New Episode of The Constant Struggle Featuring The Dandies’ Dale Wells

Our latest episode of The Constant Struggle podcast is up and this time, we had the pleasure of interviewing Dale Wells, improviser and co-founder of The Dandies & Holodeck Follies.

http://theconstantstruggle.podbean.com/e/e12-follow-your-passion-with-dale-wells/

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Dale speaks about the benefits and challenges producing live comedy shows in Toronto. We talk about the history of Star Trek improv in the city, about geek culture, and about his show; Holodeck Follies, kicking butt at this year’s FanExpo. Dale and Nick chat about what it’s like to be a Dad artist with a day job. We bring up his love of singing and the various ways in which improv can bring joy to your life.

What a positive guy!

***
With GREAT shout-outs to:
ANDIE WELLS
NATASHA BOOMER
ROB ARISS HILLS
THE 404s
GARY PEARSON
MARK LITTLE
KEN HALL
ALAN LEIGHTIZER
TODD VAN ALLEN (COMEDY ABOVE THE PUB)
GILLIAN ENGLISH &
TODD GRAHAM
***
 Be sure to follow The Dandies on Twitter @TorontoDandies & catch the next edition of #HolodeckFollies at Geek Hard Live!
#StruggleOn everybody!
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…And the blessed Irish shamrock with the fairest green of all

I recently finished working as a production coordinator on a TV show, the first TV show I’ve *really* worked for. (ie. gots paid)

One of the tasks to which I was assigned in my last job was to collect the scripts and segment descriptions from the Associate Producers on the show and send them to the hosts. The documents they would send are referred to as “greens” in newspeak. Three times a week I would send out an email to the APs asking if their greens were ready. Eventually, in an attempt to make this process more interesting for them, and for me, I started doing stuff like this:

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Right? That subject line makes you think!

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Getting creative with Google Translate.

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 It’s true. Don’t go to Chicago for the fish.

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Then I started to incorporate imagery to my silly emails.

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He’s not, for whatever that’s worth. He’s just the only one with “green” in his name that I could think of…

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I sometimes made them relevant to the people I was working with… (we did fashion segments)

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I incorporated some of my own taste…

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 Briefly turned into a greeting card company.

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…Got political. (Not shown, the email where I just directed all the APs to the Green Party of Canada’s website, I must have deleted that one. Or CSIS had it removed from my PC.)

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…Got Kermi-ed.

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…Got sporty.

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…Used idioms to describe my feels.

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Got market branding involved.

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…and finally sent them all off with an epic psych-out.

I feel like a few are missing, (I most definitely deleted the one where I sent a picture of a nice, healthy crop of marijuana.)

The point of sending them wasn’t to make a blog post out of them all. That was never the intention. But because it brought me joy to take a second out of my day to think of some silly way to make my co-workers day a little bit funnier, or happier, or at least to distract them for a millisecond, I thought I’d share them with you. I was, after all, pretty lucky to get to work there.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! (Tomorrow)

The Actual Year in Review & Optimism

We find ourselves at the beginning of another New Year, and like many bloggers, this is as good an opportunity as ever to think back over the past year and try to find some meaning in everything before moving on to the next.

Here goes:

1)  I turned 30.

2)  My best little friend and partner Peanut (my kitty cat) died.

3)  I got let go from work.

Am I ready for a new year?  Yes please.

Ok. So maybe I’m oversimplifying things by focusing on some pretty negative and shitty experiences. Like, maybe turning 30 isn’t so bad. And losing a pet is awful, but we know they don’t live forever when we bring them into our homes at the get-go. And when they’re super sick, sometimes it’s best to know they’re no longer in pain.

And as far as the job goes, I wasn’t a huge fan of the position quite honestly, and really welcomed the change. Also, because I’m a unionized employee, I was found another position within the corporation and have been totally loving the new challenges, coworkers and environment.

One year ago, I moved into an apartment in Bloorcourt; the heart of Toronto’s indie comedy action. I thought it would be the best place to live/be. As it turns out, my apartment overlooked the neighbour’s balcony and they could see directly into my tiny bedroom/kitchen, their cigarette smoke and blathering idiocy seeped in through my window, which was often left open given the ridiculous lack of temperature control in the building. I moved in 2014, again. Up the road, and this time, with my partner of 4 years, Dan. It’s already nice to have food in the fridge, cable TV, and someone to hug when I get home from late-night comedy shows who isn’t a cardboard cutout of Seth Rogen hanging behind my front door purposed to frighten off potential intruders.

I gave birth to a few babies this year: 50 Shades of 50, The Benoits, Exit, Pursued by a Bear and my fondest little project, Guess Who’s Coming to Improv? Each of these groups/shows have brought joy, fun and a stage to play throughout the year. I am incredibly grateful to all those involved, you know who you are. And if you don’t think I’m talking about you specifically, I am, so don’t worry. You’re amazing. I also adopted Improv Game Show, who continues to grow every single week; and I am as proud as an adopted parent could be of its’ potential.

Non-metaphorically, I welcomed a new brother into my family this past summer, as he and my sister threw the best damn wedding I’ve ever attended. And I’ve been to a few weddings in my short years on this earth, folks. This was hands down, the best. It brought my whole family closer together and it was such a gosh-darned delight to see my now 94 year-old grand-maman stand-up at her walker to boogie down to a few tunes.

