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You are the books you read, the films you watch, the music you listen to, the people you meet, the dreams you have, the conversations you engage in. You are what you take from these. You are the sound of the ocean, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner.

Rehearsing and Stand up Comedy

 

A lot of my comedian friend’s poo poo the Greg Dean book “Step by Step to Stand-up” I found it to be a bit confusing in the process of writing a joke and  I am still to this day a Judy Carter school of comedy guy when it comes to joke writing. But Greg Dean has changed my performing and remembering of sets and I have to say I have gotten nothing but compliments from day one of using his technique.

I think the greatest compliment I have gotten to date about my stand up was from my buddy Mayo, He hasn’t seen me perform in a long time and we were in a contest together and after I performed.

“That was the best set I have seen you do, So much better than that crap you were doing at the Philly’s Phoniest Contest”

Prior to this technique I have been told that if you were not looking at me why I was telling jokes that it sounded like I was reading them line for line. That was hard to take, but a great to know. That is why I am not an actor and don’t really want to be one.

I suggest you get the book or even better audio book, even though the voice on the audio book is annoyingly goofy.  So I am not going to write word for word how it works I will just say how it worked for me. I don’t want to write an entire chapter just what I have learned that works for me.

Rehearsing for my type of comedy: I am would be called a story teller type of comedian. I don’t have or use one liner type jokes, I build all my sets to have a running theme and I try very hard to have a natural flow from bit to bit… this is just how I am.

What I learned from Dean:

There are 2 stages of rehearsal and they are separated into “The Critic” and “The Creator” and you need to teach yourself to separate these two jobs/ways of thinking. This is the most important thing I have learned.  The reasoning behind this is that if you rehearse your set with “The Critic” correcting you at the same time you are working on your delivery and tone your are building that little negative “Critic” voice into your head during the your set. So this negative voice will come on stage with you and distract you why you are supposed to be delivering your set and having fun with your audience.

What to do with “The Critic”

You need to give the critic his voice just not why you’re going over your delivery and staging.

You need to use the critic to your advantage he is your friend, and if you use him he will make you a better comedian/writer.

Record your sets and practice sets then listen to it as the critic… make notes of what to change, then work that into the set.

Always critique your work in a space different from your practice area; you don’t even want to see the critic’s space from your practice area. Keep them physically and mentally separated.

What to do when you’re “The Creator”

This is when you are writing everyday like you should.

This is when you are practicing your delivery and staging and open mikes and thinking of what will make a great bit, and watching people.

This is when you learn your set: I am in love with the method I am about to tell you about… its works so well for me I no longer bring my set with me to shows or open mikes, I don’t have a set list and I am so much more relaxed about my jokes/bits. It may not work for everyone but it works for me and I love it. So here we go…again buy the book for better detail.

Don’t learn the words to the jokes: this is the wrong thing to do. You need to turn your bits into Pictures, Sounds and Feelings…sounds a bit odd right. It a way of turning the bit into a real memory that you can recall like telling a story about something that actually happened to you.

If you have a set with say 3 POV (Points of views) like You , The Narrator and a Third character (3 for this example) you will tell that joke or experience from each of those points of views act them out try to get the feel for all three of their feeling. Build an experience where you are more apt to remember the moment not the joke.

Do this until you are no longer trying to remember the words of the bit and now you are imagining that story about the experience you had.

I understand that there are particular words that you need to use for some bits… just practice them into the experience and why that word is being used.

Body Language 55, Tone 38 and Words 7: these are the percentages of how people get their information so build that tonal and body language into your set during the creative. Watch your set with the sound off and see what your body is saying. It’s amazing how many things you can do with body language and vocal tones to get the point across.

I am remembering my sets so much better and having more fun, I have a long way to go but I think this is a great way to rehearse.
Here are links to the books:

Larry Zbyszko: Professional Wrestler

I was totally brainwashed by my childhood idols – comic book heroes like Superman, the Lone Ranger, and one of my all-time favorites, Zorro. There was no doubt in my mind that saving the
helpless from injustice, thwarting evil and winding up with the beautiful damsel in distress was what life was all about. In fact, the first thing I did to my first house was put in a secret door so I could be just like Don Diego.

Man, was I screwed up.

Nevertheless, by the time I was twelve I knew what I was destined to become. I was going to be a hero.

Zbysko was still in his teens when he met the man who would make his dreams come true: Bruno Sammartino.

