Archive for the ‘Cecropia’ Category

The Act is Back at Whiskey’s!

November 17, 2006

The Act is now on location again at Whiskey’s Smokehouse, 885 Boylston Street, Boston, Mass. (across from The Prudential Center). Whiskey’s was a great location for us back in August. It is a really fun bar, and there is always the chance of an occasional celebrity sighting. We caught Matt Damon there checking out The Act with a friend.

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For a full list of locations where The Act can be found, keep checking the web site.

Omar Tells Canadian TV, “I’m an Idiot!”

November 8, 2006

We just received a copy of this spot that aired September 23 on Canada’s Global National TV network (posted with permission):

After I said this, Brenda body-slammed me and told the reporter I was the crazy janitor who thinks he is President. Apparently, he didn’t buy it.

Video Shoot

November 7, 2006

Yesterday, I got to act out my childhood fantasy of being a movie director. We went to a sound stage and taped some actors playing The Act for a promotional video. I was on cloud nine, shouting things like “Makeup!” and “Action!” and “OK, people, let’s take five.” When I wasn’t laughing, that is. It turns out, one of the actors is a stand-up comic (Stephen Donovan), and one is a comedian at Improv Boston (Mark Odlum). The sound guy had to gag me, and most of the time Bob Dreissig directed the show while I convulsed on the floor.

You can check out Stephen at the Mohegan Sun on December 1, and at the Comedy Connection in Faneuil Hall Dec. 15-16. Mark’s show is called “Psychic Improv,” and it runs Friday nights at 8PM at Improv Boston through December 8.

P.S. Bob told us that this year seems to be the year of the video. His calendar is jammed because all of corporate America—even the smallest of companies (like us)—is thinking, “Let’s shoot some video and put it up on the web.” The Long Tail phenomenon at work!

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New Article

November 6, 2006

There is a great article by Barbara Robertson about The Act on the Computer Graphics Society website. Thanks, Barbara!

Update (11/7/2006): Great comments, too! 🙂

Get into “The Act”

November 3, 2006

We are having another Free Play Night for The Act at Boston Bowl (820 Morrisey Blvd., Boston, MA) tonight from 9 – 11 PM. Come check it out! (For more details, see today’s Boston Globe Sidekick.) Bring friends!

Impro

October 30, 2006

In 2003, I was telling my friend Matthew Bernstein about my troubles creating a story for my upcoming video game. Matt gave me a copy of Impro by Keith Johnstone. He thought I would like it and it might help.

However, I was doubtful. I had taken Robert McKee’s Story seminar and had read McKee’s book. I had read a dozen books on screenwriting and story writing, and none of them had helped. Impro had an ugly cover, and it was about acting, so I postponed reading it for weeks.

When I finally picked it up in July, 2003, it instantly changed my life.

That might be an odd thing to say about an acting book, but I don’t care. And I am not the only one who says so. Several reviews on Amazon say the same thing.

Impro is ostensibly a book about acting—improvisation and mask work. However, it is also a great book—an important book—about creativity, about psychology, and about education. To me, it was a mind-blowing trip.

Mainly it was useful. Whereas McKee explained how to analyze a story (and tell a good one from a bad one), Johnstone explained how to create one. My Cecropia story team had been collectively banging its head against a wall for months. Johnstone’s ideas helped us blast through that wall and become a prolific, productive machine.

Impro was a huge help for my writing and directing. But the life-changing part was that it opened my eyes to the “status transactions” in every human interaction. Also, just as my children were entering the formal education system, Johnstone’s ideas about education stunned me. (Johnstone was an elementary school teacher before he was a playwright and director.) Here is a small exerpt:

“People think of good and bad teachers as engaged in the same activity, as if education was a substance, and that bad teachers supply a little of the substance, and good teachers supply a lot. This makes it difficult to understand…that good and bad teachers are engaged in opposite activities.”

After reading Impro, I was lucky enough to take one of Johnstone’s acting seminars. I sucked, and he was not quite as sympathetic to the talent-less as he claims to be in his book. However, his every word was gold.

If you are an actor, you should read this book. If you are a teacher, or thinking of becoming a teacher, you should read this book. But if you are a story writer or director, you really must read this book. Then thank me, as I thank Matt Bernstein. (Thank you, Matt!)

Peter Moore

October 26, 2006

I will do my best to make this weblog entertaining, thought-provoking, and informative. However, if you really want to laugh out loud, check out Peter Moore’s blog. No kidding, I laughed so much that Des came running out of his office to see what I was doing.

Peter is the super-talented musician who composed the score for “The Act.” Not only did he compose an awesome score, but he played all the instruments (except violin). Plus he is an amazing wit! It is really not fair that one person should have so many talents. 🙂

BTW, Peter is now on the road playing keyboards with the Blue Man Group touring show. Peter’s “regular” band is Count Zero.

My First Post!

October 26, 2006

We had a great promotional party for “The Act” last night at Our House West in Allston. One group of young men were particularly fun to watch. They narrated the entire game with their own improv dialogue. If there ever were going to be a DVD version of “The Act,” their banter would make a great commentary track. With some coaching from me, they finished the game in about an hour…and immediately started playing again! This time, they turned it into a drinking game (simple rules: you lose, you drink). Why didn’t I think of that! Maybe we should add a “Drink Now!” message superimposed over the rewind effect. 🙂

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