K.L.'s Bog: A Diary of Artful Things

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NEW YEARS DAY 2014


Mon, Jan 6, 2014

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5° & ICINESS = DV MOVIE EDITING:
Screen shot of Jan 6, 2014, 6:05 AM EST, local report from THE WEATHER CHANNEL web site, which says in part the current temperature is 3° F, and that overnight low will be -10°
ICE DAY ICON

Winter storm Ion is, at least in my area of the mid-west, not some sort of "snowzilla" as much as an "ice-tastrafy." We have snow, but not a great accumulation. It's all about the 40+°F temperatures we had yesterday morning and afternoon, the rain and the melting of previous snow fall, then the temperatures that dipped down to almost zero. Note the temperature on the right, for my zipcode, at 6:05 this morning; note the forecast for mid-day of 1° and the overnight low of -10°.

That report goes on to say:

    ...Temperatures steady to 0 to -4F....Today:...Dangerous wind chills may approach -35F. High 1F....Tonight:...Dangerous wind chills may approach -35F. Low near -10F.

Note that "Dangerous wind chills may approach -35F" part. It also talks about wind speed and I hear the whine of wind outside my window, right now.

The upshot is that the rent-payer is closed today, which seems to be a trend in the Miami Valley, and probably much broader in the mid-west and on the east coast. No "sleep in" for me, though. I take this opportunity to get as much editing on the Roses podcast done as I can. I may shoot for final cut, though that's a lofty goal.

I'm wondering if there will be a Roses rehearsal tonight, or if I still have the first night of the new acting class series, which is scheduled for 5:30 today.


CATCH UP

INTO TECH WEEK:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Tech Week officially began Saturday with what was mostly a dry tech, meaning that it was a dry tech for the sound cues. I had all but two cues for the show -- one scene change for which we had not yet settled on what music to use and then some engineering for the end of the show. The sound technician for the show, Jessica Opper, who has ran sound now several times for us, was there, as well as the lighting technician, Fr. Scott Wright. All the cues were talked through and all ready sound cues were rehearsed.

Director Marcia Nowik had given me some choices for production music, and I had some choices, too. Independently, we had chosen the same compositions in a few instances, (once the exact version), though not always for the same spots in the show. Saturday, before the dry tech, we went though all the choices and ended with a blend of what each had brought to the table.

We had one scene change that we finally decided none of our choices worked for. Nettie (Angela Riley) has a monologue scene in Act II that I had already underscored, but we had no good choices going from that scene to the next. Ultimately, it was the underscoring that gave me an idea that ended up being the right choice.

Because of the mood necessary for the underscore music in that scene, we switched from Big Band Jazz to Classical music, which is coming from the radio in the living room set. Nettie is listening to that music on the radio as she tells a story to her son, Timmy (Alex Chilton). Other than there, we have been using Big Band music for all the scene changes, and the top and bottom of the show. So we spent time trying to find a Big Band Jazz number that suited the mood and color going out of that scene into the next. As stated, we were stuck. Then I thought: Why can't it be classical? Does it have to be Big Band? I put that to Marcia and she agreed a classical piece would probably work. We both agreed a solo concerto would be the best bet. I submitted a portion of Bach's, "Suite No. 1 in G major: for solo cello," and Marcia found it perfect.

The only thing that was left was to do a little engineering magic for the end of the show. The music out of Act II and into curtain will, at a certain point, move from coming out of the radio into the four house speakers. The reverse of what we do out of Act I. At some point I will write about that effect, which I conceived of how to engineer months ago and finally had the appropriate circumstance to execute. My conception, I might add, was dead-on correct.

I am also taking advantage of having sound run to the radio on set for the pre-show and intermission music, well, not all music. I have edited together mock radio programing for both those spots. In that programing are popular Big Band songs from the era as well as radio shows. Pre-show has two radio shows. One is a truncated version of a radio variety show; the other is a full program, a six minute radio drama. I also throw in the WNBC: New York City station jingle from the era. I pepper it in there several times in both pre-show and intermission. Intermission has a ten-minute radio program, followed by music. Of course, both come from the radio rather than the house speakers.

The hope is to have cue-to-cue tonight. That is predicated on whether or not conditions make it safe enough to not cancel rehearsal.

xxxx
DTG Podcast Production logo
I will, as soon as I send this blog post to the server, start editing the podcast. Like I wrote above, getting to final cut would be sweet. It's about 8:30 right now, I've taken a chunk of my morning already. final cut may not happen, but I can still get the lion's share done. Also, I could shoot more principal photography tonight, for some b-roll A HREF="filmmaking_terms.html#CUTAWAY">cutaways. There will be no principal footage where dialogue is used. Clearance was not granted.

I shot the commentary interviews on Friday. Since I could, I did a three-camera shoot. Two cameras, on tripods, were positioned favoring left and right POV shots, and one was centered and setting on a stool as its "tripod." You can see the commentary set, on the left here. It's a wall of flowers because those resources were easy to use put the set together quickly; time was of the essence.


INSTALLMENT EIGHT(?) WITH MY ACTING "COACH":
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

Unless it's cancelled, tonight, before cue-to-cue for Roses I will start what I think is my eighth advanced acting class with Kay Bosse at The Human Race Theatre Company. So, as I believe I've said before, I might as well call Kay my acting coach. Technically, I suppose she really isn't my "coach," but she's pretty close. As has been the case at least once during each installment of these classes series, if we do have class, I will have to leave early to get to that cue to cue rehearsal -- providing that it happens.


A CAUTIONARY TALE....AGAIN! :
DOH! MacBook pro with Retina Display ICON

So, somehow or another, (Okay, perhaps the "somehow" is not exactly a mystery), a few days back I managed to drip water again on the track pad. Just a small amount that I wiped off immediately. Some minute portion of moisture still seeped in and put the cursor into chaos for a little while.

I really need to NOT DO THAT AGAIN!



Wed, Jan 8, 2014

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ICE DAY ICON : Day 2
Monday night, about 6:15 or so, I got a text message concerning the rent-payer:
    Wright State University's Dayton campus is closed, Tuesday, January 7, due to severe winter weather and dangerously cold temperatures.
The Advanced Acting class was underway -- it had not been cancelled, though we did not have a full complement of students. My cell was out and on vibrate; I was monitoring to see if Roses rehearsal would be cancelled. When the phone vibrated, I expected a text message from the Roses stage manager, Kelly Engle, about no rehearsal. What I got was the message above, which, by the way, translated into:

    Wright State University has afforded you another day to get your final cut on "DTG Podcast 1314-04 The Subject Was Roses."

In all reality, I suppose, yesterday was less an "Ice Day" and more of an "Arctic Freeze Day." As of 10:30 in the morning, the local temperature: -4°F. According to the weather service it was going to reach a balmy 8° today and only drop down to 4°, over night. The high today was predicted at a tropical 29°. When I left the abode, this morning, to go into the work at said rent-payer, the temperature was reported at 8°. As I post this, it's 10°.


HOME STRETCHES:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The show opens this Friday!
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Rehearsal was not cancelled either Monday nor last night and save for the likelihood of a few tweaks, sound design is officially done. Done, with one small exception: there is a musical number in the pre-show "radio programming&quit; that, after I had edited that together, was elected to use as production music to exit out of Act I. I have not yet replaced it in the pre-show, but will be doing that later today.

xxxx
DTG Podcast Production logo
WESTERN DIGITAL THUNDERBOLT DUO 4TB EXTERNAL DUAL HARD ICON
The two closure days from the rent-payer did afford me some good time to start and get a lot accomplished on the edit on the podcast, but I am not quite done. However, I got a big chunk finished. I am, at this point, dropping in the b-roll cutaways and need to shore up the ending as well as drop in the key-mat titles in the body of the documentary -- i.e.: the ID titles, such as "Marcia C. Nowik (Director)," etc., etc. The closing credits roll is already overlaid. I brought the 4TB external hard drive to continue editing during lunch today at rent-payer -- which didn't work out -- and then at DTG tonight, before the rehearsal.

Though I had certainly gotten to the home stretch toward final cut by the time I got to rehearsal last night, I did still shoot a little bit of footage. I wanted some shots of the light and sound techs (Scott Wright and Jessica Opper) to throw into the closing credits sequence.

As to the concept of the podcast being posted pre-opening: it's doubtful though not impossible.


ANGELS AT THE PHILIPS CREATIVITY CENTER:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

Again, the Advanced Acting class, at The Human Race Theatre Company, was not cancelled. Kay Bosse has given me, at least to start, Roy Cohn from Tony Kushner's Angles In America to work on for this class. She had me do a cold read of what I would call, "Roy's Self-Identity Justification Monologue." I think my next move needs to be to read the whole play, which I have never done, before next class -- in the event, of course, of working on the assigned scene work.


U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Along with the prep I need to do for acting class scene work, I need to refresh myself on the facts and situations of the medical malpractice case, as I have my first meeting (as Dr. Hill) with U.D. law students a week from today. The good thing is that this is the third year, so much will come back to me with little effort.


AUDITION ICON
FOR THE LOVE OF THE CRAFT ICON
Meanwhile, I have another play to read for a potential audition later this month. I am not committed to the audition, but I have not ruled it out, either.



Fri, Jan 10, 2014

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OPENING TODAY
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Frank D. Gilroy, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

Click here to view the podcast

Final Dress went well last night. The director, cast and crew have a show. I believe the sound has met the peak of its tweak; at least until I or Marcia decide differently. As you can see above, the podcast actually managed to make final cut before the show opening. There actually is at least one flaw, but it's minor and I am not going to point it out.

Hope to see you in the audience during the run....


A LESSON LEARNED:
My Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorder icon
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
Final Cut Pro X icon
Craft Notes icon
DTG Podcast Production logo

With the Roses podcast I learned something most valuable. With HDDV movies it's not always necessary to push the quality. In this case, it's not that "less is more" but rather that "less is the same" or at the very least, "less is more than enough." I'm writing of the quality of HD that I have been recording with, in the first two podcast shot in HD and then the third one: Roses.

The Canon Vixia HFR40 can shoot at three different qualities for the camera's high-def format, HVCHD. The highest quality is 60P, which essentially translates to sixty frames per second. I shot all the footage for the first two podcasts at 60P. The big problem I had was that this meant that the accumulated footage for each project rose to a little more than a terabyte of data storage. The archive for two podcasts ate more than two terabytes on my storage drive. The master QuickTime movies of the final cuts, each are 30-35 gigabytes.

The third quality is "LP" (long play) and I have not worked with that. Though this is an assumption prior to investigation, I doubt it would suit my needs.

