Mic Drop (Radio Drama)

Download: Mic Drop

RSS_button_1021

soundcloud-button

itunes

Mic Drop is a new one off drama, starring Adam Tyrell, based on the play that debuted to critical acclaim at the ‘Scene + Heard’ Festival in Summer 2017. This one-man show tells the story of Irish web entrepreneur Perry Pardo. Perry is the living embodiment of the new Ireland. A working class boy made good, Perry moved to San Francisco to make his fortune, and now he’s back to teach a room full of eager listeners how to replicate his success. This satirical business seminar rapidly descends into a dark exploration of contemporary Ireland, as Perry’s hard partying catches up with him and he undergoes a breakdown – revealing his background and failings through fragments of story and song. In the process Perry reveals the anxieties and hypocrisies that can underlie the success stories of Irish entrepreneurship, and the dark side of wealth.

Credits

Perry Pardo – Adam Tyrell
Writer / Director – Gareth Stack
Sound Engineer – Brendan Rehill
Script Editor – James Van De Waal
Lyrics from ‘Monto’ by The Dubliners
Audience – Seamus Stackpoole, Frances Galligan, Shane Connelly, Nicole O’Connor, Kenny Stapleton, Dominik Turkowski.
Music – Ariel Beat, Myuu, Marc Remillard and Audio Jungle.

Sound Effects

Advertisements

How I Got Screwed Filming a Pro-Putin Singer

What Happened

On February 10th, 2018, I was hired to film a concert in the Helix Dublin as part of the Festival of Russian Culture organised by The Council of Russian Compatriots of Ireland (dead link). The fee offered was extremely low, but at the time I was willing to do it – both because the job had been passed on by a friend, and to have the opportunity to gain footage from a high profile venue for my showreel.

I filmed the concert, recorded the audio from the desk in stereo, edited, graded and titled the video, and provided it to the concert organisers. Initial changes were requested, which were carried out. Further changes were requested – though never specified, which I stated I’d be happy to make after the fee had been paid. No payment was forthcoming. On 22nd March half payment was received directly into my bank account, without any accompanying communication.

Unfortunately, to date the organisers have failed to pay the balance of the extremely modest fee. Instead they have cut off all contact. Despite numerous emails, phone calls and ultimately letters of demand on headed paper, to date they show no sign of settling this debt.

This leaves me with no option but to name and shame them. Freelancers and others doing business with those involved need to know that they may not pay their bills.

Who Wont Pay

The man who hired me, and seemed to be in charge of the concert was Jaroslav Jankovskij, a resident of Dundalk.

Another organiser of the concert was Anastasia McCabe. On Feb 26th I corresponded by text with Mrs McCabe. Mrs McCabe congratulated me on the quality of the video, confirmed she would organise payment, then asked for minor adjustments to the video. I confirmed I was happy to carry out adjustments after payment had been received.


I spoke to Mrs McCabe by phone on March 5th. Mrs McCabe mentioned (but did not specify) additional changes to the video, which I again stated I’d be happy to provide after payment had been completed. Mrs McCabe then told me I was being rude, and hung up. Despite several attempts, I was unable to reach Mrs McCabe by phone again. Having recovered Mr Jankovskij’s address through the CRO, beginning March 20th I sent him a series of letters requesting payment. These provoked no response.

As previously stated, to date Mr Jankovskij and Mrs McCabe have refused to pay their debt. Be careful when dealing with these people.

Unpleasant Details

At the time of filming the gig, it didn’t appear to be listed on the Helix website. Thus I was unaware till later that the central attraction of the concert was Russian actor Dmitry Pevtsov, whose wikipedia page suggests is both a friend and avid supporter of Russian dictator Vladamir Putin. I was not informed as to the nature of the concert before hand – or it’s connection to the Russian Government / Festival of Russian Culture. During the gig I asked if it was a political event, and I was informed it was not.

At the time I filmed and edited the concert footage, I was unaware that Mr Jankovskij had previously been involved in a violent dispute, involving the non-payment of a debt.

‘Our Table’ at Ballymun Rediscovery

I shot this video for Dublin based migrant non-profit, Our Table.

