My alarm tone (the Super Mario World Theme) let me know that it was 7am. I was not able to do that much work after getting to the hotel around midnight. To be honest, I haven't been able to do much serious work after 10 pm for years, unless my world literally hangs in the balance (which is almost never). Better to punt, reset my system, and start early. Tech call (my time to show up) is 10am. 15 minute transit, maybe a little food, I should be fine.
Looking over the notes from last night, they're not extensive, a resize here, a tweak there. A slide show. However, this show's projections are not "performed" in the way that my stuff typically is done (like in TIA MAK or New Islands Archipelago). In those shows, every on-screen gesture is a tiny little nugget that exists independently of every other nugget, and the presentations are designed to be played live, much in the way that the actors have a script that they stick to but interpret with differences each time they do the show. The projections for this show are a lot more conservative and traditional, each sequence is pre-rendered and fixed, almost a complete little movie, and the only variation is in the exact moment that the GO button gets mashed. A lot more like a lighting cue. This means that any small change actually entails re-rendering the whole sequence.
Without coffee, I fire up After Effects and start to plow through the changes. And immediately the crashing begins. New crashes for me. Each time I manually resize something in a composition, After Effects chokes and says it can't find my particular localization. I haven't paid for hotel WiFi so I can't effectively troubleshoot. And I don't exactly have time to do anyway. After my tower's hard drive episode, I finished the show on this laptop. It's new, fresh installs of everything, it's already my favorite computer ever. I heard my students' past laments echoing in my head... "it was working before and now it's not working and I can't figure out why and so the render started late and that's why I missed the deadline and can I have an extension and...."
I like a lot of things about working live theater. The best is the adrenaline high. Look, curtain is at 10pm. Full dress rehearsal is at 10am. These changes have to be done and rendered, the cues rebuilt and set up in the booth, tweaked and adjusted so that they will all fire with no mistakes the first time the tech hits "go." If anything fails between now and then, you cannot look at the entire cast, the rest of the crew, a full house on opening night at La Mama that "you see, it was working before, but then I wasn't able to do the thing and render it in time to run through..." It doesn't matter that I was brought on two months later than I should have been, it doesn't matter that I might not have gotten the clearest notes at the beginning, it doesn't matter that I got a change list later than any reasonable person would expect. There's no postponing, no rescheduling. There's no reshooting. No going back for pickups. No second takes. You. Just. Fucking. Do. It.
I figured out a temporary workaround. It involved saving the file every 30 seconds just in case, and never touching any objects in the composition window. All changes handled only numerically in the timeline itself. Not the most intuitive way to go about it, but it stopped the crashing long enough for me to get the final files out. Done by 8:30. Gotta find breakfast.