Before we launch into my semi-interesting stuff,
check out this great music video
directed by Dayton-local actor and film maker David Sherman
and featuring many Dayton-local music artists
including Puzzle of Light:
*) Okay, okay; "codine fog" is, admittedly, a
bit of an exaggeration. Still, the Tylenol #3 has not
exactly sharpened my mental acuity.
First, I have changed my mind, or rather, settled it, about recording my
lines as part of the line memorization and study process. Yesterday, I
made a recording to listen to. As always, I will still use the flashcards
because that is a tried and true method for me, but listening to the
scenes whilst involved with other things has never hurt and I know is
effective. I've also had an offer from someone to help me run lines, that
which I may accept. I am still way behind where I want to be in terms of
having my lines memorized. I feel like I have barely started. In between
other things vying for my attention and the codine fog that I have been in
much of the last two weeks* I have done little toward getting off-book
(my lines committed to memory).
Since last I blogged, I have been to several rehearsals and things are
coming along. We are still in the early stages. It is nice to finally
work with Heather Martin, whom I've known since the beginning of my return
to acting. It's nice to actually share some scenes with Jennifer Lockwood,
who not only have I known since my return, I met at the very first
audition of my adult "career." She was at the Jan 19 & 20,
2004 auditions for
The Cripple of Inishmaan at
The Guild. Jennifer was the director of the show that was currently up,
and as is oft the practice of directors, she was sitting in on the
Cripple, scooping out audition performances, and filing away her
observations (I'm guessing about her motives, but I'll bet I'm right).
Moreover, Jennifer was the one who had submitted Cripple to the
DTG play reading committee, so she certainly had a more personal
investment in the auditions. I actually can remember the first, or one of
the first conversations we had. I believe it was the second night. It was
at the end of the audition and I was making some lame, mea culpa to
Director Greg Smith
about my audition performance and she gave me the friendly advice that I
should never apologize to the director for my audition, advice I didn't
fully appreciate the wisdom of, then, as I do now.
Back to today, it seems I am miles away from finding Jason Harrington and
his voice -- I'm probably closer than I think. I've played a little
bit with him at rehearsal. Wednesday night I tried a new take on him in
his first scene, where he and the protagonist are in a more social setting,
I played down his military demeanor; I guess you could say I
"major-generaled him down" a bit. Mr. Director asked me to
major-general him back up. Waiting for Jason to fully arrive: that's where
I am right now. The attacking line study, as I am about to do full-on, is
the biggest means to this particular end.
On a FF13 related note, Friday evening I recorded some voice work by some
of the actors in St. Paulie's Delight. Director Kathy Mola used
space at The Guild to rehearse the show, so we are recorded it there before
they started for the evening. It was my usual set-up: a mic running into my
small mixer then through
iMic into my
and on into GarageBand.
These are all voicemail messages so I will process the EQ, pulling out most
of the lows and boosting the mid-range. It also makes it less necessary to
have a more sound-proof master recording, as if you can really get such
anywhere at The Guild.
MORE ADR FOR
NEW SHORT FILM, MEDICINE --
(But the "Good" kind of ADR, not
the "Bad" kind):
As the short movie, Medicine -- previously titled, Serve Me
-- moves closer to final cut,
Writer/Director Greg Nichols as been attacking the edit with ferocious
ferver. He's cut several minutes that include what was the opening scene
as well as all of the scene we shot in the moving car. His decision was
that all this footage was slowing down the story line and offering no
Thursday night, the 20th, Greg audio recorded
Alex Carmichal and I doing
some new lines via ADR. Without
detailing it, this is a new set-up for the story that replaces the nixed
material. The good news, or the "'Good' kind of ADR" thing, is
that, since these new lines are off screen, there was no concern about lip
synchronization. There's another session of "good" ADR coming,
probably on July 13, later in the afternoon after I finish playing
producer at The Guild at a production meeting for 45 Seconds from
Greg also is pumped about the score music. He says it takes the movie
"to a whole new level -- insanity Level. [He] can't wait to unleash
this monster on the unsuspecting townsfolk."
Remember how I "lauded" myself for the cretin I am for
volunteering to be producer for the first two shows of The Guild's 13/14
season? Well, as of right now, both are officially in pre-production.
First Show -- Of course, the work for the Simon
play is much farther along, with auditions hitting in just slightly more
than two weeks, and the first production meeting only a couple days before
I am still in the process of shoring up the production team. I have a line
on another costumer -- the first few I approached could not accept. We
also still need a lighting technician. Lighting and sound design are both
covered; we have our stage manager and we have the sound tech.
Not to make myself look like a bad producer or anything, but I have as yet
to give the script a good read. I have skimmed it a bit, but really have
not read it well. Probably ought to do that, huh? The producer ought to
know the show he's producing.
The actor needs to read it, too, if he
is indeed going to audition....
Next Show -- With the posting of the audition specs
*(see below [UNTIL AUG 28]) on the
DTG facebook page
on this past Wednesday, pre-production for this one has officially gotten
underway, as well. I have not worked on putting any crew together, yet,
though it's likely that I will design sound. Director Debra Kent also has
secured a lighting designer, who is new to The Guild, for the show, and
Ms. Deirdre Root is our
This script, too, I have not given any kind of in-depth read. I did read
it for an acting class with
at The Human Race Theatre Company,
I believe last year, and we did a pivotal scene from the play in class. I
have some good idea about the gist and intent of the play, but I am not as
familiar as I should be with it, as the producer should be.
Again, the actor needs to read it, too,
if he is going to audition; and I may audition. I'd love to be up for both
male roles, but probably only have a shot at one of the two. I am not
wholly on board with auditioning for this one, any way.
And as Podcast Producer -- Just like I didn't for
Lost in Yonkers
a couple season's back, I am also not going to bother to seek clearance to
use dialogue from this Neil Simon play. I have no confidence that
permission would be granted for
and if it was, the clearance fee would very likely be most prohibitive to
our meager creative budget. So this will be another podcast movie with
commentary content only over rehearsal footage that can't be heard. That
works well enough, though hearing words from the play is better.
Time Stands Still,
I contacted the playwright,
about clearance and am pleased to report that he granted it. I admit I was
skeptical about getting it here, but not as much as with any Neil Simon
play. But then I must remember that I was skeptical about getting
Going to St. Ives
and was pleasantly surprised by his prompt and gracious, "yes."
Later today I'm at the
PC-Goenner Sharonville office to
do a screentest for a A HREF="filmmaking_terms.html#SAGAFTRA">SAG/AFTRA
low-budget feature. The gig isn't at SAG/AFTRA
scale2, and it would be a
It's a featured role
that is likely to make me more than a
day player if cast. It also
pays travel and accommodations, and food is provided. I was given
vague information on the production dates, only that it is at the end of
the year. Clearly I would be going out of town, and depending on the size
of the role, it might be days or a couple weeks. Indys seem to shoot fast
though so I would not imagine it'd be all of the quoted "Oct-Dec."
That, I believe is the window. The screenwriter is Chicago based, so this
movie may be shooting there. I'm gambling that I will have enough vacation
time accrued to cover the gig, should I be cast.
This has been a reality for a while and I have held off mentioning it, but
I will appear on stage in our last DTG show of the 13/14 season,
The Dead Guy,
by Eric Coble. I will be in the role
of television videographer, Dougie. There will be live video feed going on
during the performances with a screen that shows in real-time what I am
(Dougie is) shooting on the stage. There is a lot of technical consideration
to be worked out. We know, for instance, that we need for Doug to be using
a camera with a wireless feed -- trying to wrangle cables during the live
performances would just not be practical, whatsoever.
I also may be somehow involved in some minor collaborative manner in the
blocking of the show in order to assure better screen composition. It may
simply be that a demand for a more precise movement by the actors/characters
who are the subject of the live video is needed, with perhaps slightly
slower more laborious process of blocking taking place. If I collaborate,
my guess is it will be on the spot during the rehearsals where I make
suggestions and adjustments.
Since the play is about a reality show, there are those participators'
commentaries that we will be shooting to run pre-recorded during the
performances, after the show has been cast.
There are also commercials to be shown on the screen. We may or may not
have them produced. These are available on a pre-packaged DVD, which is
certainly an attractive option.
We had a production meeting and a preliminary reading of the script
last night. Too soon? you ask: not with the technical needs the show
commands. Much better to be well ahead of the game.
On-line résumé presence up-to-date, including
my Now Casting résumé.
The icon to the left goes to my own on-line version. When I went yesterday
to my account at
I realized I was quite a few gigs behind there. It's up-to-date, now.
My representation also recently
asked for an updated résumé, as well as new headshots
(actor's photos). Mine have been a few years old, though at my age, unless
my weight, build or
"hairline" changes, my
appearance will not be hardly different over the course of a couple years,
not like a child or even a twenty-something or a thirty-something.
That being said (written), I have been meaning to get a new series of
headshots for a while, a long while. Sometimes the delay has been due to
cash ($150 or more for the set); more often, and as the on-going problem,
is that I want to drop some weight first. I'd love to drop ten, maybe
even twenty pounds, as well as push my muscle tone back to at least where
it was when I came back to acting. Better would be ideal.
So, healthier, less weight-inducing dietary habits need my attention, and
finding/making time to be a gym regular is, as it has been the whole
nine-plus years I've been a thespian again, a mostly unfulfilled necessity.
I like to think that my occasional mention of this here, in front of all of
you, (you five regulars, at least) would be a naging incentive to me. Thus
far that has not seemed to work.
To appease the agency and because I otherwise have known new pics were
needed, I did a few DIY headshots in the interim before I get the
professional-photographer versions, which will likely be done at
Nicholas Studios. They have
been my staple for this and I have always like the product they've given
My DIY shots are.....adequate....but I really need to get pro work
done soon. The photo to the right is one of a few that is anywhere close
to actually good -- perhaps without rising exactly to good.
I have as of yet to upload any of these shots to Now Casting, though I
Remember the oral surgery a couple week's back to extract both my upper and
lower left wisdom teeth? The next week I went back for the post-op exam,
and it was discovered that a small fragment of the upper was still there.
It had hidden itself in the angle of the post-surgery x-ray on the day of
So, what was to be about a ten-minute check-up became an hour-plus, more
surgery, and the whole day off work rather than just coming in late.
And this is why there has been more
This morning is the second attempt at a ten-minute post-op exam.
Some Caroline, or Change alumni have gigs up or just closing.
And, of course,
is music giggin' herself all over NYC on a regular basis, and is on occasion
cranking out new recorded music, priming herself for that
FIRST ride at the top of the charts that is eventually going
to happen ~~ my prediction. . . .
I'm tellin' ya!
One view of my environment for working on lines at the
before the Monday rehearsal.
With the advent of this long holiday weekend, I have a goal of being
virtually off-book (i.e.: my lines
memorized) by its conclusion.
Monday we rehearsed Act I, Tuesday, Act
Will it be any surprise to you five regulars or anyone else who knows me
in the thespian/(art) world that I am still impatiently awaiting Jason's
full arrival on the set? I am still "acting" Jason, not
wholly "being" Jason. Remember my axiom:
Less acting; more being.
I am at the place where my performance with the character is still "a
performance of the character," in other words, in the present. it's
more acting; less being, and
along with engraving his words into my mind, my other next move is to fully
realize Jason and absorb him into me and give him his own voice, built
upon my voice, by not my voice, and more importantly, not the blatantly
put-on voice he has right now.
The character is not some painted-on picture of what we
have decided in rehearsal, then presented as a finished product to
the audience. The character is simply the actor's continual
responses to the author's lines, an ongoing exploration that
remains completely personal for him, from first reading through
final performance. The character has to be in us if the audience is ever to
believe us, and if we want to be free and alive in each moment.
After all the lines are coming out of our mouths anyway. We
want the audience to be lost in what we say and do, not
standing back, judging whether we are acting the character well
or badly. So the lines must be ours, or the audience will see us
acting a character. And every moment must be us -- really us,
what we are personally thinking, seeing, feeling, and saying.
That is why the audience believes it and feels it. That's what I
mean when I say we must take responsibility for the line.
