Archive for the Rob Recommends Category

The Audience Plays Their Part

Posted in A Note to Directors, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Rob Recommends on April 22, 2019 by RobALott

In his book, Born Standing Up, Steve Martin talks about his learned ability to listen to an audience and adjust his timing. He could hear the intake of air just before a sneeze or a cough. He’d see someone shift in their chair just before noisily pushing it out from their table. He’d hear and see these things, and he’d wait to say the punch line, or he’d get the punch line in just before the audience interruption. He learned to ride the wave of laughter and applause, listening to it, responding to it, waiting for it, and just after its peak, continuing on to maintain flow and energy.

The audience is playing their part in our performance. And just like an unnecessary character has no place on the stage, the audience can tell if we don’t need them to do our show. They can tell pretty quickly if we are just covering the material or getting through the show. And they, rightly so, will check out and stop playing their part altogether.

The same way we give fellow actors the time and space they need to play their part, and the same way we would never steamroll a fellow actor onstage, we should never steamroll an audience’s laugher and applause, and we must allow them the time and space to be who they are — a live audience.

Rob’s Recommended Reading List of 2018

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Rob Recommends on January 2, 2019 by RobALott

Books I Read, Learned From, and Enjoyed In 2018

Tips – Jon Jory

One Little Spark! -Marty Sklar

The Power Of Moments – Chip & Dan Heath

The War Of Art – Steven Pressfield

Impro – Keith Johnstone

From This Day Forward – Craig & Amy


Daring Greatly – Brené Brown

Bossypants – Tina Fey

The E-Myth Revisited – Michael E. Gerber

Unified – Tim Scott & Trey Gowdy

You And Your Network – Fred Smith

When – Daniel H. Pink

Play The Man – Mark Batterson

Making Elephants Fly – Terry Weaver

Real Artists Don’t Starve- Jeff Goins

Everybody Always – Bob Goff

Together Is Better – Simon Sinek

Speed Reading Made Easy

Posted in Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Rob Recommends on September 3, 2018 by RobALott

Speed Reading Made Easy:

Read only the chapters that interest you. (It’s ok to have read a book and not have finished a book.)

Look for the quotation marks and read the quotes. (These are often the big ideas said more succinctly by someone else.)

Read only the first and last lines of paragraphs. (It is up to the author, not you, to catch and hold your attention. If the first line doesn’t draw you in for the rest of the paragraph, jump to the end and move on.)

Speed reading isn’t always necessary, but can often be helpful.

Introducing the Leading Creative Podcast

Posted in A Note to Directors, Creativity, Disentangling Thoughts on Theatre, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Quotes, Rob Recommends, Thoughts on Leadership on March 12, 2018 by RobALott

I am thrilled to announce that I have begun hosting a brand new podcast!

The Leading Creative Podcast: Bridging the gap between Leadership and Creativity.

Click the link above to listen, subscribe, and share!

Let me know what you think!

Empty Shelf Challenge: 2017

Posted in Rob Recommends on January 8, 2018 by RobALott

I once heard that if you read for just twenty minutes a day, at the end of a year you will have read twenty 200-page books.

This, coupled with Jon Acuff’s Empty Shelf Challenge in which he challenges us to clear a shelf on our bookcases and fill it with finished books throughout the year.

My goal: Re-fill the shelf.

My plan: Read for twenty minutes a day.

Here is my virtual re-filled shelf from 2017.


Who’s The Leader Of The Club by Jim Korkis

The Essential Scratch & Sniff Guide to Becoming a Whiskey Know-It-All by Richard Betts

Procrastinate On Purpose by Rory Vaden

Jim Henson The Biography by Brian Jay Jones

The Secret Life of the American Musical by Jack Viertel

Leading Change by John P. Kotter

Death By Meeting by Patrick Lencioni

Blue Man World

You Can Do This by Tricia Lott Williford


In Such Good Company by Carol Burnett


How’s Your Soul? by Judah Smith


Who’s Afraid of Song of the South? by Jim Korkis


One Question by Ken Coleman


On Writing Well by William Zinsser


The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson


The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni


Disney U by Doug Lipp


In a Pit With a Lion On a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson


Improvisation for the Theatre by Viola Spolin


Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

The Road Back to You by Ian Cron

Finish by Jon Acuff

Audition by Michael Shurtleff

The Tony Award by Isabelle Stephens

Acting in Television Commercials by Squire Fridell

Learning Leadership by Kouzes and Posner

The Small Theatre Handbook by Joann Green

Characteristics of an Effective Vision

Posted in A Note to Directors, Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Rob Recommends, Thoughts on Leadership on March 1, 2017 by RobALott

Characteristics of an Effective Vision

• Imaginable: Conveys a picture of what the future will look like

• Desirable: Appeals to the long-term interests of employees, customers, stockholders, and others who have a stake in the enterprise

• Feasible: Comprises realistic, attainable goals

• Focused: Is clear enough to provide guidance in decision making

• Flexible: Is general enough to allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions

• Communicable: Is easy to communicate; can be successfully explained within five minutes

Leading Change by John P. Kotter

The Books I Choose

Posted in Got Me Thinkin', Nuts & Bolts Stuff, Rob Recommends on April 11, 2016 by RobALott

The books I choose to read, more often than not, are totally a right time and right place endeavor. 

I’ve picked up books that had been highly recommended by readers I trust, and for whatever reason, it just didn’t resonate with me. 

I’m sure it was a good book. 
Unfortunately, it was just the wrong time for me. Or maybe I was in the wrong place in my life to appreciate it. 

Back on the shelf it goes. We’ll try again another day. 

I’ve given glowing recommendations of books to those I just knew would love them. Sadly, their reading of my recommendation fell flat. 

The book I was certain to be a hit fell at just the wrong time and the wrong place for them in their life. 

But then…

There are those glorious times when the stars align and all is right in my world, I am in the right place at the right time with my most recent book of choice. 

Too bad it doesn’t last long, as I can’t seem to put these books down and I’m finished with them far too quickly. 

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is exactly what I’ve needed in this exact time, in this very place in my life. 

It just might be the right time and right place for you as well. Highly recommend.