I shared a draft of a sketch that felt flat with the writing group. Someone noted that it read like a “bunch of talking heads because none of the characters had to make a decision”. There was no conflict. I never really thought a characters decisions were conflict and it’s so clear to me now.
Hello micro.blog hive mind! Is there a writing app on iPad that 1) Renders markdown on the fly. No separate preview needed. Like Typora on Mac. And 2) allows you to store your writing in a folder of your choosing? Not in that apps sub folders, but any folder on iCloud Drive. Thx!
I just sketched out ideas for two new workshops. One on working with Imposter Syndrome, and another on working with ambiguity. These are the top two themes I hear in my work as a coach at my day job. I look forward to sharing the ideas with my team in January.
I believe we are in our infancy.
Scarcity is the driving force wired into our lower brains.
For generations we have protected what we have from the others.
Our things, our blood lines, our selves.
We fear the outsider.
We fight for land and resources.
We fight for ideologies.
I believe we’re moving towards abundance over scarcity. But there sure is a lot of work left to do.
More than ever before we can acknowledge.
We can question feelings.
We can sit with them and see how they make us feel in our bodies.
We can delay the duration between stimulus and reaction.
We can choose abundance over scarcity.
We can show our children how we process this.
We can wire abundance into our own brains. And theirs.
And so on.
What can I do in the moment?
What can you?
Which will we choose?
Merged the two accounts I had from a service (didn’t even realize I had more than one), deleted another service completely. Maybe my “theme” for 2023 should be “stop signing up for things, bub”.
I think this is a Beastie Boys lyric? That’s where I first heard it at least. Seems fitting for the shortest day of the year, and you know, metaphorically across the board.
Darkness isn’t the opposite of light. It is the absence of light.
I just wrote this stage direction for a sketch I’m working on and I laughed out loud and shook my own head in disappointment.
Two dirtbags carrying a ridiculously sized and shaped bong enter and pull sweet bong rips
Last night we had another super fun and collaborative writers meeting for our sketch comedy show. Some of the new folks came out of their shell and lots of great pitches were discussed.
As we closed out the meeting, I was asking about some technical specifics. I told everyone how I have this pitch for a sketch in my head and I can’t quite get it on paper as I’m focused on some very specific things that I don’t know how to get around.
These are tactical roadblocks we’d have to solve with performance and stage craft that would introduce complexity. We (rightfully so in my opinion) tend to work around those kinds of things and focus on the writing and performing not the props and other things.
Anyway at the end of me voicing my concerns myself and Greg, the director basically finished each other’s sentence. “Well, write it and then we’ll figure it out”.
I think that’s good advice for a lot of things. Get it out of your head. On paper. Then have a think about it. Don’t hold it in until it’s perfect.
Perfect is the enemy of done.
having an enviable career is one thing, and being a happy person is another. Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them. To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.”
~ Bill Watterson, Cartoonist and Author
A while back, I wrote a funny little bit about not being able to find turmeric when you need it most.
I’m calling BS on this “10 minute curry recipe as it doesn’t account for the time I spend looking for the GD turmeric on the spice shelf, me running around the house yelling where’s the frigging turmeric, having to drive to the store, not being able to find the turmeric in the spice aisle, me yelling at the teenaged kid working there about having too many damn options for every figging thing but not being able to find the one thing you need, and yelling at him to just tell me where the effing turmeric is, driving back to the house and finding the turmeric on the counter where I put it after making breakfast so it’s easier for me to find for when I started cooking lunch.
I’ve been tinkering with turning this into a sketch. But there’s too many scenes. It feels more like a short film to me.
So I started writing a bit, and planning this out using the Dan Harmon Story Circle. I’m conflicted as I really enjoyed the early seasons of the show Community, but am not a fan of the man himself. Regardless, and in separation those concerns, the story circle framework is interesting.
It’s not about putting things into the scaffolding to generate the story, as much as it is about using the scaffolding to check character arc and plot.
I approach this as writing and then using the scaffolding to see where there are strengths and weaknesses in the story. But, full disclosure, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m new to this.
I have some scenes written already, and a lot on post-its. The idea of the scenes, and the overall arc of the story. I’m still curious how much change I can have happen in the main character. I’ll have to draft it out in script to really understand that, I think.
Also, I’m having trouble with the ending. I have a couple ideas but none that I love, yet.
Again taking this from initial idea, notes, and now the story circle has helped me shape it more. Back to the writing app to get a draft of the script written.
What a great first writers meeting last night. I came in with two drafts. The first is a version of a standup set I’ve performed a bunch. The second is a first draft of a newish idea about campers.
I was a little deflated after the meeting in all honesty. But that was me and my second arrow. The Buhdda once said:
‘If a person is struck by an arrow, is it painful? If the person is struck by a second arrow, is it even more painful?’ ‘In life, we can’t always control the first arrow. However, the second arrow is our reaction to the first. This second arrow is optional.’
I knew the camper idea was trying to be a lot in not a large space. It had too much in it. I did want to bring it into the group for feedback to “find the funny”. The bad news is that I didn’t leave that meeting with any one single idea to explore. The good news is that it had a lot going for it, and I need to settle on one idea.
The older idea got a lot of laughs (yay!) but it’s also about two things, and would be better if it’s about one thing.
I rewrote a draft of the Campers sketch this morning and it’s already funnier and more true to the original idea.
I’m challenged by the format of sketch. Maybe it’s the directors style and mindset and/or an overarching principle of sketch. But it seems to be get in, heighten a single idea, get out. We try to keep sketches short. Three minutes is long for us.
