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The Writers' Guild & The Puppet Show...


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Six folks at the first get-together of the “writers’ guild.” Two came, I think, because of the notice in the paper; one the result of invitation. (And the other three were us who started the whole thing.) We traded backgrounds, and ideas, and what we expected to get out of being in the group, and we’ll meet again in a week—and bring instruments.

Ages ranged from a guy still in high school to, well, me. There’s a bass player (who also sings and plays guitar) and a keyboardist/drummer, as well as the usual run of guitar players. One guy’s got what sounds like a decent recording setup (which he may still be learning how to use). Some of us have performed before; others, not. And a wide range of backgrounds: rock, folk, jazz, heavy metal, country, and reggae. Yes, this could be a lot of fun.

Film of the “Cinderpiggy” puppet show is basically done; titles and credits have been added, volume enhanced (we should use more mikes and a bigger amp next time), the footage slightly edited (I removed a couple of long dead spots), and converted to *.m4v (which I guess is a Macintosh video format).

I created a YouTube account for the Arts Center, but couldn’t post the video there. It is, YouTube says, too long (19 minutes 52 seconds, and no, I can’t cut any of it, really). YouTube has a maximum time limit of 15 minutes—good to know for next time, but I have to worry about this time. There are other video hosting sites out there; it appears we might be able to use Vimeo—they don’t have a time limit, but they do have a size limit of 500MB (I don’t know—because I haven’t checked—how big the “Cinderpiggy” video is). YouTube may be the most famous of the video hosting sites, but I don’t need to worry about famosity—I just need a place we can tell people to link to.

The “Cinderpiggy” play is surprisingly well done, considering we had all of two rehearsals. The dialogue is snappy (and the audience seemed to catch most of the jokes), the flying pumpkin was a hit, and Chewy the Wookie (aka “Dad,” the Evil Step-Wookie) was definitely the star of the show.

I did a little further tweaking—the opening title and credits now include a short sound clip from Southern Pigfish’s “Darth Vader Blues,” the soundtrack for the credits in the first “Pig Wars” video. It’s an instrumental, which is deal for an opening. I didn’t want to use the whole thing—it’s over 3 minutes long, but I only needed 40 or so seconds. So another of the things I learned in the process was how to clip audio tracks and “overlay” them in the film.

Lessons for the future? In the future, I don’t think I’d use country music for the soundtrack. Rock ‘n’ roll is better. Our little piggies need something more raucous to perform to. Got a time limit to work with—15 minutes, including title and credits, if I want the thing to go on YouTube. (I actually don’t care—but having a time limit is a good thing.)

And the next sock-puppet play? (Of course, there will be a next one—these little piggies are starting to become famous.) “Hansel and Gretel” doesn’t have enough actors (I need parts for all of our “troupe”—Luke, Hansolo, Princess Leah, Chewy, Yoda, and Darth), and “Snow White” has too many (though I could always have Luke and Hansolo say the “other dwarfs” were at work). “Little Red Riding Hood,” perhaps? (Chewy could be the Big, Bad Wookie.)

Poster for my solo Willamette Writers Group performance is done, as is the one for 45 Degrees North for the Wheeler Summerfest. (Still have a Deathgrass poster to do for the summerfest.) Now that the Pirate Festival in Rockaway is over, I should be able to nail down a time for Deathgrass for the Rocktoberfest, too. Still working on the Rap for the Willamette Writers: I want it to be a talk on writing, with the songs illustrating points made in the Rap, but I don’t want to be obvious about it—the songs are supposed to be the focus, after all.

Joe

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