“My advice to current students is to just work harder than anyone you know and don’t quit. Even when you SHOULD quit. It’s a mix of hard work and a substantial amount of just laser-like intensity that might not even be good for you. Stay humble, work hard and be nice. It’s a myth that everyone in the entertainment industry is a jerk. Sure, some are, but I just choose not to work with them.”—
I don’t know how to make it in comedy. I’ve made my living solely through comedy since September of 2010, so I’m a novice; a “whippersnapper,” if you will. But due to my egregious, unwarranted number of followers on Twitter, people think I am more successful than I am and write me every day now, asking me how they can make it in comedy. I used to reply, but I don’t anymore. So I will set down here what little I know and if you want, you can follow it, or print it out and stick it up your ass.
1. Read all the time.
2. Write all the time.
3. Perform all the time.
4. Move to New York, Los Angeles or London if you have the means. There are more opportunities in these places so why not infinitesimally improve your odds?
5. Find a community, like the UCB, the ImprovOlympic, the Groundlings, Second City, etc. Yes, you’ll learn stuff and be exposed to more comedy, but just as importantly you’ll meet the people who will one day hire you.
6. Don’t quit. This one’s hard, but patience is a indispensable ingredient.
7. Work harder than anyone around you.
8. Be nice.
That’s it. Do it or don’t.
Is this a secret revealed or just some good advice to follow? Or not? DO whatever you want.
5. Here’s a list of trans actors who also could have played Rayon.
Many people believe that Jared Leto should never have been cast as Rayon, with the role instead going to a trans actor. While not as well known as their cisgender peers, there are several trans artists who could have potentially taken Leto’s place, notes Indiewire:
Yea, and Erin Brokovich, should’ve been played by Erin Brokovich not that non-Brokovich Julia Roberts. Jesus, the gall of these casting directors and film makers who want quality actors to play these roles, people with legit acting creds and name recognition to help sell their movie product. It’s called acting. You play people that aren’t you.
I am all for trans actors, but why are we blaming Jared Leto for being an awesome actor? Blame the casting person or executive that made the call. Don’t be crappy to the actor just because he did well. Be angry at the person who made the decision if you need to be mad at someone. Acting jobs of that caliber are few and far between. I probably would have taken that role too - not because I am a horrible person or I don’t 100% support the trans movement, but because I need food and insurance and getting a role like that is once in a lifetime. That being said, I agree that casting a trans actor would have been a better move socially and potentially artistically.
The good thing is that this discussion has been started, and may help to open the doors to better casting for and regarding trans people in the future.
Okay! I present here for improv nerdy delight and judgment a series of exercises on handling accusations in a scene. Each one evolved out of the previous one, and I think they’re each useful for different levels.
When I say “handling accusations” I mean treating accusations like gifts rather than an excuse to fight or to prove your character “right.”
And when I say “accusations” I mean both:
Actual accusations, like: “Hey, Jeremy, YOU were supposed to invite people to this party!”
And the related ‘explain this' statement which is less angry but still makes the other person 'weird': “Jeremy, I hired you to be the clown for my son's birthday party, why are you discussing philosophy with them?”
Both of these things can bait people into either being defensive or deflecting or fighting, so it’s good to practice responding to them.
(Also: great scene ideas in my examples, as always)
This is one of the single most important statements made about how to direct a comedy. I am not exaggerating. Shittier comedy directors focus on closeups, so you can see actors make silly faces. Great directors use more wide shots, so you can feel how everyone reacts.
Written by Dana Stevens for Slate I first encountered the Disney musical Frozen not as a critic(it was Dan Kois who reviewed it, somewhat lukewarmly, for Slate)but as the parent of a fan. As a result, my love for the movieand …
So this is a pretty good article and interesting read, but I respectfully disagree.
See, the makeover IS part of letting go and becoming who you were meant to be. Just as in real life, if you are forced into dressing a certain way, and behaving a certain way, letting it go comes with a physical transformation and sometimes a makeover. The choice the moviemakers of having Elsa put her hair down into a side braid and wear a dress that is open on top and on the bottom is a great choice in my view. Why?
In countries like Iran where you have to cover up because it’s the law, people dream of letting the wind caress their skin and run through their hair. I visited Iran a couple of times in the mid ’00s. I stayed 2-3 weeks at a time. When I came back to Europe, I only dreamed of walking around naked, or dressed however the hell I wanted and just being as undressed as I wanted. I can only imagine someone like Elsa who has lived all her life confined and forced into dressing a certain way wanting a radical change.
Instead of stigmatizing Elsa for her dress by calling it “sexy” (read between the lines “inappropriate”) why not accept her choice of being dressed however the hell she likes? Why not make that supposedly “sexy” moment a moment of choice and empowerment? Why judge the choice of a character that sings about making choices and believing in herself?
