A brief rant on Maestro's Unwinnable Final Rounds

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Postby LuBu McJohnson » May 23rd, 2011, 3:04 pm

Brad Hawkins wrote:
shando wrote:The shape of show thing that I see at the end of Maestro that can drive one nuts is say you have 4 people left, or 3, and some tie scores. And then people tied get put into a scene together and there can be no separation between them in the scoring. Like I said I haven't been in a while, so maybe that doesn't happen anymore, but it used to drive me bananas.


Chuy and Noah's dueling-preacher scene was one of those. There seem to be fewer non-solo scenes in the final round these days.


Now that I don't like. When I was playing Maestro we generally had all solo scenes in the final round. If you have more than 3 people in a final round you need to cut some people arbitrarily. OR just end the show there, especially if there is a clear winner and you are running long.

Spaztique wrote:
Although many improvisers would agree that Maestro is not about winning, the audience tends to get antsy when they see one player impossibly far ahead of everyone else. In fact, in one show, one audience member blurted out, "Player so-and-so automatically wins!", turning every scene afterward into an anti-climax.


Just because one audience member is a jerk doesn't mean every other audience member feels that way or that we need to retool sections of the show.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » May 23rd, 2011, 3:20 pm

if i heard someone blurt that out in a show i was winning, i would deliberately torpedo myself JUST to fuck with his head. i like Maestro best when it fucks with its own rules and indulges in mischief. and anything to embrace Kirk's philosphy towards the Kobayashi Maru..."I don't believe in a no-win scenario"...can only heighten that. ;)
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Postby Chuy! » May 24th, 2011, 1:56 am

So now one guy says something and you tank your performance... If that ever happens... I would immediately ask for lights up and The Hideout closed for shows as punishment... (LOOK! I can say things that I don't mean as well!)
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » May 24th, 2011, 8:52 am

Chuy! wrote:So now one guy says something and you tank your performance... If that ever happens... I would immediately ask for lights up and The Hideout closed for shows as punishment... (LOOK! I can say things that I don't mean as well!)


you DOUBT me sir! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :P
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Postby Brad Hawkins » May 24th, 2011, 9:05 am

Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:you DOUBT me sir! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :P

Now I really wish I could do Maestro this Saturday.
The silver knives are flashing in the tired old cafe. A ghost climbs on the table in a bridal negligee. She says "My body is the life; my body is the way." I raise my arm against it all and I catch the bride's bouquet.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » May 24th, 2011, 9:07 am

Brad Hawkins wrote:
Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell wrote:you DOUBT me sir! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! :P

Now I really wish I could do Maestro this Saturday.


if Chuy is unbeatably ahead, i'm going to punch him in the stomach. then smash a chair over his head. then renounce my citizenship to America, join forces with Sadaam Hussein and betray the Ultimate Warrior to the Undertaker.

it'll all play out in Maestro Slam, this summer!
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Postby Chuy! » May 24th, 2011, 10:04 am

Hot Damn! Now I wish I had signed up! You would've been toast JT...
Chicken Fried Steak and all that...
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » May 24th, 2011, 10:08 am

toast with EGGS!
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Postby Brad Hawkins » May 24th, 2011, 10:23 am

Chuy! wrote:Hot Damn! Now I wish I had signed up! You would've been toast JT...

There's still time!
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Postby Chuy! » May 24th, 2011, 11:07 am

I have a very close friend coming to town and am not particularly in to playing one character all night... (actually, I just don't have a costume. My kids have monopolized Halloween for 7 years now)
Chicken Fried Steak and all that...
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Postby sara farr » May 24th, 2011, 6:14 pm

kbadr wrote:It is not about winning, but the show of the competition is an important one.


You should TRY TO WIN MAESTRO. Right?? That's what I've heard from BATS players. However, I think a big part of winning Maestro is BEING adorable and charming in the eyes of the audience! I think that's how you should play the entire show -- try to get them to want to take you home. If you're impossibly behind, don't give up! Play to win!

