I know, it’s been a crazy long time since I blogged. Don’t worry, I’m alive and ready. to. kick. IT!! Whatever that is haha.
How was your 2017? Good? Achieved anything? Did you meet your resolutions? Excited for the new year?? Don’t need to ask me. I haven’t blogged in a year. That speaks volume. Personally, I feel like I haven’t achieved anything in all of last year, but I do have two notable mentions.
I adopted a cat. Me, someone who never grew up in a pet-centric household now has a cat.
I was the Patch Master for 2017’s Good Vibes Festival. First time as a Patch Master with no prior experience, first time working at a festival.
I recently quit my job as well, one that I’ve been at since August of 2016. Longest I’ve been with standing at almost 1 year and 5 months, but I find that it carries the same pattern as my last two full-time jobs. No proper chance for growth, same old routine. If you fancy getting full-time salary it might appeal to you. But unfortunately, I consider myself a creative person. I need a creative output (shout out to my last post!), a place for me to express my ideas, and also a bit more time and energy outside of work for me to actually do those things. So, I left.
I made a video earlier today where I talked about the top 10 things I learned in 2017. Most of them run quite deep, but they are also reminders from years back, simply resurfacing in 2017. Somehow, I manage to get myself involved with the same kind of people again. Can’t blame me, they all appear to be nice, understanding people at first,… Until you get to know them. Ah.
Well, the bright side here is that I made a video about it, alongside my 2018 goals. You can check it out here:
More videos to come! Definitely more blog posts too. This website is still under maintenance, but it’s the closest thing I can get it to look like the way I want it!
Keep an eye on updates – follow me on various social media platforms to ensure that you will never miss a post!
Since my last post, I’ve been keeping things low-key. I took 3 days off social media, kept (most of) my opinions away from twitter, spent a lot of my time off at home, and rethink just about every plans that I had made for my future, be it days, weeks, months, years away. And I’m kinda glad that I did all of those things. In a way, they kept me focused on the “now” – current projects and bigger (than usual) events. I also get to spend more time with the family, because my dad got a letter to transfer back to Sarawak. And I’ve decided to not go with them.
Work wise, so far one of my favourite projects to date was editing a short film produced by Observers’ Playground, a production “playground” that I’ve been a part of since The Lovesical. There had been multiple miscommunications and technical difficulties that almost cost us the deadline. We were doing count downs with series of pictures and two trailers so there was no way for us to miss it due to “technical difficulties”. As the (self-titled) manager for the count down, I wasn’t going to let this slip.
So, I went on and downloaded Adobe Premiere Pro and edited the entire thing myself.
First thing – OMG PREMIERE! I mean, it’s so much lighter than Final Cut Pro X and iMovie. They’re both rubbish to me now LOL. I have never used any Adobe softwares until the day I started editing the movie. In fact, I did everything in under 12 hours – edit, colour, music, and upload. Passable, but there is still so much to learn. I wish I have more projects to work on so I could keep Premiere, even if they are personal projects. Which brings me to a throwback – Letter to November. I really do miss doing these kind of videos.
I’m still doing events at Laundry Bar and The Bee. I took my braces off and now annoyingly wearing a retainer. Every first week upon receiving my paycheck I spend a portion of them on food, like really good, brunch food. I am currently on a Buzzfeed craze – Facebook videos, recipe lists, you name it. I am collecting recipes, doing budgeting, and making a list of things that I will need to buy after my family move out, because you know, the house will be empty and quiet. Wireless printer, check! I also sang at my friend’s wedding, in front of 300++ people.
Here’s my glass for the remaining two months of the year, where I will fill my off days with wishlists, making and saving more money, and planning next year with DIY projects, experiencing kitchen conundrums, and hopefully being able to blog more about my life. I’m particularly excited about home organizing and design ideas, since I will have the entire apartment to play around with!
Fancy reliving a little bit of your childhood through a love story?
Hello loves. I’ve sat in front of the computer emailing away telling VIPs the past day about this special musical that I am a part of. And now I want to tell you about it!
My friend (and kaki teman makan) Amanda Leong, a student in her last semester in the International College of Music, decided to challenge herself into producing a show that is unique; musicals, within a musical, for her graduation portfolio. She has seek mentorship from Thasha Gunaseelan, a local theatre performer who is also directing the musical, to help her overcome her challenges.
