Friday, November 28, 2008

Be Truly Thankful....

and at a minimum call the people you wish a Happy Thanksgiving to!  DO NOT GIVE THEM SUCH AN IMPERSONAL GREETING LIKE A COT DAMN TEXT MESSAGE!!!!    Take the time out today (and everyday) to make a connection with them.   The person on the receiving end will truly appreciate the extra effort you put in, and in turn will be thankful for your presence in their lives.


Currently listening:
Super Mario Brothers & The Legend of Zelda Big Band Live

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=16074757&blogId=452254347

Monday, November 24, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Aretha!


I was in the shuttle yesterday awaiting the powers that be to show to shoot our part of the commercial.  We huddled into a van to escape the cold atop a parking garage next to the El (they had an entire production rig stuffed into two cars circling the loop running on the inside rack).  As we were waiting, the driver turned on NPR and they were doing a segment on the bastion of all professional audio studios - Antares AutoTune.

Per Wikipedia, Auto-Tune is a proprietary audio processor created by Antares Audio Technologies which uses a phase vocoder to correct pitch in vocal and instrumental performances. It is used to disguise inaccuracies and mistakes, and has allowed many artists to produce more precisely tuned recordings.  So, in other words, it creates believable yet unbelievable recordings .

One assertion the commentator made was that Aretha Franklin, considered one of the greatest singers of our time (as well as one of the biggest drama queens ), said "she's never heard of it".  As soon as I heard that, I was immediately incensed!  Perhaps it's my perception of her and my scorn towards the reverence given to her by people, but c'mon, anybody who's a recording artist knows about pitch correction and basic studio trickery used to make records.  She comes off to me as an even more pretentious diva when she implies to me that she's such a great singer, she's never needed it, thus, has never heard of it.  As a colleague pointed out to me, the probably used it on her records without telling her what they did.  Unless she's in the habit of letting people record her in any fashion and doesn't care about the output (highly unlikely), she's had to have heard of these tools. 

A large majority of mainstream records made (I'm going with at least 75%) use some level of unauthentic studio magic.  The commercial records you hear on the radio had a lot of work done to them to get them to sound that good.  Multi-tracking, arrays of effects and processors, drag-and-drop capability, and the digital domain have been in use for years to make records.In the old days, pieces of tape were shuttled around and spliced together to get awesome takes.  AutoTune is just another tool in the arsenal that's available to artists and producers.

Sometimes it's the performance of the vocal than its pitch that's more important to the overall recording.  If you sing something out of tune but it's believable and you make me feel it, it's forgivable.  I am not against using it as I've used it on some of my recordings but if an artist can do a performance without retuning, that's best thing that can happen.
Currently listening:
Believe
By Cher
Release date: 1998-11-10

Friday, November 21, 2008

Got The Job!...Well, Kinda...Well, No, Got It!

OK.  It looks like I got cast as a principle after all in the commercial.  I went for a fitting today.  I'm cautiously excited as things can always change at the last minute.  I shoot stuff Sunday!

Currently listening:
Chinese Democracy
By Guns N' Roses

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=16074757&blogId=450656599

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Got The Job!...Well, kinda

I got offered a part in the commercial I auditioned for.  I didn't get the part I auditioned for but was offered a part of the production.  I'm happy I finally landed some work at union scale but I'm disappointed a little bit in not being cast as a principle as I feel my auditioned kicked ass .  Oh well, gotta start somewhere.

It looks like I'm still on track to get cast as a principle in 2009.

Currently listening:
Smashing Pumpkins - If All Goes Wrong
Release date: 2008-11-11

  


Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=16074757&blogId=450038310

C’mon Michael! Man Up!

I have mad love for the sane-ish Michael of yesteryear.  The black man that gave us the Jackson 5, The Wiz, and Thriller.  The last worthwhile record I bought was Dangerous.  Then Michael lost his cot damn mind, butchered his face and body with unneeded cosmetic surgery, got jiggy with some kids (allegedly), released a wack ass solo record entitled Invincible, had a bunch of kids, got married a couple of times, and went on TV and creeped me the fawk out enough for me to shake my head and say "What the hell happened?!"

