help needed...creative types

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Creative types....help needed ...
As you may or may not know I'm writing an Opera. This opera ( Called Henriette ) is based on real historical events. it is in French ( as were the original events ) and is a "proper" opera with full orchestral score, French libretto and stage directions.
Here's my problem.... when I sit down to write I am fine , I know that if I am not in a composing frame of mind I can harmonise , invert melodies etc. . even though full orchestral pieces are difficult for me I can do them ( I am self taught so have no methodology for this just trial and error and books and ears)
When i am researching I have all manner of dry historical books and legal case notes to work from...I read and take notes till I feel I have put enough of a shift in.
Here's the issue
I have 20gig of data files of music and scores ( across 3 computers ). a backpack stuffed and rammed with paper notes ( and scores ) and research materials.
I know that doing more research or composition at this point is counter productive and I may well be going over the same old ground. I am utterly overwhelmed ...utterly....I went to try and organise and digitise stuff today and ended up cleaning the house from top to bottom.
I have a synopsis for each scene....detailed notes for each scene...some scores organised into scenes....lietmotifs for the main characters...time signature and key ideas for the main characters, 
I am still overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I have done already and am struggling to move on....I don't want to continue composing as I want to be customising parts now...
Help
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  • spark240spark240 Frets: 939
    Ermm....not quite sure how we can help ?


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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    Basically its managment of a big artistic project
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  • SnapSnap Frets: 2362
    wow. and wow again, that's bloody amazing.

    no help to you but I am a bit awestruck


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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 5109
    edited July 2017
    I know it sounds daft, but look at basic project management software / techniques. It won't necessarily focus you, but it will help you keep track of where you are and what you still need to do.

    My Trading Feedback    |    You Bring The Band

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  • CirrusCirrus Frets: 3520
    Conventional wisdom would be, hire a producer. Someone who can keep an eye on the big picture while you go focusing on the small details in each scene, and who can tap you on the shoulder and say "Do you really want to go in this direction given what you're doing in the scene where the french man eats an onion?" and just act as a sanity check at other times.

    It sounds like a massively involved project, but by the sounds of it you're having trouble keeping focus/ having perspective on the entire project while you work on the individual small details. I have no Opera-centric advice, but you need to work out a system so that you can get lost in the work without losing your place in the whole.

    Eg, when you're working on a scene, you need to know what your objective is for the scene - what points are you trying to hit, what characters are involved, what emotions are in the scene. So you can forget about the rest of the project, and just focus on making that scene right.

    You can always tweak it later when you hear the resulting work in the context of the entire production.
    Captain Horizon (my old band);
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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    Thats some good advice....I'm starting to realise the fact its an opera is  unimportant...its a big project and requires project managment....I'm downloading some mind map software to try out.
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  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 5109
    edited July 2017
    Luminous said:
    Thats some good advice....I'm starting to realise the fact its an opera is  unimportant...its a big project and requires project managment....I'm downloading some mind map software to try out.
    I write. Both full novels and short stories. A scatter gun approach takes way longer than managing each task properly and keeping track. I break it down into sections, then individual tasks. Rather than putting deadlines on each task, I colour code them. Then I match my mood to the colour of tasks available to me. If I'm not feeling creative, I pick blue (organisation tasks). If I'm feeling meh, I pick Orange tasks, which are "nearly completed / quick success" tasks so that I can finish something off and get a "win" which will often motivate me to do something more challenging. Behind all of this I have high level tasks to keep track of the project as a whole, giving me a percentage of completion overview etc. 

    My Trading Feedback    |    You Bring The Band

    Just because you're paranoid, don't mean they're not after you
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  • Maybe start by piecing together the narrative first, imagine you're writing it as a straight play. Once you're happy with the structure of the story, then start to look at how the music serves the narrative. No matter how good your compositions are, the story is all. It might be worth working with a dramaturg on this.
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  • Winny_PoohWinny_Pooh Frets: 2927
    IMHO I would personally put it all into something like Sibelius

    You play in or write the main melodies on a timeline with a midi controller and can arrange & build parts that you can later print in standard notation for actual players.

