Loveday Smith

News

What's Happening People?

This year I am mostly glad not to be living in America... although Europe is in serious danger of going tits up too. Brexit, Marine Le Pen, Geert Wilders... Putin flexing his muscles, China getting antsy over that pillock Trump. Bleak times people. Or at least that's what they'd have us believe.

Artistically there are challenging times ahead. Participating in the Liverpool Biennial this year, it really hit home how hard Britain's small-minded Island mentality and exclusion of other cultures is going to hit the art world. Art of all kinds feeds off new influences, different cultures. Practitioners need to meet people from other backgrounds and lands, with different outlooks and ideas. We need to experience each others work, talk, exchange ideas, learn, teach and share. If you restrict this, you prevent this essential cross-fertilisation. You will limit creativity and foster a cultural environment that is incestuous and derivative. 

However, it's also a very dynamic time to be an artist. It's difficult to rail against contentment. It's hard to be cutting edge when you're too comfortable. World events in 2016 (from the death of David Bowie to Brexit and Trump) have provoked a creative response in me and many of my international colleagues. Art (and by this I mean all creative activity) is going to be more important than ever. I don't know if it can change the world but it can highlight the uncomfortable truths in our reality, it can call us to action and challenge the status quo. It can reach out beyond language and cultural barriers to inspire communication and discussion. Let's reach out. Let's share. Nobody can stop us making art.

Beyond The Fringe

Maurice Le Noir Presents Untitled A Conflict With Concretism at TOON

So... It's been a while. I've been very busy. I hardly know where to start but I guess the Amsterdam Fringe Festival 2016 is as good a place to begin as any, seeing how that is what has been occupying every waking (and sleeping) minute of my time since I decided that writing, performing, producing and composing the music for my own show was a good idea. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret it, but seriously, producing, writing AND performing is too many hats for one head. I couldn't have done it without amazing domestic back up from my lovely partner; and without professional assistance from my superb director Sam Morris.

Take a look at the facebook page for some great production shots, and there's a short promo on vimeo.

The plan is to take the show on, wherever we can. We're talking to the English Speaking Theatre in Budapest about possibilities there and I am just trying to get my head around where else we can go. The world is a mighty big place and anything is possible!


Standing Up For Rates

So I've just had a call from my favourite voice over agent. A well known international coffee company wants to use my voice for its online product videos. 4 of them. I said no. 

Am I crazy? Possibly. But they were offering such a risible amount of money that I actually laughed out loud! €400 for 2 hours in the studio and then... get this... €150 per video for a 6 year worldwide buyout. That's a total of €800 for the rights to use my voice on 4 videos, worldwide, for 6 years.

Sorry, did I miss something? Are they going bankrupt and not telling anyone? I am always happy to be flexible where people genuinely have a small budget, but this is an international company that wants to use my voice to sell their products and I'm not prepared to sell myself cheap on this one.

When you pay for a good voice-over artist, you're paying for much more than the voice. You're paying for experience. You're paying for someone who can bring the text to life, inject it with warmth, make it sound brighter/clearer/sexier/younger/older or whatever else the client sitting in the room chooses to throw at you. You're paying for someone who knows how to use a microphone, someone who can think on their feet and come up with an alternative read if the client isn't happy but cannot articulate why. And all this happens effortlessly and quickly because we all know that studio time is expensive! Maybe we make it look too easy.

I don't doubt that someone, somewhere will be prepared to work for the fee that coffee company are offering, but I would be happy to bet a large sum of money that the end result won't be nearly as good. Voice-over is a very skilled job. Someone, somewhere has to draw the line, and today that someone is me.

What's It About Anyway?

