Posted in Content Creation, Writing

On your marks…get set…GO!

The beginning of Saving Camelot

            Next week marks the beginning of the five week process of starting my TV series, Saving Camelot. By the end of these five weeks I will not only have a TV pilot finished, but also the first episode. This includes not just the scripts, but also all the character information as well (descriptions/costumes). I’m so excited to finally embark on this journey. I had the idea for this show about a year ago, and I only ever wrote down a few ideas for the first few episodes. Now, with this push, I have the entire series mapped out, and I actually get to start writing it!

            Since I switched my major to Film, Television, and Media Arts, my junior year, my dream has been to become a scriptwriter. I love coming up with my own ideas and watching them come to life. If you’d ask my parents what they thought I’d become when I was younger, it would probably be along the lines of scriptwriter/ content creator (something creative). I was also writing and coming up with stories that my neighbors and I would put on for our parents. I was a young Orson Welles, minus being a famous director by age 25 (I still have two years to catch him though).

            There’s a lot I’m going to have to learn throughout this process, so there’s going to be a lot of trial and error. I’ve never written a TV script, so a lot of the research in the first week will be focused on that. It’s a lot different than writing a feature-length film. What’s lucky for me is my dialogue-writing skills have improved a lot over the years and according to MasterClass, TV scripts are dialogue-driven (I’ll have to get out of the house more and listen in on strangers’ conversations. You know what they say, the best dialogue you find is from what you hear on the streets). The big thing I’m going to have to get used to is that TV scripts follow a completely different narrative structure. A feature-length script has a beginning, middle, and end (easy enough), but a TV script has five different acts

  1. Act 1: Introduce your characters and present the problem.
  2. Act 2: Escalate the problem
  3. Act 3: Have the worst-case scenario happen
  4. Act 4: Begin the ticking clock
  5. Act 5: Have the characters reach their moment of victory.

Let’s not forget about the multiple storylines:

  1. Storyline A: The A storyline involves your main character and is the core of your show.
  2. Storyline B: The B storyline is secondary and helps the narrative keep moving forward.
  3. Storyline C: The c storyline, sometimes referred to as “the runner,” is the smallest storyline and holds the least weight.

Doesn’t seem too hard right?

The scary thing is that that’s just for a TV script, a TV pilot is different than just a regular ol’ script. A TV pilot is how you sell your script, you need to convey everything that’s conveyed in a 90+ page feature-length script in 20-30 pages.

“When you write a TV pilot or a movie, you are in effect creating a story universe. Even if that universe is a common American suburb, you need to immerse yourself in lives its characters and the specifics of that sub-culture because in that way, you reveal the unique, compelling personality of that place and its people, transforming what appears to be typical into something distinctive and entertaining.” (Myers).

It’s almost like summarizing an article you just read. The article could be ten pages, but when you summarize it, you need to explain all the important details but in one page. In my case, it’s trying to convey a multiple season story in one 20-30 page script.

            The first thing I’m going to have to do is expand the idea I have for the whole series. I have the rough outline of what’s happening from beginning to end, but the middle is a little jumbled and seemed very quick to me when I was writing it. The beginning is set-in-stone and I know exactly what I want to happen and how I want to convey it, but starting there for the pilot isn’t the best idea. I think I want to start in the middle of the story where characters are already established, which then, poses the problem, how do I establish my already established characters. It’s going to take a lot of hard work and determination, but I think I can do it. This is something I’ve wanted to take on for the last year, so I’m pretty passionate about it. If you have any suggestions on what could help me write a TV pilot please let me know! I’m open to all suggestions!

Posted in Audio/ Video Design, Podcasts/ Audio Projects

ICM508 Module 2

Reading & Writing

7 Secrets of Getting Pro Sounding Vocals on Home Recordings

Before you even start recording everything you need to get in the zone. This goes for a lot of other things as well, because if you don’t feel comfortable or relaxed, you’re not going to have a good recording session. Speaking of good recording sessions, in order to get one, you’re going to want to be in the proper area. Now, not everyone has access to a professional recording studio, but there are simple tricks you can use to turn your bedroom into a makeshift one. For example, you can build a simple vocal booth using old blankets, curtains, mattresses and pillows.

