Archive for March, 2010

Mommy… where do independent operas come from?

Over there on the right side of the blog you’ll see a “tag cloud”. For those of my readers who are not familiar with the blogging world, a tag is a keyword that I associate with each post. Each post can have any number of keywords. And that tag cloud lists all the keywords used throughout the blog, with the size of the font proportionate to the number of posts that have that keyword. And with this post, I’m making the ‘self-doubt’ take a point or two larger.

When I first had the idea to write an produce a solo opera, I figured I’d front most of the money, have faith in my own abilities and talents, and end up making it back during the run. A few back of the envelope calculations (and Jessica Robinson’s fantastic “Boot Camp For Artists” course at Counterpulse) made me quickly realize that the costs of producing even a small solo opera are a considerable chunk of change. Little things like renting a space, building some sort of set, and hiring a high quality publicist, producer, and a director all add up to the “non” in “non-profit”.

Then spend a bit of time figuring out how much money you actually stand to make in ticket sales, even if every single one of your friends and family paid full price to see you, and you realize that breaking even in a creative endeavor is possible, but not likely.

So how do any independent productions get made? What fills the gap between ticket sales and production costs?

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Mar 2010

On non-invisible music

Fractal expert Loren Carpenter brought my attention to a technical paper that found evidence that the distribution of shot lengths in cinema have been steadily evolving over the past 100 years to exhibit a 1/f power distribution.Your first question is probably, “what the hell is a 1/f power distribution”. And your second question is probably “why do  you have a photo of a hot girl on this post if you’re just gonna be talking about math?”  Ummm… Let’s start with the first question. It’s easier. (waving hands) It’s a distinctive pattern that seems to crop up all over biology, physics, nature and art, and there’s increasing evidence that this pattern is hard wired into the way our neurons fire. (stop waving hands). As for the second question… well,  uhhh… Let’s talk a bit about the paper first.

I find two interesting bits in this paper. First, since the entire art of cinema is only 125 years old, you can actually analyze its evolution from the earliest experiments on film. This paper claims that in just  few generations, editors and directors have unconsciously gravitated towards a film cutting style that we are neurologically wired to prefer. (Perhaps since it more closely mimics the natural rhythms of our eyes, how frequently we dart and change focus.)  However, the paper admits that other issues such as narrative, plot, and close ups of attractive people in revealing bathing suits will trump even perfectly neurologically correlated editing techniques.

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Mar 2010

Eight days a weekend…

Well this was a big weekend.  I presented a thirty minute excerpt of Failing That at StageWerx, including twenty minutes of brand new material.  If that was all that was going on this weekend, that would have been plenty.  Unfortunately, it was one of those weekends where just about every aspect of my life had something going on.

How did the workshop go?  Well…I’ll get to that.  First let me give you a glimpse into the days leading up to it…
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Mar 2010