Being a Director

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Being a Director

Postby Asaf » July 27th, 2007, 1:13 pm

What are some of the helpful notes that can be given to people in the director spot?

For example, always have Free Tickets on hand, it helps with getting audience volunteers.
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Postby arthursimone » July 27th, 2007, 1:29 pm

you mean Director of AIC or directing shows in general?
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Postby Roy Janik » July 27th, 2007, 1:29 pm

Here are some purely technical tips for directing Maestro. I'll save the more esoteric stuff for later, or for someone more qualified.

Make sure you double check that you have all the number tokens on hand and that they say the same thing on the front and back.

Be vigilant about removing number tokens from the bowl/hat and taking names off the scoreboard after each elimination.

Before you open house, go put the Canadian $5 bill and maybe your clipboard down on the two seats you intend the directors to sit in. Otherwise, your seats will get taken.

Compare scores by looking the right edge of each name on the board. Sometimes the lengths vary and you can wrongly eliminate people if you look at the left edge.

Figure out if any games you might do have special sound/lighting requirements and go over them with the tech operators (spotlight in poet's corner, music for silent scenes, etc...)

Make sure you have a mini-list of elimination games prepared, including some that are appropriate for a final battle.

Make sure the offstage mics are working.

If you have a list of games that you want played that night, list them sorted by the number of players they require... When all you know is that you want to do a 3 or 4 person game, it helps to be able to see them all at a glance.

Mark off games and related games as they're done, so that you won't be distracted/tempted by them. For instance, if we play Twin Pillars, I'll mark off both Twin Pillars and Hesitation Debate off the list, since they're very similar.

My method of preparation includes making a list of way more games than we'll actually have time to play. This is so I can pick games appropriate to how the show is going, and who's been called up. If that's not your way, then the above 2 tips might not be that useful.
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Postby arthursimone » July 27th, 2007, 1:32 pm

ah.
didn't see that this was in the maestro section. my question was useless. useless.
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Re: Being a Director

Postby bradisntclever » July 27th, 2007, 2:55 pm

Asaf wrote:For example, always have Free Tickets on hand, it helps with getting audience volunteers.


The only hesitation I have about this is that in the last few shows, when free tickets are mentioned, some Jam regulars or other casual improvisers tend to shoot their hand in the air. Often, that act forces the directors to pick the improvisers because others become hesitant to volunteer after their lead.

I'm not sure how to combat that, though.
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Re: Being a Director

Postby kbadr » July 27th, 2007, 2:58 pm

bradisntclever wrote:The only hesitation I have about this is that in the last few shows, when free tickets are mentioned, some Jam regulars or other casual improvisers tend to shoot their hand in the air. Often, that act forces the directors to pick the improvisers because others become hesitant to volunteer after their lead.

I'm not sure how to combat that, though.

Easy. "Hey, I know you. You're an improviser." How about someone else, who's not already taking classes or playing at the jam." Though, often, the director can't see more than the hand until they're close to the person, giving them the tickets.

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Re: Being a Director

Postby bradisntclever » July 27th, 2007, 5:34 pm

kbadr wrote:Though, often, the director can't see more than the hand until they're close to the person, giving them the tickets.


Exactly. However, with many of the directors who don't come to the Jam, they tend to be at a loss when someone mentions that the volunteer was an improviser. I don't know... it's probably not a big deal.
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Postby vine311 » July 27th, 2007, 5:44 pm

Find out if anyone in the audience is having a birthday, celebrating a wedding/divorce/promotion or something like that and use them in the show.
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Postby Wesley » July 28th, 2007, 12:20 pm

As for free tickets, the easiest thing is never to mention you have them and don't give them out as a regular Pavlovian reward for the same behavior. Give out two a show maybe, but sometimes to volunteers, sometimes for best suggestions, sometimes randomly, sometimes for something else.

My number one director desire is for a director who does not try to steal the show from the players.--does not try to be funnier, does not interject just to have their way. The director directs and keeps things flowing, if you want to be goofy and jokey, be in the cast.
Also, don't add to or cut down a player's scene before it is scored. I've seen scenes that the audience probably would have given a 3 or 4 to get a 2 becuase the director jumped up and first thing apologized for the scene that just happened.

My number two director desire is a director who knows their players. If you don't know the players, don't jump up to direct yet. Get to know them. Play more Maestros, more jams, etc.

Behind that is confidence. Directors should look like they are in control at all times, even when they aren't. One of my major pet peeves is the director who gets up and stumbles over the game they want to play or has to eliminate and can't decide how many or what game to use to do so. Just make a decision and go.
This goes double with scoring. You get maybe 1 rescore a night, after that, have the cahones to make a call. And don't ALWAYS make the higher of the calls. If it is an even split, go low sometimes. It varies the scores, keeps the comeptetive tension high, and makes the shape of show smoother.

Also, the show is for the audience, not the players. When games are explained you can truncate the directions on the assumption the players know how to play (and will speak up if they don't) AND you give any descriptions to the audience, not the players. I've seen directors stand on stage with their back to the audience telling players who already knew how to play the game how to play the game. It is ALL for the audience, ESPECIALLY as a director.

Fewer themed shows would also be good. I'm not against them, but I think that sometimes we do them for ourselves and our own edification, not for any improved audience experience. And they hurt the consistent marketing of the show. When done, they should be done FOR THE AUDIENCE and to enhance that experience for the audience.
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Postby Justin D. » July 28th, 2007, 8:04 pm

Beer. Don't forget the bucket of beer.
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Postby Asaf » July 29th, 2007, 2:53 am

Justin Davis wrote:Beer. Don't forget the bucket of beer.


I imagine this statement followed by bear-like growl.
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Postby Justin D. » July 29th, 2007, 6:27 pm

Limit the amount of solo scenes done per show. Three is fine, but more than that can be pushing it.

Try not to over-direct.
Last edited by Justin D. on July 29th, 2007, 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Justin D. » July 29th, 2007, 6:36 pm

Asaf wrote:
Justin Davis wrote:Beer. Don't forget the bucket of beer.


I imagine this statement followed by bear-like growl.



Grrrr.

Image
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Postby LuBu McJohnson » July 30th, 2007, 1:55 am

That beer wants to drink a nice, cold bear.

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Postby HerrHerr » August 21st, 2007, 10:18 am

Some of the thoughts below have already been mentioned. Just wanted to put my BIG THREE thoughts up about directing in MAESTRO and some examples.

Presentation. Shape of Show. Directing.

Presentation: How do you present information to the audience and cast? Are you professional? Likeable? Do you have command over the show without it being YOUR show. How quickly do you make decisions, in say, eliminations, audience suggestions and scoring? Can you start and end the show on time?

Shape of Show: Do you have a variety of games? High energy mixed with lower energy. Variety in stage pictures--including number of people in scenes. Does the show build momentum? Do you recognize when there are too many scenes about X or Y playing (like too many death scenes or prostitute scenes).

Directing: Do you know who your players are? Can you adapt on the fly and change a game depending on who your players are? Do you know which players play better in different roles of a game? Can you direct within the scene? Can you call back support that is not necessary within a scene?

I think that directing only every now and then hurts a person's chances at nailing down as many of the aforementioned items as possible. It's tricky trying to direct a scene and think about what's coming up next and think about the entire show. I get better at juggling all of these as I direct more, but it's really tricky. And be prepared to hardly ever make everyone in the cast happy.
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