Forty-Eight

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Forty-Eight

Jackson Manely, Editor

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This past weekend, the Warren Tech Central campus facilitated the third annual Creative Jam. A forty-eight hour competition to make something. Whether it be a video game, an art installation, a music video, etc., Warren Tech opened their doors to allow Jefferson County students to create.

The Creative Jam was inspired by the Global Game Jam, a competition of a similar premise. Game development teams have to create a video game from start to finish within a limited amount of time. The Warren Tech Idea Group altered the idea slightly to allow more students at Warren Tech and in Jeffco as a whole the opportunity to create a product within the same restrictions.

As a student in the Audio Production program at Warren Tech, I decided to partner up with a classmate to try to create an EP (roughly five songs). This daunting challenge was no match for my unbridled confidence going into the weekend.

My partner Matthew and I loaded in our gear (a couple guitars, a condenser microphone, a slew of random books for inspiration, two boxes of Cheez-its, and a case of Red Bull) at about 4 p.m. on Friday. We were off to the logistical nightmare that was the “badge line,” a safety precaution put in place to insure the continued prosperity of the event. Students were dished out badges with mugshots enhanced by crude Apple Photo Booth filters.

Now with proper identification, we were ready to go. The makeshift studio set up in the back of the TV/Video room was now our sanctuary. We booted up the computer and started a new session in Pro Tools.

The first night was comprised of about eight hours of writing and recording the acoustic guitar parts (all of which only adding up to 12 minutes of audio). The end goal slipping from our hands as there were now about thirty-five hours left in the competition.

My original idea was to focus on the bread and butter of the songs (guitar and vocals) while Matthew could make strange compositions to compliment. Without being able to prepare anything beforehand, I was left to write songs about “connectivity.” The central theme of this year’s event and a weaker aspect of the Creative Jam as a whole.

Tired and stricken with writer’s block, we tried to get some rest. The caffeine surging through my system blocked me from getting any sleep. I waited for the 10-6 curfew to end and went home to shower and nap.

I returned at noon on Saturday to the surprise of a band looking to record a song. Mikey and Josh of “The F(r)iends” had come to Creative Jam with the hopes of simply writing a song they could perform. Their friend Zoe was in charge of the art and presentation for whatever they ended up making.

I decided to have Matthew engineer their song while I structured out the mess of guitar clips on my flash drive. Josh went to record guitar and Zoe went to work on cover art. That left Mikey and me in my studio.

From the looks of him, I could tell he had really good taste in music. We started chatting about anything and everything from the philosophy of Bertrand Russell to the almighty vegan king Morrissey. A long conversation that required diligent note-taking on my part to remember the names of things I wanted to check out later (bands, movies, etc.).

With Saturday drawing to a close, we got together to talk about the possibility of forming a supergroup as I viewed it impossible for my original project to get finished by Sunday. We conjoined as I waved my ‘space-age acoustica EP’ goodbye.

Now with less than a day left, I went through the intensive process of structuring out an unstructured song. This meant re-recording all of the parts to the beat of a metronome. Poor Matthew’s work from earlier — gone.

The realization of my sleep deprivation during the second night was swift and alarming. I had been awake for 41 out of the 43 hours since I woke up on Friday, and I was strolling into Sunday on a cloud of weirdness. I noticed an unusually large amount of lamps in the room I was working in. My shifting eyes and coffee jitters were in the way as I fumbled through the recording session.

Time being of the essence, we had to record much of the song live without drums which we collectively dubbed “folk.” Recording was finished with 15 minutes to spare. My group left me alone in the room while I hurried to touch up the track enough to be presentable.

Once done, I sprinted down the hallway with my group, flash drive in hand, to game development teacher Mr. Compton’s room. We presented him with the flash drive bearing an mp3 along with a record cover that Zoe had designed.

Josh and Mikey wrote “These Trying Times” about rekindling a relationship that was once prosperous. This being their take on connectivity, they made something from a theme that we all originally believed was limiting.

Connectivity may have seemed silly to us going in, but after a weekend of running off the fumes of each others’ strangeness, I found that the weekend wasn’t about what we were making. It was about how we were connecting in order to make it.

Warren Tech’s Creative Jam is a bright spot for Jeffco. A glimmer of hope that emphasizes the importance of collaboration as a staple of education.

I returned home in a hysterical stupefaction. My mind on one thing and one thing only — my bed.

As I shut my eyes, the sound of Deli Dave announcing mozzarella sticks as the midnight snack fluttered through my mind laced with the incessant noise of the pounding drum kit from the group next door. These auditory hallucinations were a perfect way to cap off a strange, yet incredibly wholesome experience. Sixteen hours later, I awoke in a daze confused as all hell.