The movie was screened twice while I was there -- I was taking a break
from programming the Time Stands Still sound at The Guild, only
about a two-minute drive from Alex's. I have to tell ya, I was plagued
by the same ol' same ol': I just don't much care to watch my work on
screen. In this case it wasn't at all that I disliked the work or had any
sort of disappointment about it; I simply don't like seeing myself act.
It's, I think, the presence; I think I don't find my presence terribly
compelling. As you five may know, I like seeing video of my stage work
even less than I do what I am performing for the camera.
Fortunately for my fragile ego, others like my presence, both on screen
and on stage; others are not as critical of my physical movement, which I
have before expressed dissatisfaction with, which I am still not satisfied
with. At the party one of the attendees sought me out to tell me how
convincing she found my work in the movie -- so, there's that. Who am I
to correct someone else's response to creative art?
On a less self-flagellating note: Medicine is good work and
everyone -- I suppose myself
included -- deserves major congrats for a fine piece of short
horror. The cinematography looks great; the sound track kicks ass
(music composed and performed by
Matt Hayden); the
actors' performances are all very nice (probably
special effect makeup for Ms. Wood is killer.
Thus, more good work to which I am attached.
Friday night is the start of
The Race. I am looking forward
to it. The question is, with the cast as big as it is, will the
non-Equity actors, like
myself, be in the actual dressing room? We might not. My understanding is
that the Equity actors vote to allow the non-union actors in, or not.
I've been listening to the
Original B'Way cast album.
The last time I sang "To Life" on stage, at seventeen, I was
Lazar Wolf, who songs much of the song as a duet with Tevye. This time I
will sing Rabbi's part, which is the blessing, that starts with one, long,
strong high note, which I believe is the F above middle C -- (based on
me just matching it from memory, on the keyboard app on my smart phone).
That F or otherwise, it is a note I can hit, but I still need to get my
voice in shape again. You see, I do regular vocal warmups the same as I
frequent the gym -- sporadically, at best.
As I wrote last week, I have a vocal score and a libretto of the show to
at to be at least a little ahead of the game Friday. I also have a copy of
the David Alan Stern
Yiddish dialect CD. Of course, I have the B'Wat sound track to hear the
Yiddish pronunciations, as well.Let's see now if I can squeeze some time
in to sit down with it all and at least get somewhat familiar with both
the melodies and the pronunciation of the Hebrew words I sing.
By the way, if you are on facebook, The Human Race has posted a few cool
pics of the scale model rendering of the set:
Click here to see.
Tech Week is at the midpoint. The
show is looking pretty damn good. The cast brought it home and then some
last night; they have all settle into most convincing versions of their
characters. Blake Senseman's
set has gone from great to incredible. Two more rehearsals, tonight and
tomorrow. Because of Fiddler I have one chance to see the show, this
Saturday; I will be there as much as sound designer as audience member, as
that is my only chance to hear the sound balanced against and room full
of people, which does change the dynamic of the sound volume levels. That
is my only chance to tweak anything that needs tweaked.
Now that you mention "sound"....
In real ways, I have been working on the sound for several weeks. A while
ago I did the inventory on what sound effects were needed and without
checking my library, I knew I had everything. And there are not many. The
big deal was the city ambience. I took what I had mixed together for
45 Seconds from Broadway and tweaked both the Act
I and Act II files.
And I grabbed a big slew of songs as potential production music. Saturday,
I went in to the theatre to program the sound design into Show Cue Systems.
All that was left to pick was the song to close the show and use for the
curtain call. On the way in, I heard the perfect song; it was part of a
collection I just happened to be listening to on my car's CD player.
I made edits of the production music as well as some of the sound effects,
for instance I upped the pitch on a wireless phone ring sound file to make
it better suggest a cell phone ring tone, as one of a couple choices for
the ring tone effect.
About 1:00 Saturday I was ready to start programming. I took a three-hour
break I mentioned above, to go to the movie wrap party. I finished the
programing about 5:15, Sunday morning. Yes, this was another of my
occasional sleep-overs at The Guild. I pretty much planned it or at least
prepared for the strong possibility by bringing a sleeping bag, toiletries
and a change of clothes.
Had a couple nervous moments with the sound system Monday night. When I
booted everything up we had no sound coming out of the speakers. The
meters were showing sound playing, but we heard nothing. I restarted SCS,
but there was still no signal going to the speakers. Then I rebooted the
computer and we got it back, but at first the volumes seemed a little low.
I pushed the master pot on the computer. Later, when we ran the show, it
was all too loud.
I had thought the master was at 51%. That was what seemed too low when
we first got the good reboot. But at the end of the night we were back at
51% and it seemed correct. Don't know what that was all about.
The probably culprit is a driver that didn't load properly, or at all,
when we first turned on the pc. We've decided to keep the pc on for the
duration of the weekends of performances, and during tech week. Which means
we are leaving it on from Monday evening of this week until the performance
is over this coming Sunday. It also means we need a sign to tell people to
NOT turn off the power stip the computer is plugged into -- shutting a
Windows pc down improperly is a dangerous thing to do. The operating
system can get corrupted beyond repair.
Last night, the sound balance of seemed pretty close to perfect. We'll see
what I think after saturday's show.
The editing begins today. As to whether it ends today is a good question.
I suspect the answer is that it will not end today, but we'll see. I have,
taken the day off from work and scheduled myself for a tentative day off
tomorrow. It really does need to be done by tomorrow or I have a big
problem. With Fiddler rehearsal starting, there is virtually no
room to work on the podcast past tomorrow; and I'd rather be done today.
For the record, the collective files for the DV movie take up 1.04
terabytes on the new
4TB External Hard Drive.
That's one-fourth of the space on the whole drive. That is going to be a
problem at some point, oh, just a few more podcasts away. I'm thinking
that once I lock a final cut down and render it. The source material in
the capture scratch, are getting deleted off drive -- probably I'll keep
up the duel backups on two separate backup drives; which means I am buying
a lot of backup drives. It also informs me that when I get to actually
shooting and editing longer movies, I'll need a bigger external to work on.
Two hours before
Time Stands Still
The Guild on Friday, the
rehearsal period for
began. Vocal Director
Janet Yates Vogt
took us through the first sit down of the songs that use the ensemble.
Once again, as has been the case in that building before, my mode was:
just slightly intimidated by the trained
vocalists in the room, all who can kick my butt musically.
Saturday and Sunday were shorter days than originally scheduled, but I
have a feeling this is a phenomenon that will stop happening shortly. My
calls were originally for 11:00 a.m. and both were changed to 1:00 p.m.
Actually, Sunday it was 1:00 for the whole cast, though I'm betting
production staff were there earlier.
I erred in an assumption and I'm a little bummed about it. In listening
B'Way cast recording
I thought there is a section in "To Life" that is a blessing
sung by Rabbi. As it turns out, it's a toast sung by a Russian. It's a
more or less challenging vocal part, but one that I can handle; it's a
nice part, too. I was looking forward to it. But, alas, no.
Saturday was a very short day for me. I was in at 1:00, I worked on two
songs ("The Rumor" and "To Life") and was dismissed
Sunday the whole company was together, 1:00-6:00 to learn Chris Crowthers'
choreography for the opening number, "Tradition." If my butt has
been kicked as a singer (at least I actually have what can be called
good vocal ability), as a "dancer"
it has been pulverized. Let's face it, I don't have two left feet, I have
three. It's generous to use the words "dancing" and
"ability" in the same sentence, concerning me.
"Tradition" is a big number with a lot of individual working
parts to the choreography. I did my best to keep up, but man did I lag
behind. I just am not wired well to have a lot of different dance movement
information given to me in a short period of time and embed it in my brain
and body very quickly, certainly not as quickly as the trained dancer in
the room. But I have already been going over it, physically and mentally,
and will continue to do so. I'm sure I'll get to at least a passing level.
The hardest thing for me is in the ensemble walk out onto the stage. We
are stepping in rhythm and we are up on the down beat and down on the up
beat. My body does not want to do that; it keeps adjusting me to down on
the down beat. It's going take the most work on my part to get that right.
Second hardest for me to get will be a step sequence we do later, with
which my three left feet are not cooperating well.
There's no question a lot of my problem is my self consciousness about my
dancing "ability" and my movement on stage in general. It's
one of those get over it and soldier forward situations.
At this point I of course know the whole cast list, but I won't reveal
it here until The Race has released it to the public; they are yet to do
I mentioned a few days back that there were photos of the scale model of
the set on the Human Race facebook page. At least two of those photos are
now at The Race's formal web site:
And one final note: so far all evidence says I am once again in the
company of a most talented group!
FIRST WEEKEND DOWN:
The first weekend is down, and reports are that the show went well all
three performances. I was in the audience Saturday evening and can say
that it was a good show Saturday. There were four honest, authentic
performances on the stage. I'm sorry to report it was a pretty small
audience Saturday, maybe two dozen people -- certainly not the numbers
the production deserves. I was there at the tail end Friday when the show
let out and know there was a much bigger crowd, if not a full house. And
I caught some of the cast and crew at dinner after the show yesterday and
know they had a bigger crowd than Friday.
The audience response has been very favorable, so word of mouth -- and
social media -- may swell the numbers for the remainder of the run.
After Fiddler rehearsal Saturday afternoon, I dropped by and tweak a
sound -- a car alarm -- based on input from an audience member in the
Friday evening crowd. He found the car alarm too loud and long (it was a
minute long), thus, distracting. Since it was a separate file, not part of
the general ambience sound file, I was able to drop the volume; I also
cut it to thirty seconds. However, Saturday evening, when I was in the
audience, I did not hear it. So, after the show, I pushed it up just a bit.
I'd also pushed the volume on the pre-show and intermission when I was in
Saturday afternoon. That evening it was clear it was a little too loud. So,
I dropped it down a bit while I was there that evening.
That's it though. I likely get no more chances to be there.
For the second time in a row, I missed my deadline for having the podcast
live at youtube. I did not get to final cut until Saturday morning, having
of my vacation time, needing to take last Wednesday through Friday off --
*(Friday was to have been a nine-hour work day). Some of the problem
was that I did not have much other time than daytime those days to work on
it. Often I can get a lot of the work done the weekend of tech and also
during the evenings of tech week after I have shot the tech/dress footage.
This time I had to be there all those times as sound designer.
The other issue was using
Final Cut Pro X, an
interface, as you five will know, that is mostly new to me. That slowed
things down, frequently, as I had to search the manual or youtube how-to's
to learn executions that are second nature to me in
Final Cut Express.
But, now I am starting to get familiar with the FCPX software. Still don't
The original rendered HDDV movie file is 34.96 gigabytes, while the
compressed version comes in at almost exactly 10%: 3.63 gigabytes, with
no discernable loss of quality. Of course, with my internet connection at
home being DSL at the speed 3 megabytes per second, uploading 3.63 gbs
takes a little bit of time. The upload to the
DTG youtube channel
was initiated at about 4:45 p.m. Saturday. It finished at noon on Sunday.
It also took youtube a couple hours to process the video after it was
uploaded. During a break from Fiddler rehearsals Sunday, I posted
the video to the
DTG facebook page
probably about 2:30.
Last night started with a meet-and-greet with the HRTC benefactors and
board of directors, where
facilitated an introduction to the creative team, the creative concept
behind this more intimate production of Fiddler and an introduction
to us twenty-five cast members.
After that was done we went to the rehearsal studio and sat down with the
full librato and ran the show, dialogue and music. The only exception is
that Kevin and Choreographer Chris Crowthers had us run the choreography
for "Tradition" and we did work parts of it. As for me and my
three left feet: it wasn't perfection but it certainly could have been
The run through was almost a sitzprobe,
with Instrumental Director Jay Brunner and Violinist
George Abud (The Fiddler)
joined Vocal Director Janet Yates Vogt
to give this sit-through read/sing --
(I'm sure there is a correct technical
term for this) -- better accompaniment color than just a piano
would. When that was done Kevin gave us some notes then Janet kept those
of us who sing in "The Rumor" to work that a bit.
As for that section in "To Life" that I thought was a blessing
sung by Rabbi, but is actually a toast sung by a Russian: well, kast night
I heard the actor who plays that Russian, Fyedka, (Adam Brown) sing the
part. Gotta say: yeah, I could have handled the vocal; I could not
have done so as Mr. Brown does.
In theory, I have tonight off from rehearsal -- in truth, I just work-shed
at home. Believe me, I got a lot to work shed!
MY OUT-OF-REHEARSAL WOOD-SHEDDING CONTINUES AND OTHER
First of all, since the Saturday before Tech Week for Time Stands
Still I have been technically in a forced
No TV Zone at home.
The production needed a new flat screen TV that works, so I loaned mine. I
have not had a TV at home I can use since September 28. However, this
"forced" No TV Zone
is only "technical" since I could watch stuff on
Hulu on my laptop -- and must admit, I
did, at least a few times. Now,
No TV Zone has been
cancelled, however; the "forced" part, anyway. Yesterday, I
bought the smaller, 24-inch, flat screen that I would have bought right
when I loaned the TV had it not been for the need to buy the new
computer for the tech booth at
The Guild. I'd been
thinking for months about getting a second, smaller TV for my bedroom,
and the need to loan the bigger one simply moved that plan up. I mention
this because, being a child of the TV era, watching TV is a bit too
second nature to me. So, I cut somewhat into what could have been
wood-shed time to testrun the new TV.
Still, I did work on the show last night at home. I have a bit of lyrics
and vocal parts to get down. I edited all the songs I am in so that certain
sections are their own sound files and I can play just one of those at a
time in a loop, sitting down with the sheet music and the libretto to get
solid on each, then move on.
Then there's my choreography for "Tradition," of all of the
sequence of steps, movements, and smoothness of execution need much, much,
much honing (!).
Like last night, I'm not called to rehearsal tonight, either, so more
wood-shedding. Let's see if I can stay in the
No TV Zone.
Tomorrow the production is dark so it'll be more of the same. I do
need to fit doing my laundry into these two evenings, but even doing
laundry is still a chance to wood-shed --
probably, while I'm in the laundry room I'll
work on lines and lyrics rather than vocal lines and dance steps.
Though I've seen the cast list in media, I still am not posting it until
The Race has done so. But, let me say, about Monday's rehearsal, something
that, for the overwhelming most part, I neglected to say:
I am in the midst of a very
talented cast who impressed the hell out of me Monday night even more so
than over the weekend.
It was just the first read/sing through of the play and I was at times
moved to tears by particular moments of acting and singing. Further, there
were overall a lot of wonderful voices in that rehearsal room. Once again
I am left with the personal statement:
Yeah, it's true that I can sing; but these people can
Today's entry has nothing to do with my so-called artistic life.
Nevertheless I felt compelled to write and post this.
A young man I am very fond of passed away this past week at the far too
young age of twenty. His name was Aaron. He was the youngest son of a
friend whom I love like a brother, and whose family I have a great
affinity for; I feel as if they are family. In their younger lives his
children referred to me as "Uncle," and I return that bond
My friend is Dave and his three lovely children are, in order of birth,
Bryan, Aaron and Audrey. The family lives in another city, several hours
away, so I have never been a day-to-day constant in the lives of the
children or their parents. In fact, most of the three decades I have known
Dave he and I have not lived in the same city, but, that does not dilute
his importance to me, and I hope, vise versa. I visited enough to be able
to say I, to at least some extent, have watched these kids grow-up; I
watched two loving parents do the best they could, and I think a pretty
damn good job, rearing their children, even after they ended their
marriage and went their separate ways.
The last few years I have not been as big a part of their lives, nor they
mine; yet, my affinity for all of them holds strong; my affection for Dave
is and always will be. The moments I have had with each individual member
of the family have become a part of my story on this earth; moments I
cherish. I could recount countless of these moments with all of them, and
many, many with the three kids.
When Aaron was a baby, about four months old, I was visiting during his
first Christmas and was in the living room alone with him and I finally
picked the little guy up for the first time. He furrowed his eyebrows for
a moment, then smiled, giggled and kicked his legs. I was in. Not but a
few moments later, his mother took the photo you see here. Often when I
have driven over to visit, Dave has been at work when I arrived and Aaron
would be there. We would hang out a little. Nothing amazing, no deep
conversations about life's journey or such. Sometimes it was just him
telling me things about his football life, he was an accomplished football
player, and I would, being "sports-challenged" only understand
some of what he told me. Often it would be, I'm hungry. You Hungry?
Let's go get something to eat. It was just stuff. Just hanging with an
I always thought, from the time this kid was very young, that he had a
great gift for reading people. It seemed to me he had a natural insight
into others. And he had good instincts about things. One time when I
visited, I agreed to drive him somewhere (I don't remember where or why),
we had listened to some music of mine and he said, "You should be
promoting yourself on-line." I think he was about thirteen at the
time, maybe younger.
He was a great kid. There was an amazingly remarkable man standing in the
horizon, waiting for Aaron to step into him. A man even so much more
remarkable than the remarkable young man he already was.
Let light and love bathe his spirit and the hearts of all those who say
goodbye to his earthly presence.
Ten years ago I had a, (I hate to use this term but it's the most
accurate one to use), paradigm shift in my life. It happened the
morning after an evening's drive home from the
at Wright State University. I had seen TV and stage actor Malcolm Gets in
a small musical performance at the WSU theatre, that performance which he
did to finish off his musical theatre residency stay on campus. It was the
night before I made what I described shortly afterward as "the
decision that ought to be a foolish one, but isn't."
Without regurgitating the entire thing, there are some passages from an
essay I posted at my website proper a few weeks
after the paradigm-shift event. They have to do with the CAC
(Creative Arts Center) on campus and the evening of the Malcolm Gets
performance. In those days I had some occasions to be required to be in
the CAC, but I avoided it as often as I could. As I wrote ten years ago:
And so we come to the Creative Arts Center, mentioned at the
beginning of this essay. That building vexes me. I've always
managed to avoid entering it except when absolutely necessary, but
occasionally I must. Whenever I do, I feel it. There's a feeling
that taunts me whenever I am inside that building. It is this
knowledge that I should be intimately familiar with the building;
it is that most people in that building, especially the actors and
acting instructors should know my face and my talent. But, I don't
have that familiarity and no one in that building knows me or my
abilities from Adam
Then, I had the occasion to meet Mr. Gets, with whom I had a brief
conversation written of in both the essay and in an
early posting of this very blog.
During the course of that short meeting he let me know that it was more
than fine for me to attend the send-off performance; it was a goodbye to
the acting majors but it wasn't just for them. And as I waited in line for
the theatre doors to open, on Saturday evening, Oct 18, 2003, I had a
transcendental, if painful, experience. As I wrote in the
Oct 18, 2003 entry:
Standing alone in line, waiting for the doors of the theater to
open for Malcolm's performance, was a painful experience for me. I
stood there surrounded by all those young ones: actors, singers,
dancers. I stood in the midst of that jubilant energy that I once
was a thread of fabric within. Suddenly the point seemed to be a
spear, jutted, thrust into my gut -- once, almost everyone who
knew me had expected I would become an actor, probably a
successful one. At nineteen, I had thought that this energy, which
was almost foreign to me as I stood in that line, was to be the
mainstay of my everyday. And that building -- the Creative Arts
Center -- where I stood in that line, it had taunted me and
challenged me every time I walked within its walls:
Why am I not haunted by your presence? Why is the trace memory
of your talent not germane to the legacy of my brick and
mortar? Why do the young people here not know your face and
your ability? Why does your name mean nothing to my faculty
Why are you orphaned from the craft?
Once again, it whispered these quiet harassments to me as I stood
with those young theater people. At some point, the spearhead
stabbing into me started to slowly and sadistically twist itself.
Just shortly before the doors opened, I almost walked off, went
home, I was in such quiet, solitary agony. All I could think as I
stood there and looked at all that youthful talent was, I am not
part of your element, and I am sad because of it. But, I didn't
The essay, which is posted in a slightly revised version as a Personal
Essay at the site:
"The Knowing In Me: the artist becomes himself,"
and the blog accounts of the show both describe my further uncomfortable
look in the mirror that evening, what someone later told me, and I think
with pinpoint accuracy, was a moment of divine dissatisfaction. The drive
home was no better. The essay says:
But on the way home, I was depressed. I happened to have the tape
of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in the car. I
cranked it and belted my vocals along with all the songs. This was
one of the records that taught me how to sing, so it was a rescue
maneuver to sing along as I drove. And I had a restless night. I
knew I had to do something. The next day I decided -- as if this
will be a surprise -- that I must act again. Really act, you know,
where it may become an income, perhaps a primary income.
My plan at the time was much different that what has developed. I wanted
to be auteur of a short movie that starred me. I wanted to use that as a
sizzler to get me noticed. That was the naïve plan. I was not
interested in stage acting except as little more than to scrape the rust
off. My interest in The Guild
was simply because it was a small, intimate thrust stage where I could
keep the performance toned down much closer to camera acting.
On Monday, January 19, 2004 I walked into the Dayton Theatre Guild to
audition for the role of Dr. McSherry in Martin McDonaugh's The Cripple
of Inishmaan. My goals were pretty lofty. As I wrote a few days back on
facebook, " my ideas and ideals about where I would be today were
different than what is today. I was sure I'd be a sought-after character
actor in Hollywood by now, working often in major supporting roles in big
feature films, with the occasional lead in a smaller, indy film here and
there. I was drenched in practical realism and humility, you see...."
