Saturday, August 17, 2013

Breakfast With the Author will return in 2014!

Due to time constraints inherent in host Mark R. Brand's teaching and PhD class schedule, Breakfast With the Author is currently on extended hiatus. The show will return in 2014 with new authors, new episodes, and whole tasty new season of breakfasts. Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Episode 7: Patrick Somerville and Kyle Beachy

We are pleased to bring you the premiere of Breakfast With the Author Episode 7, with special guests Patrick Somerville and Kyle Beachy! Kyle Beachy is an assistant professor at Roosevelt University where he teaches fiction writing, and his St. Louis-set novel The Slide (Dial Press 2009) garnered critical praise nationwide. Just before the release of his hotly-anticipated new novel This Bright River (Little Brown, 2012), Patrick Somerville joined us as well. Somerville is the author of Trouble, The Cradle, and The Universe In Miniature in Miniature and he teaches creative writing at Warren Wilson College and Northwestern University.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Episode 6: James Tadd Adcox and Rebekah Silverman

We are pleased to bring you the premiere of Breakfast With the Author Episode 6, with special guests James Tadd Adcox and Rebekah Silverman! James Tadd and Rebekah are co-founders of Artifice Magazine. This episode was filmed last year and (as many in our audience may already know) since then Rebekah has gone on to a different project with Growing Home, a Chicago-based nonprofit where she is an Associate Director. Nevertheless, James Tadd and Rebekah are two steady fixtures in indie Chicago literature and the two of them made for one of the most fun breakfasts yet.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Author Spotlight: Lawrence Santoro

Lawrence Santoro is the author of the novel-like story collection, Just North of Nowhere (2007) and the recently-released collection Drink For the Thirst to Come (2011). In addition to numerous anthologized short fiction, he is also an acclaimed voice narrator, most recently working with Hugo Award-winning podcast StarShipSofa. His audio adaptations of his own story "God Screamed and Screamed, Then I Ate Him", and Gene Wolfe's "The Tree is My Hat" each garnered him nominations for a Bram Stoker Award in 2000 and 2003 respectively, alongside such... ahem... relatively obscure authors as Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates.

I could go on like this about Larry, I really could, and name drop all day while tabulating his storied past as a writer and stage director, but that wouldn't leave you with a sense of just what a generally affable and gregarious fellow he is. He and his wife Tycelia are regulars out and about at reading events all over the city, and if you get a beer or two in him he's likely to tell you the stories behind his stories, which are often as colorfully rich as the stories themselves, and full of the same regional flavor that makes his work stand out.

While I'm on the subject of his stories, as terrific as they are to read, you do yourself a disfavor if you don't catch him at a reading sometime. I've seen plenty of readings in the Chicago area and there are no shortage of outstanding performers and readers, but Larry's tone and presentation tends to evoke a rarely-seen style that I liken here imperfectly to 50's-style radio dramatizations. Characters have more than just inflection and tone, they have true voices, and affect cadence and rhythm with a level of proficiency and skill that tells of years of practice and a special sort of comfort that Larry has bringing them to life. It has an old-fashioned feel, in the very best sense of that term, and inasmuch as that sort of reading is largely lost to today's visually-steeped culture, I highly recommend you check it out if you have a chance.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Episode 5: Lindsay Hunter and Natalie Edwards

We are pleased to bring you the premiere of Breakfast With the Author Episode 5, with special guests Lindsay Hunter and Natalie Edwards!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Extra: Korean Sweet Potato Pancakes

Episode 5 will premiere on November 11th, 2011. In the meantime, we are proud to present Korean Sweet Potato Pancakes: A Breakfast With the Author Extra.
Get your yams on.

In this short special feature video, the first of a planned series of mini-episodes, I demonstrate how to make one of the dishes I cooked for the guests of Episode 6. Sick of the same tired old home-fries? Try these. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Behind the Scenes: Roosters, Iron Men, Frying Bacon, and the sounds of Breakfast With the Author

One of the most fun parts of editing down the footage of Breakfast With the Author is putting together the soundscape. From the rooster crowing at the beginning to first strains of our title song, every moment of each episode is carefully calculated to come out sounding its best.

The rooster sound is a public domain .wav file that I downloaded quite some time ago from a free sound effects page, and the bacon frying sound effect and title song are both used under a generous creative commons license from The title song of the show, incidentally, is called "Iron Man" and can be heard in full on the SoundJay website along with loads of other great background music for your own projects if you so choose.

One thing that's been a real challenge for me as I've recorded these episodes is that the two cameras I use (an iPhone 4 in a custom tripod mount and a Kodak Z650) each have very different microphone gains. Which means one usually records too loudly and the other too softly. Sometimes the iPhone will lose the lower register of my guests' voices and I'll need to boost the volume/gain of the audio track or even occasionally swap in the audio from the other camera for that shot in the mixdown. Other times the Z650 will be so sensitive that it zeroes in on the stove fan in the kitchen and overlays everything with an infernal hum that will have to be fixed and de-hissed later.

For things like the on-location video shot at Jumbo's Diner in Gouverneur, NY, I had to actually strip the audio completely out of the original video footage and reprocess it in Apple's handy GarageBand software, extruding the voices, canceling out the at-times-overwhelming background noise, and then compressing it back down so it sounded normal. This ended up being the most time-consuming part of producing that entire episode, but at least now in the final version all the voices are audible. I can't say enough good things about the Apple hardware I use to edit and master the videos. There's no way I'd be able to achieve the final quality I get without it.