Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

I've talked just slightly about an improv project I've been working on. I've not been too forthcoming with all the details, because I've not really known how much I should be talking about, since you never know who's reading and if they'll steal ideas. Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you - that sort of thing. I think we're finally to a point I can blog a little more about it (which if you know me I've been dying to do!)

Waaay back in January I read a simple line ad in LEO about auditions for actors, singers, writers, etc. for a new caberet-style theater. I was intrigued, because I can do all those things - plus being relatively new to the Louisville theatre scene, I didn't know where to begin to inserting myself. I reserved a time, I prepped a song and a monologue, and went and did my thing.

When my audition was over and I'd suitably impressed everyone (I DID get a role, after all!), I asked about the writing aspect of the ad that was posted. That's when one of the panel, Scott Davis, pulled me aside and started explaining more about this new theater, the Alley Theater. Scott, along with Carol Dines, had restarted this once-active theater now (formerly on Baxter Avenue, now in City Block) with the intention of doing all sorts of cabaret-style projects and trying innovative things with the space.

I saw my opportunity and took it. I brought up my experience with coordinating RASCAL Improv and my desire to get involved with a similar project. Scott indicated that they had designs along those lines further down the road, and he would definitely keep me in mind when that time came around. I left feeling like a superstar.

Fast-forward about 2 months. We're coming to the opening of "Blue Plate Special" and all is going well. During one of the breaks, I'm chatting with Scott and Carol, and Scott mentions that the improv idea he has is getting moved to the front burner. I renew my statement that I'd love to be a part of making it happen, just in case he'd forgotten. I guess he hadn't, because he gives me the skinny on his idea.

He wanted to take the skits that you'd see on "Who's Line Is It Anyway" and make a competition show out of it, with teams competing for charity. It's a pretty common notion in cities with a lot of improv groups (like LA, Chicago and New York), but in this case he wanted to persue local companies to form their own teams.

The rest of our rehearsal, I kept thinking about all the possibilities. I couldn't shake it. That night I wrote an outline of how I thought the show could be constructed, taking from game shows like Family Feud, the Match Game, the Gong Show and American Idol (yes, it's a game show!). I e-mailed the outline to both Scott and Carol and hoped that they didn't think I was trying to usurp their ideas and make them my own.

Fortunately they didn't. Scott replied that it was pretty much how they'd envisioned it, and he'd be getting in contact with me again when they finished the next production being put on at Alley. Since Scott was directing and starring in and promoting this one, his free-time was nothing. I'm nothing if not patient.

About April, when "The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)" wrapped, I wrote to see if there had been an update. Scott replied that they'd already been contacting some media outlets to see if they wanted to field teams, and had already met with some success. I gave him a few ideas of venues to chase he might not have thought of, such as Ohio Valley Wrestling. Hey, if anyone was going to be hilarious to watch, it would be these guys, right?

That's when I got the surprise of my life. Scott wrote and asked for help to cut the show down from it's hour-long format for stage production to a 30-minute version, as he was approaching the local TV station for a regular timeslot.

Television? Really??? Umm...wow!

That's a whole new level of intensity I've not experienced yet. Most of you know I've struggled with insecurities about moving into a more professional level of acting, and this was just another spice in the stew. But I've learned a few things to combat those issues in the last couple of months.

The first I've blantantly stolen from RedFaery - when she experiences fear in something, she researches the hell out of it, analyzes it to the nth degree, and draws comfort in that knowledge. That's pretty easy here to do here.

Second, I've learned to be comicly arrogant. I like grinning at my wife and a few friends and saying things like, "I'm gonna be a TV star!" It's an effective way to shunt the fear away and replace it with giggles.

So now we're going to make a TV show - filming two episodes at a time. I met with Scott and Carol over lunch, and we talked about everything. The new format, how the stage is going to be set up, the teams, contracts, promotion, logos, etc. I walk away certain we hammered out a lot of the details to make this into something special.

A week later, Scott tells me that not only are we set up on the cable access station, but the local CW affiliate as well. Now I'm gonna be a TV star on TWO stations! W00t!

Currently, we are in the process of writing the commercials to promote the show, and starting the real push to encourage companies to form teams. We need 16 teams in our double-elimination bracket, and getting the word out should like we plan should get the bracket filled in no time. I've written up promo pieces that Carol is revising and adding to, and most likely sometime next week we'll shoot them. Our first taping (still believe I'm saying that!) is tentatively scheduled for early August, so we're going to be moving fast!

And all I can hear in my head is the loud click-click-click of going up the first big hill on a rollercoaster...

I'll post the official press release here soon.


Lee said...

I hope you still have a VCR or a DVR so those of us not living in Louisville or thereabouts can see your performances.

ActingUpAgain said...

We'll probably put the commercials on YouTube, and I'm definitely going to be DVRing them and transferring them to CD/DVD at the least.