I’m a bit wordy in my process, and I refine down. I’ll keep that in mind for the next new idea. I’ll work a little backwards and see how that feels. To start with single idea not arrive at it via rewrites.
Maybe that’s just my process now, and that’s OK. Maybe it can and should change to be more ‘efficient’. Either way I’m learning, growing and laughing a lot.
I deleted all my older posts and stuff. I’m now intending to use this blog to chronicle my work towards writing comedy. I am focused on Sketch comedy with my friends at Hey Party People!. We’re setting up our next show in Portland, Maine. Stay tuned for details.
My longer term aim is to write a screenplay for a comedy film. I’ve written a treatment (a short description of the film). That needs iteration for sure. I’ll be tinkering with that, and looking at some storytelling frameworks to further my knowledge. To me, frameworks are scaffolding that can be manipulated. They shouldn’t be super prescriptive. Maybe that’s my newbie showing, lol.
So I have writting and performing sketches, and studying frameworks as my first two ‘acts’. The third act I am undertaking is Homework for Life from Storyworthy by Matthew Dicks. It’s a really neat concept, and I can summarize it as simply write important things down. A Commonplace book for your life, in a nutshell. Review it frequently and see if there’s anything story worthy there.
These ‘Acts’ are a part of the Ness Labs Mindframing system.
- You make a PACT with yourself. (Write everyday)
- You take frequent actions. (See above)
- You react. (this will be me writing about all the above here)
- You create an Impact, a larger thing to build to. (My comedy film screenplay)
Thanks for reading.
Hello (again) Micro.blog world.
My Inner Toddler has been a brat lately. Defiant. Stomping his foot. Fighting me tooth and nail against just about everything. Instead of yelling, or ignoring him, I’m starting to talk to him. See what he really needs. It’s been interesting.
Just like a real child, the Inner Toddler wants something. To express something or be heard, at least. There are reasons for the bad behavior.
The irony of coaching
At my day job, and as a side business I coach people. I help them understand where they are, and where they want to be. I ask them questions to surface what they might want to try to remove the things that block their progress. It’s not about healing from the past, that’s therapy. It’s not about hustling or productivity, that’s bullshit.
It’s about transformation. Making changes in oneself so that you can move closer to your dreams.
I have always been good at talking with people and challenging them, and cheering them on. I’ve studied and practiced as a coach, and I’m good at it.
When working with others. Not with myself. Hence the irony. That’s why coaches need coaches too. “It takes a village” to raise a child, especially when the child is a bratty inner toddler like mine.
I could just link to any article on Ness Labs, as they’re all so damn good. I don’t read a lot of sources, but always pay attention to these. The Chaos surfing: from surviving to thriving in chaotic times is hitting me hard right now.
I’ll have a think about that articles four steps and maybe I’ll write about it here next time.
Let me know what your four steps might be.
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Stop, collaborate, and listen.
Words from a dope and cheesy song from a long time ago? Or sage words for anytime? lol.
Treating each and every moment—no matter how challenging—as something to be embraced, not avoided. … So that like oxygen to a fire, obstacles and adversity become fuel for your potential.
Tell us how you have expressed gratitude for the challenges you’ve faced…
I built a thing. I don’t quite know where it will go. But I am greatful I was able to put some pieces together to express an idea that I hope is helpful to others.
Voices of Gratitude.
The events from the last 6 years, centered around US politics and global pandemic have brought forth a lot of anxiety in me.
I am sure I am not alone in this.
Now with a war in Europe starting, and the pandemic not really going away, the anxiety is ramping up to even higher levels.
If I could change these things, I would. But I dont have a magic wand. I can’t change these terrible things outright.
I can help by donating time and money to the causes I feel are most inline with my beleifs. I do believe in lots of little actions adding up to move things forward. But these things just seem insurmountable.
The stress of anxiety is now compounded with feelings of inability.
The anxiety I hold stems from the feelings I have about what is good, just, and important.
I suppose I must thank my anxiety for reinforcing what I believe in.
I watched one, nine minute YouTube video on the Dunning-Kruger effect. Since I’m now an expert on the topic, feel free to ask me anything…
A talented developer asked me “what is the core, the most basic element of the production pipeline”? They referred to this as the Atomic Unit.
I like using that term in different contexts now. What is the core component to build a system around?
All the applications and services I’ve tried haven’t stuck. No one app will be perfect. And yes, I should focus on committing for longer periods of time. But the shiny new thing is here, now.
But the note, the calendar appointment, the next action, the blog post. These are all wrong Atomic Units to build around. For me.
People and relationships are that Atomic Unit. The thing that matters most. The thing I should build systems for. I should use tools and services to serve, communicate, collaborate, and coordinate with Poeple. It’s the people that matter most.
Oh! I get it now… it’s a metaphor for existential dread. Thanks Andy, Stewart, and Sting. That’s reassuring lol
Many miles away there’s a shadow on the door - Of a cottage on the shore - Of a dark Scottish lake
Ran across an interesting question in a reread of Atomic Habits.
What feels like fun to you, but work to others?
I’m having trouble answering it. How about you?
I’ve been working in weekly sprints, and using my Now (and then) page to document what I’m focused on. I use a plus, minus, next and a version of Anna Havron’s Personal Framework for retrospecitives. This is a result of the Side Project Sprints work that @ChrisJWilson and I have been doing for almost a year?
This setup has allowed me to really have a trusted system. I am greatful to Anna Havron and Anne-Lure from Ness Labs for the ideas, and Chris for the support, collaboration, and Graceful Accountability.