Should really get back to this more often... Spent my first 24 hour period alone with the progeny. No disasters. I even got the trash taken out... Bummed about the weakening of the banking regulations they squeezed into the budget. We ought to have a procedure that keeps that particular legislation from being left to the last minute... We did semester reviews in three days this round - three days of three sessions. First ramification? No blog pictures (head over to Facebook if you are interested)... BBC America is running Battlestar Galactica daily in two hour blocks around lunchtime. Haven't seen scheduling that dangerous since Bravo used to run West Wing in the morning... Speaking of West Wing, it was a shame to see the end of The Newsroom this week. Can't help it, I guess I am a die hard Sorkin fan. Since he'll have some free time I think it would be neat if he'd write an episode of The Simpsons... In my total lack of blogging I didn't do an "All David Honor Roll" this semester. FWIW there would have been nobody on the "All David Honor Roll" if I had done it... Had to turn down a friends request to board their cats with us. We just went through too much reducing our feline population... I really wish they would stop saying "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" on the news and just say "Torture." Using a weasel word doesn't make it right. For that matter legal and/or effective don't make it right either... My second twitter feed: @NFTRW_Feed is now tweeting more than a dozen job postings a day thanks to IFTTT. I'm looking for even more... I'm feeling like a crappy gift giver this year. Have to fix that for next year... Spending a whole lot of mental horsepower trying to come up with what's next. No, I don't know...
Monday, December 01, 2014
Here are a few posts from last weeks Greenpage that might be worth your time...
While 65,000 people on the ground and more than 6.7 million viewers were watching daredevil Nik Wallenda walk untethered across a tightrope over the city of Chicago, the director of technical operations for NBC’s field and production operations had his mind on technical things.
Cirque expects to add the scene intermittently to regular performances for the ticket-buying public starting next week, and it will be part of every performance by Dec. 12, said Alexandria Baum, a spokeswoman for the show.
Changes have been made to the choreography and equipment used in the scene, she said.
But, do you think about the volume of engineering, science and technology that go into making each balloon?
Did you know that the giant balloons seen by more than 50 million viewers across the world begin as a lump of clay?
The balloons are conceived, manufactured and cared for by 28 full-time studio employees in the Macy’s Parade Studio in Moonachie, New Jersey.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Voting ends Friday noonish...
Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Fall Protection vs. Fall Prevention: A New Approac...":
I knew that ladders led to jobsite injuries, but I had no idea how bad the statistics were. I had to reread the line about 2000 incidents a day because I was sure that I had misread it. I mean, 2000 incidents seems high to me even for a week. Safety on ladders is really important, but it's not something that I have ever really thought about. I guess I have the same attitude as the ladder companies, that the design that we've been using for decades is fine, why bother changing it. Of course, I've done my fair share of highly idiotic things on ladders. I really liked the part of the article that outlined types of ladder injuries, and the just a little bit higher is my favorite. I'm fairly guilty of it, though for me I only do it if it's just a bit higher; if it's at the same level of me, I'll get down and move the ladder a couple feet though.This summer people at my work were talking about tying to genies, but to me that seems like a terrible idea because if that thing is going down I don't not want to be going down with it. That being said, the ladder that clamps onto poles seems like a great idea that avoids that problem' if the ladder can't fall, then it's perfectly safe to tether off to it. Also, I think that people just need to be more scared. If they are, they're more likely to follow the rules. I was at a lighting focus and I was pushing someone on a genie, and they hated being pushed while it was up. They came down every time. Yes, it wasn't as efficient as it could of been, but they felt safe and that's all that really matters. Lastly, I really like how the article ended, talking about the fence at the top of a mountain. That's such a great quote, and it's really an accurate statement that more people should listen to.Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "How the Lowe's 2x4 Case Has Affected Its Labeling":
Why Lowe’s? Why is California just picking on one vendor? Why didn’t they go after Home Depot? Why aren’t they going after other hardware stores and lumber companies? I can only assume that those other stores were labeling their products in a similar fashion, you know…like everyone else in America. When I call my vendor’s to order lumber (almost a daily task here in Carnegie Scenic) I don’t ask my sales rep for one hundred and ninety-two inch by one and a half inch by three and a half inch sticks of number two pine. It’s almost as ridiculous as the fact that I just wrote those measurements out like that… No. I’m going to ask for No2 grade 2” x 4 “ x 16’s. Now I can maybe understand labeling products with ft. and in. abbreviations instead of the ‘ and “ markers, I can see how that might be reasonable. I’ve also been wondering where the Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and American Lumber Standard Committee fall on this. Have the People of the State of California and their lawyers read the Voluntary Product Standard PS 20-10, American Softwood Lumber Standard? Does this document that outlines and establishes accepted standard sizes have no weight in a court of law? I would think that since the American Softwood Lumber Standard clearly states that the nominal size of 1.5in x 3.5in lumber is in fact 2in x 4in Lowes would be protected against a lawsuit claiming “unlawfully advertising the building materials. Now I understand that Lowes settled out, probably to avoid the costs that could be incurred from fighting this ridiculous claim, but had they fought it I can only hope they would have won.Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "Addicted To Praise? How It May Affect Your Career":
"It shouldn't really surprise us some managers don't see giving out praise, awards and other incentives as part of their job."Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "My role in de-skilling the arts":
This is so important to realize, but very difficult to accept. We are raised to believe that we are special, that we are great for putting in effort, when really we are heading into a world that demands results. Effort is important, as is being a hard worker, but effort doesn't get you rewarded. No one rewards shoddy results.
