I got my baby back with a new logic board, a new display, a new battery, and a new fan a mere nine hours after I dropped it off. My heart belongs to Apple.
I anticipate interviewing my mother and father next week. (Note to self: come up with interview questions structured around what stories and comments you're including from the sibling interviews.) I am in Boston. They dwell in the South. As such, these will be phone interviews. Though the audio quality will obviously be much poorer than that of the sibling interviews, I think I can definitely make this work to my aesthetic advantage. The phone recording will mark a significant divide between my siblings' perspectives and that of my parents. Mostly my point. We'll see what we get.
So, the actual process of making these recordings happen. I am taking a week off from work in an attempt to make this project come together (goal: 79.999% completed). It is fantastic to actually have time to work on my creative endeavors, but there was a lot of pressure to take my vacation over Emerson's spring break (much easier on my bosses / department to not have me around). Since Emerson's labs and audio suites will be closed during the break, I have to come up with a production setup using only what I have to my name: Pro Tools. Mbox. MacBook. And since my goal of 79.999% completion is extremely lofty, I am doing all sorts of things to maximize productivity.
Things I need to do: Steal monitor and keyboard from my office. Try not to garner suspicion as I pack these into my car to take home. Set up laptop screen to be second monitor (more screen space equals more productivity). Buy a mini-DVI to VGA converter. (Update! A co-worker has one I can use for the week... money saved!) Pick up my laptop in a couple days. (My machine kept experiencing a glorious kernel panic. I was praying it was not due to issues with RAM since Seth and I upgraded it ourselves a while back [which voids all Apple Care Protection help]. Luckily it was the logic board. So, the lovely chap at the Genius Bar will replace that. For free. Glory be! While I was there, I asked about a few other nagging issues that I have ignored because I cannot bear life without a computer and I will get my baby back with a new display, a new fan, and a new battery. Yesssss. The only sad (and somewhat stressful) thing: I am without a computer (and thus without the ability to work at home) for the next couple of days. But all this was a preemptive measure... can you imagine if my laptop skeezed out on me over spring break? Cannot. Think. About. That.
Things I have already done: bought a real computer chair off Craigslist. It will be my constant companion for roughly 50 hours in one week, so I consider it a justifiable production cost. Only 20 bucks! Score. Farmed out my desperate transcription needs to the best friends and family of all time (add my visiting teacher Martha and good friend Nicky to that list). Went through all the recordings of random thoughts I have had along the way for potential inclusion in the final piece... I will need to re-record these if I end up using them (recorded thoughts as they struck me... you hear everything from cars to small children in the background). Figured out a method to record the phone calls with my parents abusing the capabilities of Skype with the loving assistance of Audio Hijack Pro (which is in my top five list of audio software).
Well. I've got excellent news. My family and friends are sensational and I got a good amount of help with all of this transcription business. Special thanks to my beautiful sister Crys, my genius brother David, and my dear friends, in the truest sense of the word, Seth, Vicki, Juan, Natalie, and Pickett. Seth already sent me his section and it is amazing how much easier this is going to make my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope to have my first rough cut done by March 12. Yes, this is fairly industrious, but I am running out of time (another reminder: this thing is due on April 28. I'm trying not to freak out).
On a personal note (Since I'm a fan of alliteration, let's call this a Producer's Personal Paragraph.), I feel like I am learning so much about myself and about my family throughout this process. And, if you don't mind me going macro with this, I'm learning so much about marriage and the human condition. As I've been sifting through my siblings' thoughts and observations (and reading everything on marriage and divorce that I can get my greedy hands on [currently polishing off Committed which I highly recommend]), I am seeing so many patterns. I am learning all the ways divorce can be avoided... all the things that were glaring signs of issues that went unattended. You know the saying, "Know thine enemy?" Divorce is most certainly my enemy and I am really starting to get well acquainted.
I finished going through Derek's interview. Here's a bit from it about his hope for my project. And yes. We'll just have to see.
