April update part 1

Well…a month has flown by since my last posting, and much has happened. no way to catch up but to do it in pieces. Here’s an initial stab at catching up…

Last week I spent three days recording scores for ten comedy shorts for the upcoming American Slapstick 2 DVD set from AllDay Entertainment. Five were on piano and five were on Miditzer theatre organ. Recording is always a challenge, not having the live audience there and also knowing people are going to be listening to the music more. But I think the scores came out all right. The set will be out in July.

Have now sold several downloads of my score for Sherlock, Jr. on altscore.com and one download of my score for Beyond the Rocks. Have added scores for two of the Houdini films on the set that’s just come out, and added another freebie. Have a few more scores in the works, some of which may wind up being bundled with commentary tracks (by other historians, not me).

Have started taking a clown class with Eric Davis, and am having a great time. It feels great to get back to creating comedy, and especially on a physical and non-verbal level. It’s been years since I set comedy-writing and filmmaking aside, and I’m really excited about this.

Am also further exploring understanding silent film actors’/comedians’ movement style…since they all knew the films would be shown faster I’m discovering that when the films were shot they put little pauses or beats in-between certain movements so they’d read better. Also noticed that they may actually have also either deliberately moved slower or just took their time. There’s a reason silent film doesn’t look the way regular film does when it’s sped up.

I took a short piece of silent film and slowed it down to real time, basing the speed on watching the weight of people and also their lip movements. Watched Chaplin’s The Adventurer the other night slowed down to real time and realized most of it was shot at 14 fps, with a couple of shots at 15 fps and a lot of the chase or action sequences cranked at 12 fps. So the increase in speed was usually expected to be 135-150%. I plan to continue to do this with films or sequences and maybe post them on YouTube so other filmmakers or clowns can take a look.

I continue to book shows every day or two, and my July is looking like it’s going to be another packed one, with 24 shows already lined up. Next week my orchestral score for The Adventurer will be performed by the Green Bay Civic Symphony. I am also now booked to play on the Wurlitzer at a major venue in May (shown at right). Will write more about this, and everything else that’s been going on, later…

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