is
left handed the sides may be reversed.
The Bad Idea Bears are both double-rod puppets. Such puppets consist of a
head and a torso with two arms that are both movable for gestures.
A single puppeteer/actor controls the puppet's head and mouth with the
dominant hand, and the two rods are held in the other hand and control the
puppet's hands and arms. The puppeteer may occasionally drop one rod when
only one arm/hand requires movement.
So, I have some wood-shedding, some practice and skill investigation to
get started on, soon, I do believe.
As a related side note, I did my
Zoot Theatre Company
general audition last summer, (June), with what is known as a single-rod
puppet. A single-rod puppet is much like the double-rod but with only one
active puppet arm/hand. *see to the right.
In a separate and more immediate vain, tonight I memorize the two-page
script for the asthma video screentest tomorrow.
After the audition Friday,
Greg Nichols (movie
auteur & director of
The Wonderland Express),
Chuck Larkowski (local
actor whom I've done a few stage productions with and is featured in
several of Greg's movies), and I went to Fairfield, Ohio to see the
High-Frame-Rate (48 per second) 3-D screening of this new
Peter Jackson film.
Have to say I liked this the latest installment, the pre-qual (part 1), in
Jackson's Tolkien adaptations; and this time it was the film adaptation of
a novel I've read at least a half-dozen times, maybe more. It's also, I'm
afraid to admit, the first modern-day 3-D movie I've even seen. This
may shock some, but I've never seen any incarnation of
Avatar, 3-D or
Hey, if I had the pocketbook and especially the time, I'd see
pretty much every movie that comes out.
The 48 fps (frames per second) and
3-D looked good. Jackson is, of course, gifted at telling these epic
fantasies on screen. The horribly green film maker in me felt a bit hopeless
as I watched the mastery of the film making. Of course, a lot of it has to
do with having both the budget and the toys.
Make that: the BUDGET
and the toys.
"Budget" and big-boy movie making "Toys" aside, I
often see many examples of the monstrous message that I am so neophyte
at film making that the title Film Maker hardly belongs in front of my
name under most circumstances.
A bit melodramatic, perhaps, but still pretty
much my often-time assessment of the subject.
died on December 24, as most (or all) who might read this
will know. Jack, of course, was last known for the
70's/80's TV crime drama
For me though, as endearing as the character Dr. R. Quincy
was, Jack will always have my heart as Oscar Madison in
the TV series version of
The Odd Couple.
As good as
was as Oscar in
the original 1968 feature film,
Mr. Klugman was able to infuse a lovableness into Oscar
that was appealing: a rough-around-the-edges sweetheart
who hid his warm heart behind a curmudgeon facade. Klugman
had a long and fruitful career, of course, but he will
always be Oscar Madison to me.
On the same day, as you all will surely know, veteran
passed, too. Mr. Durning's credits are many and go back
six decades. One of his last well-know appearances was as
Michael Gavin, the father to
character on the
FX cable series,
He was an everyman with a broad range and could pull off a
large gambit of types, good and bad. Charles could
successfully play the wise, lovable grandpa, the drunk,
ner-do-well dad, the crusty cop, the hardened crime boss,
the understanding preist, the sympathetic doctor, the
shifty con man. He was the kind of skilled, bankable
actor with whom any man or woman looking to have a steady
career as an actor aspires to be on equal footing. Mr.
Durning was so well recognizable that as I have said
before about others like him: If I could achieve just
a tenth of what he did, I'd have a great career.
OTHERS MAY BE ENTHUSED BY THIS WINTER STORM STUFF; I'M NOT:
As I begin to write this portion of today's post, the snow
has not started in my alcove of south-west Ohio, but the wind is picking
up. Forecast says there will likely be six inches of snow that accumulates
quickly, perhaps as much as ten inches. According to my monitoring of
facebook during Christmas Day, some of my friends are excited in a
positive manner about this. That, of course, is their prerogatives; I do
not share their keenness for the blizzard that may be coming.
My IGA grocery cart at about 6:20 or so this morning. At
least if the snowpocalypes comes, I won't starve.
The facebook post, from about 4 a.m. addresses my major dilemma: I have
almost no groceries as I write this portion, just past 5:00 this morning.
There's enough to eat today, but if this blizzard is the real deal, I
may end up in a bad situation where I have no food in the abode. IGA opens,
I believe at 6:00 this morning, so, my plan is to head there when they
open and get some grub for the home. Probably ought to get at least some
that doesn't need that special ingredient of electricity -- I.E.: food I
don't have to cook. At this point, (5:16), there's been no snow where I
live, but the wind is certainly kicking up.
Okay, now I'm a few minutes from going to bed. Just have to post this
blog entry. I went to the grocery shortly after 6:00, and bought enough
supplies for several days. The snow was just starting to fall as I left
for the local IGA. ABout a half hour later when I drove home, the roads
were already at that "drive with caution" level. Thus far the
Sheriff's office hasn't set a snow emergency level, but that is, I'm sure,
only a matter of time.