The show entitle The Lovesical is an originally written, with songs rearranged from notable musicals to suit the script based on the synopsis. The story revolves around 2 people who while discovering themselves and pursuing their dreams fall in love. Classic.
The team behind The Lovesical are volunteers consisting of budding actors and first-timers. Amanda has decided to use this opportunity to open up a platform to build their profile. I, myself is a first timer is handling the PR aspects & on show day, front of house (not the engineer kind lol). We are all pretty much very new to our little journey but we’re pushing through!
The Lovesical will run 4 times from July 10th to July 12th at the Damansara Performing Art Centre. Showtimes are:
10 July 2015 (Fri), 8.30pm
11 July 2015 (Sat), 3.00pm
11 July 2015 (Sat), 8.30pm
12 July 2015 (Sun), 3.00pm
However our Saturday matinée showis sold out as it will be our charity show sponsored by a kind gentleman that wishes to remain anonymous.
For tickets, log on to www.dpac.com.my. I should note that there’s a special promotion of buy 10 free 1 going on now. If you’re very interested, please contact me or Amanda! Emails below.
The Lovesical team is also looking for supporters, to sponsor and to partner in order make this show a success. Any form of support is welcome. 😀
have i mentioned that i love doing productions? like “i don’t care if i have to sacrifice sleep and food as long as there are results” kind of love? ok lah that’s not love already. it’s almost like addiction lol.
i have been incredibly lucky enough to be a part of a recent album launch. it is even better when i’ve been a fan of the artist’s music since my college days. she defines her sound as indie, but our ears get to enjoy so much more beyond the loose term. it is great music. take it from me 😉
i’ll never fail to be in the deep slump of post production blues….aka back to no life, when it’s all over. i’ll forever be grateful for my involvements in the tribute concerts that my college used to produce semesterly. yes, i still love the idea of months of hardwork putting into one amazing night, working with an amazing team of people of all areas, from organizers to musicians.
SO. since i don’t want to leave this event buried deep in my heart so here are the top 10 lessons that i want to share!
communication is key! emails, whatsapps, calls, sms-es….BLACK AND WHITES keeps everybody OUT of the grey area!
precise roles are crucial. not everybody is capable of doing everything by themselves….get someone to help! have somebody to help you focus on one thing while you focus on the other.
being considerate is mandatory. we’re all in this together. we all have our own bumps and if you can’t understand your teammate’s problems, talk it out and solve it.
prioritizing is important. this one gets even more important as the launch date grows near. avoid giving yourself unnecessary stress. help yourself by completing tasks that takes like 1 minute to finish while working on the bigger tasks. make a list! have a schedule with you by your side all the time.
give yourself a deadline for everything. this should be after making your list, but is especially helpful when deadlines are already set for you by other people. their deadline(s) is/are NOT your deadline(s). if you need to present something always have it done days before so you’ll have time to screen it and make amendments if necessary.
being able to move on fast is necessary. there will always be frictions! dwelling too long on one or more will only be in the way of your progress. get over it and move on!!
learn how to differentiate between personal and work relationships. this one is a bit tricky. when you’re checked in for work always try to keep up a professional relationship, keeping work in check at all times, and then check out at the end of the day when work is done. i have a bit of a problem with this one as my mind is constantly working and i also tend to mix personal and work relationships interchangeably when i don’t realize it. it’s not the best kind of mix when i take things personally sometimes.
learn to lend a hand whenever you can, even if it’s not your job. a bit of help doesn’t hurt! we all need it sometimes!
words of encouragements are magical words even when we think we don’t need them. good morning! great job guys! you guys sounded great!
last but not least, love what you’re doing. this will make everything else in this list a lot easier to do when you love what you’re doing!
thank you Michelle and team for the amazing opportunity. always a pleasure working with a team of talented and skilled human beings. I MISS YOU PEOPLE ALREADY *cries* 😥
now GUYS. go gift yourself with one of the best creations of 2015! i just got mine on iTunes 😀
if i can afford to rent an office space for me to do my work, i would, okay? fast wifi, nicely treated acoustic, comfortable furnitures, unlimited supply of food……. yeah well, i can’t have it all now can i ? *sad face*
so i thought, you know, why not embrace the freelance life to the fullest? working from a hipster cafe and all…..ha okay anyway, i asked on twitter and facebook what’s the best place with fast wifi and great working environment besides Starbucks? not hating on starbucks, but i basically just wanted to not leave my spot for 8 hours straight.
