Monday, October 09, 2006

Chancelucky Live and Offline 2 (what I learned)

Okay after considerable work, I converted my completely revamped version of Promoting Patriot Minutes to a Powerpoint slide show and delivered it in a live comedy reading last Friday.  No, I didn’t bring down the house, but I’m still alive and learned a lot from the experience.  Here's the version that got delivered. (a friend was nice enough to Convert Power Point to Flash for me and it looks great, it’s almost worth a post of its own to talk about learning to move Powerpoint online).  If you look at it, be sure to turn on the notes option, otherwise you’ll just see a bunch of funny looking pictures without text. Should you look at the slideshow, please let me know if you can open it, read text, etc.

  Also the text needs to be scrolled for some of the longer slides.  

The nine performances ranged from simply reading a funny written essay aloud to a full on play with sets, lines, and actors.  I  had the good fortune of sharing the stage with some very talented writers/performers.  I’m not that certain that they felt the same way though :}.  I won’t name them because it’s possible they’d rather not be tied to me in any way.   

Some things I learned.  

  1. I’m very compulsive, so I kept editing and adding material all the way up to performance time.  Actually, the newer material felt fresher when I did it, but I needed to spend much more time cutting than I did adding.  For example, I threw in a bit about using Reagan’s list ( a right wing site)  instead of Craig’s list to find a job.  Reagan’s list isn’t very well known because people confuse it with Meagan’s list which is understable because so many of the names on the two lists are the same.  

  1. A blog audience is very different from a live audience in more than the obvious ways.  A live audience is both somewhat captive while blog readers can click for a fraction of a second decide they don’t like you and leave.  Live audience members have more varied tastes and you’re sort of stuck with one another.  

I had the misfortune of heading off stage right after my performance and walking straight into a lady who had walked out on me who began telling me that I had smeared Dick Cheney and Anne Coulter and that it wasn’t fair because they couldn’t fight back (when I blog, I don’t really have captive audience members, if you don’t like something I say you comment or more generally just click to someone else’s page).  This was compounded by the fact that I was complimenting the guy who’d gone immediately before me on his performance and he rather pointedly didn’t reciprocate in any way.  

I was the only person in the show who chose to do political material and either I really really sucked or that’s one of the risks of doing satire with a strong point of view.

  1. I’m virtually certain that I was right to go much more visual.  I underestimated how much pictures do, however, speak for themselves and generally overpower words.  The least successful bits were the more text heavy slides.  When in doubt when you go live, shorter is better.  In addition, I think when we write it helps to go harder –edged and even a bit more shrill to evoke a reader reaction.  Live, may be the exact opposite.  

  1. I needed to work out the physical mechanics better than I did.  I chose to set up the LCD projector, operate the slide changer, and read from written notes all at once.  This required three hands instead of two.  I also had a bit at the end that called for a cell phone.  I forgot to bring the cell phone on stage with me so had to improvise.  When you’re live, all of this matters.

  1. Really good comedy folk I suspect know how to shape their performance to the room.  They can be ruthless about cutting material, riffing when something’s going well, shortening, lengthening as needed to build an audience response.  I was way too dependent on the “writing” process rather than the performance side of things which always involves adjusting for the “acoustic” of the room.  I needed to be much quicker about just abandoning stuff.  

  1. I’m not sure if I’d go live again.  Well, I’d do it if asked, but I don’t know that I’d pursue it.  Nonetheless, it was really helpful to me in my middle-age to try to stretch.

  1. One of the interesting things, I’ve always suspected that much of my blog audience is a good bit younger than I am (who isn’t younger than I am?).  The one person who came to me afterwards to mention anything he actually specifically found funny was 18.  Otherwise, the entire audience was middle-aged or older.  I’m remain generally immature in many ways, so I suspect my “blog” self is much younger than my physical self.  Perhaps there’s some html code locked in some virtual attic somewhere that ages while my blog-self stays younger than it’s supposed to be.  Fwiw…by young I mean not baby boomers.  I don’t think I’d go over well at all among the generation.

8)  The big thing I learned was that I needed to trust my own ability to improvise and fill a whole lot more than “writing” per se.  Live needs to feel live.  

The Karl Rove stories that served as the basis for the slideshow


At 10/10/2006 03:29:00 PM, Blogger inkyhack said...

Congratulations on your big preview. I'm sure it was great. Can't wait to buy the DVD!

At 10/10/2006 05:01:00 PM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Naw, probably wasn't great, but I survived. There is a CD rom version as frightening as that sounds.

I need to work on the slideshow so that it's not so hard to navigate and get to the notes. Should happen later this week.

At 10/11/2006 01:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never download anything but enjoyed your review of your experience. I definitely recommend doing live again. Every time it gets if not easier more skillful and there's nothing like all those eyes taking your measure.

Break a leg.

At 10/11/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

to be clear, you don't have to download anything... it's simply linked to a flash presentation.

At 10/11/2006 07:42:00 PM, Blogger Dale said...

Glad to hear you survived Chancelucky. The link in your post won't play ball with me. I'll try later.

At 10/12/2006 08:30:00 AM, Blogger Chancelucky said...

Thanks for letting me know about the issue with the link. It works for me, but I'll be trying to fix it over the next few days.


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