And yes, it's hard to MAKE the audience think you are charming. It's like saying, "I'm Charming" to the audience. AND like the game where you try to make people think you are sexy, it sometimes works in the reverse -- yet when people label you as sexy and treat you that way, you ARE sexy. This is why a lot of winners had great supporting casts that made them look clever and charming and all that good stuff.

You don't have to be the most physically attractive person in the cast to be charming (though it can help). You can make people adore your cleverness, your fearlessness, your good-sportsmanship, your klutziness, your under-dog-ish-ness... and yes, even very arrogant and selfish players CAN win, too!

However, there is the variable that each night there is a different group of people in the audience. AND, what people like to see on stage is different from person to person. What you are trying to do is be adorable to the broadest spectrum of people. Showing you are vulnerable LIKE THEM is good bet for getting them on your side and cheering for you.

Wanna win Maestro? Get a bunch of people who love to watch you improvise to come see the show and cheer you on!!

Shape of show will be equalized if the entire cast is trying to get the audience to take them home. ALL SCENES will be fun to watch. :-) And there is no money at stake, so audiences don't really care if its a tie game of awesomeness.
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Postby beardedlamb » May 24th, 2011, 7:43 pm

just want to echo what everyone is saying to make sure it is driven home to folks reading this. it's not about the score. it's about the audience and their enjoyment of the show. if someone has to take a dive or job out to the imp who's getting more heat from the crowd, it should be done so that the audience can get the show they paid for and want. (see: 'professional wrestling' as an example of a "competitive" activity that is not actually a competition.)
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Postby Spots » May 24th, 2011, 9:28 pm

sara farr wrote:You don't have to be the most physically attractive person in the cast to be charming (though it can help). You can make people adore your cleverness, your fearlessness, your good-sportsmanship, your klutziness, your under-dog-ish-ness... and yes, even very arrogant and selfish players CAN win, too!



I think you can overanalyze it too much. Sara I think your view described above might be doing just that. We're trying to find a formula for winning and breaking it down into components. From what I've heard, I would wager that most winners were genuinely having the most fun, feeling the most confidence, & finding that strength from the audience.

I don't think you have break it down much more than that. HAVE FUN & draw strength from the audience.
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Postby Katherine » May 24th, 2011, 10:11 pm

I like Davis's idea and can see that it would be a very useful tool in the director's bag of tricks. It's a great way to keep the hard core score watchers in the audience engaged.

Another thought is this... as an audience member and as a cast member I have often wished the audience could vote to bring one eliminated player back to compete for the final round. They could be the Wild Card Player or something. I've only been in Maestro a few time, but I've seen it a lot, and I'd say the desire to see someone return to the stage hits me the vast majority of the time. If this seems sacrilegious to mess with The Almighty Point System, perhaps that person could play, but not for points. (For the record, I have always been eliminated in the first round, and while I've wished I could do some more scenes with everyone, I've never thought I should be the one to be brought back from the Maestro dead.)

A few weeks ago was one improvisor's last show for a while, so when she was eliminated, she gave a little speech of thanks to the audience for several years of support. Another eliminated cast member began to chant, "Let her stay! Let her stay!" The audience agreed and she stayed on. When she was eliminated again, the chant started again, and she was allowed to stay but not play for points. That scenario was an unusual one, but I think it shows that even the audience wants to overrule the score board sometimes. (This connects with Matt's point that every once in a while, the prize does not go to the top scoring player.)

I know one of the tenants of Maestro is that it's not fair. As performers, we have to be ok with that. As audience members, that unfairness is usually part of the fun of the show, but sometimes they so clearly want someone to stick around. What do you think of revivifying one player per game before the final round?
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Postby NoahV » May 24th, 2011, 10:47 pm

For me, Maestro has never been about winning; it is about playing as many scenes as possible and having as much fun as possible. So what if the illusion of the competition is shattered in the last round? Ideally, the last scenes should be so good that the audience no longer cares about who 'wins' or 'loses' until the directors remind them that there is a show winner. The scoring is a gimmick to give the audience a sense of power, a connection to the show and the performers. The competition scheme is mostly beneficial in the first two rounds when the most players are on stage, after that, the audience should be rooting for all the players left to continue their streak of good scenes.
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