Chamber Made Opera blog

Elliot’s Work Experience Blog
June 29, 2012, 4:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Day 1:

After arriving at the Chamber Made Opera office 20 minutes early with my dad, we called Tim Stitz – my ’employer’ – to see if he was in and we were buzzed in. Sarah Kriegler was in the office with Tim and we were introduced then dad left. Tim told me about what kind of things they did and gave me a tour of the building, and then sat me down to talk about what I would be doing: basically assisting the staff in any way I could. Firstly though, he said, I should do a little research on the company and see what it’s all about, and I did. It happened to be that Caroline wasn’t going to be in all week so I could have her desk: a large table with an appropriately large computer and pens and what-not. Tim also mentioned the possibility of writing a blog, if I wanted, and that CMO had had a work experience student before and that he wrote blog. So I jumped online and got to ‘work’, reading about the CMO’s history and staff on their website and reading Flynn’s blog. I wish I got to see Tenacious D. Anyway, Tim, instantly recognising my manly physique, asked if I would mind carrying some stuff down stairs to the store-room. Awkward but easy enough, done.

During all this a woman came in – who I regret I can’t remember her name – and she said she had a meeting with David Young, the artistic director, who I hadn’t met at this stage, but was eager to meet, having read his brief biography on the CMO website. After Tim and Susan had been trying to contact him and finding out that he’d double booked, they got a hold of him and he realised his dilemma. But he came in as quickly as he could, which wasn’t long, and sat down and chatted with her.

Time seemed to skip along and before long they were done meeting, and David and I were introduced properly. He’s a very lovely man. At this stage I already felt comfortable in the office, having my own desk and the three staff speaking very casually around me. I watched some videos of a couple of production the CMO had on YouTube, and was very surprised and confronted. Wasn’t this an opera company? I mean, it was very interesting, but very unexpected. I soon found that they really were “pushing the boundaries of what opera really is” as David put it. I then watched The Box, which was really very good, and had a lot less screaming than The Itch which was what I had first watched.

I then had then had to start some real work: mailing. I needed to prepare about 30 or so packages to send CD’s to media/reviewers. Tim said I could either hand write, or type and print out all the addresses. I chose to type because there was already a document of all the names and addresses of the people I needed to send to, I just needed to copy it onto the template for the letters. It sounded easy enough but I by the time I was finished copying and pasting and adjusting and copying and pasting and on and on, I got a headache. It wasn’t a particularly bad one, just an annoying one. Whilst I was doing that, Tim reminded me I finished at 4, and it had been 4 o’clock for about 10 minutes now.

Day 2:

Today seemed to go by rather quickly. Probably because Tim and me went on a little excursion to the post office to deliver the packages. When I had finished getting them as ready as  I could get them, we left. The post office was busier than I thought post offices were usually, which was awkward because Tim and I needed to finish packing all the CD’s. But all went well and was finished easily enough.

Then Tim told me that he needed to get some yogurt and coffee, and as I didn’t know my way around this part of town at all, I tagged along. We talked about school and then languages, and various other things. Tim can speak Spanish, but was taught Chinese, interesting. By the time we got back it was about a quarter past two, and for the rest of the day I basically just looked at Davids profile on the CMO website, and watched the video on that same page.

David’s compositional style is very interesting. I’ve never even thought of reading or writing music like he does, and I still don’t exactly understand how one would go about writing it. Hopefully he can show me and teach me some stuff this week.

Day 3:

This day again didn’t seem as long as  it really was. In the morning I watched a recording of Another Lament – the first time it was performed on a stage rather than a living room. Tim told me to note when anything happened according to the quality of the recording – bad lens focus, or not loud enough, or someone sneezing, or anything like that. He told me how he was hoping to edit the recording into little clips, and it would be handy to know where all the unusable bits were. annoyingly thought, because I’m using a Mac, I have to use iMovie, and iMovie doesn’t make things easy: it didn’t have the duration of the file, only fancy useless storyboard things. So I needed to use my ingenuity to think of how I was going to write down the times. I used my iPod simply as a timer, and just stopped the timer when I paused the video. Nice one Elliot. Anyway, so I got down a whole lot of notes, trying to make it as easy as possible for Tim, when he does the editing, and he seemed to think I had done a good job when he and David got back.

Day 4:

This day Tim wasn’t in, and I was mainly with Sarah because David needed to go to some meeting. My guideline for the day was to help Sarah in any way possible; but the thing was, Sarah was just writing up some of the grant application that everyone in the office was contributing to. She had to write a draft of a 1-2 page piece on their purpose. vision, goals, and KPIs (key points of interest). So i couldn’t really help her with that.

