A while back, Christopher Min and I were asked to create a 10-year anniversary film for The Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts at Fuller Theological Seminary. The film was to be shown at a gala reception honoring the founding donors for the Center, Bill & Dee Brehm. We wanted to show the rich diversity of graduates the program was raising over the course of the first decade.
Chris directed, and Loren Roberts/Hearken Creative provided all the equipment, shooting expertise, and editing for the final video.
The result was a smashing success at the event — one attendee said it was a “moving tribute” to the Brehms and the Center. The only issue we had was cutting down the incredible footage we got with the graduates. I think our first edit clocked in at almost 16 minutes; the final edit is a still-long (but beautiful) nine minutes.
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The Los Angeles Children’s Chorus asked me to create some short introductory videos on each of their choirs. Previously I had produced one for their First Experiences in Singing class [see my eailer post]. These new videos required many hours of filming rehearsals and concerts for all six choirs, as well as music theory classes. Then we interviewed all the different directors to get their take on each chorus. Finally, we edited each piece together, trying to give new parents and members of the ensemble a sense of each chorus’ identity. And we attempted to keep them all under four minutes.
I’m excited about how these will be used to further the educational and artistic mission of the L.A. Children’s Chorus.
This piece was commissioned by the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus to promote one of their newest educational programs — First Experiences in Singing. We’re proud to be working with such wonderful organizations.
Emily Lakdawalla, Mat Kaplan, and I arrived at JPL early this morning to do a couple of remote spots for Planetary Radio. With the exception of my camera needing repair (and the ensuing long drive down to Canon Repair in Irvine), it was a great shoot. And lots of fun to film at JPL…
Ryan Scott Oliver, PMTP‘s creative director, wrote a brand new musical for the students who participated in the Summer 2011 session of the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. I am a member of the board of directors of this fantastic program. We now have a partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, and are looking to expand even further into the community.
But back to the musical, Jasper in Deadland. I filmed a bunch of the shows and rehearsals, and mixed the live sound off-the-board for this recording. It gives a good glimpse of what the students got to experience over the summer: originating roles in a fantastic new musical, and getting to work with musical theatre professionals — directors, choreographers, lighting and sound and costume and set designers, etc.
The Perfect Gentlemen are a riveting vocal group here in Southern California. A few weeks ago, I dropped everything in my office and walked over to the Levitt Pavilion at Memorial Park here in downtown Pasadena to see them perform. And then I pulled out my camera. The light was really harsh, because it was sunset (I hate to think of the blinding spotlight the performers were enduring onstage!), but everything turned out really warm and summery. Lots of fun.
This is looking down on the stage from the catwalk where my speakers are hidden
It pays to have a kid who loves classical music, and love classical music myself. Los Angeles Children’s Chorus asked me to help out with adding surround sound to the Ambassador Auditorium for a new piece, composed for the Children’s Chorus by Caroline Park, entitled Motion. So I took a bunch of powered speakers and climbed up into the catwalks above the audience. And it sounds fantastic. Ms. Park has written a challenging piece for the kids, but the payoff is huge — being enveloped in sound in a way that only someone with an understanding of children’s voices could create.
Rehearsing the new piece "Motion." Composer Caroline Park's laptop with MaxDSP running can be seen in the lower left of the photo.
The concert is Saturday, May 14, at 7:00 p.m. You should come if at all possible — these kids are pros. They have sung with the L.A. Phil, Hollywood Bowl, L.A. Master Chorale, tons of recordings, and all sorts of other stuff. More importantly, they love music, and are learning to love the work that goes into doing something well — doing something right. I’m proud of all of the hard work that they have put into this.
And I love getting to play with sound, too.
LACC's Concert Choir rehearsing for this week's concert
Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)
The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.
So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative
provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
filmed the Promise Competition,
ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.
Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.
And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:
and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:
The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.
By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.
Wow, it’s hard to get a hold on where the economy is, for entertainment companies both big and small. The L.A. Times has a story on how the toy industry is looking to large blockbuster films like Transformers to drive more and more toy sales, especially in the off-peak summer months. A story about the success of the movie industry? But a day earlier, the Timeslooked at how smaller production and support companies were being squeezed by runaway production — filming moving to cheaper locations out-of-state — and how it’s going to be hard for the SoCal economy to absorb the loss of work.
And is NBC-Universal for sale or not? Who knows. They have been having a hard time, both on television (Knight Rider) and at the moviess (Land of the Lost). But what happens to the big affects even us small companies.
But look at total box office figures for the last few years. We’re on track this year to at least keep up with last year, if not surpass it. People are still spending money on entertainment.
My new friend Petrea from Pasadena Daily Photo did a series of pieces on our building in Old Town Pasadena last week. Interesting stuff, if you are into the history of old neighborhoods and buildings. Here are the three posts: 1, 2, 3, & 4.
Homage or plagiarism? Lots of designers are up in arms about this website for a Republican candidate for governor, including Print‘s Daily Heller blog. Is it plagiarism? I don’t know. But the similarities to Obama’s well-designed site for his candidacy are striking…
Copyblogger has a great little article about my favorite ad guy, Lloyd Ogilvie. Even though he wrote Ogilvie on Advertising decades ago, it still rings true for me as a marketer and graphic designer.
Well, I’ve done this over the years for friends, but I think I should stop underselling myself. This weekend I mixed sound at the Global Day of Prayer/Love Pasadena event on the steps of the Rose Bowl. 500 people, 5 bands, several hours, and lots of running around and soundchecking. And the event went off without a hitch. I’m really proud of Advantage Productions in Santa Clarita for finding me a sound system on short notice, and the pastors of the churches who helped put the event together.
Running live sound is a lot different than recording in the studio. In the studio, you can move mics around until you get it right, you can punch-in to fix a bad line, you can EQ and compress to your heart’s delight on your own time. But live sound needs to sound great — NOW. So I was really happy that, with no soundcheck for any of the bands, we were able to walk in and make everything sound awesome the first time. Having great equipment can make or break a show, and that’s why I’m s0 pleased with Brett and Ron from Advantage Productions, and how easy it was to work with them.
So, I’m hanging my shingle out for running live sound for events. And next time I’ll wear sunscreen.