The Prodigal Altar Boy

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Postcards from TQ - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG



THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-Minus 167 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
  • Elevator pitch work
  • Mission statement work

Music Practice:
  • Stratocaster warm up
  • Inversion Excursion
  • “Dies Irae” – Verdi
  • “So What” – Miles Davis
  • E – B/D# - C#min – A work
  • R&B inversion work

Body Work:
Active rest

Postcards from TQ
I went to mass at the Basilica of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception with my mother today.  Being back at St. Mary’s brought a flood of childhood memories.  I remember playing on the steps of that church before school.  Seeing the altar servers (they’re not “altar boys” any more) reminded me some things never change.  (I know why the altar boys grin.)  More than anything, I saw TQ’s fingerprints on everything.  The men’s choir went all out with songs they never would have done before TQ blew into St. Mary’s.  The spirit of the congregation was powerful, filled with “amen’s” and handclapping.  When I see that, I’m reminded of TQ saying in a phone interview that St. Mary’s had been “de-Blackized and Romanized.”  I saw the Deacon, Calvin Bailey, slip one of the young ushers a shirt and matching tie before the service.  That is the kind of thing TQ would do.  TQ’s spirit burns bright at St. Mary’s.

I said in an earlier post that when I visit my mother, she always pulls out a piece of TQ memorabilia for me.  When he went to Rome, TQ sent my mother a postcard, and I ran across that postcard today.  This is what he wrote from Rome: 

This is the bishop’s chair from which St. Gregory the Great preached his 28th homily in 602!  The whole scene is hysterical!  Tons & tons of art.  Makes you color blind!  Had Papal Audience last Wed.  People from everywhere.  Visited over 200 churches!  Running everywhere!  Lots of African priests & nuns!  Walk everywhere!  Saw St. Catherine’s head and finger in Seneca.  Great professors here.  I am just having too much fun!
-TQ





Saturday, May 12, 2012

Countdown to Inner Circle “Mastermind Call” - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG



THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-minus 168 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
·        Inner Circle homework – Elevator Speech refinement
·        Inner Circle– Mission Statement work Advisory Board edits (thanks Mark)
·        “Making Ideas Happen” – Scott Belsky -  pages 1-34

Music Practice:
Strat warm up
Inversion Excursion work
Cmin7-Gmin-FMaj-BbMaj R&B lick
“The More I Seek You” – chord work with inversions
“Dies Irae” – Verdi (30X entire piece)
Birth of the Groove by David Rubin – Cornell Dupree chapter
Jam session with Garry Cooke – Focus on EMaj-B/D#-C#min-A progression and bass line


Body Work:
Active Rest



Countdown to Inner Circle “Mastermind Call”
I spent the past two weeks working on homework for Tuesday’s Inner Circle call.  The “elevator pitch” work has been invaluable in getting an elevator speech together, and then honing it.  Karen did a great job of outlining how to craft an elevator pitch, and I am eager to try it out on Tuesday. 

I am reading a book, “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky.  In the introduction, Scott makes a point that many people miss:
“In the modern world of information overload and constant connectivity, you must manage your energy wisely. Otherwise, you will fall into a state of “reactionary work flow,” where you act impulsively rather than proactively and simply try to stay afloat.”

I am reshaping how I look at the documentary.  While not ignoring the effort required to finish this film, I will pay more attention to energy expenditure and budgeting.  Belsky recommends, “Every thing in life should be approached as a project.”  Adopting that attitude is the key to finishing the documentary.

Stay tuned.



Friday, May 11, 2012

TQ’s “Catholic Funerals in a Renewed Church” - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG



THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-minus 169 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
·        Inner Circle homework – Elevator Speech refinement
·        Inner Circle homework – Module 2 “Editing the Character-Driven Documentary”
·        Inner Circle (tangential) – Mission Statement work (Shaking the Money Tree)
·        “Shaking the Money Tree” – Chapter 2:  Where’s The Money?
Music Practice:
Stratocaster warm up
Inversion Excursion work
“So What?” – Miles Davis
Cmin7-Gmin-FMaj-BbMaj R&B lick
“The More I Seek You” – chord work with inversions
“Dies Irae” – Verdi (20X entire piece)
Birth of the Groove by David Rubin – Cornell Dupree chapter

Body Work:
Active Rest



(click on the title below for full size of document)
When I visit my mother, she always saves newspaper clippings, old photographs, etc., and asks me if I’m interested in having them.  Packrat that I am, I always say, “yes.”  My mother has been invaluable in making this documentary about TQ because TQ was a prolific writer and she saved most of what he sent her personally and to the parish at St. Mary’s.  Today gave me a letter TQ sent to the parish concerning funerals. The letter is not dated, so my guess is it was early in his long tenure at St. Mary’s.  Intertwining church history with Catholic practices, TQ lays out what the parish should be doing when it comes to funerals and why (“There is no absolute endedness about it except for those who do not have the Faith”).    That my mother would hang on to this letter fall these years is testament to the impact TQ had on the parish.  Fly on Blue Angel!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

T-Minus 170 DAYS AND COUNTING - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG


THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-Minus 170 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
  • Accountability call
  • Edit work on elevator speech

Music Practice:
  • Stratocaster warm ups
  • Inversion excursion
  • R&B Chord linking work
  • “So What?” – Miles Davis
  • “Dies Irae” - Verdi

Body Work:
L.A. Fitness
60/60 seconds interval training – 30 minutes

The TQ Project – Where I am Now
Tuesday is the second week of the Inner Circle.  I spent the days since the last call working on the “elevator speech,” which led me to the latest edition of Morrie Warshawski’s book “Shaking the Money Tree,” which talked about filmmakers having a mission statement.  I made a first pass at a mission statement earlier in the week and distributed that to the Advisory Board for comment.  Comments are due Sunday evening.  We will see what the Board has to say.  I had my accountability call with Michael today and that went well.  He has a fascinating project on Pushkin and he is doing some great work on the documentary.  What I need to do is get back to the assembly edit, specifically, incorporating Karen’s suggestions from the consultation, as well as cutting closer to the three-act, character-driven structure. 

