The Latest

RT on podcast “I Will Watch Anything Once”

RT on the podcast “I Will Watch Anything Once” where host Mark David Christenson and I watch and discuss the classic Western: “Shane.”

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I Will Watch Anything Once

By Mark David Christenson

A podcast hosted by Mark David Christenson about the experience of watching movies!

Mark David Christenson watches and discusses movies that his guests suggest he should see for various reasons.

Poster/logo by James Mulholland and Music by Timm Sharp

“This is a really fun way to explore entertainment, and the host’s enthusiasm is infectious. The format is great, as there’s nothing like the perspective of a first-time viewer to balance the passion of a long-time fan.”  – by ProbablyJames

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/i-will-watch-anything-once/id919304259

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https://www.facebook.com/iwillwatchanythingonce/

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RT Writing on NBC Tribute to director Jim Burrows

I grew up watching the TV shows of Jim Burrows. It has been phenomenal to work on this TV special that honors him and celebrates his directing 1000 episodes of TV. Special airs FEB 21 on NBC. — RT

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Picture Perfect/REX/Shutterstock (4419478n) James Burrows 67th Annual DGA Awards, Los Angeles, America - 07 Feb 2015

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Picture Perfect/REX/Shutterstock (4419478n)
James Burrows
67th Annual DGA Awards, Los Angeles, America – 07 Feb 2015

Elizabeth Wagmeister

@EWagmeister

Although the entire “Friends” cast won’t be reuniting, plenty of sitcom stars old and new will be together for NBC’s tribute to comedy veteran James Burrows on the Feb. 21 special, “Must See TV: A Tribute to James Burrows.”

The TV special marks a huge milestone for Burrows: he has directed 1,000 episodes of television with NBC’s new comedy “Crowded.”

The cast of “Crowded” will be at the special, in addition to cast members from “Cheers,” “Frasier,” “Will & Grace,” “Taxi,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Wings,” “Mike & Molly,” “Two and a Half Men” and “Friends” — though Matthew Perry will appear in a pre-taped segment, as originally planned.

— http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/james-burrows-nbc-special-charlie-sheen-friends-cheers-frasier-1201684028/

 

 

NY TIMES NAMES “REVIEW” BEST OF TV 2015

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“Review” (Comedy Central) You could make a strong year-end list just from this network’s array of voices — “Inside Amy Schumer,” “Broad City,” the swan song of “Key and Peele,” a reinvigorated “South Park.” But in its second season, “Review” elevated cringe comedy to poetry, as the TV “life reviewer” Forrest MacNeil (Andy Daly) self-immolated in the name of obsession like an existential Wile E. Coyote.

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Very proud to have been a part of the writing staff of Comedy Central’s “Review” named by NY TIMES as one of the best shows of 2015. — RT

 

Dasariski on Spontaneanation w. Paul F. Tompkins

Spontaneanation

 

ICYMI: Dasariski appears on the Paul F. Tompkins improv podcast Spontaneanation with special guest Natalie Morales from The Grinder. Listen here: http://www.earwolf.com/episode/the-moon-landing-taping-1969/

 

The Moon Landing Taping, 1969

SPONTANEANATION WITH PAUL F. TOMPKINS #35NOVEMBER 23, 2015

Paul F. Tompkins welcomes everyone back in three different tones to SPONTANEANATION! This week, Paul’s special guest is Natalie Morales of Parks and Recreation and The Grinder! They chat about their thoughts on conspiracy theories, Donald Trump as “decoy,” and the ins and outs of jury duty. Paul is then joined by Bob Dassie, Rich Talarico, and Craig Cackowski of the improv collective Dasariski to improvise a story set at the Moon Landing Taping, 1969. And as always, Eban (only the best) Schletter scores it all on piano!

NAACP Image Award Nomination

47th annual NAACP Image Awards

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nominated for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series

for Key & Peele

Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series
Alan Yang, Aziz Ansari, Master of None – “Parents”
Jennie Snyder Urman, Jane The Virgin – “Chapter Twenty-Three”
Jill Soloway, Transparent – “Kina Hora”
Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Jay Martel, Ian Roberts, Rebecca Drysdale, Colton Dunn, Phil Augusta Jackson, Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders, Rich Talarico, Key & Peele – “Y’all Ready For This?”
Kenya M. Barris, black-ish – “The Word”

47TH NAACP IMAGE AWARDS®

The NAACP Image Awards is the nation’s preeminent multicultural awards show from an African-American point of view. The event celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts, as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors.