I got to work with my brother and my boyfriend on a comedy project; a TV pilot about my hometown. Though nothing came out of the competition part of it, we still plan on creating something together out of the concept and working on other projects as well. We might totally be the next Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, but like, Canadian, …and funny.

I was hired by my dream employer last year to teach improv workshops for students both in English and en français; and every chance I get to share a teensy bit of what improv has done for me to other people is like a tiny little miracle.

I went to New York City to learn more about writing humour. I read both Keith Johnstone’s and Rob Norman’s book to learn more about improv. I read Mindy Kaling, Martin Short and Andrea Martin’s books for inspiration and am now onto Amy Poehler’s. I listen to podcasts about comedy and improv and society and life and I am more motivated than ever.

2014 was a good year. Tt felt like momentum was beginning to pick up. My hope is to keep up the pace and trudge on forward. It’s an interesting thing, finding what you love and working towards doing it as often as possible and trying to make a life out of it. It’s not easy all the time, but it sure is something.

Even though I still miss Peanut like fucking crazy.

Happy New Year my darlings. To an amazing year ahead!

Debt’s Ugly B***hole

I’m normally smarter than this, and know better than to stay up past 12 if I have to work all day and take a four hour flight immediately afterwards, inevitably landing somewhere I’ve never been before.  Actually.  Come to think of it, that situation hasn’t really arisen as of yet. Normally I wouldn’t have had to work.

People have been telling me I’m lucky to get the time off work to go to the Fringe, but am I?  When I got hired, I made my ulterior career goals known.  If the aim in hiring administrative support is retention, then really, if I want to go to Winnipeg for 3 weeks, and take a day off here or there throughout the year afterwards, jeez.  Just let me be.

I realize this is a silly thing to say and that people work for the tiny amount of time they are granted off, considering the amount of hard work and effort goes into surviving just the day, let alone the week, the year, the 30+ years to feed your family, pay off your mortgage and retire comfortably, but damnit.  I don’t feel that’s me.

In a dreamworld, I would fly out to Winnipeg, someone would catch my show and think: “my these girls are damn gifted writers, here:  have your pick of TV shows to write on, or radio shows, here’s something I want to pay you to write” etc.  If only it were that simple.  If only I had those 8 + travel time hours a day I use up to go to work Monday to Friday, to stay at home and get my ideas written down, my creativity challenged, that would be the best.  But debt is sticking out its nasty butthole right in my face, and it’s damn stinky and needs to be payed back.  Like, now.  Or else light a match or something, because peeeeee-yew!

So, post-Winnipeg, it’s belt-tightening time. But until then, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come check out our show!  FOR REAL!  It’s really good!  And it’s a lot more fun when there’s more people in the audience!  COME ON!!!! I NEEEEEEEEED THIS!

I mean.  *Brie gets up from the floor.

Good night everyone.

Please Hire Brie Watson

Please, someone, hire me.  I’m good at stuff.  I have a degree and a diploma.  I’m smart.  I have lots of experience!

I just want to work during the days so I can have some time at night to go out and tell jokes/work on screenplays/work on spec scripts/work on short stories/write a novel/improvise/perform/write sketches/review shows/film shorts/film longer things/write plays/perform in plays/BE A COMEDIAN.

I just can’t do it because this…

And because it costs so much to live here…

AND because nobody in their right MIND would pay to see this take her clothes off…

In spite of all that.  Someone out there.  Please.  Hire me.

I’m serious.

Young and Out of Work

This actually comes at a pretty appropriate time, given the fact that I didn’t end up getting the administrative job I’d interviewed for last week.  And I’m broke.  And unDERemployed.

It’s an interview with my school pal, who shall not be named, about how hard it is to find a job these days.  And, who makes a brief appearance?  None other than yours truly… dressed as a dog.

Yup.  First time I’m on TV, and I’m dressed as a dog.

Check it out HERE!

OctUpdate!

Holy Crap.  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything since the Moneyball review.  I have been BUSY, ladies and gentlemen!  Time feels like it keeps speeding up.  I’ve been completing assignments the day before they’re due, staying up past midnight, despite having to work super-early in the morning at the Career Centre.

 

It seems in each class, we’re working on major projects.  There isn’t really one in which we’re working less hard than the other. It’s crazy!  The workload is by vastly greater than last year, but folks, I am loving it.

I’m working on a chauvinist male “bro” character called Brian for my Acting class.  It’s both liberating and challenging to portray the type of male I absolutely despise.

I’ve written and submitted the first draft of a 10-minute play (more dramatic than comedic) play about a soldier of the First World War who visits a French brothel.   Apparently, I’m feeling very nostalgic about my time spent in France.  Like it or not, talking about hundreds of thousands of dead guys for 5 months straight two years in a row really gets into your head.

We’ve completed our clown pieces in physical comedy and are now moving onto different techniques.

In sketch writing,  we’ve been working on two major projects: a parody of a TV show (I chose Star Trek, obvi) and a monologue script based on a person we know upon which we’ll be building characters.

In stand-up, Larry’s teaching us what it would be like to work in a writing room, working on a late-nite host’s monologue.  The humour is very topical, news-related, so it’s been helping us with the LaughDraft news as well (which we will be filming this week after a long hiatus!)

Finally, we’re working on writing a sit-com.  I won’t reveal too much about that at the moment, in case anyone reading this blog decides to steal my class’ ideas and prevent us from ever working on this project in the ‘real world.’

And then there’s all the ‘outside school’ stuff… and work…

Life is crazy!!!

…Just the way I like it.