The first night I shot for Roses I decided to try an experiment, since I knew from a chart in user manual that the HVCHD FXP used considerably less memory for the data strings. The quality of the FXP footage seems to match the 60P. I shot the all the Roses footage at FXP, and the finished product looks as good as either of the first two HD movies. All at one-third of the real estate. All the source files are sixty-some percent smaller, the master movie file, in at around nine gigabytes as opposed to the thirty-some for each of the first. And the compressed file, uploaded to YouTube, is just under 900 megabytes rather than the 3.7 gigs the first two averaged. Again, the visual quality of this last finished product matches the others just fine. So: lesson learned. I'm still going to be buying a new more multi-terabyte external hard dives, unless I decide to not be so archival about the footage (which i doubt happens). At least those externals will have more movie footage than they would have.

The 60P, I have come to believe, is for footage, for movies, that will be projected onto big screens -- as in, at movie houses. I certainly hope to have the need to use 60P; it's just not necessary for podcasts.



Mon, Jan 13, 2014

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OPENING WEEKEND:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

I was there all weekend, but I was hosting so my attention to the performances was minimal. The audiences seemed please and the cast felt okay, so it appears it was a good weekend.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
The only things I attended to were certain sound cues which I needed to be sure were at the right levels and lengths. As suggested a couple posts ago, between Director Marcia C. Nowik and myself, we did tweak a few things: two volume levels and the length of the show-close/curtain call music.


PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

I have to miss the Advanced Acting class, at The Human Race Theatre Company with Kay Bosse tonight. I have to stay late in the office at the rent-payer.

Over the weekend, I read Tony Kushner's Angles In America. Roy Cohn, the character Kay has me working on for this class series, well, Roy's a bit of a prick.


CONGRATULATIONS!

PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

A review, by Clay Cane, of A Night With Janis Joplin, which features Ms. Taprena Augustine, has come to my attention. One passage, about Taprena's work, is, to me, a "Yeah, that sounds about right" moment:
    One notable performance was Taprena Michelle Augustine having her "And I Am Telling You" moment as she brazenly slayed the audience with "Today I Sing the Blues." The audience nearly caught the Holy Ghost.
Click here for the whole article.

*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 probably not.



Fri, Jan 17, 2014

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

First segment of the annual medical malpractice series -- the initial interviews with the law students -- is complete. The class size is much smaller this year; there were only half as many individual sessions as in previous years. Unfortunately, that will translate into 50% less on the paycheck. Have deposition prep exercises with the law students on Feb 12, then the deposition exercises are two weeks later, Feb 19.



February 9
is just around
the corner
The Beatles

"A record setting 73 million people tuned in that evening making it one of the seminal moments in television history. Nearly fifty years later, people still remember exactly where they were the night The Beatles stepped onto Ed Sullivan's stage....The genius of The Beatles and the American institution that was The Ed Sullivan Show combined to create one of the most defining and indelible moments in the history of music, television and pop culture. It was a remarkable convergence that came at a special time in America, making an impact on the world that will never be duplicated."
-- www.edsullivan.com.





EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The last I heard, the Expecting Isabel cast roster was not ready for public consumption.

DTG Podcast Production logo
In related news, I will, today, attempt to contact Playwright Lisa Loomer about clearance to use dialogue from the script in the podcast.



Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 2014

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xxxx
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

CLICK HERE FOR DR. KING'S SPEECH IN ITS ENTIRETY



PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

Considering that I am on a holiday day from the rent-payer I will not be working over tonight, thus won't miss the Advanced Acting class, at The Human Race Theatre Company. Honestly, last week was an absolute anomaly, anyway.

As per the assignment from Kay Bosse I go in tonight to take another crack at Roy Cohn from Tony Kushner's Angles In America. Don't know if my performance will get classified as 100% off-book, but it won't be the cold read it was two weeks ago.



Tue, Jan 21, 2014

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PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

So, I spent a good portion of yesterday, as well as some other time this weekend, working on Roy Cohn from Tony Kushner's Angles In America for the Advanced Acting class The Human Race Theatre Company. However, in class last night, Instructor Kay Bosse had myself and classmate do a cold read of a scene from Speech & Debate, by Stephen Karam. I played the role of sixteen-year-old, budding journalist Solomon, in a quite funny scene toward the start of the show, where Solomon is getting in his teacher's face over school censorship in the form of prior restraint.

It bothered me not at all that Roy was benched last night; I wasn't as ready as I wanted to be. Next week I should be.


EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

DTG Podcast Production logo
Yesterday, I contacted Playwright Lisa Loomer to request the clearance to use dialogue from the script in the podcast. Now I await a response.

Meanwhile, the cast list is not quite filled out. I would assume there will be an official announcement of the full cast sometime soon.


Tax Time skull and bones ICON
THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON

That time of year. Time to start getting all the correct expenses together to file the tax returns.

YIPEE!


Fri, Jan 24, 2014

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IN THE BOOTH:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON

Tonight I am in the booth covering for the production's sound technician, Jessica, who had a prior engagement for tonight when she took the gig in the booth.

I haven't actually sat at the console since Tech Week, so, ironically, even though I am the sound designer, I could actually be off on my timing for a cue or two.


RETHINKING DTG "PODCASTS":
Craft Notes icon
DTG Podcast Production logo
DTG Promocast Production logo
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
I enjoy producing the DTG podcasts. They have been a great lyceum, in certain manners, for me as a motion picture director, producer, and editor. However, the "mini-documentary" style, as Larry Coressel once dubbed the format I have employed, is becoming untenable, or, impractical, or, inconvenient, for me to continue generating.

I have decided to reinvent the promotional DV movies for The Guild, more so back to what I had done in 2007 with several DV movie "trailers" that were eventually pulled from the DTG youtube channel, (because we weren't as conscientious about obtaining clearance to use dialogue text from the scripts as we are now). Basically, I need to be producing DV movies that are shorter and for two reasons:

    1) shorter is usually more palatable and more people will be willing to watch
    2) I want to shave down both the principal photography and the postproduction time I spend on the projects
I have on many occasions used one or more days of vacation leave from the rent-payer to get the DV movie editing finished. On one occasion I had to use three days of vacation. Burning eight hours is bad enough, but when it climbs to twenty-four, that is too much of what is premium to me as an actor to use for, well, acting gigs, especially the professional -- read: "paying gigs." You five regulars may remember that I have stated before how I want as much vacation time built up as possible so that if I ever needed to take, say, three or four weeks off to act in a full-length feature, I would have the vacation time to do so. Even though using vacation to edit the podcasts has been an artistic use, still, it cuts into the actor's use.

Shorter post-production time needed also will help the DV movies make final cut and get posted before the plays go up, too. This year I have so far only made that deadline once.

It's almost a guarantee that Expecting Isabel will see a transition from DTG PODcasts to DTG PROMOcasts. The new goal will be DV movies that are under seven minutes -- including 90 seconds of credit role -- and under five will be optimal. The other change that I'm 90+% sure will be is that the interview/commentary is going to be gone when possible, and greatly reduced whenever such becomes necessary. If I have clearance to use the script dialogue in the movie, that content will speak amply for the production. If I do not have clearance, than there will be an interview/commentary, but I am probably going to pare down to one spokesperson for the production -- probably the director, but perhaps not always so. Most of those involved with productions will not at all be unhappy about this development. The actors and crew tend to dread the interview section, some going as far as claiming they hate it. They always, of course, do just fine and often do excellently. These are people talking about something they are passionate about -- I have found that they tend to have much more to contribute to the conversation than they believe they do, and they are usually far more eloquent in saying what they have to say than they perceive themselves to be. Still, most would rather not do it.

Some viewers will miss the old format, I'm sure. In some ways I will. Mostly I'll miss it because I still have some ground to gain at learning to edit the "mini-docs" into lean, concise final cuts. I don't think there is one DTG podcast that could not stand being trimmed by at least a minute, and usually more, I'm sure.

Although, let's be honest here: "some viewers" is not going to be a large number. The podcasts have never been some great local internet sensation, mostly because, I think, we've done a poor job of making people aware they even exist. I'd have to check, but I doubt even one of them has ever broken the 1000-views mark; hell, I think the majority have not had even 100 views.

As for their effectiveness as a promotional tool: I have no data to prove success or failure, save for the low-view counts, which in itself does not suggest a grand marketing coup. In terms of "positive evidence," there are only a few anecdotes, I know of, of people who have come to see a show as the direct result of seeing a podcast. Don't get me wrong, I get a lot of good comment about them, but those kudos typically come from people who were coming the see the play anyway, or the complements come from cast and crew on the show -- choir members, if you follow the analogy. So, I don't know if "vanity endeavor" is a wholly appropriate label for this whole venture, but it's much closer to accurate than my ego cares to admit.

The new promocasts might get better view counts since they will be shorter and more streamlined; the youtube link to them will be put in email blasts to those on the DTG email list, too. We have been good about posting the podcasts to facebook, and that will continue, but I believe a lot of our patrons are not on facebook and thus never become aware of the DV movies.

This mid-stream correction is, I believe, good for the promotional tool, and it's good for me. The shorter, more concise DV movies may be more attractive to view. I need to corral in the time for principal photography and for post-production -- most especially for post-production. I also need the practice at editing shorter, more concise DV movies.

Of course, I would prefer to tell the stories, needed to be told, by using footage of the actors speaking the words from the plays. I would love it if the first PROMOcast, (for Expecting Isabel), was such a DV movie. As of yet I have not heard back from Ms. Loomer about clearance to use the text from the script, so that may not happen this first time out. If I can't always use the dialogue, that is a way to mix it up and keep everything from being too cookie-cutter, which is not all that bad of a thing, after all. Sure hope Ms. Loomer does grant clearance though; showing moments from the play is so much better.



Sat, Jan 25, 2014

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A SOLID A-:
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON

Ran the sound console last night. No serious miscues. A couple times I think I was a beat or two off. Was definitely off on one visual cue. But, nothing major.



Sun, Jan 26, 2014

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CLOSING TODAY
THE SUBJECT WAS ROSES by Frank D. Gilroy, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of The Subject Was Roses

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
John Cleary            Geoff Burkman

Nettie Cleary            Angela Riley

Tim Cleary            Alex Chilton

The Podcast for The Subject was Roses


Mon, Jan 27, 2014

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ADVANCED ACTING CLASS AT THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY WITH KAY BOSSE:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

I assume that tonight I am giving the Roy Cohn monologue from Tony Kushner's Angles In America another try. I really haven't been working on it, however. I have a little time before class today, but "totally off-book" may not be in the cards.

I also am bringing the The Subject Was Roses script, as there is a nice monologue in there, one which was part of the audition for The Guild production, that I wouldn't mind taking a crack at in class.


Film Dayton icon
My Canon Vixia HF R40 HD Camcorder icon

I will actually make the January filmdayton Film Connections meeting, which is tomorrow night and will feature local flim maker and DP Mike King. It'll be at the Dayton Convention Center. Fred Boomer is borrowing two of my HDDV cameras to document the presentation -- quid pro quo, as Fred has, without hesitation, loaned me cameras in the past.