    If you don't need notation then just start recording parts via midi and romplers into a big audio session.

    When you can see the structure on a timeline and actually listen to parts that simulate the actual running length it will be easier to write all the small bits that connect sections together and get the overall feel for where you may need to make sections smaller/bigger/simpler/complex.


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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    edited July 2017
    All good advice folks thanks..
    @Legionreturns Thats a great idea, organising it into jobs that need done by mood.
    @Bintytwanger77 I already have the majority of the storyline mapped out, it can be read as a plotted piece
    @Winny_Pooh I already use notion for this the problem is that I have 20gig of files and scores
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  • vizviz Frets: 4948
    Sounds like you've got all the ingredients.

    I'd storyboard it first at the highest level, get the chapter headings - the acts and the scenes; get separate folders for each, then start slotting in the best bits into each folder. Then review what you've got, what you're missing, etc. 
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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207


    For the interested here's a very rough draft of the opening overture.
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  • Luminous said:
    All good advice folks thanks..
    @Legionreturns Thats a great idea, organising it into jobs that need done by mood.
    @Bintytwanger77 I already have the majority of the storyline mapped out, it can be read as a plotted piece
    @Winny_Pooh I already use notion for this the problem is that I have 20gig of files and scores
    Excellent. You are doing a tremendous thing, more power to you!
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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    @viz  I've already done that , its the next stage of what needs work im struggling with.

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  • vizviz Frets: 4948
    edited July 2017
    Luminous said:
    @viz  I've already done that , its the next stage of what needs work im struggling with.

    Ah ok, sounds amazing by the way. I like the almost homophonic quality of it and those cyclic inward-turning melodies. Very sombre. 
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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    Very kind of you to say so...thank you @viz ;

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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    thanks for all the help guys...I'm using mind mapping software and it's helping a lot.
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  • DottoreDottore Frets: 56
    Scrivener is a great bit of software, mainly designed for writing large projects, and excellent for the project management aspects of same. So you could put the libretto in and all the characters and have research notes, PDFs, images etc; you can corkboard or outline to your heart's content; see the whole thing, or just part of it. It also imports and exports OPML files so you can swap things in and out of a mind map, I think. Not bad for about £40. No affiliation other than being a happy user.

    More power to you, mon ami. It sounds like a fantastic project and I'd love to come and see it when it's done.

    You need an idea of what you are going to do, but it should be a vague idea.

    My feedback page: http://www.thefretboard.co.uk/discussion/91654/
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  • GrunfeldGrunfeld Frets: 2677
    Big +1 for Scrivener as per @Dottore 's suggestion. 
    I first started using it with a big writing project that eventually had 80 chapters and numerous sub-chapters.  They could not be written sequentially and basically it was all a big f*cking mess in Word.  Scrivener made sense of it.  You can just get on with the writing and the organisation part comes at any time in the project.  It's difficult to describe until you use it but you can essentially keep your eye on the big picture and the details at the same time. 
    Years after Scrivener I started using its stable mate Scapple.
    It's not quite mind mapping software -- I dunno what you'd call it -- but it's sort of mind mapping software.  I use it all the time for two things that suit me:
    1)  just getting down a load of bullet points in no particular order -- that comes later as you physically drag the points around the screen, and connect any that are connected, draw boxes around them, add colours, etc.  Massively useful for making sense of long, rambling life stories!
    2)  making "overview" trees of concepts for presentations -- very pretty and, hopefully, easy to interpret



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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    Thanks guys I was just about to buy inspiration ( also £40 ) but I'll have a look at that too.

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  • LuminousLuminous Frets: 207
    @Dottore  I had a look at that, looks good but very literary based. I'm going to go with http://www.inspiration.com/ as this will open audio files, other programs etc. thanks for the tip though .
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  • mellowsunmellowsun Frets: 2325
    Set up a Trello account, using Trello boards and swim lanes is perfect for this. Does colour coding too :)

    You could have a separate board for each act.

    Dragging tasks from In Progress to Done is very satisfying!
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