Monday morning, John Lennon checks off an item on his bucket list by singing with his childhood idol.
Thanks to YouTuber angue
This week was the fourth anniversary of this blog, November 2, to be exact. Thanks to all for your support. As we go into our fifth year, it’s been the anniversary tradition here to list my favorite posts of the past year. You may enjoy catching up on some of them:
A big thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was really enjoyable reading the entries. The assignment was to elucidate what you considered the three greatest tricks in Our Magic.
At first, I wasn’t exactly sure what my criteria was going to be in judging the entries, but as I was reading them, it soon became clear that the best ones were the ones whose descriptions were so compelling that they made me say to myself, “Hey, that’s a trick that I want to go out and perform right now.”
The first-prize winner was Sean-Dylan Riedweg whose entry described exactly why he thought each of the three tricks he nominated were winners, and he also provided meticulous citations for each effect. Sean-Dylan chose Semi-Automatic Card Tricks Vol III by Steve Beam as his prize.
The second-prize winner was Abe Carnow. Abe made a very strong case for a trick which most of us have in our drawers, but disdain to use during performance. Sometimes we forget how good some of the most common ideas in magic are. He chose Stewart James: The First Fifty Years as his prize. We advise Mr. Carnow to get into good physical shape with a few bench presses before attempting to lift that weighty tome.
Third Prize went to Steven Go. Steven also advocated for a trick that most would consider very commonplace, but Steven provided a very wonderful description of the effect of the trick on his young daughter. He really brought to life what a special moment was created between the two of them because of that trick. He chose the DVD Time is Money by Asi Wind as his prize.
And finally Honorable Mention to Steven Bryant for his incredible poetic entry, which was part of an even larger Magic Castle New Year’s magical poetic ode.
Thanks again to all who entered. Sometime next week, everyone who participated will receive a pdf compilation of all the entries that were sent in.
Okay, rest up and if there’s enough demand, we’ll do this again next year.
The daffy comic musical team, Flight of the Conchords sing about a rare chance meeting of lovers. The comedy duo has as perfect timing together as any stand-up team since Abbott and Costello or The Smothers Brothers.
Thanks to YouTuber asianscion
Woody Guthrie from Oklahoma and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott from Brooklyn sing Monday morning about the legendary bad man Railroad Bill. They’re joined by Sonny Terry on harmonica, who if I’m not mistaken, takes a verse towards the end.
More at Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – Topic
Monday morning while sourpuss Bob was telling his Babe that It Ain’t Me, the sunnier Sonny and Cher were singing reciprocally to their Babes that I Got You.
Here are Sonny and Cher long after they were professionally—or privately—a couple, singing their signature song. (I like the way Cher pretends she’s forgotten the words—after all she must have sung it literally thousands of times—as if she’s way beyond that now.)
Thanks to YouTuber Cher Fan Club
John Barrymore chewing up the scenery in this no-holds-barred performance as the crook-back’d Richard, Duke of Gloucester, on the eve of gaining the Crown as Richard III.
This is from Henry VI, the prequel to Richard III, which details Gloucester’s rise.
Thanks to YouTuber erfv102012
And don’t forget to enter the Fourth Annual Shalom Blog Magic Contest. It’s fun and easy with great prizes. Read the details here:
Deadline coming up, now’s a good time to enter.
Woody Guthrie’s rendition of Goebbel Reeves’s “Hobo Lullaby,” a song about a heaven where there are no policemen around to harass anyone.
That’s David Carradine playing Woody hopping the boxcars in Hal Ashby’s film, Bound For Glory.
Thanks to YouTuber FreeNeverSaid
Yes, it’s time once again for this blog’s annual World Famous Magic Contest (“World Famous,” as in my local restaurant’s “Sam’s World-Famous pastrami-on-rye sandwich, one trip to the salad bar only, please”).
So here is the challenge this year:
Last year at a magic Convention I overheard the tail end of a conversation where a well-respected famous magician was saying to his companions, “Well, that’s because that’s the Greatest Trick in Magic…” I kept on eavesdropping, but I never heard just what that earth-shaking Greatest Trick in Magic was.
So your mission, Jim and Cinnamon, if you should choose to accept it, is to tell us what the three greatest tricks are in magic. But please don’t just list them. You must explain why you consider each trick a great one. Extra points for coherence, unexpectedness, humor, and persuasiveness.
And wonderful prizes, as always, will be awarded:
First prize is first choice from the terrific grab bag of wonderful magic books, tricks, and DVDs I’ve put together; second prize is second choice from the grab bag; and third prize, in a parallel, numerically pleasing manner, is third choice from the grab bag. The items in the grab bag are all commercial books, tricks, or DVDs, at least one of which, I guarantee, you will be very happy to own.
And in the spirit of everyone being a winner, I’ll also ask all entrants to allow me to make up a pdf file which includes their entry. This pdf will not be sold, but will be offered only as a free download to all those who enter.
Send your entries please to email@example.com
Make sure to put the word CONTEST in the subject line
Deadline Wednesday, Oct 31, 11:59 PM.
