Copyright Notice

This is to proclaim that all materials posted on this blog are property of and copyrighted by Image of the Mind Studios/Arthur Greisiger .
These materials may not be reproduced or copied without permission. They are posted here for you personal review only.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Release of the Libretto to the Industry

Release of the Libretto

Well, I've moved forward sufficiently with the e-storybook, the hard copy layout and other ancillary markets, that I feel like it is time to release the Libretto to the Industry.

If we were to move into production with some of the foundational activities, in terms of sets and other design/construction, then that would be a good thing.  It is clear that we will need to secure a self-contained management team, as conversations I have had with a few venues indicate that they would rather see a four-wall, but that limits our run at each venue. Therefore, we need to build a tour scenario to present previews in numerous cities until we can settle into a space that will give us a decent run.  One way to do that is with a reduced design which uses strictly drops and flats, not my favorite way to go, but certainly that design needs to be developed for the smaller venues anyway, as an option.  Ultimately, the smaller show (of that nature) would be a rental, possibly in conjunction with the puppetry version.  The initial thoughts regarding that design for the show, were that it could easily be put up in our current studio space and shot for film/television or as tests to analyze the material, or the way the show looks to an audience as a puppet version, so proceeding in that direction has multiple applications both in house and for touring.

Clearly, in regard to touring, each show needs to pay for the trip to the next venue, so I am also developing a  licensing/option for theaters who want to assure that the show will run in their house. That will provide some of the costs to move the show in. Basically, a prepay on the percentage of the house assuming a certain number of performances.  I will post on that at another time.

After the work on scoring is completed I will be moving onto budget issues. Until then anything I say is purely speculative. Also until then, the options are wide open in terms of production management. Once the budget is developed and the production funds are gathered, then we will be locked into a production management scheme. So if anyone wants to offer a proposal, I would suggest doing it before we become contracted and therefore obliged.

As I have said numerous times before, I am seeking representation, mostly because I am swamped and the work that is required on the core materials is taking the majority of my time.  I would like to have the freedom to concentrate on matters other than management. For those of you who are producers, you know how complex that can become. So I am seeking partnerships in both production and distribution. Since this material is now ready to move forward, I suggest that the opportunity is ripe. My goal is a national campaign, so I need competent & trustworthy persons/organizations who are able to implement that plan in partnership with IMS. This is frankly the objective, which I intend to pursue.

I am not expecting any producing organization to step up to the plate on this (although I would be pleasantly surprised if that did happen), so I am proceeding on the assumption that the production team will be primarily Image of the Mind Studio employees. With that in mind, persons who are interested in this opportunity should make their voices heard. But I also want to make it clear that I am seriously looking at relocating to the Poconos and that may effect our progress. Building or adapting a facility is no small endeavor, but it may be a priority. So keep that in mind.

That being said, I am going to proceed with licensing and/or partnership with television and film companies, so as to free myself up to concentrate on establishing this new facility - The Theatrical Development Centre. I am uncertain as to how much energy I can expend in this direction. I would hope that it would not impair the progress of The Gnomes of New Hope.

Restrictive Covenant Agreement

I've met with legal council regarding the conduit through which this can happen, so we have established that link in the chain. The Libretto will be released, when I feel as though a flash drive is fully prepared with the appropriate materials.  The Score along with recorded versions of some of the music will follow as a separate release, as I am currently reviewing these materials for publishing the score.

There is still quite a bit of work to do on the music (as I have discussed below) but there is enough to give an idea of the entire show,  realizing of course that the actual recordings with a music director/maestro and a full complement of singers/musicians will GREATLY improve the MIDI generated music that we currently have.

A major issue we are facing right now is the failing computer systems that we have been working with. A great deal of important files are now locked on more than one failed hard disks and it will not be inexpensive to recover those files.   Fortunately the bulk of the primary file have been backed up multiple times, but I am finding that some of my primary management documents are inaccessible to me. In particular, a spreadsheet which identifies the five different versions of the show to fit into assorted timeframes. This is quite distressing, but I am hopeful that I can recover this important analysis document.

 Review of the core materials will require a signed Restrictive Covenant Agreement, acquired via an request to review on letterhead to William Dudeck c/o Eastburn and Gray, 60 East Court Street, PO Box 1389, Doylestown, Pennsylvania 18901. Once we receive a request we will send out some preliminary materials and proceed from there.

That's all for now.  AG

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Music Production

Recently, I have shown the the studio and some of our materials to a few folks, fellow thespians, musicians and other people interested in the creative process. This has caused me to think about the larger picture again. So I will give a review of where we stand with that.