            Once you’ve set up your studio, it’s time to set up for recording. Position your mic and pop filter in the right place. It should be facing your mouth. Adjust the mic’s distance from your mouth while you’re getting your mic levels, so you know the best place to have your mic.

            Now that you have everything all set up, it’s time to rehearse. You don’t just go and perform without rehearsing. You don’t go and play a sport without practicing. Whatever you’re recording, a song, a podcast, a poem, etc. you need to rehearse it. The more times you do so, the more confident you’ll feel. When you’ve finished recording, you’re going to edit your piece, but be careful with it. You want to focus on the performance, itself.

Sound Advice: Editing Audio for Video

Most times the sound comes second to the actual video. Today, we’re going to think about sound first and video second. Before we get into anything let’s talk about some terms. We have our A-Roll which is the primary footage in the video. Then we have the B-Roll which is the supplementary footage that may or may not be used in the video. B-Roll are filler pieces that reinforce the topic of your video and the words spoken by the on-camera talent.

            When everything has been collected and a rough edit has been created it’s time that we trim the video. The easiest way to do this is to use your editing software’s clipping tool. When you’re comfortable with your trimmed down version, listen to the whole video with your eyes closed. Try and pay attention to clumsy transitions, audio glitches, and consistent volume. If you find any mistakes and are unable to fix them, a quick and easy thing to do is to use music as a background sound under the video. This smooths all the rough edges and it will draw the listener’s attention away from your mistakes.

            A simple to remove even more mistakes that you think are glaring is to export just the audio and plop it into an audio editing application and edit it separately from the full sequence. When the audio has been edited in your audio editing software just drag it back into Premiere and mute the old audio tracks.

            Now that your audio is perfect and ready to export, it’s time to check the video. Make sure that all the clips and images make sense and they aren’t cutting and making the video choppy. A simple fix for something like that is to add a cross dissolve between two shots. Once you’re all finished don’t forget to fade to black.

Research to Inform

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCY-IDqcyz8tev_jmRboQRsg

I’m a huge football fan and PFF is one of the leading sources for NFL and NCAA football analysis. Both speakers in the podcast know what they’re talking about and you can tell the amount of hours they’ve spent researching these topics. I really enjoy the video they have going on, on the TV in the background It has revolving images/videos of a football field. It definitely adds to the atmosphere of “football”, which works very well with this type of podcast.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLtREJY21xRfCuEKvdki1Kw

This is the second time I’ve used the H3H3 podcast while talking about podcasts. I just think it’s such a strong example of what a great video podcast is like. Not only is it a comedy podcast, but Ethan Klein also gets fantastic interviews with multiple celebrities that many people would be interested in watching. The podcast also uses image clips and video clips to further show what they are discussing on the podcast.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrboPj-9ZOZvr3IVyyhXz6Q

This is the definition of a comedy podcast. I’m really drawn to this style of podcast, because it’s just a bunch of friends talking around a table telling stories and telling jokes. It’s got such a great human feel to it and you just have to smile, because we’ve all had conversations like this with our own friends.

Create

Posted in Writing

The First Proposal

This past week seemed very daunting and I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to finish everything that needed to be done. Finding out that I had so much research still left to do for my TV series was terrifying. I had already spent hours upon hours just trying to figure out the names of a few my characters, and you’re telling me I have even more research to do? Needless to say, I was not looking forward to doing more research, but things always seem to work out in the end. I have never been as excited for a project as I am for this one.

I only did a couple hours of research for this series, but I am ready to jump right into it. I ended up finishing the entire story. Before I only had the first few episodes mapped out. Now I have the entire series, and I can’t wait to start writing it. Before I even get to writing, I have a lot to do. I had to create my proposal for this series. I had never written a proposal for anything before, so I went in completely blind. After finishing my proposal, I have never felt more confident in one of my projects.