Everyone seeks approval in their lives. It's one of our basic human needs; the need of positive recognition and a sense of belonging--that our role in society matters and our contributions are well worth our troubles.
Still, this is a world where our roles are really only worth what we can give back to our community. The age-old question "What is my purpose?" is used to generate results that benefit society.
I hate it, but there's no real way to change the need to get things done, and if one isn't "intrinsically motivated," they won't last very long.
As one of the students that this article is talking about, I absolutely agree with everything the author is saying. One of the things I've always wanted to improve about myself is my ability to work with my hands. In public school they don't let you touch anything more dangerous than a drill because of liability issues, let alone teaching you how to use more complicated tools. Some kids have access to opportunities to learn outside of school- many do not. This means that once we get to college, many students are so far behind in terms of skill level that they get relegated to jobs like cleaning steel in the shop. This makes sense in the moment- the crew heads don't want to waste time teaching basic skills- but it also means the few students who come in to school with skills get to exercise those skills and learn new things, while the rest of us are stuck at a level of basic labor. Since we have amazing technology like the CNC machine, we can work around this, but I feel like sometimes it does a real disservice to our students. It comes down to what the final goal of stagecraft is. Is it to get the show built, or to educate the students? If we build a beautiful show, but none of the students did anything more complicated than screwing together platforms that were pre-cut by a computer program, are we really meeting the goals of an educational program, or are we using our students as unskilled labor in an assembly line?Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "energy efficiency, green products":
I talked to a DP student while on crew as I was looking at all of the 2x4s in the hallway and the plywood that was being tossed onto the loading dock, awaiting its dump truck. I asked what happened to the materials stripped from the set at the end of each production, and they said that the department and designers tried to save as much of the set as they could, i.e. stairs, railings, and other pieces of wood and metal that had not been cut or formed into a specific shape, unique for that show.
But as the Drama School and the Design and Production department have such cutting edge and unique designs, a lot of the components are cut so specifically that they are not able to be used for another production.
I'm not entirely sure what CMU's recycling policy is, or how they dispose of materials, (if they go to Habitat for Humanity, or become materials for Carnival, Booth and Buggy) but if CMU were to start using materials like the reclaimed, snow fencing, then our carbon footprint would be significantly lower.
As it is important to have interesting and cutting edge design, it is equally important to make sure our art is not hurting our environment, especially when theatre is such an able body to communicate the necessity for change.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...
But what about this country’s nonmetro areas, or its rural regions? How have they fended since the Great Recession? And what has been the role of the rural creative class in their economic recovery?
Department of Agriculture economist Timothy Wojan, who along with David McGranahan wrote one of the pioneering studies of the rural creative class, just released a new study examining how rural areas with larger shares of the creative class performed between 2007 and 2011.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Sunday, November 16, 2014
Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...
I had a few months to review my decision and while at first I felt that I had made the wrong decision, as time went by I felt that I had to at least give it a try. During the summer I started to tell friends, colleagues, and former co-workers of my decision to return to concert production and they all welcomed me back and offered encouragement and support.
"Hello to you, too," I said. "What can I do for you?"
Jerry explained that he was talking to a group of students, and one said that giving an employee a respirator was the best way to protect them from a chemical hazard. He said he remembered my telling him something about controls and employee protection, but he could not remember what it was. What should he tell the student?
Created by the people at Pangenerator, Neclumi is a projected, interactive necklace.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Voting ends Friday, noonish...
Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "Video: Moments Before Sarah Jones’ Death Captured":
I really have to agree with Henry on his take from this article, specifically the importance of management in art. Maybe it was due to arrogance, or the determination to get that shot, or plain idiocy (or likely a combination of those factors) but the circumstances for this senseless tragedy were all created because there was nobody there actively thinking about the danger of the situation. According to the article many could sense that something was off about that day of shooting, and the only plan that existed to get out of the way of a train would be to run out of the way in under a minute. This lack of planing and blatant disregard for safety is what comes from a poorly managed production crew.Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "This Is The Most Recognizable Pop Song Ever":
Now I can understand how the Producer/Director argues that it isn't his job to personally make sure everyone is safe every moment of the shoot, but as the producer it is damn sure his job to make sure that there is someone who is there who's job is exclusively safety. He had received a letter from CSX that morning about how they regretfully couldn't give him permission to shoot on the tracks, and he blatantly ignored that letter, apparently blinded by his goals as a director. I truly understand the compulsion as an artist to be willing to do something dumb for the sake of art and I honestly believe he would have made a different decision if he had a glimpse into the possible outcome of that choice, but because there was no dedicated manager of the situation the lapse in judgement of this one person ended with a senseless death. The take away from this is to always be thinking about what you're doing, why you're doing it, and the potential consequences of the doing what you are about to do.
My thought's are with victims of this unfortunate circumstance.
The part I was most interested in this article is when it talks about why these songs are so popular. It speaks to the fact that the songs are repetitious. The secret formula the author is referring to is something known as "stomp & swerve". The stomp is the drive of the song, what brings you in and sets you up for the rest. It dates back to the times of John Phillip Sousa and the rise of the march band. Represented in the songs on this list by a heavy kick drum or a strong synth bass-line, it sets a steady foundation for the entire song. Swerve, is what sets the song apart from the rest. It's the extra oomph that gives the song something almost sharp, yet sharp enough to stick in your ear. Examples here are: The heavy first down beat on the guitar strum on Eye of the Tiger. The triplet on just before the fourth beat of the synth line in Mambo No. 5. It's the meeting of these two musical components that bring the song to live and make it exciting and hot. The constant drive of Roy Orbison's kick drum interrupted by a wavering and faltering guitar riff. Micheal Jackson's guitar arpeggio rises at a constant beat and is punctuated by a sudden drop in key and downward tone. Most impressive is Whitney Houston use of the formula. The stomp is not there, but the listener can feel it. It's Houston's silky, flowing waves of vocal harmony that rebel and break the rules of a beat that isn't even there. It's in 4/4 time, but there's no tempo, just rebellion. So in truth, it's the song's use of the stomp & swerve formula that made them great to begin with, it's what made them popular and so easily recognizable. The great thing about this phenomenon though, is that the meaning of the words don't really affect the success of it, which explains why some of these songs became popular, but are not recognized as the "best" songs of all time.Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "All The World’s A Stage… But Does It Need Sound Re...":
As a sound designer I have to agree with Sean. There is no NEED for sound reinforcement however there are times where I understand the desire to include it in the design. I think when done well sound reinforcement is something that can really add to the feel of a straight play. Most notably when utilizing microphones you can add effects to the voice that cannot be done otherwise. Granted you could always just record the voice with the effect that you want and have the actor mime the words, but there's so much that could go wrong with that. Despite these effects I still have to agree with Sean. Too many times I find actors get into the habit of speaking softer because they think that the mics will do the projecting for them. They could not be more wrong. It is very hard for an engineer a mix the show if they're not given any signal to work with. It is exactly this that will often cause the dialogue to sound like it is coming out of the speakers. If mixed right you can make the sound seem like it is coming from the actors rather than the speakers. Another common problem that I notice that is more annoying is improperly mixed surround sound. One thing I can't stand is going to a show and hearing the actors voices coming from behind me. That really takes me out of the show, more so than hearing the PA over the actors. Point is, the use of reinforcement can be beneficial in straight plays but more as a way of peppering in vocal affects and adding volume to quiet moments unlike a musical that requires the vocals to be heard over a band.Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "25 Famous Women on Getting Older":
What an incredible article. I've always loved the concept of getting older and getting wrinkles and watching my hair turn grey. I wonder how I'll feel about it when I'm actually older.Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Time to join the rest of the world":
For me, the best part of this article is how these women are so well known and saying such important things. Girls these days look up to people like Kate Upton who are the epitome of youth. And while I love that she's a little curvy and not the picture perfect typical image, I hope she takes aging as gracefully as these women have. It's important for people who are seen as idols for people to speak out about loving yourself in all your forms. This is something the entertainment industry has the opportunity to do more than anyone but doesn't often do enough. Some of the women in here are very transparent about how it feels to be a great beauty who is now aging, and I was surprised to hear Erica Jong's perspective about it being horrible. I think it's a great example of why we crave youth so much as a culture. However, I was struck by how honest that statement was and I really appreciated how honest she was about it. It's brave to admit when it's hard to like yourself as a celebrity too. Hopefully she starts to love her wrinkles and older qualities.
