The struggle of casting

Thank you, Number Three

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Postby Lindsey » March 11th, 2008, 5:43 pm

kbadr said
I think it's been generally going well. We just need to make a better effort to have the cast and directors decided earlier.


yes, ditto.
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Postby vine311 » March 11th, 2008, 5:57 pm

kaci_beeler wrote:the show goes too blue too fast


I am waaaaaaaay guilty of this. I've made it my mission to make it through an entire Maestro without uttering a single curse word. I'll also not make any references to incest, beastiality, or politics.
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Postby Jessica » March 11th, 2008, 6:08 pm

I would love to have real solid warm ups. Maybe even that focus on the games that we'll be playing. A note after the show isn't nearly as useful as getting information before the show.

I also second the idea that we get directors well before hand (I would like to go back to the way we did last year with them posted on the forums.) This gives the directors a chance to try to pull in some of their favorite players. And gets people excited about what is coming up. It also gives the directors a chance to work up a really solid show. (Some of my favorites shows were when Chris Allen would bring in stuff - like you knew it was going to be fun.)

Maestro kind of feels orphaned right now. I'd like it to have a nice amount of attention put into it. I'd even be willing to come to the occasional practice, or like I said earlier, show up early and make rehearsals and warm-ups before the show.
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Postby TexasImprovMassacre » March 11th, 2008, 9:26 pm

vine311 wrote:
kaci_beeler wrote:the show goes too blue too fast


I am waaaaaaaay guilty of this. I've made it my mission to make it through an entire Maestro without uttering a single curse word. I'll also not make any references to incest, beastiality, or politics.



have fun LOSING!
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Postby bilbo » March 11th, 2008, 9:39 pm

i doubt i am the only one who has this opinion: i can't stand improv games. i do love finding a game in the course of a scene, but i really do not enjoy preconceived improv games. perhaps this is why maestro sometimes has trouble making a cast. of course, this is sort of a baseless comment since i have never seen or participated in maestro. however, i simply do not enjoy the games that i assume make up a maestro performance. not knocking people who do. it takes all kinds.
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Postby kbadr » March 11th, 2008, 9:42 pm

bilbo wrote:i doubt i am the only one who has this opinion: i can't stand improv games. i do love finding a game in the course of a scene, but i really do not enjoy preconceived improv games. perhaps this is why maestro sometimes has trouble making a cast. of course, this is sort of a baseless comment since i have never seen or participated in maestro. however, i simply do not enjoy the games that i assume make up a maestro performance. not knocking people who do. it takes all kinds.


See, it doesn't have to be. Way back when, Micetro just consisted of scene setups. No games at all. And when Asaf directed last week he didn't play any games (or almost no games.)

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Postby Aden » March 11th, 2008, 10:33 pm

Actually, when Asaf and Mark directed last week it seemed to me like they used a lot of games. They said it was going to be scenes. And then we did games like touch to talk and opened with Category-Die.

I personally don't have an issue with games, but I much prefer a quick scene set up, and then a game added in the middle if the scene is lagging. And if they're going to be games, I like really high energy games like New Choice.

I have played a few Maestro's that were scene scene scene game scene scene, and I thought that was a very nice balance indeed. It's so much easier and more satisfying for me to do a scene and find the game that's in that scene, then to play a game like speak in one voice and still try to build the scene and connection.

Plus I feel stupid being silly and wacky when I already have a silly and wacky set up. But give me a straight set up, and I feel like I can bring as much silliness as I want.

Also did I mention that I like to be reminded to have fun?

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Postby Jastroch » March 11th, 2008, 11:01 pm

Don't knock short form games until you've tried them, Bilbo. Artistically speaking, I don't personally find them that fulfilling, but doing short form helped my improv a LOT back in the day. Most of them came about specifically to flex certain improv muscles. Back me up, Spolin people.

I encourage all my ColdTowne students to at least try Micetro--as do most of the teachers at ColdTowne. But since our curriculum isn't geared towards performing in Micetro type shows, I think there's a number of them who aren't into for a variety of reasons.