(p.41, emphasis is Mr. Guskin's)
The only part of that I take any exception to with is "every moment
must be us...what we are personally thinking, seeing, feeling, and
saying...." I would not say that mine is a disagreement exactly but
more of a codicil. I have also heard the opinion, the philosophy that it's
ultimately what you sell the audience matters. The best of both worlds is
when I have the emotional involvement with my character in that moment on
stage (or in front of the camera) and I feel the sadness, the joy, the
grief, the bliss he is feeling in that moment, in the script, and I
successfully convey it to the audience. I must remember that the only
importance is that the audience sees my character experience that emotion,
and audience hears my character say the words. It is just as successful if
I am not feeling it but I have still sold it to the audience. And I know
fir a fact that is possible, because I have had nights on stage when I
just did not feel any of it, but the feedback from the audience told me
it was a successful performance; the audience saw and felt the character
living the life the script laid out for him. I have had nights when I
was feeling it all over the place but was to internal, not conveying it;
the audience did n't believe me; they saw an actor on stage.
That is not to say that I at think we should not get to the place with
the character where every moment is us and what we are personally thinking,
seeing, feeling, and saying. I believe firmly that we absolutely should
get there. That is my goal and when I say I want Jason to fully arrive on
the set, that is what I mean. I'm impatient to be viscerally merged with
him. My codicil is this: I have to make being Jason enough of a habit that
when I don't feel it, I still have enough, let's call it muscle-memory,
that I can still effectively behave as him in the moment and successfully
It's the same principle as how all the moments in the script that are
spontaneous in the world of the characters are truly not spontaneous for
the actors on the set. We can be poetic and metaphorical and say the
actors must keep the moments spontaneous, but the practical reality is
that is not really what they are doing. After weeks of rehearsal and
multiple performances any real spontaneity is gone. The concept of the
actor keeping it spontaneous is simply a way to say he or she breaks down
their performance to moment by moment so they can create the illusion of
spontaneity when it arrives in the story they are helping to tell on stage
The truth is, if the actor is worth his or her salt, they know the script
and their part in it forward and backward, and every nuance of the script,
the story, their actions and the actions of the other characters in scene
with them. When Mother Superior Mary (played by Sue) unexpectedly smacks
Sister Jane (played by Debby), in Act I:Scene 4
of our hypothetical play, it's Mary who impulsively reacted to Jane and
smacked her. It was Jane who was shocked by the assault. That's true to
the story being told. The actor, Sue, on the other hand knew on the bus to
the theatre that she was smacking the actor, Debby, that evening, like she
had during the last several dozen rehearsals and on into the performances
already given. On her drive in from her country home, Debby knew, too. And
every night, Sue made sure to cup her hand correctly to maximize the sound
of the smack and to be sure to strategically strike that blow on the
correct upstage spot on Debby's face to save her fellow actor any actual
pain. There's not a whole lot spontaneous about that. But if Sue and
Debby are good at their work, the audience will see a spontaneous moment
between two nuns and the moment may even elicit a gasp or two from said
That's the craftwork. The art of the actor got to the visceral
truth of the character and made that their own; the craftwork keeps
that alive. The craftwork allows the actor to embed the behavior of the
character from first to last entrance within themselves so that what the
audience sees is the character from the collaborative imaginations of the
author, the actor and the audience members themselves, and not an actor on
stage pretending to be the character. The most successful scenario is
"every moment [being] us -- really us, what we are personally thinking,
seeing, feeling, and saying" and behaving as the character so we sell
it to the audience. The nights we only behave as the character and still
sell his or her thought, vision and feeling to the audience is just as
successful. The nights "we are personally thinking, seeing, feeling,
and saying" but are poorly selling it: we've failed.
I don't know how this turned into an essay. Perhaps it was the
inclusion of the Guskin quote.
I guess I should get back on point. I haven't fully discovered who Major
General Jason Harrington is,and I haven't yet merged him with myself to
breath life into him. Knowing all the words that come out of his mouth is
a first major step in that direction, and one of the artistic focuses of
this holiday weekend. I'd discuss how I'm going to be sure to
differentiate Jason from the last
character I played, Colonel Gregory Stratton, in Night and Fog in
FF2009, but I want to move on, close this entry and get on with my day.
So, Jason vs Greg is a topic for later. Right now, my Jason is pretty
much a stereotype, and military archetype, so he's the same place where
gregory started out for me. So one of my tasks is to keep the mutual
archetype, as it is valid and appropriate, even demanded, but be sure
Jason is his own man.
The screentest Monday at the
PC-Goenner Sharonville office
went well enough. The movie will shoot in Michigan, what is likely a five
to six hour drive from my humble abode. I'm still not at all sure how
substantial this featured role is nor how long I would be on set: day
player, several days, or more. I doubt it demands enough time on set to
require me to join SAG/AFTRA.
It could be more than one 600-mile round trip to set. However, depending
on the call sheets, will it
be one day on set, or will it be more than a day and thus a need to stay
This long weekend is also a good place to kick out a lot of the work
needed for the sound for the two FF13 shows I agreed to design for.
This really shouldn't be a major burdon nor take up a lot of my extended
weekend. The sound needs of these shows are pretty straight forward and
I have the raw recordings of Rick Flynn, Kelli Locker, and Art Fabian
for Jacob Cox's St. Paulie's Delight, director by Kathy Mola.
Both that show and A Position of Relative Importance, by Hal
Borden, (directed by Debra Kent) don't call for any exotic sound effects,
nothing that would take advanced mixing or creation. I likely have all the
sound files in my library (which is about to get significantly bigger).
What I don't have will be very easy to get ahold of.
The advanced acting class with
that is slated to start this coming Monday at The Human Race Theatre
Company is in jeopardy of being cancelled. The class needs three more
actors in order to fly. If you are interested you have till 5 pm tomorrow
Classes are held in the Caryl D. Philips Creativity Center,
116 North Jefferson Street in downtown Dayton.
Advanced Acting Techniques
Mondays 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
July 8, 15, 22, 29 and August 5, 12
Instructor: Kay Bosse
Welcome returning and advanced acting students. Expand your
repertoire and improve your acting skills in a relaxed and
positive environment. Through scene study and cold readings,
you will be working on strengthening your performance
abilities. Scenes from the classics and contemporary works are
personally selected for you based on your interests. The class
concludes with an informal performance showcasing the
strengths of each student.
Thursday and Friday I indulged far more in TV connoisseurship than I had
the time to budget. I did take care of some business while watching
television, yet it still distracted me far too much and seriously
interfered with productivity. I'm embarrassed to share some of the titles
I watched multiple reruns of on
Netflix during this ill-advised
exercise. Coming out of the fog both Saturday and yesterday I decided to
watch no TV, thoughI must admit that my TV was technically on for some
period of time both days, but it was streaming the on-line radio likes of
Pat Methany Radio
and Groove Salad through
Apple TV. Clearly that counts
as my staying within the
TV Zone because my TV was simply acting as an audio system.
Thanks in part to the
No TV Zone, I met my goal of being very close to the ideal definition
of off-book (my lines committed to memory and no need to use the script).
This was achieved by the use of my signature flash cards while doing a
vast amount of pacing in, primarily, two locations: an empty, more
secluded parking lot at
John Bryan State Park, on Saturday,
and the front patio at my place on Sunday. I also launched my subliminal
exposure last night by looping the audio recording of my scenes over
night whilst I slept. I also have the sound files on my cell phone and
burned on a disk for the car CD player.
Like the screenshot of a facebook from yesterday says, I still at that
"[stumbling] and lack of verbatimism" stage "that
needs to be smoothed out and eradicated," but still, I have the
lines, save for refinement. At rehearsal tonight and tomorrow night I will
still have the script in my hand, more for the blocking
than anything else.
That's not to say that I would not be calling for lines were there not a
script in my hand. Actually, I am likely to call for line if needed as I
want to only have the script in hand to remind me of blocking.
The flash cards.
THE CLASS IS A GO:
The Advanced Acting Class with
The Human Race Theatre Company
apparently has met its minimum enrollment, and is on for tonight and the
following five Mondays. We're all supposed to come into class with a
role we covet that we know we will never be cast in, because we're now
too old or otherwise are not the right type. I have not identified mine,
yet; though there are more than a few that meet the criteria.
I am at mea culpa junction and must admit that the lack of
No TV Zone on the first half of my long holiday weekend has put me
a little behind where I believe I should be for the sound work for both
Jacob Cox's St. Paulie's Delight, directed by Kathy Mola, and
A Position of Relative Importance, by Hal Borden and directed by
Debra Kent. I have done some work, but I ought to be much further
along than I am.
I can get it done in time, but not in as much of a stress-free zone than
it would have been.
First off, remember that open auditions for
45 Seconds from Broadway
are one week from tonight and tomorrow night at The Guild.
I'm still not shored up on my production team for this one. I have an
"almost" on the costumer, but that person has not yet committed.
The sound tech had to drop out due to A conflict he had forgotten about. I
do have a tech who has just come on board and she will fill whichever
slot is open, sound board or light board. So, right now, I am on the prowl
for the other tech and am launching a campaign to persuade the costumer
into a firm Yes.
I am also still more likely than not to audition for this one, myself. I
always feel a little weird about auditioning for shows for which I am the
producer, and frankly, usually don't get cast. I did make it into A
Case of Libel. I also produced Blackbird, but that was precast
with myself and Ms. Atkinson in the roles from before we knew if we were
doing the show at The Guild.
I won't go so far as to say that my declaration of being "at that
first stage of officially, technically, virtually off-book" was
premature, but that it was the most hopeful spin on my state of readiness
that I could have given is not unreasonable. There has been more than
simply a little bit of stumbling and "lack of verbatimism"
going on, especially the early part of the week, much more than pleases
me, I can assure.
On a less self-critical note, my character work on MG Jason Harrington is
inching along. I think I'm starting to get him to a fully dimensional
human being from the cardboard version he's been. Okay,
"cardboard" is probably a bit harsh, but he wasn't feeling as
flesh-and-blood as he should be and now he's getting there; he now has
some warm breath in him.
Wednesday night, Director Saul Caplan worked with just Shawn Hooks (Col.
Corcoran) and myself and our big scene together. We got a lot of progress
achieved on that scene, too. For one thing, I was able to fill out the
veracity of Jason as a living entity and not a character being played by
an actor. I am not fully there, yet, but Wednesday and last night prove I
am heading that direction.
Last night we ran the whole show and where my character work on Jason
still progressed, I still fell far short of being verbatim on the lines.
A few times I just pushed my way through, knowing I was paraphrasing; a
couple times I had to call for line. I'm always set on saying the words as
they were written. With a new play festival where the text is the game,
it's even more of an imperative than it usually is -- and I believe it is
usually a pretty major imperative.
Meanwhile, I got a note about bad movement on stage -- one of my big,
self-critical bugaboos. I apparently was subconsciously shuffling around,
a habit I have witnessed, with great chagrin, on video of myself on stage.
I think, in this case, it was idiosyncratic due to trying to recall the
lines. Whatever the reason, it's action that must die.
Our first session of this summer Advanced Acting class was this past
Monday. Some cold reads of some scene work that students will work on in
the class series were done. None of what I will do was worked on.
In this series Kay want's us all to work on roles we want to do but know
we would not get cast in for a production because we are no longer young
enough or are otherwise not typed for. Kay has urged me to tackle Jamie
Long Day's Journey into Night.
I'd also set my sights on a very challenging and intense character I am
aware of from an unpublished play; I requested use of the manuscript for
the class from the playwright, but he declined due to the play's unpublished
status; he just doesn't want a copy out in the wild -- a position that I
certainly understand. So, I don't have my second piece of work at the
PC-Goenner just contacted me
about a possible modeling gig -- if you
can believe that -- a week from today.
Unless the client is looking for particular character types, I cannot
imagine me getting the booking. I mean, really. As I may have said here
before: I may not be a troll under the bridge, but I'm not exactly
People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive," either.
But, the agency inquired about my availability, and it would be a few
hundred bucks for a few hours, so, no sense counting myself out if the
clients will count me in.
At the absolute least I hope to get a substantial amount of the work done
for both Jacob Cox's St. Paulie's Delight and Hal Borden's A
Position of Relative Importance this weekend. Actually the goal is to
get them finished and off my plate.
Today I will track down a few songs that have been especially requested by
the particular directors, and I have some miscellaneous sound effects to
pull from in my library.
