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November 12, 2018:

RECORDING A CAROL CHRISTMAS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, we did our cast album recording and I must say that it was a day completely lacking both annoyances and irritants and let me tell you how refreshing THAT was.  I’d intended to awaken at eight but I was up at six-thirty after about five hours of sleep. I did a few things on the computer, came up with what I think is a good idea for our set, which I sent to my set designer – he loved the idea and went one better, so we’ve put that into the works. Then I shaved and showered and at nine Doug came and picked me up.  There was no traffic at all – we made it to the studio in about fourteen minutes.  It was fun to see my engineer John Adams again – haven’t seen him since we did Levi.  The room was already set up and ready to go, and the cast arrived, some very early, some just before we began.  Now, as you know, making a cast recording can be stressful – you have a lot of actors and you have a band and getting it all balanced and right is daunting when you have to do it all in one day.  Well, the band wasn’t an issue, since the tracks were already done, so all we had to concern ourselves with was the vocals and that takes all the stress out of it, frankly.

I know there were many in the cast who’d not done this before, so we had some early nerves, but I’m pretty good at getting everyone out of that place and into a comfort place.  We began with the opening number – it has dialogue prior to singing, and dialogue within, all of which we kept as it kind of sets up the entire plot.  We got that after a couple of tries.  Then we moved on to the next group number and then the next, getting all of those done first.  Then we let some folks go and began with the solos and duets.  Since we were already ahead of the game, I was able to do more than one complete take, which made everyone relax a bit.  Richard Allen was there to conduct and that was helpful, too.  Some songs went really quickly, some took a bit longer, but in the end we got all nineteen numbers done in five hours, which was exactly what I hoped it would be, wrapping at three.  I think everyone had a really good time, and I think they appreciated that I don’t waste time, that I cut to the chase to get things right, and just move along.  And the tracks, even in John’s rough mix, sounded amazing.  So, now he begins his first pass mixes.

After the session, Doug, our leading lady Hartley (Doug’s daughter), and I went to Factor’s for food.  I had a pulled brisket sandwich on ciabatta or some such thing and it was really good. We all had a potato pancake, too, and my side was a few onion rings.  Then Doug brought me home.

I answered e-mails, listened to some music, had a telephonic call, and then sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched some middling documentary about Orson Welles and the making of The Other Side of the Wind, a movie I have yet to get through.  It was so “arty” in terms of the talking heads that it made me want to vomit on the ground.  Note to filmmakers: Doing talking heads?  Put the damn camera down and shoot them – and save your art for something else because it’s just irritating.  Then I listened to more music.

Today I shall sleep in and no one better say boo about it.  I’ll eat something light but amusing, pick up a little package that arrived yesterday, and then I’m relaxing and doing not a jot of work and no one better say boo about it.  It’s also a holiday, so no mail.  I will check to see if SAG/AFTRA is open, but it’s doubtful.

Tomorrow, I’ll call SAG/AFTRA first thing in the morning and hopefully they can get me a new check and not take a huge amount of time about it.  Then I have a lunch meeting.  Then we have our final dress/tech rehearsal with an invited audience – just some friends of the cast and such.  Wednesday and Thursday are previews, and Friday we open our show and hope for the best and that all the hard work and craziness will pay off with a show that audiences will enjoy.  I’m sure I’ll be hearing the first pass mixes at some point this week, I’ll give notes, and we’ll see if I have to go and work with John and vocal stuff.  I gave him notes as we went along and by this time he certainly knows what I like, sound and mix-wise.  The packaging is going in Tuesday morning.  The entire weekend is being treated like opening nights, with receptions both before (for Indiegogo folks) and after (for everyone).

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, sleep in, eat, hopefully pick up a package, relax, and do no work.  Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite films of Mr. Orson Welles?  Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had a day sans irritants and annoyances, and more than happy to have had a wonderful recording session.

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