There was no doubt in my mind that I could achieve my childhood dream if I emulated this guy. I’d protect the weak, stop evil in its tracks and fly above the real world like Clark Kent. That’s right, I was going to become a professional wrestler. Zbysko’s dream came true just a few years later when, at 21, he won his first wrestling match.

The fans went berserk, blowing the roof off the arena. I was victorious–in just seventeen seconds. It couldn’t have happened any other way: Bruno’s protege has just exploded onto the scene. Feeling the energy, the emotional outbursts of thousands of people in unison, I was hooked. I began to live to pop crowds. And I was
never nervous again.

Stop Waiting for Fame

I had to share this its from my mentor Judy Carter here is a link to the original post: http://blog.comedyworkshops.com/

OK, you’ve read my book, The Comedy Bible, and you probably have a standup act — or a least a journal full of ideas.

So, now what? How do comics get from being “nobody” to being “somebody”? How do you find fame?

The problem I see is that there are so many talented people who have all the desire for fame – but who aren’t willing to do what it takes to be successful. (No, I don’t mean anything X-rated.)

Many comics haven’t realized that the way to fame has changed. They’re engaged in “old school” showbiz, thinking that someone will come see them perform and discover them. But nobody is coming, because times have changed. There are plenty of ways for agents, managers, and others to discover talent without even going to clubs, and so some of them have stopped going. That’s why you may have to discover yourself — and take steps to start your career on your own.

You may not have control over fame choosing you, but you can choose and control working your craft, developing your ideas, writing that script, or directing a YouTube movie. That’s something you can do without needing anyone else’s approval or money.

Recently, I was talking to an actress friend of mine who said, “I want to do a TV talk show. I would be a great interviewer.”

At first, I wanted to discourage her, because I know how hard it is to get a talk show on network TV, especially if you’re not a household name. But, then I thought, “You want to do a talk show – then just friggin’ do it!”

Anyone who wants to star in their own show can do it with a few friends, a cheap camera, and an Internet connection. Many of the recipients of movie, TV, and book deals include people who got their start by creating DIY shows on YouTube.

Justin Bieber was a virtual unknown until his soon-to-be manager accidentally happened

Justin Bieber upon his YouTube videos. Comedian Bo Burnham received so many hits on YouTube that Comedy Central Records picked him up and started producing his albums. There are many, many more stories like these, because online is the new Hollywood.

It’s hard to do it all yourself – but don’t use that as an excuse to stop your career from happening.

Don’t know how to edit, shoot video, or write? Check out Craigslist. There, you can find your production team. But, if you can’t get past these problems on small projects — how are you going to handle the huge projects that come with success?

After you produce your work, you need to find your audience. But in new school Hollywood, you don’t need to hire an expensive publicist. You can use Twitter, Facebook, and email programs to find and grow your audience, or as the industry calls it, your “platform.”

Having a “platform” played a big part in my getting another book deal with a generous advance. Being the author of several successful books in the past doesn’t guarantee getting a deal anymore in a down economy. So, I spent four months writing a really convincing book proposal. The bulk of the proposal was highlighting my “platform” of comics and speakers who I assist with reaching their career goals, to reassure the publisher that they weren’t taking too much of a risk.

A few years ago, people in the industry didn’t need this level of assurance. But we are in tough times, where nobody is taking a chance on anything. Even if you are famous and successful, you still have to do the grunt work to get the big deals. Just showing up with an idea is no longer enough.

My friend is an Emmy award winning executive producer in reality TV. Even though she is extremely successful in the past and has a big shot agent, she still can’t just show up and pitch an idea. So she’s spent months writing up detailed treatments with act breaks, auditioned and cast her shows, and produced three minute “sizzle reels” for each show idea. She essentially does the entire show, herself, on her dime.

Are you willing to put your own money and time into producing your ideas? Because if you don’t believe in what you’re doing – why would anyone else?

If you are really passionate about what you do – then DIY your career.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. The hard work it takes to get anything done tends to weed out the unmotivated. That means there’s less competition out there for those of us who don’t just talk about doing something, but who do the work needed to make something happen.

This blog often feels like a full-time job, but it is an integral part of my DIY promotion platform. I don’t have advertisers or a publishing house saying here’s $50 write us something funny each week. But, this blog gives me a chance to share my knowledge with those that need it and I guess for now that’s payment enough. (Psst – I offer coaching services)

Click here to leave your feedback, or on the following links to get tips on out how to produce a sizzle reel and typical submission guidelines for a book proposal.

And don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you. If you don’t ask, they won’t.

-Judy