Dialogue Writing Session and Tech Challenge

One of the last sessions I went to on Friday was for dialogue writing. I didn’t really learn anything new. When I walked in, the instructor told us to get out a piece of paper and a pen. He then told us to write two pages of dialogue about a conversation we overheard, and to write it with two distinct voices. After about forty minutes, he went around the room and asked if anyone wanted to share. Normally, I would’ve stayed quiet, but I raised my hand. I was in a room full of strangers that I would never see again, so I gave it a try. I hate sharing something that I didn’t have time to edit, so I shared. I’ve mentioned this before, but my motto of the year is “be comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

My dialogue wasn’t the best, but I still got some reaction to it, which is a great feeling. I got laughter and a collective “oooooh burn”. I felt like writing solely dialogue was easier than trying to find the right beat that followed it. The beats just came naturally after all of the dialogue was written.

Since the conference was a theater conference, I tried to act out my characters like an actor would. It was fun. I got a small taste of being an extrovert (which only lasted for a good five minutes). I still have the piece of paper (the ones they leave in the hotel rooms) with my dialogue scratched down on it. Who knows, that might inspire me to try a whole new style of writing: play writing. I just need to stick with one project at a time. Which by the way, I will post what I have written for my story so far later. I’m excited to see the direction it’s going in.

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TECH CHALLENGE! Tech Challenge was my favorite part of the entire conference. I got to do what I love, while satisfying my slight competitive edge. It took place Friday morning, and we had the opportunity to look at the equipment and ask questions the night before. I participated in the sound and fold a drop challenges. When I was previewing the sound challenge, I took pictures of the location of all of the on switches and studied them. This actually gave me a slight advantage over some other people. I watched the first person do the sound challenge and she had trouble finding the power buttons. For the challenge, I had to patch the sound board with cables from two speakers, a monitor, and a sub woofer. I also had to patch a microphone, but they had that cord all coiled up, so I had to run it from the mic to the board to patch it. After that, I had to set the levels on the board so the mic would not give off feedback.

Out of 28 teams, I placed 7th with a time of 1:31. I really wanted to get my time to under a minute to beat the team in first with a time of 1:03. I guess I’m ok with 7th place, but I know if I had a second shot at it I would’ve done better.

Also, on the same page of sound, I ran into two of my friends from the live sound camp that I did over the summer. I know they mentioned that they ran sound for their schools, but I wasn’t expecting to run into them there. It was a nice surprise.

Our team won second place in the props challenge with a time of 0:59. I actually met a guy in an elevator who was from the school that edged us out by four seconds. Anyway, for the props challenge, we had to look at a picture of how things were placed on a table and replicate it exactly. The two from that did it were very prepared. We held our second place win for another consecutive year.

Overall, we placed 17th out of the 28 schools that participated. That’s not too bad considering that we did not prepare for this whatsoever.

One thing that shocked me was that our theater directors showed up to watch. I would’ve never guessed in a million years that the same people who haven’t even put up the crew list for our show (which is in less than two weeks) would show up to the Tech Challenge. It was a very nice surprise, and a great opportunity to show them how much I actually care about sound and everything that goes with sound.  I wish I could go to this conference for at least one more year. It’s unfortunate that I can’t because I’m a senior. But, hey, I’ve got Audio Engineering Society conferences to look forward to for the next four years.

While I was there, I bought a shirt. It says “respect the tech” with a funny (and very true) statement after each technical part of theater: lights, sound, props, etc. My favorite was the sound statement, obviously. It says “It’s a microphone, not a miracle.” Very, very true.

 

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