Our table is a community driven project, aiming to highlight the need to end direct provision in Ireland. Our Table aims to create nurturing and empathic spaces where people can gain skills, are paid a wage and can gain knowledge of the Irish food industry. It is a non-profit, non-demoninational organisation that aims to build an awareness of food in multicultural Ireland and to highlight that the current system of Direct Provision is deeply flawed.

Why is videography so expensive?

Last summer I graduated from the Broadcast Production Masters in IADT. Since then I’ve transitioned from primarily working in radio, to filming and editing events. I’ve worked on everything from christenings to concerts, art documentation to theatre promotion, short films to music videos. Over and over again, clients are surprised at the cost of services (even cut price, chance of a lifetime, ‘just this once’ services).

Here are my current rates.

Two things are in play here. One, the market for videography is still not well established in Ireland. For many clients it’s their first time dealing with a videographer. Two, lots of people (from established photographers, to folks who just got a nice camera for Christmas) figure they’ll turn their hand to videography – offering to shoot their friends and family at ultra low, or even no cost.

I thought I’d take the time to explain why videography costs so much. Hint – it doesn’t.

The Cowboy Factor

zzzz21frFilming is not photography. There are a host of factors that need to be taken into account filming a live event that just aren’t there when taking photographs – from the 180 degree rule to choice of recording codec, from handing aperture changes in motion to dealing with interference from the refresh rates of lighting. Filming isn’t 24 times harder than taking a photograph, but it is harder.

Think of it like this – imagine you’re asked to take a photo of a friend. Now imagine there’s only one shot left in the camera, and they’re moving, and the light is changing, and this picture is important to them – maybe its capturing the most important moment of their lives. Now repeat this one hundred times and you’ve got some idea what it’s like to make an event video.

Note – this isn’t to denigrate the artistry or complexity of photography. The best photographs are as complicated to setup and certainly as artful as any film shoot. It’s just that when it comes to capturing real time events, in varying conditions, with high expectations, there are more factors to be juggled when shooting video.

330DA88B00000578-3533660-image-a-12_1460368266213

When you’re filming on your phone, or in the automatic mode on your camera, or just in great lighting – many of these problems disappear, often at the cost of the quality of your final image.

So yes, your friend can do it cheaper, or for free. If the end result doesn’t matter to you, by all means use them to shoot your big day. If they bake too, you could always ask them to make the wedding cake!

Not F**king up

When you hire a professional, they use professional gear, including but not limited to SD cards, hard drives etc. They also engage in a professional workflow – duplicating and backing up footage as it’s shot, on site and off. This is all to ensure that your project or event doesn’t disappear. That sound is recorded as well as picture. The final edit is there next week, or even next year, when you need it in an emergency and have lost or deleted your copy.

It’s a lot more work than you think

When you’re hiring someone to make you a video, much of the work they do is invisible. This can include, but is not limited to – equipment assembly and disassembly, logging footage (loading it into the computer, labelling and checking each file, backing up etc), reviewing clips, editing, re-editing, colour grading, rendering (squeezing out a final file), and reviewing the export.

Any one of these steps can go wrong in a hundred ways. Rendering alone can take hours on a complicated project, even on a fast computer. There is no such thing as a ‘quick edit’, or a ‘small change’, since changing one element of a video requires re-rendering, then checking over every other element of the newly exported video. Counterintuitively, a short video (say a 30 second advert) can take MUCH longer to make than a long video (for example a single shot of an event).

I could write an entire article listing the intricacies of editing – which depending on the specifics required by the project (the number of clips, number and type of cameras, whether takes are mixed, the different kinds of media involved, synching speech, cutting to music etc) can be enormously involved and time consuming. This is why videos produced by friends or ‘for free’, can take months to appear, never get finished at all or be very disappointing when they do finally get done.

Equipment is expensive

Here is my current filming kit. Here is the gear I intend to buy over the next year. Filming equipment is expensive, really expensive.

The camera is in some ways the cheapest (and arguably least important) element of a filming setup. It’s a support system for the lenses, monitor, microphone, and accessories. One that requires lighting, fast media, and a faster computer and external hard drives to edit its output.

Right now, my gear is close to the most basic setup with which professional work can be done. It’s my experience and eye that differentiate the final product. Even so, my current setup cost several thousand euro to build up. Each time it’s used, it faces wear and tear, and more than almost any other freelance industry – each year it must be upgraded as standards improve and new equipment becomes available.