Our first production meeting for
45 Seconds from Broadway
is tomorrow afternoon. As always, my goal is no more than thirty minutes,
though this one might run longer. I am adamant that one hour is the
max, and really would like it to come in much under that. the big goal of
the meeting is to make sure that everybody's on the same page and no one
has something in mind that will come as a troublesome surprise to any one
else, and to see what all everyone knows they need.
Again, for any local actors who might happen across this post, for some
odd, bizarre reason, before it's too late, here's a reminder that the open
auditions for the show are this coming Monday and Tuesday at the Guild --
*see details listed below (until July 17).
We still don't have the costumer, though I have a solicitation out there
to a new referral. Our tech, who just came on board, may run both sound
and lights, though really, if I can get a second tech, I will.
We also have a good start on the production team for
Time Stands Still.
Again, I have one of the two booth techs for this, one of the two that the
director, Debra Kent, requested. The other has schedule conflicts.
There may be a production meeting before summer ends on this one, too.
My next rehearsal is Tuesday. I have Monday off to kick off auditions for
45 Seconds from Broadway
as producer of the show well as to audition myself. Tuesday I have someone
doing the 45 Second producer's duties for me so I can be at
Kingdom Come rehearsals. This weekend I have been running my lines
a lot. Am about to again, in fact, moments after I FTP this blog post to
Though having the sound work for St. Paulie's Delight and A
Position of Relative Importance finished did not happen this weekend,
the goal was close to met; I no longer feel anxious about these tasks.
The senior production staff for
45 Seconds from Broadway
had a good production meeting yesterday; and it was magically under thirty
minutes, which is always my goal for these.
Now, if we can only get the board meetings
down to such a length.
As is usually the case, when he directs a show,
also is designing the set. He's going for verisimilitude and we are in the
midst of looking for some restaurant accouterment: props and set pieces,
like an appropriate toothpick dispenser and a bill spike.
I FTP this blog post over; I run my On the Road to Kingdom Come
lines; then, I spend the rest of my day -- before heading west to
McCartney in Indy -- looking at the Simon script: as producer, sound
designer, and auditioning actor.
The Song List From Last Night's Show
Banker's Life Fieldhouse
Eight Days A Week
All My Loving
Listen To What The Man Said
Let Me Roll It
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five
The Long And Winding Road
Maybe I'm Amazed
I've Just Seen A Face
We Can Work It Out
And I Love Her
Your Mother Should Know
All Together Now
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
Band on the Run
Back in the U.S.S.R.
Let It Be
Live And Let Die
Hi, Hi, Hi
I Saw Her Standing There
Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
I'll be back with comments, later. But, I will tell you, The Macca did not
Actor boy stuff
Our tech was early Saturday evening; it has now officially been
rubber hits the road time for days now.
We are finished with all but one final line-run rehearsal we will do late
afternoon, on Saturday before the curtain for our one performance.
Last night we had our final pre-festival-weekend rehearsal and it was
discombobulated a bit due the need for me to attend the opening rehearsal
(the read-through) for 45
Seconds from Broadway, for which I have been cast as Andrew Duncan, the
English theatre producer. We rehearsed Kingdom at
The Guild (since two of us
connected to this show are DTG board members -- we borrowed some space) and
I jumped between the two shows. Director Saul Caplan (who is cast in the
lead -- Mickey Fox -- in 45 Seconds) abdicated this Kingdom
Come rehearsal to AD Deirdre Root.
This final, pre-festival rehearsal was a reading from the script, which
Saul has been employing for final rehearsals on occasion. The idea is to
go back and look at what is written to see (realize) little errors that
we are making: places where we are consistently substituting a synonym,
things like that.
Our Final Dress, Monday night was not bad at all. The characters were
certainly all on stage. None of us were word perfect on our lines and
there were a few "WTF moments," as Saul called them. In terms of
going up, I was fine and had no
such mishap. However, I certainly fell short of that verbatim target.
The Tech last Saturday was, in all reality, a run of the show. There were
none of the starts and stops and jump-aheads that usually associated with
the Tech rehearsal -- it wasn't a cue-to-cue,
in other words.
Sound boy stuff:
The sound work for both St. Paulie's Delight and A Position of
Relative Importance was finished before the weekend; well, it was,
save that I left a sound cue off the disk for one of the shows.
I dropped off her CD to St. Paulie's Delight Director Kathy Mola on
Wednesday and I dropped the Relative Importance disk off to
Director Debra Kent on Thursday. There was more sound editing and mixing
to do for St. Paulie's which is why I dealt with it first. With the
festival opening this coming Friday, adjusting sound design is a little
tricky at this late date.
Kathy did need to email me Thursday to inform me that the curtain music
was not on the CD. So I had to burn another copy and I dropped that off
Saturday when I headed to
DPH for the Kingdom
Come tech rehearsal.
The Cast of 45 Seconds From Broadway
*(the following, in order of appearance):
Marcus L. Simmons II
Debra A. Kent
July 26 addendum: Don Campbell has had to leave the role of
Bernie, which will now be played by Dave Nickel
Aug 13 adddendum: the role of Bessie will now be played by Gail
No sense wasting time and space to report much on the audition, since it
clearly went well enough. I am cast in the show. Rehearsals started last
night with a bit of a scheduling conflict that had been avoided but then
was reinstated by Director
Months ago he had set the read-through for this past Monday, July 22. But
as several of us who were auditioning for him are involved with FutureFest,
which, as we know from above, has been having tech week at that time, Fred
moved the read-through to July 29. When I auditioned last Monday night that
was the schedule. The schedule changed after the fact and there are
rehearsals this week, now.
As stated above in the entry for Kingdom Come, last night I had to
split myself between this show and that one, as we had the first rehearsal
for this and the last rehearsal for the other. The only thing to report
about the read through was that my British dialect work was spotty, at
best. I need to polish it up, more than a little. Andrew was also a bit
superficial and stereotyped last night -- but, it was read through.
The class with
is going well. I wrote before that Kay is having us tackle characters
that we are not probable to or absolutely have no chance to ever take the
stage in. She asked to pick our dream roles; I really wasn't able to
settle on one, so Kay suggested Jamie Tyrone from
Long Day's Journey into Night.
I'm doing Jamie's bug scene from Act IV, the
drunken confession scene. To be honest, even though Kay is not requiring
us to be off-book for the scene work, it'd be nice if I had less on plate
otherwise in order to give this the time and energy it needs out of class.
It will be a great exercise, no matter what, but I am skeptical I'll get
anywhere as deep into this scene and this character as I would like.
I am on vacation next week, but I have personal business to attend to,
plus I am on 45 Seconds as producer and I have Andrew to contend
with. Andrew, of course, is not the deep work that Jamie is, but Andrew's
going on stage, so triage says he takes precedence. I need to get on that
dialect, for one thing. And, as you'll see below, I am out of town
mid-week, for something cool.
Sunday we did what is claimed to be the absolute wrap of my work on
horror short, Medicine. We did some ADR,
which according to Greg should be the last work he needs from me for the
project. Well, technically what we recorded Sunday was not "dialogue"
but rather other sorts of vocalization.
As for my own "work" as a "director," I received the
boilerplate response from the
2013 Eichelberger FilmDayton Festival
concerning the submission of Be Or Not that I anticipated:
"Many difficult decisions had to be made...." yadda, yadda,
yadda. To be honest, I was skeptical of the movie's acceptance due entirely
to issues of less than fabulous production values. Certainly it would not
be rejected based on the performances by
Natasha Randall and
Craig Roberts; their
work was wonderful -- as so was all the unsung work buried in the
background by various other talented folk who helped me create the radio
programming that rests low as an underscore to the scene.
On a related note, I am still battling with
IMDb over Craig's listing for my movie.
For reasons I don't want to re-elaborate, IMDb created a new profile for
Craig for my movie, treating him as a separate actor from the Craig
The Wonderland Express,
which means he does not have one listing with both his movies contained. I
tried to rectify that shortly after Be Or Not was listed at the
site, but the result was that rather than getting to same profile linked to
my movie as the other, any listing for Craig Roberts was deleted. I have
just once again added the same Craig Roberts profile as goes with the other
movie, so sonn his page should have both his IMDb movie credits on it.
THE McCARTNEY SHOW
My eighth attendance at a McCartney show was just as rewarding as any
others have been. There's just no way around it, Paul is an immaculate
showman. After the opening musical volley of "Eight Days A Week"
and "Junior's Farm," he chatted for a moment with the stadium
crowd, saying how the energy in the place was great and he was going to
"drink it in." He walked to the edge of the stage, struck a pose
like he was in an Old Spice commercial, and the audience went nuts. He
knows how to play that superstar card. I thought to myself: "If
I had tried that, the audience would have reacted with, 'Get on
with it! Who you trying to impress?'"
It was the magic that it always is. A few other Dayton-area folk attended:
Jamie McQuinn and his lovely new bride Christina Tomazinis as well as
Jared Mola and his twin sister Rachel (who is a college student in
Indianapolis). All are theatre folk to one extent or another. We had
dinner beforehand. None of them had seen him live before and they were
all quite pleased with their evening.
Christina Tomazinis, Jamie McQuinn (launching their
delayed honeymoon), myself, Rachel Mola & Jared Mola,
just after our pre-show dinner at
The Old Spaghetti Factory
in Indy, just a five minute walk from the arena.
Photo: Jamie McQuinn
At seventy-one, there can be no good argument, Paul's voice is not at the
peak of his vocal career, yet, still, he was as formidable a presence on the
stage as he's been every time I have seen him; and he was that formidable
presence FOR JUST ABOUT THREE HOURS! The lady sitting next to me, knew I
had the playlist on my phone. At 10:59 -- some two hours and forty or fifty
minutes after he'd walked on stage -- as the band left after "I Saw
Her Standing There," from Encore number one, she turned to me and
asked, "Is he coming back out," her voice betraying
When I smiled, nodded my head and said, "Oh yeah," she returned,
"I didn't think he'd play this long!"
"We've got another ten to fifteen minutes of music to go," I
She shook her head, amazed, then said, "That's a vegetarian for you,
The other thing that I noticed was he did not seem to take even one
drink of water or any liquid the entire time he was on stage. I'm not
sure what that means, but there it is.
In the memorabilia line before the concert I overheard the same
conversation I've heard at every show since 1990:
"Glad we got to the show, 'cause I don't know if we'll get
the chance to him again in concert."
"Yeah, he's gettin' up there."
Yeah, Paul's touring until a doctor tells him he can't or he drops down
dead heading toward the tour bus.
THREE'S A CHARM ?
Tonight I see Donald Fagen & Walter Becker and company for the third
time. The first was 2000 in support of the
Two Against Nature
album, then 2003 for
Everything Must Go.
This time it's in support of no particular album I am aware of. It'll be
in Dayton at the
Speaking of the third time, I'll see
on stage for the third time, one week from tomorrow in Chicago, in the new
by Greg Pierce,
which also stars
It's the second time I've been to
The first was to see Petersen in
-- the last time I saw William in a
I left wanting to do the show so badly I managed to manipulate it into
Don't be surprised if the next blog entry is a day or so after
I'm just sayin'....
I mean, I MIGHT post before that, but it's not
Yes, technically this is a post, but no new information has
been included -- well, save for the Steely Dan photo, but still,
the next "significant" blog entry is likely a day or so
after FutureFest closes. I'll post tomorrow and Sunday, too -- but,
no new info is likely, just event markers.
You'll note below that I am not home, but am six hours north west, in
Chicago. Yesterday, when I was about ninety-minutes south of Chicago, at
a rest stop on I-65 in Indiana, I noticed I had a voice mail, which turned
out to be from PC-Goenner. There
were three auditions for me today; one commercial and two movies. Alas,
they are not to be.
Was at rehearsal Monday and will be back tomorrow night.
is actually going to block the other scene I am in tonight. I will get that
blocking tomorrow night. If my other scene is any indication, there won't
be much to my movements, so I am probably not going to be too far behind
the curve by missing tonight.
SET LIST FOR JULY 24, 2013 AT FRAZE PAVILION
Blueport (Gerry Mulligan cover) (The Bipolar
Your Gold Teeth
Show Biz Kids
King of the World
Time Out of Mind
Monkey in Your Soul (Walter Becker sings)
Razor Boy (The Borderline Brats sing)
I Want to (Do Everything for You) (Joe Tex cover)
(Band Intros by Walter Becker)
My Old School
Reelin' in the Years
Mr. Fagen and Mr. Becker (& company) seriously kicked some ass last
week. I think the set list above is accurate; I'd had the list
before the show, but the plat list was different and I have made changes
by memory, which I concede may not be 100% accurate -- but I am 99.9+%
sure it's correct.