I'd love to read more by this author on this topic. I think often we do get into this box where we think that "Art" is confined to things like museums and theaters and great literature. We absolutely need these things (and we have to keep telling ourselves this, because otherwise we have no justification for our jobs), but we should also recognize how important and artistic other things are. Earlier today a group of us were talking about the shows that we watched when we were kids, and I realized that those shows are absolutely essential to our society. If you bring a kid to a museum once a month, they'll learn some cool things and maybe gain a real appreciation for classical art, but when it comes down to it it's the episodes of Spongebob and Pokemon they watch every day that really affects how they see the world and how they interact with our society. The writers of these silly shows have permanent effects on millions of kids, and what they do isn't so different from what we do. This isn't even a bad thing, it's just the way it is. Rather than sit in our cathedrals of Art, looking down at all the peasants who enjoy watching Vampire Diaries, while bemoaning the fact that we have low ticket sales to our 5th production of Romeo and Juliet, we could open our minds and recognize the artistic and cultural value of almost everything around us.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Here are a few posts from last week's Greenpage that might be worth your time...
Variety: An ABC News “20/20″ report on Friday included previously unseen footage of the final moments leading up to “Midnight Rider” camera assistant Sarah Jones’ tragic death in February.Posted by David at 11/08/2014 02:41:00 PM
The video comes from a camera that was inside the CSX locomotive that was speeding down the track before the accident. Two other crew members as well as film stars William Hurt and Wyatt Russell ran for their lives seconds before impact, but Jones wasn’t able to make it off the trestle safely.
The Mary Sue: Back in the day, if you wanted to watch a Shakespeare play—or any work of Elizabethan-era theater, really—you had to schlep yourself over to a disgusting outdoor theater and, unless you could afford the exorbitant costs for seats. stand with a bunch of other plebes in a tightly packed standing-room-only gravel pit. But we live in the future now, where we can stream those plays directly into our eyeballs via magic screens! Isn’t life amazing?Posted by David at 11/07/2014 03:20:00 PMLive Design: Director Kacie Smith was wary. Sure, she could stage a play without words, in the tradition of the black-and-white films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. But seriously, was it even possible to stage a play with live actors in black and white?Posted by David at 11/05/2014 02:08:00 PM
sightlines.usitt.org: "Well there's an association for everything, isn't there?"Posted by David at 11/04/2014 04:13:00 PM
The number of times I hear that statement when I talk about USITT is amazing.
Representing a group of people, the majority of whom spend their lives trying not to be seen, presents a challenge. Our members "make it look easy" I am told. But when I point out the various jobs that must be done to make an event or show happen, the reaction is always a new understanding of all that our members do.
We see the world differently.
Portland Opera makes dramatic move to summer seasons beginning in 2016: 'We want to avoid death by 1,000 paper cuts'OregonLive.com: Portland Opera is planning to undergo the biggest change in its 50-year history. Beginning in 2016, the company will perform its entire season in a compressed, 12-week summer period.Posted by David at 11/03/2014 02:38:00 PM
The change, revealed as the curtain is about to rise on Portland Opera's 50th season, is an attempt to stabilize the company after years of fluctuating finances. And it will affect all aspects of the organization, from audience experience to casting, marketing, production and budgets.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Voting ends Friday noonish...
Student #1 has left a new comment on your post "LA Agent to Producer: "I Don't Do Women Directors"...":
Bravo to Charles Gillibert (who didn't actually SAY THIS people!) for putting the anonymous agent on blast. This article completely lost all credibility however, with its last paragraph. "Just another piece of the sexism puzzle for women directors to keep in mind." Really? That isn't something for the directors themselves to "keep in mind", many of whom aren't making enough money to BEGIN to turn down a project on the basis of its artistic integrity or whatever bullshit this agent is using to justify his misogyny.Student #2 has left a new comment on your post "The Show Must Go On: Working When Sick":
Sexism isn't some mystical puzzle made up of magic and unicorns and gender roles. It's pretty simple. Society believes that men are worth more than women by virtue of the fact that they are men. That is sexism. That is real. In what way are the artists whom society already feels are second class citizens equipped to fight statements like this by "keeping it in mind?" I guarantee it is already very much on the mind of any female professional in this industry who wants to write, direct or produce. This isn't some unicorn opinion that has just been discovered...
