I've started back working on the next pass, the next
revision of the play. I think
there's going to be a graduation to full-out "rewrite"
for a portion of it. I actually have added a slight amount in a few areas,
along with some cuts -- mostly compacting rather than cutting actual material.
But I am up against the end of the play and as I believe I've written before
I see my biggest problem being the last portion of the play. I have an ending
that I like, I just don;t think I've arrived at it well. I need to have a
better path to that destination. I hope to have another
before the end of this calendar year.
Last Saturday I did some table reading,
myself, as an actor, for the playwrights in the current incarnation of the
Ohio Playwrights Circle
playwrighting class. Mid-morning to early afternoon, I and several other
actors read some ten-minute plays
for the regular class session. Than after a break -- long enough for me to
go get lunch -- some of us came back and read a the first draft of a
one-actm by one of the writers in
I'll be doing more readings for the class over the course of the next few
weeks. By-the-way, OPC has another public reading coming up on Nov 3 at
I did the soundwork for this
one. It was a fairly easy gig. The majority of the sound during the show
is plane fly-byes. The show takes place on an air base in Texas during
WWII. There's also some other
occasional ambient sound: vehicles driving by, birds, crickets, a few
spots where the women in the play are listening to music or interviews on
For this one I opted to not have long files of the ambience to
cover a scene thus making the placement of each sound during the scene less
definite. I elected to have each fly by, or dive by, or whatever, to be cued
by specific lines, that way there is a consistency to when they fire during
the performance. More importantly, it eliminates a sound coming at a moment
when we don;t want one. The pace and timing of the actors is slightly
different each night. So when you have a long sound file peppered with
sounds alon it playtime, when they come up during the performance each
night will be slightly different. On occasion that can mean you have a sound
just exactly when you don't want one. If each sound is a separate sound file
that is cued of a specific line (or action), then this delima is eliminated
and the unique pace of a specific performance is irrelevant.
I also will be on the sound board this coming Friday and Saturday as well
as all of the last weekend, splitting the sound tech
duties with the official tech for the show, Mandy Shannon.
As you can see from the last post, the
promocast for the show is up.
If you watch it you will note that it is a slide show of photographs --
courtesy of Greggory Brugger -- playing over music. I was not able to
contact anyone with the autority to grant me clearance to use dialogue in
the DV movie. We do what we can. Not the video I wanted to make, but it'll
So, yeah, I went for quite a few weeks without a new post here. And the posts
recounting some of my summer excursions and events are all now greatly
delinquent. I now put them in the category of "lost weekends."
I will be posting about all of them: the trip to New York City and the
plays and other things done there, my eleventh time seeing
Paul McCartney in concert,
FutureFest 2019, and the Indianapolis Zoo.
Decision Height tells the story of six Women's Air Force
Service Pilots (called WASPS) who flew aircraft during World War
II. While they didn't see combat, these
ladies were responsible for transporting planes and pulling targets
for live ammunition training, freeing the men for active duty after
the attack on Pearl Harbor. The WASPS proved an important asset for
the military, but have been largely forgotten in the history books.
This play was the winner of the 2013 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
The Cast of Decision Height
(in order of appearance)
I've actually been giving a little more time to working on the
story bible. Believe it or not,
a lot of that effort has been working in various Excel sheets working on
financial sorts of things in several different Excel workbooks that are linked
to each other on various pathways. But I've been adding to the timeline
documents, too. I don't believe this is avoidance behavior, though I do note
that I am now a few years past the time period when the play takes place.
First: OPC is presenting the reading of new plays (ten-minute plays)
on the L. David Mirkin mainstage at The Guild.
I am one of the actors reading.
Nov 1 addendum: I just noticed that I failed to say what day the
public reading will be.
IT'S THIS SUNDAT, NOVEMBER 3
ADMISSION IS FREE
I've also recently been one of the actors reading for the most recent
OPC playwrighting class, and I've been involved as a reader for two
table readings of
work-in-progress by OPC members.
