Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving with a side of Muppets

Just got back from Thanksgiving in Ohio, well... got back last night at 1 am. I have to say I made some damn good fudge and such over break. There will be pictures later.

Sunday morning, went to Cleveland and met up with some fine folks for brunch, but we're going to gloss over that fact and skip right to the meat. We then went to see the new muppet movie. It was Amazing. I won't lie, I actually wept through parts of it. It was so sad, and so awesome, it just pulled at your heart to watch the muppets down and out, separated, told they aren't famous anymore and that people don't remember them. It was really a comeback story and I don't know how they could do this movie and not do a new muppet show. They've set it up, and holy crap will it work. The celebrity support within the movie, the jokes, the new voice actors doing old voices, it was all there. There were great little touches that the hardcore fans will love, really touching moments, pictures of old muppet show hosts with them at times, everything. The addition of Walter is great because the older folks who grew up on it ARE Walter and all the new fans can get welcomed in by him.

I won't really give anything away but I will say one of my favorite parts is that Animal is in anger management and he is "in control" I loved it. It was everything I could hope for in a restart of the muppets. My only complaint was the inclusion of one song that just didn't fit, it was jarring, confusing and even the muppets weren't sure why it was happening. If you've seen the movie, you probably know which one I'm talking about.

Fun facts:

The banjo that Kermit plays during the rainbow connection is his original banjo from the first movie.

it's the first theatrically released muppet film not to include Frank Oz

Pixar fine tuned parts of the script for Disney

Some of the full body muppet shots use original remote control muppets that allow it to exist and move on it's own as it is controlled off screen. They chose to utilize these so they could be sure the muppets exist physically in the real world rather than being digitally animated.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Catching up of Sorts

I think it is about time I get caught up on this thing, so here it goes. This is my first real day off in quite awhile (thank you national holidays) it has been spent inside not doing a thing, later I will play video games, currently I will update this and eat some hot dogs. Later later... chinese food. I think that is a good plan for a day off.

So Seussical went pretty well. Each night had some mistakes and issues, nothing I really could have done anything about so I didn't stress too much about them. Friday night they broke a piece of facing off of one of the front steps so I was going to cut a new piece early Saturday and paint it, but when I got there my crew had already reattached it and were touching it up. Needless to say my tradition of taking a piece of facing from every set I've designed continued and during strike the broke off piece was set aside and is now next to me in my office at home.

Of course given that during a tech week everything that goes wrong does (thank you murphy's law) my jeep stopped working. Wouldn't turn over, lights still worked, new battery did nothing, didn't work. so after a couple days of that Melanie and Roberto Mollo (Melanie is the music teacher and director) got AAA to come out and look at it and then got it towed to a place about a mile from work. The guy was great and fast, reminded me a lot of the place we go way back home, so I'm sure I'll be going back if I have any other problems. Waited around 3 hours for the tow truck to actually show up, towed it there wednesday night, picked it up thursday afternoon and now it runs like a champ. It ended up being a combination of battery, cables and shot connections. In either case I'm up and running and in good shape now with a brand new battery for winter.

So thursday was the last day of my required after school hours since we are ending the "fall sports" section and moving into winter. I decided it was time for a small project. Now that I'll actually have some free time I'm planning on making a lot of changes to the shop, stuff I had wanted to do when I showed up but hadn't had the chance to get to. First project was a desk for the shop. This way I've got somewhere to work and keep important stuff rather than trying to find it in a bunch of different places. When all is said and done this desk will have cost about $6, and none of it was my money. Between materials we already had and stuff I had picked up a couple weeks ago I did most of the work in a few hours. I just need to add drawers to the right hand side and give the whole thing a nice coat of paint. I'm toying with the idea of having part of the surface be chalkboard (mostly because we have some chalkboard paint I want to play with) I figured it'd be useful for leaving notes when we don't have any paper.

so that's it for now. Tech class is already gearing up to help ACTSA (All Children's Theatre at Saint Andrews) build the set for Pippi Longstockings. I'm also going to do a simple easy lighting design for that and pick up 2 or $300 which will be nice. One show down, another show up.... sounds about right.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Another Quick Update

I'm tired, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer.... which means I'm either out of this soon, or dead. In either case we had the preview performance of Seussical on Wednesday and it went almost perfectly. I have a couple of things to fix tomorrow but nothing major, a couple of lighting cues and we're good to go. I have to say that this may be one of the best things I've done. Now let me go back on what I just said. Not all of the construction is the finest that I've done but it works and is "good enough" to get us through what we need. I have certainly done better construction at BG BUT I had help and a shop staff of hardworking, intelligent people who understand how to build things then. Now I have high schoolers who don't know much. Also I had to do lights, and paint and all of this was in a super short time frame. My class and after school students certainly worked hard but I did 90% of the work on this monster. It is by far the biggest set I've done alone, and it looks great if I say so myself. Children of Eden at Scott was about the same amount of work, but I had Meghan and Erin to help out, at the same time I actually had a shop for this show, so it is assembled better than COE was. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Burning Patience at BG though because that in my opinion was sort of the perfect storm of awesome. Great design from Jim, great crew to build it (and it was beautiful) and with Steve's lighting design, my sound design and Sara Chamber's direction I think it really nailed the poetry in the language and the beauty of everything that was going on. It's hard to decide but I think I might be prouder of this set. It just works, it looks like it was ripped right out of the books.

SO... three performances this weekend and maybe 1 for the school on monday and I can put this damn show to bed and have some time off to relax. Then it's on to the February show "Mill Girls" which I'm really looking forward to (more details on that later). Other than that the Jeep has proven to be a nightmare as of late. A couple of weeks ago I caught a rock on the highway which cracked the windshield. So I started to look into getting that fixed. Then a couple of days ago it decided it just won't start. Don't know if it's the battery or what but it won't take a jump and just won't turn over. So when I get a chance there will be more looking into that. For now it throws a wrench into a lot of things. That's life so far I'll get back into posting more frequently here after this weekend.

 All of these were from the Preview performance on wednesday. Hopefully this weekend I'll grab some better pictures with the big camera, but this pretty much sums up the show. We also realized that with the curved rainbow on the center stage portion, we've got what we are referring to as the "acid man" it curves up on the facing for the stairs to make his rainbow eyes and then curves down the center stairs to make a smile. It's a little unsettling to see the stage smiling its big drugged up smile at you while you're sitting at the board in the house. But hey, every part of this show is on drugs in one way or another.

Until later.