i was recommended 2 places, and decided to go with Bulb Coffee, because it was the closest to my place and parking was slightly more accessible.
i sat relatively near to the entrance. i spotted their power extension decided to settle down here almost right away. heeeeee
they have a good variety of food and beverages. drinks are not more than rm12 (unless you ask for add-ons), the most expensive food on the menu is the big breakfast – rm17.90.
the decor is very homey. makes me feel very comfortable! music is from spotify, and i suspect they’re playing it from the coffee-house playlist because it’s soooo familiar hehe.
this is my dinner! i had aglio olio for breakfast and pasta with basic tomato-based sauce for lunch. their portion isn’t big, but just enough to fill my tummy for 3-5 hours each time. i’ve had 2 cups of latte, 1 glass of orange juice and a cup of honey lemon throughout the day. the total amount comes to about rm70 (ahmagah). but i got 90% of my work done just from sitting here so i have no complaints!
coffee is great. environment is perfect; not too crowded. food is decent.
ears are tired, back is hurting, shaking and dizzy from coffee withdrawals HAHAH.
heading over to No Black Tie right after this to catch Zalila Lee and friends!! YAAAASSSS
ANNOUNCEMENT: News and Shoes production services is available for booking beginning February 2015!
Do you need a live sound engineer? A stage manager? Or simply dying to hire a production manager for your show? LOOK NO FURTHER, because this girl loves drawing energy from the people that she works with! No stranger to the audio world and a music lover herself, Mell is not one to joke about when it comes to her mission in assisting a band tastefully showcasing their talent or watch a show growing to its full potential, blooming like the flowers in the Garden of Eden. Oh, it’s almost sinful that you can taste it, but the guilty pleasure is real; Mell is a workaholic and she loves every bit of energy that she can draw from everyone around her.
That’s right folks, you just read it first hand – Mell is going back to the freelance world. Give her the warmest welcome ever by filling up her calendar with your job offers!!
List of major services provided:
Live Sound Engineer
List of minor services provided:
Stage Crew / Band Tech
Studio/Live Recording Engineer
Social Media Manager (hek eleh)
Instructor (Conducting Series of Training Services / Workshops)
Now back to regular updates….. I am leaving my current job at Laundry Bar, The Curve and my last day will be on the 30th of January. I’m hoping to get back to work as soon as 1st February but it’s gonna be entirely up to you guys. I’m going to start from zero, leaving a comfortable job, to start-up a little dream of mine – a production company.
I love the idea of being a part of and working on one show for two whole months, and then watching it bloom…even if it’s gonna be for one night only.
I love experimenting, exploring different possibilities and not being limited to pre-written, foolproof instructions.
I love teaching, breaking things down and laying them out so my students could chew easily and digest better.
I love travelling, so touring is definitely in my bucket list.
This box that I’m now in…I’ve been asking myself a lot of what ifs while I’m in it. I’ve decided that I want to break that curiosity and replace it with indefinite possibilities. This blog is to share with you on how you can help me.
I will have a page of all my rates up by the end of the month. If you’ve worked with me while I was still with Laundry, you will soon realize that my new rates are a little bit more on the competitive side, because I need to be able to earn a living, and not just saving up a bit of pocket-money while having a stable income. This is the real deal, guys.
My main area of ability is in the live sound field, especially stage. But I’m willing to expand my wings and fly. Please share the word around to anyone and everyone that needs an extra pair of hands! Your support means a lot and I will forever be grateful. 🙂
The last person that said this to me was my own best friend, and I have had enough. Who are *you* to tell me to chill?! I’m not a chill person in the first place! I blame the city life for the less-friendly side of me.
It’s true; the horrifying traffic, running on a schedule almost on a daily basis… Everything around me is a bunch of numbers!
Appointment at 9?
How long does it take for me to get there? 35 minutes.
What time should I start to get ready? 7:30.
Why? Shower – 5 minutes. Getting dressed and makeup – 20 minutes. Walk to the car up to ignition, 5 minutes.
But you’re 25 minutes early! If it’s a new place, I can kill time by checking out the area. If not, coffee!
Welcome to my brain, everybody.
Today was exceptionally different.
On Tuesdays I travel to Malone’s when I’m not at Laundry. Today I went to Sooka Sentral and Jaya One. Both have the options of taking the public transportations instead of driving. I put Multiply on repeat, put on my earphones, and started walking to the train station. The sun was behind the clouds for the most part, it was lovely. ❤
Except that I was 50 minutes behind time.
