9:07 am CST, 11:07 pm HKT

So busy. So, so, SO busy. Consider this just a quick update – knowing that I’ll be able to share the cool stories accompanying it all during my upcoming vacation. Cool busy thing number one: The WTO ministerial is happening in Hong Kong this week, and therefore I am reporting for the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy’s Radio Hong Kong daily. They send me the news they want covered, I record it here in the U.S. of A., then upload it to the IATP website. Then Foster and Tyson, a couple of the many IATP staffers actually IN Hong Kong right now, compile it with the interviews they took that day and release the little bugger to the world.

Cool busy thing number two: I got cast in my favorite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night, at Theatre in the Round. David Mann is directing, and I really have no idea who the rest of the cast is yet. We’ll perform in February and March.

Cool busy thing number three: I’ve officially had more auditions through Lipservice since starting a little over a month ago than I had last year with my two non-union agents combined. Sweet.

Annnnd DONE. Ttfn.

The Sonic Youth of Leigha Horton: An Aural Adventure

Since I’ve recently taken the deep plunge into podcasting (see Minnesota Fringe Festival or Radio Hong Kong for examples), my web monkey has been introducing me to extra-special internet treats that are helping me understand the technical aspects. Extra-Special Internet Treat Number One is from Systm – “a downloadable how-to technology show geared towards teaching the common geek various hot topics and projects. Each episode focuses on one subject and is between 10-15 minutes in length.” Episode 4 – Podcasting demonstrates the quick and dirty of the form; from recording to digitization to web. The episode is pretty accessible, although they do assume that you have a basic understanding of computers. If you were able to get on the internet and read this, you’re a-okay.

Extra-Special Internet Treat Number Two is Audacity – a free, open-source audio-editing program. I’m just starting to get a feel for it, rather tricky since I don’t have prior knowledge of audio software or a manual; but this girl’s got a little geek and a lot of curiosity in her and that’s all it takes, right?

Armed with my newfound podcasting knowledge and recording capabilities (ha!), I spent an entire evening last week recording commercials off the television and then transcribing them into Word. One thing I learned through this tedious process is that commercials aren’t nearly as obnoxious when I don't care about the programming…hunting them down and then deconstructing them is rather satisfying – even if rather cumbersome with a VCR. So I’ve been toying with recording these commercial scripts over the past several days, experimenting with pitch and pace and energy, and it’s been extremely helpful – even though a bit narcissistic. I’m an actor; narcissism should come as no surprise (I write a blog, for crying out loud).

With all the tech-treats in mind, one might wonder if there’s a reason for this belly-flop into Geekdom. There is a reason, and a good one at that, but it must remain under wraps for a wee bit longer. Okay, okay, it involves my strong desire to make “wee bit” into one word: weebit. Wouldn’t that be awesome? Weebit. SO CUTE! That would rank right up there in my list of all-time favorite words to say joining such notables as “button” and “pumpkin.” KIDDING. Kind of. Seriously though, I will share the reason (that makes me so excited that I want to vomit) at a later date when said reason is fully formalized. Until then, you’ll just have to settle for the weebit proposition.

Radio Hong Kong: Episode II

Radio Hong Kong: Episode II is now available for download via radiohongkong.org or iTunes. And thank god. My hope is that it will overshadow the droll awfulness that was my contribution to episode one (If you think I’m going to provide a direct link to that thing, you can think again – and please don’t purposefully seek it out, because it will only make you bored-yet-strangely-irritated, and I find the bored-yet-strangely-irritated rather disquieting. Mind the gap. Thank you). The episode one issue at hand is that Foster, bless his heart, made me believe that my performance was good and that it sounds all NPRish. Just for the record: it wasn’t and it didn’t. The next time I think I can get away with “phoning it in,” I need to think again, because this is audible proof that I can’t. It just sounds, well, boring and strangely irritating. Point taken? Good.

Dear BBC World News, it's Me, Leigha

The creation of Radio Hong Kong: Episode I is fully underway and will be live on IATP's Radio Hong Kong subsite tomorrow. Last night’s recording session with Foster at IATP was brilliant – the script was tight, the one re-write was totally painless, and the words flowed like words do when they get all flowy. I, given the last sentence, was obviously not the writer. Today at 4:45 pm, I received this e-mail:

Could you come back in tonight? There's a FUCKING HISS all over everything.

Feh. FEH!


There was a stupid faulty cable that had to be positioned just so to provide hiss-free sound. The hiss was so bad that they couldn’t even minimize it to a point of usefulness in post. One would think that we would have heard this during playback, but one would be wrong.

Back I went to re-recordingville. Tonight did not rock nearly as hard as Tuesday, but it was acceptable. I kept yawning which made Foster keep yawning which made the recording session go a bit longer than planned because it kept making us laugh and whine about how tired we were; but all in all, we did good. I got a giddy call from Foster a few hours later saying that the edited piece is sounding exactly like something one would hear on NPR. Not that we want to rip off their style or anything – the point is that it sounds awesome.

I think it’s time to get a voice-demo out to the agencies. Reppe said he’d toss one together for me for free (since he has all the unedited Fringe Podcast recordings on his computer) – I shall call him. Yes, yes, I shall call him, and we shall make money. Money would be nice.

Podcast begets Podcast

This week will bring the first recording session for my newest podcasting gig: Radio Hong Kong. Because of the Fringe Festival podcasts, I was approached by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) to be their host for Radio Hong Kong, a podcast that reports on their International Fair Trade Fair and Symposium. The fair is specifically held to coincide with the annual World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial (in Hong Kong this year); and showcases “certified fair-trade products from around the world,” while focusing “on topics relevant to WTO delegates as well as visiting producers.” It is my understanding that IATP takes a balanced stance in response to the WTO – they assert that the purpose of the WTO is a positive, but that it is poorly mismanaged by large, self-interested corporations that should instead forge a more democratic approach including wider markets. This is all very new to me and I need to do quite a bit of research on the matter, so I may be entirely wrong in what IATP’s views are… Updates on that to follow.

I have been told that there is extremely high web traffic on IATP’s site during the fair, and that last year’s podcasts were downloaded 6,000+ times. I’d say that’s pretty good exposure, and I’m doubly lucky that I'll again be working on something that I believe in.