Yeah. Hello. Hi, I’m alive.
Yeah. Hello. Hi, I’m alive.
Just wanted to share some of the pictures we took on Friday/Saturday during our 24 hour NYC Film Racing Competition.
Have you ever stayed up all night? I guess most of us have had the last minute all-night study session, the ghost-story telling sleepovers, and the “I’m so excited for tomorrow I can’t sleep” moments.
Well tonight is going to be an all-nighter, and I can promise you a new Knife Parade video will be posted by Sunday. Oh yeah. Me and the boys are competing in the NYC Film Race 2008, a 24-hour video competition that lasts from 10pm Friday with a deadline of 9:59pm Saturday. Here’s how it works: the big Kahunas in charge will send us at email at 10:00pm, with a theme and a “surprise element” which must be incorporated into the film (last year’s theme was “fortune” and the surprise element was an egg). At stake is a first place prize of $2,500 along with a whole mess of video production software and the likes. Other awards are given for Best Direction, Acting, Writing, Cinematography, Editing, Original Music Score, Sound Design, Costume Design, Visual FX, Special FX, and others.
This should be interesting… I’ve had a crazy week with not enough sleep and I’m gonna be awake until tomorrow night? We’ll see about this… Anyone know of any advisable, legal, stimulants?
On Sunday night, a group of comedy guru-hopefuls (also known as we, the ascending pupils of Upright Citizen Brigade) were lucky enough to be inspired by one of Saturday Night Live’s original writers, Alan Zweibel, and a handpicked collection of stellar improvisers. Zweibel engaged the entire room, packed beyond capacity, with tales of SNL in its beginning stages and the cast that fused to form some of the most monumental moments in televised comedy. His focus was on a young Gilda Radner, and their hysterical friendship which proclaimed “the fight is over when you can make the other laugh.” I have to add here that for the last week I have been particularly engrossed in watching old Gilda Radner SNL videos, studying her fantastic use of over-the-top physicality. In fact, when Zweibel started telling these old stories about her, it nearly knocked me off my feet. (Yes, after standing in the rain for three hours to get in the show, a lack of seats left us stranded on our feet for the two-hour duration.)
I cannot disregard the fact that the group of improvisers included many top comedians and writers. To name just a few: Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz, Seth Meyers, Rachel Dratch, and Jack McBrayer. (These are just the ones I thought a wider group of readers might recognize.)
I think my heart stopped beating at one point in Zweibel’s first monologue, when he noted that he and his fellow twenty-somethings entwined in the workings of this show felt that New York City was markedly theirs. All fresh from college or whatnot, these “kids” moved to Manhattan (or outer boroughs) and claimed ownership. He dwelled on anecdotes of bar-hopping at two in the morning, selling jokes for seven dollars a piece, coming up with the crazy idea of interviewing “Mrs. Ed” after the male counterpart died, or calling Billy Crystal to find out the likes and dislikes of Lorne Michaels. It was astonishing to me just thinking about these comedy greats just getting started, and trying to make it… sounds a little like….
A group of us from Upright Citizens Brigade have found each other and started working on the side on sketch-writing, then assembling these sketches into short films or live performances. We are still in the beginning stages, but I think this is going in the right direction. I’m not saying that you can expect to see us on SNL next year (haha) but our collaboration is certainly a step forward. I am so thrilled to be conspiring with such an intelligent and witty group of guys and I am absolutely excited to see what we can create.
How’s that for inspiration?
Last weekend marked the debut performance of Manhattan Comedy Collective’s newest Character Dogville team, “Sir Reality.” It all started with a six-week long rehearsal process, in which we slowly developed wacky characters and learned how they would interact in any given situation. The style is best described as “character improv.” So everything is improvised, but we are acting as characters that have already been developed. Our particular show is a spoof of a reality show, in which our characters are placed in a location (which is suggested by the audience) and we interact with each other as if we are on some sort of Real World/Big Brother spin-off.
Before Friday’s show, I was anxiously racked with nerves in anticipation of the audience-given suggestion that was certain to be off-center. As a side note here, I am normally as cool as a cucumber when I take the stage. But my butterflies only escalated when we stepped out on stage and I saw the house was packed. The only thing running through my mind was the fear that whatever I improvised would fall flat and not get any laughs.
My character choice was a dramatic and sultry cabaret singer named “Veronica Vixen.” We were placed at “the Alamo,” and my first thought was “What the hell would Veronica do at the Alamo?” I was pulling a classic Ashley: over-thinking. It took me a good ten minutes to try and adapt, and eventually, things straightened out and we ended with a bang. I think before our next show I might have a glass of wine to take the edge off!
That said, thought I would share with you all the characters:
As a final note, the best part of the show was coming out to the lobby and seeing all the awesome friends who were there to support us! Thanks so much to all my girls and to my 201 class – you made my night.
Last night was my first rehearsal for a new Improv venture, a new team for Character Dogville presented by Manhattan Comedy Collective in Times Square. I was lucky enough to be told about this group by my friend Victor, a fellow UCB classmate. At last night’s rehearsal, nine of us came together to work on some improvised monologues, 2-person scenes, and “montages” in a documentary format – think Christopher Guest’s Waiting For Guffman or Best in Show. The premise, or concept, of this show is “character” improv – so we will develop a variety of characters over our six weeks of rehearsal and end up with a cast of characters that can interact in our final performance in February. (NYCers, I will shamelessly plug this in a few weeks!) Last night, I tried out a few characters- including a meat-factory protesting vegan, a book-reading philosophy professor from Big Fork (shout out to Auntie Bev!), and a peg-legged one-eye pirate who invents a miniature telescope – called a “Micro- scope.” I wasn’t too happy with my characters or scenes – but I guess I was a little out of practice. Well, the people in my class are absolutely hilarious, and I’m really looking forward to what will come in the next couple months!