I was supposed to be at SS by 9am. I started getting ready only at 8.30am. I had breakfast before that, and then proceeded to the “normal” getting-dressed routine; with slightly more eye makeup and full face foundation (that’s extra 20 minutes). I left the house at nine ten.
Now, usually I’d be in frantic mode by 8.30 itself, but I was like mehhhh…. My next appointment is at 3, I have a lot of time to kill!
I didn’t get started on my work right away when I got to the venue; the supervisor was not on site yet so I chilled for about 10 minutes before he arrived. And then when he showed up, I proceeded with my work, and got done with it in one hour at about 11am.
Right, how am I supposed to kill 4 hours?!
One of the server was kind enough to ask me if I wanted any drink, twice, but I thought coffee would be lovely AFTER I get my job done, as a little reward. So I spent around one hour sipping my delicious cup of cappuccino while going around the social media and listening to more of Multiply. Ah, bliss.
And then I began to realize that the sky was getting cloudy, and it rained when I arrived at Asia Jaya train station… There was lightning and thunder and strong wind so I mostly stayed indoors. Didn’t wanna get myself wet! :3 The bus arrived about 15 minutes later and I didn’t get off until it stopped at Jaya One’s bus station. Thank God it wasn’t raining as much then, because I would’ve been soaking wet! Running for shelter isn’t as fun when you have your electronics with you. 😦
My entire soul was craving for Mexican food upon arrival, but I did not have that kind of money with me to splurge. I settled with apples, assorted sushi and a bottle of water, cost me only RM6! I comfortably made a sofa bench my temporary territory. Like a dog pissing marking its territory, I spread out my belongings, not giving it even a tiny bit of space for anyone to sit on. Aha.
And then it was time for my last appointment/assignment, and finished it within 30 minutes. Time to go home!
Or not… TimD came by from church and we had late lunch together Marufuku.
He was telling me the other day that he got the church’s guitar’s mechanism and pickup changed, and it sounded amazing! The whole setup + new sets of strings + labor sums up to my budget of getting a new acoustic guitar, so I thought I might give the idea a shot. We went to church right after lunch and spent a good 20 minutes just playing a bunch of songs (mostly mine LOL) and just falling in love with the pickup’s tone over and over. ashfsakjkabvkjb
And then after that we kidnapped Qian and brought him to One Utama with us! HAHAHAHA (Qian: Eh excuse me. Technically I voluntarily walked myself to the car so no, this is not a kidnap.) (Aww #sad)
We went home soon after. I wanted to buy a dress from Nichii to wear this Sunday but didn’t have the money on me. Sad. 😦
I am now in the comfort of my bed and being proud of myself for actually taking the chill pill. I’ve also chosen not to go for a beer with a fellow musician friend because I have no life lyk dat. 😀 (shout out to the biggest dickhead tonight, if you’re reading this!)
The whole day doesn’t sound like the typical me. I should chill more often. :3
1:35am and my brain decides to argue with a lot of things, particularly with reality. anyways, these little points are just off the top of my head (and feelings) in no particular order. if you know me well enough you’ll know that i would take a lot of detour just to make a point. i’ll try to simplify this.
1. technical rider
if you’re performing for a show particularly under an organizing committee, please do us crew a favour and take a minute to write the list of things that your band needs. the number of mics, DIs, backlines needed….all of these are important information to help you with your own show. obviously, if it was your own show, you would want everybody to take note of everything from wardrobe to song list to lights etc. if you are going to play alongside other acts/bands, doesn’t matter if your setup is small or meh, preparing a technical rider goes a long way.
here’s what happen when you don’t give me a tech rider: i stalk your facebook profile and/or fan page. it’s worse if you’re a band and you don’t even bother including your band members on your fan page. what gives?! now i have to search the entire internet for a picture of your performance somewhere -oh never mind you don’t even have a decent picture of you performing on your own fan page. it’s okay. now i have to message you.
if you don’t reply me then well, i’m sorry if we are not able to provide what you need and if that’s the case i sure hope you bring your own stuff with zero assumptions that we have “them”, whatever they are.
DO mention specifically if you are playing electric guitar or acoustic guitar. Just mentioning guitar requires an extra skill on my side that i do not have – being psychic.
