Monday, November 20, 2023

Bold Journey magazine interview

Here's a link to an online interview I had with Bold Journey Magazine. They ask me about optimism and said that they believe it is the invisible ingredient that powers so much of the incredible progress in society from entrepreneurs and investors to artists and creatives who believe in something and are optimistic enough to risk their time, money, and reputation. I told them; "if you don't have something good to say just don't say it." I think the publication believes we can all learn from each other and they look for stories that will inspire their readers.

Click HERE to learn more.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

WYSIWYG headed to 2024 Edinburgh Fringe Festival

With over a thousand followers on the WYSIWYG Facebook page it was inevitable that "WYSIWYG the Musical" would be performed across the pond someday. Some of our UK peeps come from our relationships with streaming music sites like Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, but the WYSIWYG show has a real universal theatre appeal too and is very relevant with the proliferation of social media and artificial intelligence these days. We had a small theatre troupe at fringe a few months ago with the show "Eigg the Musical" and we were hoping to get a spot in 2024 program.

Willow Studio @ Riddles Court

So, we're excited to announce that we'll be back! We'll be performing WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) the Musical at the 2024 Edinburgh Fringe Festival the first week of August next year! (August 2nd-10th) We're part of the evening lineup in Willow Studio @ Riddles Court. We had to cut the show to under 60 minutes, but it's still works great, just trimmed down for fringe. It'll be nice to see all our Greenside friends again and meet up with the European folks we know from a far next Summer in Scotland. Stay tuned for all the details!

Tuesday, October 03, 2023

World on a string

Autumn is a great time of year for aerial photography. The change of color can be breathtaking in Colorado and the Fall foliage makes way for some excellent pictures. I usually start by powering up the batteries in my drone early in the day and get everything prepared for an early evening photo shoot. This year I headed out to Wallace Park, it's near the interchange of I-225 and I-25 and has a backdrop of the Denver Technology Center and the Colorado Mountains.
Denver Technology Center
Wallace Park at Denver Technology Center

I decided to do something a little different. I wanted to get a picture of a kite flying over a park with the Fall foliage, the high rise buildings and the mountains, but hanging my 360 camera under a kite seemed time consuming and problematic. The solution was to use the drone to carry the camera and add the kite in post, but getting a image of the string of the kite would be a challenge.

Drone Flying at 150 feet above Wallace Park
Drone Flying at 150 feet above Wallace Park

As usual the local Home Depot had a nice solution, but as often is the case, this kind of thing can be a bit trial and error. It was easy enough to find a bright yellow string and a small pully and attach the pulley to the bottom of the drone. Then I fed the yellow string through the pulley and attached the old bullet time string to my old Insta 360 camera and knot them together.

360 Image of kite above Wallace Park
Go fly a kite

I enjoy flying the drone, but in this case I had to manage a lot of different things. I put the Insta 360 in photo interval mode and launched the drone. It was set to take pictures every 60 seconds. The camera was spinning wildly so I wasn't sure how well the images would turn out. Sometimes you just have to wait until you back in your studio to see the results and in this case a lot of the images were blurry.

Insta 360 little world mode of drone on a string
Little world mode of drone on a string

Fortunately I was able to use some of the pictures and the yellow/orange string looked perfect. The Insta 360 software has some cool image modes and I used a fisheye effect on the first image and little world on the second one. I then touched up the images in Adobe Lightroom and used Photoshop to remove the drone and add the kite.

World on a string by April Alsup
World on a string

All in all, I'm happy with the results. The first image was a panoramic image I took using the drone's Hasselblad 1" sensor on an old Mavic 2 pro. The other two were from the Insta 360 and I did some post framing and color correction on them, but it was a fun day for aerial photo content creation before all the leaves drop and Winter time comes in Colorado.

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Monday, September 04, 2023

Eigg the Musical in pictures

In my storage space I have all sorts of scrapbooks that my parents would make after they would take a trip. My sense is that these boxes will probably end up in the trash or one of my son's garages someday. Lots of us like to gather up and organize all the pictures and collateral from the shows we've been a part of and put them into a scrapbook. It takes a lot of time to bring a new musical work to the stage and along the way you accumulate all kinds of knick knacks, but these days it's mostly digital or can be easily made to be. Here's my latest one, it's for Eigg the Musical and goes all the way back to 2017. It won't end up in a garage somewhere because it's safe in the cloud...right?
Eigg the Musical in Pictures
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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

360° video sample of Eigg Musical at Riddles Court

I've always wondered how well a 360 degree camera would work for stage performances. The Insta 360 camera is fairly old technology, but it has a gyro mechanism built in to the enclosure that orientates the lens to the proper horizon. Here's the first scene from our show Eigg the Musical at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I used the bullet time string to hang the camera from the chandelier at stage right of the theater. The Greenside @ Riddles court venue is over 500 years old and once held a coronation party for King James V1. Check out the ceiling!

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Thursday, August 10, 2023

Life was meant for good friends and great adventures

In 2019 I visited the tiny Isle of Eigg for a little theatrical research. I stayed at the Glebe Barn and made friends with a group of lovely people from Ayr, Scotland. During the day we explored Massacre caves, the singing sands of Laig Bay and hiked up Mount Squrr to Loch nam Ban Mora. In the evenings we drank scotch and discussed the history of Eigg. One of the members in the group was connected with Keith Schellenberg and later the Island Trust. It was very insightful and had a lot of impact on the Eigg show.
Drinking Scotch and exploring the Isle of Eigg in 2019

Four years and a pandemic later they came to Edinburgh to see the results at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It takes several years to write a full length music theatre work and this one included moments from our visit 4 years earlier. It was so rewarding and truly one of the most meaningful moments of this year's trip to Edinburgh and one I will always cherish.
Good friends at Eigg the Musical in Edinburgh

Sunday, August 06, 2023

Developing the Eigg show's musical score

The Eigg show has been a wondrous musical journey. Early on, I knew we needed to supplement the score with traditional Scottish music and after visiting the island I decided on the instrumentation of the music ensemble (accordion, violin and keyboard). My goal would be to compose and perform the work with the ensemble, I like to call it method composing. I had never played an accordion before, but it felt so natural. Well, I searched the internet and found Sandy Brechin, a Ceilidh accordion maestro from Edinburgh. He knew all about the story of Eigg and of many others too, he'd even performed on the island and knew some of the locals. So over the next year we used the marvels of technology to connect with each other and he helped a lot with my playing.

Sandy Brechin and April Alsup using Skye
On Sunday August 6th we met in person for the first time at Ensign Ewert tavern, a small pub which ironically is a stone's throw from the venue of our show. Then, on the 10th he came to our show I was able to return the favor by performing for him. It was truly a special moment for me. I find traditional Scottish music to be comforting, honest and humble and hope I was able to capture some of it's beauty in our show.

Sandy Brechin with Eigg Ensemble (April, Mark and Cieran)