After Michael moved to Bahrain, there were rumors that he was resting up for a comeback of some sort.  Since every other country in the world outside the US is still in love with him (especially the Romanians!), I figured that he would be away from the circus he helped create, and that break allow him to concentrate on being an artist.  I also heard he was considering a run in Vegas a la Celine Dion and Cher.  Cool.  Yeah, it's not 1983 Michael Jackson but at least he's working.  Then I see this article and think to myself "Why do I even hold out hope for this guy?!" 

This is a note to Michael.  Michael, get your stuff together man.  Grow the fawk up!  If you aren't already seeing therapists, then go and see them.  If you have therapists now, fire each of them, and get some from another source.  Act like a man of 50 years of age and pay your bills, own up to your obligations, and live up to your potential!  Stop borrowing money to live a lifestyle you know you cannot afford.  Face your fears and reality.  If you want to continue to be an artist, great!  We would like to see it.  Underneath all the BS in your former life, the REAL MJ needs to stand up and show himself to the world.
Currently listening:
Dangerous
By Michael Jackson
Release date: 2001-10-16
 


This was originally posted on Myspace with comments at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=16074757&blogId=449988684

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We’ll Get ’Em Next Year! : Revisted

No, it's not a blog about those dismal Cubs losing every year and keeping their fan-base strong.  Rather I'm lamenting the fact I won't get new floors until the spring.  My floors are so wavy and buckled that you could launch yourself from one side of the room to the other if you ran fast enough   I had a contractor out today and he suggested we wait until next year before we rip out the floors and door to fix it.  We are going to stop gap the fix with some professional caulking to at least keep the drafts out.  
Currently watching:
The Sentinel
Release date: 2004-09-07

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Don’t Count On It

The Smashing Pumpkins new DVD came out today.  I forgot to swing by a Best Buy to try to pick it up; however, I was by a LackLuster Blockbuster Video store.  I figure I'd swing by quickly, pick it up, get some popcorn, and watch the video as a family.  After parking, I notice a huge entourage of people standing outside.  There was a note on the door reading

OUR COMPUTERS ARE DOWN.  WE NEED TO REBOOT THE SYSTEM.  WE'LL REOPEN AT 3:30 PM.

I read the note at 3:47 PM   I thought out loud, "You've got to be kidding me.  Oh, we can't do any transactions because we don't have the expertise to use a regular cash register!  Our inventory will be off because we don't know how to do it without a computer!  I can't calculate sales tax! "  I am sure I oversimplified what effect the system being down is to the business but frankly I don't give a fawk. 

How many times have you tried to buy something but they couldn't sell it to you because there wasn't a bar code?  Or they scan it and it doesn't show up in the system?  Why should a company's lack of having a robust accounting system disallow me as a consumer from purchasing items? 

I call for the reinstatement for real cash registers!   I call for those people working fast food to have to actually think about dealing with real money vs. just pushing the colorful shape on the cash register that match the Happy Meal ordered!  I call for business to deal formally with their customers instead of letting the machines run their business!  THIS IS A CALL!

Currently listening:
Fore!
By Huey Lewis & the News
Release date: 2007-05-21


This was original posted on Myspace at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=16074757&blogId=448262111

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More Than A Feeling

I went to the musical improv jam today at SC to promote ISY:TIM in addition to play with some people I've never played before. It's been quite some time since I've been at SC performing so it felt good to walk up on the mainstage and feel right at home.

Todays' jam was the most fun I've had improvising. No judgements, no worries about rules or offending people, no titles to deal with, no dealing with past dramas, no expectation to succeed, no worries of failing, no agony of defeat; I was just a player amongst a group of people who were there for a good time and mess around for a good hour and a half. Some of my best characters and work came out today in the midst of some of the worst improv imaginable! It was cool because it was safe to just play. There were a lot of talented folks there and it was an honor to play with them as well.

The feeling I got today is the feeling I needed to remind myself of and need to carry to all my other more formal endeavors. Ultimately, it truly is about having fun.

Currently listening :
Boston
By Boston
Release date: 2006-06-13

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a Historic Day

Some observations I've made today regarding this election:

  • This is the first presidential election in 8 years that ended relatively early. Pinche chads in Florida!

  • We've got a true African-American president in Obama. He holds a dual citizenship to Kenya and the US.

