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Much-needed update pt. 4 – Summer of 15!

Finally, here’s what my summer and fall have entailed.  A lot of it was just like last fall, as I was once again working for two organizations I love, Goodspeed Musicals and American Repertory Theatre!

First up, I was given the opportunity to mix the new musical “The Theory of Relativity” by Neil Bartram and Brian Hill, a beautiful 80-minute long sung-through piece about the ways in which we are all interconnected. It had a cast of 13 and a band of 5, and everyone was a sheer delight to work with. It was also a pleasure to be working once again with Jay Hilton as sound designer; he continues to be one of my biggest mentors and role models in this industry.

After that show, I headed up to Boston for the summer to officially join the staff at ART’s Club Oberon.  Unfortunately, this didn’t exactly go as planned, as six days into my employment, I flew over my handlebars while riding my bike to work and broke my right collarbone…not so helpful when two arms are needed for most mixing.  But thanks to the great folks in Boston, I was able to come back to work in a limited capacity after just 4 weeks, and the company was able to arrange for me to do some paid training and shadowing. A big help with not being able to work and still needing to make my Boston rent!

After the tumultuous summer, the boyfriend and I took a much-needed week off, where we roadtripped out to see our friends in Cleveland and back. Cause relaxation is important too!

At the helm of "Theory of Relativity" in Chester Connecticut

At the helm of “Theory of Relativity” in Chester Connecticut

Meanwhile while broken...

Meanwhile while broken…

A typical day at Club Oberon

A typical day at Club Oberon

2015-08-09 00.25.56

After mixing my first “The Donkey Show”, a 60-minute long Midsummer Night’s Disco that runs every Saturday night at Club Oberon!

Published: 25/11/2015

Much-needed update pt. 3 – Spring of ’15

Ok, I guess I’m on a roll now, so here’s more!

After not doing much for the month of February, I was excited to jump into another show at my old alma mater, this time the high school’s production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”  It was another great experience, a chance to deal with a smaller and more mature cast, but also to train the mixer, a fantastic 12th-grader named Kai, to go with the flow, since the show is line-by-line mixed but contains internal improvisation, an inevitable byproduct of having audience participants in the show!  She also had to serve as her own A2, so we spent a lot of time on mic-rigging, problem-solving, and communicating effectively with stage management when things needed to happen quickly.

For my part, it was a great last gig in NY before heading back to a new project up in CT…Yale!

I was offered a position as a Wireless Microphone Technician on Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of “The Caucasian Chalk Circle.” It was a big play with original music and high high production values, and all 24 actors were in mic.  I had a great experience working with the superb staff there, everything was in order when I arrived for tech, and from there I was able to simply take the RF off their hands and keep everything under control.  I also was put in charge of a wireless IEM receiver that had to be tracked to different onstage positions and plugged into 2 different speakers to serve as both an iPhone and a baby…fun 🙂

In the middle of all this, I had the amazing opportunity to attend USITT 2015 in Cincinnati, OH as the first ever Early Career women In Sound Scholarship awardee.  As part of my award, I received a generous travel stipend (definitely helped with the fact that I had to miss some of tech and previews to go…), and I sat on a panel about early career sound folks and got to be on the other side of the role model steps for a while! It was so moving to talk to students whose exact shoes I had been in just one year ago, and offer what advice I might have to give about surviving those early years and “career hustling” as I call it. It was also great to see old friends, meet new ones, and keep up those network contacts!

Between my three-ish sublets, a lot of 100-mile-a-day driving, the right amount of drinking, and once again being in tech over passover, it was quite a busy start to spring!

My signature show track index cards from YRT's "The Caucasian Chalk Circle"

My signature show track index cards from YRT’s “The Caucasian Chalk Circle”

Published: 25/11/2015

Much-needed update pt 2 – Winter 2014/15!

Continued from before, a quick summary of my first year out of college and the nomad-ing I did for a while.

One big lesson I learned from a colleague up here in CT that I just didn’t know was that nothing happens at certain times of year.  I spent an insane amount of time in January and February trying to get work, when at least up here…there just wasn’t that much work to be had. And that’s ok! But I definitely started to go a little stir-crazy. I found a new therapist to vent my frustrations to, since I don’t know that this is something that every industry experiences.  It’s like one week you have 50 hours of solid work and then a few weeks later, you just don’t.  It can be a lot to manage.

But that now known, other than taking some nice vacation time, I was able to piece together a decent bit of work for the “off-season”.  I was an audio technician for Goodspeed’s Festival of New Musicals, which is a three-day long event full of readings, concerts, panels, cabarets, all of which are in the interest of promoting new musical theatre.  I got to mix numerous events, run from space to space in mid-winter as fast as I could, and meet lots of great actors, writers, directors, producers, whatnot.

