Saturday, April 11

This is why

Sometimes I wonder why I do improv.  It is so ephemeral, so fleeting.  You can't practice so much that you are guaranteed good shows and certainly not great shows.  At some point, you can end up having good show after good show and yet they can seem empty.  Because the bar keeps moving.  It is performance, so you do care about what others think.  But we all know that a decent show still means people come up and say, "Good show."  Those really good or great shows are sometimes few and far between and sometimes it is hard to judge what is what... and sometimes it is hard to detect the exclamation point in "Good show!"

We desire people we respect to give us positive feedback.  Because we are human.  There are so few things in the improv world that are tangible positive reinforcement... and they come in the form of people we respect saying, "We like you and specifically you.  And we want you ABOVE others."  That is rare.  We wish it could come to all of our friends that we love and think are talented and skilled... but of course it can't.  The very nature of that sort of reinforcement is that it puts one above another.  Not that they are better people, or even more skilled.  But that is the nature of the beast.

We all (or almost all) say that is not why we do improv.  And I believe that.  But then why do it?

Because of shows like last night.

Thank You, Robot had a really good show last night.  The sort of show that reminds me of the magic of improv.  Where it doesn't become work.  Where you are all on stage as a unit, giving and taking and feeding off each other.  Where the whole is so much greater than the sum of the parts.

Here are reasons I liked last night's show:
TYR is a bit proud of our openings.  Not many folks do organic openings.  Hell, many indie teams don't do openings at all.  Our openings are fun and entertaining and not alienating (we hope).  However, sometimes they become disconnected from the actual show.  We'll have a fun opening that we don't draw from.  But last night, that was not the case.  We played with the suggestion and (for the most part) kept it moving.  There was variation and characters.  We started to touch on themes.  And when we got to the actual set, we drew from it well.  "Used the whole buffalo."  Okay, maybe a few parts can't left aside but not much.  

• While we jumped around on game a bit, things weren't thrown away.  There was layering of game.  Sometimes he'd hit a game and move on from it, but it wasn't a desperate grasping for something fun.  It was a progression.  In the past, TYR would "follow what is fun" so hard that we'd jump quickly on the crazy train and just end up in madness.  Last night we all listened and added and shared.

• Our support was strong and helpful and never took over the scene from what was already established.

• I am particularly proud of a support move/fill out the scene move I made and what it became. It was just object work, off to the side.  I said one word (which actually wasn't needed).  I am happy I was able to add to the scene and support the moves everyone else was making without speaking.  (And it was nice to get praise for my object work.  It's a small thing but people seemed to enjoy it.)

• Laughing.  My team makes me laugh a lot.  I know breaking on stage isn't great, but when you crack up a teammate and they crack you up (and you don't let it take over the set), it feels awesome.  Thank you, JR.

• We had moments of slight confusion that turned great.  Two initiations made at the same time that then join into one thing, that was then supported and justified by everyone else.
• I love moments of group mind where I think of a big move and someone one the team does exactly that move before I do.  It is so rewarding to just be on the same page.

• But there was also surprise.  People did and said stuff that just wowed me at them being unexpected.  And I surprise myself.  I often think to much, plan too much.  Last night I acted on instinct and it felt perfect (and was immediately supported by everyone).  [Thank you, Nick Ross.]

Anyway, that is why I do this.  I am glad I am reminded.  I think I had forgotten.

(I am also super-excited for a new class that starts on Monday.  If there was a class or project that my life has been building do since the day I was the movie 1984 back in 1984, it is this class.  It might end up being a mess but I don't care because it is something I so want to do.)

Thursday, April 9

Yes, I don't undrestand Texas

Besides their new evolution/creationism law, there is now this.

Texas lawmaker suggests Asian adopt names that are easier for Americans to deal with.
Brown suggested that Asian-Americans should find a way to make their names more accessible.
“Rather than everyone here having to learn Chinese — I understand it’s a rather difficult language — do you think that it would behoove you and your citizens to adopt a name that we could deal with more readily here?” Brown said.
Brown later told Ko: “Can’t you see that this is something that would make it a lot easier for you and the people who are poll workers if you could adopt a name just for identification purposes that’s easier for Americans to deal with?”

Foibles of technology

From Benjamin Apple:
Accidentally wrote a sketch today
I don’t get great cell reception in my room, so when I checked my iPhone’s weather app before leaving the apartment, it wouldn’t load any data. I walked to the front of the apartment, opened the window, and leaned out, to try to get my phone to tell me what the weather was like.

Your business card is crap!

(via Geeks Are Sexy)

For Dave B.

Facts of Life set made of Lego.

(via Neatorama)

Wednesday, April 8

Best Company Name Ever

Will Wright is leaving EA to start and entertainment think tank (whatever the hell that is) called Super Fun Club.

Tuesday, April 7

What sort of pet I would have if I could have anything

Especially if it learns to climb stairs.


The first movie was so deeply on target. I still contend that the 2nd movie added nothing. But my love for the first one and the amount of potential that was never realized (except to a minor extent in the animated series) has kept me hoping for more.

So there has been a certain amount of joy contected to the news of a 3rd movie. Especially rumors that Rick Morranis might come out of retiremen to be in it (oh, please, yes). No script yet and there won't be one until the summer.. since the writers are also writers on The Office. So all signs, so far, point to awesome.

But I am perhaps more excited by upcoming videogame.

The original Ghosterbusters game is a bit notorious. Most of it was about making money so you could pay for gas to drive around the city (because everyone knows THAT was what the main point ofthe movie was). Also, when you won you received this lovely message:
Conglaturation !!!
You have completed a great game.
And prooved the justice of our culture.
Now go and rest our heroes !
Because Ghosterbuster don't give a crap about spelling.

Anywhozits, the new game, has most of the voice talent from the orignial movies. (No Sigourney Weaver. But we really don't need Dana. We don't need a love interest, actually... but we are getting one voiced by Alyssa Milano. Try to not picture a Bill Murray/Alyssa Milano hook-up. Just don't.) What is most excitng is that it looks like they've nailed the visuals... and then turned them up to 11.

(As noted by Topless Robot, "Split Up" isn't a rule. Except that watching the damage the game lets you inflict is awesome-sauce. I envy those who went to ComicCon at got a taste of all this.)