THE CAST OF EXPECTING ISABEL AND THE PROMOCAST:
EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The cast is now filled out:

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Miranda            Rachel Wilson

Nick            Shawn Hooks

Lila            Amy Taint

Yolanda            Dorothy Michalski

Sal            Rick Flynn

Dominic            Joshua Lisec

Pat            Angele Price

Tina            Ellen Ballerene

Isabel            Angela Timpone

I know that all but Rachel Wilson and Shawn Hooks are playing other roles besides those credited here, but I don't know who's playing which.

DTG Promocast Production logo
Meanwhile, I have attempted to contact Ms. Loomer through another avenue, her literary agent, to see if I might get a response about the clearance to use dialogue from the script in the promocast.



Wed, Jan 29, 2014

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Not At Film Dayton icon
C-c-c-cold icon

The rent-payer was closed again yesterday, and again due to the newest wave of the extreme cold front which has hit such a large swath of the northern hemisphere. The closing was announced Monday afternoon.

If you five regular readers remember, I agreed to loan two HDDV cameras to Fred Boomer so he can document the January 2014 filmdayton Film Connections meeting, which was last night at the Dayton Convention Center and featured local flim maker and DP Mike King. I gave one to him last weekend so he could get familiar with the model, but I needed to keep the other one so I could use two of my three to shoot the archival performance footage of The Guild's production of The Subject Was Roses, which I did shoot this past Sunday: one for the master shot, one for the cutaways. Fred needed a second camera for the exact same reason. Originally I was going to bring the second camera with me to the Film Connections meeting. Monday I began to wonder if I would be at the meeting. Of course, big weather issue was going to be the extreme subzero temperatures, and for me it was a two-part question: a) would my cat start? b) should I risk trekking the twenty-some miles, one way, into Dayton and risk the car not starting there?

I ended up missing for another reason. I fell asleep and didn't wake until just about the time the Film Connections was starting; I was not about to rush into Dayton and arrive at least a half-hour late, if not later. I will probably get with Fred tonight or tomorrow to transcode the footage he shout from the AVCHD movie file format to the ProRes format (aka: the high-quality QuickTime ".mov").


What's the Agenda?
It's broken-record-time with me listing all those things which have been on the back-burner, some for far too long:
Tax Time skull and bones ICON
'VIGNETTES IN BELLCREEK' logo -- D.P. Fred Boomer operating camera woth Director K.L.Storer next to him.
'STARTING FOR THE SUN' a novel by K.L.Storer
On-line PDF of K.L.Storer's actors resume
(revision & update)
THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON
(signing with a new agent)
In The Gym
(seriously, I have been badly negligent -- again)

It's funny how I often, when having just completed some current project, such as a DTG production, will be at home in the early evening and think to myself, Hey! I don't have anything to do!, and, of course, be quite pleased with that "fact"; However, in fact, I have A LOT of unfinished business to attend to. All this above is part of that.

THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
And, this is on the horizon, too. As soon as Director Saul Caplan gets us together, I have some pre-production technical stuff to help out with. The big question here is: Do we have the technical director we want? I am almost qualified, but not quite as much as I believe is needed to do the production the justice it deserves. So, I got all that stuff above, plus, probably things that haven't occurred to me, and this one in the queue and the verge of "Now."

Not that I'm trying to overwhelm myself or anything. .  .   



Fri, Jan 31, 2014

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PILE A LITTLE MORE ON!:
What's the Agenda?
HEART WALKS a full-length double album by K.L.Storer
K.L. on Bass

Once upon a time, there was a guy who at least attempted to make some music. Thirty years ago, that guy started to record an album, one he worked on occasionally over the course of about three years. He actually gave the album a title, Heart Walks, from which he also based the title of a rather avante-garde-like instrumental from the project, "March of the Teachings; Heart Walks," which is a fugue of sorts with three distinct musical themes fighting for the focus. Over the course of those several years in the mid 80's he recorded somewhere in the neighborhood of about ninety to one-hundred minutes of music for Heart Walks, a "double-album" or "double-disk," by the standards of the time. WIth the exception of one bass guitar line, the actual recording of the Heart Walks project has been done since 1987.

I recorded it at the East-Dayton home of my friend and then music partner, Rich Hisey, on his Tascam analog four-track cassette recorder. Throughout the years I kept the master multi-track recordings safe. As I wrote, a little more than a year ago, I had just digitized the master analog tapes into four track masters to mix into a final digital album. I then started to mix the opening song at that time.

As for that bass guitar line. It's for the song, "Seems Like A Crime," for which I produced a simple music video featuring the analog demo mix (minus the bass line, of course). I know what the bass line is for the song, and I will need to woodshed for quite a while before I can lay the track down. I just am too, too, too out of shape as a musician to play what I have conceived.

In the late 70's through the mid 80's I would guess, on average no less than one hour and more like at least two hours pretty close to every day. I haven't played my bass, save for a small handfull times, since I wrote and recorded the theme song for the trailer for The Guild production of The Dice House, back in 2007.

So, the entire Heart Walks project, the bass part for "Seems Like A Crime," and just simply, being a well-oiled bass player again, in general. More for The Agenda.

Here's the demo mix music video of "Seems Like A Crime,"

There will be a remix, of course -- with that bass line I can't play right now.

So, yeah, I piled a little more on The Agenda. Not that I'm trying to overwhelm myself or anything. .  .   

JUST MORE BROKEN RECORD STUFF.



Mon, Feb 3, 2014

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PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN

On March 4, 2011, probably about 10:00 in the morning, I walked up the side isle at Hall Auditorium on the campus at Miami U. I was on day 2 of two days on the set of The Ides Of March as a stand-in. I walked by Philip Seymour Hoffman. The orders were very clear: don't engage the principals in conversation unless they engage you. He was seated close to the isle. All I said was, "Hi, how are you." He smiled and said the same back. Now I wish I had at least said, "You are one of the best I've ever seen." I would have liked to have at least told him that.

He was an actor's actor with an amazing range that was to envy.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
July 23, 1967--February 2, 2014




PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

Charity Farrell has landed the lead role of Kylie in the new musical Peace, Love and Cupcakes, by Rick Hip-Flores, showing at the Vital Theatre, in New York City, March 15 through April 27.

*Just a reminder this can only be a small sampling of the professional work of my friends and colleagues. I'm simply not going to be aware of all their good fortunes. Plus, I may screw up and learn of something and forget about it -- I can be that way, easily. But if I know (and remember), I'll give a shout out for the pro gig successes!



Tue, Feb 4, 2014

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ADVANCED ACTING CLASS AT THE HUMAN RACE THEATRE COMPANY WITH KAY BOSSE:
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON

No Roy Cohn last night -- (Tony Kushner, Angles In America). Last week I did the monologue, somewhere at about 95% off-book. Kay wanted me to try a different approach to Roy. We ddi not get to the redux last night. I did cold read a vignette play, called a ten-minute play, by Christopher Durang, last night. The play is called DMV, and I was partnered with Heather Gorbe, who's been acting in the Dayton area for something like ten years.


A RELUCTANT DECISION:
Craft Notes icon
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
WESTERN DIGITAL THUNDERBOLT DUO 4TB EXTERNAL DUAL HARD ICON
DTG Podcast Production logo
DTG Promocast Production logo
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
"Triage": the process of determining the most important things from amongst a large number that require attention.

I made a painful choice which I acted on last night, or at least started to act on. It goes like this: Electronic movie files are big. Even standard definition (SD) files are big. High def (HD) files are bigger. There's our first factor.

Second factor: for every one minute in the final cut there is at minimum three minutes of raw footage, and, honestly, that's pretty tight. Most of the time there is more than that. I've done projects where there was four hours of raw footage for a fifteen minute final cut. That's a ratio of sixteen to one. That's an example of the far end, but eight to one (eight minutes of raw for each one minute of final) is getting somewhere close to average, especially for more documentary style footage, which has been most of what I have been shooting. The ratio probably does get into the three to one ratio (maybe five to one) when it's a narrative, especially a scripted one, but I've not shot one of those in a while.

The third factor: large hard drives may indeed be coming down in price, but when you start needing multi-terabytes of memory space, and the demand for more space keeps mounting, the monetary cost adds up.

"Murder your little darlings" is a maxim that originated in the field of prose writing, but is effortlessly adaptable to every other form of art and craft. The phrase essentially means that even though you, the composer, artist, etc., have created something for your work that you love, that you are proud of, that you find amazing, if it ultimately does not wholly serve the project, if the project does not suffer from its loss, it needs to be cut. Based on my limited funds and the amount of free external memory I have, I have adopted this maxim, along with the related practice of triage. Another maxim the incorporates these ideas, that boils them down to one unit is: "Be ruthless with your sword."

I have had to wield my sword ruthlessly. I have culled more than a terabyte of raw footage, whole DV movie projects, essentially the raw material for all the DTG podcasts. I did not delete the final cuts, the end products, but I have trashed all the source files: the DV movies, audio files and still pictures. It was painful. I really wanted to hang on to the material; you never know when it might come in handy. I needed to free the space up so I could archive and back up footage that needs such. Projects I am currently working on, including whatever the current DTG promocast -- remember? it's PROMOcast now, not PODcast. Bottom line: those old podcasts are done; the source materials would be good for some sort of possible future purpose, and I would much rather have them archived. I just don't have the money on hand to procure enough hard drive space to keep that which I do not need for set current or future use.

Now, please be assured, I have absolutely not deleted any of the footage from the Vignettes in Bellcreek project, or from the even older The Chorus For Candice project. But the podcasts raw materials are more transient to my priorities, thus they have be triaged into oblivion.

There was a few minutes of terror when I was doing this reluctant forced evacuation. All of the materials for Vignettes was in a subfolder on one of my external hard drives; I had forgotten that fact. When I looked at the root directory on the drive, at first it wasn't readily apparent that the raw material was on the drive. And I knew at this point there was no other drive the material could be on. I panicked!

WHAT HAD I DONE? WHAT HAD I DONE?

Then I rechecked the drive, desperately, and found the material. I have no illusions that Vignettes in Bellcreek will be a well-received work lauded as brilliant. But, even though it's been on the back burner for a very long period now, I would still like to get a final cut, molded into the best finished work that I can craft it into, however flawed that may be. So, I sighed with great relief when I discovered I indeed had not destroyed any chance of a final cut.

I'm still not happy that I have killed all that material. However, one must do what one must do.

* 02/08/2014 ADDENDUM: IT OCCURS TO ME THAT EVEN HAD I DELETED ALL THE VIGNETTE FILES, I DO STILL HAVE THE ORIGINAL MINI-CASSETTE TAPES WITH THE RAW FOOTAGE, SO THE PROJECT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN LOST -- DON'T KNOW WHY THAT FACT DIDN'T HIT ME AT THE TIME, SAVE FOR A POSSIBLE PERSONAL NEED FOR DRAMA



Sat, Feb 8, 2014

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THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON

Final acting class and another installment in the UD Law gig this coming week, both that I need to prep for.