The beginnings of a blizzard? The snow on the ground
outside my place just after I got back from the grocery
store this morning.
IF THE WINTER STORM ELEVATES TO BLIZZARD....:
With the prospect of being cabin-bound today because of the storm, it
will be a perfect opportunity to work post on Vignettes in
And, maybe some work on the music album, too....
Of course, if power goes out, that dampers things. I would have some
battery life in my laptop computer to work off of, but both sorts of
editing will use battery power rather quickly.
A FRIENDLY REMINDER:
Monday I wrote that "I often see many examples of the monstrous
message that I am so neophyte at film making that the title Film Maker
hardly belongs in front of my name under most circumstances." The
impetus for that particular day's recurrence of said observation was much
of the highly skilled special effects and choreography of action in
especially some rather unique and stylized battle scenes.
Gilliam's answer was that the director doesn't need to have all the
multitude of skill sets needed to put the vision on the screen. He or she
can hire the artisans who are expert at the high variety of crafts:
cinematography, sets, properties, artwork, costuming, make-up, etc., etc.,
etc. The director needs only to be excellent at explaining her or his
vision. Tarantino said that he knew he could be very good at explaining
his vision and that suddenly this veil of magical mystery fell away from
the mythic art of film making -- those are kind of a collaboration of
his words and mine.
This isn't a new concept to me. A few years back at a film festival I
attended a DP (Director of Photography) I was talking to said essentially
the same thing to me when I talked of how little I know about lighting and
so many other technical aspects of shooting a movie. What he told me was
essentially what Gilliam said to Tarantino, that I don't need to know how
to do all that stuff; I just need to have people on my team who do along
with my knowing what I want and how to communicate that.
It does, however, seem to me I do need to have enough knowledge of
everyone's craft to understand how to plan a damn production, how to
make the day. I should
understand and have enough knowledge, for instance, to allot a proper amount
of time for the shot set-ups which can include a myriad of elements that a
myriad of production team people need to get into place, most especially the
DP setting up
what may be a complicated lighting set-up.
On the set of
The Ides of March,
as an example, one thing that happened was that some PAs
came in with large steamers and steamed the curtains in Hall Auditorium on
the campus at Miami University to steam out
wrinkles that Director
George Clooney didn't
like in the shots. As to whether that was a need that was a given or was a
contingency that was planned on possibly needing to be done, I can't say.
Also, I don't know if Clooney himself or one of his production people,
such as his AD, David Webb
or the DP,
Phedon Papamichael, was
who knew originally to plan for such a possible need. But that's an
example of a minutia of things that go into making a movie, and even if I
can bring in the experts and explain my vision to them, still, as a
director, I need to think about and know a lot of just to be able top be
in charge and actually direct the team that I would assemble.
The plan is to shoot more footage at at least one rehearsal this week. I
was going to probably shoot tonight, but there just may not be rehearsal
So shoots, and commentary are up in the air. Though I didn't really plan
to shoot commentary this week.
Okay. Yes, this is, for all practical purposes, a non-entry entry. I
imagine that any of the five people who look at this silly blog couldn't
care less about seeing pictures of the snow-covered scenes outside my
But as my mother used to say, "That's irregardless." Here are
pictures of the scenes outside my cabin-fever locale, taken yesterday and
early, early, early this morning.
8 am shot of the parking lot
5 pm shot out my front door; now we see the road
My parking lot at 5 pm
Out my front door early this morning (3 am)
The circumstances of the inconvenient weather of the last two days has
conspired with my lesser wisdoms to discombobulate my sleep patterns.
After I went back to bed at about 9:00 this morning, I had what I remember
vaguely as a dream, or maybe a series of dreams, about post-production
editing of this. If I remember correctly, the footage from the dream is
not actual footage from this project, but some garnering from another part
of my life, only more or less connected to the "film making"
aspect. Not sure why this dream-thing is relevant except that I find it
interesting -- and, due to the tangential part of my life it borrowed
from, a little emotionally evocative.
Balboni's template graphic; with the error, not yet
Some work has been done on the project. I'd love to report that
some big-ass chunk of work has been finished; alas, I cannot.
My plan was to start with a couple superimpositions. One was to change a
photo of a small village corporate limits sign so that the village name is
"Bellcreek." The other was to place the sign, "Balboni's
Restaurant & Spirits" on the exterior wall of the side of the
DTG Caryl D. Phillips TheatreScape building. Turns out I couldn't do the
corporate limits sign; I did get the sign onto the building, though.
The Balboni's sign is for a quick establishment shot for the start of the
sequence that features Barbara Jorgensen, Elena Monigold, Gino Pasi, and
Brett Taylor as diners in Balboni's. It's the first official segment of
the project, which was shot November 15, 2008 in the basement of The Guild,
almost a year before we opened it.
So: we shot that four
years ago! I certainly am rushing the post-production, aren't I?
The establishment shot is of
walking up to and through the side door at The Dayton Theatre Guild. That
was shot in December of 2010. The sign, which is not really clearly
readable, is now superimposed, via green screen
of a computer graphic image I created this weekend.