Add to that the immediate issue of reviewing the funeral footage.  I am headed back to Norfolk for Mother’s Day.  I’m hoping a few days away from it all will recharge my batteries and get focused on the tasks at hand.




Wednesday, May 9, 2012

TQ Funeral Footage - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG


THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-minus 171 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
  • Rough draft of Mission Statement (Morrie Warshawski – Shaking the Money Tree)  Rough draft sent to Advisory Board for Review
  • Installed Sony Vegas 11
  • Installed New Blue 3D Title Pro
  • Looked at  Vegas 11 training book/DVD
  • Joined Inner Circle Facebook Group

Music Practice:
  • Installed Izotope Iris along with the Glass and Wood libraries
  • Stratocaster warm-up
  • “So What?” – Miles Davis
  • R&B chord work
  • “TheMore I Seek You”
  • “Dies Irae” - Verdi

Body Work:
L.A. Fitness workout
  • Single Leg angle leg press – 8X8
  • Leg press calf raises – 8X25
  • Hack Squat – 8X8
  • Seated calf raise – 4X25
  • Treadmill interval training 60/60 seconds for 20 minutes

TQ Funeral Footage
Took a brief look at the funeral footage and so far, so good.  I will check the audio tomorrow and start some logging and a think about an editing way forward for the footage.  There are people who would like to have the footage, I just want to make sure what I come up with looks good and moves the documentary forward.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Criticism – More Like Simon Cowell - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG


THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-minus 172 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
  • Module #6 “Editing the Character-Driven Documentary” – Navigating Post-Production and the Director/Editor Collaboration

Music Practice:
  • Stratocaster warm-ups
  • Inversion Excursion work (C Major)
  • E-C#/D#-C#min-A work
  • Cmin7-Gmin7-F work

Body Work:
  • Active rest

Criticism – More Like Simon Cowell
Jeff Elkins’ blog today was about criticism.  He makes excellent points about effective criticism, which include:
1)      Before they start, they make sure I understand they are on my side, they are trying to help me clean up the mess I don't realize I'm sitting in.
2)      Into the "these things need to change..." comments they intersperse "I loved this..." comments. 
3)      They take the time to understand before telling me why I'm wrong.
4)      Their criticism is focused and productive.

As good as these guidelines for effective criticism are, such criticism is often a rarity in reality.  When I had my first consultation with Karen Everett last month, my biggest fear was what her criticisms of the assembly cut would be.  Karen spent a lot of time telling me what she liked and what she thought I did correct, before pointing out the weaknesses of the cut.  She spent even more time reassuring me she wanted me to succeed.  Instead of being discouraged, I came out of the consultation more eager to continue work on the documentary.  The consultation was a major driver in me making the sacrifice to join her latest Inner Circle. 

I compare Karen’s feedback with feedback I once got from a pastor I worked for as Worship Leader.   In the course of a meeting, this pastor brought up the issue of people who wanted to be on the worship team, but whose skills were lacking.  In the case of one particular person, I offered to work with that person to see if we could get his singing skills up to par.  The pastor replied, “See, that’s your problem, Calvin, you’re like Randy Jackson, when you need to be more like Simon Cowell.”  The remarks hurt and bewildered me.  Here was a pastor advocating humiliating people.  Less than a year later, I stepped down as Worship Leader.  Less than a year after that, we left that church and started attending Grace City.  I have never looked back.







Monday, May 7, 2012

T-Minus 173 DAYS AND COUNTING - THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG



THE PRODIGAL ALTAR BOY BLOG
180-DAY COUNTDOWN
T-Minus 173 DAYS AND COUNTING

Karen Everett Inner Circle Work:
  • Viewed module #5 of “Editing the Character-Driven Documentary” - How to Structure Docs with Multiple Protagonists and Subplots
  • Advisory Board emails.  Checking in to wrap up the weekend

Music Practice:
  • Stratocaster warm-up
  • Inversion Excursion
  • Cm7-B/D R&B gospel lick work
  • “So What” – Miles Davis

Body Work:
L.A. Fitness Workout
  • Incline Bench Press 8X8
  • Flat bench DB press 8X8
  • Decline Barbell press 8X8
  • 20 minutes interval treadmill work 60/60


This Week
I will take a few days off this weekend to get the basement back into some semblance of shape so I can start working there again.  We had major plumbing work done which involved us staying with the in-laws in Laurel from 24 April until 5 May.  The short version is a blockage on the city side of our sewer system caused 2500 gallons of raw sewage to pool under a back room in our house.  We could not use water and they had to take up the floor in order to get to the pipes.  We left Norfolk Saturday morning at 6:00AM, drove to Laurel, picked up out things and brought that all back to our row home in Baltimore.  In order to do the initial inspection, the plumber had to go in through the crawlspace in the basement, which meant I had to move things into the finished part of the basement.  I’ll be taking a few days to move those things back into the basement storage space.  This will accompany some paring down (look for the listing “17 Pounds of Guitar Player Magazines” on eBay, that is the start of “the great sell-off.” 
More later.  Thanks for viewing.