Still, as lofty as my goals were back then, I had no expectations I would
be cast in Cripple. I was prepared to audition for a few plays,
maybe quit a few, before I was cast. That I was cast, and as the
more interesting, more challenging, and bigger role of Johnnypat, came as
a total surprise to me.
So here it is, ten years later. I am not a sought-after character actor in
Hollywood, working often in major supporting roles in big feature films,
with the occasional lead in a smaller, indy film. That goal has
categorically not been met. I have not produced -- to completion at
least a movie of thirty-minutes or longer, featuring my own acting,
or otherwise. I don't have any actors' union card and I cannot properly
label myself a wholly professional actor nor director.
Yet, as a friend commented on my recent
facebook post about this
anniversary, " A man's reach should exceed his grasp."
And I certainly can call myself semi-professional; I can even rightfully
say that I am a professional actor, despite that it's not my main income
and despite that not all my acting is professional. But I have now been
under contract with
The Human Race Theatre Company
three times. I am now associated with
Actors Equity Association (the
union for professional American stage actors) by virtue of being in the
Equity Membership Candidate (EMC) Program.
I have done pro gigs for industrial movies and have appeared in TV
commercials. I regularly work as a paid actor for the
University of Dayton School of Law.
I have done other paid stage work. So far, the crowning professional
achievement, in many ways, anyhow, was working for two days on the set of
The Ides of March;
granted I was not an actor on that set, but rather a stand in
(translation: "fleshy set piece"), but I was a paid participant
in the production of a big-time feature film. Since I was part of the
process of setting up shots, I was on Mr. Clooney's radar. Though if we
met today and he did happen to recognize me, I'd wager he'd have a
difficult time remembering from where. I was also in a supporting role in
a very fine independent short that has garnered quite a few festival
awards, that being
Beyond the professional work, I have had some good, some great, roles in
non-professional theatre, starting with Johnnypat in The Cripple of
Inishmaan at The Guild. Another really satisfying role was Clov in
Samuel Beckett's Endgame at
Springfield StageWorks, my
next significant role (Oct 2005). Teach in David Mamet's American
Buffalo, again at StageWorks, was another role I loved and feel very
good about my work. Recently my work as Carl in Opus, at The Guild,
pleased me. I also was quite happy with my Darrell in Carl William's
A Woman on the Cusp, which was an entry in the 2011 FutureFest new
play festival. What I personally feel is my best work so far, at least the
one about which I feel the most accomplishment was Ray in David Harrower's
Blackbird, also at The Guild, which I am sorry was only seen by
about one-hundred people. There are other roles, of course, but these are
the ones that top my list. Though these and the ones I have not mentioned,
including some gratis film work (such as the just-complete
Greg Nichols' film,
Medicine), has not been
professional work -- pro work, of course, being my ultimate goal --
it still has all been done for the love of the craft and it all certainly
has helped me grow as an actor, and that last point works toward my
professional aspirations. I've gotten the occasional critical acclaim,
which is worth whatever that's worth (honestly, I'm not sure it is
worth a whole lot), and I have had the far more important kudos from
my peers, whose opinions carry far more weight with me than the
I've designed sound for something like a dozen theatre productions now,
too (none professionally), mostly at The Guild, but a few FutureFest shows.
And I have become a regular producer at The Guild, most seasons producing
Speaking (writing) of The Guild. I am now in my tenth season as a member
of the Board of Directors at The Guild,
(with far TOO MANY of them, now, being
responsible for house management!!!). It is a great honor to be
closely connected to such a great organization and one of the best
theatres (professional or non-professional) in the region. Regardless of
its non-professional standing, the level of commitment is professional,
that I can assure you.
As a "film maker," "auteur," "movie maker,"
whatever the appropriate term is, I've made some strides, too, if
haltingly. I wrote and directed the short
The Chorus for Candice in 2006,
with one featured player being my current castmate,
Charity Farrell (our current
production, Fiddler, in fact, is our fourth project together).
Between November 2008 and June 2009 I shot principal photography for a
full-length feature improv movie that eventually has been titled
Vignettes In Bellcreek. There is NOT a final cut. There's hardly
been any post production. I did pull out one vignette as a self-contained
short; that being
Be Or Not, which
stars Natasha Randall and
It's been the
DTG promotional podcasts
where I have done the most work as a "movie maker." Due to
producing six to nine of these every season since the starts of the
2010/11 season, there has been some progress on my learning curve,
especially in terms of the technicals of editing. However, the compressed
time period to shoot and then edit these to final cut has often left me
frustrated because I have not had time to polish the way I could, the way
I probably should. The other element that is rather ironic is that the
podcasts are far more into the realm of mini-documentaries, so I am
getting far more woodshedding as a documentary director than as a
narrative movie director, the latter being what I am far more interested
in doing. Still good practice though. I'm not sure the podcasts make a
big impact on ticket sales, but I'm getting a personal benefit. Perhaps at
some point they will be more focal. I must admit, I am starting to burn
out on the concept of putting time aside so often to produce them.
I certainly am no big shot, locally or otherwise --
"otherwise" I am no shot, whatsoever. I also fall very
short of the level of excellence I would choose to be at. Anyone who has
spent any time reading this blog may be aware that I do not believe I move
well on stage. It may, perhaps, possibly, could be getting better, but I
don't think it's become immensely improved. That is by far my biggest
complaint about myself. Of course, I always would like all my skill sets
to be better. I would love to actually be a decent dancer. I am only
passable, and only with very easy, simple choreography. I like my singing
voice, but it could be much stronger and certainly could be more
disciplined -- I would love to have far more finesse in my control of my
vocals. And, Man! is there a lot for me to learn as a film maker:
Well, ya know, I may be much less than the accomplished performer and movie
maker that I would prefer to be, but the journey this last decade has been
a blast, so far, regardless. So there ya go!
THE FIDDLER KEEPS FIDDLIN':
Rehearsals are going well. I am still being impressed daily by my
castmates. Thursday night we did our
wandelprobe with the whole cast
present for the evening. It was the first time we all saw the choreography
for segments we are not a part of. I am more excited about the show, now.
The Chava Sequence, for instance, is already beautifully executed ballet
and it's still in its rough form. Once they have fully realized the
The Russians' dance at the end of "To Life" is so much fun to
watch, too. And that damned vocal by Adam Brown --
ya know?: the one I thought I got to
sing? By all rights I should be bitterly jealous, but I gotta
tell ya, as a singer and a performer, I simply am required by The Goddess
to appreciate such a strong vocal performance. As I wrote before, I could
have sang the part, but I would never have given it the justice
Tevye's daughters during "Matchmaker" are fun to watch, too.
Though I'm in the Wedding Scenes, thus have already seen The Bottle
Dancers rip up the stage floor, I gotta mention them here.
Have I recently mentioned all the fine, fine singing going on?
By the way, the cast list is now officially posted at the HRTC website,
so I know it's okay to give it to you here:
the rest in alphabetical order by actor's last name
Abby E. Cates
Joshua Silver Hughes
Linda June Snyder
Directed by Kevin Moore
Chris Crowthers (Choreographer), Jay Brunner (Instrumental Music
Director), Janet Yates Vogt (Vocal Music Director), Kay Carver
(Production Stage Manager) Dick Block (Scenic Designer), Tony Ray
Hicks (Original Costume Designer), John Rensel (Lighting Designer),
Nathan D. Dean (Sound Designer), Christie Peitzmeier (Costume
Coordinator), Scott Kimmins (Technical Director), Heather Powell
(Properties Master), Bethany Perhach (Assistant Stage Manager),
Lexi Muller (Production Assistant), Andrew Ian Adams (Wardrobe),
Patrick Allyn Hayes (Wardrobe)
Yesterday we had the first run of the whole show without stops, *save
for a couple major problem spots, and it went pretty damned well. It
was also the run for the designers -- John Rensel (Lighting Designer),
Nathan D. Dean (Sound Designer), Christie Peitzmeier (Costume Coordinator),
and Heather Powell (Properties Master) -- and assorted others.
As one person connected to the theatre company remarked about yesterday's
run: "Many moving moments are already in place." I think I might
be a part of one of those -- maybe. I will again rave about the
cast as a whole and that plethora of fone voices and dance moves.
For myself, there's been some passable improvement on a few things. My,
ah-hem, "dancing" during
"To Life," while not flawless, was much, much better: not really
awkward and I made only one choreographic mistake, at least that I'm aware
of. I have a couple comedic moments that seem to be improving to
the point of perhaps being funny; and as I have practically no comedic
sense or timing, this is something to celebrate. I was going through
some weird phase this weekend where the notes I sang during the Rabbi's
"Mazel tov, mazel tov"s during "The Dream" were off --
not our of key, but incorrect. What I was doing was flipping the phrase
intervals a bit. Yesterday I was back on track. I also, for some odd
reason keep replacing a word with a synonym in a scene. And it's an
important word to get right because another character has a response that
repeats the word. The Rabbi is supposed to say "forbidden"; I
keep saying "prohibited."
Well, night off tonight from rehearsal. Though I have
Guild business to deal
with for some of the evening, I do have time to work on my current
inequities with song, dance and lines.
Tonight will be the first shoot for the podcast. Fitting this in during
the Fiddler rehearsal and performance period proves a challenge.
By necessity, this may be a very simple production. Monday nights will be
the only times I can get in to shoot any footage of rehearsals. The plan
will be a for a group interview on a Saturday in early November, which is,
of course, after Fiddler has opened and I have most my Saturdays
The underscore music for this podcast will be interesting. I have no
clearance to use any music from the show, and I am not sure that I will
get such. I did get clearance for the
The Story of My Life
podcast, and then, to jump the recording copyright hurdle, I used versions
of the music we had recorded ourselves. Were I to get clearance this time,
I'd want to do the same thing; then the question becomes: when? The
likelihood, however, is that I have generic, royalty-free Christmas music
of comparable style as the underscore.
First of all, Tuesday night was the night I was to see Neko Case in
concert at Taft Theatre in Cincinnati. I had bought the tickets before I
had any inkling I was even under any sort of consideration for
Fiddler. I then listed it as my only "potential" conflict
but let it be known that I was not expecting to be excused from rehearsal
for it. I then later decided that Oct 22 was just too close to opening,
that I should really not be missing rehearsal save for some real emergency.
So, I gave my tickets away. After that, I saw on the schedule that I was
indeed excused for the evening. Well, I wasn't going to ask for the
tickets back. Plus, still, Oct 22 is the week before opening, and I still
was hesitant about missing rehearsal so close to the start of tech work.
