Troy: Structure =========== * We've done Maestro since the Hideout opened. * It's a very solid format, and it kills already. * But we can always make it better. * (Shouldn't it get an award for that?) * Different directors have different (successful) philosophies... * ... but there are still some fundamental aspects that hold true. * Maestro is based on sports * Getting the same excitement: trophies, etc. * Prepare for the show * Come up with games & setups you like * You don't always need to go to the audience for a suggestion * You can just pre-load some suggestions yourself. * Pep-talk the cast * Tell them to have fun, be mischievous, etc. * In the show, the director is much like a referee * Avoid delay-of-game * KEEP THINGS MOVING * Be efficient * It's not really about you & your personality & your stand-up bit. * Keep setups concise and direct. * Stay off-stage with your setups * Keep focus towards the cast. * Shape of show * Overall, it wobbles upwards. * It has its ups and downs, especially early on. * Generally, the scenes get *stronger* over time. * You want to keep variety from scene to scene * Never "more of the same" * Maintain variety... * ... of tone. (light, dark, creepy, cheery) * ... of style. (games vs. scenes, types of games) * ... of stage picture. (chairs vs. no-chairs, # of players) * ... of noise/energy. (loud vs. silent) * Basic structure: * Hosting: * Explain the rules, suggestions, scoring * Show off the $5, practic scoring * Move fast, be efficient. * Then, rounds. * Maestro works best if there are *more* rounds. * This means more eliminations. * This also means there's more *momentum*. * More sports-like. * Some scenes can be *really short*. * If you're in a quick blackout, don't bitch about it! * Finish first couple rounds by ~10:45pm. * Players should all stick around for notes * This makes them look like a team * There's a bit of good nature for the very end. * And even if you're eliminated early on, you're part of the show. * How to explain scoring: * 2 is average. * 1 doesn't mean you hated it, just that you didn't like it. * 5 means "we want to see more of that" * Tell the audience they guide the show. * Mention that whooping and hollering doesn't count. * If you're evenly split on two scores, go low. * Especially for a 5 * It forces a better arc to the show if we have to *earn* 5s. * Don't be afraid to piss off the audience w/r/t scoring. * Take your time with scoring, even if it was a clear 5. * 1, beat, 2, beat, etc. * Also, this draws it out. * Stay neutral -- don't cue a certain score. * Don't judge the audience's score. * Clarify that you're not just judging on funny. * It's on how much you "enjoy the scene". * The audience often gets confused by the first serious scene * Try slipping a serious thing in early * This preps the audience. * Generally prep the audience early for "improv is not just one thing". * As the show goes on, fight for... * More resonance, more truth, more depth. * Even if it's just a game. * The first scene *can* be a group game (but usually isn't). * If you haven't warmed up the audience, a group game is good. * Or if the audience is cool for some reason. * A larger cast -- probably want to get right into the first tround. * Helps put a greener cast at ease. * The extra random point can help vary player scores. * In any case, keep it quick and succinct. * Again, be efficient. * Ending on a head-to-head tiebreaker is great. * If scores are off by one, then head-to-head solo scenes can work * ... especially if there's still time. * Put the lower-scoring person first. * Finish a show by 11:35pm, or 11:40pm at the latest. * Exercise: get into groups and come up with a Maestro set list. * Then, adjust to account for wrinkles. Andy: Support =========== * How do we best support the players? * How do we train new players & make them look good? * How do we give veteran players a place to have a good time? * At the very least, jot down a list of qualities you want to include. * You can knock them out as the show goes on. * Then you'll know what's left. * Next level, if you have some more time, list games. * List out some games that excite you * Categorize them. * Also list games that haven't been done lately. * Next level, if you have more time, list setups too. * Try to get info from the players: * What they like/don't like. * What they've been up to lately. * This gives you grist for the show. * Check in for players' injuries/restrictions. * See who's a rookie. * Also, prep by writing up the number/name pairs. * Prepping in the green room: * The director should get them warming up. * Especially if you're new to some of these players. * Vary them -- no 15 minutes of bunny-bunny. * Or tap a cast member to lead warm-ups. * ... and, do the pep talk. * This makes the cast feel more invested. * End warm-ups 5-10 min before the show. * Vibe with the audience: * Make everyone feel like *you're* the one keeping it on the rails. * The directors get the blame when something geos wrong. * Possibly have players hang out onstage as the audience enters. * This sets the audience expectations low. * And connects the cast with the audience. * (Lots of bickering about this.) * Or players put up their names while the audience is there. * Overdirect. * Especially if you're a newer director. * This is how you get better at directing -- screw up. * Especially in the first round or two. * This takes care of newer players. * This keeps the audience assured that things'll be okay. * You can add restrictions after a scene has started. * Makes your director-involvement more apparent. * It also sets things up so that, if you *need* to do directing later, it won't feel wonky and unprecedented. * Also, set it up in the pep talk, so the players don't feel insulted. * "We're trying to help you." * "If