I recognize about half of the players as we scatter to claim our seats in the intimate stadium theater. Dark pants, collared shirts, we’re all donning a new uniform for a new production of Denver’s Next Improv Star. (DNIS, Season 11). Zach, of my grad show cohort, is nearby and we each confess to our surprise/fear/excitement at being in the cast. I’m not alone in this. Looking around I recognize about half the actors.
Eric, the show originator and theater owner, successfully shifts the mood over the next half hour from anxious to relaxed as he explains what the show is, what it isn’t, and how this process will unfold. A weekly improv competition, one by one we will be judged and voted off the show. The only way to win is by supporting your fellow players.
Over the next few hours I enter a new realm.
I’m not a selfie person, don’t usually spend much time looking in mirrors, and am shocked at how much I don’t know about putting on makeup for filming. I at least know the names of all the players now and there’ll be four more play dates before the opening. Somehow we all make it through and disband for a month for the holidays. The first steps into merging with a new profession, initiated.
The rehearsals? Nine hours of training with three of last year’s runners up. All uncomfortable (the rehearsals, not the trainers), all great learning experiences. Empathy and admiration for my fellow players is high! And the challenges are, well, challenging, as designed. I walk away with knowledge in my head, and lots of feedback on what needs to change as I coordinate that with what my body is doing (Don’t forget the object in your hand; when someone comes through the door they have a gift to offer; you can pop into a scene to add, and don’t have to actually stay on stage when it doesn’t fit.) Okay so I’m getting better at getting lots of feedback in front of the others. As I take this feedback to heart, I find myself later that week in a separate rehearsal self-correcting. I am learning to rely on my own judgment. (Even as the mistakes continue, at least my self-awareness is improving.)
Produce a two-minute video clip? I have no idea what I’ll do. I’ve had plenty of time to come up with ideas, and try things, but travelling and being sick for three out of four weeks definitely was distracting. And I still haven’t answered the question for myself, “Why should I be Denver’s Next Improv Star?”
One week until it’s due, so I recruit my friends on a preplanned trip to film some ideas I have. Taking the clips home, I arrange the ones I think will tell a story, and put them in imovie. I’m waiting for feedback from my daughter on the draft when I notice a lot of silence in the clips I’ve chosen to use. Maybe she would put in music for me? No I can’t ask that, she’s overwhelmed in her own life. I quash that fantasy.
Her comment back? “I think you should add music, to reinforce the story.” Techno fear is real….I have my bubble, my cone of terror, around it. But I keep moving forward.
I google my way onward, looking to how to add music. Then I have to figure out what I can add legally. Then I google again, for instructions that I can actually apply to my aging equipment. (Did I actually just succumb to using google as a verb?)
OMG it’s soooo much better with music! That is all I can handle for today. I know I may still have to reshoot tomorrow because there are more hurdles, like loading this up to the site.
The first one and a half hours the next day are spent trying to figure out/reinstate a Google address I had for a month years ago and don’t use and can’t recover because my phone number changed five years ago. It is still linked to my email address and I am getting notices that someone will get back to me in five business days.
ARGGH it’s due today. ;-( ;-( .
Somehow I manage to slowly work through one hurdle at a time, and although it takes an hour to load, it works.
Now for the fun…I get to watch what all my peers have created and you can too!
Watch the responses, then VOTE FOR ME (More importantly, vote your conscience, our country needs this.) Then VOTE FOR ME AGAIN (no limit!). Voting is open Monday through Friday noon MST.
Each show will have one less cast member than the last, so this could be your last chance to see your favorite. Get your tickets now, shows will sell out!