My Lighthouse

I think People & Chairs turned me onto Ben Noble’s blog, which lead me to his newsletter; a weekly Monday morning email filled with inspiring and helpful tidbits pertaining to improv and creativity in general. The perfect email to receive amongst the rest of the Monday madness of a 9-5 office job.

It seems appropriate then that I should read Ben’s post about his Lighthouse word last year around the same time I began bullet journalling because the two seem to be an intertwining system of motivation and creativity.

Per Ben, a lighthouse word is a single word that will serve as your guiding light for the year ahead. I figured I’d give it a shot. Last year, I chose the word “wake,” because I felt like I may be going through the motions too much, rather than being present, and awake for everything I was doing. I also felt like I was sleeping in too much on weekends and taking too many naps, and that I might be missing out on stuff as a result of that. Since then, I’ve reminded myself that that’s ridiculous because sleeping and napping are both awesome, especially when you already have a lifestyle that keeps you up late at night.

The combination of wanting to be awake, and the mentality of enthusiastic yes anding learned in improv that’s seeped into my everyday existence really helped make 2017 a truly stand-out year. So when it came time to pick my lighthouse word for 2018, I was a bit worried. What could I pick that would be as impactful as “Wake the eff up, Brie?”

I shortlisted a few words and continued setting up my bujo for the year ahead. I thought about things I lacked, areas in my life I’d like to improve. One thing kept coming back to me. Something that frustrates me beyond belief;  when I’m not ready for something that I’ve known about for a while. I pride myself on time management skills, but my husband reminds me that these could still use a bit of brushing up. This is difficult when you have a million separate projects on the go, and they all require a significant amount of brainpower to make happen on a regular basis; like producing multiple comedy shows, acts and classes.

I think my perception of time is off, because there are always things I forget to take into consideration before I have to go out and do, anything! I assume I’ll just leave the house and be ready to go, but no; there are other things that need to happen before I step out the door. Inevitably, I’ll leave much later than originally intended because I forgot that leaving the house requires a fair amount of planning and preparation, and that these things take time.

This seems obvious, but it’s a huge set back for me. I try to plan things out to the T, time-wise so as soon as something like “shit, I forgot I have to put gas in the car” comes up, it throws me off my timeline and puts me behind, which raises my anxiety and brings out all sorts of negativity in me. And that’s just one little thing. There are many of these little things that add up and make me late ALL THE TIME. Since FOREVER! Since I was a kid! I wait to the last minute because I’m focused on other things that I’m not giving myself the amount of time to THINK about what I NEED to do to accomplish what I WANT.

So. I’ve taken some steps and I’ve thought up some strategies because this year, now that I’ve trained myself to be awake, I’ve decided that’s not enough. I also want to be properly PREPAREd.

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PS. It’s super hard for me not to sing that Lion King song almost every time I see this page in my bujo, and I’m trying to be OK with that.

What do you think? Do you have a lighthouse word for 2018? Let me know in the comments below!

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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!

Back to Something

Ever notice how new beginnings always surface in September, even though you’re not going back to school? What the heck is up with that?

Maybe it’s because my recent trip out East had a very “wrap-up the Summer” sortof feel to it. And I actually didn’t get much of a summer because I was working pretty much constantly throughout the PanAm Games. So it was nice to get a little summer/end of August break and do a little travelling… and then do 10-days straight worth of performance. (Not really, there was one day where I didn’t perform, but I did 2 shows on another day, so it totally makes up for it.) It was nice to be a tourist and to visit a part of the country I’d never seen before. I got to check off two Canadian provinces I hadn’t yet been to. I’ve now got the ENTIRE East Coast checked off! #PointsMe #GottaCatchEmAll

But then immediately upon my return it was like BOOM: Here’s the shit you put aside the past few weeks galavanting amongst the “friendlies.”  (what I have decided to nickname people from the East Coast.)

All of a sudden I was like: “Oh crap! My contract with CBC Sports is up! I’m unemployed!” Luckily, HR’s wheels were in motion while I was away and have secured me a new position amongst the Corporation’s Communications, Marketing, Brand & Research Department. (Seriously, who wants to talk about how much they hate the unions, because I will kick you in the face to defend mine.)

Show-producer-wise, Exit, Pursued by a Bear came back after a successful Fringe run, with great reviews and lovely audiences to our monthly show at SoCap with TWO paying customers. (I love you Dave & Alanna) and one drunk dude who just kinda walked in and out of the show at his leisure. I don’t want this to sound complain-y. It’s just sortof a matter-of-fact consequence, but now we’re forced to rethink our show. Whether to and where to keep doing it, if we indeed want to keep doing it. It looks like we do. Personally, I get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to perform alongside some of my favourite the troupes and people in the city looking for stage time. And it allows Gill to play together as well, because over the past year of playing together, and certainly after 10 days in a row playing together, I like to think we’ve become a pretty dang good duo. (Now, if our duo could get into a couple improv festivals to showcase it, that would be great.)  <– THAT, was complaining.  (Note the distinction.) 😛

I just auditioned for Toronto’s French improv league: “Les Improbables.” If I make it into that, there go all my Tuesday evenings, which would require adjustments to shows I run and play in, namely “The Drill” at the Second City Training Centre, but also other great shows that take place on Tuesdays at that venue. That’s a big decision to make.