THE CAST LIST:
The show has been cast since last weekend. Most of it was cast shortly after
auditions, but we didn't have Calder until this past weekend. Here is the
S. Francis Livisay
I personally am happy there are three faces brand new to our boards:
Sha-Lemar Davis, S. Francis Livisay, and Titus Unger. And the other two,
Maximillion Santucci and Lorin Dineen are not regulars. As talented as
most of our frequent performers are, it is nice to see new and uncommon faces
on our stage.
Unfortunately, for the third time this season, I have not been able to get
clearance to use dialogue from the play in the promocast.
I have come up with an idea for the promocast for this show in response to
not having dialogue soundbytes.
It will very likely involve some stock footage
and may involve a greenscreen.
I am also contemplating writing and recording the music, myself, which I
have done only a few times before.
Preproduction on the
promocast has officially begun.
I've been locating and grabbing
stock footage. So far all
I've downloaded are
Creative Commons Licensed (CC)
footage. I have looked at some royalty-free footage but I will have to do
some triage; even though the flat fees are not unreasonable, multiple clips
will add up to a hefty price tag. I also grabbed a few CC stock photos and
will probably grab a few more.
The idea of putting the actors in front of a
greenscreen may not be the
route I decide to take. it depends on whether I find stock footage that
would work with the actors in front of it. And I am still seriously
contemplating writing and recording the underscore
music for the promocast myself. Actually, in this case we can call it the
theme music; I'll hold off
on explaining why.
The other day, I pulled one of my bass guitars out. I have two. One is a
cherry-red Epiphone I bought just before my eighteenth birthday, I believe
a late-60's solid-body electric Epiphone Embassy Pro that is now in horrible
disrepair. The other is a hollow-body acoustic/electric Giannini that I
bought about fifteen years ago.
The Giannini, which is what I pulled out the other day, has actually been
used on two recordings. First I used it for the
theme music in the
promotional video for the DTG
production of The Dice House
in 2007 -- a song I wrote called "Roll the Dice." Then I recorded
the underscore for the closing
credits of my short film,
The Chorus for Candice.
That was an instrumental, a bass solo I wrote, titled, "Candice Leaves
Corinth." Now, of course, the plan is use it for theme music I'll write
for the Icebergspromocast.
Yep, I pulled my Giannini out, and as my facebook post predicted, or more
accurately, asserted, I most certainly came face-to-face with how horribly
out of practice I am. Listening to me pick and peck on the strings and fumble
on the fret board, one would not be able to tell that I was once a proficient
bass player, even at times a pretty damn good one. Right now I am neither of
It also doesn't help that I've never spent a lot of time playing this Giannini.
I bought it because I've been living in apartments and practicing on an
acoustic bass is the polite and practical thing to do when, as Paul Simon
puts it, "one man's ceiling is another man's floor," or more
succinctly: there's someone on the other side of at least two of those
walls. Despite that I got an apartment-friendly bass guitar, I
never got into the groove; I never started to play regularly -- anything even
close to regularly. I didn't return to being a musician. Subsequently, I
have never become intimate with this guitar; I've not gotten to the place
where the neck is not a foreign object to me, but rather a best friend.
In my late teens, my twenties and my early thirties, I had that Epiphone
in my hands no less than two hours almost every day. In my early and mid
twenties it was more. I played that bass probably three hours every day,
at least on average. My left hand and its fingers were old, familiar,
constant companions with that neck and its frets.
I got a lot of woodshedding to do.
As I started feeling nostalgic about my older Ep, which will probably cost
as much, if not more, to restore than it would to buy a new one, I couldn't
help myself from trekking over to the Epiphone website
to look at the what might be a comparable new model. As it so happens,
they have a new version of the
that is not too expensive. It looks virtually like my old one, and I
have to tell ya, I was tempted so much so that I priced the guitar and the
hard-shell case and calculated the impact on my VISA card. Then, yep, I
yielded to temptation. So now I have to commit to actually being a musician
again, because I can't spend that kind of money, unjustified.
