I have been singing and writing songs since I was ten years old. After I graduated high school, I started a nine-member show band: Three background singers, drummer, bass, two electric guitars (lead and rhythm), sax, and me, lead singer. I was rather ambitious.
The band called themselves "T.G.I.F." -- which stand for something other than the obvious, but I can no longer remember what the initials represent. When I sang with the band, we did songs that I wrote. Each of my songs were choreographed, like short pieces of performance art. The crowds ate it up and we had fun. After a half dozen songs of my own material, I would leave the stage and the band would entertain the audience by themselves. They covered other writers' material. Unfortunately, the band took up a lot of my time and I ended up bombing out of my first year of college. I left the band to concentrate on school.
During my second year of college, I recorded three pop/dance tunes and one ballad. My manager was a disk jockey and he succeeded in distributing my records to dance clubs throughout New England. The dance songs took off and I was invited to make personal appearances at the clubs. I usually sang live in front of audiences using the backing tracks of my recordings. Because my appearances were only a small part of a larger show, I only performed my four recordings. The two dance numbers were popular, but surprisingly, it was the ballad that struck the greatest response from the crowds.
After I graduated college, I found a job as an accountant. When I wasn't working, I spent my spare time writing a play I intended to produce for cable television. Using my local cable studio's facilities to shoot the 70-minute movie, it took three months to rehearse and block cameras and another three months to shoot. Every person I worked with was fantastically professional and very talented. Unfortunately, the equipment the studio had available for use was terribly antiquated, so the quality of the picture and sound was a great disappointment to us all. Nevertheless, the teleplay was nominated for "Best Production" by the Utilities Commission and, much to my delight, it won.
I have two wonderful sisters who work in the field of education. One sister works at a university and the other has her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership. My dad was an architect and his claim to fame is that he designed part of the plans for the original Astrodome in Houston, Texas. My mother was in the medical field.
Before my sister earned her Ph.D. and became a school principal, she was a physical education teacher at the elementary level. The senior George Bush was President at the time. President Bush appointed Arnold Schwarzenegger to be the President of the National Council of Physical Fitness. Schwarzenegger toured the country and visited one elementary school in each of the states to teach the importance of exercise and good health habits.
When it came time to select a physical education teacher to participate in Schwarzenegger's program, the Governor chose my sister. The "Arnold" would visit my sister's school and meet with her and her students. I saw this as a great opportunity to produce a documentary of the event. The completed film ran for 30 minutes and was broadcast into every classroom in the entire state. The program also won the award for "Best Production."
With two awards under my belt, the cable company approached me to develop another project. I decided I would be really ambitious and produce a variety show. I would host the show, sing a song, introduce a guest, and then close the show with a skit. I signed on to do six episodes. If they were successful, I would sign on to do another six. I hired three people to be my "regulars." I was very much aiming for something like the old "Carol Burnett Show."
I shot all of the segments of the show separately. In other words, I shot six sets of intros and outros on one day. Then the next day, I was filmed performing six songs. Then over the next week, I introduced six guests and filmed their six performances. Filming the skits took a little longer. Each skit took a week to rehearse, block and shoot. Putting a 30-minute show together was simply a matter of piecing the different segments together.
I neither directed or produced the variety show. Two men from the studio performed those duties. All I had to do was sing, act and write the dialog and skits. By week six, we had enough material to edit together three full episodes. The producer was also the editor. Advertisements for the show were sent out weeks prior to the show's debut. The day before the first episode was to air, the producer had just completed editing it. I didn't have an opportunity to preview the show before it aired.
I had forgotten how old and shabby the studio equipment was. The three cameras took lousy video and the sound was awful. I sat in the living room with my parents as we watched the show unfold. The content was okay, but you could barely see it beneath all the technical glitches.
The second episode was a little better, tech-wise. The sound was clearer, as was the picture. However, every edit made the picture roll as it aired on TV. When I previewed the tape on another machine, the edits played fine.
At this point, I told my "regulars" that we would have to hold off on working on the three unfinished skits. If the third episode was as bad as the first two, I was going to pull the show off the air. As it turned out, the third episode was the last one to air.
The only surviving copies of the episodes are the ones I recorded off my own television on VHS tapes. I never recorded episode 3, so that one is gone forever. But that's okay. I can live with that.
Soon after that fiasco, I turned my attention back to composing and singing. Then along came YouTube and I suddenly had a new hobby.
If you've read this far, I thank you sincerely.