So, Neko had to manage without me.
Wednesday we migrated rehearsal out of the studio space onto
The Loft mainstage
very cool set.
We started a run of the show with stops to fix placement and timing now
that we are in the real space. That spanned two nights. Last night we
added the mic packs. Today is the
Ten Out of Twelvetech rehearsal. In the words
of our staga manager, Kay Carver: "Bring snacks, it will be a long
We really only have two more rehearsals without audience. We are dark
Monday; Tuesday there will be invited guests for the rehearsal and
Wednesday is "Can Night."
As we know, the plan is to shoot podcast at every Monday night rehearsal
of Magi, since that is my window, with Monday being the dark night
for Fiddler both this coming rehearsal week on into the run. I also
am trying to set the shoot for a group interview on Saturday Nov 9. It
turns out there is a rehearsal planned for that day so it's more plausible
since cast won't have to make a special trip in. I want that day because I
have Monday, Nov 11 off from
the rent-payer for Veterans
Day, and I'll be able to edit the interview segment, which is a big chunk
of the podcast DV movie.
I later have a vacation day scheduled for Nov 19 and with Nov 11 under my
editor's belt, I have a good chance of getting to final cut on Tuesday --
after having done my final shoot during the Monday, Nov 18 tech/dress.
Some really good news is there seems a pretty good chance -- much
better than I'd anticipated -- that we will get clearance to use
material from the show, both dialogue and music, in the podcast.
Playwright Mark St. Germain has
given his permission and is checking with his partner, Composer
I hope that pans out, because the DV movie podcast to promote a musical is
so much better if its musical elements can be incorporated.
Officially, the show opens this Friday; of course, Thursday is
"Preview Night," which one may argue is the actual opening.
Technically, however, we start playing in front of audiences tonight.
There are guests tonight; I believe it is
Muse Machine students, parents and
staff, along with some HRTC benefactors; I may be wrong, but I am
pretty sure that is tonight's audience. Tomorrow night is, of course,
"Can Night," (The price of admission is a few cans of
non-perishable food items or a cash donation. The canned food goes to
The Food Bank and the cash
goes to the AIDS Resource Center of Ohio),
though that being the Final Dress*.
Are we ready? you ask. "We," in the big-picture, comprehensive,
cohesive sense of the word, are ready. In terms of individually, I
can say that I would like to be a little more accomplished on a couple
dance moves -- but, that is hardly surprising. What's surprising is that
there aren't more dance moves I need to shore up.
Ready or not, here THEY come. Hey, it's still rehearsal, so if we stop to
fix a train wreck, they'll have to accept it, tonight and tomorrow night.
*) FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL AKA "Final Dress": The last
full rehearsal, which includes all the technical aspects of
lights, sound, special effects and all set changes and costume
changes are done, I.E.: the show is run as if it was a performance
in front of an audience; there will be no stops unless something
goes amiss. Sometimes referred to as a Tech/Dress since the
costuming is involved along with all tech.
I am very pleased to report that Playwright and Lyricist
Mark St. Germain and Composer
have both given us clearance to use music and dialogue in the podcast.
I shot some more footage last night -- shoot day 2. Now the cast is warned
that I may use audio, even from what is essentially B-roll. I assured them
that I won't use any moments where a pitch is not well-found, etc. The
goal is to sell the show not embarrass anyone.
There is, in fact, a musical moment from last night that I am contemplating
using as a brief sneak-peek segment.
So, I was mostly wrong about the "audience" last night. I don't
believe the members were connected with
Muse Machine, at least not as a
group, though perhaps there were individuals there who are connected.
There were maybe a dozen folk, perhaps a little more. Based on a couple
people I recognized, both whom I know are big patrons of the arts, I'd say
I was correct about HRTC benefactors. One of them, I know for a
fact, has contributed with great generosity to both The Race and my
The Dayton Theatre Guild.
In terms of my, ah-hem, "dance moves,"
there was only one flub, and not a horrible one, so that's good. The
rehearsal was pretty damned good. I think the substantial fly in the
ointment, since there was an audience, was the malfunction of lead actor
Drew Pulver's body mic and the need to stop and change out the pack; that
wasn't really all that substantial of a fly in the ointment, either. I
know the production team felt it was a good run last night, even if there
were notes for us and things that we will work tonight before the Can
Yep, tonight is that audience, the Pay What You Can audience. As Director
told the out-of-towners last night, the Can Night audience is a different
one than perhaps they've encountered before. Usually boisterous and highly
enthusiastic, the Can Night audience tends to react in a bigger manner to
everything than other audiences will. I told a few last night, in a
separate conversation that the audience will have a heavy percentage of
local actors (both theatre majors and otherwise) as well as being then
filled out with great theatre lovers, many who will come back later to
see the show at full price. I, by the way, am clearly in the first
group, and always want to be in the second (as in returning for another
performance), though that hasn't happened yet.
Back to Kevin: one of his points was to warn the cast to nit feel a downer
if successive audiences don't give off a response to performance as
energized as what we will likely get tonight. The Can Night audience is
almost always an anomaly.
But I do think we are going to get some great responses during our run.
This is a good production.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, here's some promotional stuff, from
Pay no attention to the fella with three left
feet in the back row of some of the dance work:
Can Night -- The only way to say this is that last
night's Can Night kicked ass! The cast had its act together and the
audience responded quite well, as we have established a Can Night audience
will; but this particular Can Night audience was exceptionally responsive
and appreciative. The energy just simply fueled our mojo. It was a great
Can Night audience that made Final Dress really juice us for the run!
My "dancing" you ask?:
Tonight: Preview Night! -- Tonight is the first
full-price ticket audience, though the "Preview" ticket is a
little discounted, maybe about 20%. Many consider this to be the actual
Opening Night. I usually see it that way. To be honest, however, the full
house, the highly-energized full house we had last night made me see that
as Opening Night for this show. One of my castmates always
considers Can Night as Opening Night, despite that's it's still a rehearsal
where we could stop to fix something.
Tonight, though, is going to be at least a $75 night for a couple, if you
don't count dinner in a nice bistro or parking. And no re-do's. It's a
live performance where we don't break the fourth wall, we don't disturb
the universe to make adjustments or otherwise fix anything. Although, we
do have notes slated for after the show -- the last notes save for any
possible one-on-ones with Production Stage Manager Kay Carver with
whichever of us there may be occasions during the run.
Opening Night -- tomorrow is the official opening,
with the Opening Night reception after the show. So, I will do my
traditional "OPENING TODAY" post, tomorrow.
Yes indeed, the show's official opening was a damn good one! Mind you, I
can list a few flubs of my own, but they were minor. My hands turned the
wrong way during one portion of the "Tradition" dance, as an
example. Still, it was a good show for us all.
The Thursday preview, however, was Blunder Central for me. I had several
silly missteps during "Tradition," I came on stage without the
Rabbi's spectacles during "Sabbath Prayer," and I was not on top
of my timing in a few other spots. Though again, overall, it was another
good show and the audience did like it quite a bit.
Tonight, the show goes on. Tomorrow, it goes on twice. Meanwhile, here's
more promotional footage:
TODAY, BEFORE THE RABBI, IT'S THE
Today, before I head to The Race for Fiddler call, I drop by The
Guild for another shoot for the Magi podcast. Plus, since we have
permission to use music, I will audio record our musical director, Luke
Williams, playing some of the music to use as underscoring for the DV
The other day, when I began to update the various versions of my actor's
résumé to add Fiddler, I came to the conclusion I
need to revise the face and
format some. I think the way I have it set up right now I have less room
for credits that I could have. I need to revise in a manner that allows
one page to cover more of my work, without making the page too crowded or
busy. I believe I will start researching examples of other styles than
what I have, so I have some ideas for an attractive and highly functional
You may have noted I referred to "versions" I have four:
professional theatre, non-professional theatre, professional movie (or
screen) and non-professional movie. A slightly altered version of the
professional movie résumé acts as that for the talent agency
I am associated with, when I am associated with one. The change is in
the contact information, where the agency would be primary.
The on-line version
that is found here has all my credits, which makes it longer than one,
8.5 x 11 printed copy. But the one that gets handed to producers and other
auditors need to be only one page -- that means credits must be triaged;
I'd like to have a bit more on that one page than there is room for right
Last night was the second show of the official run. Some cast reported it
to be the proverbial sophomore run for them, the low energy, low
enthusiasm show of missed marks and small errors. Save for two problems,
mine was not that show. My sophomore show was the Thursday preview, as I
Last night I began to sing a wrong line during a section of
"Tradition," but made a quick correction. It also appears that
at some point in Act I my mic pack got turned
off. I don't think it was before the act started, because I am pretty sure
my mic was live when I did the Rabbi vignette in "Tradition."
But between then and my next appearance in "The Dream," it was
shut off. It must have somehow been shut off while I was doing a costume
Today is one of two days we do a matinee and an evening show, the other
being the closing day, on Saturday, Nov 30. Of course, I have much more
limited experience at days like this than many of the cast members who act
full time; some do tours with two shows every Saturday and Sunday of the
run. I have done only a few of these days, with most of them being Sundays
at The Guild where we
added an evening outreach performance for one organization or another.
By the way, as for today, if one of you five read this in time, you could
see the show tonight for ten bucks:
A SERIES OF GIFTS:
To start this story, O. Henry's work is in
meaning that no one owns copyrights for the work, thus no permission or
clearance is needed to adapt any of the work in any form. This is an
important fact for this entry.
Now, before I had any notion I would be cast in Fiddler, I was very
much interested in being Soapy in our Magi production. Months back
I bought the digital album O. Henry's the Gift of the Magi from
iTunes. Before I was able to
really start delving into the music to get to know the show, actually just
about the time I would have, I was offered The Rabbi in Fiddler,
so Soapy was, for now anyway, out of the picture. A key point here is that
I did not open the libretto to start reading, else the end bit of this
story would not have happened.
Of course, we know I still have the involvement with the show of producing
and directing the podcast. We also know that both Playwright
Mark St. Germain and Composer
have granted clearance to use portions of the book and the music in the
podcast. To that end, I arranged with Musical Director Luke Williams to
record some keyboard work of some of the music to use as underscore for
the podcast. I told him I would listen to the CD I burned from my iTunes
download to pick some musical movements that work well for that purpose.
We had arranged to record the keyboard work yesterday. We did; but we
recorded nothing I had picked from the album I had.
At the start of the session, as I started telling Luke what music I thought
would work, he looked a bit puzzled and said he wasn't sure which songs I
was referring to. I opened up iTunes to the song list for the album.
"Yeah," he said, "that's a completely different song list.
None of those songs are in the show."
