You get some seriously fanciful stuff here, from a talking snowman ventriloquist’s dummy doing standup to a shadow puppet theater in a cave. (That’ll be perfect for fans of the movie Frozen and Platonic allegory / prehistoric art history, respectively.)

Frank is a programmer and bio-informatician with training in biology - but also has a foot in the world of traditional acoustic folk music. Like a lot of people, though, time slipped away and the music lapsed. “We’ve got a household of instruments that never get touched,” he sighs. He had researched music creation software, but “it seemed like a very steep learning curve,” he said. And then he discovered PatchWorld.

How did you first get into Patch? What made you choose this environment?

I came across some of Todd’s video tutorials he’s made where he talks about more advanced features - and I joined the Discord group, requested Blocks access, and haven’t stopped since. Now I have something to program audiovisual experiences that’s actually fun. 

[See our previous profile of Todd.]

Right, it has this playful experience - even when you go all the way into custom creation from scratch. So you decided not to work with code, even as a programmer?

No - it looks too much like work. When I finish work, the last thing I want to do is open a text editor and write more scripts. It’s actually fun to program in [Patch’sv isual] way. You have to think out of the box - but in a fun way. I enjoy that you have access to a lot of things with those Blocks and devices that actually tie it all together into the audiovisual experience you can make. 

What are some creations you’ve been working on? Any favorites?

For one of the latest things I’ve made, you go onstage and play a drum solo, and the audience reacts to your playing and the excitement. It was really fun to make that and to play with it. It’s something I think I couldn’t replicate anywhere else.

He does mean excitement: watch, as you play, you build up the “excite-o-meter” with special visual effects and a cheering crowd:

Continuing with the theatre theme, I recently created a little shadow theatre in a prehistoric world that another user (EmberWolf) had created.

[Note: This is a great example of how you can build on others’ work - expanding the world they’ve constructed!]

The patch I recently created, “The Ventriloquist,” is the one I like most. I was surprised to see how real it feels even though I created it myself. A couple of minutes into that, I believe that I’m on stage with a live audience, and the dialogue between me and the puppet or the audience member takes on a dynamic of its own.

Audience reactions in The Ventriloquist are triggered by me hitting a button, but you start to ignore that very quickly, and it feels so real. It could actually be something that could work to give people confidence to go on stage or it could be therapeutic to have a dialogue with yourself but with different voices. 

How has PatchWorld evolved for you while you’ve been working with it? Any tips for others wanting to get deeper and learn the way you have? Join the Discord group, for starters,?

Patch looks like it’s starting to take off in so many ways. It’s great to be a part of that, and to be able to interact so closely with the developers. They treat community members almost like part of the team. 

Yes, join the Discord and build from scratch! There’s a learning curve, but it’s worth it!

Thanks, Frank! Can’t wait to see what else you’re doing! Follow Frank’s YouTube channel for regular updates - or find him and other stellar community members on our Discord channel.