Tag Archives: UCDP

Poland – Prologue

Did I mention I’m going to Poland?

If I didn’t, well, now you know.

On June 15th, at approximately 5:30PM EST, I will be hurling through the skies at absolutely tremendous speeds with a collection of fellow University College Drama Program folk.  We will be traveling to Poland, where we will meet other UCDP folk who are already there.  We will be there for 15 days, doing tours of Warsaw, Krakow, Wroclaw, and Poznan, and seeing plenty of theatre – including shows that are part of the Malta Festival.

Oh, and did I mention that the UCDP is footing the bill?  That includes flights, train trips, lodging (European hostels, here I come!), and food!  Wow!  Thanks UCDP, thanks UofT.  Thanks.  What a way to cap an undergraduate career.

Oh yeah, by the by, I got word back from UofT – I’m good to graduate.  I’m scheduled to convocate on the 16th of June…unfortunately, I will be in Europe.  Single tear.

So that’s that.  I’m pretty much all packed.  I’ve got reading material, notebooks, my camera, and an exciting itinerary.  No laptop.  No cell phone.  I will be mostly out of touch.

But who knows – if I do happen to stumble across an internet café while I’m out there, I might write up a blog post recounting some adventures,  and upload some photos.

Either way, it’ll be business as usual when I come back on the 30th.

Do zobaczenia wkrótce!  (Thanks, Google Translate!)

Click here to go to Part 1: Departures and Arrivals

Navigating School Life, One Day at a Time

Once, somewhere, someone said “live life one day at a time”.

That’s basically how I’m approaching my school life, seeing as how an onslaught of due dates and final presentations is rapidly approaching.

So, in stark contrast to my proposal to “live life one day at a time”, I’m now going to list what’s going on and coming up.  You may have seen this list before, but there are updates now.

Am I freaking out?  Not really – I think things are going to work out.  Just have to take it one day at a time.

From GSS to UofT Drama (UCDP) – Part 4

Let’s talk about workload, and managing time.

Doubling in Computer Science and Drama is no picnic.  Both departments demand a lot from me, and I’ve had to get used to quickly shifting mind-sets from one to the other.  There have been days where I would get up, run to the Playhouse, go to a Nia warm-up class, take a shower, then run to the Bahan Centre to take an algorithms class, then run back to the Playhouse for a Yoga workshop in Movement class, and then run back to the Bahan Centre to take my Java class.

This might sound overwhelming, but I discovered something very interesting: these two opposites seem to fuel one another.

That Nia class in the morning would get oxygen flowing through my body, and would really wake me up.  On the days I had Nia and went to Algorithms, my mind was noticeably sharper, and I was in a better mood.

It’s funny how a better mood can help propel you through work.  It’s a bit like warming a knife before it goes through frozen butter.

Anyhow, the reason I’m writing this, is because someone asked me if it’s a good idea to take DRM100/DRM200/DRM201 while also trying to take Calculus and Bio, and a bunch of other courses.

Really, it’s a judgment call.  It’s not going to be a cakewalk by any means, but if you’re willing to put in the hours, it’ll pay off.  You’ll walk out of a school year and go, “Did I really just do all of that?!  Awesome!”.

But for a more practical standpoint, here’s how I look at it:

A full course load is 5 courses per semester.  6 courses per semester is called “overloading”, and while it’s possible (I’ve done it), I don’t really recommend it.  The only reason I did it was because I felt I needed to play catch-up, since first year ended up being mostly an exercise in futility.

So, DRM100, DRM200, and DRM201 are all full year courses.  And DRM201 has the added feature of secretly being 2 courses, even though it looks like 1.  So, with 3 slots taken up per semester, that leaves room for 2 more full year courses, or 4 half courses, or 1 full year and 2 half courses.  You get it.

So that’s one way of looking at it – can you make it all add up to 5 credits?

Another note – while it’s certainly possible to drop courses if you’re overwhelmed, I do not recommend dropping any of your drama performance classes unless you’re really in trouble.  In the performance classes, you’re almost always working in a group, and pulling out without warning can really damage a group.  So don’t.

If any people auditioning for the UCDP have any more questions, post some comments, email me, or contact me on Facebook.  You can find my contact info here.

Sound in Theatre

I’ve been doing sound work in theatres since high school, and I’ve run into some pretty interesting software over the years.  I’ve used audio editing tools like Sound Forge, Audacity, Audition, SoundBooth, etc.  I’ve composed music in Cubase, Sony ACID Pro, FruityLoops, Apple Logic Express.  The list goes on.

But once the music is composed, and the sounds are all edited, how do you play them back during a performance?

The old way was to play them through a CD player; you’d burn all your sounds and music to disc, and then track through.  God help you if you had to do a cross-fade on an actor cue though, because that would mean having two CD players, cuing them up simultaneously, and doing a manual cross-fade on the mixer.

There are better ways to do this.

In fact (and my boss, UCDP Tech Director Peter Freund would agree with me on this), there seems to be a trend nowadays to put more emphasis in programming and preparation, and to make playback mostly automated.  It’s true for lights (lighting boards are pre-programmed with cues, and then the lighting operator just hits the ‘GO’ button to go through each transition), and it’s now true for sound.

Check out this piece of software. It’s called QLab.  And it’s free!  This is what we use at the UCDP.

But there’s a small problem:  it’s only for Macs.  Which blows.

Actually, it really blows.  As a modern web-developer, I take cross-platform applications for granted.  Sure, IE may quirk out, but we can usually work around that (thanks jQuery!  Prototype!).  QLab, however, is Mac software, and that’s all she wrote.  It’s really kind of heartbreaking.

If I had the time, and if someone would pay me, I’d look into writing an open-source cross-platform QLab clone.  In Java, maybe.  There’s probably a ton of issues doing cross-platform sound work, but Audacity did it – why can’t I?

Just a thought.

Oh, and yes, there is a free piece of playback software for Windows called Multiplay that’s alright, but I find QLab a bit more flexible.

The Girl Next Door

So, if you didn’t already know, I worked on a show here at the UCDP called Attempts on Her Life, by Martin Crimp, directed by Dr. Michelle Newman. I was the sound designer for the show, and I had the opportunity to write some original music that the actors had to sing along with.

I’ve finally started recording and mixing the songs.

There are two of them, and I’ve got the first mix finished. I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish recording the second one (scheduling is a nightmare…busy busy busy), but I thought I’d post what I had.

So here it is: Scene 14 – The Girl Next Door (Right-click and choose Save As).  Tara Gerami sings lead vocals, with Chantelle Hedden and Yev Falkovich on backups.

Hopefully this doesn’t stretch my bandwidth limit…