19 September 2011

Ovation nomination

The LA Ovation Awards nominations came out today. They're like the Obies in NYC, or the Jeffs in Chicago. Local theatre awards to recognize outstanding good work on the (more or less) not-for-profit stage. And...

I got nominated for an award for my design for Extraordinary Chambers at The Geffen last spring! Hooray!

14 September 2011

Prop Phone!

It's tough to fake a mobile phone on stage.

In the old days of wired phones, there were some great options. Tele-Q boxes worked well, as did specials/recordings and hiding bells in secret places. Mobile phones, on the other hand, are much trickier. The tele-q option doesn't work, because there is no base station. Hiding specials doesn't work very well either, because people carry their phones with them, making the sourcing very tough. Plus, if you want get picky, the sound of a phone ringing varies dramatically as you pull the phone out of your pocket, purse, etc. That's a complex change that is tough to replicate.

I'm happy to announce that a friend (and former student) of mine has written an iPhone/iPad/iPod app called PropPhone that lets you use one iDevice to control the play/pause of audio on another iDevice. You can use the 'controller' device to send those triggers to the 'prop' device, and as you do it, the 'prop' device will change screen images to replicate an incoming phone.

Not only can you use it for phone rings, but if you attach it to a battery-powered loudspeaker, you have a very cheap wireless special (not including the cost of the iDevice, of course).

Here are some other things to note:
  • The audio does NOT stream from one device to another. The audio files themselves live on the 'prop' device. This cuts way down on lag.
  • Currently, you can only choose the sound file from the 'prop' phone, not from the 'controller' phone.
  • This is the very first version of the app, so expect big changes to happen as the developer gets feedback.
This is a great thing for our industry - something that we've been trying to solve for a long long time. I'm looking forward to using it soon in production! $2.99 well-spent!

13 September 2011

Backyard Redesign: Time-lapse movie

We have a backyard.

We have never really had a backyard before, so this is sort of a big deal for us, and we want to use it. S and I have been talking about what to do with it, and while we've got some ideas, there are some challenges to the space. They include:

* We rent, not own. All of our changes mustn't be structural, and anything that is expensive needs to be removable (so we can pull it out when we move).

* There's an ugly cinderblock wall on the perimeter.

* Half of the backyard is full of dead/dying plants. We weren't sure if the plants were dead/dying because they've been mistreated or if they're not getting enough sunlight. We've noticed that the right half of the yard tends to house the dead plants, and also the grass cover is spotty, and also it seems to be shadier. To fully examine this, I set up a time-lapse of the backyard, from 6am-8pm. Here's the video:

As you can see, the left half of the yard gets a lot more sunlight than the right half. So, if we were going to grow a garden, that's where it would go! On the right half, maybe a seating area? We're looking to make something that's less water-intensive, or that focuses water-use on dual-purpose plants (pretty AND tasty, for example).

I'll blog more about this as we continue the process...

06 September 2011

Some Press

There's been some good press with my name in it of late. Here's a taste:

About The Understudy (currently playing at Theaterworks in Hartford), The New York Times says "Vincent Olivieri’s sound design [is] doubly impressive."

About The Oldest Story in the World (which ran last year and was produced by Theatre Novi Most in Minneapolis), Minnesota Playlist notes "the pulsing, pounding, erotic slither of Vinnie Oliveri’s sound design."

I'll take it.