it goes wrong, the audience will quite rightly blame us." * Sometimes the director can seem adversarial. * Setting up a really hard scene. * "This is the last line of the scene." * This can give a scene necessary tension. * This puts the audience on the players' side. * Or adding an extra restriction/setup tweak as the lights go down * Be aware of long scene setups. * Your general goal is to stay out of the way. * ... so don't indulge in a lot of long setups. * Your setup doesn't have to include the game. * Just set up the *scene*, and add the game mid-scene. * This tightens up the initial setup * It also makes you more flexible, mid-scene. * The audience likes seeing your flexibility. * You can add a "three-word summary" of your setup as the lights go down. * You can *totally* cheat on which players to pick for a scene. * e.g. not pushing a new player into a solo scene. * You're not an emcee * Stay in your goddamn chair. * Support in the middle of a scene. * This is one of the best way to teach new players. * Example: taking back a not-fun-negative scene start. * Players can take back a bad start. * Make this clear to players, btw. * You don't want to sound judgmental. * Or directing players to move around or start in a different position, if they've been stock-still. * How do you help a scene that's floundering? * You can prep with a list of generic "helpful sentences". * Examples: * Verbal: * Make a decision. * Kind of dickish/critical. * Say that sentence again. * Say, "I love you because..." * You heard that. * That just happened. * Physical: * Make eye contact. * Touch his knee. * Start to cry. * Walk away from him. * N.B.: knock them out as you use them. * (So you don't have repeats.) * Effective physical directions are... * Very helpful * They don't seem overdirectory * Very unnoticeable to the audience. * They make the players seem like they're doing it. * Call for stage support. * You can drag people off the back wall, by * Gently gesturing them forward * Setting up a drinks cabinet DR. * Feel completely free to draw on the other director. * Whispered: "I have no idea what to do!" * Co-director will help. * Fundamentally: * Give characters opportunities for change. * Physical offers often generate this change. * Sometimes you can lob in an actual tilt. * "Take off your" human costume. * Don't overdo it -- you're not an improvisor. * Write notes about the show. * This is how you give good notes *after* the show. * But, be sure you compliment-sandwich your notes. Marc: Play ========== * Think of Maestro as a long-form show. * It's not a *real* competition. * It's a show *about* a competition. * It's not disjunct scenes; it has a cohesive arc. * Callbacks are awesome. * Players should have relationships. * Pick one player: you're in love with that player. * Pick one player: you hate that player. * And so on. * It's great when the players relate to each other during a setup. * Sometimes you just get an organic setup out of that. * Getting a 2 can make improv appear appropriately dangerous. * That said, you don't have to *force* the 2. * Players can earn a 2 without your help. * Speak-in-one-voice: * Is it the under-the-bus game? * Often it works to have 1 singleton and a group of 3. * If you're a newer director, plan less. * You have to take risks, fuck up, and learn from it. * Encourage bad behavior among the cast. * "Support, misbehave, screw with the director." * "Don't sit down on the side." * That makes you unlikely to support. * And makes you feel less like you're in the show. * "It's *always* your scene, it's *always* your show." * "'Thank you, number
' is a safe word." * Anyone can pull lights at the end of a scene. * Don't be afraid to be 'bad cop'. * Tiebreakers can be mischievous occasionally. * (But generally, they should be earned.) * Then again, if a player pushes back too hard against your help... * ... sometimes you just gotta let them hang. * If you give a bonus point, it's got to be for people helping the show. * And if the audience *wants* them to get that bonus point. * You always want it to feel like a fair game with fair rules. * ... and those rules are being followed. * Just because you start a game doesn't mean you need to finish it. * End it when the *scene* beneath the game needs to end. Jessica -- Post-Show Notes ================ * They're mandatory * Don't blow them off * Don't let the *players* blow them off * Even if the show was awesome. * Then, just discuss *why* the show was awesome. * Revel in it. * Use it as a teaching opportunity. * Point out what things you're *supposed* to do. * This is esp. useful for new players. * Mainly they explain games that people don't know how to play. * Often players don't know these games. * One possible rule: "If you're in the scene, don't comment on it." * Helpful instruction: "For now, take the note. If you want to bitch about it, talk about it with me afterwards at the bar." * Often good to start with highlights. * Follow with "Anything we could've done differently?" * Then, go scene-by-scene, efficiently. * Jessica, as the producer/antipope of Maestro, gets to speak at any point during Maestro notes. * A possibly-useful question: "Is there anything you guys struggled with?" * Then you can give them a positive thing they can do to address the problem. * While it might feel kinder to give a general note. * But it's more useful to call people out. * (Maybe even on an individual basis, afterwards.) * Even then couch it positively: * "I challenge you to be more positive", instead of "Stop going negative." * On casting: * If you're picked as a director, post that you're a director. * Also ping Jessica on people you'd love to direct. * Preferably before Thursday, when Jessica does the casting.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none