(Stan does a lot of things for the company. He’s an actor, sound designer, video content guru–the list goes on and on. We won’t even begin to explain it all. Just read for yourself.)
My name is Stan Peal and I have a problem with time management. I have this fantasy of my days being extremely organized, so I plot out what I think I can get done in a day, make a nice, long list, and sail into my day, which quickly combusts into chaos. I’m sure this is good for me, as it teaches me patience and adaptability, though the process has yet to teach me good time management skills. I seem to wake up each day as though I’m in the movie Memento, with complete amnesia in regard to the previous day’s chaos and I make another ambitious list.
I won’t print the list for this particular day, partly because it of course bears no resemblance to what actually occurred, and partly because I lost it. (I also seem to lack simple organizational skills.)
MONDAY, AUGUST 21
(editor’s note – don’t be alarmed that this post is out-of-date, it’s a great read)
9:30 Morning routine – I make coffee, eat cereal, check Facebook (oh, the addiction) and walk the dog. Every day must start with showing the people of Lanesboro how cute our dog is.
Aslan T. Pooch, popular Lanesboro gadabout
10am – Mix Turn of the Screw sound cues – I put together the basic sounds for the production of The Turn of the Screw – mostly using tones from my keyboard in my office at home. Other sounds include a gong at slow speed and a cat’s yowl at very slow speed – sounds creepy, which is perfect. I process all of the sounds into computer files on a zip drive which I will take over the theatre. Stage one of disorganization – the process takes twice as long as expected (my wife Laura will tell you this is a truism for nearly everything I plan).
The keyboard from which came most of the raw sounds for A Midnight Dreary, 1940’s Radio Hour and Picasso at the Lapin Agile
Noon – Ripping wood – In addition to being sound designer for The Turn of the Screw, I’m also set designer. I have my trusty set construction assistant Michael available for an hour, so I use my next time slot to do one of the shop jobs, which (for safety reasons) requires two people; ripping lumber with the table saw. I love this task because it’s loud, it’s manly and there’s lots of sawdust.
Michael snaps a photo instead of catching the wood like he’s supposed to.
1pm – Lunch – My lovely wife makes a healthy salad, mostly from local produce we’ve received from Featherstone Farms. I contribute to the effort by doing dishes.
1:30 – Install cues – I go to the tech booth at the theatre and download the sound cues into the theatre system, setting general levels and timing for the 2pm tech rehearsal.
In the booth, dazzled by the pretty lights
2pm – I’m only a third of the way done installing cues (surprise, surprise) but the director is focused on the lights (ha ha ha… focused. Theater pun), so I keep installing the cues while they don’t need me.
3pm – Filming for the Trailer – The sound cues are installed, but the director is still working with the lights, so I create some secondary shots for The Turn of the Screw trailer. Using the digital camera, some fabric I had pulled for the set, and a couple of props, I set up a mini studio on a booth chair and get some moody prop shots, doing a little arm ballet to simulate twisty crane shots. Hitchcock is in no danger of being usurped.
4:00 – Building – Released from tech rehearsal (we’ll get to sound the next day) I go back to the scene shop (generously loaned workspace at Andy and Eric Bunge’s Magical Wood Cuttery and Saw Emporium) to modify a piece of scenery. I’m able to do the initial work, but then need to run across the street to do…
5pm – Set changeover for Enchanted April – Running two shows in rep means changing the set every two performance days. Enchanted April: 12 minutes. Picasso at the Lapin Agile: 13 minutes. Having the same guy design both so it’s that easy: Priceless.
5:12 – More Building – I run across the street to finish my project, which is basically to shrink a piece of scenery; a window frame/mirror set-piece, which can be wheeled around the stage. The frame I had originally built was too large and couldn’t fit in some of the places the director wanted it (picky, picky), so I made a few strategic cuts and scaled it down.
Too large and prone to falling forward, much like me in college
Honey, I shrunk the scenery!
615 – Dinner Break – I have a snack and walk the dog. He gets dinner, I get a snack. Slacker!
6:30 – Trailer Soundtrack – I take 15 minutes in my home office to do some of the sound effects work for The Turn of the Screw web trailer. Not a huge timeslot, but this is one of the items I was hoping to get to earlier in the day, so I try to at least put a dent in it.
6:50 – Call time for Enchanted April – I arrive at the theatre and begin my pre-show routine for Enchanted April – Which is basically slicking my hair and waxing the goofy moustache I’ve had to wear since June.
7:45 – Understudy work – Once I’ve done my first scene, I have time to begin memorizing lines for my understudy job in Picasso at the Lapin Agile – I went in for Gaston last weekend, and in two weeks I’ll be going on as Einstein. Ah, a character actor’s work is never done.
Highlighting in two colors helps me tell the characters apart!
8:40 – Intermission make-up – I got a tattoo last year. Just a few months before I found out I was cast in a role in which I’d have my shirt off on stage for the first time. I’m not known for my great timing. Since it would be out of character to have such body art, I cleverly disguise it with make-up.
well, actually this is the before picture photoshopped – the real after picture is out of focus – but it looks just like this!
My stage manager is not amused by the constant backstage picture-taking
10:30- Dinner – Also walk the dog and watch Battlestar Galactica!
11:30- Trailer sound scripting – Normally, I like to keep the work day down to 12 hours, but the web trailer has been a little behind schedule, plus, I’m kind of excited about finishing it up. It helps to love what you do. If missing sleep is considered helpful.
I start with an already- recorded creepy narration from Scott Dixon, and mix some effects, bending pitches of screams and Hitchcock-type strings, and finish it off with one of the unsettling background tones used in the show’s actual sound design. I create a basic editing script for Jason Underferth, our cinematographer and video editor, and send him the whole kit and caboodle in an email. Then I listen to the final sound file I created about 8 times because I love what I do.
1:30 – Time for sleep. G’night!