Well. I have gotten through the bulk of my interviews. I'm now left with about 20 tracks that range from five to fifteen minutes. I just sent out a desperate email to some family and friends begging them to help me transcribe all of this stuff:
Hi family (and dear friends)...
As you know (I think), I was totally screwed by the lady that was going to transcribe my master's project audio. I am achingly behind. I have been able to go through all my recordings and grab the sections that are most pertinent to my piece... basically making 20 tracks or so that range from 5-15 minutes.
Anyway, I am reaching out because I am desperate! Would any of you be willing to help me transcribe a couple of these? I just got the approval to take Spring Break off from work (Monday, March 8 to Friday, March 12). Essentially, I have to get the piece mostly done by the end of that week. If I had all these bits transcribed by then, I think I could make it happen.
NO PRESSURE at all (honestly), but if you have any spare time... you'd be my own personal hero.
Some fabulous people exist in my world; I am trying to get over my ridiculous need to do everything myself. I am hoping I have done enough good in life to earn some good karma.
This piece is due to Emerson on April 28 in order for me to graduate on May 17. I've got this. Right?
This doesn't have much to do with anything, but I just thought it was funny. I was editing the sibling conversation this evening and came across a discussion of Luigi's "slippery feet" and his ability to jump higher. My brother David also touts his clout... apparently he collected every single coin with both Luigi AND Mario. My family is extremely accomplished.
Luigi Gets "Oh, honey"ed
Awful news. The woman I paid to do my transcription completely bailed on me. She made up some crappy excuses (which I am 99.9% sure were a load of crap) and just kind of said, "Sorry!" Thanks, lady. That price really WAS too good to be true. So, I lost a couple weeks of time waiting on her to give me something to work from. So freaking obnoxious. I was super pissed when I found out (Saturday evening), but I have just accepted it at this point (late on a Monday night). I didn't think I was going to get my money back, but I did. I am so happy to at least have that. As soon as I found out that I was screwed, I called up my sister. Her reply? Something to the effect of: "And this is why you can only count on yourself." My sentiments exactly.
In better news, my spell of complete inactivity with my project are over. I think I was just so overwhelmed by the amount of work that is needed that I just could NOT get myself to start the editing in earnest. [Inspirational quote/reminder here: "Don't let fear stop you from creating things." - Dieter Uchtdorf.] I finally came up with a workflow today and got a good chunk of work done. I was concerned with the size of a Pro Tools session that included all of my audio (around ten hours or so). It would take FOREVER to back up and move around (I will be working on three computers... my laptop, my PC at work, and [most likely] one of Macs in the audio suites at school). I needed to break these interviews up a bit. Make the amount of audio material more manageable. I went through my proposal again to re-read my narrative description (needed to remind myself of what exactly I am doing...). My proposal stated that the questions I would ask of my siblings (and I imagine the final piece) would be focused on five phases of our lives: life before we were aware of major issues, the disruptive events leading up to the divorce, the divorce itself, life following the divorce, and now. So. I started with my interview with my sister Crys. I created five tracks, one for each of these phases (track titles for my own reference: BEFORE, CRACKS, DIVORCE, POST, NOW) and one track for the answers to an interesting question I asked: "How do you think the divorce affected your siblings?" Then, I just listened to the interview, cut stuff out that I know I won't be including (even though some of it is absolutely fascinating) and separated her commentary on each phase into its corresponding track. I just finished bouncing all six of those tracks (don't worry, Pierre, I left handles on each side of the sentences I like!). I will do this same process for the interviews with my brothers and the conversation all four of us had together. I will finish this part of the process this week. I feel like I am actually going somewhere with this. So excited. I am going to ask for some time off of work so I can actually put this thing together.
Pretty productive for President's Day.
Well, it is February 12 and I still haven't received my transcription. I got this email from the woman I found on Craigslist filled with excuses as to why she hasn't finished yet. Extremely stressful and extremely frustrating. Too bad I am not a trust fund kid... I could have just got with the most expensive option that had a less-than-a-week turnaround. Oh, well.