I now know the order in which I need to do things. My proposal was first on that list, so next up is to do more research. The proposal has to be able “to win their attention and investment, submit a proposal for your screenplay that explains the point of your film, its basic plot, its intended audience and your stylistic vision “(PenandthePad, Mitchell). A lot more research. I’ve recently realized thanks to my professor that the character I have created is a lot like Joan of Arc. That had never even occurred to me before, but it’s completely true. If my character is going to be modeled off of Joan of Arc, I have a lot of research to do. Luckily, one of my cousins is a huge Joan of Arc buff, so I’ve got all the inside information.

My main characters finally have a look. That’s the main problem I’ve had with this idea. I always had so many ideas of how these characters were going to look, and until I created my mood board I had no idea.

Now with actual imagery down, I can see the story coming to life. Of course, some of these character designs may change, but at least I have the foundations finished. You can’t build a house without a foundation, so it’s a step in the right direction.

One of the biggest things that had me nervous about embarking on this new project was the number of sources I needed to find. Thirty different sources in such a small amount of time seemed impossible to find. Making the impossible, possible is just something you have to do sometimes. Now, because of finding all these sources, I am more prepared to start writing a script than I have ever been. I already had all the tools and knowledge about the scriptwriting process, but now I page upon pages of research that will turn this script into the best script I have ever written. Not to mention all the movies and videos that I have to watch. Some of the videos are just research for my topic, but a lot of the others explain how to write a TV pilot and script, as well as how to make it successful.

Creating a successful script is probably one of the hardest things you can do. I’ve finished a feature-length script, which is a great accomplishment, but I’m nowhere close to being able to sell it. Of all the sources that I found, I’m most excited to watch the video from the Writers Guild Foundation (WGA) called, “Creating a TV Show from the Ground Up”. It’s essentially a movie as it’s an hour and a half, but it’s chock full of information that I sorely need. It’s a recording of a WGA event that happened in 2009, where it hosted a bunch of TV writers. (The WGA is where you go to register your scripts, so no one is able to rip them off and use them as their own). The most notable writer at this event (for me at least), was Jay Kogen, one of the writers of The Simpsons. The Simpsons have been on TV for thirty years and was recently renewed for another two seasons. If there’s anyone who knows how to write a successful TV series it’s a writer from The Simpsons. I’d recommend anyone who wants to become a TV writer to watch that video. Once I finish watching it, I’ll you all know what I learned and what’s most useful to becoming a TV writer.

Posted in Audio/ Video Design

ICM508 Module 1

Reading and Writing

Chapter 8

Vibrating bodies create spherical sound waves

  • “Every sound, whether it be a human voice or a tree falling in the forest, is caused by something vibrating” (91, Schroeppel).
  • Every microphone has a diaphragm which vibrates whenever it is hit by sound waves.
  • Frequency: the closeness of the waves
    • The higher the frequency the number of waves (cycles per sound) or shriller the sound
    • The lower the frequency has a lower or deeper sound.
  • Amplitude: the size of the waves (what we think is loudness)

Microphones

  • Two types of microphones: dynamic and electret condenser
  • Dynamic Microphone
    • “The vibrating diaphragm moves a coil of wire inside a permanent magnet, creating an electric current” (95, Schroeppel).
  • Electret Condenser
    • “The diaphragm of an electret condenser microphone is actually one plate of a condenser, or capacitor” (95, Schroeppel).

Microphone Pickup Patterns

  • This is the area where the mic is most sensitive to incoming sound waves
  • Omnidirectional pickup pattern
    • Picks up sound equally well from every direction
  • Cardioid pickup pattern
    • Looks like a heart and picks up the greatest sensitivity from the front of the microphone

Types of Microphones

  • Lavalier: small, electret condenser mike, normally designed with an omnidirectional pickup patter. They’re designed to be worn on the chest of the speaker, either by a cord or attached by a clip.
  • Hand Mike: the most versatile and widely used mike in the industry. It can be either a dynamic or condenser with either an omnidirectional or a cardioid pickup pattern.
  • Super cardioid or shotgun mike: great mike to use for distant sounds or in uncontrolled situations, like television news coverage.