I did some mailing: putting CD’s in packages and finding the addresses on the database and writing them on the packages and sticking the postage stamps on and all that. Which didn’t really seem to take all that long. I also did the dishes, which took a while because there were quite a lot of dishes. But it wasn’t that bad I guess, and I knew it was bound to happen.

But the main event of the day was my stuff up. It wasn’t a really much of a big stuff up, and it didn’t affect anyone but me. As I was writing my blog this day, and Sarah and David were both out, because I was using this WordPress thing, and had never used it before, I had the foolish idea of clicking on another tab of the WordPress page, taking me away from my blog, and when I clicked back on my blog’s tab, it wasn’t there… That was 3 1/2 days worth of blogging, and more than a thousand words, all gone. I searched frantically for a way of retrieval, but had no hope until I found (somehow) my first day had been saved! Well the majority of it anyway. I thought, ah well, it want be too hard to retype seeing as I already know what I’m going to say. So I spent the rest of the day retyping it all, which wasn’t very fun, and I didn’t write quite as much as the first time. So I am sorry if my blog seems a bit rushed or too short, but I’m hoping if you have read this far you would understand.

Day 5:

Today, my last day with CMO, was a bit of a celebration. David had said briefly the day before, that we would ride out to lunch and go visit a Robin Boyd house in Walsh Street, and possibly go backstage at the Recital Centre. So after arriving at the office and catching up on my blogging for half an hour, we set off. Tim had explained to me that David was crazy on a bike, but he was cool about it all the while.

We first rode through the city with David in front leading Tim and me into horribly busy intersections, but kept us safe enough, kind of, to the Robin Boyd house. It was a grand piece of architecture, though I don’t really understand what makes good architecture. I don’t really know much about architecture, but I liked this. David and Tim and I sat with Tony Lee, the owner of the house, who knew quite a bit about architecture and different houses in Victoria that CMO could possibly show a Living Room Opera. He showed us an article of all the Robin Boyd houses (and others I think) in melbourne, which was half in Italian, and I had fun trying to translate it.

Meanwhile, outside this lovely abode, the weather started to turn on us. When we were leaving it was nothing more than some wind and a chill, but soon the heavens had opened upon us. We had decided to get Japanese for lunch, but hadn’t decided exactly where. So we rode quickly along until we got a bit along Elizabeth Street, and David had had enough, and I was glad to stop. He led us along, with Tims guidance, to an ally way and with the rain perpetually growing, we finally got to the resturant. It was a nice, slightly fancy, and properly Japanese, Japanese place. We all got bento boxes of differant varieties. David and me had a nice talk about what kind of music I like and things, and about Japan, and my upcoming trip there.

We headed back to the office (after a Tim and David had had their caffeine hit next door) with the rain no longer falling. Back at the nice and warm office, Tim sent me to get the mail, then when I was back to help him with a Professional Pathways Scholarship with a man who recently graduated from the VCA and had previously collaborated and was friends with CMO, Luke Paulding. So I read all they had done so far and wrote a few suggestions.

And here we are. For the last half hour or so I have been finishing this blog. Over the past five days I have learnt and  seen quite a lot of how the business side of an arts company works. It’s been a fun great learning experience and I would definitely recommend it to future Work experience students. Also I would like to deeply thank all those at the CMO who helped me along and made it all a great time! And also my dad, who worked very hard to get me this placement, Thank you!


Flynn’s Blog

Last week we hosted the delightfully intriguing and talented Flynn Sky McCormick from The University High School. As part of his work experience task, he wrote a blog about his experiences of Chamber Made Opera.  We want to share it with you, our followers.



Day 1: my first day of work experience with Chamber Made Opera.

I arrived today at 9:30, half an hour earlier than the planned time of 10a.m. Rose Lang was there to let me in, and show me around the office. After a brief tour of the building, I was given my assignment for the week. Amongst other things, I am to write a daily blog describing the events of my day in the CMO office. I was given an overview of how to go about my task for the week. This consisted of researching blogs, as to get an idea of how I would write and stylise my own, planning out my work for each day, and just helping out with the general activities of the office.

So far in my quest to write this blog, while trying to find information on the early history of Chamber Made Opera, I have read the first page of Chapter 1 of a book named ‘ARIAS’, (a book on recent Australian Music Theatre) more time than I would care to mention. In my current sleep deprived state, I’m finding it incredibly difficult to absorb information, and after getting two pages into the book, I realised that I could not recall a word of what I had just read. So, so far I would say that I’ve been very successful in my attempts to write up the history of CMO.