My brand new Epiphone Embassy Pro dark cherry bass guitar arrives early
I read in three of the six plays. I was a small corner of a raggedy old
security blanket (i.e.: the subconscious of a little girl), a bohemian
photographer, and a brother who, along with his sister, was dealing with
the aftermath of the funeral of a family member.
The hard-shell case I ordered for my new
Epiphone Embassy Pro bass
arrived Wednesday. The bass itself arrived yesterday. I picked it up at
the local Guitar Center.
While I was there I picked up a new 20-ft guitar cord, two guitar straps,
one for the Epiphone, one for the Giannini, and a packet of guitar picks --
I only had one pick, at least only one of which I know the whereabouts.
I also pulled out my old practice amp, after I got back from Guitar Center.
My memory was that it's not in great shape, but I wanted to be sure before
i picked another one up. My memory was good: hums and buzzes, and dust
static crackles. It's not crazy to believe I'll have a new one before the
end of this weekend -- maybe today.
I've been working with the Giannini acoustic bass (pictured in the icon to
the right -- and below) and I'm still coming face-to-face with how
out of practice I am. Man am I rusty! I don't even think "rusty"
is an adequate word to describe my state of ability; that might give me too
much credit. It's as if I had never played the bass before. My little bit
of work on the Epiphone takes me back; the neck feels just the same as my
original version of this model. It's easier to play. I will be woodshedding
on both of them.
Since, with only a few extremely brief interludes, I've not played bass for
somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty years, I've decided to approach this
as a "start over." I was self-taught before, so there's obviously
better ways to finger the frets, etc., etc., than what I worked out on my
own. I'm going to approach this like a beginner. I may even take some lessons.
I certainly will utilize Youtube exercise videos and such, and I've already
found a couple Youtube channels that, on cursory view, look like they'll be
most helpful with both lesson-type and strength-building-type material. One
of the videos I watched had a great exercise for strengthening my left hand
and those four fingers. That pinky finger is the biggest challenge. I didn't
use it for fretting in my youth, but this time around I will.
There are a lot of little muscles in the hand and forarm that need to be in
good shape to play any sort of guitar, muscles in the fingers, of course,
but also in the hand, proper, and below the hand. And it's not just the hand
one uses to finger the frets (pick the notes); the hand one uses to pluck
the strings needs muscle development, too. And if you're a bass player who
uses fingers to pluck the strings, you need need those finger muscles
fine-tuned. If you use a pick, you need a strong wrist to help you with both
precision and speed. I'm a bass player who plucks with fingers and also
uses a pick. I've already began some exercises for my right wrist, holding
a 10-lb dumbell weight and working my wrist. And I've been using some of the
exercises from the Youtube channels to work on the fingers in my left hand,
especially my third and pinky fingers. For further work to build and maintain
strength in my hands I've just ordered two items to exercise my hands.
I ordered a
D'Addario VariGrip hand exerciser,
which is specifically for guitar players, regular and bass. I also ordered a
Kootek 50-150 Lbs hand grip,
which is for general hand grip strengthening but is also billed as for musicians.
It was actually the sort of apparatus I was looking for during my web search;
the one I already own is misplaced and who knows where it is. The hand grips,
by-the-way, have already arrived and I've already clocked some time using
As I wrote earlier, along with using the bass player Youtube channels, the
hand exercise equipment, the woodshedding of old work from my past, all that
practice, practice, practice, I'm contemplating some out-and-out, in-person
lessons, if I can manage to carve out a regular time. My ultimate goal is
to become better than I was. I got to a point of being "good," but
I don't believe any more than just good. I intend to clear that bar
with room to spare then set bar higher.
Epiphone Embassy Pro Bass guitar case.
D'Addario VariGrip hand exerciser.
Kootek 50-150 Lbs hand grip
The neck feels the same as the neck from my youth.
For the record, here's the Giannini. The strap,
however, is new.
*) "Every Astronaut Drinks Gatorade" is a mnemonic device
that represents the open musical notes for each of the four strings
on a bass guitar. Going from the lowest tone (highest position on
the neck), to the highest tone (lowest position on the neck): E, A,
D, & G.