So if you're taking ColdTowne classes and reading this, hear me now: do some short form. It'll help your long form.
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Postby Asaf » March 12th, 2008, 12:37 am

Also, having longform players will help us shake up our short form more.

And Aden, Kareem is referring to the show two Saturdays ago. I agree I was more gamey this week than last, but I was also trying to keep it to scene opening games like the three-person scene where each person had a different style to play.

Bottom line is I am trying to throw out things out there that if I were up on stage I would have fun exploring. I used to throw out weird games like Pop-o-Matic, and I haven't the last two times because it didn't seem like it was bringing out great improv. Fun idea. Not connecting in some ways with the players. Genre stuff seems to click particularly when I ask you specifically what genres of things you like.

I hope to go even more in that vein next time I direct, whenever that might be.

One thing that I want to see more of, that would definitely help me, is MORE rapport between the actors and directors. I want to know before the scene happens that there is something in your way. I want to know what you want to play. I want to know what inspires you. I may twist it a little or add a layer onto it to keep you playfully off balance, but ultimately that helps and I am wondering if we have gotten into this tight Maestro box where people don't feel comfortable speaking up.

Also, it drives me crazy that the spelling of the framed $5 bill doesn't match the spelling on the scoreboard. Absolutely nuts.
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Postby Justin D. » March 12th, 2008, 1:08 am

Jastroch wrote:Don't knock short form games until you've tried them, Bilbo. Artistically speaking, I don't personally find them that fulfilling, but doing short form helped my improv a LOT back in the day. Most of them came about specifically to flex certain improv muscles. Back me up, Spolin people.

I encourage all my ColdTowne students to at least try Micetro--as do most of the teachers at ColdTowne. But since our curriculum isn't geared towards performing in Micetro type shows, I think there's a number of them who aren't into for a variety of reasons.

So if you're taking ColdTowne classes and reading this, hear me now: do some short form. It'll help your long form.


I'm relieved to hear you say that. Because I know ColdTowne concentrates more on long form, I thought there might have been an unnecessary stigma placed on Maestro because of it, even if subconsciously. A set-up like Maestro, whether it's more game oriented or short scenes, can help improvisers that try to mainly concentrate on long from performances a lot. No matter how long you've done improv, it's probably a good idea to try out some short-form show like Maestro every once in a while. It forces you out of a rhythm, and that's a really good thing.

I like doing Maestros. The last few I was in were really run. They often help me bring that sense of fun to my performances in The Starter Kit.

Like I said earlier, and I think a few others like Kareem backed me up, I just want the show to be more professional. It's the same way I feel about Threefer Madness and Double Barrel, and there's headway being made there too. Playful and fun shows and structure can both co-exist.

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Postby arclight » March 12th, 2008, 3:04 am

I'm kinda down on directed improv in general and Micetro in particular, but rather than moping I'll call out what I liked about the show when I performed/directed/scheduled it on a regular basis.

I like casts that I know and trust both as a player and a director. That's harder to achieve when there are as many people in the community as there are now. On the whole, I'll take a stronger community over a stronger Micetro cast, though I doubt they're mutually exclusive.

I like casts with a spectrum of experience and skill levels. That meant there were people to learn from. Micetro can be a great training show if the directors and experienced players help make the n00bs shine. The n00bs usually get eliminated early, but that frees them to watch the rest of the show.

I like having a dedicated score person, a dedicated host, two directors, an audio tech and a lighting tech. The score person can take notes during the show if need be and is a good way of grafting volunteers ("You get to see the show for free!") The host keeps the flow going and the energy up and that takes pressure off the directors. Two techs make it easier to give light and sound offers, simplify tech duties, and provide a backup in case one tech is mauled by bears.

I like having availabilities in by no later than Wednesday so the schedule can go up no later than Thursday. That gives 24-48 hours to find replacements for those mauled by bears.

