Keeping Your Head Above Water

Blink once and you’re trying to stay awake driving to Montreal in a rental car because your own recently decided the breaks didn’t want to work and the tires were on strike. Blink again and you’re over two weeks later, riding first class on a VIA Rail train, eating zucchini, potatoes and scrambled eggs that taste vaguely like ham, even though I don’t remember if it said ham on the menu, and sleeping off the two-week long blur that was the Festival St-Ambroise FRINGE Montréal.

This was my first experience ever performing in a Fringe Festival. I’ve attended some Fringe festivals in the past, notably last year in Toronto and my last summer in Ottawa, where I volunteered in exchange for a few free performances. Let me tell you folks, performing is a whole nother ball game!

But one totally worth mentioning in CCC as the next great leap into comedy performance outside the protective walls of clown college. Even though clown college helped out a bit along the way. The truth is, Fringe is tough! In general, and particularly when you have to leave half-way through the festival to go back to your day-job on those few days you don’t have shows.

I ain’t no Spring chicken any more either, if you know what I’m saying. When I drive somewhere and arrive at 2am, I find it pretty damn tough to be fresh as a daisy and raring to go the next day. Which, apparently, is crucial in promoting your Fringe show. Luckily, my trusty partner was available and on location throughout the entire duration of the Montreal Fringe, and did more than her share of promoting, being interviewed, flyering, postering and chatting to friends and strangers alike trying to promote our show.

One thing I’ve learned, is that it’s helpful to have a tag-line. And I totally just thought about that, even though it makes sense, as that’s precisely what you need if you’re pitching TV shows, or movies or whatever because inevitably, people will ask over and over again “What’s your show about?” When your show is entitled “Water Wings,” it’s sortof vague, (which is amazing and appropriate, because vague is the French word for wave… oh I amuse myself,) it helps to have a quick, catchy way to summarize it in order to peak people’s curiosities and spark their desire in seeing your show.  With help from our wonderful director Pamela Barker, we’ve settled on a theme, rather than a tag.  And that theme is transitions.  Water Wings are a major transition – they help keep you afloat while you’re learning to swim on your own.  Just as each of our scenes, in one way or another, reflect transitions, both actual and metaphorical – relationships beginning and ending, people growing and learning, half-genie/half-horses using magical powers to turn people into inanimate objects.  You know, life!

Blink once again and you’re at the airport, waiting for your delayed late-night flight to Winnipeg, ready to do it all again.

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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.

Con Round 4, Fringe Round 2, Head Spinning Round and Round

It’s been longer than I would have liked it to have been between blog posts, but there was a good period there were my sole energy was spent on trying to stay awake, and thus blogging became less of a priority.  I have a new bed now, so that seems to have helped the situation, for now.

Also, I just read something that really inspired me to keep writing my little CCCs.   So back on the saddle again I go.

Today I am beginning the first day of my 4th Second City Conservatory course.  This is, for those of you who are not aware, when we begin to write what will eventually become our own little Second City-style revue.  We’re down two (and nearly 3 for a while there) people from when we began the process in January.  (Was it January?  Let me go back and check…yup January.)  We’re starting fresh with a new teacher (this guy)  and we were just asked to read this incredible blog about creating a Second City show from the perspective of a former Main Stage director in Chicago.  I was glad to have had the opportunity to have worked at the Second City as a host, specifically because I was able to witness this process first hand. (Not through the eyes of a director, however – Melody didn’t think the surgery would be particularly beneficial on her end…)  However,  I got to see what it was like for one show to slowly absorb new material and evolve into what would become the next revue.  I saw it and I wanted so badly to be a part of it.   And here we are in Con 4, a taste of what it would be if we were performers on the Main Stage.

 

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I look forward to documenting (more closely hopefully) the process from here until our big sexy Conservatory 6 production.

***

Simultaneously, I am working at CBC still.

Simultaneously, I just moved to the suburbs.

Simultaneously, I continue to contribute my help, where possible, to the Canadian Comedy Awards Communications Committee.