Our work on the music is on hold for a few reasons. First and most importantly, I need to finish the layout for the book production. I talk about that below.  But also the computing systems, which we have been using for music production have failed. The dilemma here is that to replace the processor is not a matter of replacing the one we were using with another of the same type. That machine was a custom built G4 that cannot be replaced without rebuilding it again.  Well that is simply not a good idea, since the cost does not justify that course of action and the functionality would limit us to older technology.

So the new Mac seems like it might be the right course of action. But to those of you who know about these things, we're talking about a chunk of change there. that also involves redesigning and upgrading all the operating systems and programs and adding in a learning curve as well, which makes that course of action rather prohibitive.

So upgrading in increments, the way it has always been done will likely be the approach, unless a surge of resources becomes available.

I am currently using a Quad G5 for the GFX work on the books and it is likely that I will shift that machine over to the music production, once I upgrade the PCI cards to link with our hardware and bring Digital Performer up to a newer version. I am rethinking the voice package we have been using.  I'm considering switching over to Mach V from Reason, but again there is a learning curve involved there.  However, I believe Mach V will interface better with DP, since they are both MOTU products.

So far I have been unable to set up the virtual instruments using Reason, but the rack in Reason is nice and easy to use. Possibly an upgraded version of Reason, but the MIDI functions in Reason don't come close to Digital Performer. The main problem with using Reason for the tone generators is that switching between programs in the middle of mixing creates problems. Mostly, doing so interferes with the process and does not allowing for smooth adjustments to be made, particularly on the fly., but also in the final mix.  I have to say that once you obtain certain settings in Reason, then topping off the mix with the mixing board and meter bridge in DP works fairly well, but that's only good for the final Mastering process, not the sub-mixing.  The problem I have with using two programs with mixing capabilities that is; layering plug-ins between two programs is not a good idea, or so it seems to me. That creates a situation where you loose control of the purity of your signal and it becomes confusing if you have to locate the source of artifacts which might show up. It is hard to determine if the artifacts are in the original signal or somewhere in the insert settings or even in the signal path.

Basically, unless I find out otherwise, I think the simplest approach here is to change voice programs, to one that interfaces better with Digital Performer and will continue to do so through upgrades.

So, all that being said- I feel like the entire methodology needs to be rethought in regard to the studio systems. Making changes in our working systems was a point of contention, so I deferred in that regard, but now there is no choice in the matter.

The Score

All of these facts are some of the primary factors which preventing us from moving forward to record more of the music.  But in addition to these systems issues, there is scoring.

As it stands now, the score is possibly 60% printed and in various stages of being transcribed.  Some of the orchestral scores have been finished, but only on those pieces which have Piano adaptations and Lead Sheets.  Some of the Piano scores are adaptations and some are reductions.

Initially we started to work on Piano Reductions together, but Shawn was frustrated with working with Quickscribe and decided that he did not want to do scoring. We debated this many times to no good end.  So I continued on with it, prefering to do adaptations, mostly because many orchestrations simply cannot be transcribed for piano. I also believe that since a Piano Adaptation is my interpretation of what we were working on, that an adaptation would allow me more latitude to reconstitute a workable vocal version of my melody lines and lyrics without stepping on Shawn's toes in regard to the orchestrations he was working on.

Lead Sheets

We came into disagreement about the importance of Lead Sheets. My belief was and is, that, as the producer, I need Lead Sheets (and scoring) to present the product, not only to our financial & business partners, but for the benefit of helping the singers & musicians to easily lear the material.  It is my contention that I need these materials during the process, not after the entire score is fully written.

 Shawn's belief was that the singers do not need Lead Sheets and should be able to sing against the orchestrations and that no work on piano reductions or scoring should take place until after the entire show is orchestrated.  Sorry, I don't buy that. Every singer I know wants to hear their part on the piano.

The other factor her is that-  there are seventy songs in this show and we already have spent nine years to do that. I can't wait another ten years of meandering along to see this finished and moving forward.  So this was a serious rift, which more or less led us to stop working on the music. There were other issues over the operating systems and techniques of mixing/mastering the music, which put the kabosh on our progress.