Tech Sunday is just two weeks
from tomorrow, so there's some stuff to get done. There's
producer stuff to deal with. I
haven't dropped in to check on spending, for one thing. I also need to
finish gathering all the information for the playbill: cast & crew
bios, headshots, and other material. And then I have those other two hats
As of yet I have not run across that stock footage
that would work on a greenscreen
behind the cast. At this point in time that pretty much means the idea
is dead because getting the session together is starting to look not too
achievable. I don't think I've grabbed all the stock footage that I will,
and I still have only grabbed free stuff, but I'm betting before this weekend
is up I have paid a fee for some footage.
There's also the concept of me composing and recording theme music for the
promocast -- a major factor in
the rekindling of my interest in bass guitar (and the purchase of the new
one). As I've been noodling on the bass I already had, in between stumbling
around to demonstrate to myself exactly how drastically out of practice I
am, I think I have the early workings of the music for the DV movie. I
intend to focus on that music today and tomorrow.
It's also time to start concentrating time on the
sound design, too. I've already
found a particular production song
that will be used in a scene as music coming over a radio or other device
in the universe of the play. I'll also need production music to go into the
show at the top of Act 1 -- which, might be this music I compose and record
for the promocast, if I think it works. I also don't yet have the music
taking us into intermission, or that opening Act 2; nor do I have the
In the continuing story of my rekindled interest in having a bass guitar in
my hand, I wrote in
the blog post, this past Saturday,
that my old practice amp is in horrible shape and that it was "not
crazy to believe [I'd] have a new one before the end of [the] weekend --
maybe [that day]."
As you'll hear in the video featured in the next entry of today's post,
I have as of yet to use the amp, which is not a practice amp, at
full volume-capacity; I live in an apartment, if you remember from previous
blog posts, so there are other human beings on the other side of two of
It seems wise to get an amp because more than one of the youtube videos
I've recently watched stressed that a bass player should practice with the
guitar running through the amp, that way one is not stroking the strings
harder than one should. As I wrote before, this time as I'm starting back
up, I'm also trying to start over and unlearn some bad habits from before.
One is that I need to have a lighter touch when plucking, with either my
fingers or a pick.
I do have the acoustic bass, which, it is true, does not need to be amplified,
but even there I can amplify it, and probably, usually will do so. Plus,
there's a difference to the action on the neck; the neck has a different
thickness and width, the strings need a stronger push when I fretting. It's
a different animal to ride and I need to get a feel for both the new
Epiphone solid-body and the hollow-bodied acoustic one.
Plus, if and when the time comes, I have an actual, big-boy bass amp.
Just this morning I got an email response from my old music partner,
Rich Hisey, whom I sent a photo of me with the new bass. He wrote,
"Looks sweet!!! We should jam sometime." I wrote back,
"Jam after I recover at least some of my skill. Right now I suck."
TIME TO MAKE SOME MUSIC:
I had big plans over the weekend to get much or all of this theme music for
the Icebergspromocast finished. I got it
started, but at this point all I've done is assemble and lay down the basic
drum track and the track for the main bass line. I have what I would call a
"decent" riff going, to which I will build upon. Now my goal is
to have it into a final mix by the end of next weekend. There's a bit to
do, too. I haven't figured out a chord progression nor a melody. I'm also
not completely sure what instruments will be used for either, especially
the melody -- I am pretty sure there will be a chorded bass part, or two,
in there. Meanwhile, at the risk of looking really bad and embarrassing
myself, here's a little youtube DV movie about the very beginning of this
AARON AND HARPER IN DAYTON:
Last Saturday night I got to see the
Dayton Playhouse mounting of
Harper Lee's 'To Kill a Mockingbird'. This is the second time I've
had the privilege of seeing Aaron Sorkin's version on stage, and it was a
wonderful evening of theatre both times!
Congratulations to Director Tim Rezash and his cast and crew -- they
certainly are doing the script justice!
