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

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Tue, Apr 1, 2014

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This past Sunday, late morning to early afternoon, I played hooky from my "responsibilities" and felt not one microbe of guilt. The last couple years I haven't been taking advantage of all this lovely forestry in my back yard very often. I am not allowing myself to be too busy this season. Besides the fact that all this incredibly beautiful land is why I chose to live where I live, to begin with, the title of this little home movie is a key clue to why I will spend more time in these places: "Stress Reduction."

xxxx
xxxx
xxxx
I have had some really bad bouts with stress in recent time and it's time to counteract that dilemma. The less stress, the better the creativity. There's enough inherent stress in the world of artful things as it is; managing it better does not occur to me to be a bad plan.



THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON

Soon I will be engaged with a talent agent again. I have a couple choices; one is more likely than the other. I do still need to get new headshots, and I do still want to go with the concept of splitting the photo session in half so I have pics of me with a beard then without. The problem is I had to shave the growth I had for a few months before the last UD Law gig, so it will be a while before I'll have a bearded face that would work well. I may ditch the idea, I may not. I can't afford the headshots in the immediate future anyway. Still, the agent plan's afoot.



Sun, Apr 6, 2014

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Tax Time skull and bones ICON
THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON

It's probably not necessary to remind most of you five that April 15 is looming in the near future. I'm essentially done with the process of organizing all my tax info together, actor and rent-payer. All I need to do is a last check to be sure I've forgotten nothing. My big worry is that I have not kept the reserve of personal withholdings in my savings account; I have dipped into it so deeply that I actually owe it more than $1000. The idea is to keep 30% of all wages earned from acting gigs, none of which ever has withholding deducted by the issuers. That way if my actor's business deductions don't keep me from owing, I have the funds on reserve to cut the check. If that happens this year, I could be arranging payments.

On the bright side of looking at this, I should have built up the largest personal withholdings I have ever built up because this year I earned more as an actor than I ever have before. Not that it was enough to support me. It's still, by economic standards, supplemental income. But, there are two professional theatre gigs to report on this tax return, as well as several UD law gigs and some industrial web videos, the latter two done in 2012, but the checks didn't arrive until early 2013. Yeah, no fortune, but still, some sort of progress financially. And bigger steps just in terms of professional work.

Cue the whistling from Monty Python's "Bright Side of Life."


U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
NO TV ZONE

There won't be much, probably no tax work done today. I have a gig tomorrow at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Building. It's a scenario I've done before, but it's been a few years and there is a lot of detail to know. So today is overwhelmingly about study for that. Thus, today is declared a "No TV Zone" day. At least most of it is. Maybe tonight, but probably not. When I need to take breaks, the TV will not be a part of those.

Okay, technically, the TV will be on, but it will be on iTunes internet radio through Apple TV, my choice of station most probably Groove Salad from Soma FM, a personal favorite, I believe I've mentioned here before.


PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

Here are a couple recent or upcoming things that I know about from the professional art lives of some friends.

• This isn't, strictly speaking, a gig, but it is related to a friend's creative arts professional life. Dayton-local novelist (and local actor) Katrina Kittle was recently interviewed by The Huffington Post: "Reasons to Be Happy: Interview With Katrina Kittle."

Charity Farrell will be a lead vocalist aboard the Celebrity Millenium UK Cruise ship. Her contract begins later this month.

• And, of course, Scott Stoney is currently appearing in Other Desert Cities, at The Human Race Theatre Company, directed by Margarett Perry, and also featuring Sherman Fracher, Jennifer Joplin, Aaron Vega, and Kate Young.

CONGRATULATIONS!
*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!



Mon, Apr 7, 2014

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I'M NEITHER A MECHANICAL ENGINEER NOR A VP/ASST.CEO, I JUST PLAY THEM IN MOCK COURT:
U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon

Mostly I feel reasonably good about my level of preparedness for Prof. James Kelleher's trial class tonight at Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Building. Yesterday, I did spend the whole day working on both the witnesses I play tonight: the expert witness (mechanical engineer) for the plaintiff and the VP/Asst.CEO of the company being sued in the wrongful death suit. i"m always paranoid that I don't have the material quite committed to memory as I should. I have holes today in which to drill and study further.



Wed, Apr 9, 2014

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Monday night's UD Law gig with Prof. James Kelleher's trial class at Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Building went well. I made no blunders that I am aware of and authentically portrayed both the retired engineer, expert witness and the VP/asst. CEO of the company in hot water.

This afternoon is trial prep for the medical malpractice mock trial this Saturday.

Next Monday it's a murder trial when I played the accused as well as a bereaved witness.


AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
Tonight and tomorrow night I am watching the full-run rehearsals of the show so I become at least somewhat familiar with the blocking (where the actors move on stage) of the show. More importantly, I am looking for those interesting moments that I can use in the promocast -- without using spoilers, of course.

Principal photography will be next Tuesday evening, perhaps Wednesday, if I feel it necessary. Thursday only if absolutely necessary, but really I'd rather be editing. Honestly, I'd rather start editing Wednesday evening, so wrapping the shoot Tuesday is my target.


THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
The pre-production work on technical aspects is on-going. Yesterday I took hit three Goodwill stores, looking for a prop video camera. I'm calling it "The Beardcam," as it is the non-functioning prop camera that Dougie the cameraman will use. Mounted on it, or installed in it, will be a smaller, HD WiFi camera, which will send a signal that will be utilized for the real-time images of the action on stage that get fed to monitors on stage.


AND ON ANOTHER NOTE:
Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour

I kind of wish he'd taken a year off from the US.

Louisville is only a little more the 2 1/2 hours.

I am weak.

I am also pretty close to broke.

But Addiction is a persuasive sumbitch!

Some premium ticket packages go on sale for Louisville in less than a half-hour as I finish this and post it.

What will happen?



Thu, Apr 10, 2014

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U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
Trial prep, yesterday, for the medical malpractice mock trial this Saturday, went well. The student lawyer in one of the two renditions of the case was able to come up with some strategies to combat the silly misstatement I had made during the deposition. All of us actor/witnesses are checking up on some things before the trials Saturday, as requested by the lawyers in both versions of the case.

Tax Time skull and bones ICON
In the audience - Not in the audience animated gif icon
Next Monday it's a robbery/murder trial, again for Honorable Mary Katherine Huffman, and again at the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Building, where I play the accused as well as a bereaved witness. I received the material Tuesday evening, but haven't had a chance to start studying. The process of creating my index, flash cards starts at lunch today.

I'd love to think I have most of the weekend to work on it, but, aside from the mock trial Saturday morning and afternoon, I really need to otherwise give as much of the weekend as I can to the 2013 tax return. And I actually still have some minutia of actor's expenses from 2013 yet to calculate.


AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
Also, there's this before the weekend.

Last night I audited the full-run rehearsals of An Inspector Calls and will so again tonight. As I said yesterday, this gives me a good idea about usable moments. I also will know where I need camera's B & C to be positioned and where I need to be with camera A (the mobile camera) during those usable moments I want to shoot.

My goal is still to wrap principal photography Tuesday and have Wednesday and Thursday to edit to final cut. Wouldn't mind getting to final cut Wednesday -- but I'm not greedy (nor naïve). Since the new target, for the "promocasts" is five minutes or less, it's not impossible to wrap Tuesday. I just need to not be disappointed if I am not done with the edit before Thursday.

Oh, and by-the-way: the first of the new promocasts, DTG Promocast 1314-05 Expecting Isabel, came in at 2:16!


Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour
Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
NOPE ICON
Trying to get in on the pre-sale yesterday was a bust. Since I don't have an American Express card, I couldn't buy just a ticket at Ticketmaster on-line; only these uber-expensive "Premium Packages" were on sale for non-AX holders. Two of the packages actually included attendance at Paul's sound check, which would be a sweet thing, but the lower tier of the two was $1500. I didn't even look at the price of the top-shelf package.

I do have pre-sale privileges through paulmccartney.com, but after I rushed there I then clicked on the wrong link and was scrolling through a few dozen foreign venues before I realized my error. When I got to the right link to buy a ticket for Louisville on June 26, I was way back in a queue. By the time I was in to purchase, there were only "premium" seats on the back of the floor. Those may carry a premium price, but they are not premium seats. They are the worst seat in the house. They should cost less than seats at the very top of the arena bowl. The front section of the floor and the first dozen rows on the front portions of the stands were all gone.

Bottom line for me: I'm not spending the premium money for a seat on the back of the floor, or any money for one too far up in the bowl. And I'm not driving all that way for any such mediocre seat.

If I see Paul live this year, it'll be a show not posted yet. So here's hoping more dates pop up. The Nutter Center, just in my back yard, would be good -- big grin icon -- but it's really not big enough. It has about a 12,000-seat total capacity (less a good 750-1000 behind the stage). I don't think Paul does arenas that small any more.



Tue, Apr 15, 2014

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photo POV from the front patio of my apartment, looking at lawn and trees blanketed with snow, and my car, balnket in snow, with the headlights on
This morning, as I left for the rent-payer, on this. April 15, three and a half weeks after the Vernal Equinox (i.e.: "THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING" ). But, no further comment from me, except that it is kind of a cool pic, no?


U.D. Law - University of Dayton School of Law icon
The medical malpractice mock trial is over for 2014. No surprises save for neither set of defense councils went as deep as I expected or even as deep as they had suggested during trial prep that they were going. I also got pretty much softballs from opposing council.

As were the other actors, I was asked if I would want to return to this semester-long case next year; save for a currently unknown project that conflicts, I am in.

Last night I did another mock trial as both a witness for the prosecution and the defense. When the case was first described to me it didn't seem familiar, but after I startred looking over the material I realized I did do this one a few years ago. This one has some problems with the material that the actors get. All of us had incomplete information and some of us had inconsistent facts from others. I don't think these are planned discrepancies, which is not outside the realm of possibility, but are rather errors in the construction of the exercise.


Tax Time skull and bones ICON
THE BUSINESS OF ACTING ICON

DONE
Today is Tax Day in the ol' U.S. I am finished with mine, I am happy to say.

Here's the skinny on my 2013 tax return. I spent late Saturday afternoon into the evening diligently following along with all the small business deductions, charitable deductions (the latter mostly mileage), and all the minutia of inputs that Turbotax guided me through. It was a several hours of painstakingly and patiently filling every appropriate field, sometimes doubling back to make sure I missed nothing. AFter all that time, for the year when, as ultimately minuscule as the sum is, I earned more as an an actor than I ever have, and with over $3600, almost $4000 with some depreciation figured in, Turbotax informed that I was better off with the standard deduction. My return this year will be 75% of what it was last year. Well, hey! I could have owed.

On a most-related note: I also, last week, brought all my actor's expenses and mileage for 2014 up-to-date, as well as my volunteer's mileage. And I have since made all the appropriate new entires.

