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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (8/10/12) 2:30pm - ... wherein Peter attends week 5, day 4 of the iO Summer Intensive.

Here are my notes from week 5, day 4 of the iO Summer Intensive.  Our instructor for week five was Miles Stroth.

* For our last class, we mostly did the Deconstruction repeatedly and made adjustments.
        * Ergo, the notes don't really fall into neat, broad categories.

* Make adjustments as you go.
        * e.g., if the opening had insufficient information, add information into later sections.
* The audience will provide more energy to the show.
        * Take care that this does not boost the show into going too fast.
* The first edits in the Run don't necessarily *have* to be "run on, run off".
        * But it's probably better to err on that side.
                * At least 'til you break yourselves of the habit of walking.
        * The 'running' should crescendo throughout The Run
                * It should get more frenetic as it goes.
* The last scene either goes way forward in time or way backward.
* Make sure the run doesn't drag towards the end.
        * Me: again, pace > content.
                * i.e., it doesn't matter if you make no sense.
                        * Just do *something* with the appropriate timing.
* Eventually, the crescendo should build to some kind of sound.
        * Even if it's just "lots of simultaneous talking".
                * Though ideally it's something more meaningful.
* The Run should be a like a net.
        * All the runners, characters, and storylines interweave.
        * Each scene should include a runner from here, a character from there, an allusion from this other place, and so on.
* For practice: La Ronde!
        * This is the same as Six Degrees.
        * It's a longform that opens with characters A & B in a scene.
                * ... then B & C.
                * ... then C & D.
                * ... then D & E.
                * ... and so on.
        * You play only one character throughout the show.
        * After we've had {n-1} scenes to establish all the {n} characters, it's open season.
        * Any character can do a scene with any other character.
        * Go ahead and do arbitrary, "shouldn't work" combinations of characters.
                * Jump into the scene, and then justify it with a relationship.
        * The more unlikely the pairing, the richer it makes the world.
* The Run should do that same "character web" thing that La Ronde does.
        * This does a lot to make The Run feel like a story.
* If you do lots of interweaving in The Run, it will feel like it's building a world.
        * Pay attention to this world as it's forming.
                * Sometimes, it behooves you to voice observations about it.
* If there's a weak closing scene, and you have a strong running gag in The Run, use the runner to button the weak closing scene.
* A "best friends" relationship for the opening is actually kind of weak.
        * The audience doesn't bring a lot of expectations to that relationship.
* NEVER fix the problem that arises in the opening scene.
        * If you do that, you'll kill the tension in that scene.
        * Instead, let it fester and recur.
        * The problem is actually the game-of-the-scene for the opening.
        * Your mantra: "I don't want to make this go away."
* Pick an opening relationship/problem that will fuel the show.
        * Hopefully, the difference in character POVs will relate to the "Big 5" from yesterday.
                * (Philosophy, religion, politics, sex, mortality.)
        * If the difference is not connected to the big five...
                * You can explore the difference, trying to build a connection between the problem ("you never take me dancing any more") and the big five ("you're uncomfortable with sexuality").
        * A 'normal' difference in POVs can be something like "this guy is a little more hard-working, and this guy is a little lazy".
                * That's realistic, but it's not useful for powering a whole show.
        * Regardless, once you find that difference...
                * ... heighten it.
                * ... explore why that difference exists.
                        * The explanation of the difference can definitely trend towards "the big 5".
                                * This definitely 'thickens' the difference.
                                        * It makes it more auspicious show-fuel.
* When you're in a theme scene...
        * Don't *just* speak the theme ("I am very confident.")
                * Although you should definitely open with speaking the theme directly.
        * Let the theme give you a character to enact.
                * i.e., act like a very confident character.
        * Embodying a character often provides more stuff to explore in the theme.
                * ("I'm a businessman, you see, and I make business decisions that are always right....")
        * Note that this character *must* be different from the 'target character' in the opening.
        * Generally, the theme scene should feel like the Monty Python "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch.
                * You're both trying to outdo each other as "most <x>".
                        * Heighten until it's just utterly ridiculous.
* Notes for me:
        * If a problem presents itself in the opening...
                * ... don't just let it slide.
                * ... don't make it insignificant.
                * ... dig *into* that problem.
                * ... let yourself explore it.
        * You can dig into a problem by...
                * ... making your problem with a character indicative of the character in general.
                * ... exploring where that problem comes from, historically.
                        * "These roommates hate each other.  So how did they ever become roommates?"
        * Make sure the two characters in the opening are clearly different.
        * Make sure you create decent 'story characters' in the opening.

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