On a different note, the office is very nice. It’s a rather relaxed environment, a lot more casual that most offices. The actual work produced is pretty intense. I remember towards the start of the year, I went to go see Minotaur, fully expecting to see one of the strangest things in my life, and it was in fact one of the strangest if not the strangest art performance I have ever witnessed. Watching a group of people dance around with bags on their heads was very entertaining indeed. Being so used to seeing my mum in strange costumes performing her abstract dance’s, I wasn’t fazed at all, but the friend I had brought along, even after my reoccurring warnings of what to expect, came out of the show wondering what the hell had just happened.

Recently, David Young the Artistic Director of Chamber Made Opera, asked me what I honestly thought of the production, so I told him. His reply we something along the lines of, ‘Well that’s great! That’s kind of what we’re aiming for. We want to do something different, that people are going to remember, and the stranger it is, the more memorable it is.’

Well if the goal was to create an innovative and memorable work of art, then CMO have definitely met, and surpassed that goal, and continue to do so.

Well before this turns into a massive plug for CMO, let’s get back to the point.

So far today, other than attempting to learn CMO’s history, I investigated the idea of creating a short little movie advertising the benefits of becoming a ‘Keyholder’. A few ideas have been thrown about on how the ad should be arranged, and so far is sounding like it should be quite enjoyable to make. Besides from the various conversations had, that pretty much sums up the day. Looking forward to tomorrow. More info on the ‘keyholder’ program here.

Day 2

Day 2 of my work experience at the CMO office. So this morning Rose was kind enough to give me a lift in. We chatted about various things, such as plans for the holidays, and my parents’, and Rose’s occupational backgrounds.

When we arrived, we were greeted by Sarah, who had snuck into the office before anyone else had arrived. There was apparently a lack a chairs, and as Sarah has claimed the desk I was at yesterday, I am now in Caroline’s work space; fortunately she hasn’t arrived yet.

So the task of creating an advertisement for the keyholder program is now in progress. The one real problem is trying to find a good audio track, without breaking any copyright laws, to play underneath the movie. Importing the clips to use is also taking quite a long time, but that’s only a temporary dilemma.

I have helped David pick out a few photos from their most recent production, Ophelia doesn’t live here anymore, and have sent them out to CMO’s publicist.

I worked on the advertisement for about four hours, and it is almost finished. The there are only a few minor problems to smooth over, so that’s going pretty well. Not a lot happened other than that today, as I pretty much spent the whole time working on the advertisement.

Day 3

This morning Rose was again nice enough to drive me in to the office. When we arrived I got straight back into working on the Keyholder ad. I spent a while looking for an audio track to play underneath the film, and found a few samples of African drum beats. I ended up settling on an eight-bar conga sample, that I looped in Garage Band. I then cut out a fair bit of the clips I had in yesterday, including some of the tweets, and replaced them with more interesting clips. During this, Rose went out for breakfast, and, as she’s so kind, brought be back a sushi role. It was some pretty damn good sushi.

Anyway, David showed up at the office close to midday, and asked to see the ad, so I told him it was pretty much done, and he could watch it whenever he wanted to. An hour later, it remained unwatched, and David, who had to go out to a meeting, was about to walk out the door. At the last second he said, ‘oh, I’ll just watch Flynn’s ad before we go.’

So everyone went over to the computer to check it out, and unfortunately the audio track I’d put down under the video stopped working, and as David had to rush, he didn’t get to see it.
Fixing the problem wasn’t too hard; all I had to do was import the track into iTunes and replace the one that was already there with the one from iTunes.

Soon after that, my maths teacher, Ms Duviani came in for a visit to make sure that I was doing okay, and not making any trouble. Of course I wasn’t, and she, being the excitable person she is, was very glad to see that I was fitting in well in the office. She stayed for a while and had a cup of tea, and chatted to Rose and me about what I was doing here, and once was satisfied, made her way off to see the next student; but not before she watched my ad, which she seemed to think was fairly decent.

After she left, there was some busy work to do, so I was sent up to the photocopier to copy a whole bunch of contracts that had to be sent off. This took around 20 minutes, and was by far the highlight of my day. After all that was done, I had to staple all the new papers together, and set them up so I remember which ones had to be sent out, and which ones had to be filed away. This pretty much sums up the day, and once again Rose gave me a lift home. During the trip, we had a nice chat about musical tastes, and listened to the Pixies. I freaking love the Pixies. Me and the rest of the world I guess.

Day 4

Today, my fourth day of working at Chamber Made Opera, I caught the train in to the city. This is beside the point, but there was an extremely attractive woman sitting in my carriage, so that was a good start to the day. When I arrived at the office, Caroline was just leaving, and didn’t quite see me as she walked out the door, so I stood there and smiled until she finally noticed me, just before she got in her car, and let me in.