No income to record yet; the UD gigs will all hit in one check after the spring semester ends. Here's hoping other actor's income is generated.

The trick is to keep this year's records current for the whole year. . . . .


AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
DTG Promocast Production logo
The goal of wrapping all principal photography tonight is in a little jeopardy, but it can't be helped. One of the cast members had to suddenly leave town a few days ago on urgent personal business and may or may not be back in time for tonight's tech/dress rehearsal. The contingency plan is to shot all that I can tonight, then if necessary I will come back tomorrow or Thursday and get footage of that actor to cheat in. As to how deep that cheating would be depends on when the actor returns. If it's for tomorrow night's rehearsal, then it's simply getting that footage as pickup. If the actor doesn't make it back until Thursday, then it will be pick-up as well as inserting the actor into the edit, which I would work on tomorrow night without that actor's footage.

In fact I am starting the edit after work today, getting at least the opening flourish out of the way. With the exception of two actors' pics, I have all the graphic inserts done. Here's the story on those pics. If you're a Dayton theatre person you may realize that the two young actors, Leonardo and Maximillian Santucci are twin brothers. Now because of individual grooming and personal style, these two young gentlemen are in fact distinguishable when you meet them -- see them -- in person. However, with the headshots of them it's not as easy to discern which is which. When I was processing the images a few days ago, I had to contact Max, send him one of the two photographs and ask, "Is this you or your brother?" The last thing I want to do is display the two with their names switched. Now that I know who's who, I can get that dealt with quickly.



Wed, Apr 16, 2014

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

DONE -- with principal photography, at least. All cast members were present and accounted for and I shot all of the first two of the three acts. I should be able to find sixty to one-hundred-twenty seconds of interesting moments to use from the seventy-some minutes of footage. Technically I have two-hundred-plus minutes but it's the same seventy-ish minutes from three different cameras.

The opening flourish -- the promocast logo, the show logo and the little opening flourish musical scale -- is already edited together. I also bought and licensed some royalty-free music from D.A.W.N Music, "Agitatissimo from Kreisleriana, Opus 16," by Schumann, as the underscore for the main body of the promocast. Last night on the way home, I decided I needed one more graphic processed for the promo: a group cast photo, which I can easily acquire and process today for the evening's editing session.

I have no reason to believe I won't reach final cut tonight, which is probably a statement that tempts fate.


THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The pre-production work toward the technical aspects is still very much underway, but there has been lethargic progress. My search for the "beardcam," (the prop camera that the working, small WiFi HD camera will be merged with) has not been successful. We've also had no luck locating some light towers, which our scenic designer, Jeff Sams, wants for the set.

Some technical aspects are probably close to in place. There is some AV signal-splitter software I will probably download today in order to investigate the interface. We need a signal splitter to deal with both live feed and DVD material during performance.

And by the way: if you can help out with "Beardcam": KL_Storer@yahoo.com.

DTG Promocast Production logo
This is another production where since I am in the show, principal photography of the rehearsals needs to be altered -- I ain't on a camera, at least not much. There may be some moments I am not on stage and can shoot other actors as they rehearse, but, due to the nature of my character, the network TV camera man in the play's universe, there are probably not many. Certainly I can set up stationary cameras, but there needs to be mobile camera shots in the promocast; it's simply more visually interesting to have a good portion of such in the mix. Greg Nichols will be on set a lot, but he'll probably be too busy. And I haven't even thought about when I edit the damn promocast -- clearly I take at least one vacation day the last week of May.

Meanwhile, auditions are this coming Monday and Tuesday. *See below until Apr 23.



Fri, Apr 18, 2014

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OPENING TODAY

AN INSPECTOR CALLS by J.D. Priestly, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.



THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

Since last we met here I have good sources for the beardcam. I will pick up two cameras and see which one works best for the production.

We have a production meeting tomorrow where I am sorry to say it will mostly be the case that we find we aren't as far along as we all wish we would be. But then, I mau just be a pessimist and it may turn out that we are dong just fine.

Later today I will download some AV switcher software that we hope will work to handle the signals from the small HD camera shooting the live action and the DVD player running the pre-recorded TV commercials.



Easter Sunday

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HAPPY EASTER



AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
The first two performances have gone well. I was in the building, but it was the typical situation that I was working house management so I did not attend to the performances themselves.

The audience feedback was positive and the actors felt good about their work, however.




THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
Had another production meeting Saturday. As said before, we are not where we wanted to be on technical pre-production, but we are not horribly behind, either. There are some signal carrier issues to work out and we do have a late-breaking kink in our system but it;'s something that be worked around.

And a reminder, auditions are tomorrow night and Tuesday, at the Guild. *See below the current blog entry until after this Tuesday.


Dayton Theatre Guild
ANNOUNCING THE DAYTON THEATRE GUILD 2014/2015 SEASON

1) Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, by Lee Blessing
Directed by Ralph Dennler
showing weekends, Aug 22-Sep 7, 2014.
*auditions Mon & Tue, July 14 & 15, 2014

2) Good People by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Debra A. Kent
showing weekends, Oct 3-19, 2014
*auditions Mon & Tue, Aug 25 & 26, 2014

3) **HOLIDAY EXTRA**
Isn't It Romantic, by Wendy Wasserstein
Directed by Marcia C. Nowik
showing weekends, Nov 21-Dec 7, 2014
*auditions Mon & Tue, Oct 6 & 7, 2014

4) 4000 Miles, by Amy Herzog
Directed by Kathy Mola
showing weekends, Jan 9-25, 2015
*auditions Mon & Tue, Nov 24 & 25, 2014

5) Desire Under the Elms, by Eugene O'Neill
Directed by Craig Smith
showing weekends, Feb 27-Mar 15, 2015
*auditions Mon & Tue, Jan 12 & 13, 2015

6) Criminal Hearts, by Jane Martin
Directed by Saul Caplan
showing weekends Apr 17-May 3, 2015
*auditions Mon & Tue, Mar 2 & 3, 2015

7) Heartbreak House, by George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Patrick Hayes
showing weekends, May 29-June 14, 2015
*auditions Mon & Tue, Apr 20 & 21, 2015

*audition dates are subject to change

Shows run three weekends
First Weekend: Friday 8pm, Saturday 8pm, Sunday 3pm
Second & Third Weekend: Friday 8pm, Saturday 5pm, Sunday 3pm

Individual tickets
Adult: $18
Senior (60 or older): $16
Student: $11

Season Tickets
Season tickets for the 2014/2015 season are on sale now..

IF PURCHASED DURING THE RUN OF AN INSPECTOR CALLS, THERE IS A $5.00 DISCOUNT ON SEASON TICKET PACKAGES!
*see below for contact info for various season packages, as well as ticket purchases in general

- www.daytontheatreguild.org click on "Tickets" button or "Get Your Tickets Now"
- or call 937-278-5993
- or at the box office day of the show

*All individual tickets purchased in advance via our on-line ticket system or by telephone will also include a $1 convenience fee.
**Special pricing for groups of 10 or more, call the Box Office at 937-278-5993 for pricing.

For more information, see www.daytontheatreguild.org



Wed, Apr 23, 2014

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NEWS & NOT YET NEWS:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

The next week will be some heavy work on getting the technical aspects of the multi-media for the show into shape as well as possible. I have two different "beardcams," one donated by an individual, local film maker Andrew Estevez, the other loaned by DATV (Dayton Access Television). Both sources are the result of help by Megan Cooper, a local actor, but, in this case, she was acting through her capacity as executive director of film dayton.

There are many ducks that not only need to be put in the proverbial row, we need to get our hands on them in the first place -- we need to pick which ducks to lay hands on. We need to define and build the equipment pathway between the HD WiFi cam and the flat screen TVs, with pathway intersection for the prerecorded material. Most of the prerecorded material was provided by associates of the playwright and the original production: the title sequence for the faux TV show of the play, and the mock commercials. We plan to shoot some of the reality TV testimonials in the script, as well. And there's some talk of shooting some location moments, but that is not farther along than discussion, at this point. All this A/V production needs to be fast-tracked now.

Auditions are, of course, done, although the last I heard the cast is not 100% locked in. That should be happening soon, probably be the end of today.


"IN MY GREEN METAL SUIT, I'M PREPARING TO SHOOT UP THE CITY!":
Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour
fb post -- "Just yesterday I was saying how I needed an excuse to go to Chicago.": image of Paul McCartney playing his Hoeffner bass in concert with the text, "More U.S. Dates confirmed."
Paul McCartney at Chicago United Center seating chart, xxxxxxxxx
The graphic above is, of course, an approximation of where I will sit. Row 15 may be up or down a little, and seat eight may be left or right a little -- probably more right as you look at the image.

And the ring at the end of my nose
Makes me look rather pretty
It's a pity there's nobody here to witness the end
Save for my dear old friend and confidant, Mademoiselle Kitty.....

Louisville on June 26 may have been a bust. Chicago on July 9 is a GO! So I am going to Chicago at least once this summer.
Ringo Starr icon
This means that in a week's time I will have seen both living Beatles in concert. Ringo on July 2 at The Fraze Pavilion, next door to Dayton, in Kettering, Ohio; a week later, to the day, Paul at The United Center in Chicago.

I have a better seat for Ringo in Dayton than Paul in Chi-town. The first couple times I tried to get to the order page this morning the server blipped me out with a message that said, "Oops! Something happened! Try again!" That was enough space of time for the better seats to be eaten up.

Okay, William Shatner & Kaley Cuoco, now it's your turns -- for Chicago, at least.



Sat, Apr 26, 2014

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DEAD CAST & DEAD TECH:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
The Cast of The Dead Guy
CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Gina            Amy Askins

Elden            Chris Hahn

Dougie            K.L.Storer

Christy            Angela Timpone

Virgil            Aaron Brewer

Roberta            Teresa Connair

Security Guard            Wayne Wolfe

Leon            Tim Moore

Woman 1;
Sheila

           Carly Risenhoover-Peterson

Woman 2;
Nancy
           Jenna Burnette


As predicted, the cast was locked in Wednesday evening. It's a strong cast with three completely new faces to The Guild stage. The table read is this Sunday evening after the curtain for An Inspector Calls, and rehearsals begin in earnest -- ie: blocking -- on Monday.

VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
Though not quite yet in panic-mode, I am feeling some small anxiety creeping into my veins about the tech issues and how we need to close on them soon. I have solicited some advice about various hardware and software needs and how-to's. It's eleventh-hour for this technical world of the production and it needs to begin manifestation in fulfilled concept and material reality.

DTG Promocast Production logo
As for the promocast DV movie, and the potential difficulties of being the producer/director while I am in the cast of the show, I think this one is going to be much easier to produce with a lot of work-arounds. There will be footage shot as part of the multi-media aspect of the show. I can and will use a hefty amount of that. In conjunction, I will be able to keep the need for someone to shoot other promocast footage to a minimum. I don't really need to be in much of it, anyway. I'll still probably bring someone in to do a little promocast shooting, but not much.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
I've also turned some focus onto the sound design for the show. This one won't be one of the complex designs, but there certainly will be some good measure of ambient sound as our hero, Eldon, makes his one-week sojourn. The pre-show and intermission will be interesting as I believe the soundtrack will be music Eldon has in his record collection. I believe between myself, our director, Saul Caplan, and our Eldon, Chris Hahn, I'll get a good play set going.


TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER:
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
TOYS ICON
TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
TASCAM DP-03 8 Track Digital Portastudio Recorder
You five regulars here may remember that I have often experienced a production problem when trying to record audio in the theatre building at The Guild. I get what is called radio-frequency interference or RFI, more broadly known as electromagnetic interference. Frequently, especially when in the actual theatre space, I pick up a local radio station and that signal is incorporated into the background of whatever I am trying to record -- usually a synchronized soundtrack for DV movie footage I am shooting of actors doing commentary for a podcast.

I also shoot what is known as an archival recording of all our productions, and I have done the off-board synchronized audio recording for those, in hopes of having better audio. The radio station signal has made an appearance on every single synchronized recording I have made for the archival DV movies.

About six weeks ago I sought advice from Shaunn Baker (World Stage Media & film dayton) about what might be the problem and what solution there might be. I had some theories but mine were, by in large, uninformed theories. I needed input from someone who knows of that which they speak. Shuann is one such person.

xxxx
After some Q&A, Shaunn rendered some advice. To set that up, again, you five may recall that my usual system for recording audio as either synchronized soundtrack or as voiceover, I run the mics into a small mixer, using cables that are XLR out of the mic but have quarter-inch plugs (like what goes into a guitar and its amp) on the input side, which is what my small mixer uses. From the mixer I use a stereo audio cable with two RCA small 1/4 inputs down to a 35m input that then plus into an iMic, which then plugs, via USB2, into my MacBook Pro. There I record the audio digitally with garageband. Though not a closeup, the pic to the right shows this configuration.

Shaunn's assessment was that the biggest problem with my set up is the computer connection itself. The little 35m plug isn't going to shield anything. Shaunn says it's been a problem for a lot of film makers using DSLRs too. He said the mics I'm using need to have XLR connections, which they do, but, my mic cables have quarter-inch plugs on the end that fits into the amps or other machines. The 1⁄4 inch going into the mixer may be another likely culprit.

"XLR connection," Shuann says, "is a 'balanced' audio system. Balanced systems have 3 wires -- two carrying the signal, and one ground which works as a shield."

The bottom line: balanced mics with XLR connections are crucial to eliminate radio or other noise. "The XLR connection is your friend," Shaunn says. He also suggested there could be other contributing variables such as the mics themselves (though not probable); the cable going from my mixer to the 1/8 inch plug going into the MacBook. He told me that standard computer mic inputs are notoriously problematic. He then added the suggestion that I find another recording device, which might be my best option. And here we are.

As I have been entrenched in procuring all sorts of A/V related equipment for The Guild, for The Dead Guy and other DTG projects, it tickled the nerve and my intentions to get myself a digital audio field recorder as recommended to cure my RFI problem and also because it would be good to have one, otherwise. I went hunting and landed my eyes on the subject of this section, the TASCAM DP-03 8 Track Digital Portastudio Recorder.

A few days back I found one on sale at a ridiculously low price, pretty much half off retail list, but that company is out of stock and will not have any until after I need to employ the recorder. So I spent almost $100 more -- still not retail -- to purchase it from another vendor in order to have the machine in my hands before I need to use it for both Dead Guy production work and for the synchronized soundtrack for the An Inspector Calls archival DV movie. I do need to get straight XLR cables for my mics still, as well. Not really a problem.

The TASCAM arrives probably Tuesday.



Wed, Apr 30, 2014

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DEAD ALL OVER THE PLACE:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
xxxx
The DATV camera, on loan for the show
xxxx
The donated camera from Andrew Estevez, sitting on the tripod loaned by Fred Boomer

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Blocking rehearsal began Monday evening. Dougie doesn't have a whole lot of lines but he's in a lot of scenes; he's the camera man capturing the action for the reality TV show in the universe of the script. To keep me from obstructing the view of audience members, Dougie is on his knees shooting quite a lot. Kneepads are in order, sooner rather than later. It's a god bet I stop in the sporting goods store between the rent-payer and rehearsal tonight. We are rehearsing offstage in the boardroom office, with carpet, and there's already been a toll on my knees. The hard floor of the Mirkin stage is only going to be worse.

Unfortunately I cannot report that I am off-book (have my lines memorized). There's not that much to commit, but I haven't had the time to attack it. That should come soon. I do want the book out of my hands as quickly as possible so I can work with the prop cameras all the way through each scene. I already am as much as I can. There are many scenes where I have no or very few lines, I am using the cams in those. If I have a lot of lines I am not because holding the book and the camera is too awkward. So, getting the book out of my hands sooner is better.

I need good sense of how Dougie is shooting everything, plus I need to get my body used to holding the camera. Some muscle stress and cramping in all of my shoulder, arms, neck, and legs has been proving an issue this week. The leg cramps are from the crouching positions that Dougie is in quite often.

I have figured out a very good way to use both the prop cameras we have been graced with for the production. Because it came with a tray for fastening the cam to a tripod, we are using the camera that Andrew Estevez donated for the scenes where we need Dougie's camera on a tripod. The tripod, by the way, is on loan from Fred Boomer -- I wanted a heavy-duty one that looked like a part of a professional TV production; the ones I own are most efficient for my use but lack the look we need for the show. For the hand-held scenes we are using the one on loan from DATV (Dayton Access Television) and Steve Ross.

VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
We may need to alter some of the vision for the multi-media aspect of the production. Without getting into too much detail there is an issue concerning the live-feed. The problem is that any wifi HD camera we can get hold of for the production will not have a powerful enough processor to prevent there being a latency in the image on the flatscreen TVs. The action would likely be anywhere from one to three seconds delayed. That simply would not work.

We are making every attempt to find a viable work-around, but thus far we have not found one. There is the idea of using a cable instead, but that is not tenable on our thrust stage. It also doesn't make sense that Dogie would be cabled in all these location shots wehere he is shooting remotely, on the go in amusement parks and hospitals, etc., etc. The suggestion was also made by a consultant that we send a wide-screen standard definition image, but I have found no wifi cams that will send such.

The multi-media aspect will still be strong in the show, it just may take a turn from what was originally planned. There are plenty of pre-recorded spots, provided by the original production, as I;ve mentioned before. In lieu of losing the live feed to the TVs during scenes on stage we will pre-record more of the reality TV participant's testimonial sequences, as well.

There's still a last-ditch effort to save the live-feed, but it's not looking like it will happen. Though there is a much better chance of one particular scene being live on the screens. No details, though; that'd be a spoiler of a sort.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
I have not yet given this much more focus but will begin that soon, within the next few days. I do have a strong idea what music I would like to see at curtain call. There does not seem many places during the show, itself, where scene-change music is called for. Most changes will be covered by the pre-recorded commercials, provided us, or some of the testimonials that we will shoot.

There will be some location ambient sound needed and some sound effects, such as several cell phone ring tones. yet, as I've said before, this will not be a terribly complex sound design.

DTG Promocast Production logo
There has been no production on the promocast whatsoever. But I do have the premise. And I am likely to do some pre-production (for post-production) soon; it would be such things as logo graphics for the DV movie, the text of the credit roll at the end, and procuring the underscore music, that music which I have a strong idea about what I want. I also still need to secure clearance to use the television program's opening splash. I have clearance from Playwright Eric Coble to use text from the play. The provided pre-recorded material is separate clearance.


AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
In the audience icon

I saw the show Sunday as an audience member. Fine work on stage! Some of the performances were down right excellent. Everybody was good.

Major kudos go to Dave Nickel (Inspector Goole). Earlier in the week Dave injured his back; he almost was not able to do the show this past weekend. However, Dave summoned the fortitude to go on, and I'm sure with more than simply the feeling of discomfort. There are a few physical actions Goole has to take that were reassigned to another actor. However, between Dave's perseverance and the seamless manner the duties were passed off to another (Jamie McQuinn), the audience was none the wiser that anything was out of the ordinary.

My new nickname for Dave: Dave "The Show Must Go On" Nickel.


TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
My TASCAM DP-03 sitting ontop of its product box, on a library shelving truck at work
TOYS ICON

Until only a few minutes ago it seemed that when I wrote that my new TASCAM DP-03 8 Track Digital Portastudio Recorder "arrives probably Tuesday," I was apparently too optimistic. As late as only a few minutes before I am writing this sentence I had no evidence that the order had yet been processed, at all. Earlier in the day I'd emailed the vendor, inquiring about an ETA on when it will be shipped, and I still have not received a response. I also note that the charge has not hit my credit card account yet, even as a pending charge. The worry began to arrise that I would not have the machine in time to use it to record off-board audio for the archival recording of An Inspector Calls this weekend.

All is well. The machine is in my hands! Despite that the charge has not hit, the order has been completed as far as its arrival to the customer. I also note that the invoice lists a different vendor. I wonder if newegg (where I ordered the TASCAM from) changed the supplier due to the first vendor not having the machine in stock. Well, it's of little matter now; and though my card has not yet been charged, I have not doubt it will be.

As well, I have ordered two 30-foot XLR mic cables for use with the TASCAM, and that order has shipped with delivery expected on Friday.


SOMETHING COOL THIS WAY COMES:
Dayton Theatre Guild

Another project I have and am involved with in the technical aspects is a new feature of The Guild that the board has been working on for a few months. Stay tuned for a big announcement in the near future



Fri, May 2, 2014

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DEAD STEPS FORWARD     (??) :
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Dead On, or: Not -- The little icon may say that this sub-section is about "the actor, preparing," but it's really about "the actor hasn't yet done much preparing." Dougie is not what I'd label a major challenge to embody, but I have not spent hardly any time on him, in terms of character or lines.

Lines won't be too much work; he doesn't have a lot of them. Character?: again, he isn't a deep, complex psyche to delve into, but what character I have attempted, and only actively in rehearsal, has not been on the mark, or close to it. The problem, I believe, is that I have consciously avoided playing the obvious clichés or stereotype that the text suggests. I think I need to forget that tactic to some extent as well as develop a general focus on inviting Dougie onto the stage with me, that latter which I clearly have not yet done. I've been preoccupied with the tech aspects of the show as well as tech aspects for The Grand Illumination of the new DTG electronic marquee. It's time to get Dougie into shape.

VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
The Dead Or The Living -- As the event horizon of the black hole that is "Tech Ready" looms, the concept of the real-time, live-feed simulcast feature for the show becomes more and more unlikely. Several people, who know what they speak of, have been consulted and none have had a solution for doing wireless feed, without latency, at a price that our meager budget can withstand. The towel has not been thrown in yet, but it's poised for the toss -- we are getting too close to the need to have the tech aspects up and running; the decision of what road we're taking needs to happen sooner rather than later.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
Dead Sound Germination -- The plan is to get as much of the sound designed built tomorrow as I can. I'd be happy with virtually all of it done, save for the tweaks that can't be done till we start throwing it into rehearsals. I'll probably over design and have some things either cut or toned down, between my own initiative or the behest of Director Saul.



Sun, May 4, 2014

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CLOSING TODAY
AN INSPECTOR CALLS by J.D. Priestly, at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of An Inspector Calls

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Inspector Goole            Dave Nickel

Arthur Birling            Charles Larkowski

Sybil Birling            Annie Branning

Sheila Birling            Caitlyn Maurmeier

Eric Birling            Leonardo Santucci

Gerald Croft            Maximillian Santucci

Edna            Christina Tomazinis

Beggar            Jaime McQuinn



Thu, May 8, 2014

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CATCH UP

THE TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER:
GENERAL TECHIE STUFF ICON
*I'm going to have to update this graphic to reflect the new toys being employed
TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
MOVIE PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
AN INSPECTOR CALLS & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
YaY!
Success!
xxxx
The new machine, on the counter in the tech booth at DTG, in position for its maiden voyage
xxxx
Aiming the double-cams at the main stage for the archival video recording of An Inspector Calls.
xxxx
Another view of the double-cams.
xxxx
Mixing down from the TASCAM to the MacBook Pro.
Before anything else, I just need to put this out there:

LOOK MA! NO MORE FRIKKIN' SPANISH
RADIO STATION IN THE BACKGROUND!!

It's not that I have anything against it being a Spanish radio station in the background of the audio recordings I do at The Guild, it's that it's ANY radio station. You five will remember that I was prompted to get the TASCAM based on this recurring dilemma I faced due to what is known as RFI (Radio Frequency Interference, AKA electromagnetic interference). Although, truly there are many other reasons to have upgraded my audio recording system.

Of course, the TASCAM arrived last week. As excited as I was/am it arrived, I had little time to give it much attention. You five may remember that I wanted it in time to use for external audio for the archival video recording of An Inspector Calls -- I shoot an archival for all The Guild shows. Also I needed the XLR mic cables to show up, or using the eight-track recorded would be of no value, since the RFI would still attack my recording. The XLR cables arrived Friday, so I was good to go.

Sunday's utilization of the TASCAM was pretty much flying blind -- I had not test-ran the equipment beforehand, but slightly. I counted on my basic knowledge of such equipment, as well as the user's manual, to know enough to get the tracks recorded. That I did, after some false starts, prior to the show, during my "testing."

At first I was concerned because it seemed I would not have the volume to properly pick-up the voices on stage from where the mics where set, in either corner of the down stage seating section. However, I discovered that there was gain control in the EQ settings, so the concern was unfounded.

As for getting the recordings from the TASCAM onto my MackBook Pro and on into the Final Cut Pro X event folder? There are a few ways to do it. There is a procedure for exporting the audio wave files from the machine to computer; I also could remove the SD card and use my small universal card reader to transfer the wav files. Either of those mean I have to convert the files to AIFF files, as that is what most is seamlessly editable in my Mac software.

The conversion from WAV to AIFF is not a problem. However, I opted to play back the audio in real-time on the machine and run the line-outs into my Mac, via a stereo splitter cable, into iMic then on into the laptop and re-record the audio with garageband. My reason was two-fold: 1) time was tight and I didn't want to deal with learning how to use the machine's interface to export; 2) more importantly, I would not need to synch two sound files for each take. I used two mics and two channels to record the audio for each act. I placed one mic stand in the back of house left (down stage right), the other house right (down stage left), each mic aimed slightly left or right of up stage center. With the two mics placed so, a true stereo mix is possible -- so if an actor walks from left to right on the screen, while talking, his or her voice and foot steps will stereographically move coincide, if one is watching on a system with stereo, of course.

I recorded Act I on tracks 1 & 2, Act II on 3 & 4, and III on 5 & 6. I didn't want to have to bother to synch each of those pairs of sound files together. That meaning that track one was the left side of Act I and 2 was the right. As two separate WAV or AIFF files, I would have to be sure, if mixing them on sound software on my laptop, that the signals from both tracks would be perfectly synchronized or one side would be an echo of the other.

By running the playback from the TASCAM into my laptop and re-recording it with garageband, I was able to simply set the stereo pan I wanted, and let the audio from each act play out. My stereo mix is not total channel separation but still enough that the listener gets a good sense of left and right on stage. This may not always be how I do it, and if I haven't recorded in stereo, it would be unnecessary, but I am sure I will again. There is a slight drawback of it being a real-time rendering. It took more than two hours, because all three acts added up to such. In this case that wasn't a problem.

xxxx
The new window panels for the light booth.
Note Addendum PS icon
On a loosely related subject, we now have several window panels spread across the opening of the tech booth at The Guild. The purpose is to deflect the sound from stage back and keep it from being absorbed into the back wall of the booth. It seems to be successful. However, as the guy who shoots the said "archival videos" of each production, the window panels make doing more of a challenge. I shoot from the booth because that's really the only out-of-the-way spot that will work. I used to be able to pan the hand-held camera and get cut-away shots that could follow an actor over a bit of distance. I also had total freedom to shoot an angle for an actor in either the down left or down right vom -- which would be out of frame of the fixed camera on a tripod that is shooting the whole stage. There is an opening between two panels, just at the center of the booth facade that allows the setting of a stationary camera to shoot the main stage, but, the panels on either side of that mid-point opening are close enough that I ca no longer pull back enough to get a wide shot that can encompass all of the playing space. Ironically, it's the top and bottom of the wide shot frame that is compromised. So for An Inspector Calls, I had to use two of my three cameras to shoot stacked wide shots of the main stage: one favoring the upper part of the stage, the other, the down (lower) part of the stage. Camera 3 was for the cut-aways.

I can shoot cut-aways through the glass of the window panels, but following actors across stage is no longer an option unless their movements are limited enough I don't get a border of a panel in frame.

Only thing to do is adjust accordingly.

BUT HEY!: NO RADIO STATION!!!


DEAD ELEMENTS:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
DEAD WHAT -- By Tuesday I was starting to be happy with where I was going with Dougie. At this point there's nothing else to write about this except that I'm only starting to be happy with him.

VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
DEAD VIDEO -- With some room for change and adjustment, most decisions about how we are doing the video technology for the show have been made. Wednesday I ordered more than $500 worth of items, all designated to be re-purposed at The Guild after the show has closed. The items will arrive from the various vendors by Wednesday, at the lastest. Because our lead actor is out of town, there is no rehearsal Monday and Tuesday. It would thrill me to no end if I could test run some of this system we are cobbling together on those nights, or at least Tuesday. It will depend on when things make it to my hands.

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
NO TV ZONE
DEAD DECIBELS -- Saturday I started the sound design and where I made progress, it was far more lackluster a ground-gain than I'd hoped. I've identified needed cue files and pulled the ones I have from my library, as well as grabbing a couple others from on-line. Much of Saturday I did not watch TV, though I did have an internet piano jazz station through iTunes on my Apple TV whilst I did a lot of the work. Later I did put on some TV shows; most of the day was, in my mind, however, a No TV Zone.

I have yet to build anything, or Foley anything, but that begins tonight when I record the cast as a whole chanting a couple phrases that protestors in the script are chanting in Act II. I will have them repeat each phrase enough times that I can successfully layer them to multiply the crowd. There may be some other presently upcoming chances to record other people and add the to the mix, which I will do if I can.

DTG Promocast Production logo
DEAD PROMOTION -- Along with receiving clearance from Playwright Eric Coble to use dialogue from the play, I have also just been granted clearance to use portions of some of the pre-produced stage multi-media movies, we've licensed, in the promocast, as well. To refresh, there are pretty-well produced faux commercials as well as the TV show opening sequence and various count-down videos, that theatres doing the play can license from Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Texas. I don't plan to use much of this material, but what I do use will enhance the promo greatly.

xxxx
Sound design Saturday morning in the laundry room
xxxx
Laptop closeup
xxxx
Another view



Tue, May 20, 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 Here's one....

STAY TUNED!!!
What's the Agenda?
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON DTG Promocast Production logo
CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
Vacation, pre-ChiTown icon
In Concert icon In the audience icon
Still much happening and I'm still in the midst of the "doing." I will post some Catch-up -- the good and  the bad -- when I get the time.




The Board Members of the Dayton Theatre Guild invite you to join us on Saturday, May 24 as the Guild unveils our new digital Marquee.  We will meet in the lobby of the theatre at 8:00 pm for dessert, conversation and a champagne toast, then proceed outside as we light our new Marquee for the first time. We are very excited about this next step in our renovation and would like you to celebrate with us as we become more visible in our community -- DTG Board of Directors.


Mon, May 26, 2014,
Memorial Day

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"I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, 'Mother, what was war'? ~Eve Merriam; In honor of the millions who have fallen in the dreadful responsibility of armed service"
All that stuff it says in the last post about what's coming and why it hasn't yet: it's all still true......


Fri, May 30, 2014

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Opening Today

THE DEAD GUY by Eric Coble , at The Dayton Theatre Guild.







STAY TUNED!!!
What's the Agenda?
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON VIDEO PRODUCTION STUFF ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON DTG Promocast Production logo
CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
Vacation, pre-ChiTown icon
In Concert icon In the audience icon
ALL THIS STUFF IS COMING!
PLUS MORE

REALLY



Thu, June 6, 2014

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CATCH UP

THE DEAD GUY:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
PRODUCTION GREMLIN ICON

I'll be back later with much, much more to say about this production, but for right now I want to at least remark a little on the opening weekend. By and large the weekend went well. The punk GREMLIN has been around a lot and certainly this past weekend. There were some incredibly badly-timed video tech malfunctions that interfered greatly with some key moments in the show, the same spot two nights in a row. I am "cautiously optimistic" that the issue has been solved. I, in fact, am dropping in to the theatre tonight to do a little private tech rehearsal just for the sake of my own sanity and anxiety level -- and, well, yeah, mostly foremost because it's the due diligence for the sake of the show reaching its best success level.

Despite the tech issues the performances were at their usual high levels this past weekend.


AUDITION ICON

Tuesday evening I auditioned for the three staged readings for the forthcoming Dayton Playhouse FutureFest 2014. I usually only go for the fully staged shows, but this year I need a break from all the dedicated hours it takes to rehearse and get off-book for a fully staged show. I just need to slow down from all that right now. Besides, Monday evening, which was the only time I could have auditioned for the fully staged shows, I was dead asleep, from about 5:30 onward.

