Spending time at the Summit Workshop

I shot some more video last night at the record studio. Should be some pretty good pieces coming out of it, at least two. Once their blog goes live I’ll be linking to it here. I’m hoping they’ll get themselves a couple Flip Cams so they can soon add video without me and have a little more independence there.

A couple members of Kinetic Psyche

This is a couple of the guys from my friend Amy’s band. I got to hear (most of) them last night, they’re fun. They’re performing this Friday at Scarlet & Grey Cafe at 9 p.m. with some other hip hop acts.

On a side note, has anyone had trouble getting your Macbook Pro to recognize your video camera? I plug in my Canon HV30 and nothing happens. I googled it, and the only people who’ve had the same issue agreed the camera at least showed up their desktop – mine doesn’t even do that. It makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with the firewire cable. Anyway. Just throwing that out there.

“Home,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

[Her:]
Alabama, Arkansas,
I do love my ma and pa,
Not the way that I do love you.

[Him:]
Holy, Moley, me, oh my,
You’re the apple of my eye,
Girl I’ve never loved one like you.

[Her:]
Man oh man you’re my best friend,
I scream it to the nothingness,
There ain’t nothing that I need.

[Him:]
Well, hot and heavy, pumpkin pie,
Chocolate candy, Jesus Christ,
Ain’t nothing please me more than you.

[Both:]
Ahh Home. Let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I’m with you.

La, la, la, la, take me home.
Mother, I’m coming home.

[Him:]
I’ll follow you into the park,
Through the jungle through the dark,
Girl I never loved one like you.

[Her:]
Moats and boats and waterfalls,
Alley-ways and pay phone calls,
I’ve been everywhere with you.

[Him:]
We laugh until we think we’ll die,
Barefoot on a summer night
Nothin’ new is sweeter than with you

[Her:]
And in the streets you run afree,
Like it’s only you and me,
Geeze, you’re something to see.

[Both:]
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I’m with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is wherever I’m with you.

La, la, la, la, take me home.
Daddy, I’m coming home.

(Talking)
Him: Jade
Her: Alexander
Him: Do you remember that day you fell outta my window?
Her: I sure do, you came jumping out after me.
Him: Well, you fell on the concrete, nearly broke your ass, you were bleeding all over the place and I rushed you out to the hospital, you remember that?
Her: Yes I do.
Him: Well there’s something I never told you about that night.
Her: What didn’t you tell me?
Him: While you were sitting in the backseat smoking a cigarette you thought was gonna be your last, I was falling deep, deeply in love with you, and I never told you til just now.

[Both:]
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I’m with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is where I’m alone with you.

[Him:]
Home. Let me come home.
Home is wherever I’m with you.

[Her:]
Ahh home. Yes I am ho-oh-ome.
Home is when I’m alone with you.

[Her:]
Alabama, Arkansas,
I do love my ma and pa…
Moats and boats and waterfalls,
Alley-ways and pay phone calls…

[Both:]
Ahh Home. Let me go home.
Home is wherever I’m with you.
Ahh Home. Let me go ho-oh-ome.
Home is where I’m alone with you…

In maintenance mode

It’s been a really long time since I wrote any kind of update on my weight loss quest; I guess that’s because once I lost the ten pounds I gained last summer, I stopped freaking out about it. I’ve kept it off, but I’m not shedding any additional weight like I wanted to. I’ve been running outdoors lately, which I’ve decided is vastly different (in a good way) from running on a treadmill. So, I’m planning on doing more of that and spending less time at the gym, which served me very well all fall and winter. This has also solidified my plan to, once my gym contract is over (January 2011! Christ.), switch to a gym that doesn’t lock you into a contract. Month to month, baby.

I still use my phone’s calorie counter app but like I said, it’s not making me lose like it would if I were exercising a lot more. At this point, I’m just maintaining my weight. Still, I’m very happy to at least be doing that. I really wanted to start Weight Watchers, which has worked wonders on a co-worker and a couple friends, but it’s just not fitting into my budget right now. I’m trying really hard to save money for my upcoming trips to Chicago (Memorial Day weekend) and San Diego (June 21-26).

