greyscale image of a stop sign with the sky and phone lines in the background.

Stop Doing the Thing

Well hot damn, this took a turn. I’m always using my busy schedule as an excuse not to blog. Well, that’s not so much an issue now, is it? With Covid-19 spreading like wildfire (another very serious problem we’re also still facing globally), there seems to be nothing to do BUT write.

Or so I thought. But you’d be amazed all the stuff you can do instead of writing. I’ve managed to get all my physical receipts ready for tax time. Not enough, so I organized my husband’s too. I’m learning to teach improv online. (Yes, and… it’s gonna take some adjusting!) I’m sorting through junk drawers (and bags, anybody else got junk bags from moving so often?) I’m cleaning this and sanitizing that. I’m taking naps. I’m meditating. I’m watching way too much Netflix.

So here. Gah. Here I am, keyboard. Let’s type.

2020 was gearing up to be great and fun and BUSY:

  • I was about to teach more improv than ever before.
  • Improv Niagara had just secured a second monthly show, which was to take place in downtown Niagara Falls.
  • IN was about to make a huge deal about our 2nd Birthday Fallout show.
  • I was starting to get corporate gigs.
  • I was getting better at Pilates (ie farting less)
  • I’d received a newfound confidence from performing The Vagina Monologues in knowing a) I can, indeed, memorize big chunks of text b) I can, indeed, rock full-faux leather performance attire.

The last month of February was BUZZING. I’m telling you, BUZZING. A huge Improv Niagara event in Niagara Falls, followed immediately by two sold-out, explosive performances of The Vagina Monologues at Camp Cataract.

And now it comes crashing to a halt. No more shows. No more events of 250 people or more. Wait, now it’s 50. OK I get it. No more events. Gatherings = virus spreading. Non-essential services must cease.

Yes, of course, for the best. We must do our part to flatten the curve and keep as many people safe as possible. And yet, it is an adjustment. I guess at least with improv, we’re good with making those.

The Past

This post came up in my Facebook feed today and I wanted to share it with you. I wrote it when I was preparing my first ever “stand-up” “set”required to enter Humber’s School of Comedy. I wrote the post 6 years ago.

8 years ago

Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded how far we’ve come.

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!

Episode #10 with RYAN HUGHES is UP!

http://theconstantstruggle.podbean.com/e/e10-hurricast-with-ryan-hughes/

In this episode, Nick & Brie chat with actor, writer & improvisor Ryan Hughes about some of the struggles he’s currently facing in the pursuit of his art.

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Dis Ryan!

Ryan speaks of a few pros and cons of the day job, and what happens when it’s gone. He discusses issues of confidence and mental health. We also delve into a deep discussion about women in comedy and *~*GASP*~* even feminism!
***
With GREAT shout-outs to:
CARLY HEFFERNAN
JESS BEAULIEU & NATALIE NORMAN (THE CRIMSON WAVE)
CATHERINE MCCORMICK
DANIELA SAIONI
ILLUSIONOID
***
Be sure to check Ryan out on Twitter @ryanfhughes & his improv troupe
Peggy Molson @peggymolson
Peggy Molson are competing in the Big City Improv Festival’s “TKO” tournament. Their semi-final set is at Comedy Bar on Tues. Oct. 13th @ 8:00 PM. Go check ’em out if you’re in Toronto.
#StruggleOn

New Episode of @StrugglePod: E09 – Summer’s End

the constant struggle - banner

http://theconstantstruggle.podbean.com/e/e09-summers-end/

Well kids, summer’s over and with that brings a whole new world of struggles, but not without mentioning the break we took from them during the warm months to relax and refuel the tank.

In this episode, Nick talks about his trip to Chicago, IL with his buddies and Brie mentions her voyage to Halifax, Nova Scotia for the Atlantic Fringe Fest. Both reference their respective cities’ great garlic-bread-type products.
We discuss new and ongoing projects and how to jump back into them now that the colder months are upon us.
Special podcast shout-outs to:

Special Parks Canada shout-outs to:

  • The Citadel
  • Green Gables Heritage Place
  • Province House National Historic Site of Canada

Special Toronto festivals shout-outs to:

And to everything garlic bread, we thank you.

 

Check it out on iTunes, Google Play or at the link right under the banner!

#StruggleOn

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!

Struggling On

logo1On a day like today, the first day this month that I’ve had to work full time hours on the weekend (just Sunday this week, in the coming weeks it’ll be expected of me Saturdays and Sundays), more than ever I feel the need to promote the latest episode of Nick & my podcast; The Constant Struggle:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/a28d3-56ed11

This episode was taped on Father’s Day, and we discussed the grind of getting your creative work done under not-so-ideal circumstances. I have a feeling the next episode is going to talk about more of that because this month I will have even less time to do the things I love, which is pretty crazy disheartening.

It’s getting more difficult to manage the balance of work and passion. Work seems to be weighing more heavily. Too bad I’m not a millionaire, y’know?  Anyway…

In this episode, we give shout-outs to:

  • Drop & Give me 20 stand-up show (Marc Hallworth)
  • Robert Ariss Hills (improviser, graphic designer)
  • Dan Dingwall (a dude)
  • Susannah Kiernan (triple threat)
  • Ken Hall (improv guru)
  • Alexis Bernstein (networking queen & creative expert)
  • The bird clock
  • Porter Airlines

Books & Movies

  • Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)
  • Whiplash (2014)
  • Inside Out (2015)

Podcasts

  • The Moment (Brian Koppelman)
  • WTF (Marc Maron)
  • The Crimson Wave (Jess Beaulieu & Natalie Norman)

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#StruggleOn friends!