In addition to a reliable, decent quality camera and editing computer, there are numerous non-obvious yet expensive elements to a pro-filmmaking kit, including things like…

33c4328f-6f63-4b61-ae0d-a0b7585ebbb4_1.6d79278466bb15220aa18dcb175d6a46

  • High quality Lenses (600 euro up each, used).
  • Lens adapters (200 euro up).
  • Variable ND filters (100 euro up).
  • Camera cage (100 euro up).
  • Remote follow focus (150 euro up).
  • Gimble (750 euro up).
  • External multichannel sound recorders (500 euro up).
  • Wireless lav microphone kits (800 euro each).
  • Second camera, for multi-angle shoots (800 euro, used).
  • Monitor (200 euro up).
  • Matte Boxes (100 euro up).

The list goes on and on, and whats more, it varies per job, meaning that one setup will not suffice for a varied workload.

 

Experience

Imagine, you’re on a plane to Thailand. God forbid, as my mum likes to say, you have a heart attack. The call goes out, is there a doctor on board? A hand is raised in first class. The off duty doctor races back towards the hell that is economy and begins to [INSERT 7 YEARS OF MEDICAL SCHOOL TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE HERE]. You survive. What saved your life? Was it a stethoscope?

baby-doctorIt was your doctors education and experience. The training (and more importantly hands on experience) of a videographer / director of photography, is what makes their work worth paying for. In my case, I’d been filming and editing web and short films for over a decade before I decided to turn professional, and embarked on an expensive masters degree. I’d also been working as a radio producer writing, producing, recording, and editing programmes (many of which are directly transferable to what I do now). It’s the thousands of hours I’ve spend on and off sets, shooting, rigging, editing, grading, watching tutorials, reading manuals, and generally learning, that you’re paying for when you hire me. Not just my gear.

Freelance work

Videography, sound recording and editing are for the most part freelance work. That means that the day rates charged have to support the living expenses of the videographer while they look for work and on the unpaid days that will arise for even the most qualified and popular videographer. Like all freelance work it’s paid at a slightly higher rate than full time work, at least in theory. In practice, videographers work for below their official rates all the time – usually for charity campaigns etc. This places additional importance on being paid properly for professional work.

Additional Expenses

Other things can add to the cost of videography significantly, from additional staff (to provide B roll, sound recording, makeup etc), to equipment rental and transport. These costs vary by event, but they can mount up. They’re frequently invisible to the client, as they’re accounted for in the initial quote provided. Sometimes these costs are swallowed in order to help establish a working relationship, or just ease what can be an onerous burden – for example when shooting for artists or charities. In the end they still have to be paid. This may sound obvious – but it bares repeating: You wouldn’t ask a lawyer, builder, plumber or taxi driver to do their job for free. Why would videography be any different?

Conclusion

Hopefully this gives a bit of context to videography pricing – and a hint as to what a great deal you’re getting when a professional does offer you a discount.
Baring in mind all of the above, videography in Ireland is incredible, arguably unsustainably, cheap. Compare the price of filming a wedding here (about 1,000 – 4,000 euro), with the prices for the same service in the US. Now get in touch, and hire me!

The Listening Stage

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

Download: The Listening Stage

RSS_button_1021

soundcloud-button

itunes

Each year, legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a unique intensive course in radio drama. The Listening Stage follows students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc embeds us in Roger’s annual weeklong workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. The course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s radio drama workshop.

Click the image above for lots more behind the scenes photos and videos

We’ll join the students as they learn to tailor their voices for the microphone, create characters, and explore an astounding array instruments and old school practical sound effects.

We’ll follow the student’s journey, learn about their backgrounds and ambitions, their dreams and hopes for the future. Joining them as they discover how sound and music punctuate and amplify the dramatic and comedic effects of performance, tempo and suspense. This will be a unique journey into what it means to be an actor and an exploration of the oldest form of recorded storytelling as it exists today. Finally we’ll hear excerpts from the student’s final production, recorded live at a performance in the Boys School Theatre in Smock Alley.

Writer / Director Gareth Stack’s previous documentaries include ‘Getting into the Game’, an introduction to videogame development aimed at school age children; and ‘Mad Scientists of Music’ an exploration of experimental alternative music in Ireland.