I feel like this judgement is just a projection of one’s own discomfort with the idea of being dressed a certain way. So, let’s say tomorrow, someone decides to dress with a short skirt and low décolletage, will the writer of this article judge that person for her dress choices? Do women have to feel judged for what they wear because there’s a “sexy” label apposed to their clothing? And what’s wrong with dressing sexy if that’s what you like and you like to see your reflexion in the mirror and feel the power? If my choice is to dress sexy because I want to see myself a certain way, then it’s my choice. And if you tell me to “live with the consequences”, you should probably unfollow me because you haven’t read all my posts about rape and what I think of this kind of comments.
[There is a] general principle of internet language these days that the more overwhelmed with emotions you are, the less sensical your sentence structure gets, which I’ve described elsewhere as “stylized verbal incoherence mirroring emotional incoherence” and which leads us to expressions like “feels,” “I can’t even/I’ve lost the ability to can,” and “because reasons.”
Contrast this with first-generation internet language, demonstrated by LOLcat or 1337speak, and in general characterized by abbreviations containing numbers and single letters, often in caps (C U L8R), smilies containing noses, and words containing deliberate misspellings.
We’ve now moved on: broadly speaking, second-generation internet language plays with grammar instead of spelling. If you’re a doomsayer, the innovative syntax is one more thing to throw up your hands about, but compared to a decade or two ago, the spelling has gotten shockingly conventional.
In this sense, doge really is the next generation of LOLcat, in terms of a pet-based snapshot of a certain era in internet language. We’ve kept the idea that animals speak like an exaggerated version of an internet-savvy human, but as our definitions of what it means to be a human on the internet have changed, so too have the voices that we give our animals. Wow.
As some of you may have heard, NYC comedian Liza Dye was struck by a subway train yesterday. She is in the hospital now and receiving treatment, but her bills are piling up fast. Liza is taking UCB classes and she does stand-up at UCBeast frequently. News story here.
Kara Klenk’s IF YOU BUILD IT tomorrow will be a fundraiser show with all proceeds going to Liza.
Well done hero! No more walking for you. You’ve found an airship!
"Let’s see them get me now!" - Captain Phillips
Get ready for everything to get better! This ship will expedite your journey and take you to lands farther than you imagined. And look at all the amenities! This baby comes with beds, weapon/armor shops, item storage/sales, and rooms for everyone in your party. Plus extra rooms for when you meet other adventurers! From now on, you’ll be surrounded by like minds, able to work with all different combinations of heroes to form a party and create the greatest group possible! What could be better?
Man, who knew there were so many heroes out there? This ship has gotten crowded! It’s now full of adventurers, some much stronger/faster/more powerful than you. Since only 5 people can be chosen to be in the party that leaves the ship, lately you’ve stopped being chosen all the time. Sometimes you get to go out, and sometimes you stay on the ship. Eventually it feels like the same 5 people are chosen every time, and that group grows incredibly strong. How can you compete with that? You’re a pretty good adventurer, but your skill might require special timing, or saving up, or a secret ingredient that’s more complicated than the guy who can insta-kill with his special move. And your weapons and armor are just hand-me-downs that the other characters don’t need anymore. It’s not fair! If you had the best equipment, or leveled up all the time, you too would be that strong. But you don’t, and you can’t. You now spend most of your time on the airship, sleeping and eating and generally feeling bad about what you can’t do and what others get to. While you were originally a hero walking to fight evil, now you’re just a guy along for the ride on the airship, surrounded by an increasing group of other heroes just waiting for a turn which may never come.
Have a seat! The AD will see your fart ninja character soon.
As improv has become more popular, each improv theater reaches a point of supersaturation where, though they would love to give everyone every opportunity, they simply cannot. Each theater responds to this differently. Some hasten the turnover of their teams, while others let veteran teams remain almost indefinitely. Regardless, chances are that there will be a small group of people at each theater who seem to get to do everything. The chosen ones, the weekend people - whatever you want to call them. The ones the theater seems to be behind the most. A coveted position, to be sure. But it is very important to understand something as you go through your time at an improv theater. Statistically speaking, chances are that you will not be one of these people. It’s a sobering thought, and one that everyone hopes to avoid. But if it does happen that you’re not one of those people, the single most important thing you can do is make sure that this doesn’t ruin your relationship with your theater(s) - both the people and the establishment.
What you must understand about an improv theater is that each person’s relationship with the same building will often be very different. You respond to it differently, and it responds to you differently. It will respond “better” to some people than you. This may create feelings of resentment toward that place or those “chosen” people. Should you be in that position, what you do with that resentment/those feelings may define you as a person and an improviser for the near (and perhaps far) future. It’s important to make the right choices. Therefore, a few tips:
Do not treat your time at an improv theater as something to “get through” until you are famous/successful/on the weekend/etc. Make the theater and its community a place you enjoy being right now. You may not get any more opportunities than you have right now, so waiting for the day that never comes is not your best bet. Create a space that is fulfilling for you as a person and comedian now, so that even if you never take a step up, you can die happy, (hopefully) loved and (somewhat) fulfilled.
