Welcome to LiteRARy, a new blog feature where I document my time interning at Rhyme and Reason, a spoken word night based in Bath. LiteRARy will be a regular feature where I reflect on the things I’ve learnt from helping to run RAR, and will also act as a sort of diary / keepsake too!
On the 25th October, we hosted our Halloween event at the Brewhouse, with Gecko headlining and Daniel Piper supporting. I was very excited. I’d seen Gecko’s musical poetry on YouTube, so I was buzzing to have him perform for us!
As Eleanor and I had agreed that I would hire out the equipment for the Brewhouse nights, I tried to organise it a week before the event, in hopes of being calm and prepared. I submitted a risk assessment and booked the equipment on SiSo, as I had done the first time. On the weekend before the night, I got an email from one of the Asset Store technicians, politely reminding me to get a lecturer to approve my risk assessment. This is where the worries set in, I wasn’t going to be given a supervisor for my independent project until December, so I had to email the module coordinator and ask them to approve it. I was nervous, because the module coordinator was the overall director of my Creative Writing course, so I assumed his gmail inbox would be heaving.
Instead I was pleasantly surprised. He replied to me on the day, asking what needed to be done and I explained. He approved the risk assessment and huzzah! The problem had been solved! I picked up the equipment two days before the event and charged the camera batteries.
All of the Bath-based RAR team met an hour before showtime in the marquee at the Brewhouse, which was lovely. Fairy lights cover the walls making a wonderful atmosphere for poetry. Before setting up, Billie and Nick discussed with me upcoming RAR projects and gave me my intern top (which I’m very proud to own). After discussing the hiccups at the last event, Billie came prepared with SD cards with better memory and a tripod holder for my phone. The next step was covering our faces in fake blood, as a part of a RAR Halloween tradition!
Usually, at this venue, the Brewhouse staff set up the mic at the back of marquee, but yesterday it was set up on the balcony (as shown in the picture). With the different setup, we had to decide where best to place the camera and my phone for the Facebook live-stream. We agreed that having the camera at ground level wasn’t best, as it wouldn’t be a flattering angle for our performers. Instead, our creative solution was to set up the tripod on a picnic table opposite the mic. We put the tripod for the live-stream next to it at ground level, but tilted it high enough to get a decent angle.
When this was sorted, we started having problems with the camera. As lovely as the venue lights were, they took up the focus of the lens instead of the performer. As none of us were camera experts we pressed buttons until we fixed the problem – when in doubt, fiddle about! We were all then ready and waiting for the audience to arrive.
The turnout was great, and very few people cancelled their performance slots. Eleanor and I decided that she would record the performances and I would control the Facebook live-stream for the first half, and then we would swap around.
There were bumps in the road in the second half. The Brewhouse wifi wasn’t 100% reliable in the marquee, which meant the live-stream went off air a few times for a few seconds while we tried to reconnect.
When our headliner Gecko performed, I felt fairly confident. The camera battery was fully charged, the SD memory wasn’t going to be a problem… only human error. I had been recording Gecko with the camera, but the performance was so long that the camera went into battery saving mode. I didn’t notice, because the camera had recorded Daniel Piper fine, and I didn’t know it would be a problem. I was really gutted when Gecko walked off the stage and sang in the audience. He jumped on the picnic bench and sang into the camera (which was off!). It could have been some great footage for the RAR YouTube channel, but unfortunately I didn’t capture it. Next time with a headliner, I’ll record their performance poem by poem, instead of recording their whole set nonstop. I’ll get the hang of cameras eventually!
All in all, the evening was great, and it was clear to see that our audience enjoyed themselves.