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON
As I said in the last blog post, last Monday in the HRTC Advanced Acting Class we did not get to my Roy Cohn monologue (Tony Kushner, Angles In America). Kay Bosse has it on the agenda for our last class session this coming Monday. Honestly, I'm pretty off-book (memorized) but I'm still going to be going over this a bit between now and then; I believe that the concept of being "over-rehearsed" is mostly a myth.

U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Wednesday is the next day in the semester-long, mock-trial process of the medical malpractice case gig for UD Law. It's the deposition prep sessions with the law students. Two weeks later, on Feb 26 is the actual depositions -- okay, "mock" depositions. Of course, as this is the third year I've done this gig, I'm well-versed with the material, but I do need to get a few hours of refresh in before Wednesday.


THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON
On-line PDF of K.L.Storer's actors resume

Working on the redesign of my actor's résumé and have called to get rates for a new set of actor's headshots. I will soon be contacting the person I am confident will be my new talent agent to start getting back to that part of my professional work. But, new résumé and pics, first. The plan for the pics is to do half the session on one day, the second half, the next; day 1: beard; day 2: clean shaved.


EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
I will start dropping into rehearsals next week to shoot some footage for the promocast (formerly known as the podcast). I am in town anyway on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday so those are the days I am potential to drop in. I won't stay for long periods any night I come in to shoot. I have yet to get clearance to use dialogue, thus at this point I highly doubt it's coming. So, if any dialogue is used from rehearsal footage it would be conversations that are not dialogue from the script. It's not likely I will use such extraneous verbiage, but I should not rule it out. I will drop in at least once during Feb 17-21. I also plan to get some footage from Tech Sunday and absolutely from at least one tech/dress rehearsal. Since it's almost assured I can't use text from the script, I'll get commentary from Director Robb Willoughby. That commentary will be far more focused on the show than these past "interviews" have been.



Sun, Feb 9, 2014

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ON THE OCCASION OF THE 50 YEAR MARK OF THE BEATLES' FIRST TIME ON THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW:
The Beatles

Starting this year, and it's already started, there are going to be fiftieth anniversary after fiftieth anniversary of hallmark events connected to The Beatles. Unless you've been held up in a cave for a few months, you know that today one of the major hallmark events has met its fiftieth anniversary mark: The Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, February 9. 1964, their professional debut in America.

To be honest, I don't have a connection with any of the Ed Sullivan show episodes that the Early Beatles appeared on. I saw none of them. Feb 9, '64 I was five and not the slightest bit interested in The Beatles, or, well, anyone else on the top 40 charts in 1964. I remember a few songs from the radio I liked, but it had little to do with any consciousness of pop music or who was making hits; I just liked the songs: "My Boy Lollipop," by Millie, "Blame It on the Bossa Nova," (Eydie Gormé), "Walk Right In," by The Rooftop Singers. It was simply that the hooks, the dittiness, if you will, appealed to my five-year-old's aesthetic sensibilities. Further, I did not know the names of the recording artists; I just liked the tunes.

So, though I am writing this "on the occasion of the 50 year mark of The Beatles' first time on The Ed Sullivan Show," it's not about that. It's a small glimpse into how these men have affected me.

It was really three years later, in the summer of 1967, at the age of nine, that I got on The Beatles bandwagon. My older cousin Greg turned me on to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Because I was a child of TV, my first favorite band was The Monkees. But, Sgt. Pepper's then Magical Mystery Tour (the American, full LP, not the British EP) made me a convert, though the previous releases of "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yesterday" certainly had caught my attention. It was those two 1967 Beatle albums that turned the tide, that moved me from Davy, Peter, Mickey & Mike to John, Paul, George & Ringo. Though I'll interject here that I still have a healthy like for The Monkees; they are the only manufactured "Boy Band" that commands my respect, and rightfully so. Their catalogue has some of the best pop rock of the 60's.

The first album I bought with my own money was The Beatles, famously referred to as The White Album. That two-vinyl-disk LP set is an important element in the cultivation of my creativity. Elaborating on that, well, I could easily write ten-thousand-plus words. In a nutshell: I listened to The White Album incessantly. I studied it: the arrangements, the stereo mixes, the poetry, the performances, the vocals. Side one and the start of Side two ("Back in the U.S.S.R" through "Blackbird") is one of my favorite musical experiences. That's not to denigrate the rest of the White Album collection, it's just that I find something personally magical about that particular musical assemblage.

It was, however, another musical experience that was an even more important artistic hallmark in my own life, to my own consciousness, one of the most important ones, to date. It was a track The Beatles recorded during the same period as The White Album, but which was not intended to be on it, and was not. It was their late-summer (August) 1968 45 RPM single. The first time I heard this song was the first time in my life that I was consciously aware that I was being exposed to a masterpiece. Even though that word was not part of my ten-year-old vocabulary, I recognized the masterpiece as such. I knew it down to my molecular existence.

Below is about 650 words, an excerpt from that novel of mine, which you five regulars may know has not made it to final draft. It was on the way to final draft a decade ago; then I started acting again. Some work has been done post-acting-return, but not much. But I digress, some. The novel takes place in 1968 and 1969. In this extract, it's August, '68. It is, of course, fiction and the scenario is fictitious, but the psyche and reaction of the protagonist, L.D., is virtually autobiographical.

'STARTING FOR THE SUN' a novel by K.L.Storer
In the living room Aunt Linda leaned over the sofa and searched in her big, beaded purse and pulled out L.D.'s present and handed it to him. It was a 45 record. The paper sleeve was black and on it in cursive green writing it said "Apple." The sleeve had a round hole in the middle just the size of the record's label. That label was a green apple on one side. The other side was the white of the inside of an apple. It was like the apple was cut in half. It was a new record by The Beatles. The green side was called "Hey Jude." The white side, the half-apple side, was "Revolution."

           "Wow! Cool! A new Beatle record! Thanks Aunt Linda!" He hugged her tightly.

           "Well you're very welcome."

           Aunt Linda kissed L.D. on the top of his head. L.D. led his friends to his bedroom and his stereo. Aunt Linda went toward Mom's studio. In the hallway upstairs, L.D. heard her knock on the door downstairs.

           "Hi, Birdy," she said.


Almost from the very second Paul McCartney started to sing, with no instruments before his voice, it was like L.D. got caught in a tractor beam from the starship Enterprise. He had never heard a song like it. The singing pulled him in. There was something almost perfect about it. Paul's voice was smooth while it moved on the wave of the notes.


           "Heyyy Jude...."


           The way Paul sang the words made them true, like the line where he sang how the movement Jude needed was on his shoulder. Chills ran through L.D. while he listened to the music, the words, Paul's voice. Just after the build up of the last verse, as they sang "Better, better, better, better, ahhhh!" each word a higher note, just after Paul shouted, "Oh, Make it! Yeahhh! Yeah-yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah yeah," L.D. whispered to himself, "Whoa." It was the best song ever made. He felt the art of it in his bones. He felt like lightning. He knew he would never like a song better for the rest of his life.


           "Na, na, na, na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na, Hey Jude"


           The Beatles, with John's voice the loudest, sang the na-nas over and over and L.D. looked at his friends. He could tell they thought it was a cool song, too. He could also tell they didn't get it. They didn't have the lightning in their eyes. L.D. felt like he would cry. He felt a deep, warm flow inside himself. It was like hope.

           It was like Old Mrs. Chaney getting The Spirit every Sunday at church. Especially when Tabitha Brice sang "The Old Rugged Cross" at alter call. She ran up and down the aisles, waving her handkerchief, bawling and shouting, "Praise the LORD!" Her wailing was like powerful music, and though it was loud and almost wild, it still had this soft feeling to it, maybe way down inside it. This must be what she feels like, he thought.

           Then a full orchestra came in, very big and dramatic. Paul shouted, "Jude-Jude-a-Jude-a-Jude-a-Jude-a-Jude-ah!" then sang more stuff, in a shout, he probably made up as he sang it.

           L.D. fell deeper into the heat, into the greatness, into the beauty. He couldn't say the words to his friends because the words wouldn't mean anything to them. So who? He wasn't even sure if Aunt Linda or Dad or anyone would know, would understand him, his need. He wasn't even sure Mom would understand, at least not understand all of it.

           So in his head he said the words to himself because he had to say them. He felt the muscles of his lips form them but his lips didn't move. He felt his tongue and his throat move the words but he didn't make a sound. He knew he was the only one who had to hear his words.

           I have to do this.

© 2006 K.L.Storer, all rights reserved

I'm sure to write more Beatles-related stuff from this point forward. For the next several years there are going to be loads and loads of The Fiftieth Anniversary Of..... Beatle hallmarks to get me contemplating. Perhaps at some point I'll write those ten-thousand-plus words on The White Album. I have a few years before that one hits fifty.



Mon, Feb 10, 2014

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NOPE ICON
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ICON
As I post this, the final session of the Advanced Acting Class at The Human Race Theatre Company WITH Kay Bosse will be starting in just a few minutes, but without me; I have a bad chest cold and it's simply unwise to go out in the frigid air. So, Roy Cohn(Tony Kushner, Angles In America) will have to wait until some later date and another in advanced acting class.


Tue, Feb 11, 2014

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xxxx


Mon, Feb 17, 2014

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Lately I've not had the time to create special graphics and such but I want to make mention of the passing -- and pay honor to the lives -- of several performers who were at various levels of deep importance to American and international pop culture.

1) The Honorable Shirley Temple Black, who will be, of course, best known as perhaps one of the biggest stars to have ever come out of Hollywood and with little argument THE BIGGEST child star of the twentieth Century and since. Yet. Ms. Black's most notable and valuable contributions to the world were her decades of service to her country and the world in the U.S. Diplomatic Corps and her unflinching work to improve the plight of women, globally.

2) Sid Caesar, who is far more The Father of Modern Television Comedy, and comedy in general, than many young people have any idea. Mr. Caesar is more personally responsible for the invention and nurturing of sketch comedy than any other single human being. And he was a master at its execution.

3) Ralph Waite will be forever remembered for his portrayal of John Walton on the iconic 70's TV series, The Waltons. His John Walton was the gentle, stalwart, ever-patient patriarch and considered one of the most idealized father figures of the twentieth century. Mr. Waite had many other fine performances to his credit, including a performance as Pozzo in a 1977 PBS television production of Waiting for Godot, but John Walton secures Waite's place in pop culture history.

On another, non-graphic-created note:

Happy Presidents Day!

STAY TUNED!!!

Meanwhile, the standard "Diary of Artful Things" fare will be back, likely as soon as tomorrow.