I am sure that my favorite Steely Dan album, one of my favorite albums,
period, was well represented:
Countdown to Ecstasy.
Six of the sixteen Dan songs were from the album, though it would have
been great to hear "The Boston Rag" and "Pearl of the
Quarter," the latter which I have never heard live, I don't think,
at least I don't recall it on either of the other SD concerts I attended.
Again, the band was nothing less than the excellence that is to be
expected of The Dan. I feel the need to specifically mention Guitarist
as his work was nothing less than fantastic. As I told my buddy I attended
with, "That dude's got serious skills!"
The opening act,
The Deep Blue Organ Trio,
is an excellent jazz band, as well -- as if Steely Dan would have anything
but top-notch musicians opening for them.
My only major disappointments of the night:
I did not care much for the new arrangement of "Show Biz
Kids." It was okay, but not the rock-driven feel of the
original version, which I like very much. This new arrangement
certainly doesn't suck, but it's not to my liking.
The dipshit fools sitting next to me, who one or more of the four
were constantly getting up to go to concessions or the bathroom or
something, causing distraction and interruption for all of us between
them and the end of our row of chairs. beyond that, when they weren't
interested in the songs -- pretty much anything that wasn't a
blockbuster top-40 hit -- they would converse. Did I say converse? I
meant yell a conversation and again distract and disturb all the rest
of us. What they were, were four jackasses.
It's going to take a little while to carve out enough time to sit down
and recount the FutureFest weekend properly.
"Petersen suggests Sterling's interior struggles with a
wonderful sense of hard-won calm and understatement. The girlishly
sexy Gray, sublimely watchable, is a young actress of remarkable
talent and smarts. And the intriguing chemistry between these two
masters of the intimate stage is delicious to observe." --
My view from the patio at RA Sushi.
Yep, I am in Chicago as you read this --
well, assuming you are reading this
on the day it was posted, Thursday, Aug 1, 2013. And in case
you can't discern it, tonight it's
at steppenwolf theatre.
Got in last night and walked downtown to eat. Walked around a bit; didn't
walk into the heart of the city, but did walk in a few blocks from my
hostel on Oak St. off Lasalle -- yes, "hostel," more on that
in a moment. Lots of Chicago bar and grills, but I wasn't in a bar and
grill sort of a mood. I elected to patronize
RA Sushi Bar Restaurant.
Now, for the "hostel": Monday I went on
to get a deal on a hotel room for two nights in Chicago. I got the best
deal at Oak112
in the Gold Coast neighborhood. I didn't pay great attention after seeing
the price and the proximity to steppenwolf, so I missed that rather than
being a traditional hotel, Oak112 is actually a hostel. My first reaction
was to cancel the reservation and find an actual hotel in the same
vicinity, but then I thought, Eh, what the hell. It'll be a new
experience. And, so, I key these very words from my hostel room. I
actually have a room to myself, though there are two sets of bunk beds in
I would have hung out downtown longer, but: a) I had things to do; b) it
began to rain and I did not want to get caught in a downpour at some point
(and very certainly would have); c) I am on a budget for this trip and had
I hung downtown too long, I'd've gone through too much of the budget --
dinner was pretty steep for this rural Ohio boy, as it was. There is,
however, a high probability that I am heading downtown to the
Art Institute of Chicago
Slowgirl should wrap about 9:00 tonight, so, I may head back
downtown, perhaps with my local Chicago friend, who will see the show with
me. As for the play: I await in great anticipation!
Here's to all the designers and performers who took home awards this
weekend for the 2012/2013 Dayton theatre season from both the Annual DayTony
Awards (for the whole Dayton theatre community) and from the Annual Murphy
Awards (for my home theatre, the Dayton Theatre Guild).
And here is a special shout out to the many designers and performers who
did not take home awards, or awards that adequately reflected their
excellent work and for which the oversights or under-recognitions are an
absolutely indefensible crime. And make no mistake, every year, truly
exceptional work is either underrated or ignored in Dayton just like
I could write another several thousand words on this, with no effort, but
I believe this is enough.
Sometime soon -- (SOMETIME) soon -- I'll give accounts of the
Futurefest weekend, my visit to steppenwolf to see Slowgirl, and
I'll catch up with the on-going progress of 45 Seconds from Broadway.
There's other stuff to report on, too.
AND NOW HERE WE ARE. SOME OF THIS HAS BEEN IN SOME PROCESS OF
COMPOSITION FOR WEEKS. MOST, REALLY. NOT THAT THERE WAS A LOT OF
BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS, JUST A LOT OF DISTRACTIONS.......
So Sunday the 11th I was working late in the light booth at
The Guild, doing some
editing work on the sound design for 45 Seconds from Broadway. At
some point my cursor on my laptop stopped cooperating. It either would not
move or would move erratically. My first thought was that I had over-taxed
the memory cache and I needed to reboot the computer to clean it out.
That however, turned out to be wrong, as the reboot did not help.
Then I notice it: some drops of water right in the bottom crevice opening
of my track pad. I pushed on the bottom and a little more seeped out from
This was a major
As the screenshot above of my facebook post suggests, my best guess is
that the cup of softdrink I had was sweating condensation and I dripped
some onto the laptop while taking a drink.
The work-around for the evening was to borrow the mouse from the desk top
in the booth. At home, later, I used that from my own old Mac Power PC
tower. The cursor eventually stopped cooperating with me even when the
mouse was plugged in. It was often moving on its own. The next day, it
all was fine. I guess after the liquid evaporated the sensor for the
track pad stopped getting false reading. The involuntary movements may
actually have been the track pad recalibrating itself, for all I know.
The good news, well, semi-good news, is my track pad came back to
functionality and so far I have not needed to spend money on a bluetooth
mouse. In order to be fully productive on my computer, that would have
been necessary had the track pad not bounced back. The semi-bad news is
that once after it bounced back it relapsed; thus far, only once. So,
Seriously: the lesson here is not keep water away from the computer.
THAT I already know. This one is:
"KEEP YOUR DAMN GUARD UP!"
Of course, it's relative to this blog because so much of what I do in my
art universe depends on my laptop as a major tool.
The rack inside the street door for our "Polish Tea
Room," stocked with the goodies from Mr. Filichia.
At this point the opening weekend is well over; in fact, our sophomore
weekend starts this evening. Last weekend we did okay and certainly got
good feedback from the audiences. One lady actually told me it was the
best show she's seen at The Guild in the fifteen years she's been coming.
I hate to seem like an ungrateful jackass but it's hard for me to see this
particular show as the best we've done in the last fifteen years. It's
not even the best Neil Simon we've done in the almost ten years that I've
been involved. In fact, though I don't think it's a lousy show at all,
it's nowhere close to the top of my list; it's not even halfway up my list,
That's not to say that 45 Seconds from Broadway sucks. It's a nice
script and it certainly has loads of great opportunities for actors to
play around with fun characters. Andrew is fun.
Finishing up the budget stuff -- yeah, we're over budget.
Gotta tell my little name-drop story now. Friday, the 16th, Director
came to me and said that he wanted some real NYC tourist brochures for a
rack on the set. Did I know anyone in New York? Well, certainly, being
little Mr. Barely Semi-professional Actor Guy I don't know a major host
of New York folk, but I know a few New York theater people -- mostly
Carolyn, or Change people, but a few other Dayton theater peeps
who moved there. The other category are some of the steadfast FutureFest
adjudicators. Some of those in this conglomeration are facebook friends,
so I sent a group message to them all on the spot, telling them what we
needed and why.
NYC theatre author and critic, who, though he hasn't been for the past
couple years, has often been a Futurefest adjudicator. Less than a minute
after I posted the message he responded with "Of course! Easy as pie!
Tell me PRECISELY the type of brochures you mean." I did so and less
than an hour later all the brochures we needed were on their way via
FedEx. Pretty cool!
So I had this great idea for the sound design. It had to do with ambient
city street noise in the background throughout the show. After all, our
"Polish Tea Room" is on 46th Street in New York City. My idea
was to stick a speaker behind the upright back set door, which leads into
the coffeeshop from 46th Street, and run an ongoing sound file that lasts
through a whole act: one for each act, obviously.
I mixed together two 70 minute sound files. Then I transfered (recorded)
each on a MiniDisk cartridge to play back with the MD player in the booth.
I brought in both my little guitar practice amp and my bass guitar practice
amp to which to run the sound, back there behind that up-right door: 46th
However, I kept getting a ground hum that I could not eliminate. It
happened through either practice amp. So I nixed those and ran the MD
player through our smaller extra mixing board, into the second amp and
back. No hum, but there's a lot of dust inside that mixer so the sound
kept cutting out. It was incessant.
As the result I killed the back stage sound source idea. Fortunately,
because I apparently could smell that little gremlin bastard somewhere in
the vicinity, I had created mp3 files of each to stick in the folder for
the Show Cue Systems software.
It's fortunate because, I had to program the street noise to come out of
the house speakers. I placed them in the house left/stage right speakers,
and a bit low. They don't exactly sound like they are coming from behind
the street door, but there is an outside of the building, from the
street illusion, or sense. It works well enough, even if not as well as
my original idea would have, given good equipement to execute it.
This one is a sound problem, too. Actually there were other problems, as
well, and the gremlin really gets little blame for any of it, but I'm
giving him some credit, anyway.
Sound problem first. If you have already seen the podcast, which was a
week late, you know the interview was a group interview, with the cast in
an oblong circle. I used three mics to record auxiliary audio. The mics
are not the best type to use in such a set up so some people in some
positions were not recorded crisply; there is that quality of distance to
the ember of their voices.
I shot the group interview multi-camera: three stationary and one mobile
camera -- Fred Boomer on the mobile. My standard practice with the
auxiliary audio recording is to synch it with the on-board camera audio,
then drop the on-board audio out for the edited video. In this case what I
did was synch the auxiliary with the on-board from the mobile camera, but I
kept both alive to blend them together. I then dropped them into the video
for all four videos from all four cameras -- this is the audio track for
every clip I edited from and thus for all of the edited interview in the
The synch sounded great
What I did not realize was that there is clearly a small speed variance
between the auxiliary audio and the video (and its on-board audio). So,
as the footage progresses the synch gets off and there is a slightly
growing echo. There is a fix, but I was already far, far behind schedule
and I needed to put the project to bed.
Beyond that, I grossly underestimated how long it would take to edit to
final cut, otherwise. I'd arranged to take off one whole day from work but
then flex my work hours to work over two hours the other four days, thus
burning no vacation leave. It turned out I had to be off three days in a
row and burn twenty-four hours of vacation last week, and still wasn't
done on time. I reached final cut this Tuesday, while I was home sick with
either a twenty-four hour bug or mild food poisoning.
Well, it's done now, though greatly flawed, due to the crappy audio.
Here's a big hats off to Heather Cretcher and Peter Wine who provided all
the still photography, Fred Boomer who, as I wrote above, was the
videographer on the mobile camera, and to Ralph Dennler, who facilitated
the group interview.
A set picture showing where the Filichia tourist
brochures are on stage; see down-left corner of
the pic -- though technically the rack is
Up Right on stage.
This time for the flash cue cards I typed both my
cues and my lines, then taped them onto their
respective sides of each card, rather than hand
Two weeks back I auditioned for an upcoming Ohio Lottery spot. Does not
appear that I landed the booking or I'd have been called already. It's
a Halloween spot that I am sure starts shooting soon.
Earlier this week I went for a role in Time Stands Still at
The Guild. The cast list
above, posted Aug 28, illustrates the results.
The floor layout of the upstairs theatre at steppenwolf.
We were in the highlighted seats, B3 & B4, which look
farther from the stage than they are. We were about six
to eight feet from that corner.
This section may not have a precise thesis, but I guess my main critical
response to the play itself is: Slowgirl should be a longer one act
or even a two-act play.
I thought the performances by both
the staging by
Director Randall Arney,
the set, designed by
(being a sound designer) the sound --
and the light design
were all top notch. However, I found the script good but somewhat lacking,
or, to my dramatic preferences, incomplete. There was so much to dig into
with both characters and though we got into both, I did not feel it was
Still, the 600-some mile round trip to Chicago and was not at all wasted.
