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|Monday, December 19th, 2011|
|Friday, December 9th, 2011|
|Sunday, July 17th, 2011|
Check out a clip from my upcoming fringe show - woo hoo!
(I'm the writer/director)
|Tuesday, June 7th, 2011|
|Suddenly Sound Design
I'm playing Seymour in our production of Little Shop of Horrors, and I've REALLY been enjoying rehearsals. I love the music almost as much as I love pizza. As a frame of reference, I CANNOT stand listening to soundtracks from musicals - I hate hate hate them. The only two exceptions are Little Shop and Man of La Mancha. (JC Superstar is a Rock Opera, or I'd count that).
Speaking of music, though canned music is not optimal (and can be risky) I've enjoyed putting the tracks together as sound designer way more than I thought I would. We have a great musical director, who's been doing a huge amount of music notation (which I can convert to midi, then WAV files) and I have the most bitchin sound mixing program that keeps getting better every time I use it. I'm completely geeked out on how far user-friendly technology has come since my analog tape days back in college.
I also got to put together a nice "Meet the Apprentices" vid for the company. Check out our new peeps...
|Sunday, May 22nd, 2011|
|Blogging, career, shows and the big move.
It's been too long since I posted here. Some of that is due to schedule and some of it is due to transition - a lot of stuff has been shifting around these days and my blog is one of the things that's been in limbo. I have been re-thinking what it means to blog and how that relates to my shifting concept of self and career. The short story is that I had initially thought my blog should be more professional or at least relate to my profession, so I've been hesitant to blog about personal stuff. However, my decision has been to start a different blog for professional-type subjects and keep this one for personal crap. So here's my personal crap along with a better explanation of what I'm babbling about career-wise.
Laura and I have decided to move back down to North Carolina. The central issue is to be close to family - that's been a pretty painful part of being up here - we're virtually isolated from Laura's relatives, all of whom I consider family. MY relatives are scattered throughout the country, so being close to family is always... uh... relative for me.
The other main component of this change is that I won't be looking for any kind of theatre related work in the near future, nor will I look to make room for it avocationally. I'm exhausted from such a fragmented approach to life. I intent to do what I love and have it be what I do - no more "this is my job but THIS is my passion." My job must be my passion and it must pay the bills.
So I'm looking for a job in North Carolina as a writer. I've done it freelance for upwards of seven years now. I'm good at it and I love doing it. It satisfies my need for creativity and problem-solving and it's an actual real-world job for which people pay you cashy money.
How this relates back to blogging is that I intend to enhance my online presence in the process of the job hunt - being familiar with social media is a plus and a selling point for me, but only if I clean up my act a little. Tidy up my website, tweet a little bit about stuff related to writing, and start a more professional-looking blog with writing as the topic. I have some ideas and I'm pretty excited about it. It'll probably be Wordpress.
So that's the skinny. My compadres here at the theatre know this is our last year here. Laura and I are very sad about leaving, but we've thought about it for a LONG time and carefully weighed the options. We've developed a vision for how we intend to live and move forward and it's time to take steps to live that way.
So hey, if you know anyone in the Asheville or Chapel Hill area who might work in marketing, PR or corporate event planning, let me know!
PS - Though my head seems to be a little bit in the future, cool things are happening right now. Enemy of the People has been a revelatory show for me - I don't know that I've ever had such a large role, certainly not of this type. I've gotten a lot of compliments and I'm very proud of the work I've done. We have three more weekends - I'm glad to put away such an exhausting show, but I'll be a little sad to set it aside.
My set for Sylvia is ALMOST to the level I wish it to be. Even though it's open already, I intend to do a little touch-up painting. After the last two shows I designed here, I'm glad to finally create something I'm proud of, set-wise.
And in a few days we start rehearsals for Little Shop of Horrors. I'm excited as hell to finally play Seymour, especially since I'm just about to head north of the age range to realistically play the role. Ironically (age-wise) I played the old guy Mushnik twice, when I was 20 and 21, still too young to really even play Seymour. I'm terribly, geekily excited.