Wed, Feb 19, 2014

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

The mock deposition preps went well last Wednesday. The actual mock depositions will be Wednesday, February 26. I'll be setting as much time aside to study up on all the information and be familiar with any printed material the opposing counsels might show me during either deposition. I even arranged to have the whole morning off from the rent-payer to allow for that last cram before the sessions.


EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo

The Expecting Isabel promocast principal photography continues tonight and tomorrow night. I should also be shooting at the show's Tech Sunday and during Tech Week. My realistic goal -- I'm gonna INSIST it's realistic -- is to have the final cut uploaded and ready to consume on Thursday, the 27th.


THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Opening night for The Dead Guy is just a little more than three months away and, for many of you who don't know, the tech aspects of this one will be pretty heavy. A production meeting is imminent. I am on board as what I suppose could be called second technical director. The tech director -- at least that what I see him as -- is Greg Nichols, whom I suggested for the role. I do believe he has the level of expertise needed, and certainly has a leg up on me in terms of the tech knowhow needed for this show. I am on board as sound designer, too.

DTG Promocast Production logo
At some point I do need to figure just exactly how to produce the promocast. I think there's no question that I will be bringing in another camera man for at least some footage. Maybe more depending on how busy I am during rehearsals. I may be quite so.


Not in the audience icon

There have been many local productions with various friends and colleagues involved.

I've been broke.

I've missed them all.

I am more than a little bummed, I must say.



Sat, Feb 22, 2014

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THIS JUST IN:
EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Seems the Expecting Isabel production has developed a last-minute, emergency need for a sound designer. It's not one of those sound-cue heavy and sound-effects-complexed shows, so I have agreed to come on board. I will admit though that I had wanted to have all of today open to work on at least the bass foundation of the promocast for the show. Last night I was scheduled to record a few needed pieces for the production, but most unfortunately, and I cannot stress just exactly how unfortunate it was, the person I needed had to cancel because of a surprise problem. With this being so last minute that presents a very big problem. I will be leaving shortly to get these sound cues recorded. It's so much better that we do it today rather than tomorrow; We're running the Tech Sunday and both recording and then producing this stuff right before the tech rehearsal would not have been good.

I was able to do other work on the sound design last night. The hope was that I have it all done by end of day today, save for tweaking that will inevitably happen at tomorrow's tech; there's a bad possibility it'll be almost save for critical plot-necessary sound cues.

DTG Promocast Production logo
Last Wednesday I recorded the audio for Director Robb Willoughby's commentary voiceover for the promocast. It was short and sweet, which is good because it helps force me to edit a shorter final cut. A shorter final cut is a most certain goal. I also shot a little bit of footage that night. I will shoot more tomorrow during the tech rehearsal, then also during Tech Sunday. I really want it to be only Monday night so I can be dropping b-roll in Tuesday. However, with this new role helping to design sound, I may have to spend a bit of time in the booth on Monday.

xxxx
Audio recording set up
xxxx
Director Robb Willoughby
xxxx
The sound engineer



U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

I have booked another UD Law gig for mid-March. It's a Trial Practice class with Honorable Mary Katherine Huffman, and a scenario which I have done, I believe twice, perhaps three times, before for Judge Huffman. I will actually play both the victim and the accused, neither of which is a type I would be cast as for stage or screen.

In the meantime, my time to bone-up for the mock depositions this coming Wednesday for the current gig has been encroached upon by this emergency situation where I took on the sound design for Expecting Isabel.



Fri, Feb 28, 2014

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I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress
OPENING TODAY
EXPECTING ISABEL by Lisa Loomer, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.
CLICK HERE to watch the promocast
EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress

SOUND DESIGNING ICON

Sound design is finished.

That is, of course, save for those last-minute tweaks, such as revitalizing the Pre-show and Intermission music, which I will do this afternoon.

This one got me a little on edge simply because this time last week I had just become the sound designer. I essentially did in three days what I would usually have done over several weeks. Most of it was done in two days, or a span of about forty hours. But then changes and additions needed to be made. I also had the promocast DV movie as well as the upcoming UD Law gig in the mix, and I have been perpetually sick the last few weeks. Still am, actually.

The needs of this sound design caused me to add eighteen hours of vacation to my week -- where, before this sound design, I ha only slated two, to cover time off Wednesday morning to do final study prep for the Wednesday afternoon UD Law gig.

The compact period to get the sound down, the compromise of the time to edit to final cut the promo movie, my ill condition, the loss of some study time for the UD Law gig, the burning up of vacation time, the loss of work time to adress some projects at the rent-payer: all this has had me feeling a bit of stress. I hink it's safe to say the stress helped me stay sick.

Today, I'm almost on the other end, despite that there's a lot about this past week I'm not happy about.

DTG Promocast Production logo
Obviously, the goal of having the promocast published by Thursday -- yesterday -- evolved into a pipe dream. I've done a slight bit of precursor work on the edit, but have not started the edit yet. I may start it this afternoon, as I am off sick from the rent-payer today. I slept until 1:00 this afternoon. So even though this trailer-style DV movie will be edited quicker than the old min-documentary versions, it's going to take longer than the time I have this afternoon. The promocast is not likely to be published until late afternoon tomorrow, at the earliest; it very well may be Sunday.

Humph!

I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress



I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

I only really had Wednesday morning to study up, to refresh myself with a lot of vital information. I needed more time. I feel I wasn't as on target as I should have been. Add in the level of overall stress I was at and I think I did all the students (the lawyers) I was working for a disservice. Most especially the student in the last mock deposition where I made a couple ridiculous mistakes.


I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress I repeat myself when I'm under stress


Thu, Mar 6, 2014

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EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
Let It Go & Chill Out
DTG Promocast Production logo


In my last post I was in the midst if a bit of stress, but as the graphic I'd created revealed, I was on the verge of the end, since I had enough of a sense of humor to create the graphic. One major stress point, as you five who read this may recall, was that I was placed behind on the promocast production. Well last weekend, Saturday to be exact, I decided to surrender to the situation. My new involvement with the show screwed the deadline for the promocast to be published and that was just the way it was.

The new plan was to get to the editing on Sunday evening after the Sunday matinee performance of the show. Well, I was spent. I did not feel like it. I started the edit Monday evening after a nap. I finished it Tuesday night -- after a nap. There were further "opportunities" to get stressed as I had to re-render the final cut several times; I kept seeing errors when I watched the rendered QuickTime movie. First I saw in the closing scroll that I misspelled costume as custom; then, somehow I had managed to flip a clip 180°. The thing was already five days late, later in the night on Tuesday was not going to be a soul-crunching catastrophe. About 12:30 or 1:00 am Wednesday morning I began the upload of the compressed DTG YouTube channel version. By 8:00 yesterday morning, the movie was posted to our facebook page wall and has made the front page of the Guild website, as well.

It is short and sweet, mean and lean: CLICK HERE to watch the promocast.


THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON

Last Saturday Director Saul Caplan held a production meeting with most of us designers and tech advisors. I was there mostly as one of the video technical advisors, along with Greg Nichols, and I would call myself perhaps the "deputy" technical advisor to Greg's sr. technical advisor status. My impression is that most people give me credit for knowing way more than I really do know.

The ideal equipment scenario, and a couple alternative scenarios, was discussed and some leads on how to get it all and not kill ourselves financially were explored. Expeditions have begun; calls and emails have been made.


AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
CONGRATULATIONS!

The Cast of An Inspector Calls

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Inspector Goole            Dave Nickel

Arthur Birling            Charles Larkowski

Sybil Birling            Annie Branning

Shiela Birling            Caitlyn Maurmeier

Eric Birling            Leonardo Santucci

Gerald Croft            Maximillian Santucci

Edna            Christina Tomazinis

Apr, 2014 addendum -- added to the cast:
Beggar            Jaime McQuinn




DTG Promocast Production logo
AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

Speaking of -- (writing about) -- the next two shows up at The Guild, I have made initial contact to request clearance to use dialogue in scenes for the promotional DV movies. Last night for the Priestley play, this morning for Coble's



Mon, Mar 10, 2014

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xxxx
The Expecting Isabel stage from the sound tech POV in the booth.
EXPECTING ISABEL & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
SOUND DESIGNING, NO, SOUND TECH ICON

I covered sound over the second weekend. Our young and promising sound tech for the show, Maximillian Santucci -- who you may note is cast in An Inspector Calls -- had a conflict for the second week, so I agreed to cover it when he was brought on the production team. Actually, it was so he would be able to come onto the team.

Show Cue Systems icon - http://www.showcuesystems.com/
Friday went okay, though I made a couple minor errors -- which is mostly me being nit-picky. Saturday I jumped a sound cue by a little, but not in a way that was disruptive to the scene. Yesterday, I had a sound cue malfunction. It would have been transparent had the computer not blurted an error beep through the sound system. Fortunately I had enough time before the next sound cue to reboot Show Cue Systems; whatever glitched up didn't happen again after that.

As for the show itself, it continued to go quite well: very entertaining.


On a Personal Note icon
'The Cripple of Inishmaan' Virtual Tour

I let the tenth anniversary of my return to the stage escape me. March 5, 2004 was the first time I stepped on stage in front of an audience as an actor in more than twenty-six years, almost twenty-seven. I'm going to have to write a little about that. It will be posted sometime this week*.

*) HE SAYS!


JUST SO YOU KNOW:
Ringo Starr icon

Chart of the Ringo Seat at the Fraze Pavilion showing that seat BB no 18 is the far right seat in the second row from the stage.png


Sun, Mar 16, 2014

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CLOSING TODAY
EXPECTING ISABEL by Lisa Loomer, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of Expecting Isabel
CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Miranda            Rachel Wilson

Nick            Shawn Hooks

Lila            Amy Taint

Yolanda            Dorothy Michalski

Sal            Rick Flynn

Dominic            Joshua Lisec

Pat            Angele Price

Tina            Ellen Ballerene

Isabel            Angela Timpone

The Promocast for Expecting Isabel


     
 Mar 17, 2014

     

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HAPPY ST. PADDY'S DAY!

           
               
                   
                       
                           
                               
                                   







Tue, Mar 18, 2014

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

Did the Trial Practice class with Honorable Mary Katherine Huffman last night, which was held in her court room at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Building. It wasn't exactly the scenarios I thought it would be. At first I was to be both the victim and then the accused from the same case. I've done this particular case several times in the past. Sunday morning I got an email that there was a bit of a change up. This time I was the defendant from that same case, an armed robbery, and then the defendant from a drug deal case. I'd not done the second one before so I had to learn it Sunday. It really wasn't difficult to get all the facts down though.

I also picked up two more UD Law gigs for April. I've done one of them before. It's a wrongful death civil case. The other is a murder case that I'm not sure if I've done before.


SOUND DESIGNING ICON

I've been approached about designing sound for a production at another theatre next fall. I have to look at all the variables before I go on board.


What's the Agenda?

Essay

I am working on an essay about my ten-year anniversary back into the world of acting and associated activities. It should be posted soon.