All are eligible except those who have won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prize in the previous two years.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!
So now that you’ve had some time to play around with some of the basic functions of Audacity such as cutting, moving, copying and pasting, let’s take a closer look at the editing process, and some more tools and strategies which will save you time and energy. (For the previous installments, begin here and then follow the links at the end of each installment.)
The most important strategy in editing, in my opinion, is working from big to small. That is, cut away the big useless sections first, and then start working more precisely. Again, sculpting is a very useful metaphor here: think of chopping away big blocks of stone before you start doing any polishing. There’s really no sense in beginning by obsessively cutting out each “umm” or “err,” if that whole portion of the conversation is going to be cut out anyway.
What should you be cutting? Generally, you want to be able to cut enough back so that the listener can sense a clear through line of the argument or intention. Of course this is going to vary vastly from speaker to speaker. But it’s not uncommon for a person to say something like:
“I owe my life to Jane. Jane was married to a guy named Saul who worked in a little candy store down by the Bowery. He was a tall guy who always wore plaid and never liked me. In fact he went out of his way to avoid me. Anyway, Jane was the one who taught me everything I know about poker playing. She taught me how to count cards and bet correctly…”
Now if you have the time, you can leave in the bit about Saul, but really (and the “Anyway,” is the big clue) it would be more clear and direct to edit it so it said,
“I owe my life to Jane…Jane was the one who taught me everything I know about poker playing, etc.”
It is also often the case that a guest will make a statement and support it, say, with three examples. Much of the time, you can cut out one or two of those examples.
“I was always a dreamy kid. I would sing to myself in school and the teachers would yell at me for making noise. Then at home I would lock myself in the bathroom for hours reading books. My parents were flabbergasted by that. And of course when I was sick I would pretend to be the star of my own variety series and use the bed as a stage.”
They’re all fun to hear about, but if you are fighting for time, it could look like this:
“I was always a dreamy kid…When I was sick I would pretend, etc.”
But sometimes the cuts need to be even more drastic, and need to be made based on what topic you are going to focus on. For example, I had a very interesting conversation with a woman who had written a book about the history of segregated schools in the US beginning with the Civil War. I had to make a decision to focus the edited version solely on twentieth century history, with just the briefest nod to the important 19th century era. Sometimes you will be sad about what you had to leave on the cutting room floor, but it is all about working within the constraints you have.
Let’s look more closely at what needs to be done in Audacity to achieve these edits. First we’ll take a look at what I call the “name area” of the track on the far left. There are a couple of important functions hidden away here. And also some buttons and sliders you don’t want to mess with:
The top slider button marked -…+ will change the volume level during playback. Leave this slider alone; there will be times when you want to adjust the volume levels, but you don’t want to do it from here. Likewise, the slider directly beneath it changes the output to the left or right speaker. Again leave that slider in the middle. Instead start off by clicking on the inverted black triangle at the upper right hand corner of the name box. When you do, you should get something that looks like this:
First I will name the track, by clicking on “Name…” at the top and entering a track name. In my example, I call it “penny interview.”
Since in my example, I started with a stereo track, and I want to work with a mono track, I click on the inverted black triangle as before, and then click on the line towards the bottom that says “Split Stereo to Mono.” (If your track is already mono, you won’t need to do this.) You will now have two separate identical tracks. You are going to get rid of the bottom track by clicking on the “x” in the upper left-hand corner of the name area of the track. (Remember you can bring the track back again by “Undo”-ing the action by going to Edit—>Undo).
Okay, so let’s say now you’ve decided on a chunk of the track you’d like to delete. Highlight the selection by dragging over the area with your mouse. You can extend the selected area right or left by pointing the mouse at the very border of the selection and waiting until it turns into a finger-pointing hand icon, then clicking and dragging the border carefully with your mouse.
Once selected, you can listen to how the track would sound without the selected part by pressing the “c” on your keyboard. You will hear a few seconds of sound from before the selection and then a seamless cut to a few seconds after the selection. In other words, this is what your track would sound like after the selection is deleted. This allows you to adjust the borders before you do the deletion for the best cut.
To help you achieve accuracy, you should use the Zoom function, by clicking on the magnifying glass with the “+” inside.
The more you click, the more zoomed-in you will be. To zoom out again, click on the magnifying glass with the “-” inside it. Notice the time markers immediately above the zoomed in track cover a much shorter length of time now in one screen.You would have to scroll horizontally to see more of the track. For example, this zoomed-in track only covers 33 seconds:
This is a lot, so just one more thing about editing for now: if you want an edit to sound natural, the general rule is to cut on the breath. That is, leave the person’s intake of breath before s/he speaks. So let’s say the original audio was: “The CEO was incredibly incompetent and incredibly stupid. What’s more, he was a drunk.” If you want to edit out the phrase “and incredibly stupid,” make sure to leave in the breath before “What’s more.”
After you make your cuts, save and quit, and next time we’ll talk about adding other tracks to your interview for texture. See you then.
The next installment is here: https://jackshalom.net/2018/10/19/radio-interview-production-workshop-11-effective-effects/