This week, Monday 10th June 2013

Hyper Lazy Beast Go!

10-06-13I like three day weekends – I achieve no more than I would during a two day weekend so technically I waste more time than usual, but I sleep more. I’ve always been a bit torn on whether sleeping is a good use of my time, but since I do actually sleep these days I am increasingly fond of it. As such I have had three nights of lovely ten hours sleeps. Happy. Each day I have woken up with the crazy purring of my Merly sitting on my chest or hip (having successfully ignored her earlier attempts to wake me up) and can gently begin the day.

I am fairly relaxed now and tentatively ready for an exhausting fortnight to come – more about that below.

♥ This week’s scribbles

Tuesday Autofiction: Softly Panicking

The beautiful anxiety flowers, pretty and terrifying.

Wednesday Lego Blog: Work in Progress

Steampunk leanings and likely failings.

Thursday The Desert Crystals – The Journals Biologinary #1

The first of our zoological interludes – the Greater Toothed Grundle Bear.

Friday Film Review: -After Earth (2013)

Will Smith blows his charm into space.

Updates on my thrilling life

Writing

Huge apologies in advance. The next two weeks of work (and social life) are going to be a little hectic and for my own sanity I’m going to ease back a bit on the scribbling. It’s something that feels very important to me and I’m very happy to have maintained 5 posts a week since the start of the year. I shall try to hit all 5 this week, but don’t be shocked if one gets skipped. I’m going to aim for writing less each day though which hopefully means only a minor revision of service. For example, this week’s The Desert Crystals will simply be an excerpt from the Journals Biologinary rather than a full chapter. Enjoy!

Last week’s scribbles

Lego

I have had a few days of disassembly because Lego objects and builds had seriously taken over our living room to the detriment of the jolly folk who ought to live there instead. My Lego boxes are now re-filled and freshly sorted! Very exciting. Not that I’ll get a chance to tinker this week or the next but I can rattle them and feel the love instead. There is a huge satisfaction in just schinkling the bricks back into colour order. I do have plans for the future builds – such plans!

Improv Comedy

Parky and I resumed the beginners MissImp improv course last week. They’re a marvellous bunch. I’m really impressed by how well the basics are lodging in peoples’ heads. Next we need to give them that shove of confidence to experiment and express themselves. I think they’ll be delightful.

Last week’s session was about commitment. Maybe that should be Commitment with a capital C. It certainly deserves to have one. So much of improve succeeds or fails depending on how well you can commit to the part you’re playing and to the likely ridiculous things your character is saying. I don’t mean “selling it”; I don’t really like that phrase. To me it implies you are bullshitting the audience – sales is all about passing off your crappy product to a sucker. Occasionally I see people doing that – it just shows a desperation in their performance. Mostly the salesmen are trying to convince the other players that they know what they’re doing – you’ve probably seen that too – an over-earnest sweaty look at the other performers. It’s poor. It reduces the confidence of your team mates and is obvious to the audience. Confidence and commitment achieve the opposite, they are what allows an improviser to say nothing, do nothing and still have the audience rapt. You gain trust by being trustworthy, not by pretending to be trustworthy or begging for it. Simply doing is the objective.

We’ve been telling our group that the audience assume you know what you’re doing – they have no idea what you’re going to do next. So, if you do it with confidence – no matter how absurd – the audience will believe it. As an audience we want to see it happen, we will fill in the gaps between speaking and action with meaning. You have time on stage to make decisions and to take risks. No one in the audience really knows what decisions you are making or quite what you intend. But we will assume intention and we will see it when you lose confidence in what you say or do – the audience notices irregularity and disparity far faster than we do as players. Crazy logic is fine, but it has to be consistent. It only stays consistent if you commit to it and take it as far as it can go. Then the audience will be thrilled.

This week is pretty exciting – Monday has the next beginners class (sweet), on Wednesday we’re doing some training with Shannon O’Neill from UCB. Then on Thursday we have Gorilla Burger in which (assuming the week has not defeated me) I’ll be playing with her and the Fisticuffs crew.

Media Intake

Books

I’ve been tootling through the dozens of Avengers and X-Men comics I downloaded months ago and am finding it hard to figure out what the hell’s going on. It seems to have become insanely convoluted and there are just too many new people in spandex for me to care what’s happening. I’ve gone back to Atomic Robo.

I’ve also been trawling the ebooks that I occasionally download en masse from the Amazon free sci-fi and fantasy lists. Sometimes there are real winners there and sometimes not. I suppose it’s a natural result of being able to self-publish without editing or acceptance – the amount of appalling grammar and spelling in Kindle books is really disheartening. It might sound overly fussy but I do find it very distracting if the author can’t distinguish between ‘breech’ and ‘breach’ or ‘peek’ and ‘peak’. I know it’s a right bastard to proofread our own writing, but if you’re going so far as to stick it on Amazon or Smashwords it does deserve that attention.

Films

Terminator 2 Judgment Day (1991)

Obviously I’ve seen this dozens of times, but it was on TV last night while I was making birthday cards and it remains really good fun. Some of the effects are looking a bit dodgy now, but not half as bad as Avatar does on TV… One up for the nineties. Arnie is still a terrible actor and half the time he can’t even do wooden (metal?) as the robot. At least it wasn’t the special edition with the awful gurning scene of the terminator learning to smile. It stands up well as a magnificent popcorn action movie. Hurrah!

Quatermass and The Pit (1967)

I can’t tell if this is the only one of the Quatermass films I’ve watched or if I only think it is. I guess I’ll have to dig the others out. It is glorious – the Martians are marvellous once we get to see them and remind me very much of the Harryhausen Moon insects. It’s a fairly cheap Hammer production, so the alien devil insects are clearly papier mache (and maybe even finger puppets in the memory sequence), but the colours look amazing; I love that lush period of cinema colour. I found it really quite tense and genuinely creepy in places.

Events and Excitement

Gorilla Burger – Thursday 13th June

7.30pm at The Corner, Nottingham.
Mixed show of team longform, a guest appearance by Shannon O’Neill with Fisticuffs and a chance to get on stage.

MissImp in Action – Friday 28th June

8.30pm at The Glee Club, Nottingham.
High energy improvised comedy show.

Furthest From The Sea Festival – Saturday 29th June

11am-5pm in the Market Square, Derby.
Free all day festival – music, comedy and more. I’m performing as Captain Pigheart and with MissImp. I’ll also be running improv comedy workshops.

Weeks That Have Come Before

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