Sound Waves Bounce

  • Reverberation: the total effect of the reflected sound waves

Wild Effects

  • Sync effects: recorded at the same time as the picture
  • Wild effects: any noticeable sound effect from a scene (car door slamming, car starting), should be recorded up close without picture.

Recording Voices and Presence

  • Sync sound: sound recorded in synchronization with the camera (person talking on camera)
  • Voice-over: a narrative voice heard over the picture but not seen
  • Presence (ambience): the sound of a location without any single sound predominating. For example, if you’re in a lab, have the beeps of lab equipment.

Voice-slate and keep a sound log

  • A voice-slate is a recorded description of everything you record. It’s like a normal slate used in video, but there’s no physical video of it.

“Record your voices, sound effects, and presence separately and cleanly. This will give you maximum flexibility in your mix” (110, Schroeppel).

Research to Inform

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrtfdqXrcg8LaSMlaTVcjOw

I really like this Podcast as I am a Packers fan and I try to find every possible Packers related article or video. This one definitely stood out to me, because in most of the podcasts I’ve seen you never actually see the person talking. You do with this one and it gives it a more personal feeling. A lot of emotion and feelings are conveyed through facial expressions and hand movements, and those can’t be seen if it’s just audio. You can really tell how passionate Pour Another is about the Packers.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLtREJY21xRfCuEKvdki1Kw

I really like H3H3’s regular YouTube channel, so it only makes sense that I also enjoy his podcasts as well. Like Pour Another, you see everyone on this podcast. What’s different however, is that Ethan Klein brings on guests to interview. In this specific episode, he brought on my favorite YouTuber Videogamedunkey. Ethan Klein also uses images in the podcast to not only explain what he’s talking about but show it as well. I do think that the audio could be a little louder.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv-1s-XXGHaCstsvn0-VLHw

This is the first podcast of the three that I’ve chosen that doesn’t include any video of the people talking. I don’t think that takes away anything from it though. Even though there’s no video, there is a visual aspect to the podcast. This podcast seems to just be two friends talking about the NBA, and I really enjoy that. Last semester I did a Packers podcast with one of my good friends and I had so much fun doing it.

Create

I chose this topic, because I found it incredibly interesting and an amazing feat in the scientific world. I had originally thought about doing a sports podcast as I had done one in the past, but I decided to do one that more people would be interested in. This is definitely a difficult topic to talk about on a podcast, as I don’t really know much about it. It required a lot of research on my part to find out everything I could. I do think it will be difficult to find sound effects for this type of podcast, as it’s more of a narrative and informative podcast. It also seems a little inappropriate to add sound effects to a podcast talking about HIV/AIDs.

Posted in Writing

Quinnipiac is the place to be

QU

Quinnipiac University, home to the Bobcat faithful, can be found in the small town of Hamden, Connecticut. Its campus is opposite the Sleeping Giant State Park, which many students use to relieve stress as they traverse the many trails in the park. The school was established in 1929 and finally became an accredited university in 2000. One of Quinnipiac’s main attractions is the campus itself. As a high school student, I visited Quinnipiac three times and each time it was raining, and I still loved it. Ultimately, that’s what brought me to Quinnipiac. I loved it while it was raining, therefore would love it even more during sunny days. I was right.

The area surrounding Quinnipiac is home to many different places where students can order food from if they don’t like what’s being offered at the cafe (don’t worry, there are vegan and vegetarian options). Many of these places accept QCash (currency that is bought directly through the school). Shuttles are offered to bring students to the other Quinnipiac campuses (York Hill, the theater building, and the North Haven campus), as well as shuttles that go to the shopping centers in Hamden, along with downtown New Haven and North Haven.