Take a look around. Even though you’re at a theater and trying to gain more experience and opportunities, there are new people coming in and out all the time. They bring new shows and new perspectives you may not have. You may think you’ve seen it all, but chances are there’s always something you’ll admire, and possibly someone you want to work with, that you haven’t seen yet. And even if it’s all bad, doesn’t that make you want to replace it with something good?
Realize that even the people that you think get every opportunity think they don’t. And they look longingly at the people who they think get every opportunity. In some ways, it never ends.
If your theater, or your relationship with it, stops making you feel like a hero (comedian), you should leave that theater. For a month, a year or a decade is up to you and your personal situation. But always remember that a theater does not make or break you. You were a comedian before you came to this theater - that’s what made you seek it out. And you will be a comedian after you leave it. Most likely what you need is to simply redefine your expectations - take a few months off and come back with new, probably lessened expectations of what the theater “should” do for you. Remember your simple love for improv, as absence will remind you. For some it takes more than a few months. For some it’s forever. Again these are individual cases. But don’t let yourself suffer through this time. It may be all you have.
An example from my own life: When the Magnet Theater started, I loved everything about it. It was new and fledgling, and yet the work that went up there was so strong. It was also unknown, some secret that I felt needed to get out, and because of that I wanted to put the whole place on my back and carry it to fame and glory and all that stuff. I believed in the theater and was ready to work harder than I ever had to lift it to new heights. What I wasn’t ready for was that the Magnet didn’t see that same potential in me.
It’s a hard thing to reconcile your own belief in a theater and its belief in you when the two are at different levels. It’s like being in a relationship where one person loves the other more - eventually that’s going to come to a head. It did for me, though not through any grand blow-up or anything. Due to the nature of the improv business, you won’t often get a vote of “no confidence” so much as not get a vote of “confidence.” I started to get a few of those “no”s when they eventually came up - TourCo, teaching, etc - all stuff that seemed like the end of the world at the time. I became aware of the gulf in our perceptions of one another. It was all very polite, of course, but it still hurt.
It’s hard to go backwards in a relationship. It colors everything in your view. Things don’t feel new and exciting when you feel like you’ve been there before. So it was with me. Eventually my relationship with Magnet came to the point where I needed to change my expectations. I felt the theater owed me more for my service. I mean, I’d done stuff for them. I ran a jam for 5 years, damn it! So pony up!
Looking back, my need for these votes of confidence now seems somewhat desperate to me. Why was that? I see now that the real reason these votes of confidence were so necessary to me was because, like many improvisers, I developed a sense of identity tied to my theater. As a struggling artist who could barely afford my lifestyle and had few sources of support, if I couldn’t even be sure that my theater believed in my potential as a performer, what certainty in life did I have at all? I was allowing the theater to basically solely dictate my sense of self-worth. That is a wholly unwise idea for anyone who intends to be happy at all. So I decided to change up my routine. I quit a few things (my house team, the aforementioned jam THAT THEY OWE ME SO MUCH FOR WTF!), started doing some new ones (musical improv, sketch, web videos), started performing at a new theater and even changed up my crowd a little bit. It helped immensely.
I don’t love everything about the Magnet Theater anymore. This seems like a weightier statement than it is. Things change. Hell, I came to NYC to bum around and do improv forever. Now I still wanna do improv forever, but other stuff too. I’ve changed. The Magnet has grown way beyond that place I started at - the one where if there were people in the lobby you knew Mike Myers was there. It’s changed. How could our relationship not? I’ve redefined my Magnet relationship many times - from someone I thought was at the forefront of the theater to now basically a musical improviser and esoteric show creator. There was some pain involved in that, but now there’s a lot of freedom. I play/socialize at 2 theaters, and have good relationships with 3. It’s a pretty good place to be.
My feelings on the Magnet have pretty much followed my feelings on my parents - at first they’re the greatest people ever, then you briefly hate them, and finally you love them again and are grateful, but you don’t owe them your life. Once you get old enough to start relating with your parents as two independent agents, things tend to get much better quickly. The same is true of improv theaters, in my experience. My feelings on the people has never changed, though.
I’ve been part of 3 different improv theaters in my time in New York, and I’ve disagreed with aspects of all of them. One must assume that each theater is running exactly (or close to) how they want to run, and that they want different things than you personally do, even if what you think is right seems so universally correct. The key to managing this is to lose that sense of gang identity so many of us have when we start out.
In short, remember that you’re not a comedian because you’re at a theater. You’re at a theater because you’re a comedian.
I am reblogging because I really liked the last statement and I want to read it all later. I don’t know who runs this Tumblr but this seems interesting and smart.