DON’T tell me that you only need four mics when your band consists of 5 vocalists and you are using your own mic. list them as 5 vocals anyway; i don’t really care if you are using your own mic or not – it’s the least of my worries.
tip: i don’t mind your setlist! i would usually try to watch or listen to your past performances when i have the time.
now i know that the world isn’t all that fair and not everyone can afford to be a full time musician. soundchecks are usually done during office hour or rush hour. it’s probably unfortunate enough that you have to spend most of your weeknights practicing, right? right.
now, soundcheck isn’t all that bad (at least for me) if you’ve given me your tech rider. i can almost not forgive you if you were to make last minute changes (like “oh we’ve decided to add a djembe and a tambourine i’m sorry i forgot to tell you”) but all is well once i brainstorm within a second as to which mic ends up miking which instrument. i mean, change is inevitable right? right.
bear in mind that when you do come for soundcheck – you are able to complete two important things:
achieve optimum stage level for your monitoring
give the engineer to work with your balance and your tone, possibly improving them as well
so if you are not given the chance to do soundcheck:
DO cooperate with the crew and sound engineer during your setup so we wouldn’t spend 10-15 minutes just figuring out who stands where.
DO a 30-second soundcheck with your loudest song to crosscheck your stage level with the engineer. the engineer can only do as much as guessing.
DON’T yell “i need more *whatever* in this monitor!!” in the middle of your song. at least wait until your song is over.
Vocalist: DON’T point your mic down towards the monitors as it may cause feedback. if you’re more of a holding kind of person, please be watchful of the direction that you’re pointing it to.
DO practice, practice, practice. i cannot stress this point enough but front-of-house engineers are not there to fix your mistakes. if you don’t know how to trust FOH engineer in charge, at least trust your own bandmates; learn listen to each other.
tip: guitarists are more than welcome to bring their own trusty ol’ amp (better with presets from practices)! the band could do the same with their own sound/tech person!
3. “spokesperson” if all the above fails, get the person that the whole band trusts (or yourself) and walk through the details with the crew before the show. i am opened to any changes up to 5 minutes before the show. if you don’t even have a spokesperson then well, suffer the consequencesssss!!!! muahahaha
random bits of thoughts:
when i started college, i realized that the only way to survive this industry is to know how to talk and build my network. i’m, no doubt, in a “people industry”. one cannot survive without another to support and vice versa. a band may be the best of their generation but without a good sound engineer, manager or even producer the band maybe can go as far as only being the resident band of a local bar.
these days, a lot of artists are going independent. a band is sometimes their own manager, producer and even techie. i have nothing against that but how far can you go if only you and your band believe in your own product? i don’t mean to sell to make money but rather to have people to buy into your music, without having to actually buy them first.
just remember that without your listeners, you have zero support in terms of income. i wouldn’t make income my main goal, but if you understand the importance of “serving” your listeners with good (these days that means sellable) music without having to sell yourself out (AKA MUSIC IS YO LIFE YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING TO DO MUSIC YOUR WHOLE LIFE), you will do fine.
point 1: if you want to be your everything, at least learn how to manage your facebook/twitter page. don’t post once every few months unless if you need to, provide the audience with a legit explanation and a timeline of when to expect your new music/show/to simply hear from you next. talk to your audience like how you would talk to a friend. anyone would appreciate that kind of “special artist-fan” connection.
point 2: be humble. don’t expect a respect that you have not earned. make friends, share your music (free demos/ep/mixtapes etc), find shows to support other acts… you won’t go anywhere without other people doing the same for you.
2:32am and i’m not making sense anymore. time for me to hit the sack.
kind soul + high level of work ethic + responsibility = a good package.
this production got me to fall in love with productions all over again! like
so i got a whatsapp text from the ever-so-awesome min, gave him my email, got an email from another mel (LOL), gave my rates, HIRED. the end.
lol y’all don’t even know what i was hired for and by who.
anyways, yes. so. rewind back to the day when i went to SMK BU3 (after all that confirmation) to have a meeting on equipment. or so i thought. i’m sure it was just “equipment” in their minds but productions to me is a lot bigger than that. i immediately realized i won’t be able to have the manpower, knowledge and understanding mindset privileges from a secondary school that has never done a production this scale before.
here’s a list of my lids:
they are just kids. SCHOOL KIDS. that doesn’t have an extensive level of knowledge on audio and stuff. ._.
they don’t exactly have a stage manager, stage crews or even a production manager. (this is when i started to get reaaallllyyyyyyy worried). they can’t tell apart the differences between a stage manager and a production manager.
budget. or more like no budget.