The novelty isn't that some people feel this way. it's that the movers and the shakers in the industry feel comfortable enough to SAY IT OUT LOUD, and then, a liberal-leaning magazine trying to celebrate its gender-equality stance has, consciously or no, played along with the trope by placing responsibility for change on the victims. If this is what our supporters look like, we have very far to go indeed in the journey to equality.
Isn't this what under-studies are for? At what point are you sick enough to bring in the under-study? I know we don't work with them here at school, but I think it's pretty standard to have an under-study for major roles in the professional world. The worst possible scenario when an actor gets sick is that they should continue to come to work and risk infecting the rest of the cast. One actor going down to the flu is one thing, the whole cast quite another. If I were a producer investing a lot of money in a show, I think I would have a "No Work When You're Sick" clause in all the contracts. In general I'd much rather an employee miss a few days of work than have the flu disrupting the capacity of the show, or office, or shop... So please, if you're feeling sick, don't come to school. You can miss a class or two.Student #3 has left a new comment on your post "(Almost) Everything We Think About Managing Millen...":
I feel a little strange writing about this and also being a millennial, but I do agree with what this article has to say, and that we need different managing styles. My dad often hires people at his office and their ages vary greatly and sometimes they are 40+ years old and sometimes they have just graduated from college, or are still taking classes nearby at night. I remember him coming to me and asking what it was that I wanted out of an employer when I was in college because he was having a hard time with the younger employees he hired and the first thing I said is, are you including them? Are you telling them what you need out of them and what your expectations are? He hadn't thought about it that way at all. To him, he had worked with his grandfather his whole life as a young adult and he had used his knowledge of how his grandfather had treated him (he was a quiet guy and you just sort of knew that he expected what you did to be done right the first time) as an example for how he managed others. But the younger millennial generation doesn't want that. We want feedback. We didn't always work for our families and learn how to be an employee and we are spending more time in school and less time out in the workforce so we sometimes need an explanation of expectations for being an employee and we want them right away so that we don't spend too long thinking we know what we're doing only to be told we've been doing it wrong the whole time. It's hard to find a way to bridge that gap and I'm not saying it's always the best way to do it, but in my experience a lot of us need that sort thing and I, personally, think it's a great way to show your employees that you care about the work they're doing and you want them to know how to improve.Student #4 has left a new comment on your post "Inside Rent The Runway's Secret Dry-Cleaning Empir...":
It is pretty crazy to find such an interesting article about stain removal, although it is something I have been known to get excited about. To begin with, the entire concept behind Rent The Runway is really awesome. Considering that these are the types of dresses a woman is likely to wear once or only a few times for special occasions, this seems like a great way to go about finding a dress. I looked at the website, and the prices are pretty reasonable considering what you might normally spend on a dress for a special occasion. It makes sense that the spotters would be so vital to this business, as the profit of each dress is dependent on how many times the company can rent it out. But I really never considered that there was this specialized industry of masters that exists within the dry cleaning world. The fact that there is an almost two-year training program offered by the company really accentuates what a serious trade stain removal can be. I wonder if there are fees for returning stained garments.Student #5 has left a new comment on your post "Why Germany is so much better at training its work...":
I genuinely agree, however it’s apparent to me that we’re completely choosing to ignore the number of companies that employ interns in the U.S., and at the very least attempt to encourage something that resembles even a mediocre apprenticeship program, especially in the entertainment industry. While I both understand and agree that an internship is entirely different than the structure that the European-apprenticeship model promotes and executes efficiently. It is still a strong and reliable training and recruiting tool for a number of companies. But it’s totally different, because then there’s a different stigma to be overcome, the dreaded “intern” label. When you’re an intern it’s hard to escape that label, you’re seen more as menial labor, and often get stuck with shit jobs that don’t teach you as much as you would like to be learning. That’s not always the case, and I’ve certainly been in situations where I’ve been treated exactly the opposite, it depends on the company, it depends on the people you’re working with, it depends on the company, and most importantly it depends on how much you’re willing to put in. I’ve worked for more than one company as intern now that is known for a) hiring their own, and b) teaching up and recruiting thru their learning programs. PRG, Cirque, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC, TAIT Towers, Hudson Scenic, Disney…these are just a handful of companies that promote this idea and this culture in the entertainment industry. Now their programs aren’t perfect, and most of the internships are limited to the summers in between semesters, so they can’t provide the dual-training model that the European model does, but they do the best with what they can within the structure of American education. I agree that there is a way to better implement an apprenticeship program like that of Germany’s and that the U.S. should strongly consider doing so, but it’s going to be quite some time before that happens…