AMA: Ask Me Anything!

Improvisors behaving badly.

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AMA: Ask Me Anything!

Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » August 23rd, 2012, 11:30 am

inspired by Reddit and such. the rules are simple. you can ask me anything and i will answer with 100% honesty. but then YOU are in the spotlight and anyone can ask YOU anything and YOU will answer with 100% honesty. and so on in a chain like fashion...

so...what do you want to know? ask me anything...:)
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Postby kbadr » August 23rd, 2012, 11:37 am

Are there any popular movies that you actually dislike?

It's become a personal joke that whenever I say anything bad about a popular film/franchise, it's almost guaranteed that you will say you love it.

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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » August 23rd, 2012, 11:59 am

Hmm...i guess it depends on how we're defining popular. if we're talking mainstream popularity, i have a severe dislike for the Twilight films. though it should be noted that this is born of my severe distaste for the books as i've never SEEN any of the Twilight movies. in terms of cinephile popularity...i don't much care for Citizen Kane or Gone With the Wind. or a whole lot of Hitchcock or Kubrick. and i know a lot of people who loved A Beautiful Mind, Crash, Vanilla Sky, Gladiator, and i can't stand them. and since my friends are mostly very indie/artsy types, i tend to get in trouble because i don't like Rushmore (or, really, any Wes Anderson movie i've seen so far other than Royal Tenenbaums). oh, and Little Miss Sunshine...i just don't get the appeal.

that's all that comes immediately to mind. i don't know that i have a good gauge on what's "popular". Diablo Cody was popular at one point, right? yeah, she sucks...;)

okay, Ask Kareem Anything!
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Postby Chuy! » August 23rd, 2012, 1:14 pm

Kareem,
I never get to go have a drink with you or have a bite to eat. We play together pretty frequently and tend to laugh at the same stuff. I guess my question is... Where are you from? (I'd like to know more about you, g.)
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Postby kbadr » August 23rd, 2012, 1:27 pm

Chuy, let's fix that first one real soon-like.

As for where I'm from, I grew up on Long Island. Moved to Austin for college in '96 and never left. Discovered improv at The Hideout in 2005. And that about covers the major points in my life. Suburbs. Austin. Improv.

My name is Arabic (Egyptian). My dad was born in Egypt and my mother was English. So I'm half Egyptian, half Briton (English and Scottish)

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Postby Chuy! » August 23rd, 2012, 1:28 pm

Right on! Alright, AMA!
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Postby vine311 » August 23rd, 2012, 1:50 pm

Chuy, you've got three awesome kids. How old were you when the first one was born? Was it planned, or did you have that "oh shit" moment when you found out? How do you think fatherhood has changed you?

(I know that was a lot of questions)
"Have you ever scrapped high?" Jon Bolden "Stabby" - After School Improv

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Postby Chuy! » August 23rd, 2012, 2:26 pm

I was 28 when we had Antonio (Nino). We had tried for 2 years without contraception and 3 years in fertility treatments (IUI). Finally, on our last try before we were going to consider adoption, we found out we were pregnant. It was a long stressful process for my wife and for me (ask me about bags of sperm sometime). On the night before Nino's first birthday, my wife told me we were pregnant again. I surely thought it was a mistake. After a miscarriage scare, 9 months later, Alejandro (Dodo or Dodie) came. The wife and I decided a few years ago that we were getting old enough that if we were to have another child, we should do it soon, so we stopped "not trying" and lo and behold a year later we found out about Aaron (Tito). We are the classic story of "something getting knocked loose".

My wife would like another child, but I am vehemently against it. I don't want to be greedy. Fatherhood has not changed me that much in that my wife allows me a lot of freedom to pursue theatre and such. She also knows that I get stir crazy at the house. I do my best to let my kids know everyday that I love them. They are funny guys and I look forward to being their best friend forever.

Sheesh! I ran off at the mouth a bit there, but there you go...

Everyone: Ask Jason Vines Anything!
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Postby vine311 » August 23rd, 2012, 2:29 pm

Awesome. Thanks, Chuy.
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Postby Rev. Jordan T. Maxwell » August 23rd, 2012, 2:32 pm

someone remember to ask Chuy about bags of sperm next time he comes up in the rotation! :P
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Postby acrouch » August 23rd, 2012, 3:50 pm

Jason, I think that it's fair to say you're seen as a pretty "fearless" guy, in your improv and beyond. Where do you think that comes from? And where do you find it the most advantageous and problematic (if at all)?
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Postby vine311 » August 23rd, 2012, 4:40 pm

Hmm...interesting question. There are a few things that have largely contributed to my fearlessness, or at least the appearance of, on stage and off.

The first would have to be lots and lots of improv training. During the first several years of my improv journey, I devoured improv training as if it was wrapped in bacon, dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with sex. I couldn't get enough of all of the classes and workshop and jams. I poured my heart and soul into the craft and learned from people from every school of improv thought available to me. I feel it has made me a much more diverse performer. It has also taught me that there is no one true path. Every school offers a new tool to add to your repertoire. It's also important to never stop learning. Which reminds me, I need to take more workshops and sharpen my axe.

The second would have to be doing lots of bad shows. I mean really bad shows. Shows that I'm pretty sure turned the audience members off to ever seeing improv again. This probably explains why a vast majority of my non-improv friends never come to my shows anymore. I did those bad shows and I survived. I also got better. Nowadays I still have the occasional bad show but I know it's not the end of the world. The next one will likely be better. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get the next suggestion.

The third and biggest lesson I've learned that has stuck with me through the years came from Shana Merlin's Improvised Singing Classes. That's the concept of "No Flinching". Even if you are dying on the inside and hate everything that you're doing on stage, you never show it on your face. It works miracles. I've been in shows where I was sure I was bombing bigger than anyone has ever bombed before but I stuck with it, didn't break character and came out on the other side. After many of those shows I've had audience members tell me how much they enjoyed the show. The "No Flinching" concept works for any type of public performance and I highly recommend it to anyone that sets foot on stage.

I've found my "fearlessness" to be very advantageous in many different types of shows. Some that immediately come to mind are "Spirited" and the "Free Fringe" shows I've been a part of. During "Spirited", I was able to disappear into my character and come unhinged and deliver performances that I didn't know I had in me. The concept and format of that show as well as the direction from Asaf certainly contributed to me feeling free to take huge risks. I feel like they paid off very well many times. In addition, Roy has given me the opportunity to try out many crazy formats in the "Free Fringe" slot. Every show I've done in the fringe has been a crazy idea that I felt should never work. Every single one of them has worked. That just proves to me that anything can work in improv. You just have to have the balls to try it.

I haven't really noticed any disadvantages to being "fearless" in improv yet. I feel like improv has enhanced and honed my fearlessness and made me a better person in all aspects of my life. I encourage everyone to let go of their fear and trust themselves and the people on stage with them. You just might find you're capable of much more than you thought possible.

Phew! I wrote a novel on that one! Ok, everybody, ask Andy anything!
"Have you ever scrapped high?" Jon Bolden "Stabby" - After School Improv

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Postby vine311 » August 23rd, 2012, 6:45 pm

I totally killed this thread.
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Postby Ryan Austin » August 23rd, 2012, 9:02 pm

I'll jump in here.

Andy, How did you and Nadine first meet? How did you guys start dating and who made the first move?
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Postby happywaffle » August 27th, 2012, 8:47 pm

Dammit Andy, ANSWER THE QUESTION SO I CAN ASK RYAN ABOUT HIS VESTS
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