What has been foxing me for the last few weeks is how to market my fringe show, "Maurice Le Noir Presents: Untitled (a conflict in concretism)". It's a solo show, and it begins when Maurice Le Noir fails to turn up for his own comeback, leaving his assistant to perform the piece alone; mixing the concrete herself and completing the arduous task of building a non-representational granite monument whilst simultaneously playing the trumpet accompaniment. I had what I thought was a fearfully clever idea of marketing it as a genuine art show, inviting the audience to buy into Maurice Le Noir as a serious artist and then blind-siding them as the assistant takes over. Not one of my best ideas, for this reason:

It's not about him. It's not even really about Art, although that is definitely a strong theme. It's about the assistant and her relationship with the work, it's creator and most importantly herself. So: here's a working copy of what will appear on the publicity material: 

Meet Martha. Martha works for Maurice Le Noir. Martha plays the trumpet whilst Maurice creates "Art" with granite bricks and concrete. She doesn't pretend to know anything about modern art. She doesn't have to. She's just the trumpet player.

Maurice Le Noir is a conceptual artist of world-renown.  He hasn't done anything since his immensely popular work, CUBE. That was 10 years ago. Maurice is making a comeback with an edgy untitled work exploring a conflict in concretism. With bricks.

Martha has a problem with the bricks. She used to be Maurice's muse. That was before the bricks. Now the bricks are centre stage and Martha is behind a curtain. She harbours a secret fear that the bricks are more photogenic than she is. They certainly answer back less. Martha hates the bricks and would like to see them at the bottom of a canal.

Martha is not allowed to discuss the work. She is expected to stick to playing the agreed musical score, and is banned from making any remarks of a personal nature about Maurice Le Noir or in any way criticising the artistic decisions that were taken during the creative process.

Martha is not happy.

Martha will soon have an important decision to make. Will she be defeated by the bucket of doom, or will she wield the sledgehammer of victory? Demotion or demolition? Only Martha can decide

Tomorrow I have a photo shoot for my main publicity image with the insanely talented Bas Niemans. I'm taking along a few bricks. They are indeed very photogenic.




Amsterdam Fringe Festival 2016

This morning I woke up before my 4 year old son. This never happens. I lay there at 5:30 am wondering why and suddenly remembered... I had an email last night confirming that my solo show has been accepted for the Amsterdam Fringe Festival 2016!!!! Proud, excited and FLIPPING TERRIFIED would be an accurate description of my feelings right now. Finishing the script is the least of it... I need to write the music (lots of it), think about fund-raising, marketing, finalise the venue, and of course, the million euro question: What am I going to do with my hair???

It's called "Maurice Le Noir Presents: Untitled (a conflict with concretism)" which is about the most twitter-unfriendly title I could come up with. It's a comedy. I hope. Amsterdam Fringe Festival 2016 runs from 1 - 11 September. 19 weeks and counting.

SO BLOODY BUSY

So the problem with giving yourself een klein blogetje, as the Dutch might say (don't quote me on that, I'm shit at Dutch) is that if you neglect it, everybody assumes it's because you're not doing anything. Not so people! In fact if you start seeing daily updates from me, you'll know I'm unemployed with far too much time on my hands.

In amongst multiple voice overs for some of my favourite clients, shooting an intense bunker drama for Scenarios4Summits, finishing my solo show, finding a suitable venue and submitting it to the Amsterdam Fringe (fingers crossed); I have been slotting in rehearsals for a fabulous play called "One Man Two Guvnors" which was a runaway success in the UK and America and is about to have its Dutch premiere on May 13th. I'm playing the seagull. No not really, I'm playing Dolly, who's in love with that quizzical looking bloke in a silly suit with the seagull on his shoulder.

QETC One Man Two Guvnors

Oh... except today I'm not in rehearsals. I've sneaked off to shoot a Dutch movie called "Planet Beauty" in which I play a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. Like you do. SO bloody busy!

WHATEVER NEXT?

It's the final week for "Relational Stalinism: the Musical" at the Witte de With. It's been a fabulous success. The Museum is pleased, the audiences are pleased and my bank manager is pleased. Deep joy all round. Here I am with my fellow relational stalinists. You're all fabulous, it's been a real pleasure sharing a gallery with you.

Relational Stalinists

I'm sitting here pondering the predominantly positive tone of all my posts here and wondering if I would actually share if I was having a bad time on a job. Probably would. I'm from Yorkshire. Call a spade a spade and all that... Luckily it hasn't been an issue yet.