AND it's my birthday in a few days!
|Monday, March 28th, 2011|
|Friday, March 25th, 2011|
|Saturday, March 19th, 2011|
|Thursday, February 3rd, 2011|
Laura and I are actually starting to settle into our new place. We’re no longer buried in boxes, and we’re expecting our long-ago ordered gift from the family to finally arrive today – a portable dishwasher! This means I may have more time to blog in the future.( Read more updates under the cut...Collapse )
That’s my life, and it’s a good one.
|Thursday, December 2nd, 2010|
|So I wrote a play...
I just participated in National Playwrighting Month and wrote an 80 page play in one month (in the same month that I opened a show in which I acted and designed/built the set). There are many things about this that please me (besides simply finishing the script in the allotted time in and around an insanely busy schedule):
1. I’ve been saying to people “Why no, I’m not writing anything just now” for about two years, and it was seriously starting to annoy me. And depress me. And cause me to question whether I should even consider myself a playwright. I needed some kind of impetus to just write something, and this was it. Now I can say “Why yes, I just wrote the first draft of a new play, thanks for asking. Hummus?”
2. My lifestyle has changed considerably since the time I wrote most of my plays. Back then, I was either working at a low volume call center where I could write a ton in big blocks of time, or working freelance at home, where I could write a ton in big blocks of time. Now I’m busy and away from my desk frequently and I’ve had to learn how to write in small blocks of time. I learned this month that I can do just that.
3. I actually love the play I wrote. The NaPlWriMo vibe isn’t necessarily about quality of work, it’s about cranking out a complete draft of a full-length play in 30 days. It can be, and apparently often is, without cohesion, sloppy, and ridden with continuity problems, characters appearing out of nowhere, shifts in plot that don’t make sense, all the rough, sloppy stuff that should just pour out of a writer in a first draft, leaving the subsequent rewrites to make sense out of it. But silly me, I wrote a nice little first draft that I’m psyched to show people. It has its problems, but the play I intended is very clearly there.
4. I had a ball writing it. Because of the time constraint I didn’t want to work on something that required heavy research, complex structure or any of the usual over-thinking and overanalyzing that I always do before even getting the dialogue on the page. What form and structure should I use? What genre? Is this marketable? What theatres can this play in? I threw all that out. I had a concept near and dear to my heart – to write about my father – and I just let myself riff on that. Fun, sloppy, dirty, silly, boyish riffs on what it means to be a hillbilly stock car driver stuck in Wisconsin.
So that was a blast. But now what do I do with it?
|Friday, October 29th, 2010|
|A Writer Writes. ...right?
I'm lucky enough to be working full time at a theatre company, a company for which I wrote one of my best plays (possibly my best to date), a play which was very nicely appreciated by some of the patrons of this theatre. Several times during our post-performance social hours this year (and at other times in this very small community) this play has come up, along the inevitable question "Are you writing anything these days?"
I've had to give a flat-out "No" for two years now. No, I have not written a single thing. My two excuses have been A) I've written enough of a volume of work that my time as a writer is better spent promoting the existing work, as it's all sitting in my computer doing nothing - I need to get it out to theatres, publishers, agents, etc., and B) my day job, which also happens to be theatre (and occasional waiting of tables) keeps me so busy, I just don't have time to write. See, here's proof: When's the last time I wrote a proper blog entry?
Well, my discomfort with saying that I'm writing nothing, absolutely nothing, for two years has really begun to grate on me, and I'm beginning to suspect my two above excuses are just so much bullshit. I don't really send my stuff out much (which is also bad), but on the rare occasion I do, it takes no time at all. Most organizations accept electronic submissions, and if I already wrote it, hey, it's just a few clicks to get it out there. And yeah, I'm busy, but I seem to have enough time to spend a good hour (give or take) on Facebook every day and see a satisfactory helping of TV and movies. If I continue this way, I might as well admit that my writing was just a phase and has been relegated to Hobby Status.
