Posts Tagged improv

Improv Overload??

Pshaah.  Not possible to overload on something so fun.  However, it’s that time of year when the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament (FIST) takes hold of the City (okay, at least my corner of the world) and suddenly I realize that my calendar is full of improv.  Seriously.  Full.  Here’s what I’m up to next week:

  • Sunday – The Harold class that I TA for is having their showcase at 6:00pm.  I’ll be there to take notes and cheer them on!  Probably taking in other showcases before or after, since that’s a fun freebie of new talent and ideas.
  • Monday – Subsidized Corn practice.  At least I get to practice.  Sometimes I get antsy when I just watch performances because I want to get out there so bad!
  • Tuesday – Auditions for a Harold team.  Yes, it’s time I finally tried out.  I’ve let it slip by for a few auditions for a range of reasons (lack of confidence, 10:00 shows are too late, missed the deadline).  But now the stars are aligned, and I’m ready.  Plus, being on the other side of auditions when SubCo had ours was really helpful.
  • Wednesday – WIT happy hour in Columbia Heights.  This is one of the beau’s favorite spots, so of course I’m going.  So technically, this isn’t improv, but it’s improv related.
  • Thursday – Finally, I get to take the stage with my FIST team!  Jules Duffy, Brandon Russell and I, aka Good Friends, will be playing on Thursday, March 15th (Beware the Ides!) at 9:30pm at Source Theater.  Please come out and vote for us so we can advance to the next round!!
  • Friday – A day off.  Whew.
  • Saturday – FIST night for me.  Darnell and Nick (Mere Mortals) are on at 8:00pm and the beau (Two Beards and a Bald) is on at 11:00pm.  Kind of a crappy slot to be on St. Patrick’s Day, but I’ll be there cheering them on and voting for the bestest teams!

So come out and watch with me!  Or, support us on Thursday with your laughter and your votes to move Good Friends to the next round.  If we advance, I will be sure to let everyone know about our next show.

See you there.

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Directorial Debut

Have you seen Subsidized Corn and Friends’ 48 Hour Film Project submission yet?  If you’re coming from facebook (and about 92% of you usually do), then you’ve probably seen it.  If not, I present it here for your review, plus some behind-the-scenes insights that only a director can provide.

Oh, I didn’t tell you that I was the Director?  Silly me.  [insert southern guilty girly laugh]  You only get your first time once!  And yes, this was my first time.  The awesome cameraman Ivan had to teach me the shoutout order: “Quiet on the set!  Roll camera.  Action!  Cut!”  We lost the formality of it as soon as I jumped in for acting, but it worked out.  We lost a lot of formalities, and that worked very well for our group that already works well together informally.  I really enjoyed blocking and working with the actors, especially since I know these actors and their capabilities so well.  Actors were all improvisers, which made my job extremely easy, and included Laura, Nick, Darnell and me (from SubCo), HiM (Just Moxie) and Xavier (The Lodge).

A couple of things before you watch.  First, the rules.  There were some 120 to 140 entries, so each team was divided into screening groups of about 12-15 teams.  On Friday at 7:00pm, we picked a genre out of a hat.  Within each screening group were 14 genres, so no genre within the same screening group was repeated.  If you pulled a genre that you did not want to use, you had to wait until the end and pull from a supplementary list.  We decided that the only one we really were not interested in exploring for our first submission was the “western/musical” category.

We pulled “Thriller/suspense.”  Luckily, you are allowed to combine genres as long as the original one is represented.  As funny as we think we are, we were prepared to make anything we did a comedy.  Of course.

So each group had a unique genre, but all groups were assigned three components that must be represented (or face disqualification).  For this event, we needed to include a teacher named Riley Tompkins, a pencil and this line of dialog, “I’m taking it one day at a time.”  The film had to be between 4-7 minutes long.

Friday night as soon as we received that information, our writers got to writing.  We had a crack writing team of Laura (our team leader, writer, actor and editor extraordinaire), Mike (aka HiM) and Laura’s friend Kristen.  They only needed 1.5 hours to develop an awesome concept and another 2 hours to work out a script.  I am convinced that without this great script, the weekend would not have gone so smoothly.  Meanwhile, all the non-writers gathered at my place to start finding locations, props, costumes, etc. that would be needed based on the concept.  This is where the writers created magic because we only needed one location to film (instead of running all over town) and each of the actors could wear costumes and make up they already had.  Brilliant.  I stayed up late that night working over and over the script to compose each scene in my head and what type of direction each character would need.  I enjoyed that part and should probably look over my notes now that the film is completed – how close did I come to my Saturday 2:00 am vision?