If you are in the greater Dayton, Ohio area, there are three more chances
next weekend to see this lovely production. But I understand there may not
be a lot of tickets left, so you'd best jump on it. You won't be
And yes, I will, at some point, MAYBE soon, give you my account of
the first time I saw this script in action.....Really.
Last week I auditioned for something but was not cast. So it goes.
My new Williams Legato III, 88 key digital piano.
As far as I know, for the most part I have stopped spending any big money on
bass guitar stuff for a while -- as far as I know. So I got the urge to
get a better electronic keyboard than the two I have, both which are
functional but just a step or two above being toys. I wanted a piano sound
for this new music I've written that sounded like a real piano rather than
the facsimile you get from a cheaper electronic keyboard. Thus, Saturday,
I went back to Guitar Center
and picked up a Williams Legato III, 88 key digital piano.
It wasn't the most extravagant digital piano in the shop, but it serves my
purpose and came in a few hundred dollars under what I had said I would
spend. Since I've been burning my credit card up a lot, recently, I decided
to add a little less heat with this purchase. Then, of course, I had to
order a gear bag for it.
The rest of the weekend was about recording this new music, initially
for the upcoming DTG
production *(see below), but beyond that scope. Like I've written
before, if I've spent all this money on this music stuff lately, then I need
to not put this stuff away and only occasionally use it all. I need to make
returning to music a constant -- however exactly that turns out to manifest
In other major big-ticket news, over the weekend my credit card account
was finally charged for the new
MacBook Pro 16", 2019 build
I ordered six weeks ago, and Monday I received both an email and a text
notification that the machine has shipped. When I write that this is a
"major big-ticket" item, it is. I took out a signature loan to
My current MacBook Pro is now seven-years old and on occasion it's just
randomly shutting down. Thus far, there's been no major corruptions of the
OS or any apps or files, but it's only a matter of time. Plus, I know that
sometime soon the OS updates are going to be too much for my current machine.
The new machine is pretty loaded. It has a 2.4GHz 8-core Intel Core i9
processor, 32 GB of RAM, a Retina display, with 4 TB of memory on a solid
state drive. It is scheduled to arrive next week, a few days before
Thanksgiving. The last time I checked it was in-transit from Shanghai to
Interesting dilemma is that with the new laptop I'll have more space on
my laptop than I do on my Airport Time Capsule backup storage. So, at
some point in the future my backup storage will need to grow. Of course,
since Apple is discontinuing the Airport line, my next backup system will
be from another maker.
My producer's hat for this show
has been pretty light on my head, although I haven't yet been hit with any of
the production receipts. My concentration has been on the
soundwork and the
I Have a few preproduction
things left to do for the promocast. I still have to procure a bit more
stock footage; I've grabbed
a few Creative Commons
clips, and I'll likely grab some more. But, despite how I've been heating
up my credit card *(see above), it's going to be necessary to grab
some royalty-free stock footage for which I'll have to pay a one-time license
fee. I'll grab some more stock photographs, too.
In the recording session last weekend
As I alluded to above, my original music for the promocast is finished. I
recorded the bulk of it this past weekend and finished the mix master on
Tuesday. I plan to use it as production music in the show's sound plot, too.
The music is a jazz-fusion instrumental with a strong pop-rock flavor to it.
The piece runs 8:17, so clearly neither the promocast nor the live production
will utilize the whole recording.
Obviously I used the new
and the new
Legato III digital piano.
I also used my
Giannini acoustic bass; and I
used my Yamaha PSR-180 keyboard, which I inherited from someone -- not
exactly a top-end electronic keyboard, but when used appropriately can make
a strong contribution. In this case the Yamaha contributed greatly.
I'm going to wait to make the full-length version public until after the
promocast is in final cut
It started yesterday with what was probably the easiest
Tech Sunday I've ever been
associated with; in fact, I'm sure it was the easiest; I cannot think of
one that has been easier. The dry tech
was about twenty-minutes long, with us going over our whole total of
twenty sound cues and comparable
amount of light cues; actually,
I think there are fewer light cues than sound cues. We didn't even bother
with a cue-to-cue
with the cast, we just went into the first tech run,
which went smoothly.