only hired as their FOH engineer but it seemed to me i was going to have a lot of work to do to make that they are able to produce this show at a higher standard than what a typical secondary school can produce!
so the first and most heavy weight that i could think of getting rid of off my chest is getting someone who can think of the entire show, from the set up to the tear down, unloading and loading. i personally am not capable of doing it for two reasons: 1) i was only hired as their sound engineer. 2) i cannot commit to attending their rehearsals and understanding their musical from the inside and out (mostly due to “extra labour” and petrol that is not covered in my pay) and so it has to be done by someone from the school itself, someone who can make as much time as they can afford to learn the show by heart and be able to visualize it just like their director but on a more technical side.
that person has to be organized, very committed, positively high in spirit, constantly anticipating, knows how to think & plan backwards, and has very good communication skills & PR. again, i was asking too much from these kids.
okay scrapping all of these problems aside, i’ve decided to list out my to-do list so i could work towards the show on a much productive level.
stage layout: with sets and band on risers.
train highly committed students on the basics of audio equipment and laying them out on stage effectively.
technical meetings – BU3, DPAC, and BU3 again.
production schedule @ DPAC.
after this list, things are starting to fall into their rightful places but things are beyond done.
we started out by recceing DPAC on a lovely Tuesday afternoon.
they have 22 1m*1m*1ft of platforms. we planned to use 10 just for the band itself.
i find that the theatre has weird acoustics but i figured i’m just gonna have to work around it.
they have a nice space for a centre video camera. although i’m sure it’s just a piece of space for people to go to the other side since they only have one entrance.
their FOH area is bloody messy. i will clean that up once i get my station down and settled. ha OCD much
i like their dressing rooms. they are providing three, one of which i requested immediately for technical productions & possible office.
i can almost imagine having my meals at the green room omg i was really excited on the inside by the end of the recce. :DD
anyways, i met up with 4 out of 7 of my tech crews on a Wednesday, jan 29th. understandably, 2 went back for chinese new year while one was down with a viral fever. i brought Amanda with me for extra translations (and moral support!!) since they’re all mostly chinese. i prepared some rule of thumb and a to-do list for them but left the hardcopy version at ICOM -_-.
one of the link that i used to introduce and brief them about the things that they have committed themselves into is shure’s mic techniques for live sound. i found this article when i was still in college and i thought it would be a good studying material for beginners! not only do they talk about a mic’s characteristics and how sound waves work, but they have also included details on how to mic up instruments WITH PICTURES! i’ve asked them to go home and do more research anyway, but this article is a great start. [x]
i then made some arrangements with Puan Ngau to bring my seven crew to ICOM on a Wednesday and Friday to expose to them what’s it like for a show fully run by a group of students every week for the Friday performances. when we finally decided which week to bring them, i could only make it on the 11th of Feb because I had other plans that Friday. Anyways, I had some objectives listed out but i tried not to expect much because over time i realized it was already too much for them to take in, in terms of practicality and having the mindset that i was hoping for. by the end of the Wednesday, they went home looking exhausted, brain-fried. hahah oh dear
over the time, Valerie made a whatsapp chat group, we met again at least twice more to brief on the production schedule, getting a list of things confirmed to fit everybody’s needs and space, got an inventory list going, went for a tech meeting with DPAC, and watch a full rehearsal at BU3’s hall. we’re all excited and nervous at the same time; it’s our first musical. yes, mine too as FOH!!
we bumped in on Thursday. while waiting for the lights to be rigged and focused, we labelled the mics and cables and DIs just so we could get a head of time when we start to set up. i also taught them how to roll cables. the wireless headsets came at about 4pm and we couldn’t do much till the set contractor came so I got my wireless tech to set up while the rest of us lay the cables and setup the drum set.
the day ended without a soundcheck (even though it was planned) because the set contractors were late and we had to leave by 10.45pm. so I had to re-plan the next day adding in soundcheck slots for every lead and supporting actors, chorus & the band, hoping that we could start the technical rundown by 11am sharp. yeah that didn’t really happen because the makeup artist can only come in the morning so all the plans for tech rundown kinda went down the drain BUT since hair and makeup was done much earlier everything kinda fall into place as we used the remaining hours to work on our sound, get used to the wireless mic, stage markings, and the possible chaos that the crew has to endure.