Simultaneously, I try maintaining a relationship with a bear.

Simultaneously, I am working with my Water Wings partner on bringing the show a bit more up to snuff to take to Winnipeg, where hopefully we will get a bit more support from the community in terms of seeing our little comedy show and enjoying it.  We met a few days ago to discuss some modifications to the scripts, an edit here, an added dance here.  Things we can do to tweek the show and to make it better.  Not, because we didn’t think it was good before, but because these things are in a constant state of evolution.  What worked in Montreal may not work in Winnipeg.   What worked in Toronto didn’t work all the time in Montreal.  Adjustments, tweeks and rehearsals are critical within the next few days in order to ensure the show is superb by the time we bring it to Winnipeg. I had my first over-the-phone interview in French, by the way.  That was pretty excitant!  (But not in the France French way.)

I leave for Winnipeg in a week.  Holy crap.

I’ll have to miss two Con 4 classes for this.

And use up all my CBC vacation time.

But this isn’t complaining.  This is what has to be done.

 

Water Wings – Toronto Brieview!

Just over two weeks now until Water Wings hits the Montreal Fringe Festival.  I can’t believe it.  The show is coming along well – got most of the lines memorized.  And dance moves.  What?  That’s right.

I’m super excited about my first Fringe experience – as a performer, that is – I tried the spectator role, as well as the volunteer role, but something tells me I’m going to like this role a whole lot more.

In the meantime, I’m trying to get as many people as possible to attend the Toronto Preview of the Water Wings.  Since we won’t be able to perform at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year, we’d really like to give our friends, family – and sketch comedy fans in Toronto a taste of what we worked hard to put together.  So, if anyone reading this is available, come on down to:

Comedy Bar: Thursday, June 6th 2013 @ 10PM.  

Erin promises treats!

-3

Trading Faces

It’s hard to believe a year has past since I shared a stage with Dave Foley.  Not just any stage, the main stage at the Second City.  But alas, here we are, one year later, watching my successors have their moment in the limelight alongside another Kid in the Hall, and a most royal queen, Scott Thompson.

God Save the Queen

God Save the Queen

The show was really good, I was super impressed by the performances, a lot of the writing, but mostly the sheer joy on the faces of the performers as they showcased  what they worked really hard on, ans what they learned over the past two years.

…and I can only IMAGINE the infinitely more positive environment these kids had to work with in the writer’s room and in rehearsal.  They were having fun.  And being creative.  I bet they were encouraged to create, explore and push a couple boundaries.  And you could tell all that by the performances.

It was also nice to bump into some fellow alumni and other industry folk for the evening.  🙂  (Including the good news I heard about a sponsorship for Water Wings – but more on that to come…)

I left the Main Stage feeling pretty encouraged and motivated to work hard on my own stuff.  Nothing like a bunch of kids graduating and entering the world of what you want to do to motivate you to make sure you keep at it yourself!  But first, I must rest… because I’ve got this nasty  cough that just started out of nowhere and I’ve got a busy week (month, life) ahead of me!

Congrats Humber Comedy class of 2013!   Y’done good.  Now keep up the hard work and I’ll see ya on the circuit!

Fringe Benefits

*cough, cough*

So, can you guess my big news?

That’s right folks, Brie’s off to the Montreal & Winnipeg Fringe Festivals!  And no, not just to watch!  (Or live-Tweet)  But to perform!  Oh yes, to perform!  Erin Rodgers has graciously invited me to write and co-star in a one-hour sketch extravaganza!

Lake Erie.jpg

Our newly-formed duo; Lake Erie.

OK, so the picture doesn’t really do much, but that’s the best I could come up with with my 10 minutes left of break at work today. (So glad the past two jobs I’ve worked have MS Publisher!)

Anyhoo, so Erin & I are going to be writing up a storm over the next little while and bringing a brand-new hour-long sketch show to the Fringe Festivals in both Montreal and Winnipeg entitled …

Water Wings

Stay tuned as news of this awesome and epic adventure develops!