Saturday morning at a more reasonable hour we gathered at Nick and Lylie’s house, which became our studio for the day.  It was not only the perfect location for filming, but also an easy location for having meetings, eating lunch, and relaxing if you weren’t in the scene.  The filming went smoothly, and we wrapped up by 5:00.  That’s when Laura and Ivan worked their magic… there were a few hours of technical difficulties that they worked through, which is why putting together a film in 48 hours is both magic and tough.  Laura edited through the night, while the rest of us relaxed and enjoyed a nice night out even though we were spent.

Mid afternoon Sunday, I met up with Laura to help her stay awake to finish the movie.  Poor girl!  She edited and I mostly watched and helped her keep tabs of things that you forget about when working on a few hours of sleep.  She dropped in the music which was composed specifically for this film by two of her friends.  They each got a copy of the script on Saturday morning and wrote pieces just for this film.  How cool is it that our film has a sound track?  In the last hour, through the power of Google, Laura and I learned to make rolling credits using Adobe Premiere CS4, if that means anything to anyone.  Yes, we had about one hour to make credits, render, then save/burn to a disk.  At that point, it looked something like this.

We hustled, and Laura’s boyfriend Brian helped us Mac deficient folks finish up stuff.  “Go!” he kept yelling as I was hustling to make the 7:00 deadline.  The drop off was in my neighborhood, so I knew what was up.  I got there a few minutes before 7:00 and no one seemed to be rushed or panicked.  That’s not the film community I know!  Oh, right, the films were due at 7:30.  Well, well, look at us with 30 minutes to spare!

I am extremely proud of this team and our effort.  Our two goals for this project were 1. produce a film that we were proud of and 2. have fun.  We definitely did both of those!  I really hope you enjoy it because we put our little hearts and souls into this baby!

So with that, I present to you:  On the Move

Up next, Laura and I want to continue the fun and do a bloopers reel and a director’s cut.  Probably stuff that only we would find funny or interesting, but another fun project with extra film footage and some editing time!

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Kernels for Carolina Wrap Up

We had such an amazing time in Lenoir, NC this weekend putting on the Kernels for Carolina show!  Mom and Dad worked so hard to get the house clean, to have people in the audience and to host and feed Subsidized Corn this weekend.  They were wonderful hosts, so a great big Thank You goes to them! They even managed to order the perfect February weather.

A big thank you to F. Futs Cafe and the Main Street Theater for giving us a chance to perform.  We are completely jealous of the wonderful space you have there and wish we had access to a space like that in DC.

The workshop was attended by more than just my family, too!  Lenoir has some amazing talent…probably the most advanced beginners workshop I’ve ever seen.  Thanks to Mom, Dad, Emily, Piatt, Donna, Jeremy, Nicholas, Steve, Cheynne and the German fish farmer (whose name I could not spell correctly if my life depended on it) for coming to the workshop and taking a chance on some random people from out of town!

We put on two shows and we were very pleased, as was the audience.  What an ego boost for Adelaide!  The highest compliment we received was a gentleman that said he felt we were cheating him when we wrapped up the show because he did not want it to end.  Then he looked at his watch and realized we had gone over our time!  That’s good stuff.  The absolute kicker was that all the audience suggestions in the paper game fell right into place.  Either my mom’s prayers that we don’t bomb in front of her friends were answered or all that practice was actually paying off.  How uncanny was that line about Willard?  Come on, that’s pure genius.

The road trip portion was also so much fun!  Normally I have to beg people to play car games with me, but Subsidized Corn is just so easy.  They were counting cows before I could even explain the rules!  And we totally worked our improv games into the car to create “group think,” which is probably why our shows were so awesome.  And here’s a tip, if someone tells you the magic number is 24, don’t believe them because it’s really 32.  Stick with it.

Photos are on Facebook if you haven’t seen them.  We’ll have some killer videos for you soon, hopefully.  Needless to say, we do some crazy things around video cameras!  But here is one to tie you over until then…

Thank you to everyone who came out to watch.  We had so much fun performing for you and hope we can do it again soon.  But only if my mom promises to do her British accent for us.  That was the only thing lacking this time around.

