Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Shame

Well, the unthinkable has happened. I have missed a day here and there over the run of this blog, and always made up for it the following day. I've never been so busy or so disengaged that I let the issue of filling this space fade that far from my mind, and it's been a few years of times that were not always so placid. I always managed to keep these interruptions minimal. Indeed, there were none for a very long time, but that has come to an end.

Here's what happened. I wrote something for Wednesday - an item about how good I had been feeling through the midpoint of the week. Then I just don't know what happened. It's true that after my post Wednesday was written and posted, a string of things happened. That night I had my first meeting of a new sketch team, which was exciting. The following day it was the tenth anniversary of my Toastmasters club followed by an audition, which was also followed by my first chance to write for Top Story Weekly as a staff writer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Out Of The Stretch

Yesterday was the third day in a row that I was feeling good. That's a rare streak, and it's notable that this stretch hit a Sunday, a Monday and a Tuesday.The Sunday is no surprise. Sundays are often pretty good, or at least they finish well. Lately they've been really good, of course, on account of the sketch stuff I've been getting to do. Actually, that has been spilling over, so I guess this Sunday was really very good. I don't mind that.

Monday often is good if Sunday was great. There's a lot of congratulations and thanks going back and forth between different people. It never was enormous when I was just doing two line jokes for the medley portion of Top Story Weekly. There would be a little, especially if I got several jokes in and I was very enthusiastic about it. Doing sketches is different. You don't have to tell people which ones are yours, and you get the boost of all the actors who are in the sketches. That's nice.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

More on Moron Process

Writing a sketch provokes particular feelings. When it's going well, I'm really cruising. There is, hopefully not a lot of labor in it. It just sort of happens, and it seems like it just happens to be my fingers on the keyboard as the sketch assumes shape. I stop and look at it and feel really good about it. I don't know how others will see it, but I see it in a positive light. Sometimes, but not always, it's like the ball leaving your bat and you already know it's going all the way out.

The best sketches write themselves in my head so long as I get out of the way. I live my life and ideas occur to me. Wherever I am, I put them down. Later maybe, I actually write them, but not aggressively. In a very casual sense, I decide that I am now writing but permit my mind to wander. It goes far afield and comes back, looking at the idea from different angles like it's a Jenga tower and sees parts of the sketch form up. It is, again, more like I'm watching it happen than that I'm doing it.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Carry On

Something I've learned about sketch comedy compared to improv is (as you would guess) that there is more equipment involved. Each of the past three weeks, I have had to read through scripts and identify props and costume pieces that my sketch needed or that I could contribute to someone else's. I have then had to obtain many of those things, and then dump it all into a duffel bag which I then had to bring down to the theater from my place.

For me this is a slightly more onerous task than it is for others, since I have to do this using public transportation. God knows I wouldn't make an issue of it being a difficult thing to do, since I'm able to do it. I'm a man of slight build, but adequate brawn to carry what amounts to a fair sized bag of dog food. I just loop the strap over my shoulder and I could carry that for miles. It could only be more manageable if I had my hiking backpack.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I have lately been watching some Steven Seagal movies. I had seen a couple. I was rather fond of "On Deadly Ground", and Of "Fire Down Below". In those, Seagal was some manner of elite operative looking after the environment. The former takes place in Alaska, and the latter in Kentucky. Other than that they are more or less the same movie, which is not a bad thing. I like them. I guess Fire Down Below has the edge since it's a little less preachy about the environment.

I had never managed to see either Seagal's early work or his late work. Over the last few days, I've seen some of both. In "Out For Justice", something like Seagal's fourth film, he plays a Brooklyn cop who clashes with the mob. It's one of those 'we all grew up in the neighborhood' movies. It's not at all bad. Seagal tries a little hard to convince us of a Brooklyn Italian accent. He also somehow is the worst at running. You wouldn't expect that of a martial arts guy, but he looks awful running.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Writer Rider Right Here

The past few weeks have seen me do more writing of significance than I've ever done before in my life. As I write this, I am buoyed by the knowledge that I have been accepted to be a writer on a sketch team at iO West. You might consider us a humble little "Saturday Night Live". I submitted a writing sample and it was liked, so I will get to write more stuff like that and talented people will breath life into it on a stage once a month.

Other sketch writing got me to that point. I had been futilely writing sketches for no outlet the couple of years before this one, and got to where some 80 or so of my sketches were just piled up doing nothing. By chance I saw half of a show called "Top Story! Weekly" at iO a year ago because I was at a festival with an improv team. I shortly after submitted a writing packet, but it was not accepted. I have spent the year since writing two line jokes for them, watching lots of live sketch shows, and getting good enough that they have accepted and run a number of my sketches. That has been an intensely gratifying experience.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wrappin' It Up

Every day since the 21st of last month, I have been dissecting "Friday The Thirteenth Part 8: Jason Takes Manhattan". A quick estimate (which will probably be proved false with just a few minutes work) would be that I've written in excess of ten thousand words on the matter. Many of them have been harshly critical, and you might wonder why I would spend so much time on something I dislike. I hope I've made clear though that I don't dislike it.

I really like it, but I'm clear-eyed enough to see its faults. It disappoints me because of what it could have been. It was all right, but it was definitely a failure in the eyes of those who shelled out the money. Maybe my way isn't what would have made it any more of a financial or a critical success, but I do believe that my ideas at least would have given it more of a chance. I don't know what brought those people to make that movie. Maybe I couldn't have done better, but I sure would have busted my ass to try.