Date

Friday, February 5, 2016
Red Carpet – 8/7c
Image Awards – 9/9c

READ MORE: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/naacp-image-award-nominees-full-846814

READ MORE: http://www.naacpimageawards.net/main_winners_nominees.html

ASK RICH – TURN THE PAIGE

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From time to time, I get approached with questions from people wanting to get my take on what’s happening for them in the worlds of writing or performing. I reply here through my website in this feature called “Ask Rich.” 

Here are some questions from Paige, a filmmaker from Charlotte, North Carolina who is in the process of re-locating to Los Angeles. — RT

ASK RICH – TURN THE PAIGE

Do you ever have to fight for your concepts?  

This just came up recently, so your question is particularly well-timed. I worked last year developing a pilot script with a network and at the end of that process the network and I had different ideas on the path the show should take. We ended up parting ways (amicably) and now I can take the show (my best version of it) elsewhere.

It was definitely a fork in the road situation where a choice had to be made. I’m sorry I won’t be seeing the show made sooner than later but I’d rather not see the version I didn’t totally love, get made.

So yes, I do fight for my concepts sometimes, does it work? Too soon to tell.

How do you define your “line”?  Has it been the same since you began your career, or has it changed over time?  Have you ever crossed that line in your work and faced consequences because of it?

I didn’t really know about comedy’s “hidden purposes” until I started classes at Second City, Chicago at the age of 19 back in 1992. There I learned many well known comedy rules. Rules like, “you can make your comedy about something”, comedy should not “punch down.”  Meaning comedy shouldn’t hurt or go after anyone undeserving— i.e., you don’t make fun of the underdog. And, your comedy could be ABOUT something too, where possible. When I eventually started doing shows with the resident companies at Second City, I was in casts that really pushed the envelope. Stephnie Weir, Susan Messing, Kevin Dorff, TJ Jagodowski and Tami Sagher. We did a lot of stuff back then in 1998 that would probably have been harsher than a lot of stuff I’ve done since.

I’m reminded of the first time I tried out this one bit at Second City where I burned a little tiny desk top American flag on stage then right when audience got mad I said “Don’t worry, it had AIDS on it.” And, it got HUGE, I mean HUGE cheers. Then for some reason, I tried it the next night and the next, alas— it never worked again. I just didn’t find the way to deliver it again, or maybe I just felt like I had crossed a line, though at the time I think I convinced myself it was biting satire.

I didn’t subject the audience to it after that. Really, I think I just wanted to find a way to burn a flag, mostly because our director Mick Napier had given us a great direction at one point— he said: “bring in scenes that would NEVER make it here at Second City.” While my AIDS flag burning scene didn’t make it into a show, to Mick’s credit, many of those scenes we brought in under his direction DID make the show— scenes like a surprisingly hilarious take on spousal abuse starring Steph, Tami and Susan which got huge laughs and made a great point all while Tam and Steph beat the hell out of Susan. I know it sounds crazy, but it was the one of the best scenes in the show.

I think when I was in my 20s (I’ll turn 43 this year), comedy was about pushing buttons, and following Mick’s amazing advice setting off to see where the edges were. And, now in this chapter it’s hopefully about using the Trojan Horse method of sneaking something valuable into comedy. Getting people to think about things in a different light. For example, I wrote a lot about the BP oil spill when I worked at the Tonight Show and I’m really proud of the Key & Peele teacher draft scene from the most recent season highlighting the terrible difference in how we treat our best teachers and our best athletes.

I’m very interested in the dynamic of a writer’s room – how would you describe the writer’s rooms of which you have been a part? How much of the work is collaborative, and how much is independent? 

I’ve been lucky to have written in a lot of different environments and the rooms are all different but the same if that makes sense. Different in the dynamics and people involved. (sometimes the head writers are drill sergeants, sometimes they are benevolent kings.) The best head writers are laid back and funny themselves. The best staff writers help each other and don’t mind collaborating. It was a wide range of people I’ve met over the years. Writers are generally expected to be able to contribute in a big group dynamic and also be able to sit down and crank out a script on your own. Sometimes you are paired with the talent or star on the show and you have to work with them one on one. Kind of have to be ready for anything.