the biggest problem that we faced was the wireless headsets. this was the first musical that I had to mix incorporating a lot of cues and dialogues and thus a lot of riding the faders. i learned that i had to apply quite a lot of expander and compressor, besides dealing with their dinosaur breathing and the fact that we kept running out of battery throughout our rundowns! I became better at riding after 3 rundowns (by 3 i mean, including the first matinee show -_-), we realized that the batteries needed are the alkaline types, and we moved the mic 2 fingers away from the mouth to avoid the sound of heavy breathing.
i was on intercom during the rundowns and the first matinee show, and listening to the chaos backstage was amusing yet worrisome at the same time since i can’t be at two places at once. one of our biggest incident happened just after the first song of the second act, during, dare I say it, the Saturday matinee show. the conversation went down something like this:
Jason: Melinya, Melinya!! Melanie’s guitar string broke!!
Me: Okay, so?
Jason: She said that she cannot play the next song!!
Me: No, she can. It’s just one string right?
5 minutes of silence.
Jason: Melinya!! Melanie asks is it possible to not let her play?
Me: No. She has to continue playing. We don’t have a spare guitar.
Jason: But she said-
Me: Okay which string broke?
Jason: The first E string.
Me: So, she can play. It’s just one string and it’s almost the least important for the rest of the songs that she needs to play. It’s fine. She’s fine. We can have it restring later.
i’m assuming from just this one afternoon show itself, they have learned to anticipate all possible problems instead of reacting to them because i didn’t get anymore intercoms right after that, hahah!
the night (and most important) show went incredible well, except for a minor low rumble and a 6K feedback towards the end. the next day’s matinee also went well and everybody helped with the tear down. the performers helped with the props while my crew and i handled band side. we actually finished an hour earlier from the scheduled bump out time which gave everyone some time to catch their breath, like myself.
overall, it was an amazing experience working with awesome people!! i learned mostly how to deal with changes that don’t go according to plan. when you have the ability to control your frustrations and look at all possible outcomes, nothing is impossible. if you can’t do it on your own, guess what, you have ten, twenty, and hundred other brains to help you work out your problems! one thing about a production is that, you’re not alone. it’s so easy to be in your own world working on your own thing but a production cannot run without everybody’s input in various sections.
i love my crew to death. i’m thankful for min for hooking me up. i appreciate melissa’s patience dealing with everyone and myself. i praise God for this wonderful opportunity. kudos to Puan Ngau for giving all of us an opportunity to create wonderful memories and mind-blowing experiences. I HOPE TO DO THIS AGAIN SOON!!
so i was approached by my KL pastor some time towards the end of 2012 on the Kuching’s church new sound system. they were renovating the place and she thought maybe i could advise them or hold a workshop to give them a little more insight and such. i did fly to kuching for a church camp right after my finals but never got around to checking out the new system.
i carried the “workshop” idea for more than a year until i was approached by my kuching pastor. we met during the “impacting the marketplace” convention and quickly decided that i should fly down to kuching the next weekend. i spent the next one week preparing slides, studying the fundamentals and refreshing my knowledge….until i had a bad feeling.
i don’t know how else to describe it. it wasn’t like i was nervous or anything. the people who i was going to meet were, after all my “family”; people who i grew up with until i moved to KL. but for some reason, every part of me just felt like, i should scrap the enter powerpoint presentation and just go with the flow, ask them for a list of problems and then work either around or fix them. i got the idea from Law of the Lid – first chapter of John Maxwell‘s book “The 21 Most Irrefutable Law of Leadership”.
the basic idea is that, i could teach them everything and anything that they can learn about live sound reinforcement, but 90% of the given knowledge probably gets thrown out the window before they even begin to digest. i figured, that they only need to solve their current problems and work around with whatever they have at the moment.
anyways, i landed KIA around noon time, so naturally my pastor brought me to their favourite laksa place for lunch! (but it was closed, so we went to the one behind it lol.) after lunch, they brought me back to their place to freshen up and get ready for the “workshop”.
only after we arrived at the church i told my pastor that i was going to scrap the “workshop” idea and requested for a white board and a marker instead. i did however create a google doc for when anyone was interested to learn more than the system that they have at the moment.
don’t know how loud is loud.
can’t hear themselves, others & worship leader.
can’t hear the congregation.
sound engineers’ problems:
sound is different inside & outside the room.
don’t know how to EQ, balance & panning.
room reverberation to me is quite high for an environment that plays reasonably loud music. RT60 is about 1s.