I had bought
O. Henry's the Gift of the Magi: lyrics and music composed by Peter Ekstrom
The Gifts of the Magi -- Cast Recording
featuring the music and lyrics of Courts and St. Germain from the
production we are doing. Remember, O. Henry's works are in public domain,
so as long as each adaption is unique, outside of the contraints of the
source material, they are all legal and permissible with no clearance
needed. So, Mr. Ekstrom had the same idea that Mr. St. Germain and Mr.
Courts had and two completely different musicals were created from the
same story (actually, St. Germain/Courts has melded two O. Henry's
Regardless, we were able to pick some nice musical moments from the show
we are doing to underscore the podcast, so it all worked out.
I also later shot a little bit more of some musical rehearsal and some
choreography work. I am back Monday evening to shoot a little more. Next
Saturday, we shoot the group interview.
First of all, we had a good opening weekend. There were, of course, those
Theatre Moments," the little kinks in one actor's or another's
performance; there is some chance that at one point or another I may have
just possibly been one of those such actors -- some chance. But,
by gosh I was not alone.
We move into the second week tonight after our day off. By the way, there
were $25 seats available for tonight's show, as of yesterday. Some may
still be available. Call the box office at 937-228-3630.
AS PER ONE OF THEM OTHER HATS:
Shot a little more footage last night at rehearsal. Did a two-camera
shoot with one always focused on the show's amazing musical director, Luke
Williams. Got some good footage of some actors who I had less such of them
singing. My source footage is thus becoming better balanced.
A couple things -- 1) the show is sounding very good. 2) I may not have
mentioned this before, but I went to middle school and high school with
Luke's mother; in those days she was dating one of my best friends from my
youth. As I told her about her son, in a fb message about a week ago:
Okay. A few things about Luke; none that will be news to you. A)
He's a really nice young man; B) he's terribly talented; C) he is
an exceptionally good musical director. I know you are quite proud
of him and that is most understandable.
Before the podcast shoot yesterday I picked up a third
Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorder.
I now have three HD DV movie cameras. Of course, they are a consumer level
product model, but still,
1080p. I'm a long road
away from a RED or such, but, forward is
forward. Now, if I can grow a "bit" as a movie maker -- he
said, optimistically, as if "a bit" is enough growth to make it
to even the level of "good."
My plan has been to make the third camera a
Blackmagic Cinema Camera,
and that is still on the shopping list since I can pick one up for two
grand. However, I need a third camera quick for the Magi group
interview this coming Saturday and, though the Blackmagic price is a
valuable deal, I don't have access to $2000 right now. So I got the third
Still, I can now successfully do three camera multi-cam shoots at
a whim, as I need to do Saturday. Additionally, we know from Time
Stands Still that the 1080p footage from this consumer cam looks damned
The first half of our second week has gone great. Good performances all
around and the audiences have been responsive. Good vibes to and fro.
Today I am off sick from
the rent-payer for the
second Friday in a row. Last week it was a little bit of a sore throat but
more some lower back pain. It was a day spent mostly in bed and I was
alright for the show that evening. Today it's much more of a sore throat
and some rawness in my nasal cavity which feels like a sinus infection. So,
today has been about a few more hours in bed, no use of my voice, salt
water and lemon juice gargles, congestion meds, cough drops, throat-coat
tea, and hot (temperature) and hot (spicy) foods. I've been up for a few
hours employing these remedies and I feel much better.
Here's more promotion:
As always, I will warn that there may be a whole lot of giggin' by my
friends and colleagues that I have missed or am completely ignorant about.
If one or more of these many talented people has a forthcoming or current
gig that has not been mentioned here, it is not because I am slighting
them, I promise you -- rather, it's because I am ignorant.
The second half of Week 2 went as well as the first part. I am still
battling with that sore throat, and my vocals were pretty weak all weekend.
There are a couple places where I usually belt it out -- or, whatever
my equivalent of "belting it out" is -- in which I had to
take it pretty easy. Fortunately I am in ensemble in all those situations
so I didn't compromise the musical moments.
The audiences are consistently responding to the show, and this great
cast, with praise and congratulations. There seems to be a good buzz
swarming around town. So, if you're close by:
Shot the group interview Saturday afternoon as well as a bit of rehearsal
footage. In just a few minutes I will start editing the interview portion
of the DV movie -- which is the bulk of the podcast. I hope to at least
get that out of the way today.
I had plans to shoot rehearsal footage tonight, but I have elected to stay
home and take it easy in light of still being under the weather. It will
not be a bad idea if I don't use my voice at all nor don't go out into
the weather. Granted at the moment it's 46° outside my home, which
isn't sub-zero by any means. It ain't 70°, either. I am staying in.
The Hebrew above is incorrect, I am sure. It's a play on a blessing Rabbi
gives in the show. It addresses this @#$%&!! cold I am battling. My voice
is in better shape than it has been, but only minimally so. Had I not had
a new employee for whom to oversee the start of training I would have not
come to work again today. I would have taken drowse-inducing cold
medicine and stayed in bed most of the day, and not used my voice until I
arrived for my call for the show tonight. Alas, that was not to be.
Well, ready or not, Week 3 starts tonight!
A blessing on my throat
Mazel tov, mazel tov
To not sound like a goat
Mazel tov, mazel tov!
As planned, while I stayed in and did not use my voice, yesterday, I did
begin to edit together the podcast HDDV movie. Right now all that is there
is the intro splash and the foundation, I.E.: the group interview. There
are only a couple cutaways, which are different angles (cameras) of the
moments in the interview. There will be more of those added in, as well as
inserts of principal performances -- not shot yet -- and the overlay of
B-Roll from early rehearsals. Though I may get to some of that editing
beforehand, the bulk of the rest of edit, to final cut, will happen a
week from today, on a scheduled day off from
the rent-payer. That after
the Monday evening Tech/Dress rehearsal where I will shoot the principal
Last week I downloaded and installed the latest operating system from
Apple, OSX Mavericks,
but I had to revert back to
Lion because my
Corel Painter 12 is not compatible with the new OS and I need graphics
editing capabilities. I note there is a new version of Painter,
Corel Painter X3,
but looking at the site I cannot readily discern if it is compatible with
Mavericks. I will upgrade back to Mavericks when Corel has a version of
Painter that works there, and I can afford the software upgrade. The
Painter X3 upgrade will cost me $179, and ordinarily I would get that as
soon as my wallet allows. But I will wait until I can upgrade both OSX
Mavericks and a version of Corel that works on that platform.
We're halfway through week 3 and it's been good. However, last night was
that show; the theatre people reading this will know what I mean.
Back in 2007, Allison Janney
guest starred in an episode of
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip,
"The Disaster Show."
It's about a particular episode of the fictional sketch comedy show where
things go wrong from the git-go: the prop union walks out on strike a few
hours before the show goes up (and the cue card techs are part of that
union); there are a throng of technical mishaps and miscues.
Now, our show last night was not anywhere close to that level, but from
our own git-go we had our own mishaps, and the hits just kept on comin'.
Instrument pick-up and mic pack outages peppered the night; line and
lyric flubs sprinkled themselves around, missed music cues popped up
here and there; a dancer had a shoe sole start coming off in the midst of
a pretty intense and intricate dance routine.
The audience didn't seemed to notice much of this, or perhaps didn't mind,
because the response was still positive. So, there ya go!
First of all on the agenda, my voice is not back to 100%, but it is doing
better than it was. Sunday I was able to sing full-out rather than fall
back onto using falsetto, especially in one place where that has been
necessary for over a week. So that's good. I still have a supply of Throat
Coat tea that will continue to utilize, just to be safe, and I still
dropped a dosage of daytime cold medicine this morning. And I gave some
lemon juice and salt on hand, just in case.
Meanwhile the shows have consistently gone well and the audiences are still
responding positively. There, of course, have been more of those
Theatre Moments." For me the worst one was on Friday evening:
I jumped a cue walked out on stage early. It would have not been so bad
had I not immediately exited to re-enter on my correct cue. It was the
wedding scene where the Rabbi was entering to officiate the ceremony. I am
suppose to enter on a certain change on the music, and I entered a few
Hindsight is 20-20: I, and
(Mendel, the Rabbi's son), have to hold back a few moments before we step
up to the bride and groom, any way. We hold back to allow Golde to walk
the bride, Tzeitel, around her groom, Motel, three times --
and Drew Helton, respectively).
Had I my wits about me, I would have just stood in place where I entered
early, as it was just onto the stage and I had only a few measures to
stand there, then moved down on my actual entrance cue. Nothing would have
seemed amiss to the audience. My walking on then swiftly backing back off
certainly looked like the miscue that it was.
Week 4 starts tonight.
Officially I am the "sound designer" for this production, though
that does not mean a lot. I have created pre-show and intermission songs
lists, consisting of Christmas music, intermission being wholly traditional
Christmas songs, since the period of the show is more than a hundred years
ago. I also have set up monitors on stage so the actors can better hear
Luke William's piano when facing way from it at distances.
Between the DTG November board meeting in the morning and my evening call
Fiddler, on Saturday, I added to, re-arranged, then loaded the
Christmas music into Show Cue Systems
on the pc in the tech booth. I also set the monitors and laid the sound
cable, though the cable was only taped down on the playing space. Said
playing space floor was not yet painted, yet but as that is a show-specific,
(i.e.: temporary), paint job, I taped the sound cable down there with
masking tape, so it would be pained over, thus pretty much inconspicuous.
The cable that runs off the playing space is taped down with black duct
tape, but that had to wait until the black floor on the parameters of the
playing space was repainted -- and that we hope will last through the rest
of the season; thus, when this show is wrapped, we don't want to pull up
new paint that would be over the sound cord tape, on the black parameter.
Shot the principal performance footage last night. In a few minutes I will
begin what I hope is the final stretch of editing the podcast DV movie to
final cut. I am running on less sleep than I would like. I was up until
almost 4:00 this morning, importing and transcoding the three-plus hours
of principal performance footage from the dress rehearsal last night --
(the whole show from three different angles: down right POV, down left
POV, and mobile POV that was mostly down center roving with
occasional forays up the stage right or left of the thrust) -- and I
actually went to bed while the footage from the third camera was still
processing. So I climbed out of bed at 9:00 this morning, took at steaming
hot, pulsating shower, down a serving of 5 Hour Energy, and made myself a
mug of Coat Throat (preventive medicine for my much-improved by still not
100%-recovered voice). It's 9:45 as I write this particular sentence. I
have until about 5:00 this evening to edit the podcast to final cut. It
will be tight.
WHAT? YOU MEAN THERE'S CHOREOGRAPHY IN THIS SHOW?:
Last night, as you may know, opened the fourth week of the run, and it was
by and large a good show. I had a couple blank-outs as per choreography,
however, during the opening number, "Tradition." I simple forgot
some movements. One of them I'm guessing was pretty obvious. The other may
not have been because my blank was only a moment and I then executed the
move. Another cast member reported similar problems.