I'm really not ready to do that. As it happens, National Playwriting Month is November, so I've signed up. I'm not sure how it will go, as I truly do have a busy time ahead of me. I'm acting and set designing for our next show, plus I have marketing duties like scripting the associated trailer and DVD. This is a pretty solid workload going right into Thanksgiving (at which time my brother will hopefully be visiting - so little spare time there as well), so I'm not sure how I'll get it all done.
Two things I have going for me: I love structure. The fact that I have deadlines and I'm accountable to a small network of writers will motivate me. Second, I'm prepared to relearn my writing habits - this month will be the experiment. I used to have the luxury of writing in great big chunks o' time - previous no-brain jobs and three years of freelancing gave me that freedom (and huge debt - another story for another time) but now I have to fully embrace that mantra "A writer writes, every day" - I used to think that was puritanical work-ethic hogwash. Now I understand it's about developing work muscles that can be helpful at times like this. I have to learn how to write in teeny chunks o' time, as little as a half-hour.
So wish me luck. I start in two days.
In other news, I was a little stalled with the running because funky things kept happening to my calves, but new shoes took care of the problem. Unfortunately, while I was wrestling with the issue and exercising less (and eating a lot to help myself think through it), I gained back about a fourth of the weight I lost over the last nine months. It was discouraging, plus I was already frustrated with a plateau. In addition to getting back into my running habit, I've shaken up my usual workout routine and signed up for that yoga the kids are doing these days. Hopefully that will help. It's interesting, and I'm sore in new places, so that must be good.
Namaste. That's yoga talk for Good day, eh.
|Saturday, October 16th, 2010|
|Tuesday, September 7th, 2010|
|Friday, September 3rd, 2010|
|Wednesday, July 21st, 2010|
Vacation homework completed. Check.
Actual relaxation begun. Check.
Great family, great food. Check.
Moonlight walk on beach with beautiful woman. Check.
Daylight walk on beach with beautiful woman. Check.
|Wednesday, July 7th, 2010|
|With the Running
So I’ve been running. I run on the state bike trail that heads northeast out of town toward the next town, Whalen. There’s a beautiful bridge where two river branches converge, which I understand is two miles out. I’ve used that known distance and my running time at the last two 5Ks I ran to estimate other distances on the trail.
As I’ve started to push myself to run farther, I found a landmark that indicates three miles on the trail (6 miles there and back) and I’ve been trying to edge myself past that as time and energy allow. Yesterday I went what I’m guessing is about 3.5 miles out, or 7 miles round trip. It took me about an hour and twenty minutes and I’ve been running roughly ten minutes per mile. Looking at a satellite map of the trail and trying to go by landmarks and terrain as I remember them, it looks about right, compared to the known landmarks.
I had been thinking of pushing on toward Whalen, because I couldn’t tell how close I might be (and I didn’t have a clock with me – I had the check my times after I returned). I’m glad I didn’t, as it looks like I was still at least a mile out, 2 miles round trip, and I didn’t take water with me (though I suppose could have gotten some in Whalen).
Next time I go out, I’ll run to this same landmark and keep hydrated. This last time I did have to walk about 30 feet on my way back to collect myself. Uncool.
After that, probably within the next week, I’m going to Whalen and back – 9 miles. Woo hoo!
|Saturday, June 26th, 2010|
|Theatre, Health and Soup
We open Enchanted April tonight, so I’m taking it easy for the most part, though I plan on working out later. I slept in, ate cereal because it’s awesome, and read a short story by my friend Scott. I seldom read, but I want to write. This was a good reminder that I should read more. It’s an excellent short story and immediately inspired me to write. I remember feeling constantly inspired when I read a book two years ago (or was it three?). I must reverse my lameness and read more.
The fact that tonight we officially begin the show for which I lost weight (as I run onstage wearing only a towel) makes me very mindful that I’m not quite where I wanted to be with the weight loss. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come, but I could still stand to lose 10-15 pounds more and I’m at a very stubborn plateau. Since I work out and/or run every day, the only thing I can change now is my diet. To change my diet, I REALLY have to ask myself if it’s worth it, or if I’m happy where I am. Did I mention cereal is really awesome? So is pizza.