To be honest, as for the Tuesday auditioned, I have no great sense that I did fabulously, and there were plenty of men there who matched me, at the very least. I have no strong confidence I will be cast in a show this year.


xxxx

THE GRAND ILLUMINATION OF THE NEW DTG DIGITAL MARQUEE:
Dayton Theatre Guild

The weekend before The Dead Guy opened, Saturday, May 24, the theatre held our Grand Illumination ceremony for the new digital marquee. There were probably sixty people in attendance. It was a nice, exciting event. Both Peter Wine and I shot DV movie footage of the event, The product of that is forthcoming.

*The photos of the event that appear here, above and below, are courtesy of Rick Flynn.

xxxx
xxxx



CHICAGO vacation 2014
In the audience icon
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN at Victory Gardens Theater icon
In Concert icon
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour
In the audience icon
BRIGADOON at The Goodman Theatre icon
I've ended up planning another annual excursion to Chicago:
        				Hog Butcher for the World,
        				   Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
        				   Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler;
        				   Stormy, husky, brawling,
        				   City of the Big Shoulders*

It started with my missed chance for a good ticket to see Paul McCartney in concert in Louisville on June 26. Shortly after, he added a date in Chicago to appear on July 9. Always looking for an excuse for a road trip to Chicago, I went for it. Then I decided to make the trip more eventful.

*from "Chicago" by Carl Sundburg

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN, by Ariel Dorfman, at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60614 - Directed by Chay Yew, featuring Sandra Oh

You five regulars will know that my trips to Chicago have always involved attendance at a theatre production -- and up to now, one with William Petersen. I decided a Chicago summer 2014 theatre production might be good to add to my McCartney trip. The only theatres I've been to thus far are The Victory Gardens Theater and steppenwolf. Steppenwolf's July offering, This Is Our Youth, by Kenneth Lonergan, didn't immediately appeal to me, but as I've learned more I may have to eventually check it out. I looked to see what will be up at VGT and was thrilled to see Death and the Maiden, by Ariel Dorfman and starring Sandra Oh. Sandra is, as many will know, best known for her work on Grey's Anatomy, which I have to admit, I've not seen a full episode of, ever. But I have friends who like her work on the show, a lot, and I trust their judgements. And Death and the Maiden is both an intriguing story idea and well-received critically, so it seems like a good bet. Tuesday, July 8, I'm there.


Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour

This will be my ninth time seeing Paul live. Of course, I've met people who've seen him nine times on one tour, so I'm not presenting my number as magnificent. Nine times is still pretty good. I've seen him at least once on every major U.S. tour, but I've missed him during some of the short tours when he's done only a handful of shows and usually nowhere close to Ohio. I would have loved to have made one of his book store shows in New York or L.A. Seriously: seeing Paul perform in such an intimate setting?

I'm not going to repost the seating chart image here, but in a past blog entry I showed that I have a reasonably good seat for the show. Not the best I've ever had, but more than acceptable. So there's my July 9th evening.

Check out the cool video for, "Appreciate," my favorite song off Paul's new album, NEW:


BRIGADOON, by Lerner and Lowe, at The Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60601

I've not been to The Goodman, yet, and when I mentioned my idea to add a play to the July trip, a friend reminded me that The Goodman was a good theatre. So, shortly after I bought my VTG ticket I thought, well, you know you're not driving back to Ohio after the concert, so you should see what's at The Goodman on Thursday. So: Brigadoon, and a 2:00 matinée, no less. I can sneak in another show and still hit home by 10 pm, maybe 11 pm, but still. I was an un-interested kid when I saw the movie on TV, and I've never seen the theatre production. I will July 10. The cool thing about it is that, if you'll notice, Brian Hill, (re: The Story of My Life), revised the book for this production.


I am not sure precisely how I am financing this trip. The tickets are, of course, covered. I have not secured a hotel room, yet. I have considered staying at The Oak112 Hostel again, as I did last year. It's cheap, it's in The Gold Coast, and it's only a few blocks from a hopin' section of downtown. I'll hit Priceline.com sometime soon. I actually looked a little yesterday and found some rooms at a decent rate, but I'm not sure about the locations save that they are close to Lincoln Park. Beyond rent there's food, gas, certainly memorabilia from the Macca show, if not at least a coffee mug from each theatre. I've had all sorts of occasional bills hit recently, and I've paid for some Dead Guy electronic stuff out of my own pocket. I am pretty tapped for money to drop on several days in Chicago.

BUT HERE'S THE THING: I'VE HAD A LOT OF STRESS, A LOT OF ANXIETY, A LOT OF FRUSTRATION THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS.

I am going on vacation for several days in Chicago and doing so in some sort of style, even if it favors a more modest style. But I'll have a decent room, I will eat in restaurants that charge more than I am used to, I will buy souvenirs from the events, and I will walk around Chicago, drinking in the "City of the Big Shoulders." If I have to take out a signature loan to do so, then so be it!


Vacation, pre-ChiTown

RINGO AND HIS ALLSTARR BAND 2014 TOUR

WIth the exception of possible rehearsals, though I have a feeling not, my vacation actually starts Wednesday evening, July 2, where a week before I see The Beatles' old bass player for the ninth time, I see The Beatles' old drummer for the second time, and again at The Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Ohio, where I saw him several summers ago. One perk is that in the All Starr Band is Todd Rundgren, who I saw in concert about twenty-five years ago, and in Chicago, no less. I'm hoping that Todd is stationed stage left so he's closer to where I am seated in the second row, house right (house right & stage left are the same side, you see).



Sun, June 8, 2014

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Were she alive, my mother would be Ninety-Seven years old today.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM
My Mom, June Storer, at my college graduation, 1994
June Storer
1917-1997


Tue, June 10, 2014

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CATCH UP

DEAD ITEMS:
THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
DOUGIE -- As the actor portraying Dougie, I eventually have arrived at the conclusion that he's come along better than I was initially judging. It goes back to a conversation I had with a work colleague at the rent-payer. The guy has only a passing interest in the whole art and craft of acting. To the best of my knowledge his biggest connection to it is a minor curiosity based on a work friend being a local actor.

"So how's the play coming along," he asked.

Long, verbose explanation from me about the technical hurdles we've faced.

"So how you doing with your part?"

"I don't know," I said, "It's going okay, I suppose. It's not the most brilliant work I've ever done. Actually I'm not feeling like there's much of a performance going on there."

"Isn't that what you always say you want?" he said, "Isn't your idea to not perform but just be the character?"

Yep. That's what I always say. Less Acting, More Being: that is my prime tenet as an actor. I decided to attend to what I was doing with a different critical eye. My report to you -- and me -- is filtered through my lack of an outside viewpoint. Given that, I at least can say I am "happy" with Dougie, or at least not "unhappy" with him. He seems to be presenting on stage as a person in the universe of the play and not an actor playing a role. My other way of phrasing "less acting, more being" is to state that I don't want be "caught acting" on stage. It at least feels like I am being Dougie, that his words and actions don't come off as an actor doing a part, but as Dougie, the camera man and editor of a TV network reality show, who is doing his job, and being occasionally passive-aggressive toward his boss, for whom he feels some contempt even if not a lot of such.

Throughout the rehearsal period I've experimented with his speech pattern, and to some extent his dialect. Dougie is a geeky burnout. For a while there was no question what I was doing sounded forced, at least to me it seemed that way. I don't feel that now. I was resisting what seems to amount to a stereotype speech pattern; it seemed so cliché. In the end, that classic burnout speak -- shades of Tommy Chong -- is what feels correct, or a speech pattern that borrows heavy from it.

As for his status as a geeky burnout, he's a most functional burn out, and despite a suggestion that he's dumb, he is not dumb. He's probably relatively well-read, likely much better than I (as well as the person who made the contentious suggestion). The qualifier for "well read" would be that much of his library would be fantasy and science fiction: Tolkien, Lovecraft, Heinlein, etc. etc., but also Asimov (including non-fiction), Poe, Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthor's Court surely his favorite). If Twain's on the list, Vonnegut is. Certain others of the traditionally classic writers, too. He certainly would have read enough Dickens to be aware of the true literary origin of a reference he makes in the play, especially the particular reference being made. You can bet he's read virtually all of Carl Sagan's, Stephen Hawking's, Machio Kaku's and Neil Neil deGrasse Tyson's books, and fully grasps them.

He's got a BA in production from at least a mid-level university, though there's little chance he came close to the honor role. Not that he didn't have the brains to be there, he just wasn't a good enough student.

Maybe the fact that I can easily assert these things is why I am feeling better about what I'm dong on stage.

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VIDEO TECH -- Back eons ago when last I journaled on the topic of this production, I told how I had ordered a slew of tech equipment for the video portion of the show, and was awaiting the arrival. Though I did this in the recent past, it seems like months ago, so much has transpired in the meantime; that bitch GREMLIN has been heavily involved in most of this process, by the way.

HDMI CABLES: I ordered one 60-foot and three 30-foot RedMere HDMI cables. Digital signals degrade rather quickly over HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cables. RedMere cables have chips in them that boost the signal over distances of more than twenty feet, such as the fifty-plus from our tech booth at the theatre back to upstage where the two wide-screen TV's that will display the production video are stationed. The game plan was to run the sixty-foot from the signal HDMI signal switcher in the booth to the HDMI signal splitter upstage; then run two 30-foot cables from the splitter to one each of the TVs. So that's ninety feet from the source (the switcher) to the display (the two TVs). That's seventy more than the usual good HDMI signal length. The third 30-foot is for the camera for real-time live action during the performance -- hence the reason for the signal switcher in the booth, and also making that 120 feet to the display -- 30 feet of cable before the switcher.

Yeah, well, the 60-footer RedMere carried no signal. So I sent it back and replaced it with two new 30-footer RedMeres, along with an HDMI amplified coupler to connect them for the signal journey to the splitter back stage. That worked.

THE HDMI SPLITTER: As stated, it sets back stage, behind the platform stage for the show. The coupled cable line running from the switcher in the booth goes into it, each 30-foot cable to a TV comes out of it, both sending the same video information, of course. The splitter, like the coupler and the switcher amplifies the signal; it's the last point of signal amplification, and it has thus far successfully worked.

THE HDMI SWITCHER: GREMLIN has been having a lot of fun with this one! He's been having way too much fun with this one. In fact, he is absolutely the only one who's enjoyed his shenanigans. There have been signal connection problems, signal relay switching problems, power connection problems. It seems at some late point the unit may have at least partially toasted. At least the cost came out of my pocket and not the budget of the show. Of course, I found out when I once again brought Shaunn Baker in to consult, that HDMI switchers that are probably up to the task we are asking for run about $1500 or more. I paid much less.

Shaunn's been consulted several times since last I wrote on this stuff, by the way. In terms of moving this shillelagh toward a walking stick and away from a billy club, he's been most valuable.

HD BOX SURVEILLANCE CAMERA: It seemed like a good idea. However, I could never get a usable image on the TV screen. All I got were big, unfocused blocks of colors. It was suggested by one person whose advise I solicited that perhaps there was no lens provided with the camera. It seems to me there was. That concept came after I had already returned it for a refund.

THE SET-UP AND IT'S GREMLIN-RIDDEN JOURNEY: Let me remind you that I did not come on board this project as the spearhead of assembling the video network for the production video technology. I was to be Dougie, the cameraman in the play; I was to be the videographer, both of live feed throughout the performance -- as Dougie -- and of pre-recorded moments from the script that would run during the performance along with video we leased rights to: the fictional TV show's opening sequence and various other production footage related to the TV show, as well as several professionally produced mock commercials. Getting that stuff from the sources onto the two flat-screen TVs was not to be my job. I am not an electronics tech head and of a lot of the technical variables involved in this are beyond my "expertise." Circumstances beyond anyone's control, however, eventually placed the spear in my hand because there was no one else to have hold. I set about soliciting advice and doing what research I knew to do.

That disclaimer made, we had what looked at the start of tech week like a workable configuration. There were a few minor signal glitches that seemed to be quickly identified then fixed.

You may or may not know that the original tech vision was that I, as Dougie, would have a camera on my shoulder throughout the play that would send a wireless signal to a router, or switcher, and then to the two mounted flat screens. We'd still use all the pre-recorded video as well, both what we leased and what we would generate ourselves. Early research, however, proved that the big-boys'-and-girls' cameras that could transmit good HD video wirelessly would cost us somewhere in the neighborhood of $4000 by the end of the run, maybe more.

We came up with a work-around that made sense. When I say "we," I mean Greg Nichols. It was planned to get our hands on an old or broken field camera, buy a small wireless webcam or wireless surveillance camera, mount it on or inside the "beard cam," and we'd be in business. Between myself and Greg, who had to drop out of the project to deal with some pressing issues, we determined that the price for the small wireless camera would run between about $100 and $300.

I know you five may remember that After some hunting for the "beard cam" with no success I put a plea to various places, including facebook, but more importantly to Megan Cooper at film dayton. She passed the request along and we ended up with two different cameras, both that we are using in the show. One was donated by local film maker Andrew Estevez, the other is on loan via Steve Ross and DATV (Dayton Access Television). Having both for the show solves a logistics problem for us. There are two scenes close to the end of the show where we need the camera mounted on a tripod. Before that, all the camera use is on Dougie's shoulder. Actually, there is a scene in between the two tripod mounted scens where we need Dougie to have the camera free. We are using one unmounted and the other mounted so we don't have to deal with mounting and dismounting in the short time it would need to be done during the scene changes. As I wrote in another past post, film maker Fred Boomer has loaned us a heavy-duty pro tripod that looks much better than the skimpy plastic ones I use. Mine are efficient for my use but just won't sell &qout;network production" on a stage. With the two cameras and the tripod we were a little further along in getting the video tech together.

Then the realization hit us all that small wireless cameras would not be able to send a signal fast enough to prevent a latency, 1/100th to perhaps even a half-second delay, between the living breathing action on the stage and the image of that action on the screens. One one-hundredth would be distracting enough and unacceptable itself, a half second might as well be ten seconds. On our stage, Dougie cannot have a camera on his shoulder, following people around with cables attached, which was our only alternative. It wasn't the wirelesses, by the way, it was that those sort of wireless cameras don't have powerful enough processor chips to process the images into signals and send them. It would take the $2500-$4000 rental cameras for that. GREMLIN probably didn't have anything to do with this, but I'm sure I heard his graveled giggle off in a back stage corner somewhere; so he was at least entertained at our expense: the jerk.

So we settled on having live feed in the last scene only, since that takes place in a TV studio and having a cable run from the camera, which could be rationally stationary on a tripod, would be acceptable, even logical. Then the problem with the box surveillance camera reared it's head. I've sent that back for a refund. I drafted on of my Canon Vixia HF R40 HD cameras to take the place mounted on the "studio beard cam."

We leased the majority of the DV movie footage used from Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, Texas, who produced the footage for their 2006 production of the show. They provided the opening sequence for the TV show in the universe of the play, as well as day tags for the show, and count-down video, and several commercials based on Playwright Eric Coble's text for such in the script. I shot footage of some of the reality show testimonials by Eldon (Chris Hahn) and his mother, Roberta (Teresa Connair), plus a cutaway of brother Virgil (Aaron Brewer). Also shot were several spots of Gina, the creator/producer of the TV show (Amy Askins) in some of her on-screen narratives for the TV show. I married some of the footage we leased with what I shot: the Dead Guy logo from the TV show, the count-down video footage, the day taggers, and the commercials. Thus, my credit as "video designer" is valid, despite that we used the pre-produced, leased footage.

QLab3 icon - http://figure53.com/qlab/
We are running the movies from my MacBook Pro using QLab 3, of which I bought the professional license (video only, not audio) specifically for this show. The learning curve was a little steep at first, and the developer, Figure 53, does not do a stellar job of providing good user manual documentation, but between myself and our video tech in the booth, Phil Wiedenheft, we've garnered enough knowledge to successfully run the show. Of course, after June 15 I have to find a reason to justify the $400 I spent on the license. I have no immediate plans to start running shows with it for people, theatres or organizations, though I suppose I am a little closer to being in position to do such -- a little closer. Another step might be to drop another $400 for the pro audio license. Yeah, not happening soon.

At Final Dress a new signal interruption problem came up. At this point I can't remember specifically which one it was, but it was. The problem managed to get fixed before the rehearsal started in earnest, almost. We had a glitch during the first recorded video, but the rest of the night was GREMLIN-free. Things went virtually perfectly Opening Night. Saturday and Sunday did not. The performances by the cast were top-notch. The technology acted up and did so at the absolute worst place both performances. The same place, seriously diluting the moment by sabotaging what is the most important video of the show.

So, enter Mr. Baker once last time. Shuann dropped in and offered his time to help us solve this problem. We looked at the whole network as configured. That was when we found that the HDMI switcher just was not up to the task at handAgain, it was a question of the model that would do what we needed would cost WAY more than our budget would allow; at bare minimum about 700% more. For our second weekend on, we pulled the switcher, and subsequently the live video feed for the last scene, from the configuration. So far as video is concerned, we've been glitch-free.

Three more shows with a reasonable level of cautious confidence......

SOUND DESIGNING ICON
SOUND -- The sound design has gone much smoother. This one doesn't call for the most complex design. There aren't a tine of sound effects needed. I have done some ambient sound for several scenes: a bar scene, a restaurant scene, a hospital scene, a little bit of air tone for a roof scene, all subtle. There are some incidental sounds to help with setting and a few sounds that are germaine to the text.

One sound needed for a cue is a child screaming/crying, off stage. The best sound file I found initially was not a perfect fit but it was what I could find that wasn't too creepy for a comedy, and also that was in the correct age range -- mostly the child screams and cries out there are infants, which would not work here. However, late in tech week I discovered that one of our cast, Carly Risenhoover-Peterson, can do a great kid crying, so I brought her in, recorded her and that became our new, and more appropriate, kid crying off-stage.

Other than that the fun was picking music to use for some scene changes in Act II and for pre-show and intermission. All song that would be in Eldon Phelps' CD collection. There was one great suggestion for a scene change from Stage Manager Shannon Fent, the perfect choice for that particular scene transition.

DTG Promocast Production logo
PROMOCAST -- The promo DV movie has a premise I am pleased with, but it has a couple flaws that I am likely to be fixing. I put it out with the flaws in the interest of immediacy, but I decided I am not happy with the opening narrative; I don't like the way it sounds. I used, I believe the wrong mic and ultimately the quality of the recording is not satisfying.

Also, I was given the wrong spelling of someone's name so it is misspelled in the closing credits. I might as well fix that while I'm fixing the other.


All tech issues aside, the audience response to the show has been quite favorable. People are taking more of a liking to my work as Dougie than I would expect, too.



AUDITION ICON

AND IT'S ON TO THE NEXT AUDITION ICON
Not cast in anything in Dayton Playhouse FutureFest 2014. I only read for the staged readings, because I want a break from the commitment needed to rehearse and learn lines for a fully staged show, as I believe I said before. Of the shows three I did audition for I was sure I would not be cast in pone of them; there was only one role I could have gotten, but another actor was so clearly perfect for the role I knew I would not be cast -- there's just no way the other guy could not get the part. There were roles for me in the other two, but the directors clearly thought someone else was better. In one instance, I was not even read for the role; I believe I should have been.

PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
That next audition?: Tomorrow morning is the time to set the appointment for the 2014/2015 The Human Race Theatre Company general audition. They are later this year than they usually are, being June 21 for plays only and June 27 & 28 for musicals. At the moment I am not sure about auditioning for a musical this year. I really ought to think about it because it probably enhances my chances of making it on that stage. That's not because I am some great double or triple threat as much as because there's more chance of a bigger cast and I can at least carry a tune. Two of the three times I've made the HRTC stage it has been in a musical. I like straight plays more, in fact, I prefer them, and I can't wait until I get a decent role in one there. Love for it to be this season though I see only a few roles that I can type into; the lower number pits the odds against me, as a local non-Equity guy.


Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour

Many have probably heard that Paul McCartney was hospitalized a few weeks back in Japan with some sort of viral infection, and that the entire Asian leg of his 2014 tour was postponed until thus far undetermined dates. Following his doctor's advice, Paul has also moved all his June U.S. tour dates to October. At this point the July 9 show in Chicago is still on. Since I have tickets for shows in Chicago besides the Macca concert, I will be going regardless.

See the article at Paul's website: "Paul McCartney June Dates Re-Scheduled To October."



Wed, June 11, 2014

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AUDITION ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

My appointment for the 2014/2015 The Human Race Theatre Company general audition is set for June 28, at 1:12 pm. As I have before, I am again trying my best to ensure I do a song no one else will do. I am 99.9∞% sure I will sing something fresh to the ears of the auditors.

I alluded in the last post that Mame is my best bet for making it onto the HRTC stage this next season, so, though I was on the fence somewhat about whether I would do an audition for a musical, I ultimately decided that I have to do so.

Like last year, the auditions specs say that the auditioning actor should sing a song "(up to 32 bars) in the style of the show(s) or from the show [the actor is] interested in." Last year I picked the "from the show" option; the year before I chose the "in the style of" route, and I am back to the latter for this one. When I set the appointment this morning I did not know what song I would do. Not but a few moments after I hung up it came to me. It is, I believe, an almost perfect choice. It absolutely fits the style of Mame, yet I just can't believe the sheet music I bring will grace the accompanist's eyes during any other appointment over that weekend -- 99.9∞% sure of that belief.



Sat, June 14, 2014

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flag day 2014

Happy Flag Day!

Also, it so happens that my siblings' youngest sibling is celebrating a birthday today. That person not being quite as old as the U.S. Flag, though a few years now past the age of consent.




PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

Bruce Sabath as Henry Higgins -- Caroline, or Change alumnus Bruce Sabath opens June 17 at the Forestburgh Playhouse in the iconic musical theatre role of Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. The show runs through June 29.

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*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!

As a self-involved sidebar, My Fair Lady was the first production I was ever in. I played the role of Jayme, one of Alfie Doolittle's sidekicks. I had a couple scenes and sang with Alfie (AKA: Jim Rittenhouse) in "With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get Me To the Church On Time." Is was May, 1974 on the stage of Wilbur Wright High School, under the superlative direction of Stage Director Charles (Chuck) Scott and Musical Director Robert G. Johnson.



Sun, June 15, 2014

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Closing Today

THE DEAD GUY by Eric Coble , at The Dayton Theatre Guild.

The Cast of The Dead Guy

CHARACTER
           ACTOR
Gina            Amy Askins

Elden            Chris Hahn

Dougie            K.L.Storer

Christy            Angela Timpone

Virgil            Aaron Brewer

Roberta            Teresa Connair

Security Guard            Wayne Wolfe

Leon            Tim Moore

Woman 1;
Sheila

           Carly Risenhoover-Peterson

Woman 2;
Nancy
           Jenna Burnette

The Promocast for The Dead Guy



Mon, June 16, 2014

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Another show and another night's stay in the "City Of Big Shoulders" has been added to the Chicago Vacation Extravaganza!
CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
A SMALL FIRE, by Adam Bock, at Steep Theatre, 1115 Berwyn Ave., Chicago, IL 60640

Yeah, I just added another show to the Chicago vacation agenda. Rob Koon, Chicago actor and playwright, who has adjudicated several times for FutureFest, is in this added show. I just learned about it and Rob's involvement yesterday. With this one opening on July 10, I decided what-the-hell, and bought a ticket for the opening night. Thus, Thursday it's a matinée of Brigadoon, but now, instead of driving home after that, I drive home the next day, and see a fourth show (third play) during my trip.

Of course, I also now have to pay for another room night at whatever lovely place William Shatner and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting are able to set me up in......


THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.
What's the Agenda?
POST-SCRIPT

In the couple days or so I'll post a little end note about The Dead Guy experience.

Would have last night, except I really didn't want to. Too much mental energy would have been involved.

Besides, I had to create the A Small Fire poster.


AUDITION ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

For a brief period it looked like I might have to change the song I have picked for my June 28 general audition for the The Human Race Theatre Company 2014/15 season. My first choice (only choice) was not available at sheetmusicplus.com, which I had assumed it would be.

My intial web search that followed did not seem to render a replacement service. Later the same day I searched again and came upon musicnotes.com, which does have the score I was looking for. I am also sure that this site was unavailable during that first search because I do believe it was a search result that gave me a 404 message when I clicked on it.

Well, irrelevant now; it did come up the second time. I have the sheet music I want so I can start rehearsing, after I've made the score cut.

Now all I have to do is settle on my monologue.



Wed, June 18, 2014

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Extreme close up of Paul McCartney, taken relatively recently. The text in the image says -- In the late 70's, a playwright predicted that this man would, by his fifties, be reduced to a lounge singer in a half-rate Los Vegas night club. On June 18, 2014, this man is 72 and still one of the hottest Rock Concert tickets in history. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAUL


Fri, June 20, 2014

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POST-SCRIPT THE DEAD GUY & Dayton Theatre Guild combined logo.

I've already written a bit about who I came to see and play Dougie as. For instance, there's no question for me that in the Disney scene there are two bags of pot: the bag Eldon has that is out and touted, and the other in Dougie's sock. But to elaborate more on what I wrote of Dougie in the June 10 post, Dougie is not dumb. His numb-brained, burn-out demeanor is a red herring. He's highly skilled as a cameraman, which means he has the inherent ability to know what's a good shot, what's action worth shooting; to be a camera man at his level of production proficiency, one has to be intelligent. Had he the ambition, he could be a DP (director of photography). There's no question he's been an assistant DP. Were it not for his poor people skills, he'd be a good film director: he'd have a worthy vision but not the ability to communicate it comfortably. As I alluded to before, Dougie no doubt grew up reading constantly and is likely far better read than his boss, Gina (who probably is pretty well-read, herself). Let's say Dougie was good for several dozen books a year. He is socially inept, however, and though he's been on dates, he's not been on a lot of them. Oh, and, he doesn't think a whole lot of Gina.

To be honest, I was a little taken aback by the audience response to Dougie. He won the audience over a bit more than I anticipated, well, legions more, since I really had no anticipation of such. I also truly underestimated how big of a role Dougie was. He has a total of about three dozen lines -- and some of them only one word -- in the whole two hour play, including one odd monologue. Yet, he makes an appearance in every scene but one, and is more of a presence and force in the show as played on stage than the text of the script reveals.

When I would walk out for my turn to bow in the curtain call the volume of the applause would get louder, which really surprised me. After each show people would make a point of letting me know they enjoyed Dougie, and I got some nice comments in the press: such things as calling Dougie "acerbic" or my performance "enjoyably understated." Yeah, sure, I'll take it. Why not?

Dougie turned out to be a more interesting part than I would have guessed.

The tech glitches aside, we put on a damn good show. It could have been tempting to have played the characters as two-dimensional pawns of a gimmick-oriented production. Fortunately, everyone decided to fill their characters out to a full three dimensions.

Some of the characters certainly are a bit quirky and some of those have no real depth written for them, but that doesn't mean the actors couldn't play them beyond flat stereotypes, even if colorful ones. The script didn't supply any depth to the hookers or the hospital aid Leon, the Disney security guard, or even Sheila, the mother of the little girl in the hospital. On the surface these are just comedy set-ups, but if the actor plays for a real person and with some honesty in the work, these characters can transcend beng simply tools for the gag, and probably end up being more effective comically. I am, however, the first to admit, as I have so often before, that I am not Mr. Comedy, by any stretch, so on that last point, I may not know what I write of, whatsoever.

Regardless of the comedy factor, everyone in the cast played their roles with honesty and humanity and I believe that made for a fuller experience for the audience. There were real people to eavesdrop on and to be entertained by. It was a disappointment that we lost all of the live-feed video, even in the last scene, but if the show suffered from the loss, it was only superficially.


HRTC 14/15 SEASON:
AUDITION ICON

You five may already know that I was able to procure the sheet music for the song I have chosen to use for my Human Race Theatre Company 2014/15 season general audition on June 28. It is, by the way, a song I am familiar with, that I have sung in the past, though only ever for leisure; yet, still, it's not new to me. On the other side, even though I barely read music (and that's way too kind of a description of my deficiency), I am sure the piano part is different from the original recording I have. I'd like to hear exactly what I will be singing to in the audition before I am actually standing there singing to it in the audition.

I decided I need a proficient pianist who can play for me beforehand, my cut of the sheet music. Actually, I want to record the accompaniment so I can rehearse to that recording. I know a few musicians who could help me with this and I didn't get too far down the list before I was able to arrange a session. It's Monday after work with Ms. Becky Childs, whom, among her many musical theatre credits, was one of the accompanists for The Guild's 2012 production of The Story of My Life, along with her sister, Ramonde Rougier. So, I'm set for my song. Now all I gotta do is settle on a monologue -- and I need to that soon; such as: before the end of today!


THE KETTERING/CHICAGO VACATION EXTRAVAGANZA 2014 UPDATE:
Vacation, pre-ChiTown icon
CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
Pic from back stage POV of Ringo's All Starr Band 2014, with Todd Rundgren playing his guitar stage left
Photo by scottritchi.tv. © 2014 Roccabella Inc.
RINGO AND HIS ALLSTARR BAND 2014 TOUR icon
This is a good sign.

It looks like Mr. Rundgren is Stage Left.

That means he'll most probably be on the house right side where I'm sitting at The Fraze Pavilion on July 2! cool smile icon

Mr. Starr will surely be Down Center and moving about freely all over the place, so I might as well get a good view of the other musician I am there to see, as well.

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN at Victory Gardens Theater icon
BRIGADOON at The Goodman Theatre icon
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour
A SMALL FIRE at Steep Theatre icon
Three nights booked in a downtown Chicago hotel at a reasonable rate for a downtown Chicago hotel. I am not sure there's as much in close walking distance from my hotel as I'd like but I'll figure something out; I might be wrong and it might be just fine. Plus I think there is an L train station close by, so there's an option. Might even get me to some if not all the shows.

Still playing with the financial numbers to pay for the four days, three nights. I don't think there's any way around it; I am going to have to take out a signature loan for this trip. I am not whole-hog enthused by that, but I also am willing to go the route if necessary. I need this trip.



Tue, June 24, 2014

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AUDITION ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
xxxx
xxxx
Over the weekend I picked the monologue for this Saturday's Human Race Theatre Company 2014/15 season general audition. I had somebody email me a PDF of a script that I know will work at the audition. Sunday I headed to my favorite office for script work, John Bryan State Park, read the play then picked a sixty-second cut. Now the process of infusing those 168 words into my brain cells is underway.

Yesterday afternoon I met with Becky Childs who went over the actual piano accompaniment for the song I have chosen. I sang it a few times and she, as well, played the instrumentation alone for a rehearsal recording.

I was correct that what the piano does on the sheet music is not exactly the same as what the piano does on the original recording, so it's good that I made this appointment. First I will not have what could have been a jarring surprise on Saturday. Second, and probably more importantly, I can rehearse the song without it being a sing-a-long with the original, fully-produced and arranged recording, and the original singer. I can rehearse with just my voice and the piano part, which is the better way to do it.

*No, I did not use my eight-track Tascam DP-03 digital recorder; I used my iPhone; the reorder on it is pretty damn good, much better than what I had on my MyTouch Android phone.

xxxx
The view I had from where I was stationed for a predominance of my time beginning the memorization of the dramatic monologue. It happens to be one of my favorite spots at which to be.



Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
Concert ticket for July 9, 2014 Paul McCartney Out There 2014 concert at the United Center in Chicago, Ill

See what arrived in the postal mail last Friday? A new offering to suggest that the July tour dates will not be postponed.

On a more general vacation extravaganza note, I did indeed apply, and received approval, for a signature loan to fill out the expenses for the whole trip to Chicago, as well, I might admit, to help with memorabilia from the "pre-ChiTown Vacation" day with Ringo.


PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS
Brittany Campbell HEROES icon
Another Caroline, or Change alumnus, the uber-talented Ms. Brittany Campbell has, not a gig, but she has released a new album, Heroes, available on iTunes. I believe this is her second full-length album. She does gig in NYC clubs on a very regular basis. Getting back to Heroes: it's a good listen!

YaY!

*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!



Wed, June 25, 2014

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Eli Wallach. Dec 7, 1915-June 24, 2014
Such a vibrant part of the fabric of the theatre arts that one might miss attending to his presence like one does the amazing painting that has hung on the wall there all your life -- until it's taken down and the space is empty. What a fabulous career and body of work.