I like knowing availability a week or so in advance so I can fill a cast with reliable players and I have an excuse to keep tards and slackers offstage. Call that bitchy producer fiat if you will - the sad truth is that since the Heroes became a troupe in name only, a number of people feel entitled to play Micetro, people who would have trouble operating either side of a Whataburger drive-through (this is much less true now than a few years ago.) I know it's hard to use "Micetro" and "artistic integrity" in the same sentence, but IMO the producer owes it to the cast, crew, and audience to only put competent people onstage. "Competence" translates to being stageworthy and having good cast chemistry - people who play well with and in front of others, within a standard deviation or so. It sucks to turn people away and hurt their feelings but that's the producer's job. Better one grouchy hack than having the rest of the cast hate you and the audience never come back.

I prefer scenes to games, though the games help set the energy of the show and (ideally) amuse the players as well as the audience. It sucks to get sandbagged with "speak-in-one-voice" and "he-said/she-said" as your two scenes of the night; I'd rather stay home and take an hour-long shit than do that again. I know it's luck of the draw, "shape of show" and all that. I have a lot of unread books and a finite amount of time, and I'd rather spend that time reading and emitting odors instead of playing Da Do Ron Ron ever again. Just sayin'...

I prefer to give a scene setup, then let the players run with it, prodding them along only if they need it. As I said at the top, I'm not a fan of directed improv. Direction is much more active than side-coaching, and I have no issue with the latter. I understand the distinction and the theory behind each, but the audience would have paid to see a scripted play if they wanted the director's vision and voice and the players would've auditioned to be in a play if they were only expected to be monkeys grunting out an interpretive dance guessing what scene the director wants from them. At least in a real play the plan for the dancing and grunting is usually written down and there's a lot less guessing and poo-flinging on the part of the monkeys. Playing or directing, I prefer gentle side-coaching to active direction, but that runs counter to a lot of Johnstonian theory and practice (see also Gorilla Theater.)

I like quick or nonexistent notes and sharing beer with the cast after the show. There are a lot of theories on notes (give them soon after the event vs don't wreck the aftershow mood, go through all the scenes vs give quick impressions) - as long as and misunderstandings are cleared up, serious performance issues addressed (i.e. treating others with respect, personal safety, damage to sets and props), I'm for the quickest notes possible. Save the positive energy for post-show partying, or if it was a crappy show, leave the negativity behind.

On that note, I miss going out for food or drinks with people after the show.

I don't know how much of that is relevant to the current state of Micetro, but that's my take on it. Sorry for all the poo references.
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Postby arthursimone » March 12th, 2008, 9:23 am

yep, all five members of ColdTowne were charter players of ComedySportz New Orleans, for a while short-form was our bread and butter! I learned a heck of a lot by doing it, and encourage our students to go watch and eventually play when they can. I myself would jump in occasionally if it didn't mean sacrificing my chance to play in the regular CT slot at 10.
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Postby Jastroch » March 12th, 2008, 10:23 am

Justin Davis wrote:I'm relieved to hear you say that. Because I know ColdTowne concentrates more on long form, I thought there might have been an unnecessary stigma placed on Maestro because of it, even if subconsciously.


Not at all. I should note that at least 8 out of the 9 instructors at ColdTowne played Comedy Sportz or have other short form experience. But I can see how that perception might arise.
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Postby ChrisTrew.Com » March 12th, 2008, 11:13 am

Also keep in mind that (just like at the Hideout) our big slot is Saturday at 10:00p. Most of our students are hanging out with us or performing with us at that time. Plus a lot of ColdTowne people end up just being at the theater on Saturday nights sticking around waiting for the after-parties or Jam City.

On that note, if you want to play short-form with ColdTowne people, try Jam City.
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Postby kbadr » March 12th, 2008, 11:39 am

ChrisTrew.Com wrote:On that note, if you want to play short-form with ColdTowne people, try Jam City.


Dude, can't you turn it off for like 10 seconds?

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