Credits

Music – Mattia Cupelli, Sad Piano Music, Jos Lis – various.

Clip from ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’, and ‘The Party’, fair use for educational purposes.

Clip from original recording of ‘Whose Afraid of Rottwang Krell’ used with permission.

With thanks to the Gaiety School of acting.

Special thanks to Roger Gregg and Gaiety School of Acting Class 2017.

Starring:
Ailbhe Cowley, Aoife Martyn, Aoife O’Sullivan, Ben Thompson Caroline Mathiasen, Danaja Wass, Darragh Byrne, Eadaoin Barrett, Eoghan Collins, Gemma Kane, Hana Leigh, Jack Mullarkey, Jessica Leen, Gilly O’Shea, Leigh Douglas, Maureen Rabbitt, Niall O’Brien, Roisin Rankin, Tara Cush, Thommas Kane Byrne.

Is Psychology Unethical? – Psychology in Mind Episode 3

Download: Psychology in Mind – Episode 3
Subscribe: iTunes, RSS, Soundcloud
Read: Show Notes

A new series in which psychologist Dr Andrew P. Allen and writer and broadcaster Gareth Stack, turn to psychology for answers about our minds, brains and personalities.

Todays Question – Is Psychology Unethical? We take a dive into the history of ethical abuses within the discipline, discussing infamous experiments like the Milgram Obedience Studies, Harry Harlow’s monkey attachment research, and the Stanford Prison Experiment. We also take a look at how psychology has been applied unethically, in programmes like the CIA’s MK Ultra research, in ‘conversion’ therapy with gay people, and more recently as part of the American black site torture programme. Has this history of ethical abuses made psychology too cautious today – blocking useful avenues of research? Or, by contrast have we yet to atone and do enough to prevent future ethical controversies.

Finally we’ll discuss the process researchers need to go through today to have their studies approved.

RSS_button_1021

soundcloud-button

itunes

Credits

Presented by Gareth Stack and Andrew P. Allen. Music by Marc Remillard.

Special thanks to Richard Roache.

Logo rendered in Blender, based on Brain by dgallichan, Bulldog smoking pipe beyondmatter and Felonous Fedora by Jacob Ragsdale.

 

My two final Radio Programmes – Coming Soon

Probably my final two radio productions (at least under the sound and vision scheme), were both completed last year. By coincidence they’re both coming to air really soon.

Download: The Listening Stage and Mic Drop Trailer

Each year, legendary radio dramatist Roger Gregg teaches a unique intensive course in radio drama. The Listening Stage follows students of The Gaiety School of Acting’s radio drama course, as they pursue their hopes and dreams of fame. This fly on the wall doc embeds us in Roger’s annual weeklong workshop, introducing actors to the exciting world of audio theatre. The course culminates in a live performance of a radio comedy. We follow the crafting of this production from initial script reading to rehearsals, to the development of sound effects and music, the creation of memorable characters, all the way through to the final performance. Taking a look, for the first time ever, behind the curtain of this legendary drama school’s radio drama workshop.

Broadcasts: Saturday March 31st: 9pm, on Newstalk 106-108 FM.

You’ll also be able to stream the show from Soundcloud, or download it from the Dead Medium Podcast right after broadcast.

Mic Drop is a new one off drama, starring Adam Tyrell, fleshing out the play of the same name that debuted to critical acclaim at the ‘Scene + Heard’ Festival in Summer 2017. This one-man show tells the story of Irish web entrepreneur Perry Pardo. Perry is the living embodiment of the new Ireland. A working class boy made good, Perry moved to San Francisco to make his fortune, and now he’s back to teach a room full of eager listeners how to replicate his success. This satirical business seminar rapidly descends into a dark exploration of contemporary Ireland, as Perry’s hard partying catches up with him and he undergoes a breakdown – revealing his background and failings through fragments of story and song. In the process Perry reveals the anxieties and hypocrisies that can underlie the success stories of Irish entrepreneurship, and the dark side of wealth.

Broadcasts: Tuesday 17th April at 2PM, on Phoenix FM.

You’ll also be able to stream the show from Soundcloud, or download it from the Dead Medium Podcast right after broadcast.