Yesterday, after doing rewrites on a screenplay and getting to a point where I couldn’t go any further without a discussion with my collaborator… I started researching music for an upcoming live show. After going through the three thick books I had borrowed from the library earlier that morning, and dozens of amazing and not so amazing renditions of songs on YouTube, I decided to take a lazy, comfortable nap. It was perfect timing, about two in the afternoon, a half-hour after food had passed thru my lips, gray skies above, and rain gently falling onto the concrete outside my window.
Well, not five seconds after my head hit the pillow it hit me… STARS!
I should buy those plastic, glow in the dark stars and put them in the closet… I had sung “Stars” from “Lay Miz” once at an open mic about a two months ago, before I saw the newest film version of Les Misérables, and then I sang it again, in my living room, for a friend, after we had watched the film together. Russell Crowe’s rendition had us both groaning (also on YouTube too BTW).
I sprang from under my covers and jumped in my truck… I went to two shops before finding what I was looking for… Purchased the phosphorescent pieces. Bought six pound fishing line at a third store, and then came home. It was now about four and I had my night figured out. Stars.
Nothing really worked out like I had hoped it would… Stars didn’t stick. String didn’t cooperate. I even ended up smashing a shelf in half, trying to dislodge it, as it must have swelled with the moisture in the air. I also couldn’t figure out a way to have the closet be dark enough for the stars to glow, and light enough for my face to show. I tested several headlamps from my hiking and camping gear, flashlights, pen lights, cheap clip lights, even a candle or two… And… Well, if you watch the video, you’ll see what I landed on. It created a nice effect, an element of danger, and added another challenge of doing yet one more thing while singing an already challenging song, that I would probably never be hired to sing… And something else I discovered in the test runs… The stars didn’t glow very long, and they needed to be recharged every so often, or else it would just be me in the dark, in a closet, with a karaoke track playing by the end.
Honestly, the video really didn’t turn out like I had planned… I can see two tacks. Tape. Fishing line here and there. The lighting solution wasn’t nearly enough, burnt my fingers and required some generous post-production help, bumping up the mid-levels and whites way up. But yet, when I watched and listened to what I had done, there was a simple charm to it as well. You can see the wires basically, you can hear the striking…
After all for well under twenty bucks, in a closet, with no director, no sound engineer, no orchestra, no mixer, no lighting designer, no make up, no hair, no wardrobe department, no art department, no sound sweetening, no auto tuning, no edits, no cuts… Here was a perfect, cheap, “closet version” of “Stars,” with nothing more than one camera, one microphone, one take, several cheap dollar-store matches, an overhead light-bulb and just me… I had thought of the first half of the front banter on the way to the store. The anecdote about my former agent popped in my head while I was tangled up in the string and stars… And the recycled light-bulb joke, which I found perfectly ironic, was realized when I was discovering and testing ways to turn an overhead on and off without it clicking too loudly as I was singing. You know, as simple as all these Closet Singer songs seem to be, and are, they really are great exercises in creativity.
Anyway, I give you, for your enjoyment, with all it’s flaws…
– Quiche Out