First off, being in the upstairs theatre at
was a fine experience. Its "traverse" stage made the experience
much like being in the audience right at home at
and our "thrust" stage, save that the rows of seats there are a
bit deeper -- *(see image).
Secondly, the two actors gave superb performances. Of course, I would
love it if I were ever able to meet William Petersen to personally express
my admiration and appreciation of his work in general and for something
specific, such as the character Sterling, here, or Hamm in Endgame,
or Ray in Blackbird -- (or that "Bug Man" character on
that TV show). That opportunity has not presented itself, though I do have
the snail-mail to send him something at
so perhaps I will drop an old-fashioned fan letter on him; who knows if
it would ever actually end up in his hands.
However, after the show was over, Ms. Gray came out to a reception lounge,
I believe to meet with some friends and/or family. We didn't impose but I
did walk over, give her a thumbs up and tell her, "Great work."
I managed to find an avenue to send her a message later and I simply told
her again that I found her work very fine. I also said that as an actor
myself, I try to get to that place where my performance is not
"acting" but "being," and I asserted that she had
achieved that. I also pointed out that her co-star is a master at making
being the character look effortless, because he is; it is what draws me to
Petersen as an actor. Further I told her that her co-star was well matched
by his co-star.
Being from a home theatre with a thrust stage I also much appreciated
Director Randall Arney's staging of the play. The traverse stage set-up
in the steppenwolf upstairs theatre calls for virtually the same sort of
concern for staging that our DTG thrust stage commands. On both these
types of stages there are many times when some part of the audience is at
a visual disadvantage, a little less on the travers stage, but not
significantly less. When staging shows on such stages (and others like
this, such as arena stages, i.e.: theatre in the round), the director has
to be conscious of the actors playing to all audience members during the
progression of the play, keeping any sections from being ignored for any
long period of time.
You also want to be sure when some character or characters have their
backs to some portion of the audience that others do not. The idea is to
minimize any disadvantage for any audience members in witnessing action
and drama. Key moments ought to be staged and played so no one misses the
full effect. And all of that ought be done so as to hide the deliberate
staging to meet those needs; the movement and the placement of the
characters on stage needs to be natural and logical for the characters.
It's usually not easy to do. Here it was done expertly, by the director
and our two actors who did their part to make the movement real to the
characters and the story. Every audience member got more time with a good
view of the action than not.
AND A GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL!
* Jan 30, 2015 addendum: I have since purchased the script
and read it several times and have revised my opinion in some great
measure. I still think the play could be longer, a two-act play,
but I have reconsidered my opinion about Mr. Pierce not adequately
digging into each character. I am now satisfied that the script
shows us plenty about both. It does leave some things to be guessed,
but that's not a bad thing.
The Oak 112 Hostel
Slightly different view of the hostel
The Oak 112 Hostel downstairs lobby and common room
Wall map, in the common area, of the Chicago Gold Coast and
Lincoln Park neighborhoods
Three unused beds in my hostel room during my stay. I slept
in the one in the lower right of the pic.
Meanwhile, about Chicago: Have I said lately how much I like that city?
This time, I stayed in the Gold Coast neighborhood, not far from the lake
and right next to Lincoln Park, where steppenwolf is, and where I have
done some carousing in the past. I'd made plans to check out the
Art Institute of Chicago
on this trip; that goal is in fact why I got there early. However, that
visit was not realized. I made the mistake of trying to drive there. I
got turned around and a bit lost trying find the museum, then when I did
find it, it was obvious that parking was going to be a real bitch because
a new exhibit opened that day. I went back to the hostel.
The hostel: You five may remember that I stayed at a hostel this time
around, by virtue of an error in choosing a cheaper hotel room while on
As I wrote earlier, I picked the best price I found reasonably close to
steppenwolf, only to find later that I missed the fact that the
is not a regular hotel, but a hostel. Again, my first reaction was the
thought to cancel the reservation and find an actual hotel in the same
vicinity, but then I thought, Eh, what the hell. It'll be a new
experience. The idea of rooming for a couple nights with foreign
travelers, which was a probability, was intriguing to me. However, I had
the room all to myself even though there were two sets of bunk beds in
I didn't really interact a whole great deal with the other guests, but I
do know that none that I met were Americans; they were all either foreign
students or foreign tourists: one young lady from Rumania, two English men,
an African woman (don't know which country), a couple Swedish ladies. I
might add none of them were over thirty.
Beyond all that, both nights I was there I walked into the section of
downtown close to where I was in the Gold Coast. For those who've never
been to Chicago, some good majority of the restaurants in the downtown
area have outside patios, most right by the sidewalk. Perhaps some of you
reading this may know that I'm not all that much of an urban kind of a guy.
I live a seven-minute bike ride and a thirty-second drive from farm land,
and I am not at all unhappy about that.
Yet, Chicago is an urban setting I could get used to quickly, I think.
Every time I visit there, the small, quiet little voice that says,
"This would be a great place to live," get's a little
stronger. Mind you, it's still a diminutive presence in my head -- or
soul, or wherever it's emanating from -- but its existence cannot be
denied. Just like every other time I have been in the city, I have felt a
certain comfortableness and instant affinity. I hate driving in urban
traffic, and you can imagine that anywhere in the metro-Dayton Ohio
environment there is no heavy traffic that compares with medium traffic in
Chicago; yet, I don't mind much driving in Chicago.
It might be imprudent to guarantee that my zip code may eventually be a
600XX, but no one should be shocked if that is an eventuality; it's not
inevitable, but it sure ain't unreasonable to anticipate the change to at
least a small extent.
The caveat here, of course, and for which I am aware, is that it's one
thing to visit a place and quite another to live there. I realize I don't
have a residence perspective of the city. Also, I've been there once in
the dead of winter, New Years Eve 1990, and for a winter-wuss like myself,
it was more than a bad experience. Perhaps a trip northwest in December
for a few days, that might be what breaks the deal. Still, it is a
guarantee I have not been inside the Chicago city limits for the last time.
More of my hostel room
Is it not a shock that I would be on my laptop
during my stay?
Well, isn't it?
And now, a few pics of the Gold Coast
From where I was staying it was a pretty easy
walk to Lake Shore Drive, but I didn't get across
it to Lake Michigan.
I saw lots of people on foot with beach gear so
it was clearly possible, but I didn't follow them.
A gazebo in the little park -- of which I
didn't catch the name -- through which I
reached Lake Shore Drive.
The main agenda item for the trip, as seen on the
window near the entrance to steppenwolf's
Where we had dinner before the show,
across the street from steppenwolf.
The "El" zipping by, as seen from the
steppenwolf parking garage.
Under the El, leaving Chicago for home.
I was so fortunate to have been able to have a sit down
with William Petersen -- ("Billy" to his friends)
-- and Rae Gray to talk about the show and the craft in
general and them have them pose for this picture.
Okay, there's a chance this is
all a lie and the photo is actually an official publicity
photo from steppenwolf.
So, you wanna know who the other part of the "We" is.
She is a theatre friend, a most talented theatre friend, a gifted
young woman who left the Dayton area for Chicago a little more
than a year ago. Her name is Lauren Deaton and she was my guest.
Some of you five may even know her. I had an extra ticket and I
offered it to her or whomever else she knew in the Chicago theatre
world she thought might want it.
The cast & crew at the adjudication of Kingdom Come
Photo by Kelli Locker
Playwright Michael (M.J.) Feely addresses the audience
during the adjudication; the adjudicators to the left
& Dayton Playhouse Board Chairman Brian Sharp next to
Photo by Kelli Locker
Well, now that the festival is on the verge of a distant memory perhaps I
can see it with a clearer perspective. But what's more likely is that I
will not remember some elements of the experience. And since as I write
this paragraph I am in tech week as actor, producer, ad nauseam, in 45
Seconds from Broadway, and am now gearing up as, at the very least,
producer for Time Stand Still, I have not given much mental energy
toward formulating what goes into this recount of On the Road to
Kingdom Come or the overall festival. Maybe as I soldier on a lot of
things will return to me -- and at this moment I have no clue what
timespan this "soldiering on" will spread over.
I'd say overall our performance of Mr. Feely's play went rather well.
There were a few line problems, but hey: live theatre and all.
As for my Major General Jason Harrington, I was not unpleased with him.
Michael was happy with my representation of the Jason he wrote, so that's
something. The big challenge, as the five of you who read this blog may
know, was to keep Jason from being the exact man that Col. Gregory Stratton
was in Feely's 2009 FF winner, Night and Fog. I've already made the
joke several times that Jason, in Washington, D.C. in the mid-seventies,
is the younger third cousin of Greg, from Occupied Berlin in the
mid-forties. That, of course, speaks to the fact that they are both pretty
much the same archetype. Still, two different men, even if cut from the
same cloth, are two different men. And there were differences between the
two men inherent in the perspective scripts each appear in.
Any conundrum I had was more that created by the actor who didn't want to
give an identical performance for two different characters on the same
stage within four years of each other. My belief is that between
the written difference of the two men and my efforts to keep them separate,
I put a different military career officer on the stage this July than I
did in July of 2009. At least I hope I did.
There was a good batch of plays on stage this year. For those who do not
know, The King's Face, by Steven Young and A Position of
Relative Importance, by Hal Borden shared the first place honor --
the first time in FutureFest's history that there has been a tie.
I liked all the plays, though, I must admit I was very drawn to Mr.
Young's play. That's most likely because I wanted the role that Chuck
Larkowski won, that of Jonathan Bradmore, the physician who extracted the
arrowhead from Prince Harry of Monmouth's skull.
So this was one of the better years for FutureFest. It would have been
great to have been in any of the six shows, well, five of them, as Tom
Coash's Veils is a two-hander for young women. I've said and written
this before, but it bears repeating: Futurefest is one of my favorite
theatrical experiences of the year, especially as an actor, but also
simply in general.
The FutureFest 2013 opening reception
Helen Sneed & Jim Lockwood
Faye Sholiton & David Finkle
J. Joseph Cox & Robert Koon
Brian Sharp at the opening of the festival
Cast of A Position of Relative Importance
Brian Sharp & Hal Borden
Adjudication for Veils
Tom Coash & J. Joseph Cox with Sam Havens
& Jim Lockwood
The Director & cast of The One with Olives
Brian Sharp & Sam Havens
Director & cast of St. Paulie's Delight
J. Joseph Cox address the audience with Kathy
Mola to his left
Sunday morning, with Eleanore Speert (in red)
front & center
Sunday morning with Steven Young
Richard Brock & Sam Havens at the annual
post-FF ice cream social and post mortem at the
home of Saul and Tay Caplan
M.J. (Michael) Feely & Wendi Michael, again at
the Caplan event, with Saul in the background
Partying at The Little York Tavern -- myself far
right in the pic; Steven Young next to me; Helen
Sneed next to him; then Eleanore Speert, Hal
Borden & Richard Brock
Photo by Kelli Locker
Little York Tavern again, left to right: Chuck
Larkowski, Tom Coash, Fran Pesch, Brian Sharp,
M.J. Feely (back), Annie Pesch, Richard Brock,
Hal Borden, Eleanore Speert, Helen Sneed, Steven
Young, & K.L.Storer
Photo by Kelli Locker
The adjudicators, Brian & Fran at the awards
The playwrights at the awards ceremony
The awards ceremony
Fran & Brian at the awards ceremony
The awards ceremony
Hal Borden and Tom Coash at the awards ceremony
The awards ceremony with Steven Young & others
The awards ceremony with Futurefest cofounders
John Riley & Dodie Lockwood in frame
The awards ceremony
The awards ceremony with
Dayton Daily News
writer Meredith Moss speaking with Eleanore
The awards ceremony
The awards ceremony
The awards ceremony with Josh Katawick
The awards ceremony
The awards ceremony
My office environment for the processing (sweetening)
of all these FF2013 pics
The working conditions were rough I tell you!
AND IN MACCAMANIA NEWS:
Sir Paul's new album of original music is about six weeks away.
The album title is, NEW, cleverly written with paralel lines which
don't show completely in the youtube embed here, but I have also placed
a screenshot of the graphic spelling below.
As for the embed, here is the first single, the title cut
Ahh, how today would have been a good day to visit those great
park systems close to my home, but, alas, no. I am finishing off
this day's post on the patio at my apartment. At least I'm
outside, even if it is overcast and I feel the slightest mist of
what threatens to be an impending rain shower, and despite that
the mosquitos are biting a bit. But, there's jazzy new-age coming
through the window at me
(Groove Salad Radio
via Apple TV)
and the weather is cool if slightly humid. Not a bad day off from
I'm kind of a dork, sometimes, no?
TWO WEEKENDS DOWN:
66⅔% through the run, now. We had just as good of a second weekend
as we did first, if not maybe a little better. I'm not really too sure I
can say that my Andrew was any better or worse either weekend, but the
show may have overall notched up a bit for weekend 2. We've had decent
sized audiences both weekends and they have all enjoyed the performances.
Light comedies are safe and easy, though.
As for the compromise of the city street ambient noise coming from the
house left speakers at a low volume level. It is working, I must
say. Of course, it's a bit more effective when the AC in the house has
kicked off. The blowers are a bit louder than they ought to be, in
general, and much of the nuance of the street noise is lost when the AC is
on in the house; only the occasional louder honks, and the rare sirens are
heard. Still, it is working as a sound design element in the scheme of
MORE ACTING CRAFT STUDY:
I continue my actor's education with two forthcoming classroom experiences,
both via The Human Race Theatre Company.
The first one in just less than three weeks, the other, several months away.
One Day Improv Workshop -- Margaret Knapp,
Becky in the HRTC season opener,
Becky's New Car,
is facilitating a one day workshop on Saturday, Sep. 21: "Improv:
Unleash Your Creative Potential." It's two hours in the afternoon;
that leads me to believe the class will be small, which is actually
good. I think for many reason it will be worth the $40. I even paid
the extra $20 for a discounted ticket to Becky's... -- though
I plan to attend "Can Night"
on Wednesday, the 11th.
Advanced Acting Class with
-- I and some of my past Bosse classmates have another group of
advanced acting class sessions coming up in January and February, 2014.
I believe this will be my seventh group of acting classes under Ms.
Bosse's tutelage, since the Sep/Oct 2011 sessions that immediately
preceded our work as Grandpa and Grandma Gellman in
Caroline, or Change,
at The Race. I could probably legitimately get away with calling her
my acting coach
As you five may or may not know, I am involved in several ways in the
DTG 2013/14 season closer,
The Dead Guy.
One participation is for some of the technical aspects, though I am not going
to be a technical director, per say. I am designing sound and I will be
involved with a lot of the video work that is required for the show. I am
precast, for instance, as the camera man, Dougie, for the reality show
that is central to the plot of the play. Dougie's camera work will be
seen in real time on TV screens on the set of the play. We are looking
into the wireless options available to us.
There are scripted commercials to run during the performance, TV
commercials for The Dead Guy television show in the play. It is
quite fortunate that there are pre-produced versions of these, as well as
the opening sequence for the TV show, that could be licensed. We did. It's
simple, the cost to license them was much, much less than what it would
have cost us to produce them ourselves. Then you factor in the time and
energy to produce them: casting, location scouting and clearance, all the
properties and product procurance, principal photography, editing. It was
a no-brainer; pay the license fee.
I have looked at the resource. The only thing that I have a problem with
is the aspect ratio. The clips are all in 4:3, what is known as "full
screen." It's the screen dimension for old TV, closer to perfectly
square. We want this to be a 21st century program, so we need the newer
wide screen aspect ration -- what all new TVs and TV shows have -- that
which is 16:9. It's the ratio I shoot the podcasts in. I'm pretty sure I
am going to be able to force the videos into a 16:9 aspect ration with
very little trouble.
It's also time to start really researching the wireless camera equipment
and related accouterment.
MS. AUGUSTINE ON B'WAY, AGAIN:
As always, my disclaimer is that with all the immensely talented
people I have the great honor to know, I'm sure many of them are doing
great gigs right now. This is the one I am aware of,
(not excluding the ones I've heard about but
A few seasons back at The Guild
we did the
Nathan Sanders play
The Sugar Witch.
Though there was not licensed stipulation, the playwright suggested some
music for the production. One of the artists he thought was good for the
work was Neko Case, whom was not
yet on my radar.
I subsequently heard some of her recordings and was very impressed. This
woman has serious talent and skill!
I am one of the 174 thousand-plus who have liked her
facebook page. Weeks ago,
maybe even a few months back, when she announced the current U.S. tour, I
noted she'd be in Columbus, Ohio on October 19, at the
Newport Music Hall.
Of course, I thought there would be a chance I'd not be able to attend that
show because I'd have to be on stage in a show -- but, as we know, I was
wrong about that. Yesterday, I went on-line to see what kind of seats might
be left for the Columbus show. The Newport Music Hall show is general
admission, and though that means I could get a good seat, I just don't
feel like playing the young man's game to secure such. Seeing that there
is a show three days later in Cincinnati, with reserved seats, I went
for that venue, even though the tickets cost a little more. I don't have
absolutely great seats, but they aren't bad. About eighteen rows back in
the center orchestra section. I have a feeling we will be standing for
most of the show.
I'm not such a hardcore fan that I am intimately familiar with all her
songs, but I admire her playing and art enough that I am excited about the
This afternoon I am heading to the
PC-Goenner Sharonville office to
do another screentest for another Ohio Lottery commercial. It shoots in
Cleveland on the 12th.
Earlier in the day yesterday, before the call about the lottery, the
agency called about another gig next week in Indianapolis, one with no
lines. I have no more information than that, though there is some sort of
health network that I have auditioned for before, out of Indy, that has
actors take action without dialogue, to illustrate what's being said in
voiceover. There's a chance that is what this is about. By the way, I
don't even know if this one has an audition or if I would just get booked;
that can happen when one has previously auditioned for another
project by the same client.
Who knows, I could possibly have to take a couple days off from work next
week, perhaps even spend at least one night in a motel room somewhere.
But, you know, unhatched chickens and all.
I'll post about this weekend and whatever else occurs to me about the
show, perhaps tomorrow.
A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE SHOOT:
Long story short(er), I needed to shoot some DV movie footage this
weekend, which means for me, at least as standard procedure, that I borrow
a DV camcorder or two (or three, or more) from the
Center for Teaching and Learning
(CTL) on campus. I regularly borrow Canon ZR800 standard definition,
mini-cassette DV cameras from them. Most frequently that's to shoot the DV
footage for DTG podcasts. I, in fact, borrow four of them to shoot the group
interview for the podcast above in this post.
The CTL business hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 am till 5:00 pm.
It was about 6:00, Friday evening, not long after I'd arrived at The
Guild for that evening's performance of 45 Seconds... that I
realized I had failed to check anything out for the shoot.
Early yesterday afternoon I bought two
Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorders.
I've needed to again own DV cameras for a long while. The jump to HD has
been too long in the waiting, as well. I actually wanted to buy three but
my finances would not allow that. I'm not terribly sure two was a great
idea, at that.
This model is not a high-end one and it would be ridiculous to think for a
moment that it is close to what is accepted as a professional camera. But
it is a step forward from the standard def footage, a good step forward.
Having a topnotch
camera or two still needs to be eventually realized; and that time is
coming. But for now, at least I've moved forward a bit.
And so, starting with Time Stands Still, the DTG podcasts will be
I will post my postmortem wrap-up on the show soon. I kind of want
to post some pics with it and they aren't sweetened yet. I'd
thought about putting prose here, now, then coming back with the
pics, but changed my mind. and thus---
MORE ON MY NEW TOY(S):
Now, of course, the transition to HD is naturally proving to not be
straight forward. No change in one's technology ever is.
We know I bought two
Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorders,
over the weekend. I barely played with them, as my weekend was a little
full. I guess to be more precise, I barely played with one, the other has
not come out of the box, yet.
One problem that I don't yet have a solution for, but that is troublesome
to me, as I am sure it is to anyone who seriously approaches DV movie
making, is that I have thus far noticed a high significance of what is
known as jitter whenever the shot is a pan or a totem. Pan is left to
right, or vise versa; totem is up/down. Jitter means that the picture
shakes or bounces: it's not a smooth movement. That is a problem in
general with digital and can be worse with HD. What I am getting has thus
far been what I consider an annoyingly high measurement of jitter. I am
hoping there is a solution, because I do not want to have to avoid shots
where my camera does not pan of totem. Those are just such fundamental
things to do. The search for the solution is on.
Another problem, which has been solved was one of file format. The
Vixia HF R40 high-end HD is saved in what is known as HVCHD (Advanced
Video Coding High Definition). The HF R40 model creates the newer AVCHD
that is known as AVCHD Progressive, with a frame rate of 60ps (60 frames
per second). Here was the dilemma for me: Though
Final Cut Express 4
will import AVCHD files, the newer progressive version crashed it every
time I attempted. FCE is too old for the newer format version. AVCHD
Progressive, by-the-way, is considered a professional class level, whereas
the original version is not -- though AVCHD Progressive is on the lower
spectrum of pro-class.
There is also, of course, some chance, some big chance that my copy of
Final Cut Pro X will
successfully import the progressive version. At least one of you five
regulars may remember that about a minute after I bought that crap I
discovered that I really hate working in it -- the interface sucks canal
water; it's a bad hybrid of FCP and iMovie, with too much DNA from iMovie
in its genetic makeup. So, until I graduate to
-- or until Apple's FCP developers get their act together and perhaps
make FCP 11 the valuable editor that v.1-7 were -- I will be editing
with FCE 4 and need to have files from my new camera that I can work with.
Enter the $107.24 solution:
Toast 11, Titanium,
AV software from Roxio. Toast 11 has a fabulous feature that will convert
the AVCHD Progressive files into any of a myriad of file types that I can
edit in FCE, the most important to me being QuickTime ProRes HD at 1920 x
I've done a couple test conversion but have not yet put anything in a
Final Cut project. In theory, the short test clips I shot were correctly
converted; QuickTime plays
them, so it seems FCE should have no problem with them. I'll get
back to you on that.
Besides having a robust ability to convert movie file types, Toast 11 also
does a lot of other things, some that pique my interest. Among those other
features, the ones that grab my attention are: it will capture video
"from anywhere"; will copy CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs,
purporting to copy duel-layer DVDs onto single-layer DVD discs. It is also
CD, DVD and Blu-ray burning software, which is what I had first heard of
it as a good software for which to use. It's been touted as better than
iDVD, that being what I
have been using. I will have to give Toast a test run at burning disc as
well as some of those other things (and other tasks I didn't mention here)
-- after all, a hundred bucks just for file
conversion is a bit steep.
I don't know if there's a lot left to say, but I will say that it was a
good run. I'm happy with my work as Andrew, even if it again wasn't the
most challenging work I've done. I may have written this before but I see
this play as not the most brilliant in Neil Simon's canon; it does offer
a lot of opportunities for actors to climb into some fun roles, not deep
great roles that one chews at the bit to play, but fun characters to do.
Neil Simon won one Pulitzer prize and was nominated another time. Rest
assured, neither the win nor the nomination was for 45 Seconds from
Broadway. Our audiences certainly loved the show, however. As I
related earlier, one lady claims it as the best thing she's seen at the
Guild in her fifteen years of patronage. I'm afraid I don't agree with
that assessment. It's not a bad show, but it certainly is not the best
DTG has done in a decade and a half. Yet, it was a lot fun for the cast
and the audience.
As far as Andrew Duncan is concerned, again I was happy with the work. I
made Andrew what he is supposed to be: a nice, gentlemanly, gregarious man,
genuinely enthused about the prospect of working with Mickey Fox, of whom
he is a big fan. Further, I may not have done A+ British dialect work, but
I did pretty well, certainly better than a B grade.
Director Fred Blumenthal
Saul Caplan as Mickey Fox
Myself as Andrew Duncan, with Saul
Marcus L. Simmons II
as Soloman Mantutu & Mary Mykytka as Megan
Debra A. Kent as Arleen & Debra Strauss as
Patty Bell as Rayleen & John Spitler as
Terry Larson as Zelda & Dave Nickel as Bernie
Gail Andrews Turner as Bessie, with Saul
Steve Kantor as Harry Fox, with Saul
*all nine photos in this array by Craig Roberts
for your sixty years at
The Dayton Theatre Guild!
