Archive for the Nuts & Bolts Stuff Category

The 64oz Equivalent of News

Posted in Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on March 30, 2020 by RobALott

Have you ever drank too much water?

Too much water can be almost as bad as not enough. Too much water and our bodies don’t know what to do with it.

Not enough water, we don’t feel well.
Too much water, we don’t feel well either.

What if we treated our intake of news the same way we treat our intake of water.

Most of us have been told we need at least 64oz of water every day.

What’s the news consumption equivalent to 64oz of water?

Sure, some of us need more and some of us need less. But we all know what if feels like to have too much and to not have enough.

After we pour ourselves a glass of water, we don’t let the water continue to run, neither should we let the news play in the background of our entire lives.

And if our eyes are popping from screen to screen, all of it news and blogs and social media, following the same hashtags and reading all that comes up with our saved key words, might I suggest, this is the equivalent of trying to sip water from an open fire hydrant. We won’t get what we need and it’ll just give us whiplash.

Just as an experiment:

Most of us drink just enough water to get through the day. Might I suggest limiting our news intake to the same amount.

Literally, when we pour and drink water, that’s when when we get our news.

Just as an experiment. Try it for a day, or two, or a week. Let’s see how we feel.

A Lot of Responsibility

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on February 24, 2020 by RobALott

Every time you step onstage—no matter what role—you are the authority in the room. The audience is looking to you to take and to have control.

When things go wrong, the audience will always look to those onstage to fix it.

This is a lot of responsibility.

Don’t abdicate.
Don’t delegate.
Don’t shirk.

Own it. Be the expert. Be the authority.

Better Look Busy

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on January 27, 2020 by RobALott

Want to look busy during strike without any actual responsibility?

Just go to center stage and stare up into the fly space. Every once in a while make a gesture like something needs to be moved up there.

The actual work will get done and you won’t have to do any of it.

(Just a heads up, though. You might fool the others who are looking to get out of the work and responsibility, but you won’t fool those who are doing the actual work or are taking the responsibility. That might have some long term consequences.)

No Apologies Necessary

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on January 20, 2020 by RobALott

“If an audience member takes the time to approach you and tell you that they enjoyed the show, you graciously take the compliment and thank them.

You don’t tell them that you hated that show, and rattle off all the things that went wrong.”

-Randy Cabral

I only learned this after apologizing for far too many shows, and then dealing with the awkward conversation after.

“Oh, I’m so sorry you had to see that.”

“Oh, that was not our best show.”

“I hope you come back and see a better show.”

“I wish you had been at the early show. That was the good one.”

We don’t always have as much control over a good or bad show as we think we might. And we don’t get to tell an audience how they should feel about the show they saw.

Apologize to your cast, sure.

Apologize to your stage manager, yes.

But the audience doesn’t care to hear your apology. Pretty much ever.

Off The Stage And Out The Stage Door…

Posted in Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 23, 2019 by RobALott

To Those of Us Who Spend Any Amount of Time on Stage,

We are so often easily recognized off the stage. Our audiences have spent anywhere from a couple of minutes to a couple of hours investing their time and emotions in us, our character, and our story.

Let’s make sure our behavior off-stage continues to represent our performance, our show, and (bonus points), our producer well.

Out of makeup, out of costume, and out of the spotlight — we are still being watched. No need to perform, but let’s not tarnish our performance or our audience’s experience with out of character off-brand behavior.

As A Theatrical Director…

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on December 16, 2019 by RobALott

As a theatrical director, I give verbal notes to cast, crew, and design teams at the beginning and end of each day’s rehearsal. These contain observations for adjustments to improve performances, as well as technical, and design elements. My comments are critical, which means they are a product of my analysis toward accomplishing a better result. I make an evaluation as to quality and effectiveness.

Giving notes must not mean that I am judgmental in a mean-spirited or arrogant way. To have value, my critiques must be constructive, informative, understandable, and above all doable. Otherwise they are just a scold. My observations must “serve the work” and make our production stronger, richer, smarter, and more engaging. A director’s notes are worthless, hollow words if they don’t move us all toward greater artistic achievement. This would be true for anyone in a supervisory position in any organization.

Hatch! by C. McNair Wilson

What To Do With Mistakes

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on September 30, 2019 by RobALott

I received an email a couple days ago from a notable organization letting me know of a service that was soon going to be available.

A few minutes later I received another email from the same organization saying they had made a mistake, the service was not yet available, and they apologized for the extra email and inconvenience.

Did I immediately distrust the organization?

No. On the contrary. I immediately trusted the organization more for quickly recognizing their mistake, owning it, and apologizing.

They didn’t try to cover it up with a “What we meant was…” email.

They didn’t wait to see if anyone would notice.

They didn’t try to spin it with a “No, you must have read it wrong. The misunderstanding is on your end…” email.

They recognized it, owned it, apologized for it, and now I trust them more because of it.

***

Avoid mistakes, absolutely.

But mistakes are going to happen. And like all matters of value, decide ahead of time how you’ll respond when a mistake is made.

For the First Timers

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff on July 29, 2019 by RobALott

Do the show for the First Timers in the audience.

First Timers become Returners.

Returners are trying to get that feeling back that they had when they were First Timers.

Comedy: We Have a Choice

Posted in Creativity, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on July 22, 2019 by RobALott

I do believe comedy is harder today than it was yesterday. And being funny tomorrow will be harder than it is today.

What audiences found funny yesterday can literally become offensive and unfunny over night.

As comedians, we have a choice:

We can continue fighting for what was once thought funny. We can claim the bit as classic and thus, timelessly funny. We can declare audiences to be overly sensitive. We can wave the flags of comedic theory and fight to educate audiences on why the bit should still be funny.

Or…

We can continue to look for what’s going to be funny tomorrow. We can challenge ourselves to find the funny, not only for today, but also tomorrow.

The first option is created.

It worked yesterday. It’ll probably work today. But it may not work tomorrow.

The second is creative.

It’s experimental. It may not work today, but keep tweaking. It just might work tomorrow.

Rarely Do We Have a Bad Day

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Thoughts on Leadership on April 1, 2019 by RobALott

Most times we have a bad forty-five minutes.

Reframe. Refocus. Reset.