Friday, July 19, 2013

The Passage of Time is Hard to Deal With

     It's been almost 4 months! What? I don't even understand what I was doing for almost 4 months. Cool stuff, I'm sure. Stuff that was so cool I didn't think the internet could handle it.
     Truth is, it's the same as it ever was. Well, it's the same and it's always changing and it's the same because it's always changing and there's that parable / adage about never stepping in the same river twice. I've been busy and happy and lazy and sad and all of the emotions people have. But I was scrolling through Oliver and I thought "man, 2011 was a busy year." 2011 was the year with over 200 posts. I posted almost every day. In fact, I remember making a point of it. I would pick a topic every day and I would write something about it--a movie I just saw, a book I read, a guy on the subway, or a word Mary said. I used anything for inspiration and I spun a tale. How fun. And for a brief moment I was nostalgic for it. There are some gems in there. I re-laughed-out-loud at some of them. And I started feeling guilty for not keeping up with it.
     Of course, things were different then. I was in a different city with a different job and a different every thing. It's so easy to come back to this and say "oh, I loved this. I'm going to commit to it again." But let's be honest with ourselves--we're not recommitting to anything. Commitment is tough.
     So I'm not going to lie to you or to myself and say I'm going to start making an effort to write more in Oliver. I'm not. I might wander over sometimes, but I'm not making an effort. I have other new things to put effort into without bringing the past into it.
     Also, the title of this post is a throw back to my admittance that I have real cognitive difficulty with understanding what present moment we're in. If I see an advertisement for an event that takes place in September I have to really hunker down and think about what month it is now and if September is in the future or in the past. It sounds like I'm a moron, but actually, I really super advanced. It's because I'm a time traveler.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dividing My Attention

     It's possible to love two things, right? It has to be, because I'm doing my darnedest to make this work. I rededicate myself to work and comedy every day. And it occurred to me recently that I'm actually pretty damn lucky. There are way worse problems than having too many things to care about in your life.
     In an amazing and weird way, work and comedy are connected. In an ideal, perfect, dream world, comedy would be my work and they would be connected because they would literally be the same thing. That hasn't happened yet. And it may not and I have to be ok with that. I'm going to keep trying though. In the meantime, I have these two amazing things I enjoy and am passionate about and that's effing lucky.
    I was talking about invocation with a teammate of mine the other day. If you don't know, invocation is an opening for a Harold used to generate ideas for the scenes that will follow. I love doing an invocation. Sometimes, doing the invocation is the most fun bit of it for me. I separate myself and watch the team doing it from the outside and am in awe of how in 3 minutes we went from "flower" to "I Am the Cure for Childhood Cancer." (That's funny in context, really.) We got there as a team because we all worked together and built on one another's ideas and didn't deny or judge anything. And then when we look back at how we got there, we see the thread; we can find our roots from "childhood cancer cure" to "flowers." And we do all of this in about 45-seconds. It's amazing. I love it.
    I'm also reading "Onward" by Howard Schultz. He's an inspiring person; he must be, really, to get to where he is today. He talks a lot about connecting to our roots at the same time as looking forward. "Onward" talks about the struggles Starbucks went through in 2007 and the subsequent economic downturn. He didn't use the same words, but so much of what he described reminded me of an invocation. He had a vision to move the company forward while maintaining the thread that led him back to his roots.
     During the Harold, we rarely go back to just the suggestion. This isn't a hard and fast rule; we do do it. But in general, we build on all of those other things we created in 3 minutes. We don't just live in the past (the past here is 3 minutes ago at the initial suggestion), we move forward. We build using a few guiding principles  we've been taught in our improv courses. And that's what Howard Schultz was doing too. He didn't want to live in the past. He wanted to stay connected to the past (Pike Place Market and the whole lot) while building something using a few guiding principles that he put forth as a Mission Statement.
     Nurture the Human Spirit. The common thread through Starbucks' mission and through performing improv is that it nurtures the human spirit. It happens one cup and one game move at a time.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Help Support Me