Mid morning today I'll be at the
agency's Sharonville office to
screentest for a Scott's Miracle-Gro commercial. It's a local, non-union
job, but I not yet being union.....
Once again it does appear that I have not made it into an Ohio Lottery
commercial. Since principal photography is imminent and all, since the
wardrobe fitting is this afternoon in Cleveland, it seems pretty clear I
will not be on the set tomorrow.
That Indianapolis gig is clearly not happening with me on its set, either.
It also shoots this week.
A RELUCTANT, BEGRUDGED CHANGE OF HEART:
Okay, so in the last post I wrote the following:
There is also, of course, some chance, some big chance that my
copy of Final Cut Pro X
will successfully import the progressive version. At least one of
you five regulars may remember that about a minute after I bought
that crap I discovered that I really hate working in it -- the
interface sucks canal water; it's a bad hybrid of FCP and iMovie,
with too much DNA from iMovie in its genetic makeup. So, until I
-- or until Apple's FCP developers get their act together and
perhaps make FCP 11 the valuable editor that v.1-7 were -- I
will be editing with FCE 4 and need to have files from my new
camera that I can work with.
It seems I may have written that prematurely. I have been playing with the
HD file formats. I converted the AVCHD Progressive files from my
Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorders
into workable QuickTime HD
ProRes files, as well as
HDV files, using the feature
in Toast 11
then dropping those into
Final Cut Express 4,
to compare workability. In both cases the video looks good. The QT HD takes
much longer to render in the timeline than the HDV does. But, they both
have one major problem: audio sync; this is a common problem with HD and
other digital video media.
So, I opened my FCPX and first tried importing the AVCHDp files into the
FCP project directly from the camera. As I suspected, it worked. Not only
did it import them successfully, but it linked the separate files for
each "take" into one file. The camera saves each take (the
point from hitting the record button to hitting the stop button) in files
that are no longer than twenty minutes. If your take is longer, it gets
broken into twenty-minute segment files. If you shoot a forty-five minute
take it will be three files: 20:00, 20:00 & 5:00. When I converted
the files with Toast 11, I had one each of these individual segments. FCPX
imported the segment as one conglomerate file, the entire length of the
take (the sum of all parts). That's, I have to admit, pretty convenient.
FCPX also has a couple other features that have great merit and value:
color analysis and correction and audio analysis and synchronization. The
second one seems to have come in handy for me. It corrected the sync
problem I was previously experiencing. That's very valuable. I have not
utilized the color correction yet, but I do believe it's possible to use
one particular clip as the template and have all other clips color
corrected to match it. That, too, quite valuable. It may make it possible
for me to get that eventual final cut of Vignettes in Bellcreeek
to be in color rather than black and white -- which is the current plan
due to horrible color variances between the shots from different cameras
during the multi-camera shoots that were the production standard for the
And so....it seems....that I am going to start editing in Final Cut Pro X.
Even bought a pdf manual,
Final Cut Pro X: How It Works,
by Edgar Rothermich. Sort of an "FCPX for dummies" concept going
on there, I believe.
Now for the more
money part of the situation,
dollars more money. My hard drive for my
is actually a solid state flash derive with a .75 terabyte capacity. I
have more than 400 gigs free on it at any given time, specifically due to
DV movie editing; I want to be sure I have the free space for the
processing. I went to bed while FCPX was analyzing one of the two large
movie files I was using for my test. This morning I discovered that the
provess did not complete because of the "Your startup disk is almost
full" message. I checked, there was more than 200 gigs free at that
point, but video software sometimes needs a lot of space for processing.
I think I could probably go in an adjust some maximum memory allowances
but that might be risky to over all operating system performance. I have
elected instead to edit DV movies on a
Western Digital Thunderbolt Dual 4TB External Hard Drive.
Ordered it yesterday: $504.00.
How did the audition go yesterday? It went like this: there was no
audition. I went, but it was a major crash and burn and I don't wholly
know what happened. I had the script down, but when it came time to
shoot, I kept going up, again, and again, and again. It was most
frustrating, and for the most part bewildering.
I was given some time to get it back, but it just didn't come back. Time
was moving on and I needed to get back to Dayton. While another audition
was underway I told the assistant that I needed to leave. I was headed to
the rent-payer but on the
drive up I-75 North I changed my mind about going to work. I felt a need
to go home and do nothing for a few hours. I did. I slept. Then, I
decided to skip the Can Night for Becky's New Car, which I'd
planned to attend; I do have another ticket.
On the road home yesterday morning I made a decision. I have pulled myself
from availability for the agency. Though there are other reasons, yesterday
was the deciding factor. I've been coming to a place where I feel a need
to change up some of this, this, whatever the fuck it is I'm doing. I'm on
some kind of a road and I have some notion of what road -- some. I need to
somehow change up the travel plan. I think maybe I've done a bit of that
here recently. It may not readily seem like it, but the impulse this past
weekend to go HD I think factors in somehow. This I am sure about:
yesterday means something. Eventually, we'll see what, I suppose.
At the moment I don't want to reveal what, but I did have an opportunity
present itself yesterday afternoon that might be a part of this
reconfiguration, or whatever it is. We'll see about that, too.
Here are two links that have relevance, in their own ways, to where I am
at right now:
It seems I have solved another nagging problem that was threatening to be
a major inhibitor to interesting shots. It seems I have found how to avoid
the pan and totem jitter that I got with the original footage I shot with
the new camera. I used the Dynamic Stabilization setting on the camera
and shot what appears to be very smooth pans1,
dollies4 and zooms5,
this morning. The playback on the camera suggests it, anyway. I'm pretty
sure when I transfer the footage to FCPX and view it, it'll be as stable.
Looks like I am on track to start producing HD podcasts for DTG as well
as for whatever my next movie project is as a director -- and
1) PAN SHOT: a movie shot taken where the camera is stationary
(usually fixed on a tripod or jib) and turns on an axes from left
to right or vise versa for a shot that spans a geographical area,
such as the horizon, or a room. The shot motion may to some extent
be diagonal, but going from left to right or right to left must be
the main element of the movement. If the camera is not fixed in
one spot but is literally moves from left to right (right to left),
meaning if the camera is in side ways motion via the camera operator
walking or otherwise moving from place to another, that is not a
pan shot but rather a tracking shot.
2) PEDESTAL SHOT: To moving the camera up or down while maintaining
a stationary axis, i.e.: not tiling the camera up or down, but
actually moving the entire camera up or down. The shot motion may
to some extent be diagonal, but going up or down must be the main
element of the movement.
3) TILT SHOT: Moving the camera up or down while maintaining its
horizontal axis; usually done from a tripod or jib, but can also
be done as a handheld shot.
4) DOLLY SHOT: To dolly a shot means to move the camera into
(toward) or out from (back away from) the subject of the shot.
This is not a "zoom in" or a "zoom out"
where the focal point of the lens is changed to make the subject
image closer or farther away while the camera stays stationary.
In a dolly shot the camera may or may not be mounted on a dolly
truck, which may be mounted on tracks or have wheels. Now the term
means any shot where the camera operator moves the camera toward
("dollies-in") or away from ("dollies-out")
but with the same lens zoom for the whole shot, and regardless of
the means of transport (walking, dolly truck, wheel chair,
the latter made famous by Kevin Smith as a dolly method).
5) ZOOM SHOT: A zoom changes the focal length of the lens to alter
the magnification of the subject to increase ("zoom in")
or decrease ("zoom out") the subject's size on screen.
In other words to make the shot move into or away from the subject
while keeping the camera stationary. This is different from a dolly
shot, where the camera itself physically moves toward or away from
the subject. Zooms keep the relative positions and sizes of objects
around the subject constant; in dolly shots such relationships
change as the perspective changes by the movement of the camera
in or out.
NEW LOCAL TALENT AGENCY:
Here's an FYI for local actors:
A new local talent agency,
The Active Artists Group
has launched in Middletown. They have an open call for voiceover artists,
print models and actors (all ages and ethnicities) that is happening
tomorrow in Franklin, Ohio, from 11:00 until 5:00.
Click here for details.
The image stabilization setting on the
works very well. The footage I shot Friday, with all the pans, zooms,
etcetera, looks good when imported into Final Cut. There's no jitter,
just smooth images with all the different camera shot movements. And that,
my friends, is good.
Thunderbolt 4TB External Hard Drive
is also living up to expectations. I was able to use the drive for editing
the jitter test footage from Friday. Though continuing to learn the FCPX
software proves frustrating, the speed of which the software responds with
the application sitting on my Macintosh hard drive while all the files and
all the work is being done on the external drive, is swift. And that, my
friends, is good.
Yesterday afternoon I went to
John Bryan State Park to do more
test shooting. It was intended to be more jitter tests, but what was more
beneficial was assessing the camera's ability to shoot in environments
with acute lighting contrasts, such as in the forestry canopy areas.
What I discovered is that my camera doesn't really do amazing work with
stark light contrast. I think very few digital cameras do. Many do better
than mine, but it's the only the really high end ones that handle the
contrasts extraordinarily well, the Red
and other cameras that run in the tens of thousands of dollars, or more.
At this point, with this camera, it is clear I will need to be very careful
about camera movement when shooting in environments where there may be
stark lighting contrasts. When the camera is given a chance to adjust, or
more accurately, when the processor is given time, the lighting contrasts
have a chance to adjust and stabilize. But even stationary shots, in some
circumstances, will not work at acceptably, certainly not as acceptable as
what would I want. Some shots with acute lighting contrast problems will
just need to be avoided, unless I would happen to want that imagery for
some poetic/artistic effect.
Fortunately, the problem areas were not as hot when I viewed the footage
in FCPX on the computer. It's still not ideal, but it is not as bad as it
looks when I view it on the camera's monitor screen. And that, my friends,
Myself, yesterday, playing wanna-be gorilla movie director
at John Bryan State Park, taking my HD camcorder on
another test run.
Meanwhile, I'm still playing with
Final Cut Pro X. I need
some functioning measure of editor's proficiency here soon as I will have
a podcast to edit in a few weeks. I have been finding some helpful
tutelage from teenage boys who post How To movies to youtube. They are all
very far ahead of me in the game, I might add.
Hey, I'm not proud! If a
fourteen-year-old can teach me the fasted, most efficient way to make a
key frame in FCPX -- which is not at as easy as it was in earlier
versions -- then I am all ears (well: ears and eyes).
I have secured a U.D. Law School gig for this coming Thursday afternoon.
It's a new scenario I haven't done before, and the specs technically put
the character at twenty years young than I, but I've been given leeway to
adjust it to a more plausible age.
Judge Mary Huffman,
whose criminal trial classes I've done guided improv gigs a few times
before, is teaching this one. It seems to be one of those focusing on
interviewing new clients. It's a civil case rather than a criminal one,
where my character would be the plaintif if legal action is pursued.
This Saturday afternoon is the one day workshop, "Improv: Unleash Your
Creative Potential," with Margaret Knapp, who is playing Becky in the
current Human Race production,
Becky's New Car.
The delusional members of the sub-committee of
my mind, that sub-committee being known as "Ego," are convinced
I am an accomplished improvisationalist; these members have a right to
express their opinion; they are, however, mistaken about my improvisational
prowess. Mind you, I'm not horrible at improv, yet Robin Williams or any
troupe member of Second City or
Upright Citizens Brigade
have nothing to fear from me.
Add, that I do it so rarely that I'm always a bit rusty when I do stand up
to work some improv. So, if I'm ahead of anyone on Saturday, I won't be
demonstrably so. Plus, another workshop on the discipline will not hurt me,
I also have a voucher for a performance of Becky's..., which I may
shoot for using that evening or the next day.
You may remember I was also going to
catch the final dress rehearsal -- aka: "Pay What You Can Night"
-- but was out of sorts that day, so did not.
There's really not much to report on here, but I haven't dropped much in on
this show, so thought it should at least make an appearance. As producer I
am badgering the last of those who owe me biographical text for the
playbill (one-hundred words or fewer, thank you).
Thursday, after I have wrapped the U.D. Law gig I'll shoot the rehearsal
for this as the start of principal photography for the podcast --
and, of course, as
the very first podcast footage to be shot in HD.