I also fell into a fun gig that I would never have expected to enjoy – sound designing productions at my old high school!  I know, you may laugh…but it has actually been a great time, and a great opportunity.  My school back in NY has a nice rep system, so my biggest job was to rent a microphone package (we owned 8 channels of RF that would be swapped from actor to actor during the show by a terrific team of 12-year old A2s), coordinate aforementioned microphone handoff, coordinate the band (5 pieces sitting almost entirely unamplified far away in the balcony) and balance them with the vocals, as well as teaching another terrific 12-year old to mix this monster!  Did I mention that this was a middle school production of “Sunday in the Park with George?”

The opportunity also allowed me to do a lot of much-needed maintenance on their system, which was a great learning/doing opportunity.  I had all the time I needed to figure this system out, look at the old drawings from when our theatre had been renovated in the early 2000s, did some relabeling, soldering, wiring, patching, and really got things into nice working order.  As someone who has never considered system design my “#1 skill”, it was a big undertaking and I’m really proud of my results.  There is now a basic system flow of the theatre that the resident TD can use to figure things out while I’m away, and everyone has been walked through the system and its needs. See below!

Another thing one learns when doing school theatre, is that it isn’t always about making it sound good. With a cast of 25 where only the leads and SOME supports will be mic’d at any given time, you will pull your entire head of hair out trying to make it Broadway-quality.  Gabi, my mixer, had to go from line-by-line mixing to reminding himself to leave a mic open if it was being used to capture two people while being worn by one, and to make the sound more consistent than just one person on mic and one who isn’t.  And anyway, it’s middle school!  This is the venue that was my first real exposure to being on a tech crew. I ran a spotlight in this space back in ’04.  And really it was about being involved and doing your part.  And if every parent in the audience can hear their child and see them get to be involved, whether in a costume or in blacks, then we will have done our job.  So that was mine!

Here is my badass middle school mixer Gabi in action! He is on a Presonus StudioLive inside a control booth and it still sounds great :)

Here is my badass middle school mixer Gabi in action! He is on a Presonus StudioLive inside a control booth and it still sounds great 🙂

A map of the school's 24-channel console in its "Standard" layout

A map of the school’s 24-channel console in its “Standard” layout

Published: 25/11/2015

Much-needed update! Pt. 1 – Fall of ’14

Hi all!

So, I’ve been meaning to update this puppy for a while, but i’ve been woefully/thankfully busy actually WORKING for the past year or so!  But here’s a little of where I’ve been and where I am.

Since my last blog post, I…

(TL;DR? Just skip the internal bullet points)

-left Dallas after a great show run of Les Mis to take an apprenticeship in Audio at Goodspeed Musicals.

  • while there, I served as a wireless mic technician on a new musical called “The Circus in Winter”.  There were about 16 channels of RF in many different flavors, everything from Sennheiser’s older SK2012s up through the 5212, so managing all the different frequency ranges and connectors was quite the challenge!
  • After my A2 gig, I actually wound up staying on at Goodspeed to take over as the mixer on their mainstage musical, “Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn!”  It was a wonderful experience and opportunity, and a unique one, since it was my first time taking over for someone on a show.  I learned about the challenges of the mix, but also about how to behave and make people comfortable, in order to make the technical and personal transition 100% smooth.  I’m proud to say I think at least one person didn’t know the original person had left and I took over!  And I can’t wait for New York audiences to get to see this gem of a show when it hits Broadway next fall.  I’m proud to have earned my first professional mixing credit working on this show.

-While at Goodspeed, I picked up a great “weekend gig” working at American Repertory Theatre’s Club Oberon

  • Oberon is a fantastic amazing space where gigs can last any time from one performance to a full week.  It’s a huge lesson in being adaptable, flexible, and REALLYFREAKINGFAST.  My first week there, we put up a college theatre production of “Assassins” with 13 pieces onstage. We did two shows, STRUCK the entire thing (set included!) in order to allow their resident Saturday night show, “The Donkey Show” to happen, then RELOAD the whole thing back in for two shows the next day.  No time for confusion, inconsistency, or attitude.  Good time.

Ok, at this point in my timeline it’s January, and so far this year I have continued to build my relationships with these two theatres, where I still work regularly, as well as supplementing with work at Yale Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Mohegan Sun Casino, and The Dalton School in NYC.  I’ll detail that stuff in my next post and in the Portfolio section of my website! Thanks for reading!

Published: 25/11/2015

Caucasian Chalk Circle

Here is some of my work as Wireless Microphone Technician on Yale Repertory Theatre’s production of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht.  As is my custom, these notes were printed on 3×5 index cards that I kept in my cargo pocket and used in order to reference what my duties were throughout the show.

 

These tasks were printed on 3x5 notecards that I used to keep track of my show duties.

In addition to being the “Mic Bunny” for a cast of 18, I was also in charge of tracking a wireless IEM receiver that served to provide spot sound effects for both a cellphone and crying baby. The receiver needed to travel both with its attached speaker and between the two speakers in order to be plugged in at the right time and achieve the effect.

CCC Track Cards p2

Fun notes: Due to some funky hats, multiple actors had to have their earpieces switched from one side to another as the play went on, since they played multiple characters and changed costume constantly. Also, one actor had to be taken completely out of mic halfway through the show so he could be given a bath onstage!

Published: 10/04/2015