I need to make time to write a potential one-woman show. I want to work on my stand-up. I might apply to teach improv to seniors. It’s GWCI?’s birthday and I need to learn to bake a cake. I want to write my original pilot. I need to write more specs… and on and on and on with the things I still want to accomplish this year.

At least I AM sure about one thing. I am NOT going back to school! (Although, I could use a bit a bit of those deadlines and discipline.)  There should be an app that’ll make me feel horrible if I hand some life project in late. Get to work, nerds!

Non nobis solum nati sumus (It’s Latin for stuff)

I’ve realized that, as a writer, I’m not very good at writing about things that make me either very happy or very sad. Today, I will challenge myself to talk about something someone did for me that made me feel very happy about a situation that is very sad.

If any of you know my fiance Dan… (there’s one. I hadn’t announced on the Interwebs yet that I’m engaged, even though it’s been like 7 months now, so there you go.) … you know how much he hates Toronto traffic. And I mean, I know we ALL hate Toronto traffic, but he hates Toronto traffic more than anyone I’ve ever known to hate traffic. He can get pretty road-rage-y.

So, imagine my surprise and delight today when I suggested to him, two hours before I had to be at work, that there was something I wanted to get for my friend, who has recently lost someone very important to him. But, that that thing could only be collected at the Vaughan Mills mall, which if you know Toronto, is not the most accessible of shopping destinations, especially not in rush hour.

Without any protest, Dan responded: “Well, we’d better go now if you want to get it done in time.”

So off we went, in crappy Toronto traffic, to Vaughan and back downtown in rush hour traffic, with only a few minor swears along the way, all due to legitimate cut-offs. (Have you noticed how terrible people in Toronto drive?)

I’m lucky and grateful to have a partner who knows the value of helping others. And the value of helping others help others.

I feel like a shmuck for writing something nice, non-comedy-related, and relationship-y. But uh… you’re just going to have to deal with that, ok readership? Ok!

Also, thank you for visiting my blog.

Rants of an Overworked Watson

I’m on my second weekend of working straight through the week, sans days off, 12-hour days going home at 1am, my tonsils have doubled in size this past weekend, it’s office-freezer in here all the time (I’m currently wrapped in my “office blanket,” but what’s REALLY bugging me is that I can’t go out and perform my comedy! Hmph!

I suppose I should be looking at this whole event, this whole big thing I’m currently involved in as research; for a future pitch, or show, or something. But I’m just so impatient, I just want to be out there every night working my craft.  (ugh, I’m a person who says THAT now.)

Maybe this will force me to sit down and read more, or write more, or watch the stuff on TV (whene everyone’s gone home and I’m here “monitoring” stuff,) that’s supposed to be hilarious and write a few spec scripts and have something to submit to a whomever might want to hire me to write for them one day, in the mythical world where TV shows find their writers on geeky online blogs about their experiences in comedy.

Maybe, and more importantly, I should probably just shut up and enjoy the opportunity this has provided me. Maybe learn some new stuff about an incredibly cool industry. Really throw myself into this project. Get to know the people I’m working with, who so far have been great, friendly, unique interesting and lovely.

Yeah, maybe.

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!

A pre-emptive apology to my Toronto Fringe-performing friends

Given the recent surge in Facebook invites, either I’ve become increasingly more popular (not likely) or it’s the Toronto Fringe, and all the performers I know in this city seem to have a show this year. And believe me, I would love nothing more but to enjoy your talents on a weekday afternoon, the time you so desperately need an audience, but I’ll be at work.

Anything in the early afternoon too, yup. Working.

In the evening? Probably just leaving work. If I’m lucky.

Shit, the project I’m working on these days has be so busy that when I DO finally get off my shift, it’s all I can do to not fall asleep on the streetcar, call the 501 my bed and ride it fully unconscious until the morning comes and I’m forced to exit and stumble into the freezer that is my current place of employ.

Not that I’m complaining about the fact that I am employed. I’m happy about that. In fact, I’m dependent on it.

You’re all such a tremendously talented bunch of amazing folk.

But what I am saying, is that I really REALLY will try to see your shows, but if I can’t, I’m sorry. And I wish you the best of broken legs throughout such a wonderful festival.

Bon courage!