Brace yourself

I just submitted two sketch ideas to the Shadowbox online forum – a more generalized version of “The Hills” parody I described to my dad, and a sketch making fun of “Twilight.” It’s for the Halloween show, after all. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, and I am feeling better about it all than I was 48 hours ago.

The day after my interview/confirmation of insanity, I was sent my personal login information for the writers’ team forum, where they share basic sketch ideas, outlines and drafts. There, the other writers will read, comment and give direction for an idea and the original writer (or another writer, if so inclined) will go from there and take the next step. I was encouraged to take other people’s ideas and work from them if I felt like I had a good direction to take it in.

On Friday after work, I pored over the sketch ideas already posted. I had mixed feelings about them as a whole; some, I thought to myself, were out of my league but there were some I felt I could have written and hopefully even improved on. This made me feel a little better, as if I was being told maybe I could belong to this team after all. Hours after I was accepted for this internship, my confidence took a nose dive and I began wondering what I had been thinking by even daring to ask for a role. My dad told me I don’t take criticism well, to which I snapped, “YES I DO”. Just kidding. I actually said in a whiny voice, “I think I’ve gotten better about that…”

I think he may be thinking of the time he once politely questioned my decision to major in journalism, when at the time I was hardly a news junkie. I accused him of saying I was simply not smart enough to be a reporter and promptly burst into tears in a canoe in the middle of a lake. It’s true – at that moment in my life, I was not terrible receptive to constructive criticism. However, to be fair, being judged by our parents, whom most strive hardest in their whole lives to appease, feels far worse than being criticized by anyone else on the planet. And besides, that was years ago. And look how far that journalism degree got me! …Oh, wait.

But, back to today. Confidence slightly restored, I resigned myself to submitting at least two ideas, since the head writer had e-mailed and requested two outlines by the end of this coming week. Much like in college, when I couldn’t *possibly* write a boring paper when my half of the room was dirty (remember when you were confined to/responsible for only half of a room?), I couldn’t bring myself to submit any sketch ideas with a sink full of dishes. That is why I am announcing this pitiful accomplishment at 10 p.m. on Sunday night. This has been my weekend.

Well, the rest of my weekend has mostly been made up of me talking to other people about how very excited I am to have the chance to show my stuff as a sketch comedy writer – there was little sketch comedy writing involved until very recently. I went to a going-away party for a couple Muskingum friends who are moving out of state in two weeks. There were lots of people there, only four of whom I knew prior to, but I really enjoyed meeting all those new people last night and talking to them. Seth and Amy have cultivated a pretty awesome circle of friends in their time in Columbus. I am sure they are sad to leave them for the time being.

Today, I picked up Owen and Jamie at the airport and ended up spending a good part of the day with Owen. Sadly, Jamie had to head to her hometown because her uncle passed away while they were on vacation, which they were afraid might happen. Owen picked up their cat, which I watched while they were away, and he bought me pizza for my cat-watching troubles. (Of which there were none.)

The weekend’s gone by way too fast, as usual, but I’ve got plenty going on this week. Aside from trying to convey sketch premises as non-idiotic ideas, I’ll be shooting more footage for the Summit Workshop on Tuesday and doing a wedding related video on Thursday. Bonus: I get to see B.C. and Christina as a result of Thursday’s plans. Hooray!

Moving up in the world

I can’t believe my luck. What would life be like right now if I’d blown off a Saturday workshop on sketch comedy writing? I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t be nearly this awesome.

I had my interview with the guys from the Shadowbox Cabaret yesterday after work. I drove to Easton (only took a half hour from Polaris, and in rush hour traffic at that). They sat me down and told me the ugly truth: working as a writer for Shadowbox is not easy. They run a tight ship on a rigid schedule and they simply don’t have time to be nice. They are going to tell me that my ideas suck, my scripts suck, my jokes suck and I suck. And I’ll have to brush it off and come up with something better. And then something better than that, and better and better until someone says, okay, I can think we can cast this thing. And that takes weeks. And it doesn’t happen a lot. I might never see one of my original ideas hit the stage.