The Final Dress Rehearsal
falls on Thanksgiving Day, and we are doing it then, but in late
morning, with hope of wrapping and
being out of the theatre by 2:00, which is plausible.
I only have about a ten-minute drive
to my sister's from The Guild, for a 4:30 "grubs on" time, so, I'm
As already stated, Tech Sunday was smooth. A small amount of tweaking was
done, and at the request of the director I added underscoring to a moment
in the show. I dropped in some light piano work under a tender moment.
There will, of course, be some tweaks, both in the timing of a cue or two
and some volume changes. But, I think the sound design
is 98+% finished.
My preproduction for the
promocast has been in hyper mode.
I actually have turned some of the postproduction
into "pre" as I have begun the edit of the DV movie. I assembled
the opening splash and the closing sequences already. Now all I have to do
is plug in the principal section once it is shot. I'll shoot Tuesday
evening during that tech/dress.
Of course, also during the final phase of editing, which I'll do Wednesday
morning, I will be incorporating the stock footage
and stock photos I've been
accumulating -- though I realized last night that I still have a few
specific types of stock photos to grab.
Yep, Tech Week continues but it ends early this afternoon with the
Final Dress Rehearsal that
starts late this morning. Since today is Thanksgiving I will have to cover
as the light technician for this
final rehearsal. But, with the whole total of six light cues,
it will not be a burdensome task.
I edited the promocast to
final cut yesterday, with all
the stock footage and
stock photos incorporated
into it. The main body of the DV movie is presented as the opening title
sequence to a TV show -- and, of curse, it features the instrumental I
recently composed and recorded.
Finally, after a lot of trial and error, the migration
The first Time Machine backup on the new MacBook Pro --
the progress at just about 24-hours in.
For the five who may have followed recently will know, the new
MacBook Pro 2019
arrived Friday, a week ago. I've had too much going on to deal with getting
it off the ground.
The plan was to start the migration of the all the system files, apps, and
document files from the old laptop to the new one on the evening of
Thanksgiving. That didn't happen; I had some problems that I can't exactly
identify. Whatever the problem was, I could not get the migration to start.
After a few hours the migration software was still gathering inventory of
the files on the old computer. I went to bed. The next morning, it was still
in that phase.
I had first tried to migrate from my latest backup on my
Apple Time Machine,
but I kept getting a message that no disk volume could be found. So then I
went to the machine-to-machine migration that gave me the failure mentioned
above. So, in the morning, I called the Apple help line to have a service
rep give me a hand.
There were still several glitches, including that I screwed up the new
admine password and had to to a rest-reboot, and kept doing it wrong
because I missed, at first, that the rep told me to hit "command"
and "R," rather than just "R." But by late morning
Friday the migration from the old MacBook to the new MacBook had started.
That one only took maybe an hour.
In the afternoon I started a Time Machine backup on the new laptop. That
one was wireless to my
Apple Airport Time Capsule.
Because it eas a new computer the whole system was copied, despite that the
backups for the old laptop have been inherited. The whole system is 644
gigabytes; I started the backup at about 4:00 Friday afternoon, maybe a
little earlier. It was finished about midnight Saturday night, at least 36
Bottom line: my new MacBook Pro (2019 build) is up and running.
I wasn't at the theatre last night, but I was the
house managerOpening Night, and though I
was busy and didn't see the performance, as per usual when I house manage,
the audience response was positive and the cast and crew felt good about the
A week from this coming Friday, I will be back in the
booth covering as the
light tech. Scott Wright, who is
also the lighting designer
for the show, has a schedule conflict.
Auditions were held Monday and Tuesday for the fourth show of the
DTG 75th season. There
was a lot of competition, especially for the role of Branch Rickey, the one
Of great importance to me, and I don't believe I am alone, is that we are
welcoming several new African American faces to our boards. I had nothing
to do with picking the slate for the season, but I was pleased to see us
putting up a show that calls for five African Americans. The first thought
for many might have been, "How are we going to find five African
American men with the talent to do the show?" The answer, of
course, is that they are out there and if we do a show that needs them, we
can find them. We picked the show, and here they are.