Fri, Mar 21, 2014

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In the audience icon

Carrie: the Musical at Beavercreek Community Theatre -- A week ago I saw a really nice production of what I have always thought of as a pretty unlikely musical based on Stephen King's horror classic. Many very fine performances on that little stage last Friday evening. I was not enthralled by some of the actual music score, but thought the cast and instrumentalists performed it all well. Kudos to Director Chris Harmon and all the production crew. Kudos to Ms. Samantha Creech (who did good work as the title character) and all her cast mates: Aaron Brewer, Kaleigh-Brooke Dillingham, Ben Douglas, Danielle Kubasky, Meagan Kuchan, Kelli Locker, Bethany Locklear, Bobby Mitchum, Jared Mola, Natalie Sanders, Lewie Smart, CJ Suchyta, and Taylor Winkleski. *note that all but one cast member from The Gifts of the Magi from last winter at DTG were also in this cast.

A few brief moments from the Q&A after Dr. Kaku's lecture. Background music: portions of the instrumental "Seeking," © K.L.Storer.
Theoretical Physicist Michio Kaku at Wright State University -- Wednesday evening at The Nutter Center at WSU, famed physicist Michio Kaku, co-author of String field theory, and known for much commentary on TV, including being a main expert commentator for the Discovery Channel program, How the Universe Works, gave a lecture, the title of the talk being, "The Physics of the Future." That is lockstep with his latest book, which has hit Number One on the New York Times Best Sellers list, The Future of the Mind.

Of course, Dr. Kaku spoke at the level of the layman -- but, not a stupid layman. He briefly discussed many fascinating topics. Two that struck me were his concept of consciousness and the fact that that technology can now successfully decipher brain signals to the point that the words a person thinks can be successfully translated and rendered.

I'm not going to lay out his ideas of the stages of consciousness here, but I will tell you he had a great explanation for why human beings seem to be the only living things with a sense of humor. His explanation is that it is because we are the only beings that have a conscious that predicts the future. Jokes are funny because we predict the normal outcome but what we get is an abnormal outcome. I'm not sure that this explains how such things as irony or schadenfreude are experienced with amusement, but his is an idea I am going to think upon.

Dr. Kaku briefly discussed how his colleague, probably the world's most famous living scientist, Stephen Hawking communicates to the world via his computer generated voice through a technology that receives his brain signals and translates them into data that his computer reads as the words he has thought. That's how Dr. Hawking communicates with the world. Click here for a brief account of this concept.

I suppose, strictly speaking, this event has little to do with the "artful things" that this blog is supposed to chronicle, but, you know what? I went, it was cool, and I want to drop a note about it. And this IS "K.L.'s Blog." And I probably could justify this as being relevant with no effort. Some of you may have, already.

Whales of August at The Dayton Playhouse -- Hope to get to DPH either tonight or tomorrow night to see Dave Gaylor, Charles Larkowski, Dodie Lockwood, Marcia C. Nowik, and Gale Smith in this, directed by John Riley.

Other Desert Cities at The Human Race Theatre Company's Can Night -- I completely missed Torch Song Trilogy because of scheduling conflicts and low funds. I am not missing this Race show. ODC is directed by Margarett Perry, whom I had the distinction of being directed by in last year's Marsha Hanna New Play Workshops offering, Michael Slade's Gingerbread Children. Other Desert Cities features Sherman Fracher Jennifer Joplin Scott Stoney Aaron Vega and Kate Young. I will be at Can Night this coming Wednesday, as well as dropping in at least for the pre-show talk with Ms. Perry the next night, i.e.: the "Inside Track," which will be at 7:15 Thursday evening.


AUDITION ICON
Referring to the Human Race again, the company's general auditions for the 2014/15 season are later than has been the practice since I have been auditioning there. The Dayton generals will be in late June this year, with the Chicago generals being in April (a more traditional Dayton time period). I don't have an opinion pro or con on this. I suppose if I were to look at it any certain way it would be that I have a more time to put my audition program together and oil it up.

Back to Beavercreek Community Theatre: there always seems to have been a conflict of some sort -- usually scheduling -- whenever this theatre has put up a show I might desire to appear in. Well, I really want to try hard to avoid that in the summer of 2015. They are mounting Avenue Q! I once again have a chance to go after Nicky/Trekie/Bad Idea Bear 1. Some will know I came close for the Human race production last season; got all the way to the call back; gave a damn good audition, too; but, alas, I was passed over. So, this would not be a professional gig; but still, Beavercreek is becoming quite adept at producing musicals, and I know I have the skill to pull off Nicky/Trekie/Bad Idea Bear 1.

Beyond The Human Race and beyond Avenue Q at Beavercreek, I am starting to eye out the 14/15 seasons at the Dayton area theatres in general, including my own*, to see what's what for auditioning purposes.

*You see, the DTG 2014/2015 season hasn't been announced yet, but being on the board, I know what it is.


What's the Agenda?

Essay

On this date ten years ago, my first production as an adult actor, The Cripple of Inishmaan, by Martin McDonagh, closed at The Guild. That essay on my ten-year anniversary back into acting, etc, is close to finished and very likely will be posted this weekend.



Tue, Mar 25, 2014

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© CLEARANCE IS A GO!:
AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo

Well the good news is that I have clearance from both of the remaining productions to use dialogue in the promocasts. The "not bad news but not as good" news is that the J.B. Priestley people want the DV movie pulled after the show closes.

My plan is to create an alternative version with the background music placed up as foreground music and the audio from the scene shots dropped out. Then I will replace the original with the alternative version when the shows close.


WHALES OF AUGUST AT THE DAYTON PLAYHOUSE:
In the audience icon

Saw a lovely performance of this last Saturday night. Whales is a very sweet, quiet play. Kudos to Director John Riley and his cast, Marcia C. Nowik, Gale Smith, Charles Larkowski, Dodie Lockwood, and Dave Gaylor.


TO GO OR NOT TO GO (?):
Film Dayton icon

Tonight is one of those infrequent times that I can make the monthly Film Connections meeting. I am mostly in the mind to be there. It does look like an interesting night, as illustrated by the write-up about tonight's program, that text which I have stolen from their Film Connections web page:

    March 25, 2014: Filmmaker Steve Bognar returns to Film Connections to present a kind of "state of short films" presentation, where he'll show successful recent short films and discuss trends in shorts. What kinds of shorts are film festivals seeking these days? Why are some shorts chosen and not others? Join this Oscar-nominated filmmaker and co-founder of FilmDayton, who just premiered his own new short at the True/False Film Festival, for a lively, informal discussion.

Mr. Bogner is, for those who don't know, one of Wright State University's own, being faculty in the Motion Pictures Program.


What's the Agenda?

Essay

The ten-year essay is closer. All I have to do is get the conclusion to a satisfactory place. So, perhaps tomorrow...(?)



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Essay

TEN YEARS AN "ACTOR";
STILL KNOWING -- or
an Inventory of a Decade

March 5th marked the tenth anniversary of the first time I appeared on stage in front of an audience as an actor in twenty-six and a half years. This past Friday, the 21st, was the tenth anniversary of the closing of my adult debut on stage, The Cripple of Inishmaan, by Martin McDonagh, showing at The Dayton Theatre Guild. It seems silly to go back over the events that cornered me, confronted me, and thrust me back to acting at the age of forty-five. That's all detailed at the start of this blog and more so in the 2003/2004 essay, "The Knowing In Me," which, if you can wade through the convoluted prose at its start and ignore the pervading naïve pretentiousness, covers the subject of my motivation back to acting, fairly well. This essay should be more about what I sometimes naïvely, sometimes not naïvely, saw ten years ago as I looked forward.

I had some ambitious ideas and ideals about what the next decade and beyond of my life might be like. What a brief inventory will show is that a sizeable amount of the "success" markers have not yet been met. I am not a full-time screen actor nor a full-time stage actor. I have not worked on screen or stage with any of the professional actors whose skills I so admire. I'm not a member of SAG/AFTRA or Actors Equity Association. None of David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brian, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Handler, James Lipton, Charley Rose, Ellen, yadda-yadda-yadda, have ever had any reason to even have me on their radars, much less invite me to be a guest on their shows. Neither Aaron Sorkin nor David E. Kelly, nor any of their professional peers, would think to have an assistant contact my agent because they thought of me for their next project. My hope ten years ago was that at least a little bit of this stuff might be true by now, certainly the "full-time actor" status, if nothing else.

Yeah, none of it is true.

I do not mean to suggest that good things have not come to pass. They have, albeit on different scales, or in different veins, than those lofty items above. I've accumulated an almost decent canon of acting work, stage, movies, no-pay, low-pay, better pay, but mostly no-pay. I became represented by an agent in 2007 and have booked a few professional acting gigs on screen (commercials and industrials), though the best gig I got through the agency was not an acting gig. That gig would be as the stand-in for successful character screen actor Michael Mantel on the set of George Clooney's The Ides of March for two days in March of 2011. I have three times been a working stage actor on the professional stage at The Human Race Theatre Company. I have a few other smallish paying actor's gigs under my belt. At least I have reached the status of semi-professional actor and have been able to legitimately use actor's expenses on my tax returns the last several years.

Though it's not been exactly a juggernaut or skyrocket to major success, which I have and I still dream for, it yet has been a relatively nice run thus far. Mostly the up side is that I have been able to do a number of fine, challenging roles. Some I have loved:

    xxxx
    Jim Lockwood, Barbara Jorgensen, & I
    Johnny Pateen in The Cripple of Inishmaan at The Guild -- My 2004 return to acting could not have been much better than it was. I landed a great character role in a smartly-written script in a magic production. I still have people, and not just a few, tell me this is one of the best theatre productions Dayton has seen. This was my first audition as an adult. My assumption was that I'd audition a few times before being cast. I also went to audition for Dr. McSherry, who has only two or three scenes. Director Greg Smith read me for Johnnypat and my assessment was that I was horrible as Johnny. I was stone-cold flabbergasted when Greg cast me in the role. I was further flabbergasted when I indexed my lines against the phonetic Irish dialect cheat sheets I had made up and realized I had a lot of lines. Johnny is a substantial featured supporting role. He is also a chunk of challenge and a great amount of fun. I was set in the midst of an amazing cast and production crew. My castmates where each perfectly suited for their roles. Greg was at the top of his game as director. Actor/artist Melissa Young (now Melissa Nicole Henry, and most notable today as the soulful alto Miss Lissa in the blues band Miss Lissa & Company) designed a fabulous set. Cripple and Johnny will forever be a hallmark experience for me. It was a magic show.

    xxxx
    Wayne Justice & I
    Clov from Beckett's Endgame at Springfield StageWorks -- It was almost two years before I landed another substantial role, this time one of the two leads. Though if you know the show, you know that my co-star, Wayne Justice had WAAAAAAY more lines to memorize than I. Only partially jesting here, my lines consisted of a heavy diet of variations on "I'm leaving now, I have things to do." Wayne, as Hamm, had run-on, non sequitur monologues that sometimes spanned more than two pages. The role was still fascinating to climb into and the dynamic between the characters, especially Hamm and Clov, made for a strange dichotomy of "family" and "not family." Beckett's script made where I took the character inevitable, yet gave me wide breadth to take whatever labyrinth of paths I wanted to get there. Director Larry Coressel gave me just as wide a breadth.

    xxxx
    John Bukowski, Ryan Deity & I
    Teach in American Buffalo, by David Mamet also at StageWorks -- Without reservation and I can say, whole-heartedly, that my fellow castmates, John Bukowski and Ryan Hester, and I had great chemistry and brought Donny, Bobby and Teach to life. Bob Weisman who was then a colleague of Larry Coressel's from WDPR saw the show the first Saturday and wrote a very flattering email to Larry. I got Bob's permission to reproduce it, in part, back in 2007, and now I share an even more truncated version here:

    I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the play Saturday.... All three actors were terrific. They worked well with each other and the script. The dialogue is terrific, quite funny in places, and realistic sounding.... Teach was very good. I like the concept that he wasn't a raving, off-the-wall threat from the minute he walks on stage. I thought it was very effective that he didn't seem that way at first, when he had elements of uncertainty, almost a whining quality. This gave way to a different Teach as the plans unfolded, tough but controlled, in a certain way, almost sensible. So when he worked himself up to that explosion, it was all the more impressive an eruption....