In other Subsidized Corn news, a huge welcome to our newest baby kernel, Evan Kendall Blanco Kachadorian, new baby boy to Steve and his wife Nancy.  We can’t wait to meet the widdle guy!

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Aussie Vacation: Reason 1

I am excited about tonight because it is a free night and I don’t get many of those anymore!  And before you ask, I’m busy with all the stuff I haven’t been able to get to this week, like working late, laundry and eating, so I am unavailable to play.  Booo me.  I also have some SubCo marketing stuff to work on, too.  It has been a wonderful week so far, and props to Sarah and Laura for their awesome stand-up routines that I saw this week!

I just looked at my calendar for the next week.  Holy cow.  Here it goes:

  • Friday, perform improv. Subsidized Corn show at Comedy Spot in Ballston Mall at 8:00 pm.  Tickets are $15.
  • Saturday, practice improv. Aussie SubCo practice, and our final with our mini-coach.   He’s not small, we just hired him for a few sessions.  He’s been great to work with and has advanced the group tremendously!
  • Sunday, strategy and photo session for improv. Meeting with my FIST team (the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament, a march madness style improv tourney coming in March).  Details coming soon!
  • Monday, watch improvValentine’s Day WIT show.  I’ll be in the audience with a bunch of pals, and I’m excited about the line up of performers.  They always bring it.  Come join!
  • Tuesday, more practice for improv. Our weekly Subsidized Corn practice.
  • Wednesday, Date Night! (See babe, this is why I appreciate when you plan in advance! Thank you!)

I noticed the other day that I’m getting better, so at least practice is paying off!  And if this weren’t so fun, I would probably ask for an intervention.  Seriously.  But it IS fun, and I’m hanging out with my friends, being creative and spending time with fun people.  It’s also helping to reduce any performance anxiety about traveling around the world to perform.  I’m feeling prepared, and we’ve worked hard.  We are almost ready…well, once we add Goli in the mix!

After I return from the Subsidized Corn roadtrip and our Kernels for Carolina shows in Lenoir, NC, I’ll probably take a break from the improv to clear my head for four days, until I leave for Australia, where I will be practicing, watching and performing more improv!

Aussie Vacation: Reason 1, take a break from a crazy improv schedule!

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Gratitude Day 7: Subsidized Corn

I love Subsidized Corn (our improv group, in case there is any confusion before I begin).  I am so thankful that I have this group of friends that I can spend time with each week playing and laughing.  Through the laughter, we are learning and pushing our boundaries and getting to know each other better and becoming better individuals.  Sunday evening, we had our first practice with a coach (who was a one-time deal because we like that we are self coached for now) and it went really well.  We worked for three hours with Mark and it was so much fun that time flew by.  I’m also thankful that Mark agreed to work with us!

This is such a supportive group, both on stage and off, and I am thankful that they are in my life.  We work well together and our strengths and weaknesses complement each other.  We are very much like a family unit, which each of us playing a specific role.  I remember the day we formed and Nick said that we should each agree that the minute it stops being fun that we have to communicate that immediately.  Just like any relationship, you need to let people know how you feel and if you need support for anything, you need to voice it because people are not mind readers.  Since then it has been a lot of fun, and we’ve been very good about voicing concerns, issues and even praise.  As a whole, we’re very innocent and have good clean fun.  We’re the underdogs you want to pull for because you relate to them.  Individually, we’re average, but together, we’re super stars.  We are the 2010 WIT Cagematch Champs, after all!

I know I have a tendency to go on and on about them, so I’ll stop there today.  I just wanted to be clear to them, in case I don’t tell them enough, how special they are to me.  I am thankful that we have SubCo practice each week as an excuse to catch up with them (even though some weeks I’m more excited than others).  And I’m still not ready to talk about Goli leaving us for Sydney, so I won’t.  However, I will be seeing her next spring.  Stay tuned for details.

Lizzie's SubCo design for the last show

Lizzie's SubCo design for the last show

So, thank you Nick, Darnell, Steve, Lizzzie, Goli and Laura for all the laughs and support!!

(And readers, if you have a minute and haven’t seen our interview for the last run we did, take a moment and read it.  That will help you understand how our personalities, and spreadsheet skills, work together.)

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