There will be a reading of the
That Very Wicked Thing, by OPC member Steve Weaver. I'm reading in
that. I'm not sure what character I am, but I have read in scenes from it
during playwriting class as Orville Wright.
After Steve's play, there will be a reading of a portion of the play
The Death of a Lie by Phillitia Carlson.
It's starts at 2:00 on Sunday, Dec 22 at The Guild.
Admission is free.
This past Friday night I attended the
performance as an audience member.
Of course, I've seen a good half dozen runs of this
production during the end of the rehearsal period,
but, the cast was, as one would hope, in the better shape one wants them
be in front of the audience. They did a great job Friday.
Thus far, this season, I was not granted clearance to use dialogue in any
of the first three promocasts.
I'm hoping the streak will be broken with this show. I have contacted
Playwright Ed Schmidt
directly to request the dialogue clearance for
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting.
I'm just waiting for his answer.
Welcome to Los Angeles, California, where the weather is always nice,
and the future looks bright -- mostly. We visit the trendy Silver
Lake hills of L.A. on a warm November evening, on the Day of the
Dead. Calder is a promising writer/director, and his wife Abigail
is an actor still waiting for her big break. An old school buddy of
Calder's visits, as does his agent, and Abigail's friend Molly --
who stops over to read Tarot cards. The evening weighs in on loyalty,
principles, climate trauma, carbon footprints, the fear of having
children, and the fate of humankind.
Of late I've not been working on the
revision of the play manuscript.
I have worked some on the story bible
for the universe from which the play takes place, specifically on the
transcript of an interview on
that takes place in 1991, which is later than the time of the play; I
had an idea, so I acted on it.
I have popped in a few time recently on the play, but just to work on a
few spots where something occurred to me to fix or add. But I will be back
into the revisions and the rewriting
momentarily. I'll probably spend some time on it at some point today. The
plan to have another table reading
before the end of 2019 did not pan out. My goal now is in the period of
late winter/early spring.
Monday we had a rehearsal of the dramatic reading
of Steve Weaver'sThat Very Wicked Thing, at
The Guild, in the Ralph
Dennler board room. It was the first rehearsal for this ensemble and the
first with our director, Maddie Wagner.
We have our second rehearsal this evening. We'll likely have at least a
partial one on Sunday, prior to the performance.
Of course, the reading is this coming Sunday at 2:00 pm. Remember:
admission is free.
I'm now back, full-speed, into the latest
of the play manuscript. The big sticking point is the second part of Act 2.
That's what needs the biggest overhaul, that's where the significant
rewriting is occuring. The rest has been mostly revisions.
It was probably cowardly of me, or at least something akin to diversion,
but I started at the start of the play, doing the revisions all the way
through until I got to the place in Act 2 with the problems, i.e.: the
ending. I haven't so far moved much distance past where I had decided that
the significant rewrite needs to happen, but I did gain some ground.
Okay, I might have overstated that number by
around 39,325,100 views, or so.
Two years back, while driving home from work one day, maybe about a week
before Christmas, I got the idea to do another of these ensemble a capella
songs with a video. So, I spent an evening multi-tracking myself singing
"I'll Be Home for Christmas." It's not the most amazing thing
one would ever hear. It's okay, though, despite some imperfections.
It's also at my YouTube channel:
Over the course of the last week, I've been telling myself I ought to do
another Christmas music video, but I kept putting it off. For some
reason, on Monday, a fire was lit in me and by evening I had the piano and
the eight-track recorder out and I was in the process of both writing and
recording a new Christmas song. Since Monday was the night before the
night before Christmas, that was the premise I stared with. That became
the title of the new song. And here it is in the form of a lyric video:
APRIL 19, 2020: The original video with the original performance
has been removed from YouTube. What appears here is the revised
version with a new vocal, a partially rerecorded bass solo, and new
My first idea was to write lyrics that touch on how there's a lot of bad crap
happening in the world right now, especially here in the U.S.A., yet there
was still reason to be optimistic and to have a good feeling in the holiday
season. But, that wasn't where I ended up. It became smaller than that, if
smaller is the right word. I suppose "more intimate" or "more
personal" would be more accurate. Honestly, as I was heading toward the
end of the lyrics, I was writing a song about a guy whose woman had left him
and he was making himself as hopeful as possible about a reconciliation.