    I was gratified to have generated a response to Teach and the unfolding of him that affirmed the goal I had. I wanted Teach to appear as an annoying, erratic, whinny, know-it-all chump at the start of the play, but, to have revealed himself to be a truly dangerous man by the end.

    xxxx
    Geoff Burkman, Cheryl Mellen, Saul Caplan, myself, Greg Hall & Dave Williamson
    Zipper from Inside the Gatehouse, a Dayton Playhouse FutureFest 2008 finalist, written by Bill Hollenbach -- Another character who seems much less capable at the start of the play than he does later. Zipper is a civil defense attorney who is a foul-mouthed, limerick-singing, frat-humored goof at the start of the play. Later though, he is the member of the group who starts to figure things out and eventually has the opportunity to go into lawyer mode as he essentially cross-examines one of his friends. He changes completely. One could wonder early in the play how he's a successful lawyer; as the plot thickens and unfolds, Playwright Hollenbach shows us more and more just exactly why Zipper has a winning record in court.

    xxxx
    A Woman on the Cusp adjudication
    Darren from A Woman On the Cusp, by Carl Williams, a FutureFest 2011 finalist -- Loved playing this gentle, thoughtful man who was pulled into a game of subterfuge that made him uncomfortable. Darren is a three-dimensional character who ultimately has good integrity if still being flawed. I also enjoyed playing opposite Lynn Kesson who did wonderful work as that woman on the cusp.

    xxxx
    Matthew W. Smith, myself & Michael Boyd
    Carl in Michael Hollinger's Opus at The Guild -- I didn't really want the role of Carl when I first got it. I was also pretty sure when I auditioned that if I was cast it would be as Carl. After I got to know him and see his character arch, I more than warmed up to the role. I think in many ways his is the most fully developed, the most complete character drawing in the play. Though it most certainly is not his story, he does change the most; he's forced to change the most. As with all the characters I've already mentioned above, I was well pleased with my work as Carl. It was nice to be in that ensemble of actors, too.

    xxxx
    Heather Atkinson & I
    Ray in David Harrower's Blackbird, also at The Guild, and thus far, what has been my favorite role -- There may be a few people reading this who know the story of how this production came to be. As concisely as can be, here's what happened. At FutureFest 2008 I became acquainted with one of the adjudicators, Andrea J. Diamond, who was at the time a resident director at The Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. A topic of discussion between us at one point was William Petersen whose work I admire very much, and who had recently left the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation to return to stage work, and had made his native Chicago his home base. Ms. Diamond, as it turns out, had worked with him several times in his earlier career on stage and told me, "If you think he's good on screen, you should see him on stage. He's mesmerizing." It turned out that he would be appearing in Blackbird at The Victory Gardens during the next summer, 2009. I went to see him on stage. I left completely blown away by not only the work of both Petersen and his co-star Matty Hawkinson but by Harrower's intense, gutsy, brilliant script. I knew as I walked from the theatre that I had to do that play, and I set about hatching a plan to make it happen.

    Enter Heather Atkinson (who played opposite me, as Una) and Natasha Randall. Heather being my co-star who was also interested in doing Blackbird and joined me in the quest to get on stage with it. Natasha, who wanted to come on board as our director. We took it to The Guild and did a private stage reading for the board, essentially and audition presentation to persuade the board to put it up as a special production. They were persuaded and over the weekend of April 22-24, 2011 we did what we all three immediately afterward decided was a far too short run of three performances.

    For those not familiar with the play, Ray did something in his past that was, to be the kindest, foolish and ill advised, and in the eyes of many, depraved and dastardly. Fifteen years earlier, when he was forty he had a three-month, intimate relationship with Una, who was twelve at the time. Some of my friends were perplexed that I would want to play this man. There are a lot of reasons I wanted to. The play, the playwright, and Ray, himself, never deny the actions he took in the past. But the play and Ray both challenge the nature of his guilt. The play dares to ask questions most people would not be willing to entertain. Can an adult have sex with a minor, a twelve-year-old and not be a pedophile? The play does not answer the question, either way, but it is a compelling dialectic on the theme. The script also compels the actors to play the characters, both Ray and Una as their past involvement being more than sex, more than molestation, they cared about each other. Ray loved Una, be it unacceptable, be it abnormal or deviant. There is such complexity to the play, the dialogue, Ray and Una, such depth and edge to it all. It is compelling to watch and was compelling to play. I played Ray with sympathy; I played him as if he would never think or fell about another twelve-year-old as he had for Una. It made for great theatre and it made this the most challenging and most rewarding work I have done, thus far. Ms. Atkinson, by the way, did amazing work.

    As an aside, I recently discovered that Petersen also played Teach in a 1991 production of American Buffalo at Remains Theatre, a theatre he, Gary Cole, and others founded in 1979.

Above are the ones I favor the most, but I've enjoyed many other roles as well.

"Aspiring," though not yet impressively "accomplished," film maker has been a part of the last decade, as well. If you go back to the start of this blog, and perhaps even the "Knowing in Me" essay, there's mention of the goal to shoot a short movie, starring myself, to get the acting "CAREER"off the ground. I did a little practice, five-minute short, Muse, which has never been shown or posted because I cut it to Pat Metheny's instrumental, "Midwestern Night's Dream," and was never able to secure clearance to use said music. Still it was a nice little exercise. I did write a screenplay that I have scrapped, based on a short story I wrote, "Shiloh." This was to feature myself. I then wrote another screenplay, which, though on the back burner, like another movie project, is still slated for completion. Though I need a strong young woman to play a twelve-year-old and the particular talented young lady I wrote the script for can no longer pull that young of an age off.

'THE CHORUS FOR CANDICE' a short movie by K.L.Storer, featuring Kimberly J. Reiter with Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai
'BE OR NOT' icon
DTG Promocast Production logo
The Chorus for Candice, featuring Kimberly J. Reiter, Charity Farrell and Benjamin T. Sadai, was the first, since Muse, to make final cut. That screenplay was based on my short story of the same name. Then I got a few other thus-far unrealized ideas, none which I have retired, and I paired up with Fred Boomer to do a test project. What we wanted to see most was what worked and didn't work, what was easy and what we needed to be careful about, when shooting multi-camera. Over the course of Nov 2008 and June 2009 we shot several segments, with talented friends of mine, for an improvisational full-length. The project as a whole, now known as Vignettes in Bellcreek is nowhere near final cut, but it will be. Some may know that out of it came the short, starring Natasha Randall and Craig Roberts, Be Or Not.

Undeniably, the "film making" I do the most, and am known the most for are the promotional DV movies I produce for the stage productions at The Guild. I'd done a small handful for a few shows when DTG was still on Salem Avenue, we called those trailers. Some concern was expressed that without getting permission to use the dialogue from the scripts, we might be running a foul of copyright license. My initial reaction was that our us was fair use, but after looking into it, it seems not quite so cut and dry. We stopped doing them for a while. But they came back with the 2010/2011 season on Wayne Avenue with an introduction to the season starring Fleeta May Bryte (Greg Smith) as interviewed by Blake Senseman. From then, on into the start of this 13/14 season we have called them podcasts and they've been seven to fifteen minute mini-documentaries where I have gotten comments from the cast members and the directors and blended those with rehearsal footage. I have sought clearance from the copyright owners of each play to use dialogue in the podcasts. Usually I get it, but not always. When I don't, the rehearsal footage is silent, under commentary. When I do get clearance I show some good, non-spoiler moments from the show. With Expecting Isabel, which just closed last weekend, I have changed to format from the "mini-documentary" back to the old "trailer" approach.

'VIGNETTES IN BELLCREEK' logo -- D.P. Fred Boomer operating camera woth Director K.L.Storer next to him.
SOUND DESIGNING ICON
It would be nice for me to get to the other film making, the narrative-fiction sort, that which I am really most interested in. I can start by FINALLY editing to final cut, Vignettes in Bellcreek. I could finish that screenplay mentioned above. I could get to the other movie projects ricocheting around in my addled brain.

I have also garnered a not inconsiderable canon of sound design work, which has been mostly, but not exclusively, for The Dayton Theatre Guild. It started with the sound effects and Foley sound for Muse and The Chorus for Candice. The first play production I designed sound for was Israel Horovitz' Park Your Car in Harvard Yard which went up at The Guild in January of 2008. To date that has been one of the most complex and sophisticated sound designs I've done. A few other show designs for which I feel a special sense of accomplishment are Kimberly Akimbo (David Lindsay-Abaire), Frank's Life (Mark Dunn), The Sugar Witch (Nathan Sanders), Wittenberg (David Davalos), and A Tuna Christmas (Ed Howard, Joe Sears, & Jaston Williams). I've done probably at least as many more designs for DTG as well as several for various FutureFest productions. I tried to trim down the ones I featured here, but just couldn't allow myself to not mention any of those particular plays.

DTG Producer icon
I've regularly produced shows at The Guild, at least one per season, some seasons two, and do a reasonably good job. It started with Grace and Glorie (up March 2005) and I've produced at least one show per year at The Guild -- sometimes twice -- every season since, up through Donald Margulies' Time Stands Still earlier this season. I am already slated to produce one next season, so long as I don't get a pro acting gig that would cause a conflict; the understanding is always that if I get a good professional acting offer, I am accepting it.

