Friday, October 16, 2009

Last Minute Tips on Performing

Here's some last minute tips I give our performers, hosts, lights, and musicians. We do short-form shows, so you'd have to adjust if you do long-form...

Instructions for Lights:
  • Black out lights and cue music quickly. Don't take lots of time to fade things.
  • Keep the lights out for about 5-7 seconds. It gives the audience time to breathe, and the performers time to exit.
  • Err on the side of cutting scenes too short.
  • Look for endings that are either:
    • big laughs
    • clever
    • touching
    • impressive
    • providing closure

Instructions for the Host:
  • Build rapport with the audience to get them on your side.
    • smile
    • dance
    • say please and thank you
    • don't make fun of them
    • make fun of yourself*
      • *not as in I suck at hosting/improv, but in other ways you fail at life.
    • Compliment the audience like you're on a first date.
    • Treat your audience like they're the smartest audience in the world.
  • Be yourself, don't host in the voice of a character, or use announcer voice.*
    • *be a happier, more energetic, more fun-loving version of yourself. The audience wants to have fun.
  • Think through how you're going to introduce the game. Make it simple, clear, and concise.
  • If you're going to tell jokes, make them quick, and if they fail move on even quicker.

Instructions for the Performers:
  • You can make 2 big mistakes every show.*
    • *Go big until you make 2 mistakes, then go mostly big.
  • Trust that your partners are just as smart, brilliant, and funny as you. Set them up!
  • Don't use planned material, or stuff that made the team laugh in rehearsal.*
    • Trust the YES AND process.
    • The other team members will notice, and the energy will be lower.
    • *You can use characters you've worked on, but don't use preplanned gags, set-ups, jokes, punchlines, etc.
  • Don't distract from what's going on onstage.
  • Acknowledge everybody who enters/exits the scene.

Instructions for the Musician:
  • Pay attention to what's going on in the scene.
    • If something dramatic happens, play something discordant.
  • Less is more. Simple chords and filler backgrounds are okay for a lot of the scenes.
  • Don't worry about the structure of the songs you play, just think in terms of themes, melodies, or general feel.
  • Basic piano sound is best.

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