The show was a corporate-sponsored performance where the corporation
bought the house. Stage management warned us it could be an unpredictable
night where we might have a full house or only a few dozen audience
members; they might also be, um, less versed in theatre etiquette
to the possible point of being down right rude. Apparently that has been
the case in some past corporate-sponsored nights. It's nice to report that
the house was probably about 75-85% full and the audience was both
respectful and otherwise a good, responsive crowd.
OR IS THAT
When I wrote in yesterday's post, "I have until about 5:00 this
evening to edit the podcast to final cut. It will be tight," was
there much doubt to any of you five that the odds were in favor of not
making final cut by 5:00 pm, yesterday? Because, surprise, surprise, final
cut status has not been reached.
And so I will continue on
that path tonight when I get home from Fiddler. Regardless of how
tired I am when I get home from a show, I cannot get to sleep until after
I have wound down a bit. Usually I watch some
Hulu, or a DVD. Not tonight. Probably
not tomorrow night, either. You five may remember that since I moved to
high def DV movies I have to edit onto a 4 gig external hard drive. Though
it's not horribly bulky, it is not really what could be called
"portable-friendly," so it's not as convenient to edit the
podcast at work: i.e.: lunch time. I have brought the external hard drive
along with me to places, especially The Guild, but taking and using it at
work is not quite a practicable action.
And so no TV tonight nor
likely tomorrow night. And yes, the TV was off last night after the show,
too, as I did about ninety minutes of editing before bed.
Though I am more-or-less still not connected for any professional screen
work auditions, I am still in the audition game. Monday evening, the
Fiddler dark night, I'll audition for the role of John Cleary in
The Subject Was Roses,
by Frank D. Gilroy
at home base. Guess I ought to finish reading it this weekend, hey?
Wednesday somewhere around the halfway mark of Act II
a migraine began to come on. It wasn't too bad at that point and I made it
to the end of the show without real discomfort. Then I went home and fixed
my eyes on a computer screen for a while, but that's for the next section
of today's entry.
The good news is both Wednesday and Thursday night I got the choreography
as well as a man with three left feet can. Both nights were good shows all
around in all aspects. I must say we've had many nights when the audience
stands as the ensemble comes out for curtain call; so far this week it's
been the case across the board.
Based on the level of work I saw at the Monday dress, which was the last
one I could see, I am sure the cast and crew are ready for tonight's
opening. I wish them broken legs across the ensemble.
As for the final cut of the podcast, first of all, let me say how much
migraine headaches suck! That one which came on Wednesday evening during
Fiddler only enhanced to the point that it greatly cut down the
editing time I gave to the DV movie when I got home that night. I worked
maybe thirty minutes then had to go to bed and lie in the dark not
looking at a computer screen. Then I missed Thursday at work. One might
think it was a great opportunity to get many more hours into the editing;
one would be wrong. I took one of the remaining prescription tylenols I
have, from dental surgery earlier in the year, and slept until the
afternoon. I did work on it for a few hours, but I took frequent breaks to
get my eyes off the screen for a spell. Last might after my show I put
about another hour in. There's a hosted cast party for Fiddler
tonight, and I have a breakfast appointment tomorrow morning, so it may be
late morning before I get back to editing. I very well may get to final
cut at that point, but I'm seeing Sunday as the likely point that the DV
movie makes it to the
DTG youtube channel.
The podcast will, then, of course, be embedded on this page.
Item 1: the performances this past weekend were all of a fine quality.
There were, of course, those inevitable live-theatre "oops!"
moments, but they were but minor glitches. The cast and crew has a pretty
tight consensus that the weekend was strong. A few, including myself,
think we are hitting a better stride, now. The show is realizing its
potential better than ever.
Item 2: tonight marks the start of the final week of the run. For the
record, in my newby to pro stage work status, this is the longest run I
have done of a show: 28 performances over a four and a half week span --
30 performances if you count the Pay What You Can final dress and the
second to last rehearsal, the night before, which was also for an audience,
albeit a small one. And this does not include the December 1
"Fiddler Sing-Along," which is not the show in its
entirety, but is indeed a performance.
At any rate, I am now feeling the small twinges of the beginning of my
sadness about the end of the run. It's been a great production to which to
have my name attached. With one particular exception, I haven't really
made any other new fast friends at any discernible depth, yet I like
everyone in the ensemble, and at least don't get the sense that anyone
dislikes me. I actually have developed a fondness for a few of those who
are new to me, even if that has not measured out into any sort of bonding
save for that one exception. Beyond this: I certainly admire
everyone's talents and skills!
Once again, I am exceedingly grateful to
for including me in another rich theatrical experience for an actor.
Tonight will conclude the auditions for our next Guild offering,
Frank D. Gilroy's
The Subject Was Roses.
I auditioned last night, as planned. I actually feel very good about my
audition; however, I am pessimistic about being cast, at least based on
the turnout last night. In my estimation, there were only two viable
candidates for the son, and it would be asking for a pretty big stretch of
the audience's suspension of disbelief to buy either of them and myself as
father and son. We just do not at all look like we could be from the same
gene pool. On the other hand, at least one other actor auditioning for the
father, and a very good actor, does look like he could be the father of
either contender for the son. Tonight, new auditioning actors, if there
are any, could change the game, but as of last night, I see a cast that I
would not fit into terribly well, despite that I am quite confident there
was no one there who gave a better read for John than did I.
This podcast has followed the trend this season, thus far, of not making
final cut before the show opens. In fact I did reach final cut
Sunday evening, yet, there was a technical problem that I hope to have
fixed this evening. Apparently I pushed the volume levels too much in the
edit master. Playback of the master belied no problem, but the rendered
Quicktime movie had volume distortion, the type that comes from recording
a signal too strongly (too loudly) and doing what is called "pegging
the meter." Pegging the meter simply means the volume meter goes into
the red danger zone (too hot or too strong or too loud). It's what happens,
for instance, when a singers put the microphone too close to their mouths
and their voices are distorted with a fuzzy, overdrive-like sound.
The rendered movie had that sort of audio peg distortion peppering it. I
decided to go ahead and create the compressed version to see if that would
somehow clean the audio up. I was doubtful that would happen and my
doubts were correct. Still, I uploaded the podcast to the
DTG youtube channel,
but I made it a private video, so that before it was public and available
to the masses, I could see if youtube might clean it up as they processed
the movie for on-line consumption. That fix, also, did not happen.
Last night I began the process of going through the edit master -- the
Final Cut Pro X project
file -- and dropping volume levels while rebalancing between foreground
and background audio. I hope to finish tonight and get the fixed version
posted on youtube tomorrow. The podcast is already past deadline, I'll be
damned if it will be both late and have such compromised audio added into
the mix. I already put out one with defective audio,
DTG podcast 1314-01 45 Seconds from Broadway ;
I'm not doing it again.
Things have still swam along with the Tuesday and Wednesday show.
I did have odd moment when the moment after I had done a, ahem, "dance
move," I could not remember if I had turned the correct direction.
The Cast of The Subject Was Roses
better late than never
The podcast rendering made it to final cut at about 2:30 yesterday
morning; then I had to take the
external hard drive,
which I edit 1080p high def movies on, to
the rent-payer so I could
compress the 35-gig master Quicktime movie down to a reasonable
three-plus-gig version for the upload to the
DTG youtube channel.
The render of the master Quicktime movie happened while I was asleep, and
though I had set a timer to wake me in the middle of the night to start the
compression, I neglected to actually start that timer, so when it was time
to come to work, I had not compressed the podcast yet. That thus happened
in the office, as did the upload to youtube. It was posted to the channel
about 12:45 pm yesterday and was on the front page at the
DTG website by about 2:00.
I still have complaints about the audio but it's passable as it is. I need
to get familiar with the
Final Cut Pro X audio
filters. I am sure a lot of the sound quality issues I have could be fixed
with one or more filter.
Well, here it is, if slightly less than perfect:
I was quite pleased to make my third appearance on The
Human Race Theatre Company's Loft Stage in Fiddler on
the Roof, where I appeared as Rabbi.
The Cast of The Fiddler on the Roof
the rest in alphabetical order by actor's last name
Abby E. Cates
Joshua Silver Hughes
Linda June Snyder
Directed by Kevin Moore
Chris Crowthers (Choreographer), Jay Brunner
(Instrumental Music Director), Janet Yates Vogt
(Vocal Music Director), Kay Carver (Production
Stage Manager) Dick Block (Scenic Designer), Tony
Ray Hicks (Original Costume Designer), John Rensel
(Lighting Designer), Nathan D. Dean (Sound
Designer), Christie Peitzmeier (Costume Coordinator),
Scott Kimmins (Technical Director), Heather Powell
(Properties Master), Bethany Perhach (Assistant
Stage Manager), Lexi Muller (Production Assistant),
Andrew Ian Adams (Wardrobe), Patrick Allyn Hayes
First, the Sunday, Dec 1, Fiddler-Sing-Along
-- I must confess I was more than slightly skeptical that the sing-along
performance would succeed. I was wrong. It was actually fun for the cast
and the audience. It was a new adventure for The Race as well as we in the
cast and crew, so what would unfold was up in the air for all.
But the audience enthusiasm sent off a great energy and vibe that we could
feed on. There was a concern that the audience singing along might cause
some tempo drag, but I really didn't notice any, so, though it was prudent
to have the concern, it seems unfounded in retrospect.
On a strictly personal level, it was a nice way to ease out of my
departure from a production that I found rewarding both professionally and
personally. Psychologically, it softened the blow by allowing us to do
portions of the show after we had performed our official closing show. It
sounds weird, possibly, I know, but still, it softened the blow.
The Last Two Months of My Life -- I do miss the
show and the ensemble already. I parrot the sentiments of Mr. Saul Caplan,
by saying that it's difficult to relay adequately how special the
experience of the past two months were, both professionally and personally.
It was pretty magic to work on such a fine production with such a capable
and amiable cast and crew -- and believe me, the "amiable" is
far more important than some may realize, especially when it's as much as
a two month span of rehearsal and production.
