Thursday, November 25, 2010

review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows part 1

I admit, I was impressed. Of course, I expected to be. Word got 'round quick that this was a good one, and it is.
Design/Concept: wonderful! Of course, you have come to expect that from Harry Potter movies, but they REALLY outdid themselves with this one. Especially the animation (that's right - animation!!) for the story of the three brothers. GORGEOUS!! Not to mention there are some abesolutely beautiful screen shots in there. I really mean it, just beautiful.
Acting: fantastic all around. Say what you will about child stars - the group in this movie are good. Especially the core three. I really can not wait to see what they do now that they are done with HP.
Writing: Okay, something had to take a hit, and well ... the writing got more than a little corny at points. But, it wasn't very bad at all. Just not on par.
I know I am missing a lot of other factors, but those are the ones that stuck out, which usually means that the other aspects did their jobs well enough.
Story - no spoiler here. Anyone who has read the books will approve, and those who haven't won't care.
Now I really want to re-read the book, which makes this a DARN good movie.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

'DoG SeeS GoD' Post Mortem AND Dakota is born!

My life for the past month is over :( Why haven't I been blogging? Because I've been busy :) Busy with theatre :D But now I am done :(
How did it all go?? Well, let me tell you (pictures included!) (If any one of the people who worked on this show are reading this, hope no one is offended, but it is the truth from my perspective)
Well, it was interesting. We overcame a lot, I mean, A LOT!
We got off to a bad start because the person who was basically the producer didn't know the show that well at all. She had seen scenes and knew the general idea, but hadn't completely read the script or done any kind of analysis at all. So, it came as a complete surprise to her that we would require more than $300. to do the show well. :S Here's a tip to future producers: do your research BEFORE starting something. Another bad thing: the production crew was less than good. Many of them were BRAND new to what they had signed on to do. This would not have been too much of a problem if they at least had (1) dedication and (2) the ability to ask questions. What really drove me crazy was that it was all amateur problems: not reading the script, not doing an analysis, but mostly it was not asking questions and not doing their jobs. Sorry, it just drove me crazy. Not to mention that we barely ever had every designer at any given production meeting.
Our Assistant Designer and Stage Manager were in the university show, so they were never at rehearsals. Both eventually lost their titles. The only ASM to ever show up after auditions was kinda surprised to learn that she became the SM and had to call the show. Bless her heart, she tried, but she had never done this before and had no idea what to do. Because the original SM wasn't on top of things at all, there was no paper tech or dry tech, so Tech week was TERRIBLE!
Don't even get me started on Props and Set :S Sound was not great because our original person who signed up to do both lights and sound decided a couple weeks into it that he was too busy to do both, and (surprise, surprise) didn't have the knowledge to do Sound Design. On one side I was glad he at least admitted it, but seriously, he couldn't have thought of that before? So, we got another sound designer - a guy who wasn't in school, so he had limited time availability. Mostly he did okay, but some of the sounds were all wrong, but since time was short, there was nothing we could do. Also: I had to turn to Barry for one of the sound cues, because even the new Sound guy didn't have the ability to do what we needed for the dance sequence. :S
But enough about the stressful side of things:
The cast was fantastic. PHENOMENAL! When we chose the cast, I made sure that no one could easily walk into the role. Everyone had potential, but no one found it too easy. They all worked hard and really latched on to the show and to the characters.
I don't know if I already mentioned this, but for this show I was able to contact the author. No kidding, I have his phone number in my phone right now. (not that I would call him out of the blue like that, but I'm just saying: it's there) He was SO amazing and kind. He offered to send me the unpublished version of the script, and if we liked it, he gave us permission to use it. So, use it we did, because Love it we DID! Both versions are great, but the unpublished version really put the cycle of bullying front and center and it made it all a little more complete.
How did the show go? Aside from some tech issues: INCREDIBLY WELL! We sold out pretty quickly both nights and all of the reactions were very positive. We got rave reviews from 2 of Bemidji's biggest theatre supporters and participants, and no one seemed to have any complaints at all.
This is one of the best experiences of my life in theatre - no kidding. Following are some of my favorite pictures from the process.

"You make me sick'


'The Hangover'

'High as a Kite'

mixing drinks at lunchtime


'DoG SeeS GoD' official poster :D


'Fire is Bad'

'Dear CB...'

'Dear CB...'

Beethoven playing the piano

the actors focusing in

ALSO ...

Guess what?! I'm an aunt again! Stephanie had her baby! Dakota Paul Manikowski was 7 lbs 1oz, 20 inches long and in good health. Apparently he is a little fussy about eating, but other than that he is doing great, and so is new Mommy! I'll have more for you once I get to see him this weekend.