  • This may be the first step into getting Americans to truly unite. We truly are Americans at all time above all backgrounds and ethnicities.

  • Jesse Jackson cried at the post election rally. I couldn't help but wonder if they were tears of happiness or tears of envy.

  • There's a lot of talk about the white America vs. black America. I'm hoping Cheech Marin runs at some point. I want to be accused of voting for a Latino simply based on his skin color vs. supporting his issues.

  • I hope my son grows up to see know nothing about the level of divide we have in our country. I am inspired to think that we all get along from this point on.

  • OK. I get it. Oprah is in the audience. Oprah is rich and she supported him. I get it. TV Camermen, stop panning to her.

    I like, however, she was stuck with the regular people and was just a regular person. Low class, beatch!

  • Obama spoke quite well tonight. Fantastic speech.

It's time for a change for all of us. Embrace it.
Currently listening :
Barack Obama’s Speech on Race : A More Perfect Union
By Barack Obama
Release date: 2008-10-02

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=446403239&Mytoken=C7152190-FF4B-46FF-B86B0B364D3FE8DB218552609

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Have More than Just One Job

While producing theatre shows over the last year, I've learned so much about what it takes to put on a successful production. It's no wonder why artists bloody HATE doing this work as it's not glamorous at all, people second guess you at every turn, and when you have to get something done, sometimes you have hurt and offend people's feelings so that they can put up the best show possible.

One of the many duties I've picked up is website design, maintenance, and group promotion. I've helmed the task of putting together the websites for two groups thus far, and after getting up something that I felt people wanted to look at, then the task of putting together things like newsletters, graphics, bios, show dates, ticket management, and contact information began. This task is like pulling teeth. I think to get one site up it took me a good solid week of 12-14 hour days to get the content together, and then once you look at it, it doesn't look like a whole lot Then maintaining it with news, pictures, and flashy presentations becomes the next task. After that is done, then keeping folks visiting the site and clicking on buying tickets or attending shows is the next challenge. It's all very time consuming and overwhelming at times.

As a result of doing this work, more time is being invested in my own projects as well. I've started to see the power of marketing and why so much time is devoted towards it. It's the ultimate art of manipulating people into doing something they wouldn't normally do . With no formal training, I've learned how to market with mailing lists, newsletters, various social networking entities, e.g., Myspace & Facebook, using press releases, print/posting flyers and posters, and hitting up online boards and chat rooms to promote. The game was stepped up by including seeking and getting advertising in programs, supporting fundraising activities, cross-promoting with other groups and companies, putting on promotions where it costs a little upfront but pays off in the end, getting radio, TV, and web spots, and the tried-and-true word of mouth promotions. Now I want to step up my game even more!

Yesterday I drove to Barnes and Noble looking for an escape from my 2 days of captivity in the house while the Wifey and Baby Boy went down souf to visit with family. I took a look at the marketing books and saw a lot of information there but nothing that was had "real world", practical marketing ploys. There was a lot of theory in the book which I do believe I need to read and understand, but at this time I would rather have something a bit more immediate that would touch on the theory along the way. I've been tinkering with the idea of taking a college entry-level class on marketing to get a more formal understanding of it as some point. I found nothing that I was willing to pay for and then left to get get some cheese from Julio's for the next day .

After I got to Julio's I shared with a bartender friend of mine my predicament of always thinking about what can be done to generate interest in all of my projects. He then turned me onto the Google Analytics, Keywords, Trends, and Adsense to help shape the online presence of these endeavors. After talking to him about it, I decided to try it out on a smaller scale as MySpace and Facebook are now getting into that space as well. I posted up an ad for the Courageous E.P. this morning around 1AM and had a very meager budget. In the span of 8 hours, I got 485 views of my ad! That's 485 more than I would've had without in my opinion. So, I am geeking out at the possibilities this could bring.

I feel like I may have a future in marketing. I'm not sure where exactly but this skill I'm developing is worth some money. I need to start hooking up with people in this industry to teach me more.

Currently listening :
Year of the Dog...Again
By DMX
Release date: 2006-08-01

Note: This was originally posted on MySpace with comments at:
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=16074757&blogID=445448416&Mytoken=C7152190-FF4B-46FF-B86B0B364D3FE8DB218552609