* Maestro was invented on the fly by Keith Johnstone when a festival asked him to direct a show with 50 improvisors. * What makes a good Maestro? * Playfulness, fun * The unexpected, inspiration * Energy * Don't take the 'competition' seriously. * What's the point of Maestro? * Our opinions: * Entertain the audience * Train new players; give them stage time. * Mix up who people play with * Trying new setups, experiment * Break the rules in intriguing ways. * Play games. * Rich's take: * Make the audience feel like they were at an 'event', by making the players look fantastic. * Ideally, the audience feels like *anything* can happen. * Maestro has "two shows" going on: * The scenework * The "behind-the-scenes" stuff. * That's like a live-action reality-show. * This is the 'event' part of the show. * Think of televised sporting events, which last way longer than the event itself. * The 'other stuff' -- the stuff *surrounding* the actual game -- is *interesting* to the audience. * Everything in Maestro has a purpose * Why are there numbers? * It makes it easier on the directors * The audience doesn't know from these names. * They don't associate *names* with people. * They don't care about the names. * Why is there a host? * Or rather, why *should* there be a host. * Or alternately, why is it bad that the Hideout does *not* use a host? * The host introduces the show. * Starts intermission. * The host gets scores. * Ideally, a scorekeeper handles the actual scorekeeping. * The host keeps the show lubricated. * Maybe they just stay on the mic throughout. * They provide sports-like commentary that can fill dead space. * The host's job is to memorize a version of the opening spiel and do that. * And that's pretty much the bulk of their job, full stop. * The directors don't have that task. * You want that spiel that should be as short as possible. * Eliminate everything that the audience will get from context. * Whoever does the spiel, practice it until you have the important parts set. * If you miss something important, you can also explain it later. * Why are there directors? * The directors are just there to make the players look good. * They are not there to look good themselves. * The show is thoroughly *not* about them. * When preparing to score a scene, curb your impulse to loquaciously summarize the scene. * Again, it's not about you. * (If you want a show that's about the directors, do Gorilla Theater.) * Newbie directors start out leaning forward and involved. * With experience, they lean back and treat it like they're watching TV. * Often the best-directed scene has no direction. * The director has to monitor shape-of-show. * [ed: Again, this is part of making the players look good.] * Why is there a scorekeeper? * You want to have separate people for all the separate roles in Maestro -- hosting, scorekeeping, directing roles -- so that each person can *just* focus on his-or-her job. * Gorilla Theater * 5-6 directors * They get 12 minutes total * For each scene, the audience votes on the director * The director gets a prize or punishment. * There is also a guy in a gorilla suit. * Portraying a good-natured gorilla. * Comes in to play color occasionally. * It's much more about "directors getting their vision onstage." * Maestro is about giving the players things they like * Thus, "Do you have anything you'd like to do?" * Or, "I need three people who want to be zombies." * This even trumps 'heat' between the players and directors. * Don't fuck with the players unless the players want to be fucked with. * As a director, it's not 'your show'; it's the players' show. * Every improv game is just a training tool. * They give you skills you use in scenes. * Setting up games in Maestro is tricky. * This is b/c you're married to the game format afterwards. * Say they do a new choice game, but then do a beautiful scene. * At this point, you're *obligated* to do new-choice-y shit. * It's better to set up a scene, and then introduce game elements as necessary. * Maestro is not *about* the directors * Yet still, a bad show is the directors' *fault*. * The directors should show up *prepared* * A sheet of opening scenes, group scenes, 2-person scenes, 3-person scenes, directions for any scenes. * Be affected * Be changed * Get closer together * Leave/faint/kiss/touch/kill * Current events are helpful. * Helps a show to have 10-15 minutes *about* something. * Those lists help you include variety. * Keep setups short. * If you as a director could tell the audience "you'll understand it as we do it", you can *skip* that explanation. * Rich has a free book online about Maestro. * "Mischief" * In a directed format, the player can do ANYTHING * Then the directors can call something back when it sucks. * Think of the directors as the parents and the players as children. * Players cannot fuck the show into the ground with mischief. * You're still a responsible player. * You're still thinking of shape-of-show, etc. * So, you *calibrate* your mischief. * Mischief makes the material feel less precious. * Mischief adds to the sense that anything could happen. * If you get called back by your last name (instead of your numbers), you know to just call your mischief off. * It's the Maestro 'safe word'. * How do you encourage mischief? * Make the safe-word clearly known before the show. * How do you discourage 'forced' mischief? * Emphasize that mischief is for making the show better. * Emphasize that everybody has their *own* mischief * Taking somebody else's mischief is always forced. * Unless you *absolutely* know why/how that mischief works and *make* it your own. * After the first couple of rounds, use fewer group scenes. * This lets you focus in closer on the remaining players. * Having preconceived ideas (i.e. "Ryan is my ENEMY tonight") can be useful for getting out of a rut. * OTOH, it can become a rut in and of itself. * "USUALLY" is the enemy of Maestro. * Casting Maestro: * Get people who want to play -- ENTHUSIASM! * Avoid falling into ruts in casting. * [ed.: Ironically, "don't fall into a rut" is a general rule that applies over and over again to Maestro.] * Being good-natured is key. * Don't worry about how much stage time you get. * You are *always* in the show. * Notes: * Outside feedback is a *gift*; take it as such * It's not infallible, but it can't be dismissed either. * Often you want a "Notes Nazi" (the "Nozi") * Ideally, someone not-in-the-show who can take down the notes. * Also, they can kill off useless discussion. * Put a time limit on notes. * And assign someone the role of pushing things along. * The goal of notes is not to have a discussion. * The goal of notes is to say what you think and move on. * Discussion is for the bar. * Only say something if you *have to* say it. * If it was said already, don't repeat. * Statements, not explanations. * No defensiveness. * Give notes you wouldn't mind getting. * Notes are about generosity, not judgment. * The goal is to help everyone be better. * If a player gives a negative note on another player... * The director can take the blame him- or her-*self*. * Or, ask what the rest of the cast could've done to help. * Or, give a negative note and take some of the blame. * The opening group scene rarely seems to be necessary * It can warm up a cold audience. * You can often do a group scene with not *everybody* * Just do the same game with six people. * Do something that *matters* to the scoring. * Offer to score support people. * How do you get variety in scoring? * Focus on the 1s. Take the curse off the 1. * "You're not doing anyone any favors by giving a 1 a 2, a 3, or a 4." * If they think it was bad, we *know* it's bad. * "You can vote for the 1, because WE KNOW when it sucks." * "You're not surprising us." * If we don't get a 1 for it, we'll take that as, they kind of liked that, and we'll do more of it. * A 1 is something that would make you change the channel, if this were TV. * We set them to practice a 1 or a 3. Don't set precedents for the 5. * Reject suggestions you don't like. * In Maestro, you don't need to warm-up the audience. * If the audience is already warm, why bother? * He dares us to *not* warm up a dead audience. * "The worst thing that happens is the show sucks. But you do 20 million shows a day." * Everyone is good-natured about getting the 1. * Maybe try having players introduce the game? * Might not work, might be kind of awesome. * Or just skip setup * If you reach a plateau of 4s... * Improve your opening setup to imply a variety of scores. * Make the next scene the opposite of the current scene. * Usually, similar chains of scenes cause a 4-a-palooza.
Mood: contemplative · Music: none