But, then I realized that the song touches on more than that. It presented
itself to me as a song about anyone missing anyone they love at Christmas.
It's for the loved ones of active duty service folk; it's for anyone missing
a mom or a dad or a child or sibling or a best friend who is no longer alive.
It's for.....well, you get the idea.
Two years ago I did "I'll Be Home for Christmas"; "The Night
Before the Night Before Christmas" could be considered a repsponse to
that, the other side of the story.
And moving beyond holiday music , it's not impossible that there will be more
new music before my little holiday break from the
rent-payer is over.
I dropped all that money on the
new music equipment.......
I was fifty-seven years old. I woke up to a heart attack. There were no
chest pains but a lot of other symptoms, including the eventual cramps in
the upper left arm. That was when I called 911.
The next day I was in the operating room getting quadruple bypass open
The night before the surgery, four years ago tonight, I lay in the hospital
bed, terrified, not sure I'd wake up from surgery.
But, here I am.
I do believe there will be a slight redux of
"The Night Before the Night Before Christmas."
In fact, I am sure of it. Yes, with little doubt, or no doubt, there's a
terribly strong chance, of just about exactly 100%, that it's the first
thing on my agenda of things to do today. It's a certainty, actually.
for "The Night Before the Night Before Christmas"
(Version 2.0), perhaps as soon as tomorrow.
*APRIL 19, 2020: The original video with the original performance
has been removed from YouTube. What appears here is the revised
version with a new vocal, a partially rerecorded bass solo, and new
STILL TRYING TO GET PERMISSION:
So, Tech Week for
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting
is not terribly far away, just three weeks and some change, with
Opening Night being less than
a month away. I need to shoot the promocast
in the first part of Tech Week, so I need to hear back from
Playwright Ed Schmidt, or
his representation, for clearance to use dialogue from the script in the
DV movie. I contacted him a few weeks back but have not received a response
from that. Christmas day I sent a message to his representation; I had a
name but not an actual email, so I took a shot at a couple possible
configurations that might work at the email server for his agency; I guess
I'll find out if that worked.
Who, five years ago, today, performed a quadruple bypass
on me, saving my life!
And let's not forget
Dr. Akber Mohammed, M.D.,
who's been keeping me ticking since then! Oh, and who also saved my life the
night before, keeping me alive until the surgery!!
Also, how could I foget the nurses on the cardiac ward back in 2015, or
the nurses at cardiac rehab, afterward?
Nurses, if you didn't know, should be paid more than they are -- just saying.
THE NEW AND IMPROVED CHRISTMAS ROCK BALLAD:
Basically, I rushed getting
"The Night Before the Night Before Christmas"
out. I wrote and recorded it Monday, you know, the night before the night
before Christmas. Then before and after the family Christmas gathering, I
made the lyric music video so I could share it Christmas Day on YouTube.
In my haste to get it out, I overlooked some things that, as I listened to
it a few times, I became unhappy about. I was not happy with the vocal and
I was more unhappy with the second half of the bass solo. With the solo, I
had made a conscious decision, while I was playing it, to not resolve the
solo line at the end, but to bring it up to resolution in the start of the
chorus section that follows. It didn't work and even though it wasn't really
out of key, and even though it was deliberate, it sounded like an error. I
couldn't live with it.
I re-recorded the lead vocal and I dropped in a new recording of the last
four bars of the bass solo. I also added some harmony back vocals during the
chorus sections. I am much happier with the new vocal and the bass solo as
it is now; and the backing vocals are a nice addition, too. This new
version is better.
And here it is:
I also have an idea for another new song that I will get started on