Advice for New Maestro Players :)

Thank you, Number Three

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Advice for New Maestro Players :)

Postby hujhax » October 21st, 2011, 10:52 am

Hi all --

Occasionally there are questions from new players about how to prepare for their first Maestro.  I figured it'd be nice to have a thread that gives useful advice to Maestro newbies.

I'll start the bidding with some of the basics:

Call Time
Call for Maestro is 9pm.  (Right?)

Dress
Andy's favorite description of how to dress for Maestro is to wear something that's "more funny, more sexy, or more stylish" than what the audience is wearing.  You can look at Maestro photos to get a notion of what players wear, or consult this thread.

Format
If you haven't seen Maestro before, the format is pretty straightforward.  You get called up at random to do scenes.  The directors set up the scenes for you.  The audience scores the scenes from 1-5.  Occasionally we cull low-scoring players.  If you'd like to see examples, here are some show videos.

:mrgreen:

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Postby hujhax » October 21st, 2011, 10:58 am

As a follow-up, here are the three(-ish) pieces of advice I would give to any new player:

1.  It's not *really* a competition.  It's like any improv show:  you're all in it together, making an entertaining experience for the audience.  Just focus on having a good time and supporting your fellow players. 

2.  Misbehave, misbehave, misbehave.  This is the show where you can do *anything*, wreck *any* scene, blunder *completely*, and your directors will be there to neatly set things back on track.  Take all the risks.[1]

2b.  Support, support, support.  Some people make it their goal in Maestro to appear in every single scene.  Maybe you don't want to take it to that extreme, but feel free to jump in at any time, even if you're not 'supposed' to be in the scene.  If the directors think the scene doesn't need you, they'll just say, "Thank you, number 6" and you can go back to the wings.

3.  Fight for stories.  Your directors will often give you setups that are really gamey -- 'party quirks' or something.  But even when that happens, hold on to what you know about storytelling.  Play your character.  Pursue your objectives.  Be emotionally affected by what happen.  Fight for the story, no matter what.

________
[1] Of course, some would argue that this is the only worthwhile way to do improv, regardless of format.

:mrgreen:

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peter rogers @ work | http://hujhax.livejournal.com

Collectively, the internet has the attention span of an ADHD kitten in a room with a disco ball.
      -- 'TheEllimist' on reddit
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Postby zyrain » October 21st, 2011, 1:38 pm

Often new Maestro players will ask me about it and here what I say:

There's a history of 1st time players winning Maestro. This is because the maestro players are trained to be super supportive, especially of newer players. Everyone else is there to make you look good and help you succeed, so don't worry about being nervous, doing well, trying hard, or anything like that. Just like you can't break the show by giving support (as Peter says), you also can't fail because of that same support. All you need to do is act on all of your instincts and inspirations. Have Fun!
- Neal
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Postby happywaffle » October 21st, 2011, 3:29 pm

hujhax wrote:It's not *really* a competition.  It's like any improv show:  you're all in it together, making an entertaining experience for the audience.  Just focus on having a good time and supporting your fellow players.


Just to amplify this statement: the sooner you find yourself *genuinely not caring* about whether you win, the better you'll be. Fall back on your CROW (Character, Relationship, Objective, Where), react SUPER-strongly to anything that happens, and let the story tell itself.

If you're unclear on how a game or scene-setup works, for the love of God, ASK the directors. It probably means the audience is unclear as well, so they'll be grateful you did. On the flipside, don't freak out if there's a little confusion in your mind when the lights go down; it's improv! Just go play!

And if you're REALLY not comfortable with a setup—like, you've been asked to sing alone onstage—you can tell the directors that, too. It's actually pretty funny when an imp gets a setup and says "Dude, I don't want to do that at all," as long as you're being genuine and not dick-ish. (This isn't too much of an issue, however, since directors know who's new vs. experienced and will tailor scene set-ups accordingly.)
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » October 21st, 2011, 7:43 pm

on the whole you'll also find that the less you care about winning, the further you'll "advance" and the greater likelihood you'll have of "winning." because you're not stuck in your head, you're willing to take greater risks, to make others look good, to play the SHOW instead of the GAME.

also, be bold. i like to look at Maestro as a laboratory for my improv. if i want to try out a new approach, a new character, a different idea...something physical, something vocal, something musical, ANYTHING...i throw it into the Maestro environment. worst case scenario, two minutes of your life later the audience gives it a 1 and you learn "maybe that doesn't work yet." but i've ALSO seen scenes that took bold risks, went way off the rails, crashed and burned and the audience APPRECIATED the risk and gave it a 5.

the directors are as much characters in the show as anything. they have very little actual authority. get playful with them. make requests and suggestions. create rivalries or secret crushes. make the framework moments in between scenes as entertaining as the scenes themselves.

it's an hour and a half of your life. it's a fake game for foreign currency you give right back. and there'll be another one next week. SO HAVE FUN!!!
Sweetness Prevails.

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Postby Aden » January 13th, 2012, 1:21 am

Just came across this thread. Great idea Peter!

My favorite piece of Maestro wisdom is this: if you are going to fail, fail big...fail huge, even! Fail epic!!

Big choices are more fun to make, more fun to play with and the director will always pull you back if it's too much.
http://www.gggimprov.com
http://www.merlin-works.com
And that's the whole point. Isn't it?
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