Many professional development opportunities have come my way through workshops and classes, most have been at The Human Race. At The Race, I've done twelve acting classes, nine of them have been advanced acting classes. Eight of those advanced classes have been with Kay Bosse, whom I have appeared with twice professionally -- see a few paragraphs below.

'STILL ME' ICON
On screen I've appeared in a few non-pro independent films, the most recent being Greg Nichols' Medicine. And, some will know that I have appeared professionally in one movie, Beth McElhenny's multi-award-winning Still Me, starring Scott King and Tina Gloss.

As for the rest of those bone fide professional acting gigs. Most of them have been industrials and local commercials through the Roof-Goenner Talent Agency, which later became the PC-Goenner Talent Agency.

U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
You five regulars will know I often do the paid UD Law gigs where I play clients and witnesses for UD law students in scenarios from client interviews, client counseling, and all the aspects of trial (interview, deposition prep, dispositions, trial prep, and direct/cross examination in mock trail settings. One benefit of the improvisation workshops and the portions of workshops that included improv is that I've honed a passable skill at improvisational acting, which is the meat of one of the UD gigs. It's not as free-forum as most improv; I am bound to whatever the facts of the case and my characters involvement is. Plus there's always a character profile the may be sketchy or may be relatively robust. I have freedom as there is not script, but I cannot betray the stated facts of profiles. Still, it's great exercise and a little bit of income.

EMC Card
CAROLINE, OR CHANGE by Kushner and Tesori at The Human Race Theatre Company.
GINGERBREAD CHILDREN by Michael Slade, workshopped at The Human Race Theatre Company.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF  at The Human Race Theatre Company
Over this decade there have been a few paid stage gigs but the big ones have happened in the last several years, all at The Human Race Theatre Company: Caroline, or Change, Gingerbread Children, and Fiddler on the Roof. Caroline and Fiddler were Equity/non-Equity productions which means that non-union actors have the chance to join the Equity Membership Candidacy Program. Essentially each week of rehearsal and performance is one Equity point. When actors have earned fifty points (with no limit on how long it takes) they then have a five-year eligibility period to join Equity. If they are cast in an Equity show at any time during that five years they must be signed to an Equity contract and join the union. If don't join within the five years, or when cast in an Equity show the accumulated weeks of credit (points) expire, and the actors must start over. I elected to become a candidate. Gingerbread was a workshop contract, so no points, but between the two eligible shows I have fifteen points, six for Caroline, nine for Fiddler.

I could have done those Equity shows as a local jobber, i.e.: a local, non-union performer. I debated a little as to whether I should go the EMC route or play on the Race stage as a local jobber. A few of my actor friends advised me against joining the EMC program. Their main point was that once I became an Equity member, I would be prevented for appearing in any productions in any Dayton theatre except The Human Race. Clearly I have shown I can make it onto the Race stage, but, the most I would likely ever get on that stage would be once a season, which so far has been the case. I don't think that I can be complacent enough to believe that such will always be the case. That's just not wise. If I were Equity right now, still living here, I would have to be auditioning in Cincinnati, Columbus and probably Indianapolis.

I elected to join the program. First off, it would take likely no less than ten years to get to the fifty points, especially if I only depend on The Race to earn my points. I would be retired from my rent-payer job so I would have the freedom to take contracts at theatres outside of this area. I could more easily move outside of this area. Honestly, there would not be a big obstacle keeping me from moving sooner than that if I decided it was necessary.

The involvements in these professional stage productions has been an experience I am humbly grateful about. I've thus far had a chance to work with some wonderfully talented professionals who have shown me even better how to be a pro. I'm not going to list all the amazing talent I have crossed paths with because of my fortune to be in these shows, it's a long list. I will say I have had the chance to take the professional stage with a few colleagues from my current and past non-professional theatre work.

I have twice been on the Race stage with Saul Caplan, in Caroline & Fiddler. Saul has directed me four times and is about to direct me a fifth time, later this season in The Dead Guy at The Guild. Saul and I have twice appeared on The Guild stage together, as well. The lovely Charity Farrell and I have now shared a professional stage together twice, in Gingerbread and Fiddler. When this talented young lady was only about fourteen, we did a little musical at The Guild, The Dorn/Francoeur Nutcracker, nine years ago. Two years later, Charity was a featured player my The Chorus for candice short. I took my first advanced acting class with Kay Bosse in the fall of 2011. Just before those sessions ended we went into rehearsal for Caroline as Grandpa and Grandma Gellman. About a year ago, we were on stage again in Gingerbread, where Kay and Charity both played my daughter, at different stages of her life. I've also been on the Race stage with local actor Jeff Sams, in Fiddler. Jeff and I have not directly worked together, otherwise, on stage. But I have produced a show he was in, The Story of My Life, and Jeff serves on The Guild board of directors with me.

Dayton Theatre Guild
As for The Dayton Theatre Guild Board of Directors, within that first year that I was back to acting I was invited onto the board. I have remained a member and currently play a role on the executive committee. The Guild is my home and even if I leave, even if something extraordinarily unlikely were to happen and I was, say, a resident artist at steppenwolf in Chicago, The Dayton Theatre Guild will always be, in my world of theatre arts, my native home. I've logged a lot of miles getting to and a lot of hours being at The Guild. I have been facetiously accused of living in the theatre by some. There have been times when it has been pretty close to true.

Why am I so dedicated to The Guild. When I was in high school at Wilbur Wright High in East dayton, Ohio, the man who directed all but one of the plays during my time there was Charles (Chuck) Scott. Chuck was a long-time board member at The Guild. He would take the WWHS Thespian Club, of which I was naturally a member, to the dress rehearsals of Guild productions. From the perspective of a teenaged actor what I saw on that little thrust stage was tantamount to professional level. When I cam back to acting my first audition was at DTG, because it was a familiar place to me and I had a memory of high quality theatre. I was auditioning for Cripple and I had no illusions that I would be cast. I did not believe I would be. I assumed this was just me introducing myself to The Guild and the Dayton theatre community. When I was cast as Johnny I was floored. What I found with that production and then in my time since then, is that my impression all those years before was not simply the perspective of a kid watching adults perform. The Guild is a quite exceptional theatre that holds its own against any professional theatre in town. There are many local theatre goers with quite discerning tastes who favor The Guild over all other theatres in town. I will not engage in trashing other community theatres, and there are a few that I frequently find do very fine work, but, bias as I am toward DTG, it is the one that most consistently reaches the level of professionally high-quality theatre, in performance and design.

But of course, the Guild is not flawless. Other theatres in town are ahead of us as far as lighting hardware, for instance. We still need to fix some acoustical problems. Both of those issues are slowly being addressed. I also, without naming shows or names, will not willingly stand proud behind every production that has gone up at DTG since I've been around. There are a couple that were simply embarrassing and a few others that did not meet our standards. This is community theatre, in the end, so not every actor to walk on our stage is remarkably talented. But our standard mode of operation is doing great work with talented actors, many of whom ought to be doing it professionally -- and some that are doing it professionally whenever they can    cool smile icon.

The Dayton Playhouse FutureFest 2008 deserves a special note, too. For most of this subject decade I have been involved in this annual summer new play festival. I've been there three times without being cast in a show, and twice I didn't audition. This is one of my favorite activities as an actor. I like the idea of participating in early birthing process of plays. I like the convocation of theatre artists (casts and crews), theatre aficionados (the adjudicators) and theatre enthusiast (a collection of savvy, thoughtful audience members). Also, as I was able to once express to Dayton Daily News writer Meredith Moss, with FutureFest I get to play a role that nobody has defined. When I was Teach in American Buffalo, I was following in the footsteps of Robert Duvall, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, and now we know, William Petersen. Those were some big shoes to fill. When one is doing a role in a performance for a new play festival, that sort of baggage isn't there; there is no high bar hurdle to match. Plus there is a very clean slate. Even if another actor has done the role in another festival or in workshop, that is an innocuous factor, as opposed to: Pacino played him on Broadway. It's satisfying to step into a fresh, new role in a fresh new play. And since I've specifically identified two of my FF roles as some of my favorites, sometimes those roles are great roles to step into.

So what does all this mean? Okay, so, I am not a full-time screen actor nor a full-time stage actor. I'm not a member of SAG/AFTRA or Actors Equity Association. None of Letterman or any of his contemporaries are vying for my appearance. My agent's phone number isn't on file with Aaron Sorkin. The odds aren't amazingly in my favor for any of these, either, even less so since I live in south-western Ohio -- though a few medium and big-budget films have shot here (Ides of March) and because of the Ohio movie industry tax incentive more are coming.

The point to all this is that to catalogue what I have done in the last decade is important, for me, if nobody else. Those naïve ideals and ideas from a decade ago of where I would be today are sorely unmet, that can't be reasonably debated. Yet, when I look over what all has happened in the last decade, it's a pretty robust inventory of events and involvement. Have I even been on the non-professional stage or screen as much as I would like? No. Some of that is because of the other artistic distractions; somewhat in conjunction with that last fact, I haven't auditioned as much as I could have. Another factor is that you just don't always get cast. A few of the times I haven't I am convinced were mistakes, but, there's an admitted bias there. Overall though, I have had some wonderful roles that I am pleased to have landed. And despite my self-critical affinity -- which I defend as ultimately a good thing -- I overall believe I've done some good work. I pine to get to brilliant work, but don't believe I've reached that yet. I've perhaps had some brilliant moments, and perhaps a few performance that were very, very good, but being labelled a brilliant artist in any of my ventures would be a misnomer.

But the value of me writing this essay, of stating where I have not yet been and where I have thus far reached is for me to have a reasonable reckoning of it all. I have an occasional tendency to adopt the stance that I've truly done little or nothing, that it has all been a futile waste of time and energy, and that my ambitions are a joke. Well, that is simply not true. I am not as far along the path as I wish to be, but when I look behind, the junction I turned left at to head this way is only a small, blurry dot. And I have liked the hike.

I close with a link to a recent BackStage.com article: "How to Know When It's Time to Give up Acting," by Lisa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun.


Film Dayton icon

I did make the Film Connections meeting Tuesday night to see Steve Bognar, film maker and faculty in the Wright State University Motion Pictures Program, give a presentation on the state of short film. It was an illuminating night. What struck me most was the current trend, or movement, or whatever it is, away from traditional narrative in shorts. It actually gave me a little more hope for Be Or Not. which is most certainly not a traditional narrative, at least not much of one. To be honest, it made me feel a little better about all that raw footage for Vignettes in Bellcreek, which when brought together is in no way going to be able to be a traditional narrative.


In the audience icon

I saw the final dress rehearsal of Other Desert Cities, by Jon Robin Baitz, at The Human Race Theatre Company, directed by Margarett Perry. I'll write here what I wrote on facebook:

    Good performances, good story, good night in a theatre.

Other Desert Cities features Sherman Fracher Jennifer Joplin Scott Stoney Aaron Vega and Kate Young.




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