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be that much to do around Quinnipiac, but with the 146 recognized clubs and organizations to join, as well as 61 academic groups and honor societies, there’s hardly a reason to be bored. This also doesn’t include the non-recognized clubs, like the student-run theater group, Fourth Wall Theater, that is always looking for more members. To go along with all of the extracurricular activities that are offered at Quinnipiac, academics play a huge role, where Quinnipiac was ranked 11th in 2016, by U.S. News & World Report “Regional Universities-North” category.

Posted in Writing

Summarizing the long form essay

50 Words

Thirty to forty hour work weeks. No pay for the students. One month to put on a Tony award-winning musical. Sound crazy? Not to Rory Pelsue. He was able to put together a show that not only sold out every night but received multiple standing ovations from sobbing audience members.

150 Words

Thirty to forty hour work weeks. No pay for the students. One month to put on a Tony award-winning musical. Sounds crazy, right? Not to Rory Pelsue. He dove headfirst into Quinnipiac’s production of Next to Normal. Despite his nerves about the heavy-hitting show, he took the challenge and the final product was amazing. The show was a resounding success, selling out every night and receiving multiple standing ovations. Most of the directors I’ve worked with are a more “stand here and then walk over here and sing” director. Not Rory. He had the actors scour their scripts. Each actor spent hours combing their scripts to find the underlying meaning of each line. Rory spent countless hours outside of rehearsal scouring the script for underlying meanings, as well as important words/ quotes that the actors needed to know and putting all of them into pamphlets for each actor to read.

300 Words

Thirty to forty hour work weeks. No pay for the students. One month to put on a Tony award-winning musical. Sounds crazy, right? Not to Rory Pelsue. He dove headfirst into Quinnipiac’s production of Next to Normal. Surprisingly he wasn’t the first choice for the job. He was slated to be the musical’s director in 2020. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Rory was asked to take over as director. He was nervous about taking on the show, as he did not know what talent Quinnipiac had to offer. But despite his nerves about the heavy-hitting show, he took the challenge and the final product was amazing. The show was a resounding success, selling out every night and receiving multiple standing ovations.

Most of the directors I’ve worked with are a more “stand here and then walk over here and sing” director. Not Rory. He had the actors dive deep into their scripts. Each actor spent hours combing their scripts to find the underlying meaning of each line. Rory spent countless hours, by himself, outside of rehearsal scouring the script for underlying meanings, as well as important lines that the actors needed to know and putting all of them into pamphlets for each actor to read.

Each actor could tell how much work Rory was putting into the show, and, in turn, they poured their heart and soul into the production. With that determination from all of the actors and crew members, Rory stated that he had never worked with a group of students who had such a great work ethic. Long and late nights, became part of the norm, but nobody wavered. Every person wanted to be there, and that made Rory’s life so much easier. “As soon as I feel people don’t want to be there I get so anxious.”

Posted in Writing

Next to Normal’s director is anything but

IMG_7658

Thirty to forty hour work weeks. No pay for the students. One month to put on a Tony award-winning musical. Sounds crazy, right? Not to Rory Pelsue. He dove headfirst into Quinnipiac University’s production of Next to Normal.

Next to Normal is a family musical. By family musical I mean, it’s a musical about a family, definitely not the type of show to bring your kids to. The mother, Diana, is bipolar depressive. She is constantly seeing delusions of her dead eight-month-old son, Gabe, as a near 18-year-old. Gabe is trying to not be forgotten by Diana and his father, Dan. In his attempts to not get forgotten and to be a part of his mother’s life, he ends up coercing her into attempting suicide. Diana then goes through ECT, via her psychiatrist Dr. Madden, to try and get her to stop seeing delusions of her son. It works for a couple of weeks, but Gabe eventually finds his way back. Dan is trying to make everything fine and wants Diana to “…take more pills and do more ECT” so that she’s able to recover and stop seeing Gabe. All the while, the daughter, Natalie, is having her own struggles by playing second fiddle to Gabe. She’s the living child and Dan and Diana have been more focused on Gabe. This ends up turning her to drugs and she has to fight her own addictions, while her boyfriend, Henry, tries to help her through it.