My kickstarter is live! Please visit the link, check it out, donate, and then pass it on to every person you know. Thanks!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm Writing A Show About It

Sketches are taking shape. I'm super excited about two sketches that are taking shape right now--one for each show. In the first one, I get to eat a lot of pancakes and syrup on stage. In the other, there will be a lot of Jell-O smashing. Seriously, life is pretty amazing right now.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Something Old is New Again

    Yesterday I saw a tumblr post with a few gifs from "I Love Lucy." I immediately said "man, I want to take some time off work and just watch 'I Love Lucy'." Then today, I walked into the UCB Training Center and what do I see but the entire series on DVD just waiting to be checked out. How serendipitous!
      I didn't get to watch the show live when it first aired--obviously--and I only sort of remember watching the reruns in the middle of the day when I was a kid. "I Love Lucy" is largely considered the first great comedy, and especially the first great female-led comedy. This is more than just TV; this is history.
     Oh Lucy. This will be quite a lesson in the evolution of women in television. Breaking barriers while still fitting in the mold. This will be like a master's class for me, and hopefully I'll be able to get through the whole series in about a semesters' time.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Meeting with Beers

Show Journal cont...

Deadlines are hard, especially when they're self-imposed. The team set a date for our next meeting and we all promised to have at least one new sketch and one rewrite. For me, these deadlines are hard because they seem easy at first. Oh, I have two weeks to write all these things! That's so much time! Then I stare at a blank page for 13 days. And then shame seeps in.

Cribbage We learned to play cribbage. An essential element that we're working on is this abstract group mind concept. We're not forcing it; luckily we like spending time together anyway. So at our last meeting, Dan brought over his cribbage board and taught us all how to play. So now we all have that in our back packets. If we're ultimately not very funny, we can play cribbage together.

A Director We got ourselves at least a part time director. We weren't quite sure what the appropriate time to bring in a director was, but we took a shot and went with now. And maybe we'll take a little time sans director to work on things and then bring him back when the show is closer to complete. But it was successful because it got us all on the same page and brought in an outside view--someone who was not so emotionally connected to the material--to say yes, no, that works, that doesn't, what the hell, and yeah, more abortion jokes.

Two Shows We're still working on two shows at once. This is ill-advised, but fuck it, we like both of them too much to put one on hold for now. As we move forward, one may emerge as the more immediate show. When that time comes we'll pour all of our energy into that. And then when that one is as awesome as it can be and successful and gets a full run, a sitcom, and a movie spin off, then we'll come back and give the second show the same treatment.

A Name We need a name. This will take weeks and week and about 300 emails in a chain before we settle on one. But it's a fun process.

Fun. The band.  No, not really. But this all very fun, even though it's hard work. WE keep working towards something and that's food. We're not aimless and that has been the most rewarding part. Having new material and even rehashing old material and getting everyone in on the same joke and being able to pitch half-ideas and watch them blossom into fully formed sketches that we all champion because it's a part of all of us is amazing. Maybe this is how having a non-bratty child feels, but less drunk.

Beers We met with beers and pizza and chips and guacamole. This might be unprofessional. Or, it might be exactly what a writer's room is supposed to look like. I've heard the advice "perform like you're one beer in." I assume this extends to writing as well. And that it should be expanded to two beers.

Friday, January 25, 2013

It's Live!

I Am Not A Stupid Woman is live on the internet!

I Am Not A Stupid Woman -- Episode One from Nancy Melchert on Vimeo.

I'm happy and proud and beaming like a new adoptive parent!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Things

New things are great. I finally got my new ChromeBook. I've only had it for about 17 minutes, but it's already fantastic. It makes me feel like I can get more done. Rationally, I know this is untrue. But fuck rationalism. I CAN GET MORE DONE! Thanks, Google.