Saturday, March 11, 2006

Procrastination Update... Voiceover Demo

I finally booked some studio time to record a voiceover demo. I'm going to pay for an hour of studio time (including a sound engineer) at the end of this month. For now, I've decided that's the best way to go... cheaper than upgrading one of my computers for broadcast quality recording.

And most of all, it'll put an end to years of procrastinating.

Well, it won't put an end to procrastinating. We know better than that. What I'm saying is that it will put an end to years of procrastinating on this particular goal.

Now I can move ahead on my goals of procrastinating in other areas.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Blog Reading Therapy Continues

It's been a couple of weeks since my "Last Comic Standing" audition (17 days, to be precise... but who's counting?), and I'm still addicted to the blogs on the topic. The sting of the experience is long since gone. Really it is.

No, really.

And yet I'm continuing to be fascinated by the continuing shared experience with other comics by reading their blogs. Am I fascinated by their experiences, or by the fact that we're now living in a world where we can (and do) share our experiences in such a public (and global) fashion?

I'd have to say, both of the above.

Reading about people who've had similar experiences is very therapeutic. And in a number of cases, I've posted comments to their blogs, or sent them e-mails... letting them know that they are not alone (even though I suspect they already knew that, it's a nice reminder).

So, one cool outcome from that little bee sting of 17 days ago is that there continues to be a wave of human connections in the wake of the LCS coast-to-coast audition tour.

No matter what the goals are of the folks producing LCS (e.g., getting a bunch of blooper footage for their show), there's a positive outcome that I doubt they planned. And part of that outcome has been enabled by this (relatively) new phenomenon of blogging.

Before participating in this LCS audition, I just thought our blogs were a bunch of little fragmented and disconnected "Dear Journal" entries. Now I see that it's like the rest of life...

It's all connected.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Million Dollar Baby Week

It took me exactly a year to watch the movie that won the Oscar for Best Picture last year. After this year's Academy Awards show (and after the kids' bedtime), I finally watched "Million Dollar Baby". Heavy stuff. I knew that going in, but it didn't spoil the journey. Even after a year, there were more than enough surprises. Yeah... I cried. And I'm man enough to admit it.

Then last night, a little bit of synchronicity occurred (albeit a few days after I watched the movie... does that still count as "synchronicity"?)...

In acting class, one of the scenes the acting teacher gave me to read was from "Million Dollar Baby". He didn't know I'd just watched the movie, so even if it wasn't strictly a case of synchronicity, it was still a coincidence.

When I first started reading through the scene with my partner, I found myself using a gruff voice... which was not good. This was no time for a Clint Eastwood impersonation. It's hack enough to do it as a stand-up. I definitely didn't want to be caught doing it in a method acting class.

Luckily, I found my own voice in time for the performance in front of the class.

And thus concludes my story about "Million Dollar Baby"... that was the week that was... one year later.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Roll-Your-Own Performing Arts School Update (Music)

Last Friday at Martini Blues was fun. Hadn't done the solo singer/songwriter/guitarist thing for a while (as noted in an earlier post). Felt comfortable, but felt too much of the judgemental inner chatter (a.k.a., "Self 1" from "The Inner Game"). Listening back to the tape, it was pretty good. I was singing in key, which is the most important thing. Hate to make people in the audience cringe. That's the low bar to jump over... minimal cringe-factor. The high bar? Well, that's another story. I'm no Judy Garland. People aren't likely to be brought to tears hearing me sing. Then again, I need to stop making assumptions about what other people feel (see "The Four Agreements").

That's part of that useless inner chatter.

Every experience on stage helps. It doesn't matter which facet of performing is being... um... performed. There's a lot more commonality between stand-up, acting, and music than there are differences. The differences can seem huge, but all-in-all, the same fundamentals apply for all of them (e.g., focus, relaxing, confidence, etc.).

Not sure how much I'll be performing music in public in coming weeks. All I know is that last week's performance Smorgasbord was tasty. I could definitely make a habit of that.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Dish on LCS, from the Left Coast [from]

A spy from Los Angeles sent us an email, from which we extracted he following:

1. Anthony Clark will host LCS IV. He has signed a 3-year contract, so I guess NBC is banking on LCS being a ratings hit again...

2. There will be NO HOUSE this time, just comedy -- NBC wants it to be more the comedy version of American Idol.

3. ...the Simon Cowell of LCS IV (a producer of the show) is tearing up established comics left and right... trying to make a scene... to be like American Idol.

4. Comics with numerous Tonight Show appearances to their credit (among other things) auditioned in LA at the Improv only to be "Simonized." (Our term, not his-- Editors)

5. Comics who have already made it on LCS IV: Gabriel Iglesias, Gene Pompa, Tig

The author warns that these are just some L.A.-based comics who've made it and that, if other comics from other cities are added, these folks may be cut. Hmmm... Stay tuned. We're not saying any of this is true... but it certainly sounds plausible. (And, in defense of Simon Cowell, he is not uniformly nasty or unnecessarily so. He is knowledgeable, he is sharp and he is honest. Might it be giving this LCS producer too much credit to compare him to Cowell?)

Sounds less like reality programming and more like a comedy contest... which, to be quite honest, is reality programming. The more things change...

posted by @ 4:51 PM

[Note (by Joe Palen): I just had to re-post this post that somebody else wrote... because some of it made my audition seem a little less awful, and a little more like "you're in good company" (e.g., item #4, and the paragraph after item #5). Hopefully, this post will also help any other comics who auditioned for Last Comic Standing (and got slammed) realize that a lot of the slamming was just slamming for slamming's sake. And if you already knew that, just add this article to the evidence.]

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'... Keep Them Dawgies Rollin'...

Last night felt good. It wasn't the best of sets, but it wasn't the worst of sets, either. The main thing is, it was much-needed stagetime. A small but friendly group of "real" people.


And outside of the stagetime itself, there was also the usual mingling before and after... not just with other comics, but also with a number of the customers. That's one nice thing about more intimate rooms. There may not be huge crowds, but there's the added bonus of hanging out with some of the audience... before, during, and after the show.

After my set, I had a good time yapping with some "kids" sitting next to me at the bar in the back of the room (at my age, "kids" means they were in their 20's). Before I went up, we weren't interacting. After my set, the dynamic was a bit different. Being on stage is somewhat of an ice-breaker, you know? Sometimes, I still have a hard time just striking-up small talk with people. But after going up, they know something about me, and talk about stuff in my act that they related to.


So, what was I saying?

I guess this is it.

Tonight, it's back to acting class after over a month's hiatus. Most of the layoff was due to the fact that the instructor was directing a movie (did I already write about that in another post?), and then I missed last week because it was my daughter's birthday (balance, grasshopper).

It'll feel good to jump back into the class again (duh), in a supportive environment... and yet a tough/disciplined environment. Again... balance.

This week is like a roll-your-own performing arts school. Not only did I get to do stand-up, and am about to leave work to do some actin'... I've also been invited to do the old solo singer/guitarist/songwriter routine on Friday night.


So, in closing, all I have to say is...

Last Comic What-ting?

Or, better yet, here's a new goal...

Last Comic Laughing