Putting on a musical in a month is already a tough situation to be in, but putting one on of Next to Normal’s caliber was a near impossible feat. For a show like Next to Normal, you’d want to have a cast in mind, especially the part of Diana (a very vocally and emotionally draining role). “I was very nervous about not knowing who Diana was going to be and what the vocal talent was at Quinnipiac,” Rory said about the audition process. Rory had no experience with the Quinnipiac theater department until this past semester. Not knowing who he had to work with was a very nerve-racking experience, especially with the genre of Next to Normal (rock musical). “I’ve never done a rock show before and I honestly struggle with the genre, because I don’t listen to that music.”

Despite his nerves about the heavy-hitting show, he took the challenge head-on and the final product was amazing. “There is a sense of irony that a team came together to put on such a great performance focusing on another group of people who were anything but united” Alexis Guerra of the Quinnipiac Chronicle said. The show was a resounding success, selling out every night and receiving multiple standing ovations.

What’s interesting about all of the success surrounding Next to Normal was that Rory was not the initial choice to direct the show. The director of the past few musicals, James Noble, was supposed to direct it. It wasn’t until over winter break when everyone found out that James wasn’t directing the show. We don’t know why James did not direct the show, but I do know that he was thinking of taking a break from directing. I just didn’t realize it would be so soon.

So then how did Rory get the directing job? Well, when it was discovered that James would not be directing the musical in the spring, the head of the theater department, Kevin Daly, was tasked with finding a new director. He reached out to one of his friends from a playwriting company for help. She put him into contact with Rory since his thesis for his masters was a musical. Everything just seemed too had fallen into place like a game of Tetris.

It’s not like this was one of Rory’s first rodeo. His directing accolades are numerous. He graduated from St. Lawrence College in 2011. He graduated from the Yale School of Drama’s directing program in 2018 (which is one of the best programs for directing in the country). Between his undergraduate and his graduate programs he ran a small opera company that focused on English language/light opera/ and small operatic work. Along with working at a small opera company, he directed a couple of shows at Fordham, as well as the University of Pennsylvania.

With all this directing experience in his back pocket, I decided to ask him how Quinnipiac compared to other places he’s directed at. I was actually very surprised with his answers, as all of the actors (myself included) always seemed to be goofing around (not during actual rehearsal). Rory said, “I was surprised by the work ethic of everyone involved at Quinnipiac. This group of students worked harder than all of the other schools I’ve worked at.” He even added that “There was such a culture of kindness at Quinnipiac. I had never done ‘circle’ before and it was very heartwarming.”

Circle is a Quinnipiac theater tradition where, before every show, everyone involved in the show stands in a circle holding hands. During circle the leader of it will send a pulse around the circle (a squeeze of the hand) and wait until it returns back to them. Once that’s finished, all the seniors involved in the show pick a word from the script that describes their experience with the show and explains it. After the word is explained everyone puts their left hand in (it’s closest to their heart) and shouts the word. Then you have to hug everyone in the room before we leave. It’s considered bad luck if you don’t.

With this culture of kindness, Rory felt right at home at Quinnipiac. He said that all of the students were all very sweet and kind and that we were all very funny (I guess he liked us goofing around). “Everyone seemed like they wanted to be there. As soon as I feel people don’t want to be there I get so anxious.” Despite the 30-40 hours week, everyone did want to be there. That’s just a testament to how good Rory is as a director.

His directing style is something that I’ve never worked with before. Since I started performing (16 years ago), I’ve never worked with a director like Rory Pelsue. His directing style is so unique that it’s not even next to normal, it’s abnormal. Most of the directors that I’ve worked with are a more “stand here and then walk over here and sing” director. Rory had the actors dive deep into their scripts. We all spent countless hours and rehearsals reading and combing through the script to find the underlying meaning of each particular line (spoken and sung). The actors even participated in an arts and crafts project:

  1. Each character was on a piece of poster board. (there are six characters)
  2. The script was read out loud
  3. We would then write down anything describing the character
  4. By the end of it, each character had nearly two pages of descriptions

This type of directing had never even crossed my mind before. All of the actors agreed that Rory was one of the best directors we ever had.

