Over the last two weeks I’ve had some eye-opening experiences across the three dimensions of storytelling on which I’m focusing this summer.
On storytelling via open mic, I’ve started a standup comedy workshop with the esteemed Leslie Wolff, and have audited a class by Judy Carter, a standup comedian who, ironically, is focused on bringing comedy into the business world. Lesley and Judy have very different approaches to standup: whereas Lesley encourages her students to talk about themselves and do so via story, Judy says, “nobody cares about you” and encourages her students to keep their material about their audience, and structured in a way that is more focused on a punchline. Either way, the more I workshop standup with my classmates, and attend comedy nights around LA, the more I realize that standup is special in that it’s one of the few areas of successful, popular entertainment that is not technology-driven. Standup is still (mostly) one girl or guy with a mic, a stage, and an audience.
On storytelling via improv, I performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater with my colleagues from my 101 class at UCB. Given that everything we performed was made up on the spot, it was amazing to see how everyone’s nerves melted away while we found our groove as a group. On my own performance, while one of my skits landed well, some others did not and I feel that I’m still being too cerebral when it comes to how I enter a scene. I need to really let go a la “jump and the net will find you.” Some of my friends from the class and I rented a theater in Culver City this afternoon and hopefully will be practicing as a group for the rest of the summer.
On storytelling via film, I’ve spent the last two weeks learning the ins and outs of Final Cut Pro, Apple’s professional editing suite. It’s incredibly powerful (and built sort of like Microsoft Excel but for video) and I’m excited about the control that it offers above and beyond the Apple iMovie editing suite (which I used for my first couple videos). I’m just putting the finishing touches on my first movie from the roadtrip, titled Buffalo Walk. It is a 9 minute piece that tries to answer the question: “what are the values that will make people across America want to pack up their bags and move to Buffalo NY today”?
Finally, this week I had a chance to drop in on the set of Matt Walsh’s new movie, the High Road. Besides getting some cool insight into the brains of director Matt Walsh and his actors (including Rob Riggle, of Daily Show fame), I also got to play an extra in a scene (I’ll be the guy at the Cadillac Jack’s diner counter during the chase scene). Off we go-