AUDITION ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
K.L.Storer fb post -- "So I've selected a song for my HRTC Generals that I believe will fit well with the target; it is, however, a challenge for my range; but if I'm too intimidated by the challenge then perhaps I should cancel and give the slot to someone else. Screw it. I'll land the bitch!" then, in the comments section -- "And, I am handling it, by golly by gum!"

When I worked with Becky Childs this past Monday the original idea was to just hear and record the bona fide piano part on the sheet music, which I had rightly suspected was not the same as the original recording I have. While there, I did sing it with the correct accompaniment a few times and Becky suggested there was a note I was slipping into falsetto to reach that I can do in full voice. I think between having a bit of a hoarse throat and also maybe, perhaps, possibly not being as wholly warmed-up as I could have been, I had not been hitting that note successfully in full voice, if I had ever tried, which I am not sure I had.

Becky was running me though scales and then said that I can hit that note in ful voice, and I subsequently did. In practice since then I have found that I do have to make sure I have a diaphragm full of air at the start of the phrase, however, or the note is either weak or just a tad flat. It is the very top of my full-voice register.

There are several notes in the song that I absolutely must switch to falsetto to hit. And in order to hit them with a dynamic punch I again have to be sure I have strong diaphragm support -- i.e.: take a deep breath at a calculated spot just beforehand of each of these notes.

Fortunately, the style of the song lends itself to these jumps into falsetto, so that keeps them from presenting as awkward.

On the monologue off-book status, I am what I would say is about 80% there. I haven't arrived at the point where I don't have to think about what's next. This is simply a case or rote repetition and wholly infusing the intent of the words into my consciousness/subconsciousness.


PROMOTING MY FRIENDS & COLLEAGUES IN PROFESSIONAL GIGS

Yet another Caroline, or Change alumnus has a gig on the horizon. The lovely, talented Ashanti J'Aria will appear in Deployed: the Musical, by Jessy Brouillard, which runs for five performances, July 16-22, at the New York Musical Festival, which fires up in just a few weeks.

Meanwhile, young and amazing Luke Williams, (musical director for The Gifts of the Magi at DTG earlier this season) is the musical director for South Pacific at The Jenny Wiley Theatre in Prestonsburg, Kentucky. Luke will also soon be hitting the road as Assistant Conductor in the national tour of Anything Goes.

Break a leg icon
*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!



Fri, June 27, 2014

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AUDITION ICON PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON THE ACTOR PREPARES ICON
Let It Go & Chill Out
Rather than jamming and cramming every moment of the past several evenings, I've approached the rehearsal and honing of my program for the HRTC 2014/15 General audition tomorrow with a quasi-nonchalance. I'm still seriously working on the material, of course, but I'm keeping it relaxed and letting anxiety know it's not invited to the party.

I have gotten to the place with the monologue where I can spit it out with no errors. It's not been perfect every time but I am hitting the mark more than I am not. I think with an earnest rehearsal period tonight, and then a bit of woodshedding before the audition tomorrow, I will be in good shape. The most important part is the mental and emotional state of feeling good and confident about the words.

The big trouble spot with the song is the one specific note that I was urged to hit at full voice. As I wrote before, it's right at the top of my middle register, so I have to be very sure I have the breath and the abdominal support to push it through, otherwise it comes out weak and the falsetto approach would be better than that particular result. I also have not cared for the quality of that note in the phrase, as I have done it thus far in full voice, even the best efforts. By the end of this evening, if I have not achieved an execution on the note at full voice that satisfies me, I will likely choose the falsetto voicing.


CHICAGO vacation 2014
DEATH AND THE MAIDEN at Victory Gardens Theater icon
BRIGADOON at The Goodman Theatre icon
Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour
A SMALL FIRE at Steep Theatre icon
A cursory look showed me that all the venues for my Chicago trip were readily available from my hotel without the need to drive. Then I did something I should have already done. I had the occasion to read some feedback from past patrons of the hotel I "was" booked in.

Um. Well. Not glowing. And when the words "bed bugs" enters into the mix..... frown icon

Now I'm spending a hundred-dollars more on the whole hotel bill, but I am booked somewhere else, a hotel that is still within reach of everything via The L, the bus line, or, actually in one case, a nice walk.

I can take The L to see Death and the Maiden and A Small Fire; I can take a thirty-minute walk to see Brigadoon, and am likely to, since it's a matinée. And I can take the bus to see Paul. Though, I may drive to the Macca show even though parking will be at least $22. Not sure about that yet. I might not want to cart a bag of memorabilia on the train. I also don't know if I want to hassle with the parking and traffic. In the words of Dear Old Dad: "We'll wait and see."

Then there's that failed visit to The Art Institute of Chicago last summer when I came in to see Slowgirl. This summer, it's only a twenty-minute walk from my hotel -- less than ten by bus. I think it's happening this time! Maybe, perhaps some other museums, as well. Oh, and Millennium Park, which is right there by the art institute.



Sat, June 28, 2014

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HRTC 2014/15 GENERAL AUDITION THIS AFTERNOON:
AUDITION ICON
PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON

GAME ON!



TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
SOUND DESIGNING ICON

I don't think I have formally stated this here but I agreed a while back to design sound for Jeff Sams for his directing endeavor of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying at The Dayton Playhouse.

We will be recording the narrative voice-overs tomorrow evening.


In the audience icon

  • Monty Python's Spamalot at Beavercreek Community Theatre -- My evening tonight.
  • Play It By Heart at The Human Race Theatre Company -- Thanks to a sweet deal I will get to see this. I couldn't make Can Night *(the final dress rehearsal, open to audiences through a charitable donation as admission), and with a lot of recent expenses, including the forthcoming vacation, it was going to be difficult to swing a full-price ticket. However, just yesterday, The Race made all unsold tickets for Tuesday through the end of the run just $25. So I will be there Tuesday evening, sort of a pre-vacation event.

    There likely are still some tickets available. The show closes July 6. If you want tickets, CLICK HERE.




  • Paul McCartney logo -- Extreme close-up of his eyes behind his autpgraph signature
    CHICAGO vacation 2014 icon
    Paul McCartney Out There 2014 Tour



    Sun, June 29, 2014

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    HRTC 2014/15 GENERAL AUDITION YESTERDAY:
    AUDITION ICON
    PROFESSIONAL GIG ICON
    DONE

    Given one word to use, I'd say my audition was "solid." The song went very well; the monologue was fine though I have complaints. But there were no train wrecks in the audition program, so, it was a successful five minutes.

    My monologue was a very abridged version of Vanya's long rant toward the end of Act II of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike , one of the shows on the season. It is, I know, a little ambitious for me to lay sights on that role on an Equity stage, but then: Why the fuck not aim for it, anyway?

    I did go up a little on a line, but I worked around it -- that was the big "complaint." I also got a little flummoxed there, but I kept it in character and made it be Vanya who was flummoxed, so that was fine, though not as good as it would have been to have gotten the line verbatim and kept the through-play smooth.

    But, what-a-ya-gonna-do? And it wasn't disastrous, just a bit of a blemish on the delivery. Plus, the Vanya that I stood in front of Kevin Moore and Tara Lail felt good to me. He may not have been one that was being looked for, but he was a valid interpretation of the character.

    As for the song: I've already wrote here that I judge my best chance of getting on The Race stage this coming season will be in Mame. I was allowed to sing a song from the show, as I was allowed to use a monologue from Vanya and Sasha..., but I decided to not sing one from that musical, or any musical. As I've done before, I decided to again pick something that would be unique, that I was sure Kevin and Tara would not hear from anyone else in any of the auditions for the season, but a song that would still fit well into the feel and style of Mame.

    I did that a couple years back, going after both Next To Normal and Avenue Q by using the Lennon & McCartney song (actually a McCartney solo composition) "You Never Give Me You Money," which The Beatles released on side 2 of their Abbey Road album. This time I picked another Paul McCartney song, from his Wings era. Through his career, Paul has indulged his appreciation for more traditional pop music, music of the Tin Pan Alley genre, as well as comparable musical theatre ballads. As a Beatle, he covered "Till There Was You," from The Music Man, on the band's second album, With The Beatles (1963), and has since written a decent cannon of originals in the styles of musical theatre and Tin Pan Alley. One such song is "You Gave Me the Answer" off the 1975 Wings album, Venus and Mars Are Alright Tonight. Actually, the song is credited to Paul and Linda McCartney; my guess is that Linda contributed some lyrics.

    I picked "You Gave Me the Answer" because it is perfectly in the style of the music from Mame. I believe I wrote the other day that when I hung up from making the appointment for the audition, I did not know what song I would use. I was about to fire up the original B'Way cast album of Mame to see what song would be good to use, then the McCartney song hit me and I realized it was a perfect fit, stylistically. One important point: Paul is a first tenor and I am a second tenor. The song is written for his voice so, as I wrote before, there were some register challenges for me. One particular note was especially challenging. There's a phrase in the bridge:

      Heading back to old familiar places

    The note for the first syllable in "places" is High G, just above the treble cleft, and it's the top edge of my middle register. Like I wrote before, to sing it full voice in my middle register and have it be strong, I have to be sure I take a good breath before the phrase and keep the abdominal support tight. I actually can't tell you if I did it full voice or slipped into falsetto for the note at the audition. I had rehearsed it both ways and was still on the fence when I walked into the room. Yes, I had written Friday that if I had not achieved a strong delivery on the note, full voice, by bed time that night, I would opt for falsetto. I indeed did settled on falsetto that night. But as I rehearsed a little before the audition yesterday, I tried it both ways and landed it satisfactorily a few times in full voice. As I sang it in the audition, I went with my instinct, but to be honest I don't recall what my instinct dictated.

    All I know for sure is that despite minor flaws in the overall program, I feel the audition was successful. Now, the wait.

    Oh, and just for the record, I did go into the audition room clean-shaven and with short hair. The longer hair and the beard you may have noticed in the pic of me posted June 25 were for Dougie in The Dead Guy.


    In the audience icon
    CONGRATULATIONS!
    Thanks to the cast and crew of Monty Python's Spamalot at Beavercreek Community Theatre for a fun evening, last night.



    Mon, June 30, 2014

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    xxxx
    xxxx
    TASCAM DP-03 8 TRACK DIGITAL PORTASTUDIO RECORDER ICON
    xxxx
    SOUND DESIGNING ICON
    Yesterday afternoon I worked with Jeff Sams and voice-over-man Steve Peters to record the "e;Book Voice"e; narrations for the forthcoming The Dayton Playhouse production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

    We recorded in the tech both at The Guild because, though it certainly is not sound-studio quiet, the relatively enclosed environment along with the padding on the back wall make it reasonably sound dead, which keeps a significant amount of unwanted ambient sound and room-tone echo off the recording. We got some nice recordings for the show.

    And, Yes, I used my eight-track Tascam DP-03 digital recorder, though I only utilized one track.




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