Archive for February, 2014

The Likability Factor

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on February 24, 2014 by RobALott

“Nothing is more important as a likable narrator. Nothing holds a story together better.” -Ethan Canin

If all of us are story tellers, on stage, in our art, in life, that would make all of us the narrator. Even if only for a moment.

For our moments of narration, why would we not want to be likable? Why would we not want our audience to like us as we continue the story along?

Sometimes the roles we play call for difficult conversations. Hard conversations that have the potential to make enemies. Enemies with the other characters in the story, and enemies with the audience. Sometimes our characters need to use strong words and tough language to make their point, make a change, and continue the story. Even in these instances, can we still strive to be likable? Our audience will be with us and in some cases even root for us if we are.

Find your likability factor and use it at every opportunity. Your story is depending on it.

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Some Thoughts on Comedy

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Quotes on February 17, 2014 by RobALott

Getting a laugh is good. Getting the laugh is better.
Here are a few thoughts for those of us who are in regular pursuit of The Laugh.

“Comedy is infinite. Anything that reflects on life in a way that makes people laugh is comedy.” -Bill Irwin

Tragedy + Time = Comedy
Tr + Ti = Ha

“Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into and open sewer and die.” -Mel Brooks

“Comedy, the interruption of expectation.” -David Solove

“If there’s one stamp you need on your comedy passport, it’s the willingness to find out where you are a little too desperate or a little too whatever and to be willing to poke fun at it.” -Helen Hunt

“When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There’s a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth.” -Cynthia Heimel

“Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” -E. B. White

“The crazy guy is funny. We love the crazy guy, of course. But we also love the sane guy having to suffer the crazy guy.” -John Cleese

Well Rounded…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on February 12, 2014 by RobALott

“Well rounded is like a resilient ball, rolling about, likely to be pleasing to most, and built to last. The opposite? Sharp. Sharp is often what we want. We don’t want a surgeon or an accountant or even a tour guide to be well rounded. We have a lot of choices, and it’s unlikely we’re looking for a utility player. Well rounded gives you plenty of opportunities to shore up mediocrity with multiple options. Sharp is more frightening, because it’s this or nothing. Either can work, but it’s very difficult to be both.” -Seth Godin

Fix It and Move On

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 10, 2014 by RobALott

A note to Directors:

Keep your rehearsals moving and on task.

Don’t waste time demonstrating how you don’t want things done. As though a scene not going well isn’t bad enough the first time through, reenacting everything you didn’t like a second time only prolongs the suffering for all involved.

At best you might get a quick laugh from the amateurs, and at worst your over dramatization could come off as bullying.

Simply show the cast where the scene got off track, and then show them where and how to fix it. Maybe run the scene one more time with the changes and fixes.

Then move on.

The Missing Stamp

Posted in Quotes, Thoughts on Leadership on February 5, 2014 by RobALott

“If there’s one stamp you need on your comedy passport, it’s the willingness to find out where you are a little too desperate or a little too whatever and to be willing to poke fun at it.” -Helen Hunt

If You’re Not For Us – You’re Against Us

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 3, 2014 by RobALott

Well, that’s not entirely true.

Quite often we go in search of praise and applause down the easiest avenues, the avenues littered with compliments and accolades.

While those paths are great for lifting our spirits, they do little to help us get better. The complimenters mean well and are most certainly genuine in their flattery. However, we can become addicted to the compliments, and begin to accept only the praise that makes us feel good, to the neglect of any criticism that might make us better.

Of the praisers we tell ourselves, “Ah, they get it. They get my art, and they get me.”

And of the critisizers we say, “They just don’t understand. They missed the point. They weren’t ready.”

We all need people in our lives that support us and, no matter what, tell us that we did good.

And I would certainly recommend keeping a filter on who is allowed to tell us of our shortcomings.

Too much praise and we don’t get better. Too much criticism and we begin to give up.

But, there is a balance. There is a hybrid.

As artists, we need trusted people in our lives who are 100% for us…

…and 100% unimpressed by us.

Trusted individuals that fully support our art, smile from the audience, and lead the applause. But then, after the ovations have been seated, the compliments have been gathered, and everyone else has gone home, they pull us aside and help us get better.

These individuals are hard to find, but we need to be open to the search.