Talking to Designers

What is this "prog rock" you speak of? One of the main goals of my Indiegogo fundraising campaign for Roller Derby Saved My Soul was to hire a sound designer for the show. Since the show is currently set up for touring small festivals like the Fringe, getting a proper lighting design seemed like a poor investment at the time when needing something simple & flexible for a variety of spaces (strip club, anyone?). But sound! That was something within my control.

The original music selected was simply based on my own, or my director Tania Levy's personal preference for setting a specific mood/tone within the show. Unfortunately, I don't own the rights to any of it, though I do have permission to use the eponymous "Roller Derby Saved My Soul" by Uncle Leon and the Alibis (you can also get your own copy for free off the band's website, but I'd highly recommend sending a couple dollars their way).

With funds now in place, I sought out the incredibly talented Steve Lafond to compose original music for the show. He hadn't seen the show, but I gave him a copy of the script, the archival video and a list of the music we had used with one incredibly clear guideline:

"Uh... can you kind of make it sound like that?"

And that's where the problems started.

You see, I forgot that I hired a fellow artist. Someone who is both highly creative and capable. What I should have said was "Take a look at this. What does it make you feel? Make something new that goes with that."

Starting from scratch. Begin again. That's the best place to be.

Then once I realized my mistake, I ran into another issue: I don't know anything about music.

Conversations went something like this:

Steven - So what do you think of this? Does *insert technical jargon here* work for you?

Me: Uh... I... Can you make it, uh... more fun?...

Steven: ...

Me: Hey, let's ask Tania what she thinks!

Tania: *responds with equivalent technical jargon*

Me: Maybe you guys should talk.

I am the writer, actor and producer of Roller Derby Saved My Soul, but at the end of the day, the final vision, the actual visual for the show boils down to the director. And Tania Levy is one heck of a director with a very good eye/ear for what's happening on stage. As the producer, I already did my part, I hired the best people for the job. Now, I have to shut up, let go, and let them do that job.

And when you do that, magic happens.

Ottawa folks, I'm sorry you won't get to see RDSMS with this new sound design because I think it has taken the show to a whole other level. It feels more gown up now, more polished and professional, without losing the heart that made it so fun. Edmonton and Halifax? You are in for a treat!

Tickets now on sale for Roller Derby Saved My Soul at the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival.