It takes a village

Last night, my Niagara-based improv ensemble premiered our competitive-style “Improv Fallout” show for a standing-room-only house in downtown St. Catharines. It was, to be brief, incredible.

Mainly, I wanted to point out what else went behind the production, because it was one of the first times in my career as a comedy producer that I had a team of individuals around me, supporting a project so enthusiastically that ALL these things happened:

  • First of all, they actually invited people to come friggin’ see them perform, so we packed the house ’til it was, as mentioned standing-room-only.
  • When given the rehearsal schedule, some performers requested additional rehearsal time to ensure their performance would be up to snuff.
  • They showed up for rehearsal like, AN HOUR before their call to help set up without being asked.
  • They created an art wall for the show JUST FOR FUN.

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  • One of the performer’s partners agreed to work the Box Office.
  • One of the performer’s partners took really great photos during the show.
  • A performer who WASN’T EVEN ON THE SHOW agreed to collect email addresses so we could continue to spread the word about our group and ran back and forth to help make sure the show ran smoothly again, without being asked.
  • One of the performers fearlessly approached people asking for suggestions before the show started.
  • One of the performers hand-crafted voting circles with one colour on one side, and the other on the other side, which was challenging she admitted, but worth it because they looked so good!
  • Some of our performers took to social media before, during and after the show to share the experience with others.
  • Some of our performers learned how to use social media for the show.
  • One of the performers went to Fabricland for the first time in her life to actually buy fabric to be used to discern the different teams on stage.
  • Our tech created a special playlist for the show to get the audience feelin’ funky.
  • One of the performers risked his neck to drape the curtains in such a way as to make the space look a bit more ascetically pleasing.
  • One of the performers drove a long long way to come to the show even though she’d worked all day and had to go right back immediately after the performance.
  • One of the performers refused payment until it was physically forced onto him. (That’s right, the performers were paid.)
  • All of the performers were super supportive of one another on stage as well as off stage and, even after being “voted off” the show stayed intensely engaged with participating in the show with members of the audience and online.
  • I’m probably forgetting a million more things…

 

It’s INCREDIBLE to know that this wonderful collaboration is what it can feel like to create live comedy.

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My Creative Metadata

Again, reading along with Ben Noble’s weekly newsletter, he brought up the concept of Creative Metadata. Quick, read that article. Go on. I’ll be here.

OK good, you came back.

I thought it’d be cool from time to time to talk a bit about the creative metadata I produce as a producer of comedy shows (and an improv teacher / writer / podcaster / comedy performer/ etc.)

For example, here’s some metadata for today. Enjoy!

I bought a chalk-board to keep score for next week’s Improv Fallout show at Michael’s. It was not an essential purchase, but I thought it’d be fun / cute.

Updated bujo & trello boards. Doesn’t seem like English, but it helps keep me on my game.

I wrote up the structure for the games and the order of the games we’ll be playing at next weekend’s show. This is first show of Improv Niagara’s 2nd year in existence. In rehearsal, I had most of the cast try out the structure of the games. It’ll work better with an audience. Right now it feels less flowy than our regular rehearsals, but I think it’ll be a really great show. Slight hiccup with a thing I don’t want to go into too much detail about, but hiccup was had and water was consumed (this is a metaphor.) I switched up one of the games last minute because I realized it’d be more fun than the original one I’d written down. Nobody shines in Movie in a Minute. It’s just mass chaos.

Before rehearsal, I began editing a new podcast my brother and I recorded a few weeks ago. It’s a long one, but an interesting one. Tried to make sure to post a new quote from our last guest’s episode and to make the design interesting enough that people will be drawn to it. Update at the end of the day = no tweet likes. Stupid Twitter.

Realizing being home in Niagara is giving me tonnes of stand-up material I should be writing down. Operative note, should. This is why I stopped doing stand-up. Improv requires less pockets for tiny joke books. 

The official *data* of this will be an awesome improv show next Saturday and a great new edition of The Constant Struggle Podcast and MAYBE a new stand-up routine in the near future? <— (and normally that’s all people get to see, none of this nifty behind-the-scenes metadata.)

Oh yeah. I forgot to mention one last important piece of metadata:

ALL TIME on the crapper is spent promoting shows and liking posts on social media.

ALL TIME.

In the Air Last Night

Yesterday was a great day. And I’m not just talking about:

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But it certainly did help.

There was already so much excitement in the air because of the Blue Jays that it filled the city’s air with something vaguely magiacal.

I was a little bummed out because I wasn’t going to catch most of the game because I had a dentist appointment, but the dental hygienist had Yahoo! Sports tracking the score throughout my appointment and frequent radio hits between pop hits kept me updated regularly.

After the appointment, I met with a friend. We’d scheduled to meet to discuss an upcoming project that will certainly be very fun and for a great cause. We sat at a bakery on Bloor, where sure enough, the game was on. And, despite my pal’s obvious lack of interest in baseball, she was kind enough not to shit on me the couple times my eyes drifted to the screen. The meeting wrapped shortly after the bizarre incident with Martin’s attempt to return the ball to the pitcher’s mound, and the debate over the call frustrated me. I decided to leave the bakery and not watch the rest of the game, because if the Rangers were going to win on such a stupid call, then fuck them. That’d just be a crap way to go.

Except that how could I not watch the rest of the game? I walked by Comedy Bar where I knew people would be tuned in. I caught all of the 7th inning madness before I had to head out for a show.

I took the subway over to the Social Capital theatre, where I managed to catch the last inning of the game and the Blue Jays’ ultimate victory! WOoooooooooohoooooooooooooo! And what better way to celebrate, than to perform a super duper fun set at Improv League Toronto (that had nothing to do with baseball). What a cool show. You get to watch some awesome up-and-coming longform troupes doing their best, fun thang and you get to do the same. It’s friendly competition, and ultimately, I don’t know what happens at the end of the league, but what I do know is that we’ve had some fun sets so far in the league. At least, the ones I’ve been able to attend anyway. (I was in Halifax and I missed a couple.) I really love performing with this troupe. There’s something super fun about incorporating this particular era into our improv. And next week we get to do nearly a half hour set for BCIF! It’s going to be SO FUN!

After the set, I ran BACK over to Comedy Bar for another longform show I’d been asked to guest called Personal Space Invaders. What a fun show. Again, watching up-and-coming troupes find their stride. A bunch of different levels of experience and expertise, and I had the pleasure of performing a set with some dudes I’ve rarely (if ever) played with, and it was a LOT of fun!

Mmm. Improv AND baseball.

Maybe there was a light-heartedness to the air on account of the fact I was so stressed during the game, but I felt good about my performances, and I just enjoyed them so much. I understand that’s an important part of the process, but I felt it so much yesterday and was so grateful about it.

I could barely sleep last night I was so dang excited about the past day. Every once in a while you need one of those. Even if you feel like a rotten sack of shit waking up the next morning.