It’s Tuesday and I’m composing this post from my room at my buddy’s place in Falls Church, VA. This is one of the locations where I am setting up a workstation. It’s currently semi-operational. I will leave here in a little while and drive to the office I am using in Fairfax, VA about 12 miles away. Both of these locations are in the region of Virginia that comprise the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC - it’s called “Northern Virginia” or “NoVA” for short. It’s a very different environment from Winchester, VA which is about 75 or 80 miles west of where I am right now. Winchester is in northwestern Virginia in the beautiful, legendary Shenandoah Valley. I just came back out here to NoVA on Sunday evening and worked in my office in Fairfax, yesterday and will head there in a little while.
I just finished the run of a radio play version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” with the Winchester Little Theater. The presentation of this classic story by the WLT is becoming a tradition in Winchester. This is the third year we’ve done a run of the show and we’ve expanded it a little each year. I’ve been doing most of the sound design and off-stage voice-over male parts for the theater for about the past 10 years. They’ve been trying to get me “on-stage” for years and since in the radio play version of IAWL all, or at least most, of the sound effects are produced live in front of the “radio audience” - they finally succeeded in putting me in front of the theater audience. Of course, I have had at least a couple assistants to help me create all the sounds. This year I changed my role, I was the sound design consultant and trained a new group of people to take the primary responsibility. My consulting role included doing a little dog and pony show prior to the actual program to demonstrate - with the sound team - how the effects work and help the radio audience let their imaginations create the pictures of what’s happening in their minds’ eyes. I then sat at a small station near the stage where I digitally recorded each performance. This week I’m editing a single, final “broadcast” version of the production together using the best parts from each performance. This final version will then be broadcast on the local radio station in Winchester on Christmas Eve and again on Christmas Day. While I’m not a big holiday person and don’t go out of my way to celebrate Christmas for myself, this is a way for me to do something for the community I’ve lived in for the past 25 years.
Being and having my workstations set up in the various places, allows me to work on this project wherever I am - thus, as in the past, I’m not required to stay in one location to work on specific audio projects. While I don’t love NoVA, there are reasons for me to spend some of my time here. Being free and portable makes the time I spend here or in Winchester productive and fulfilling. I’m not sure about the IAWL production in Winchester next year. I may be there, I may not. But, my old grad school buddy in the mountains of NC wants to do the same version of IAWL with their community theater next year and want me to help them with the sound design for their endeavor. They wanted to do it this year, but they had planned to do it on the same weekend as the WLT and it wasn’t possible for me to be in both places at the same time - free and portable doesn’t quite go that far. So, we’ll see, perhaps next year I’ll be in Sparta, NC with IAWL (and maybe back in Winchester if the productions are on different weekends).
Living and working free does allow me new latitude that I didn’t enjoy before.