My role in the show was sound and projection operator. My job included editing the sound effects and projections and also to source my own sound effects. I was responsible for playing the sound effects and projections when needed. I was also needed for some practise runs for sound runs so they everyone was use to the sounds. It was also my responsibility to cut the sounds down to length and an general editing needed. Although I did have Jordan controlling the sound desk and he also helped to edit some sounds since I was limited to college software.
The way I prepared myself for my role was I was with the crew in several Bent rehearsals and the Director would comment on each sound effect needed I would make notes in my script which we was given at the beginning of rehearsals. Although I joined slightly late and just made general notes on everything near the start till I knew what my job was in the show. I also spoke to the Director several times after rehearsals to make sure what sound effects were needed.
Below is my several general notes I made when in rehearsals.
For sound effects I looked on Youtube for the sound effects. The reason for this is its easily accessible to everyone this also mean’t that I could use Youtube converter to easily get the sound effects on memory stick. I made sure to get a minimum of three of each sound effect. The main reason for this was I got multiple sound effects and named each one with a number. I then went to the Director and asked him which ones he preferred. I then got asked by the Director to do a mini sound run to make sure they sound right in rehearsals. I also kept all the sound effects not needed in case of a change of mind and kept them in a separate folder to the sounds needed.
For projections the Director sent me a email which was for the open video containing all the tracks and clips he wanted I had to download them all from the links which were all from YouTube.
Email shown below.
So I decided to use Youtube converter and would convert them to mp4 if only the clips was needed. And mp3 if only the track was needed. I used Garageband to separate the tracks and iMovie to create the clips and put the tracks and clips together to create the video overall. He also created a powerpoint for act one as the narrative jumped to different times or locations. However, I did need to edit the slides since some of the text would not show up on the projector. I also changed the background of the slides to black and changed the font colour to white. This made it more clear and visible and having a black background this would mean that any overspill on the flats (Screen) from the projector will not visible.
I felt this show gave me lots of experience from start to the finish. Although I had done some other shows while working on Bent also it was only the third show I have ever done in college (Or at all). Also before this show I had little knowledge on how to use the editing software on macs. I now can confidently use garage band to fade, cut and extend tracks. I also got to edit the projections and make sure all the slides was focused on the projector. I also got a bit more knowledge on the sound desk but only the basics such as turning the tracks up and down and selecting the next track as Jordan showed me when he needed to make sure the sound effects was at a good volume. As far as how rehearsals went we had lots of sessions where the crew would be in rehearsal and the director would ask if some things was possible or give us direct things he requires for the show. In later weeks the director also got the crew to watch a student created video (Student elsewhere not here) and analyse the video based on Bent. It was based in the right period and we made several notes that contributed to us having ideas as far as props and costumes for the show. Another useful exercise we did was we spoke about creating characters and the actors had several hot seating moments where they explained their life as their character and possible belongings can create and further a character even if the audience never knows. This was very useful when thinking about props etc. Lastly another exercise which was with the actors in the show was different methods of acting and various methods of getting in the zone when acting. Although not aimed specifically at me it still furthered my knowledge of performing in theatre. And made me realise it can help to keep my mind set thinking of the actors when creating props etc. and trying to enhance the show with any area of technical theatre.
Below is the list and tally chart I created of my sound effects I had at the time ready for the director to listen and pick from.
Below is screenshots of the student video we watched and analysed.
Bent 1st Night
We had the first show night it went very well no issues with the sound. The only minor issue was some lines of the show was muddled. However as far me being cued for the show and technical difficulties none had occurred on this nights show. However we did come close to a tablet used with the sound desk running out of battery luckily it lasted and we put it on charge for the next night.
Bent 2nd Night
Second night of Bent. I felt this was easier to cue since we all knew how to run things. Although we did have one slight problem with the sound effect from Wind into the Bell we have to quickly fade the wind escape and then quickly turn the volumes back up for the alarm in the scene. It was a bit of a quick Cue and we had a tiny bit of loud wind as it was still escaping and then the loud bell as planned. Also although projections was not a massive issue I got cued for them and as they had a three second fade this mean’t that it was a tiny bit slow. Lastly there was a slight volume change in the track used for the park scene. A few times in tonights show James would forgot to cue me and I had to cue myself along with the lights. The projections come down each time the lights on stage go up. Lastly there was a small part where the line was changed but luckily the actors managed to improvise the line slightly to what it should have been and it was ok.
Bent 3rd Night
Today was the final show night we had a slight issue as one of the crew members had twisted their foot and they was the lighting operator for the show. Luckily someone else was able to fill in their position.
There was a slight issue with todays run through a communication error. James was speaking through about things and he said ‘cue and go’ as I was on standby I instantly pressed the sound effect as I thought it was a quick recover for a cue. Luckily there was not much to go until the sound should have been cue’d in the show. It was the loud bell in Dachau nothing too major was skipped but was well covered by the actors. I was a little bit let down with myself about this error although I will make sure not to make the same mistake. The actors noticed the error although they was not too thrown and managed to work with the error well. Apart form this slight error there was no issues with the final show night.
Improvements/ To Work On?
I felt I did well considering it was the first time I had to source and edit the sound effects as well as the first time I had to refocus and change slides on powerpoint for the projections. I also got a slight issue with QueLab which was easily sorted as projections and images need to be put on powerpoint otherwise they do not work on our version of QueLab so this was something important I learned form this show.
Next time I need to make sure of when I am being cued. Another things we should have had upstairs was a Bent script which we could follow. I feel I could have edited my sound effect earlier on and have collected them earlier on. Although in argument for this I did need some help to learn the programs used and also it took some time for me to get a clear list of sound effects needed for the show. Possibly next time I would want a more to do or for me to find something to do as I felt especially towards the end of production week I had finished early on but was not needed for too many things and was a general spare hand. I did get to help slightly with props towards the end. Although I do feel like I have learn’t a lot about the preparation needed for a show and this was the first time we had a full scale show so lots of people was planning and etc. And most importantly it gave me a look and I now know how to prepare for other shows as a sound effects operator and prepare slides for projections. As well as briefly knowing about organising props and controlling the sound desk.
As far as when everything was sourced and edited by I had the majority done and edited on production week although after the technical run more editing was needed. I feel it would have been easier for me to prepare and I possibly would have been able to do all the editing by myself more if I was able to get a small tutorial on the mac editing software earlier. However it was not a real issue but just meant that I relied on Jordan slightly for the final editing due to not knowing some things and the software we have.
Strengths and Weaknesses
For strengths I would say my ability to learn and cope under stress as lots of people got stressed I was too however after being shown how to edit I was ok and simply got the work done. One weakness I may have would be communication I feel doing this project helped a lot however sometimes I do need to speak up as I feel I have ideas but am generally too scared it may be disregarded by people. This also ties in with me being a spare hand and occasionally not having much to do, if I communicated more I may have been able to be more helpful throughout the project. Although this is not to say I was not happy with my progress I feel I now know how to prepare myself for technical theatre in future projects and even got a little bit of knowledge in other areas of the technical side of theatre. I also still got the job done in the end and tried my hardest to contribute and ready myself as far preparation especially towards the start of the project.