I have not really started the sound design for this, but will be doing so
soon. I imagine I and Director Debra Kent will discuss it Thursday. The
show does not have a whole lot of sound cues. I do know that it needs rain
at one point, and perhaps street ambience, just as I put both into 45
Seconds.... The street sound I worked up may be able to be used as is.
I may have to reshape the rain, however.
This development doesn't look all that encouraging: I've started
researching and reaching out for the technicals of the real-time live TV
feed that the script calls for, and though it's not strictly necessary, I
believe we do want to satisfy that effect if we can. The preliminary look
into a wireless camera for my character, Dougie, (the videographer for the
TV show in the play) is not hopeful. We don't have final numbers yet, but
it seems probable that rental will run a total of around $2000, if not
more. Make no mistake, that will take it off the table as an option. As
was said by Shaunn Baker, from
World Stage Media, whom was one
of those I consulted yesterday, we may be casting a cable wrangler for
the show. That is not the optimal scenario but may be the realistic one.
Wireless would be better since Dougie follows the other characters around
on the stage, shooting the live images that are sent to the monitors the
audience in the theatre can see -- in the universe of the play, it's the
"broadcast" of the TV show. Wireless makes maneuverability a
whole lot easier; cables, even with a cable wrangler, make
blocking far more challenging.
Heading, Friday night, to see
at the Dayton Playhouse.
It's directed by Tina McPhearson, who is the programming manager for
City Folk. The production is
getting great buzz all over the local theatre community. Ms. Kelli Locker,
who is also now in rehearsal for Time Stands Still at DTG, is in
Of course, I have that voucher for a performance of Becky's New Car.
Saul is cast as Lazar Wolf, a role that I had when I was, I believe,
seventeen, at Wilbur Wright High School in East Dayton, Ohio. Saul's a bit
more age appropriate and lot less gentile-inappropriate for the role.
Lazar was about the only role in the show I thought I had any chance of in
this forthcoming production, and, honestly, that's relatively speaking;
which is to say I didn't think I had much chance, especially after I
tanked my general in such an ea-gads!
manner. Even before that train wreck, however, it was the slimmest of
chances. But it's a great role for Saul and I am not at all surprised he
landed it. Jeff is the Constable: also a good role for him.
So now I join Mr. Caplan and Mr. Sams, in that little Jewish shtetl,
Anatevka, in the Imperial Russia of a century ago. I am cast as Rabbi
(the village rabbi). It's not a major role, whatsoever, but that is okay.
First, I'm back on a professional stage; second; by the end of November I
will have earned another eight points as an
Membership Candidate) -- i.e.: points toward membership in the America
stage actors and stage managers union, Actors Equity Association. I will
have thirty-six points left to earn at the end of the Fiddler run;
taking out those remaining thirty-six is still gonna take some time. I
have no immediate worries that I am a union actor who can't appear on my
own theatre's stage -- which will be the case when I make the points then
if I assess my life at that point and decide it's an advantage to being in
the union. That's a fork in the road down the path.
Back to my present life: yesterday I learned that we are joined in
Anatevka by Charity Farrell,
who is cast as Hodel. Charity, by the way, has just had a feature film, in
which she stars, released,
Forever's End. Some
of you (one of you five, at least) may remember her from my short,
The Chorus for Candice, shot in
late summer 2006, when she was just thirteen or fourteen, somewhere in
that age range.
The Fiddler schedule means that I have to break my date with Neko
Case on Oct 22, which makes me a little sad, but I'll get over it. Further,
we start rehearsals on Friday, October 4, the opening night for Time
Stands Still at The Guild. So I'll also pretty much be AWOL as
TSS producer at that point; I won't be covering any Guild house
management duties for that one either. Shooting the podcast for the next
one, The Gifts of the Magi will not be imposible, but will be a
challenge, as well. I did manage to do a reasonable production of the
podcast for Blue Moon...Dancing at The Guild during the
Caroline, or Change
rehearsal and performance period. Essentially I showed up on Mondays --
the Equity day off -- to shoot Blue Moon rehearsal footage. The
rehearsals for the workshop of
were compact so it wasn't an issue toward the podcast for
In the meantime, I have that gig this afternoon for the U.D. Law class
taught by Judge Mary Huffman.
I've been studiously creating and studying my flashcards with all the
vital information about my character and the case.
It doesn't appear this is one of those two-part classes, where we come in
one week as the new client then come back the next week for the student
(the lawyer) to advise and counsel us about the next step, if there is
This seems to be a class for newer students where the point is to learn
about the initial interviewing process. One of my instructions, which is
not an uncommon one for the U.D. Law gigs, is "force the students to
ask questions." That basically means, give short answers and volunteer
The production contract is signed and it and all the supplemental
paperwork, also signed or otherwise completed, is in the mail. The
rehearsal schedule is pretty much what I expected it would be. And with
my commitments to DTG for
that period, ítza gónna be tight. At least, though,
for the moment, barring no extra rehearsal hours (which are on the calendar
as "TBA"s), I only have to eat two hours of vacation time for
the the rent-payer during
the whole two months. My hours there will be flex hours, with some weeks
being really odd: ten hours, Monday; nine hours, Tuesday; seven for each
of Wednesday through Friday -- as an example.
The total work schedule, rehearsals through the close of the show, is
eight and a half weeks. Logic told me this "8 ½" means
eight and a half points (weeks) toward my
Equity Membership Candidacy,
but I was not absolutely sure that is the case. It might've been eight
points; it might've been nine. I contacted
Actor's Equity Association to
find out for sure. The response was: "If the start date through the
end date equal 8.5 weeks, that would be rounded up to 9 weeks": a
little better than what I'd figured.
So, on Dec 1, I will have earned a total of fifteen points and will be
thirty-five away from the option to join AEA, followed promptly by the need
to leave this area if I do join, as options as an actor will become very,
very limited. I would not be able to act on The Guild stage, nor on the
DPH stage for
or any other non-professional theatre stage, unless they did special
contracts which is just not going to be in the mix of possibilities.
Back to today,
however, I have grabbed a score and a libretto of the show to at least
attempt to be a little ahead of the game next Friday.
Lastly, though there was a small chance I might have gotten the night off
from rehearsal to get to the Oct 22 Neko Case show, I made a decision to
nix it. I really started to dislike the idea of missing a rehearsal so
close to the start of tech. Granted I did miss a late rehearsal last
summer for the FutureFest production of
On the Road to Kingdom Come, and I did have a more significant bit
of work in that, but I just started to not like the idea of missing a
rehearsal in the second half of the rehearsal phase of an Equity show.
I gave the tickets to my niece and her husband, those who treated me to
tickets to the Paul McCartney 2011 concert in Cincinnati. Turn about.
The two hours was essentially Ms. Knapp introducing improv games to the
group. That's not to say that it was too rudimental for me. I do full-out
improvisational work so seldom that there was enough rust to scrape off
to make it a worthwhile afternoon for me.
It's always a case that I have sluggish movement into the right mindframe
to improvise fearlessly, that relaxed place where I find I need to be to
stop myself from needing to be brilliant, to stop censoring myself.
I had a bit of both those problems, at least to some extent, for most of
the first hour of the workshop.
I had a couple good moments when I let loose and was able to freely go
wherever I went. So, that's good.
As for the more structured improv work that is the U.D. Law School acting
gigs, the one last week went well. Eight law students interviewed me as
the upscale bakery shoppe owner who has a breach of contract complaint
against a business associate. The goal was to not volunteer any
information, to make the students get the information out of me through
their interview questions. I'd say I got perhaps a solid B for my work; I
think I let info slip a few times, but overall, I was not too terribly
JUST SOME SHORT RESPONSE NOTES -- NO REVIEWS, HERE:
at the Dayton Playhouse
-- I saw a fun and well-done production of Hairspray at DPH last
Friday evening. A lot of good work and some superb work. Kudos to
director Tina McPhearson and her cast and crew.
I've dropped in now to a few rehearsals and the show seems to be coming
along, with the actors finding their strides.
The set is starting to look really very cool, too. Speaking -- writing
-- of the set, a set piece need, really, a prop need, has come up that will
force me into the
No TV Zone at home.
We need a working flatscreen TV on set for Act II.
This need came up just a few days ago, so I have agreed to loan my
relatively new flatscreen for the production. I was planning on buying a
smaller second flatscreen for the bedroom, anyway, and decided this would
be a good time to do that: bring in the big one for the set and go get that
smaller one, and use it during the run of the show.
After making the commitment, I had an unexpected expense that has
furloughed the purchase of the new, smaller TV. It will be a few weeks. As
of Saturday I will have no TV for at home for three weeks, though that is
not much of a bad thing, at all. My bigger concern is the safety of my
bigger model, as it will be sitting precariously close to the audience,
and there is a dangerous time period (when they are returning to their
seats for Act II), when it will be especially
vulnerable. At the end of the show, as they are leaving, too.
Well, the theatre does have insurance. My TV get's damaged, a claim
will be filed.
Much, really most, of the sound design is rolling toward completed. I have
some music choices to decide upon then edit for opening and closing the
acts, and for scene changes. The plan is take it all out and have the
sound plot programmed in SCS by mid-day tomorrow; early evening at the
As can often be the case, a little production gremlin giggled creepily in
the rafters. Here's what happened:
The Guild's own doctoral electrical engineer technical guru type guy, Bob
Mills added an eight channel sound card to the computer in the tech booth.
That way we can spilt sound to any of the four house speakers, or in any
combination. And in fact can add up to four more speakers. We wanted to
again put the street ambience on New York City in an off-stage location,
this time, behind the windows overlooking the street from the loft
apartment of the main characters. *You
may remember that for 45 Seconds from Broadway I wanted that sound
coming from a speaker behind the door that was leading to 46th St., but
had equipment problems that prevented doing so.
DTG's new Gateway SX2110-UB25
The gremlin shenanigans?: the pc in the booth could not handle the new
sound card nor the software installed to control the new card. The first
line of defense was that Bob was going to max the RAM in the machine, but
that was going to cost almost $200, more than the worth of the computer,
and was only going to get us two gigs of RAM. So, instead we just went out
and bought a new pc with four gigs -- the
Gateway SX2110-UB25 desktop model.
The new system, with all the needed software installed, is set up and just
waiting for me to program the show in -- now, with the ability to have NYC
coming from the other side of the loft's windows, overlooking the street.
Now, with the ability to isolate any sound in a particular house speaker,
or any combination of two or more, that I want. In fact, if we had eight
speakers, we could have eight different sound files running, one from each
speaker, at the same time.
Podcast commentary audio recording setup --same as it
Principal photography for the podcast has been underway for more than a
week. It's all been what will likely be silent B-roll, but I have noted
that the condensor mics on board the
pick up pretty well. Even when the AC blowers are on the dialogue can be
heard reasonably acceptably.
Of course, the HD video files are much larger than the old SD DV movie
files from the older
I previously have used. Though there are a few experimental projects, with
HD file formats, most of what is on the new
Thunderbolt 4TB External Hard Drive
are the several days of footage for this podcast project; I have already
claimed several hundred gigs of space. Who wants to bet that I don't have
an eight terabyte external hard drive before 2013 come to an end -- maybe
more than one?
The commentaries are almost finished, that part of production should wrap
tonight. This is one where I am not shooting the interviews for the
commentary on DV, I'm just doing audio, as voiceover. Once, again, the
little gremlin in charge of hot broadcast radio signals decided to play his
annoying game. I hear low levels of radio broadcast in the audio recording
of the commentaries; last night they were a little hotter than previously
in the week. They probably will be drowned by the podcast's underscore
music, but it's still bothersome that I haven't managed to block them, yet.
I actually haven't listened to the recorded sound files to see how
prominent or obscure the radio signals are in those.
about getting this one to final cut will be my ability to maneuver through
Final Cut Pro X, a
software I am mostly unfamiliar with, that has an interface that I don't
know well and don't find enticing, whatsoever. My journey of learning the
editor has barely begun, and I'd love to know it way better than I do
before I sit down to try to edit this DV movie in the compact time frame I
have to get it to a final cut on the web. I don't have that luxury,
Those screams of "AAAAARG!" you hear
next week coming from the north-east region of Greater-Dayton, Ohio, will
not be a wayward pirate; it will be me, in my apartment, melting down
because I can't execute another editing command that ought to be too simple
to worry about.
Also, we have added this warning to all publicity for the show:
Be Advised That This Play Contains
Adult Language And Themes