they have 2 pairs of speakers on stage, stacked on top of each other on each side. The bigger one is (obviously) at the bottom but it’s only because they were too heavy for the mounted “holders” by the wall, from the smaller speakers. they are also looped, because they bigger speakers only use speakons and their speakon cables aren’t long enough. so they loop the bigger speaker from the smaller speaker while receiving signals through a TRS cable.
the board is in a secluded room, with only an opened window for reference.
drum is in the corner.
solving/working around all our problems combined:
don’t know how loud is loud: i introduced the SPL meter to the engineers. get them started with at least 85dBSPL in an empty hall, slowly going up to 90-95dBSPL. for a small hall, i advised not to go over 100dBSPL especially when the congregation fills up the space. as for the musicians, they’re all going DO from their amps & keyboard, so i advised to have their volume around 30-50%.
can’t hear the people on stage: this was actually “solved” by Uncle Jeffrey, the bassist himself, as he turned the top speakers towards the musicians. i suggested getting started on a monitoring system once they bought speaker stands and longer speakon cables. at the moment this kinda worked.
side note: the guitarists were playing the same chords & strumming pattern throughout the songs. i gave suggestions to the electric guitarist to play a different register or chords inversion or some lines with a different patch besides the clean tone. instant contrast!
another side note: the keyboardist was playing at a lower register, clashing with the bass and was drowned in the mix. i suggested to play an octave higher. the pastors couldn’t stop praising the keyboardist for playing so beautifully with the band. hohoho
another another side note: never blame everything on the engineer 😉
can’t hear the congregation: this varies from week to week so everyone kinda understand that they’ll just have to pay a little more attention to the congregation while worship leading.
side note: the mix will sound slightly dull once the hall is filled so naturally, i asked them to boost 2k and above on the master graphic EQ the next morning.
sound is different inside and outside the room: we tried keeping the board in the room since the church consists of many kids and leaving the board outside means risky business. but when i got every engineer to try to EQ the vocalists, it got a bit too much of a hassle walking in and out of the room to get more precise adjustments so we just took the board out and get it over with. -_- hahahahahah
don’t know how to manipulate & balance the sound: everyone got a chance to soundcheck the band (you can imagine the musicians going AGAIN?! after each engineer is done hahahahaha) and had a rough idea on how to EQ. i made some notes on what each EQ band does so they could understand better. i also suggested making a list of ALL the vocalists and instruments’ EQ settings and have it laminated and pasted on the wall/table (THIS IS SO MR VINAY). i also got them to pan the instruments and vocalists just so they could grasp the idea of separation and being able to hear them individually.
RT60: we did play around with the internal effects but i just thought it was unnecessary when the band is playing. if it was only just a vocalist and accompaniment, then a bit of delay is nice.
drums in the corner: the drummer that week was quite controlled. the stage was loud but it wasn’t heartbeat-thumping loud so i just gave the engineers the mandate to tell the drummer to keep it down if he/she was overpowering the stage. also, i suggested installing some kind of “high absorption coefficient” curtains behind the drums but only after a proper consultation with a proper engineer lol.
overall, the pastors were very happy with the changes that i was bringing in. i personally hope for a more “production-like” system taken into consideration; where the engineers will be there the earliest and the last to leave, taking time to soundcheck, and getting the band to play for a full rundown after all the songs are learned. but all in all, i just hope everyone learned a bit of something and carry on, teaching those who couldn’t make it that day. 😀
anyways, i got really exhausted from all the explaining and walking around PLUS HUNGRY after everything. we ended around 6.30pm and went straight to dinner at some air-conditioned kopitiam lol fancyyyyyy hahahah.
i crashed pretty early after shower. usually i’d fall asleep around midnight but after replying some emails i fell asleep around 9. z.z
i started the day with mee kolo (ehehehe) and then went straight to church. after that, i met up with Emily and we went to have lunch at Sugarbun!! i had le fish burger omnomnomnom. we had a lot of time to kill so for desert she took me to Sunny Hill and i had a banana split. ice cream of the day was chocolate and vanilla :3
after ice cream, she drove me around the city to sightsee for about 45 minutes before dropping me off at the airport just before 2.30pm.
overall i enjoyed this trip a lot. not only did it challenge me to some extend, i learned a lot and had tonnes of fun!! PLUS, I WAS FLYING ON MY OWN FOR THE FIRST TIME. i just love travelling. i wanna travel again. :DD
music played while blogging: Muse – 2nd Law (full album) [x]