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Wednesday, June 21, 2017


  Strangely enough, there appears to be a difference between the posts that show up on my phone and those that show up on the laptop. I can't quite figure out why yet. Here I am thinking I'm making posts from my phone, only to discover they are not making it to the blog. One more thing to figure out!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 7th update

For the past two weeks I have been working on a puppetry job and needed to put down the work on The Gnomes for awhile. But for the last day or two, I have been revisiting the "Gnomes in a Gnutshell" e-storybook and the Business Plan. It seems as though there may be one or more opportunities lingering on the edge of moving forward and I decided that the electronic packaging needed to be reviewed as a tool for that advancement.

I am making the electronic package the priority in this regard. Although there are still 348 illustration panels required for the entire book set to be completed, I am assembling the preview package to be a representative of the finished product, even though there is more work to be done on that end of things. To my way of thinking, this will not prevent us building a board of directors or locating investors.

As I have said, the Libretto is finished, which means the sets, costuming and other designs can advance. Most of the music has a draft score and I am continuing with the piano adaptations and the divisi/lead sheets, so recording can begin to take place with live performers, even if they are only studio musicians who are doing it for samples. Obviously, we will want the stage performers to record their renditions, but for the purpose of filming the show with puppets, the music will be studio versions anyway. So, in that regard, I am working toward setting up a RAID Array, particularly for use with Final Cut Studio for the film and Digital Performer for the music, and then, of course integrating the two.

So other than refining the digital package for Industry Review, I am working on the design and implementation of the parade float. Presenting the material in a parade will need to take place prior to opening the show in a theatre, so that needs to be done first... for publicity purposes. The parade float is part of a stage design that I have been wanting to implement for years, and although I did have buyers for the stages, now I have a good excuse to do it for our own use. So I am looking into gathering the hardware to build the float. One nice thing about this approach is that the supplies which we will use on the float can also be used in little theatre, street fairs and Gnome-Fest. So all that work is taking priority over mounting the show in a first class or LORT house. I an not inclined to pursue academia, because we need to build a committed crew, but that might be worth doing for samples and possibly the concert presentation. In terms of the concert presentation, that show could be set up so that it requires less commitment and expense by eliminating sets and a crew. Cast requirements for that would be closer to a few principles as in an operatic concert, and that could be done script-in-hand.

So that's the general direction of the thinking right now. In terms of investment which will show a return, the focus has to be on publishing and refinement of a few ancillary markets. The timing of the release of these items, however, need to be subject to the schedule for the stage production, although some release of cinema could happen prior to the stage show, basically serving as promotion. The larger film, whether it is CG animation, classic animation (which is preferable), a combination of both, possibly integrating puppetry, or  live performance, the larger film needs to be reserved for release until after the stage show hits Broadway. That means there will be numerous try-outs before we get to that point, including the parade.

So I gotta go, so that's all for now. AG

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Scoring the Music

Well, what sounds like just another day at the office is more like - let's build the Theatrical Development Centre starting with 100 acres of raw land.  Of course that's my intention, but if you know what I mean, then you know that publishing this score is not as easy as it sounds.

Each of the songs requires an assortment of sheet music to convey all the facts to the singers, musicians, conductor, technical director, production assistants & stage technicians, music director, stage director, producers, financiers, agents, publishers, and ultimately distributors and end users - the patrons and audience. Now all these people, some of which represent a group of people, do not need all the information at the same time. Nor do they require the composite of the material, but sections of different materials are distributed to this array of people at the appropriate time and in the appropriate degree. That means that all the bugs need to be worked out so that all the materials are consistent and agree with each other.

In terms of the score alone, this means thousands of pages containing intricate arrangements for a variety of instrumental and vocal circumstances. So it goes on... and on... and on!  I am very pleased with the progress and excited to see that the score is approaching the end of having the entire body of work (for 70 songs) published, if not in the final form, then in an acceptable and workable draft form.

Today I was working on a song which I thought was finished. HA!  I discovered that the Divisi Score diverged from the Piano Adaptation. While, building the Piano Adaptation, I decided to go ahead and do the Time signatures. It worked out just great, but the Divisi did not have those changes, that basically means that neither did the Orchestral Score. No real problem, I can pretty easily transfer the time signature by copying the Conductor Track... except that the notes are different in each Print Layout and if I copy the one track, then the note adjustment (for Lyrics and stage notes) does not match the specific score. I'm working all that out, but basically it means I can't print the Orchestral score out before the Piano Adaptation, but the Piano Adaptation is derived from the Orchestral Arrangement.  My solution at this point is to publish the score components as drafts, but that gets rather expensive. They have nerve charging that kind of money for ink. Oh well.

SO I am selectively finishing off my favorite songs first, while making sure that each scene has all the drafts published for the music. I'd like to say it is almost done, and it seems that way at times, but usually when I think I am finished with something, the next degree becomes apparent. It's like a big trap! You get so far and you have to keep going no matter what is thrown at you. Gadzooks!

Well in addition to publishing the hard copy, I am doing the PDF version also. Then each of these scores needs to be recorded, which I am doing with MIDI. Interestingly enough, while setting up the Divisi, I created a vocal rack which assigned instruments to each of the eight voice parts. I experimented with using Combi patches for the duets/trios/quartets. I was happy with that and it was interesting to find that I could create a good Divisi by assigning a Combi that had instruments that had dfifferent ranges. Like a C2 & a C4  (although the range is usually closer than that) But interestingly enough a Melody Line that covered a wide range would automatically provide the Divisi. Of course there is other work to do in assigning the notes to a particular voice part, but running down the middle effectively (generally speaking) splits the male and female voices. I say this based on using a melody line that has not been assigned to particular voice parts or has had the counter-points/harmony developed yet. It's just a good starting point.

The way I have approached shaping the voice parts is not easy to explain. Most of the time I assign the lyrics according to the character relationships, but then within a group of performers, I decide what kind of flavor needs to be conveyed. Sometimes that works just fine, but in a Choral setting it's more like what voice parts are available. I presume the shape of the sound will take place in auditions based on the numerous factors under which a performer is selected for a particular role. It certainly is a tricky process if the tonal relationship across the board are the primary criteria, but the external traits of the character must also be balanced to the highest degree possible.

You know with theatre, particularly with a piece that is intended and designed to have legs, your crew needs to be dedicated to the long term goals. I know there must be a balance with that, in other words, to achieve that.  But my approach to doing that lies in the cinema. I think it will be easier to hold performers to a film shoot than to a sustained theatrical run. It is unfortunate but that seems to be the case. I suppose the best approach to that is to have three companies, maybe two, but three sounds like a better idea. The first string players, the backup second string, and the apprentice troupe. That way if a player drops out or fails to perform, then other players can move up. Also, the other troupes can play the second run, regional and festival shows while waiting for an opportunity at the first run show. Well that's all for another discussion.

I thought I'd better post something so there you go.  That's all for now. AG

Monday, May 15, 2017

Music Score & Parade Float


    Work is continuing on the score. This is a massive endeavor and it will take time to perfect the numerous songs. But in the meanwhile, I am printing out a complete collection of Orchestral Drafts, Lead Sheets, Divisi Score and Piano Adaptations. Once the draft versions are fully published, then we will advance to review the materials for Time Signatures, Note Values and Dynamics. Once these aspects are finished for the Orchestral applications, then we will reevaluate the Dynamics of the MIDI files to assure that the expressions are correct for using those MIDI files in the smaller productions, such as little theatre and community theatre. It is anticipated that the smaller theatres will not be able to afford a full orchestra, so the MIDI files will be made available for those productions.

   Also, planning for the concert presentation is advancing as well. Once the Draft Score is complete the focus of attention will be on the Concert Presentation, which will include some degree of Puppetry. The reason for this is that we will be striving to have some of the music performed by an orchestra. This has been discussed with a number of orchestras, but ultimately, will need to take place with an organization that can help to advance the overall goals in a number of ways. Discussion on that subject will take place at another time, when it is more practical and appropriate.

Overall, I can say that this effort overwhelms some of the other activities which have been discussed.

Parade Float

    Recently, I bought a 4 wheel drive Dodge Ram 150. I bought it for the snow plow, but now it seems as though it might be worth considering using the chassis and power-plant as part of the Parade Float. That seems like a lot of work and diverges from my previous plan to use a Covair Truck as a donor for the drive components. I do think the Corvair would be a better choice, simply because it has a better design that would be easier to work with and offer more flexibility in terms of staging option, With the Corvair, there is no driveshaft to interfere with the center section of the parade float, which would make up the bulk of the staging area.  I may have just talked myself out of using the 4 wheel drive chassis. So that chassis is up for sale, probably less the power-train, as I have a pending deal for those components.


    Puppetry is on hold until the score is finished, but the few primary characters are in process and we will pick that up with the focus on the concert presentations as mentioned. The entire show is up for licensing to another production company, particularly as it applies to puppetry. Drop me an email.

That's all for now. AG

Monday, May 1, 2017

Image of the Mind Studios on Facebook

Just a note to let you know that I am trying to build the Facebook page by posting there occasionally. There is a link to that page on the IMS Virtual Studio Page. and here is a link to the Facebook page -
Image of the Mind Studios on Facebook. Check that page once in a while, because it is easier for me to post there.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Most recent focus

Work has been proceeding on coagulating the files into a four DVD set which will be available for review by our Producing Partners and other participants. This includes persons employed to fulfill specific roles where this information is required. The documentation on this project is simply immense, so creating a digital presentation is clearly the best approach. Not only because it is cost effective, but it is easier to distribute and the files can be used as master files, which are more easily updated.

The current focus is on the music score, which involves many hundreds of pages. I am reviewing all the materials and printing to PDF the Orchestral Drafts. There are other pertinent files for each song as well. Lead sheets and piano adaptations/reductions as well as SATB Divisi scores.

The Industry Review Package, the Libretto and the Illustrated Storybook discs are finished, although the Illustrated Storybook requires more artwork before it can be published. That subject has been discussed previously so I won't repeat myself.

In the context of completing these materials, my primary focus of attention is setting up and refining the studio space so that it is prepared to meet demand, once we move into active production. Up until now, all activities have been and are considered developmental. I am beginning to move into preproduction to an appropriate degree, although there are aspects that still fall under development. Some degree of manufacturing is ready to proceed in terms of the Ancillary Markets, pretty much only to the degree that can meet the demands that may come into play with walk-ins to the showroom and some expectation of retail sales. This is not a primary objective at this point, but some activity can take place in this regard. The main objective for manufacturing is to meet the demand for product which may accompany the try-out run of the show when it gets mounted. That level of manufacturing is primarily Limited Edition runs. Mass production is an entirely different issue. But anyway you look at it,  manufacturing cannot distract from more significant preproduction activities which look toward toward limited production that is used for marketing the product lines to  industry and working toward evaluation previews in a number of arenas.

That's all for now. AG

Friday, March 31, 2017

Music Samples

Years ago I signed up for SonicBids, but I found it to be more oriented toward bands that were touring and performing, not exactly what we are doing with The Gnomes of New Hope,
so I discontinued belonging to the service. However the music I posted 
is still there and you might like to hear some of the earlier samples.
So here's a link.

Complete was recorded using two excellent vocalists
Nathan Odhner & Justine Buss

I expect we will pick up with recording the music 
after the Industry Review Package starts making the rounds 
and we gather more working capital.