As I wrote earlier, I didn't make a lot of new fast friends in any deep
sense, but I came to like each of the whole ensemble, if I hadn't known
and liked them already, and I became quite fond of some of those new to
me. Again, that counts, not having any uncomfortable, awkward personality
Below is the gift card I made to give out to each of those in the cast
and crew, and the sentiment, "I feel provileged to have 'Danced and
Played Together' with you," is an absolute truth. I'm not going to
go through the litany of impressive performances, but there certainly
were a lot of such impressive performances going on every night. Many
were down right excellent! A lot of great skill and several so very
Such good fortune fell on me to be included in this cast and this
This morning, the rent-payer
was delayed until 10:00, so I am missing my first three hours in the
office today. The day is young, however, as I key these words at 9:03 am,
(DST), Winter Storm Cleon hasn't but only begun to arrive is the Miami
Valley, wehre I live. There's a chance I will be leaving said
"rent-payer" before my scheduled 3:30, though I'm not
thinking it's a big chance. I think this morning's delay was about
icy roads and the campus need to get all the surfaces roads, parking
lots, and foot-travel areas cleared of ice. As I write this sentence, I
haven't been out on the roads yet -- though I did go to my car to get my
coffee mug -- but where I live, it's minimal snow accumulation but ice.
Tonight, however!....... This being the first performance I am available
for, I scheduled myself to host
The Gifts of the Magi
at The Guild tonight.
There's more of a chance that we may need to cancel tonight's show than
my leaving work early due to closure.
Now it's a bit later in the day and I'm at lunch. The drive to work was
mostly just a little slick. The exception was when I hit a patch of black
ice on a rural stretch and almost slid into a ditch. If there is going to
be "4 to 8 inches" then we must have a heavy snowfall still
coming, because the flurries out there now would take more than all
weekend to give us that.
Still, at the moment I write this (12:32 pm)
weather.com says "2 to 4 inches
of snow expected" through the today and "Snow accumulating 1 to 3
inches" tonight for my area.
Let's hope we can keep, the show
must go on, alive tonight at The Guild.
The studio was some sort of underground, cavernous dugout, with the heavy
taste of the medieval-like Middle Earth of Tolkien's work, complete with
wooden bridges, laid and fastened with rope, that span deep crevices, and
torches coming out of the crudely cut stone walls. Yet there was equipment
associated with television and film making all around, including monitors
in the walls that I knew in my dream were to watch tapings and broadcasts
of the show associated with this studio.
My Fiddler castmates
were the talent for this show, whatever it was. I was in some common
area, a big stone room with tiers made of wood around the edges, and that
had large rounded open causeways that led to them. I shouted for everyone
to gather around. After they did I announced that
who looked just like Danny Tripp
from STudio 60
(Bradley Whitford), had to go
to Europe to work on a new project and I was now the executive producer
of the show. I gave some kind of pep talk then strolled through the
caverns and levels, listening to the cast and crew (all from
Fiddler) as they chatted with each other. They didn't see me and
I have no idea what they were saying.
I have been noticing that some of the YouTube video embeds on the blog
have not been loading recently. I don't know if the problem is in my
code (perhaps too many embeds on the web page) or if it's some problem
from YouTube or elsewhere.
If you happen to see a big square hole where it's obvious a video ought
to be, let me know:
DAY -- Yeah, I did not make
the show Friday evening. I was on my way, but the roads in my little rural
area of the Miami Valley where on the brink of being worrisome. It was a
little before 6 pm. The snow accumulation on the major thoroughfares was
actually not all that bad and the snow fall was light and was supposed to
end between 9:00 and 10:00. The accumulation around my home was a little
thicker, not on the roads right by me, but all the rural roads right
outside my little burg were not quite as cleared off.
The real problem was more the indication that the roads were getting more
icy. That was bothering me the most. I was on my way into Dayton and the
show. The highway was starting to give signs that the falling temperature
was making things slicker; and that was on a major highway. Oh, there was
also a traffic slowdown then a short stop due, I found out later, to an
accident down the highway.
There was still snow falling. The iciness was gradually flourishing. I
was doing some math. It was only a little after 6:00. The curtain was at
8:00. I would be there until at least 9:30. That's three and a half more
hours of snow fall, even if not heavy snow fall. That's three and a half
more hours of temperature drop and maturing icy conditions. The major
roads might not have been a problem, but the rural roads close to my home
would likely be. I pulled off the highway and headed back the way I had
By the way: close to home I almost slide off the road into a ditch, just
as I had on the way to work that morning.
I found out later that the theatre had a small audience for the Friday
night show, twenty-seven, I believe was the count. Some portion were new
to the theatre and they were impressed, according accounts, with the show
and the theatre, were glad there was something close by to do, and said
they would be back.
Saturday's Show -- I may not have been "host"
on Friday, as scheduled, but I was "audience member" on Saturday,
my first time to watch the show without having some other concern on my
mind -- though I admit I did attend to down right and down left vom
entrances by the actors, so I would have my camera 2 pointing at the
correct ones for cut-away shots for the archive DV movie of the show,
which I would shoot the next day.
Putting away, as best I can, the bias of The Guild being my home theatre,
where I am on the board of directors and heavily involved, and putting
away, as best I can, my bias because I had some involvement with the
production, I can say I watched some damned good live theatre on Saturday
afternoon. Of course, I had already frequently watched during the
rehearsal period and already knew it was a top-notch show, but it was nice
to sit down in the audience and take it in as entertainment. I was
impressed anew by the cast and by Musical Director Luke Williams'
effortless accompaniment on the electric piano.
A great score done justice by the musicality of the performers and a lot
of very on-target characterizations.
The Production -- Not to be too terribly redundant,
but: what a fine production all across the board! Kudos to all who put
this show together and carried it out:
Director Kathy Mola, Musical Director Luke Williams, Choreographer
Courtney Wheeler, Bobby Mitchum as Willy, Shawn Hooks as Jim, Meagan
Kuchan as Della, Jared Mola as The City: Him, Kelli Locker as The
City: Her, Dave Nickle as Soapy, Stage Manager Patty Smith, Run
Crew Kelly Engle, Producers Barbara Jorgensen & Carol Finley,
Set Designer Blake Senseman, Lighting Designer Nick Vanderpool,
Lighting Technician Melanie Davis, Costume Designer Linda Sellers,
and Properties Designer Deirdre Bray Root.
If there aren't multiple Daytony Awards for this production, well that
will be more in the mounting crimes the Daytonys have to answer for.
One or more nights this week will be the first shoot or shoots for the
podcast. I doubt I shoot a lot, any night. Between trying to keep my
sanity while editing -- i.e.: not having a tonnage of footage to drive
myself crazy choosing from, and the newer problem of having memory storage
space for the larger high def DV movie files, I now am more conservative
about raw footage than I use to be, yet still trying to remember:
too much footage is better than too little
Meanwhile I have a plea into Mr. Gilroy's representation, William Morris
Endeavor Entertainment, to see if I can even get to the appropriate person
to request clearance to use dialogue from the script in the DV movie.
Whether or not I get results even on this first volley is a toss-up. My
first inclination is that there will not be copyright clearance granted,
but I have believed that before and been surprised by very generous
responses from some pretty heavy-hitting playwrights or their
I have not actually begun to do sound design for this, as per gathering
material together, but I have my concept, which I have shared with
Director Marcia Nowick, and with which she is on board. She also has asked
me to get some fox trot and polka music together so a choreographer can
work with cast members tomorrow night on some dancing in the first act.
May not be the music we end up using in the production, but it will be, at
least, work for the early rehearsal period.
Last night I shot the first footage for the podcast. Very clearly it will
be b-roll, as it was a very
early blocking rehearsal, and also the HVAC was cranking pretty loudly,
making the use of audio from the footage pretty untenable.
I also shot it with my
set at FXP video quality, rather than the highest setting of 60P. FXP is
still full 1980P high def, but trims the Mbps (megabytes per second) in the
file size by more than 30% (24 Mbps as opposed to 35 Mbps). This will help
keep my storage problem at bay. The two podcasts I have done in HD both
have a total memory storage accumulation of a terabyte. I really want to
archive all the source footage rather than triage any to the delete column.
With my want to have a back up for the archive storage, that amounts to 12
TBs per theatre season, just for podcast archives. That includes no other
DV movie projects, and it does not account for the work space for whatever
current project I have going, podcast or otherwise. And just one 8 TB
external hard drive is going to run between $750-$800. I already will be
shelling out some serious cash for storage; any way to retard the need for
each new external hard drive is a good thing.
I really hope I can live with the resulting video quality I get from
shooting in FXP. I dumped it last night when I got home and my cursory
look at it in FCPX did
not send any red flags up. I didn't take a close gander, however.
Meanwhile, I have yet to hear back about copyright clearance to use any
dialogue from the text of the play in the podcast. Until I hear,
"No," I shoot as if we can. If in the end, it's "No,"
or if we never hear, also "No," video with good audio
can always be made silent and used as B-roll in the final cut.
Director Marcia Nowik requested both a fox trot and a polka so a dance
instructor could work with cast members this week on some dance moments in
the script. Both recordings may become those which are used for the segments
in the production, or the may be replaced.
Design work is planned for this weekend. I will work on this dance music
so it will come from the radio: add channel-change SFX and radio announcer
voice (even if temporary), then get that all into the
Show Cue Systems design
project for this show, so the cast can rehearse with a smoother sound cue
transition starting next week.
The set also needs its period telephone and radio both made
practical, those which I work
on this weekend. I will need Dr. Bob Mills' electrical engineering expertise
to send the charge to the phone ringer. It doesn't take a Ph.D in electrical
engineering to do that, but it takes more electrical engineering smarts than
the guy writing this blog has; and Bob has a Ph.D in electrical engineering,
so it just works out that way. The radio will be much simpler. I can run a
sound cord from the booth to the radio, attach it to the speaker inside,
then we should be good to go. I already have located enough length to make
At work on Monday it dawned on me that my
Canon HDDV movie cameras
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)
outputs, and that the 24-inch flatscreen HD TV I bought in early October
has HDMI inputs, which is pretty standard these days. Since the 24-inch is
an extra TV, it seems to me that in certain circumstances, it would serve
as a great monitor for me when on a set of mine. Some situation where I am
directing and not operating the camera, such as some as of yet unknown
narrative movie project.
I will need to get an HDMI coupler since the input into the camera is
smaller than the HDMI standard, and the cable that comes with the camera,
with the smaller male on one end and a standard male on the other, is not
terribly long. For more length between the camera and the monitor I would
want to have an extension HDMI cable that the coupler will attache to the
camera's HDMI cable. I need to test to be sure I can feed live footage
through the cable to a TV/monitor, first, though, even if I am pretty sure
that I will be able to do so. Having a good monitor screen to watch will
be a good thing if and when the need arises.
However, when I upgrade to a pro-level camera, probably a
Blackmagic Cinema Camera
I will, with a high probability, need a monitor that works with
SDI (Serial digital interface).
I know for sure that this is true about Blackmagic, and probably any other
pro-class HDDV camera I might otherwise get, if I end up not going with
a Blackmagic model.
The second half of this week I will experience an odd sort of triangulation
crossover. I will see two "radio plays" and two different
A Christmas Carol
within three play productions.