To be honest, I have not done much with my project since I edited it all to send off to the transcriptionist. And by "not done much" I mean: "not done anything." I was planning on getting the text back on February 8 and starting with a paper edit. I am four days behind schedule. When you're OCD like me (and when you also hold a full-time job, have church responsibilities, and are trying to trudge through a Graduate Sound Design course)... four days is WAAAAAAY behind schedule. I am trying not to panic. I'll get this done by the end of April. Right?
I decided to pay someone to transcribe some of my audio. I was kind of hemming and hawing over this as I am pretty poor, but I talked to Paul Niwa (journalist in the department I work for) today and he highly suggested it. He said transcribing the audio yourself makes you lose all the energy/fervor towards your material. I searched on Craigslist for quite some time... at first all I was finding was people charging $1/audio minute. That would be upwards of $600. No dice. I found some chick doing a full audio HOUR for 12 bucks. That's more like it. I have emailed her... I will probably only have her do my sibling interviews and the group interview. I will edit out all the random crap at the beginning/end of the interviews this weekend and burn everything on a dual-layer disc to send to her (Lisa). This will add to my budget, but I think it will definitely be worth it. I am quickly realizing that I have hardly any time at all to work on my project, and this will cut out a huge chunk of prep work. Good. Just importing all the interview into my Pro Tools at home took about two hours... things take much more time than you think they will. Oy.
LATER: Super productive for a Friday night. I secured this Craigslist gal Lisa to do a little under eight hours of transcription for $165 (the sibling interviews and the group interview). Not too shabby! I can afford that. Sorta. Not really. I also got through all the tapes that I found with my Dad's voice on them. I'm kinda sad... I can't find the tapes I was positive I had with my sister talking to me on them. I have no idea where they could be... I am pretty OCD and my room is spotless. Not many places they could go. I also am trimming the interviews (taking off the mic level checks and random crap at beginning/end) and putting the tracks together (i.e. one file per sibling). I think this will make it easier for the transcriptionist and eventually for myself. I believe they will now all fit on a dual-layer DVD (making an additional backup and overnighting one Lisa's way on Monday... to get the text back by February 10th or so). I was feeling super behind and kind of had a breakdown last night, but I feel a lot further along tonight (even though I still have epic amounts of work to go).
I have finally started listening to the tapes that my Dad recorded for my Mom while he was on his mission. My father’s voice sounds so different, but I can catch hints of him as he is now. I found six tapes. I started with one on which my Dad wrote: “Honey, this tape has been given all my love and consideration—it will be best heard alone and in the dark—this tape communicates my thoughts about us. Love you very much, yours forever. Richard.” It is probably obvious why I started with this one.
My last semester at Emerson officially started yesterday. I am taking the four credits of Master’s Project Production and Graduate Sound Design with Pierre Archambault. The class with Pierre is going to be great, but I’m really nervous about being able to get everything done. I have 40 hours of work, my master’s project, and the work for that class. I have responsibilities at my church and I am super out of shape (and somewhat depressed about it) so I started seeing a personal trainer. Oh, and I need to be finding a job for post-graduation. I want to immediately start work in my field (as opposed to hanging out as the journalism department administrator). Why is this in my production journal? I am extremely anxious that my project will get short shrift. I have tons of amazing material and I just want to do it justice. It is wonderful to have class with one of my master’s project committee members—we got to check in about my project after class (way more convenient than tracking Pierre down). I don’t know how I forgot this, but he reminded me to put my recorded files on some sort of non-magnetic storage to make sure they’re safe. I copied all my material onto five DVD’s and put them in my office file drawer (along with all signed release forms). These Emerson filing cabinets better be fireproof. I am planning on going through all my interviews and logging topics/stories. Pierre suggested I transcribe them all word for word, but I don’t think my timeline will allow for that. I have a fairly good memory, so if I listen to them and take thematic notes, I will remember what is being said. When I get through all 10 hours or so of what I’ve got, I’ll start my paper edit.