Howdy from Still-At-Home Land! Things in the wider world are fraught and disturbing, and closer to home, San Diego County has its first wildfire of the season, which broke out southeast of Alpine during a pretty gnarly heat wave. We’re fortunate enough to be nowhere near it, and the marine layer has been protecting us from the ash and smoke high in the atmosphere, so the Long Low Ladies and I have been able to continue our lengthy evening rambles, the orange cast of the sunlight notwithstanding.
One thing that has kept me cheerful of late is the recent release of two of my summer projects! So back in June, SACRA/PROFANA opened up a trio of projects that needed to be recorded ASAP in order to ensure that we could be paid for them (thankfully the state recently amended the law that was complicating matters). One of those projects was to do a virtual choir that looked like a music video rather than like a grid of singers in squares. So while we were laying down tracks for all three projects over the space of about a week, one Saturday morning, a bunch of us drove out to the middle of nowhere and shot a video of our choir cover of Gary Numan’s new wave classic “Cars” whilst IN OUR CARS!
It turned out to be every bit as joyful and fun as I’d hoped! I think Adam, who did the videography, did a spectacular job of capturing how thrilled we were to see one another in person for the first time in months. Fun fact: I kinda dented the roof of my car while I was dancing on it, and you can see the dent in the drone shot towards the beginning. Oops. Also heeeeeee.
Project #2 kind of fell into my lap in the best way: I got an email asking if I wanted to participate in my friend’s church’s theater camp for grades 7-12. Since they were making it a month-long virtual camp rather than a week-long in-person camp, they figured they could get some folks who might not otherwise be able to be part of an in-person camp to create an original musical for the campers. I pitched them an idea for a story about a support group for superheroes, came up with basic characters/powers for the twelve campers to choose from, and we were off and running with casting, working with the kids to develop their characters and songs, and of course, writing!
To paraphrase Pascal, we would have written a shorter show, but we did not have the time. Thus, instead the modest project we’d thought this would be, we ended up with a whopping 90-minute film with sixteen (!!!) original songs (twelve solos, two group numbers, and two reprises), each of which needed to be written, then approved by the kids, then turned into a backing track, then recorded by the kids, then integrated into a final audio track, which was then lip synched to by the kids, and then finally lined up with the kids’ lip synch videos in order to create each musical number. And that was just the solos! The group numbers had to be painstakingly edited to appear to be part of the longer Zoom scenes that encompassed them. So yeah, it was a lot of work for both campers and creative team, but YOU GUYS, I WROTE A WHOLE MUSICAL! I mean, I wrote the book and most of the lyrics and one of the songs. An actual composer wrote most of the songs! And I didn’t have to do any of the sound or video editing! STILL!
So without further ado: if you’re hungry for delightful new content, why not pop over to YouTube and check out…
In an online support group for superheroes who are unhappy with their powers, a new member exposes the underlying tensions in the group, which leads to disaster. Left to their own devices, the heroes must explore their pasts and delve into their unique powers in order to become the heroes they want to be.
I’m so proud of the work that the kids and creatives put into this absolutely charming film, and I’m so pleased to have had such an amazing cast and team to work with on my first attempt at writing a musical!
And last but not least, I’ve gone from dipping a toe back into live singing a couple of weeks ago to stumbling into it up to my knees and trying to maintain my balance this week, which makes me nervous and hopeful all at once. The people I’ve been making music with are taking things seriously, too, so here’s hoping we’re able to navigate these strange waters together carefully and safely.
I hope anyone who comes across this post is doing well, and stay safe out there!