Status of the Music

All the lyrics and melody lines are finished for the entire show, with about a dozen songs still needing orchestration. I have decided to stop orchestrating, until I have all the Piano Adaptations and Lead Sheets finished for the primary numbers, which is something I have to do on my own.  I don't need adaptations for the bridges and instrumentals, since the Lead Sheets are only for the singers.  Some of these numbers require divsi, so I'm working on that as part of the adaptation.  I'm assigning instruments to the voices to define that divsi, but for the time being I am not worrying about divisi inside the parts, only between them.  So the Vocal tracks are derived from the Piano Adaptation, which contains the re-constituted melody line, which seems to have been divided by orchestration.  Something I have to say I did not approve of and made repeated appeals to preserve.

 So as it stands, it's up to me to do Orchestral Scoring, Piano Adaptations and Lead Sheets. Needless to say Orchestral Scoring will be last on the list. My approach is to do all the rough drafts first and worry about refining them after I decide who the Maestro will be. I asked Shawn to perform that role but he does not want to do that. So I don't know how that's going to pan out, but first things first - lead sheets for the solos and the duets, trios and quartets. Much of that is done, but entering into the recording process will need to be considered in the light of how far along the other materials are developed. Mainly because once the momentum starts up, we ned to keep up with it.

Other Factors

 Of course, one other major factor is funding. Our performers have to be paid. So that means significant capital influx to make that happen.

When you consider that some choral numbers have more than a dozen performers involved you can imagine the resources we will need. Certainly we will be doing the solos first, followed by duets, trios, quartets and so on.

It may very well be that continued work on the music will have to wait until the books start producing income... and that's still a ways off.

I'll address more of these issues later.  AG

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

e-Storybook & Hard Copy Storybook

e-Storybook Update

    The production line activities have been put on hold. Prototype assembly has proven methodology and some suppliers have been lined up. There are a few supply and service vendors who are missing from the puzzle, however, other facilities issues are standing in the way of fully setting up the production line. None-the-less, the designs and implementation methods have been confirmed, although there are variations to that theme which may come into play. I am continuing to construct the materials for distribution to industry partners and focusing on those aspects as opposed to entering the marketplace, even though I would certainly like to see an increased cash flow. So for the time being I will need to use investment funds, as much as I would prefer not to.

Hard Copy Storybook

    It has become eminently clear that a presentation in the book stores will require a hard copy edition as well as the e-Storybook version. Some folks are simply not up to date with the e-book scenario, so we need to assure that we are meeting all the demands which might come about in the distribution and marketing effort. Since we are also developing a puppet show presentation to accompany the book release, the cost and effort involved there demands that we do not hinder our sales potential by limiting ourselves to one book product.  With these facts in mind, the production efforts in terms of publishing set-up, has shifted to the hard copy book layout.

History of the Layout

    When the storybook began to develop out of the Libretto (or simultaneous to it) the first effort was for a published edition. The page layout took a number of turns until it settled into the existing format (further down in this blog is a posting showing the page layout). After repeated printings which dealt with alterations and corrections, it became clear that if I were to shift my goal to that of producing an e-Storybook, then I would not have to contend with the expense of wasted printing supplies, but then also - the alignment and page set-up issues would be eliminated for the time being.

   So the idea of a hard copy book was put aside in lieu of the e-Storybook. This greatly simplified things (not to say that made it simple). So as the e-storybook began to grow, mostly by the inclusion of artwork on every page, the project took on the form of a three volume edition.

    An earlier concept which was developed were the "Gnome-Sized Editions" and the prototypes for these editions were produced and abandoned (for the time being). The larger issue with this format was and is the reality that the artwork is not displayed to it's best advantage when the editions are too small. We have over five years and a lot of money tied up in this artwork and we need to present it in it's best light. So the Gnome-Sized Editions will have to wait until we finish with the larger Hard Copy Versions under consideration.

Published Editions

   Numerous published products are in development. An additional item which is expected to advance into production is a coloring book. This is a relatively simple item which will support the marketplace for the younger children.

   In one way it would be most advantageous for these assorted editions to be released simultaneously, not only for the distribution aspect but also for the shared marketing costs. Whether or not this can happen depends largely upon the investment funds available.

   In that regard, the budget materials, production line, personnel, supply & service vendors, and distribution outlets are all under development. I am not taking the position that, as a writer, I am sitting on the sideline waiting for some other organization to come in and fulfill these needs. As the proprietor and Artistic Director of IMS, I am obliged to develop this business and pursue these other arenas. Should other organizations wish to be involved it is on them to step up and make their voice known, otherwise I am continuing on my path to building the studio and access this project as a primary asset (although numerous other of this nature exist). Once these elements are in place and fully functional, these other products can be installed into that system.

I am going to stop here in order to avoid a dissertation. AG