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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New Episode of the Constant Struggle featuring Alex Wong!

Our new episode of The Constant Struggle podcast features actor & improviser Alex Wong. Click on the images below to find our more about his awesome acting journey and his cool new webseries “In Real Life”:

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COMPLIMENTARY IMPROV & SKETCH TROUPE SOCIAL MEDIA PRO TIP

Go to your troupe’s Facebook “Page”.
Wait. Your troupe doesn’t have a page?

Make them a page. Right now.

Good, your troupe now has a page.

Now, go to your troupe’s “Page” and click on the “About” tab.

If not all the members of your troupe are listed in this tab, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU EVEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?

Sincerely,

A producer who books improv and sketch troupes

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Chicken Pod! (The Constant Struggle’s Newest Ep!)

Episode 6 of my brother and my podcast, The Constant Struggle, is up & we’d love it if you’d giver a listen.

This time around, Nick’s got a new writing deadline he wants to get to before he takes off to Scotland with his family. Will the trip inspire him to write something while he’s over there? We’ll see!

Will Brie survive her month of insane-work hours and continue to work on her comedy all throughout, or will she have a complete mental breakdown along the way?

Find out, by downloading the episode on iTunes or checking it out right here:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/audio/postId/5711034?url=http%3A%2F%2FTheConstantStruggle.podbean.com%2Fe%2Fe06-chicken-pod%2F

Oh, and if you want to sign that petition to help get Kevin Smith Canadian citizenship, click here:

https://www.change.org/p/government-of-canada-grant-kevin-smith-a-canadian-citizenship?recruiter=309221733&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=share_twitter_responsive

Struggle On, friends!

Canadian Comedy Awards: 2013 Edition

OK – I just finished my last thing interfering with Conservatory this past weekend, so all posts until December, and then maybe a little bit in January, should be about this final process of the Second City Conservatory program.  We’re getting down to crunch time, and our scenes are coming together, I think,  and I want to work on my scenes and write about the whole process and let you know how cool it is… but I can’t yet… because I have to talk about this minor interruption.

The 2013 Canadian Comedy Awards Festival

If you’re a connection of mine on LinkedIn, and you should be, you’ll note that this year, I was asked to help out with the Canadian Comedy Awards Festival in Communications; predominantly social media.  So, I signed up for HootSuite and off I went.  I took on a number of different duties since my initial on-boarding, such as translation, submission vetting, and most recently; taxi service.  Ironically, I did very little social media work while I was in Ottawa for the festival this past weekend – most of the time was spent running around trying to meet various arrival/departure timings of guests and nominees and coordinate other people doing any number of the numerous tasks that needed to be done to, you know, make the festival happen.  I wish there was a way to simply describe to you how the weekend turned out from the perspective of a volunteer – well, not just a volunteer, but a coordinator of volunteers amongst other things.  The best I can come up with is “AAARHG!?!!!!$^@GOGOGOGOGOGOGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Yeah. I think that sums it up nicely.

Though the organization of the festival was the butt of many of Awards host Ryan Belleville’s jokes at the award ceremony, I was very pleased to hear how appreciative many of the attendees were of the organizers and volunteers who worked really really really really really really really REALLY hard to make the CCAF happen.  (Did I mention it was hard work?)

And beyond the simple happening of the festival, it was really cool that this year seems to have sparked a deeper level of conversation about the very nature of Canadian Comedy.  Example, Naomi Sniekus & Lauren Ash’s speeches at the Awards ceremony and Steve Patterson’s HuffPo piece:

It’s Time to Take Canadian Comedy More Seriously

This was my 4th year volunteering with the Canadian Comedy Awards.  I volunteer because I think our comedic talent should be celebrated.  And I think we owe it to each other to support each other and the institutions that help us keep doing what we do.  That’s why I help out – I’ve met some great people in the community through this festival – people I hope to work with down the line, people who’ve become close confidants within the industry, and people who are just, plain and simple, awesome and hilarious.

I may still be quite green to this world (yup, 3 years is still green, Mom & Dad)  (Oh, green is industry talk for “new”)  (See, I am learning stuff) – but if there’s one thing the Canadian Comedy Award makes me want to do than anything else, it’s create comedy and be a part of this great pool of hilarious and talented people who makes the country laugh, make our great cities laugh, and hell just make each other laugh after working over 12 hours driving people to-and-from the Ottawa suburbs in an overcrowded van.

But the Festival is over – no more interruptions, I’m going to work on this Con show to make it blow your minds and bust your guts!  I’ve got some COMEDY to birth, Canada!

My Online Presence Renewed

Recently, a friend and colleague of mine told me “You need to have more of an online presence,” which I took as a sign that I haven’t posted anything here on CCC, so it’s time to get back to it. No more excuses or nonsense.  It’s not like I’ve been all that busy or anything…

Well…

Part of the reason my posts have been dwindling is because I’m co-managing another website lately for my sketch duo Lake Erie.  We’ve been working tirelessly at creating content for our upcoming Fringe show and in an effort to promote it, we put this little website together:

http://lakeeriecomedy.wordpress.com/

So far the show is coming along nicely, and we had our first shot at performing some of its material tonight at the JokeBox Live Comedy Lounge.  We spent all day yesterday preparing for the set and filming what will soon be our first promo short for the Fringe show.  I don’t want to spoil anything, but I may or may not have been driving around in a Mustang convertible for the shoot.

With all the Lake Erie stuff coming together, it’s hard to believe I’ve also just finished stage 2 of the 6-part process that is the Second City Conservatory program.  Last Wednesday my class had our final Level 2 show, and we finished with some fun improv and our first shot at performing some scenes written a la Second City style/process.  Our next term starts in a few weeks, and we’ll be focusing mainly on archival material, which is always fun.  I remember back from the Archival Show I did at Humber that performing other people’s stuff can be pretty darn fun.  Heh.  Colonel Angus

I’ve also added to my responsibilities belonging to the Communications Committee for the Canadian Comedy Awards.  The festival is going to be in Ottawa this year, so well in advance, I’m warning my remaining Ottawa peeps that it is very important we get together and get drunk while watching some hilarious shit that weekend in October.

No rest for the wicked, they say.  Which I’ve never really understood.  Does that mean people who are busy are witches?  Probably.  I’d better get back to my cauldron folks, but stay tuned, I’m going to try harder to update this puppy more frequently as we approach our Fringe show dates and the anxieties increase!

Huzzah!

Oh, and in honour of our first performance as Lake Erie tonight, world, I want you to remember a simpler time when this was relevant: