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Author Topic: Advice  (Read 1882 times)

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Offline Captain Cornelius Howard Duckman

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Advice
« on: May 18, 2010, 10:22:01 AM »
So, as some one just starting to tread the boards of a stage show, what advice do you wish you'd been given when you first started? What were the thing you didn't know you needed to know?

Offline Queen Margaret

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Re: Advice
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 04:56:37 PM »
In no particular order:

1. Stay current. Look for ways to keep your performance fresh.
2. Never, ever, ever be a diva. You are only as good as your last show. When you become a legend in your own mind, it's time to hang it up.
3. Talent never makes up for a rotten attitude or a lack of professionalism.
4. Meet your deadlines with management.
5. Never alienate your audience.
6. Don't go for the dick joke. It's too easy.
7. Don't try to be funny; DO try to be genuine.
8. Always be original. Don't do what everyone is doing; do what YOU are doing.
9. Love and respect your audience; Machiavelli was only partially right.
10. Have a back up plan.
11. An audience of one is as important as an audience of one hundred.
12. Theatre wins.
13. Respect your festival's theme and time period.
14. Trust your instincts.
15. Forgive yourself when you screw up.
16. Try to see management's perspective. They have a method to their madness. Often, they are right.
17. Don't overprice or underprice yourself.
18. When negotiating a contract, look for ways to be an asset, not a liability.
19. Embrace family audiences.
20. Never lose the magic.

To paraphrase a truly wonderful queen: "We make tomorrow's childhood memories today." Remember that, and you are on your way.
A calm sea never made for a skillful manner. -English proverb

Offline Emerald Shaunassey

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Re: Advice
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2010, 05:08:20 PM »
To add to the wonderful list put forth by Queen Margaret:

1) Breaking into a new genre is NEVER easy - be prepared for prejudices, jealousies, back stabbings, and yes, even hatreds.  Use them as a self measuring tool of how never to be towards a fellow performer be they street/cast or stage; be they brand new performers or long time veterans.

2) Women performing comedy have a harder task than men performing comedy and are judged far more harshly than men.  Remember that fine thin line you've always heard of?  Yup, you will be doing a constant balancing act on it.

3) Because you choose to have an all female acting troupe - be prepared for some people, even in faire managment, to assume you and your entire troupe are lesbians.

4) You, the owner, will pay out so much more than anyone else in your troupe ever will.  You truly do it for the love of the 'game' and the sound of patron's laughter. 

5) Always, always, always, find a way to make someone's day (even your own) to be better than it could have been.  It will come back to you in "karmic coinage."


Just a few random thoughts from starting my own stage show from scratch 8 years ago and being the first of my kind in my location of the nation.

Fair Winds,
Emerald
IWG #979, IFRP #569, RMG # 614, Bard # 171.
Creator, Owner, & Manager of Williams Entertainment: Home of The Ladies of the Salty Kiss, The Shanty Lasses, Native Souls, & Grand Lake Renaissance Festival.

Offline Merlin the Elder

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Re: Advice
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2010, 05:13:43 PM »
Seems to me, Queen Margaret, that your wisdom far exceeds your years. Your advice is what makes you what you are, and you are an asset to Scarborough, as are the bulk of the artists that I've encountered on a one-to-one at Scarby. Without the magic of the cast, AND the playtrons, the festivals would be nothing.
Living life in the slow lane
ROoL #116; the Jack of Daniels; AARP #7; SS# 000-00-0013
I've upped my standards. Now, up yours.
...and may all your babies be born naked...

Offline Becky10

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Re: Advice
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2010, 07:57:33 PM »
Quote
2) Women performing comedy have a harder task than men performing comedy and are judged far more harshly than men.  Remember that fine thin line you've always heard of?  Yup, you will be doing a constant balancing act on it.

I've always wondered why is that?
The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on

Offline Maeve McMayhem

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Re: Advice
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2010, 09:11:42 PM »
I think one of the biggest things we learned quickly is to always, always, always be kind to a fellow performer. Much like Emerald pointed out. We have ran across a few instances were we would have been up stink creek without a paddle and it was a fellow performer than lended us an oar.

Also, no matter how small your audience may be at first.. no matter how big the audience is at the stage next to  you - you have to start somewhere! Most groups don't start one day and then the next have a crowd that leaves only standing room. It takes time. Re-evaluate what you're doing, what can you do differently to draw in more of a crowd, ect.