Actually, except for the occasional pizza, I eat extremely healthy food, thanks almost entirely to Laura, who creates AMAZING food, due to her blend of studied knowledge about health, devotion to local and organic foods, and some exquisite kitchen alchemy I don’t quite understand. I had some of her homemade soup today, which she feels is one of her weaker efforts, and it was incredible. All of her food is astonishing and very healthy. But because it’s so good, I usually can’t stop eating it.
I guess I like to eat standard American portions, which I believe are three times larger than those of other industrialized nations. Maybe four.
So there is my challenge. Smaller portions.
|Monday, May 31st, 2010|
|Thursday, April 22nd, 2010|
Hey, I did a set design by remote for my friends at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte. I love them so much it borders on inappropriate. Well, there’s no bordering, it’s completely inappropriate. But my set got a favorable mention in the reviews! And of course by “My Set,” I mean the scribbles I scanned and emailed that were then labored over by Chip and Mike. And they did labor. I drew things floating in the air and left it to them to figure out how to make that shit work. And they did! Yay!
In other news, we opened our Ibsen show and Ibsen festival. My first stage managing job. It was a challenge to expand my skill set to include multi-tasking and attention to detail. A challenge at which I utterly failed, except that the set is bright and shiny, so it keeps my attention.
I’m going to do a voice-over tomorrow. Haven’t had one of those gigs in a while. I may just update my demo and send it to my old agent. I used to be the voice of the Star Tribune back in the day, you know. Back when there was still print media.
By the way, I didn’t win the local Biggest Loser contest – I missed the last two weeks of working out due to the aforementioned stage-managing (with sound design chaser) but it’s all good. I lost about 14 pounds and still have time to lose more before I go streaking across the stage. Stay tuned!
|Friday, March 12th, 2010|
|This is me blogging
To catch up on the last month:
Theatre (SM): I’m starting my first ever Stage Management job by trying to negotiate a rehearsal schedule that satisfies the company, director and actors. While challenging, it’s nothing I haven’t done before. I’ve never been a stage manager, but I’ve been a director with no SM several times, which is pretty much the job, except I don’t have to come up with blocking or understand the point of the play (like that ever stopped me as a director).
Theatre (Design): I designed the set, sound and lights for the local community theatre show, which opened last week. It turns out I knew more about lights than I thought. At least enough to light a small space with 14 instruments and 8 temperamental dimmers. I’m pleased with the set design – it’s Blithe Spirit, so the haunting has some fun tricks built into the set. I really wanted a flying vase, but I couldn’t find fishline in time.
Theatre (Playwrighting): I need to get off my ass. Srsly. That, or stop calling myself a writer.
Other (Birthday): It was Laura’s birthday earlier this month – Yay! We went of to the Cities for some fun excursions, including Magic Quest at the Mall of America. Stop laughing. Shut up! Also, we saw Avatar for the third time, this time in 3D. I will disagree with the general populace and say the 3D diminishes the experience. We also checked out an oxygen bar, which we both suspect was kind of snake-oil, but now we can say we’ve done it, and the massage chairs, with or without the oxygen, were AWESOME.
Other (L for Loser): Had my second weigh-in today for the Biggest Loser contest. I suck. I think I was on a pretty good curve, but starting with Laura’s birthday, I just started eating too much. I lost 2 fricking pounds since last month, which is lame lame LAME! I will do better FTW next month at the final.
Coming up: Sunday we strike Blithe Spirit and a few days later, the director and cast will be here for the big production at the Commonweal and we’ll go full-tilt. Kind of exciting. I was involved last year, but only as sound designer, so I don’t think I really appreciated the excitement of starting up the season.
ALSO! The company has a side gig doing a play reading at Harvard. I was able to get myself involved in the project (another SM job) so I could see my brother who works there. I don’t know how long it’s been since I’ve seen him, but I think it’s been like five years. Too long!