• A Christmas Carol: A Radio
Play -- Written and directed by Teresa Connair, this one is up
tonight through Sunday at First Lutheran Church, 138 W. First St., in
Downtown Dayton, at the corner of First St, & Wilkinson. I will be
there for the opening performance, tonight. David Hallowren, Leo Santucci,
Max Santucci, and Matt Linsday are among the cast members. See
for more detail.
*As always, I will warn that there may be a whole lot of giggin'
by my friends and colleagues that I have missed or am completely
ignorant about. If one or more of these many talented people has
a forthcoming or current gig that has not been mentioned here, it
is not because I am slighting them, I promise you -- rather, it's
because I am ignorant. Of course, it may be because I have
one or more mentions elsewhere on the blog, though
Last weekend saw some losses to the world of acting
"In the early 1960s, Laughlin put his film career on
hiatus to start a Montessori preschool in Santa Monica,
California; it became the largest school of its kind in
the United States. In his later years, he sought the office
of President of the United States in 1992, 2004, and 2008.
He also was involved in psychology and domestic abuse
counseling, writing several books on Jungian psychology
and developing theories on the causes of cancer..."
-- Wikipedia:Tom Laughlin
Ms. Fontaine was the only actor to ever win an Oscar for
lead work in a film directed by Alfred Hitchcock --
The sound design is moving along. I have worked with Director Marcia Nowik
to get the best music into the radio for the dance sequence in Act
I:Scene 1, where Nettie (Angela Riley) and Tim
(Alex Chilton) dance a fox trot then a polka. What I had originally used
for the fox trot, I needed to speed up a little bit for the better use of
the actors. I was able to punch the speed then use a pitch filter to bring
the key back down to the original tone.
There is a vintage radio on the set. The hope was to be able to hook into
the speaker in the radio, however, the apparatus was too dilapidated. I
tried a couple speakers in the guts of the radio but neither worked well as
they weren't amped. Since the channel being used for the radio is channel
5, from the computer's sound card, that channel does not go into the
pre-amps in the booth. I placed the amped speaker we have just used as the
down-right floor monitor for the singers in
The Gifts of the Magi.
It works like a charm.
The programing design for the segment has the sound of a tubed radio being
turned on, followed by a few moments of talk from a 1946 radio program.
Then Tim hits a channel preset button and we hear a half-second of channel
surf into the fox trot instrumental, in progress -- right now it's the
last 60 seconds of the music. When the song ends there is a radio
announcer that causes Tim to rush to the radio and presses another preset
button and we come to the polka number. The Mother and son dance to that,
Marcia had me switch out the original fox trot music for another
composition, this time that I slowed down just slightly, then, this time,
upped the key back to its original. That first recording will now
be used, in its original, unaltered condition in a scene in Act
II. Music will be coming from the radio all
through that scene, and I have at least preliminarily chosen the rest of
said music pieces to finish out the scene.
Going back to Act I:Scene 1, the script calls
for the polka to speed up. What we are using does not actually do so;
well, it didn't; it does now.
Back on the music for Act II, I was able to
design an effect that I have contemplated about how to engineer in the
past. The song will start with a robust fidelity on the all four house
speakers, as the scene change music. When lights come up for the scene, it
will transition to the radio speaker, with the fidelity processed to have
more of a radio speaker feel -- in other words, much of the low end is
dropped out; I have done that for all music coming from the radio.
I have not yet delved into the show open or close music, nor the rest of
the scene-change music, but that is the next big thing. I have a sufficient
amount of big band to draw from for these tasks and the pre-show and
intermission music, though I'd like to diversify the artists a bit so am
likely to go fishing for more artists and titles to draw from for these
Tonight I shoot a little more footage. Since last I blogged I have only
shot one other time, and not much that night. As the rehearsals progress
and the actors get better footing on their characters, lines and movement,
I will increase the frequency and length of the shoots.
Still have not heard word about copyright clearance to use dialogue from
the script in the podcast. As I have stated before, I will shoot footage
at some point as if I have been granted clearance and then of clearance
does not come, I just won't use the audio from that footage.
I will reprise my roll as the chest trauma medical expert for the medical
mal-practice trial class this coming winter/spring. Looks like Dr. Hill's
first meeting with the defense council is Jan 15, in the afternoon.
About two years ago, perhaps a little farther back, I noticed that a PNG
at a web site had a transparent background, which before then I only knew
was possible to do with a GIF. Some of you may not know what a PNG or a
GIF is. They are both types of computer graphic images. They were both
developed for the web, yet can be used with other electronic media and
A PNG (Portable Network Graphic) is newer than the GIF file format,
introduced about seventeen years ago, and is a pretty robust graphics file
format, the type of which most images at my website are. The GIF (Graphics
Interchange Format) is older, and still a very strong and popular file
format that was especially popular in the earlier days of web development
because the file size could be so much smaller in file size than comparable
quality images of the
JPG (aka: JPEG)
or BMP (Bitmap)
image file formats, to name two other popular types.
One big attraction to the GIF is the ability to mask any particular color
in a GIF image which makes that color invisible when the image is
displayed on a web page. All images on the web are actually squares or
rectangles. When you see a globe floating on a page, it is actually a
globe on a square image but the background of that image has been made
transparent (invisible) so the right angled corners of the image are gone.
You see only the globe. It's done very frequently with text images so the
words are free-floating. there are a lot of examples of that below in the
section at the bottom of this page, including that particular header text.
Without getting too terribly technical, one drawback to GIFs is that the
largest amount of color variance that can be used is 256 -- there can only
be a maximum of 256 color tones used in the image. PNGs, like JPGs, utilize
millions of color variances which can make for a much more robust image.
I have often made a PNG image, that I want to float, as in some text
images, then made the background of that image exactly the color of the
web page background so it would seamlessly blend in like camouflage, and
disappear as if it were a masked transparency. The problem is, if I ever
want to change the web page's background color, I would have to also
remake that text image with the new color as its background, also.
My new "Graphics" icon without the white
canvas turned off -- i.e.: with the white background
What I didn't realize, even when I discovered a PNG with a transparent
background was they were originally developed with that intent. Also,
once I discovered such PNG's I didn't know how to create one. I use
Corel Painter 12
to create and manipulate images. Though there is a specific command to
make a color transparent when creating a GIF in this software, I saw no
command to make a color transparent for a PNG. Corel Painter, like
many other more complex image softwares allows the artist to create
different elements of an image on different layers, all that are collapsed
and incorporated into one layer for the finished image. The bottom layer
is the canvas, which, unless you change it, will be white. But you can
turn the canvas off. What I experimented with the other day, on a whim,
was saving an image as a PNG with the canvas turned off. That was the
"Graphics" text image icon that you see at the top of this
section, and for which you see to the left with the white background left
on in an alternate version I created as an illustration of the point.
There is probably a way to mask another color, other than the canvas, and
make it transparent, I just haven't learned that one yet.
This may have bored most of you five regulars to tears, but, for me, it
was a valuable discovery, despite that millions of electronic
graphic-image creators all over the world already knew this.
Hey, as in all things, my journey is my
PS: To the best
of my knowledge, the GIF is still the only image format with which one can
create animations -- I'm not talking about movie formats that have to be
embedded on a web page, I mean image files that are placed on the page with
the "<IMG>" HTML code command.
MY THREE-DAY TRIANGULATION CROSSOVER THEATRE TREKKING:
Two radio plays -- staged presentations where the actors play performers
in a radio station, broadcasting a radio play of the stories. Two
reinterpretations of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, one a
staged reading. Thus, the "triangulation crossover."
• A Christmas Carol: A Radio
Play -- Thursday night I saw this cute, sweet production
adapted from the Dickens' tale, both written and directed by Teresa
Connair. Teresa has named her theatre troupe, which performs at the First
Lutheran Church in Downtwn Dayton, the Undercroft Players --
"Undercroft," in this instance, I believe, meaning: underneath
the ground floor of a church.
For this production, the Undercroft Players were David Hallowren (as
Scrooge), Kathleen Anderson, Andrew Connair, Elizabeth Conair, Levi
Handcock, Preston Handcock, Spencer Handcock, Gabriella Larranaga-King,
Matthew Lindsay, Elizabeth Manning, Terry Morris (Yes, THAT, Terry Morris,
of The Dayton Daily News),
Leo Santucci, Max Santucci, Joseph Sellers, Linda Sellers, Sarah Sellers,
and Pastor Bob Swanson. One of the things I found very clever was how the
comercials for the faux radio broadcast were for the actual sponsors of
the production, including the church and various of its ministry
offerings.The show closes today after a 3:00 performance, showing at the
First Lutheran Church, 138 West 1st St., in Downtown Dayton.
• Fellow Passengers
-- Friday night I was at the
Dayton Playhouse to get
that other version, during my three-day sojourn, of the Dicken's classic,
version. Really pleasant night being told the tale by Megan Cooper,
Franklin Johnson and
Charles (Chuck) Larkowski, in a
staged reading directed by Dodi Lockwood. Loved that the three each played
the multiples roles with no regard for gender (Franklin and Chuck taking
some female roles, Megan some male roles) and that all three actors
switched off playing Ebenezer Scrooge. Fun time and great set!
Below is the clip of Taprena appearing as a Joplinaire from
A Night With Janis Joplin
on The Wendy Williams Show this past Tuesday. She is the Joplinaire
in the middle.
*As always, I will warn that there may be a whole lot of giggin'
by my friends and colleagues that I have missed or am completely
ignorant about. If one or more of these many talented people has
a forthcoming or current gig that has not been mentioned here, it
is not because I am slighting them, I promise you -- rather, it's
because I am ignorant. Of course, it may be because I have
one or more mentions elsewhere on the blog, though
Thursday night we gave the underscore music for the scene in Act
II a try and found it did not work. The big
problem is that Big Band always has a lot going on and tends to feature a
lot of solo lines from trumpets and clarinets. Even when the tempo and
mood is subdued, and even when the volume is low, the music still calls
much attention to itself. Both Marcia and I think we need to migrate to
classical work, and I personally think chamber music and solo concertos
are the way to go. I have drawn together several recordings that I believe
will work, just from my own library; I have a few other sources to troll,
too. So, the Cleary family radio will be tuned to a classical station in
Not much on the podcast production. I shot a little Thursday evening, as
planned. More footage will be shot tonight. Still no word on copyright
clearance for to use dialogue.
I am officially registered for what I believe is my seventh time in an
advanced acting class with
at The Human Race Theatre Company.
The class sessions run January 6 though February 10. It'll pretty much be
the same class roster as it has been the last several times. At this point
Kay is talking about doing some work by
I will likely have news soon on the "professional" acting
Whether it means anything to anyone besides
me, is another question.