The amount of time and effort that Rory put into his craft was very noticeable. You could tell that he spent countless hours outside of rehearsal scouring the script for underlying meanings, as well as important words/ quotes that the actors needed to know. He made an entire pamphlet on medical terms that are discussed in the show, as well as a second pamphlet on words that not everyone will know. I’ve never seen a director go this above and beyond for his actors before. He even went so far as to get a Quinnipiac Psychology professor to come to rehearsal and explain everything about the mental health aspects of the show (there are a lot).

Every show has its challenges, but Next to Normal’s challenges were numerous. A big challenge that is caused by the show itself is the emotional content in it. It’s incredibly difficult to get the audience to believe that these college students are all going through this emotional distress (at varying levels). It is one thing to cry (which happened a lot), but it’s another thing to show that distress without the use of crying. The actors took to Rory’s directions wonderfully and because of that, throughout the entire show you could hear sniffles and could see people crying.

Another challenge that was had was the budget. The family in Next to Normal is supposed to be pretty well-off.  Both parents are architects. Incorporating all the intricate designs that architects would have in their home was incredibly difficult since the Arts at Quinnipiac don’t have the budget that Rory was used to. Despite that, the set was amazing, and it was the first time Quinnipiac ever built a two-story set.

Set

The biggest challenge, however, that Rory had to face during Next to Normal was one of the actresses, unfortunately, contracted laryngitis a week before opening night. All of the actors/ actresses were incredibly nervous as to how the show would work if the role of Natalie could barely speak, let alone sing. Rory handled that challenge better than how most people would have. It didn’t even seem to faze him at all. He just had the musical director speak and sing Natalie’s lines during rehearsal. Fortunately, by opening night Natalie was able to speak all her lines and sing most of her songs (the musical director had to sing the tougher songs). Once Opening night was finished the show went on without a hitch (Natalie sang and spoke all of her lines in the following shows).

Enough talk about challenges and how hard it was to put on Next to Normal. When asked about his favorite part of the show, he took a long pause. “That’s a really tough question, I loved every part of it,” said Rory. I decided to make it a little easier for him and ask him what his favorite scene was in the show. Another pause, but he eventually came to an answer. “My favorite scene was probably ‘Catch me I’m Falling’. It was so much fun to stage. There were so many moving parts during it. It was a challenge to fit all those pieces into one number. The music is also very pretty.”

Unfortunately, Next to Normal’s run at Quinnipiac is now over so those reading this will be unable to watch it. Fortunately, for the readers (as well as the members of Quinnipiac), Rory Pelsue will be returning next year to direct the musical again. He was originally set to take over as the director of the musical in 2020, but due to circumstances (mentioned earlier), he started this year.

It is a bit early, but every year at theater formal, the shows for the next year are announced. This year the musical will be announced on April 27th.  I decided to ask him if he had thought about any shows to do for next year. He thought about them a lot. “I love classic musicals, so I’d like to do a rarely revised classic piece that could work young people,” he said. It’s kind of tough to pick certain shows because the theater is small and more like a black box theater. So, doing shows with large ensembles, or even small ensembles for that matter, are tough to put on at Quinnipiac.

This requires the theater department to put on smaller musicals. With that in mind, Rory gave me a few of his ideas for the upcoming 2020 musical. He mentioned The Fantasticks, which is a perfect show for a black box theater. He also mentioned Babes in the Arms (a stripped-down version of it), Evening Primrose (which is a Stephen Sondheim TV musical), and Falsettos (which seemed to be the favorite of the four, when I talked to other students).

Unfortunately for me, this was my first and last chance to be able to work with Rory as my director. I am so fortunate to be able to have worked with him. I learned so much more about acting and getting into character from him than any other director I’ve worked with in the past. Despite being unable to act at Quinnipiac again, I’m so excited to see what Rory and the rest of the theater department accomplish in the coming years.

“And in the end, I will be most proud to say I was one of us” – Anonymous.