So what's next?? I'm on option for a filming job with those lovely people at Scenarios4Summits, I have a voice over to finish for a "mood film" and if I have time, I want to create a new children's show for Kleintje Kunst. Oh... and my Fringe 2016 project. Yes that. That needs a whole separate post. Later Potater.

Many, Many Things To Love About Clipper

There are many, many things to love about Clipper Teas... lets have a look shall we? 

Did you know... it's actually quite a novelty to use my natural Yorkshire accent? Factor in some really fun quirky little scripts, a great creative team and the fact that I can genuinely say that I love and use the product; and it all adds up to a jolly time in the studio and the satisfaction of a job well done. Lucky that... given that I still have 10 more videos to voice!

Discover every reason to love Clipper Tea!

NEW MOON

Last week was a VERY creative week. I finally got started in a serious way with my 1- woman show that currently operates under the title "Strumpet With A Trumpet" (although that's going to change). Brief history: In early 2014 I wrote a piece for Glastonbury Festival's poetry stage that made its first outing at Orange Tea's smallTALK. I then spent 2 years congratulating myself on how great it was, promising myself I was going to expand it into a show whilst becoming completely absorbed in other projects and neglecting it entirely. Like you do.

So... big excitement... this week it all started to come together. I'd like to thank: NS trains for their creative scheduling and the enforced extra writing time that ensued; Orange Tea Writer's Group for a creative suggestion that kick-started this whole process; Homeland Series 4 for being a bit rubbish and thereby diminishing my Netflix series addiction; Myself for drinking less alcohol and caffeine and getting more sleep; and last but not least, the New Moon. I always enjoy a New Moon.

I have nearly finished a first draft, and I'm going to prepare a submission for Amsterdam Fringe 2016. If I get accepted for the Fringe, I'll have to bloody finish it.

Crazy Week Ahead

Buses. You wait for hours and then 4 come along at once.

My working life. I take a performance job in what is supposed to be the quietest quarter for me and then in production week, I get 4 voice overs. Not that I'm not grateful, it's lovely to have the work, but come on people. Production week? Really? 

So after a long and arduous week as an art robot putting all our randomness into a fabulous performance art show, do I get to party with the great and the good (and probably the not-so-good) of the art world? Ha! Not me. I shall have a restrained glass of champagne and then retire gracefully. There's nothing worse for the voice than standing in a noisy room shouting with strangers, and I have 25 product videos to voice for a new client on the morrow. 

Witte de With

One of the things I love about being here in NL is the exciting new work I get to do. Next up I'm working with Michael Portnoy on a new show for the Witte de With modern art museum in Rotterdam. That's Michael Portnoy the performance artist, NOT Mike Portnoy, drummer with the ghastly Dream Theatre. No offence to the thrash metal enthusiasts reading, but I have bad associations with that particular band! 

My audition gave me a bit of insight into what might lie ahead when I was asked to deliver an "absurdist lecture". Here I am, giving forth on the Medical Implications of Bovine Despotism.


Orange Juice

It’s Orange Juice time! Yes, Orange Tea’s annual fundraiser is imminent. I managed to book a weekend away so that I’m out of town for the actual event. That always happens to me. Top Tip for Freelancers: Got nothing on? Book yourself a nice holiday and watch the booking requests come flooding in! However it’s not a total disaster, I’m going to get involved on the creative side, writing and directing. We’ve got our first meeting this week to chuck around a few ideas…

The Stedelijk

My second month at the Stedelijk is drawing to a close. I still know bugger all about modern art but I’ve really enjoyed ‘interpreting’ (his preferred term) Tino Sehgal’s work.

Both works had quite a profound effect on me. Having meaningful conversations with strangers in intense 4 hour blocks during “THIS PROGRESS” left me emotionally raw but better informed. Hearing my voice echo round the galleries of the Stedelijk during “THIS IS PROPAGANDA” left me grinning like a loon and determined to do more singing. I have a great project in mind… watch this space!