One minor SNAFU: On the graphic of the sign I put an "s" on the
end of "Restaurant", so the graphic said, "Balboni's
Restaurants & Spirits"; I've since corrected it. The version
I perspective-changed to look like it is on the building wall does have
the misspell, but I'm not going to fix it -- I.E.: redo all that work --
because the error is pretty obscure. The sign is not all that clear and
the establishment shot is only a moment. There will be a lower-third
text identifying the location that will pull focus, anyway, but I want
the sign there above the door for the subtle verisimilitude.
My plan for the Bellcreek corporate limits sign, (an establishment shot
during the opening credits), was to grab a frame from the particular
exterior road footage, which I shot in March of 2010 around my neck of the
woods. The idea was to grab a frame from footage of me driving past the
true corporate limits sign, alter the name of the village to say,
"Bellcreek," then use that freeze frame in the footage as a
still with the Ken Burns Effect
to drop a fast and quick shot in -- just long enough for the viewer to
catch the village name. The hope is that it will look like live footage;
The only problem is that I didn't have the footage I believed I had. The
shot of my driving by the sign is not as clean as it needs to be. What I'm
going to do is go to the sign and take a few different stills of it. It
needs to be the right time of day and with the correct overcast conditions,
which is barely any overcast. There also has to be a comparable amount of
snow blanket; all for good continuity.
I'm going to look at the footage then drive over to the sign today, at the
right time of day, but I don't think today is the day to get the image I need.
The raw establishment shot for the Balboni's
The "greenscreen" graphic of the
Balboni's Restaurant & Spirits sign.
The finished product: The side of The Caryl D.
Philips TheatreScape converted into the entrance
MAJOR SURPRISE......or perhaps not:
Is it shocking that I have a lot of catch-up to do concerning 2012 mileage,
expenses and income for the professional side of my acting life? So much
for last year's vow not to get behind with the records. Should I be silly
enough to vow again for 2013? Eh, why not?
In a vaguely related manner, I am in the process of applying for a loan
to get a good, newer used car. Obviously acting is not the only reason for
such purchase, but it is a reason. My car is about ready to peter out for
good and a lot of my professional acting -- auditions and bookings --
call for at least a ninety-mile round trip, and my current car is becoming
untrustworthy for such, with an exponential growth of the mechanical
problems. The rental car choice may be an occasional option, when one is,
say, trekking to Pittsburgh, but ultimately it gets quickly expensive.
Trekking to Pittsburgh, itself, would be better without the $100-plus car
LOOKS LIKE DR. HILL RETURNS:
I'm back on the malpractice mock trial gig I did last year for U.D. Law
School. I'll be playing the same character, Dr. Lauren Hill, who is an
emergency medicine doctor who specializes in cardiac emergencies. I
thought I had a problem where I didn't know where all the flash cards I
made last year had gotten to -- and I made a whole lot of them. I was
afraid I could not find them, though I was reasonably sure I did not toss
them as I knew by the end of the gig last year that I might be called back
this year. I found them. Though I won't be starting from scratch this
year, I do need to start looking at the material now -- there is a
lot of information to have in my head. But at least I won't feel like I'm
studying for the Medical Boards this time around
My gig dates for this are peppered from January 16 through April 7. At
this point my only possible conflict is one date in February where I'm
hoping to have been cast in and thus have a rehearsal for the
The Human Race Theatre Company
by Michael Slade. There's
also, I suppose, some chance that I have a potential conflict in January,
if I manage to book the Think TV
gig I screentested for a little more than week ago at
ManaVision in Oakwood. But I think
I remember being told this one would shoot quickly, so I may not have been
cast, else I probably would have been notified already.
Yesterday I went to The Guild to begin the commentary shoots for the
podcast. I was not able to get all the cast yesterday, but I had planned
on that being the case. I shoot no b-roll, but will during rehearsals
later this week.
There still has been no response whatsoever from the
camp concerning clearance or no clearance to use dialogue from this
translation in the podcast. It seems very clear that we'll not get the
permission needed, that all rehearsal footage will be silent b-roll,
So-oh-well. As "regular"
readers may know, I am not taken aback by this. I have said from the start
I was skeptical clearance would be granted.
I actually remembered to bring the clapboard
to the shoot. Usually I forget it and if any sound synch is needed I have
to either clap my hand at the start (if I know I'm going to synch), or I
have to find a clean, distinct sound in the footage from which to synch
better quality audio recording from the other source. That source may be
audio from another camera, as was the case with some footage from Tuna
Christmas, or purposefully externally recorded audio, as in this case.
I used both my mics and recorded the audio for the commentaries into
Garageband, thus the
certain need to synch. Though, since there is on-board camera audio, I can
synch to the sound of the clap board snap, as well as the visual. But the
off-board audio is higher quality: why I am doing it.
The commentary set, set up in the back of the DTG
Slightly closer look at the commentary set.
Actor Angela Timpone (Regina Engstrand), one of the
three actors whose commentary I shot yesterday.