When I got inside, Joël Murray, General Manager at CMO, introduced himself, and we had a little chat about how our current, tired states.

Soon enough, David showed up and told me of an email Caroline had sent me in regards to the ad I had made. There were just a few things that David and her wanted included, so I got right to it. A new sound track was one of the suggestions, so I opened up Free Sound in search for something with a bit more drive. After skimming through a few tracks, I called David over to see what kind of sound he wanted. We browsed through a few pages until we stumbled across one particular track that David to a fancy to, and insisted that it was the one to use.

So I got to work adding in a few more scenes and slides, changing the lengths of some clips, and putting in the new track, but when I played it through I found that the new audio clip went a little bit stale once you got about ten seconds in to the movie. I tried to think of a way to make it seem less repetitive by stopping it at places, and then bringing it back in after a while, but it didn’t quite work, so I went looking for a similar track that I could implement in once the first one got too boring. I failed, and it ended up wasting more time that I would have liked. I then remembered that there is a whole bunch of audio loops in Garage Band that I could use. I found two that worked well together, and made a new loop for the movie that worked pretty well. By sheer luck, the music synced up with the video clip quite well, coming in at appropriate times and such. That was all I could do on the ad until I saw David again, and could ask what things he wanted changed or added in.

With that as finished as I could get it, I moved on to another task that Rose had set for me the previous day. I had to file the original copies of the contracts, that I had photocopied the day before, in their appropriate folders, and then send off the second editions to the appropriate people. This took a fair while, as I had to find a lot of the addresses, and preparing mail just took longer than I expected it to. Anyway, with Joël’s help, I managed to get it all done by about 4pm, and posted them all on my way home.

This pretty much sums up today’s work.

Day 5

So today I caught the bus in to the office. I arrived at about 9:50, and as I was walking up the street towards the entrance, I noticed David was sitting in the outdoor court next to the building. I went over and said hello, and we discussed the things that needed to be done today. The first thing we had to do was set up the meeting room, as David and a few other people needed to talk about potential future works. We carried one of the computers down to the room, along with some various other times, and set everything up appropriately. We arranged the tables and chairs, and hooked up the computer, and then were done.

Once we got back to the office, i showed David the ad. He only had a few minor things that he wanted changed, so i got to it. There was one section where the audio track cut out, and when it came back in, it just sounded wrong, so i fixed that up. Other than that it was just a matter of a few transitions between scenes that needed changing.

With David at his meeting, and nothing else to do, I pulled out my little video camera to get some footage of the office. I had a little bit of fun doing a little commentary over the top. I doubt anybody would find it funny, but I put in a few jokes. It might be uploaded with these blogs. Other than that, I’ve pretty much been having my own little music party while i write this. Rocking out in my head to some decent jams and all. I’m a bit of a clown, but manage to keep it hidden most of the time.

Pretty excited. Going to see the Foo Fighters with Tenacious D tonight. I know it’s completely irrelevant, but i’m pretty pumped. I see it as an awesome way too officially start my holidays, as this is my last day of work experience. It’s been pretty damn fun in my opinion.

I’d say that working in the CMO office might even be the highlight of my school career this year. It’s really relaxed pretty much all the time, and the staff joke around a lot. I think i got pretty lucky getting work placement here. I’m sure there are other people from my school doing desk jobs, having a pretty crappy time, bored out of their mind, but it’s nice here; it’s not your average work place.

Dwelling Structure: wiring up the kitchen
May 20, 2011, 1:08 pm
Filed under: Living Room Opera, Setting up

AQP getting ready for Rome
May 11, 2011, 1:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

David Young
Artistic Director
Chamber Made Opera
0421 353 685

Minotaur – the arrival of the gull
December 20, 2010, 1:49 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Arrived by courier today: Gull Head Made for Chamber Made Opera 2010. Made with solar power, rain water and salvaged materials.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Opening the box.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Sleeping Gull.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Envelope containing care instructions.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Care instructions and fitting diagram.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

David Young assists Caroline Lee with costume fitting.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Tilted gaze.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Gull-like behaviour in the doorway #01.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Gull-like behaviour in the doorway #02.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Gull-like behaviour in the doorway #03.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Gull-like behaviour in the doorway #04.
©Chamber Made Opera 2010 Photo: Joël Murray

Deborah Kayser and the iPad opera in which she stars
December 11, 2010, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

David Young
Artistic Director
Chamber Made Opera
0421 353 685

Exile ‘sting’
December 8, 2010, 1:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

EXILE – operatic generative voodoo for your fingertips.

Watch the sting here:

EXILE is the world’s first Opera for the iPad. A collaboration between Aphids, Chamber Made Opera and Speak Percussion.