And most importantly, don't sweat the small stuff and have fun. Audiences can really pick up on little details like how much you do or do not enjoy what you're doing. As a patron for years (and now a performer), I'd much rather watch a group of people perform who are having a blast with one another and feeding off the audience.. as opposed to a group who is so cold and rehearsed that it's like watching tv. Interact with those around you.. make your audience feel like they "make" your show, because truly..they do. No show is the same as the other, no matter how much you rehearse and think you have memorized lines and jokes. Every show changes, just like the faces in the audience. Feed off that, love it..and live it up.
"Castleteer"
IWG #3771
1/2 of Misplaced Laces

Offline Captain Cornelius Howard Duckman

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Re: Advice
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010, 11:18:46 PM »
I appreciate all the advice, but the one question I have, is... What is the Richard Joke?

Offline Queen Margaret

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Re: Advice
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2010, 07:19:22 AM »
Well something got lost in translation. What I wrote was the nick name for "Richard", but it got changed in the post. What that means is, do not go for the dirty joke or sexual innuendo. It shows a lack of creativity. Beyond that, it's tasteless and boring. Blue humor is for the masses, not the educated people that are generally a  part of renaissance festival audiences.

And I don't like 'em anyway. They're demeaning.
A calm sea never made for a skillful manner. -English proverb

Offline Queen Margaret

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Re: Advice
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2010, 10:55:32 AM »
Also, respect the time you are given in the entertainment schedule. This one is basic, but gets forgotten a lot. The schedule is hell to put together anyway for the entertainment staff, what with juggling who follows whom, music versus comedy, etc.

An ideal show length is about 25 - 28 minutes. Get beyond that, and your audience is going to walk away.

I do an improv thing/long form stuffus in the lanes (it's not a show by any measure) called Scottish Court. The goal is to go no more than 15-20 minutes, but lately we've gone past an hour, which is the kiss of death in renaissance entertainment. We may believe we are entertaining for 45 minutes, but the folks who have to sit in the sun, heat and stink watching it are no longer paying attention after 20 minutes and are thinking "Get this over with already!" at 30 minutes.

Even going to 29 minutes only gives the act that follows you 60 seconds to get their stuff on stage and their show started. Cheating fellow performers out of their alloted time is never cool.

It doesn't matter how spectacular an act is, if they run too long, they're boring the audience, playing for themselves and cheating other performers of their stage time. Just my opinion.
A calm sea never made for a skillful manner. -English proverb

Offline Fugli

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Re: Advice
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2010, 11:45:54 AM »
What I wrote was the nick name for "Richard", but it got changed in the post.

See, I thought you were just being clever, and I was mentally applauding your ability to make the subject of the unfunny joke itself actually funny. Now I find out that it is the computer that had the sense of humor... I don't know whether to be even more amused, or frightened.
Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

Offline Queen Margaret

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Re: Advice
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2010, 06:33:30 PM »
I am delighted that this forum edits out profanity, even the mild stuff. How refreshing and classy. This queen appreciates that.  :)

And that's another thing...why sink to blue humor or language? Unless you are Iris and Rose, Alfred Greenleaf Holmes or Christophe the Insultor who work in the vulgar as most painters work in oils, why? Why use it at all?

By the way, Gordy Boudreaux's Alfred Greenleaf Holmes is a SCREAM! He is VILE and classical. And I LOVE him!!!

My favorite AGH poem is Ode to an Extremely Provocative Knothole. BRILLIANT!
A calm sea never made for a skillful manner. -English proverb

Offline raevyncait

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Re: Advice
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2010, 10:14:44 PM »
I am delighted that this forum edits out profanity, even the mild stuff. How refreshing and classy. This queen appreciates that.  :)

And that's another thing...why sink to blue humor or language? Unless you are Iris and Rose, Alfred Greenleaf Holmes or Christophe the Insultor who work in the vulgar as most painters work in oils, why? Why use it at all?

By the way, Gordy Boudreaux's Alfred Greenleaf Holmes is a SCREAM! He is VILE and classical. And I LOVE him!!!

My favorite AGH poem is Ode to an Extremely Provocative Knothole. BRILLIANT!

I absolutely adore AGH! Bought the CD over the weekend, and have not yet managed to listen to the whole thing... maybe tomorrow.
Raevyn
IWG 3450
The ORIGINAL Pipe Wench
Wench @ Large #2
Resident Scottish Gypsy
Royal Aromatherapist

 

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