I’m not gonna lie, my heart sank a little when I was told that, because already I’d had visions of inviting friends and family to come see a show containing a sketch that I came up with. But that’s the vanity talking. A sketch is no one’s sketch, it is everyone’s sketch. This double-edged sword, they pointed out, means I now get a share of the credit and the blame for what’s on stage at Shadowbox from this day forth.

Steve, the founder of Shadowbox, said the musical portion of the show is completely different from what we write.

“For one thing, the songs are already written, and they’re already hits,” he pointed out.

Shadowbox shows generally do a sketch followed by a song performance, followed by another sketch and so on. They also have some video segments in there, and I actually have a video series idea to share. But iPhone ad parodies might be overdone, sigh… We’ll see.

After the terrifying terms of my possible internship were laid out, completely without sugarcoat, Steve said with a laugh, “So how does all that sound?”

I laughed, too.

“Ummm… a little scary,” I admitted. “But, I still wanna do it.”

“Okay,” he said, and welcomed me to the family. I grinned like an idiot for several minutes.

The trouble is, no one at Shadowbox has seen anything I’ve ever written. I brought along a few sketch ideas I came up with last week but I’m glad I didn’t show them to anyone on the spot because I know no one was about to trouble themselves to cover their dismay at what they’d just done in giving me a chance. Also, the thing about comedy at Shadowbox is that it’s for everyone; they have no idea who’s going to come through the door on any given night so their humor has to have a wide appeal. I was explaining a sketch idea I had to my dad, a parody of “The Hills,” and when he admitted he wasn’t sure who Heidi Montag is, I said, “Okay, maybe this isn’t going to work.”

We have to write sketches about things everyone knows, characters everyone can relate to. And for a show that’s months down the road. Your topics are limited, your time is finite. Plus, it’s hard to write a Ted Strickland/John Kasich sketch in May for a show in October when we have no way of knowing what’s going to take place in state politics between now and then.

And in the next few days, I am going to have to develop the thick skin of Kenneth the Page and the independence and motivation of Liz Lemon, and, oh my God, I’m going to have to stop making “30 Rock” references before I start spending any actual time with these people.

The other cool thing about this chance of a lifetime is, the more Shadowbox succeeds, the more it can grow. The more money coming in, the more staff they can hire. I guess what I am trying to say is, give to the Shadowbox! Give and give and give! Pay tithe to church of local comedy. Donate generously here.

If I don’t suck at sketch comedy writing and stick with this, I could work at my dream job one day. Basically I was told it will be rough and painful and frustrating but if I live to survive it, I will come out a great writer on the other side. This makes me feel a strange combination of ill and elated. We’ll see which wins me over in the end.

Some words from Liz Lemon

Like Astronaut Mike Dexter

I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals, but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching ‘Lost.’ And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince! And I want him to genuinely like me, even when I’m old.”

-Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon, on “30 Rock”

Thanks to Meredith for bringing this quote to my attention.

Introducing the Summit Workshop

A couple weeks ago my friend Amy, who I went to high school with (and whose brother is in Saintseneca… small world) asked me if I could help her guy’s recording studio with some PR. I am helping them get a blog started and doing some videos for them. I visited them last Tuesday to hear what all they had to say and what they were looking for. Last week I set up a blog domain for them here on WordPress, took some exterior shots of the place and made a very basic blog for them. Tonight I went back and shot some video, which I will be adding to their vids section of the Summit Workshop blog.

Amy is a skilled photographer and will be frequently taking pictures of artists as they come in to the studio to record, which we’ll be posting to the blog each week. She’s also been documenting the hard work the guys have been putting into the property so eventually there will be some pretty astonishing before and after shots of the place. They all seem like really nice people, and they’re very ambitious. They want to do a little (or sometimes a lot) of everything, it sounds like, including audio for local films. Hooray for me!

Here’s a rough cut of the introductory video I did for them tonight:

The finished cut will have full titles, credits and music. I’m looking forward to getting more work done with them.