After establishing a successful career in comedy, writing for acclaimed TV shows, and winning prestigious awards, do you still find simple things like farts funny (if you ever did, I’m not in the business of making assumptions)?

Farts are guaranteed funny. That’s why it’d be a shame to over-use them.

Do you rely more on topical humor or personal experiences to write your comedy?

Definitely a mix of both. For sure, I love using pet peeves as places to start looking for a sketch idea, because you’re already starting with a “universal truth”— i.e., something most people would already agree with or relate to.

I have been emailing myself bits and ideas for years (it used to be a notebook in my pocket before cell phones) but generally I’m noting or writing down things that happen to me that I find funny or unusual.

Real situations can be used: like the quirks of a co-worker or someone stealing your bike. In the end, it seems that it’s mostly metaphoric when you’re writing sketch, because the stolen bike sketch might be funnier blown up to something more high stakes… So even when you start with a real situation, you would soon be twisting it enough so that it plays as a compelling scene. Often the original thing that inspired you can be buried in the end product of the sketch.

How much does performing improv help with your writing? Have you ever taken scenes from an improv show and translated them to TV or film?

As an improviser you’re constantly assuming a point of view and exploring a story and a world as that character. When you’re writing you’re using the same exact skills; seeing things from different points of view. And, writing also helps improv. You have more story telling tips at your disposal for example. Knowing story telling skills helps you find ways to wrap up improv.

Dasariski has created a couple of scripted stage shows here in LA and also performed in Austin, TX based on our improv. Currently, Coldtowne Theatre in Austin is developing that material further under direction of Dave Buckman.

Years ago we made a short with Chicago filmmaker Leroy Koetz based on an improv show called Jakarta Boom Boom where we play three American businessmen trapped in a Jakarta hotel room, due to a riot.

JAKARTA BOOM BOOM

 

Speaking of improv, how would you distinguish between the different theaters in LA?  

There are many great places out in LA for you to explore. I perform with Dasariski the first Thursday of every month at IO WEST, but lately I don’t get a chance to spend a lot of time at any of the theaters. I encourage any new people to check out shows at all the theaters to find your dojo. Find the place that speaks to you.

Also, would be worth calling all the theaters and saying “Hey, I’m new a potential student could I audit one of your classes?” Any theater worth it’s salt would let you sit in and see what the vibe is. Also, to my knowledge many of the theaters have cheap or free shows.

And how much does the improv scene overlap with the comedy-writing industry in general?

I think it overlaps a lot. When the Key & Peele producers were casting for the smaller speaking parts in the Key & Peele sketches, they would often tap people directly from the improv scene. SNL and other shows recruit from Chicago, NY and LA and other cities too. The improv world is in many ways an incubator for the industry.

What do you consider required viewing for want-to-be comedy writers (TV shows, films, shorts, etc.)?

I think people should watch what they love, not what I love. I mean, the whole point is to get into what you dig. That said– My fave TV shows are Cheers, The Honeymooners, The Sopranos, COPS and Judge Judy. Fave films include Hannah and Her Sisters, Casablanca and The Shining.

With viewing platforms changing so rapidly in recent years, are there any obvious shifts you’ve seen occurring in the production of TV comedies and sketch shows?  How have the presence of companies like YouTube and Netflix impacted what you do on a daily basis?

The biggest and best change is that there are a lot more opportunities for people in comedy to get their stuff out there. And, the public is getting a much more diverse and interesting crop of TV shows than they would have gotten in the past. I think it’s a good thing for both creators and audience. I mean Netflix could charge 50 a month and it’d be worth it. Don’t tell them I said that.

Once one has independently written a comedy pilot or sketch, what are some next steps that you advise taking?  Is there a best way to get material noticed (online competitions, sending it directly to contacts, knocking down doors, fireworks shows, etc.)?

One should know that the WGA has a list of all the agents in town http://www.wga.org/agency/agencylist.aspx.

By all means, make submissions and follow up.

While you wait to hear back —I think if you could get involved with your nearest comedy theater and try to put up your material there with friends, shoot your own stuff, and keep writing. You can reach a wide audience with or without an agent using the internet. Overall, just do the work as best you can —every day— on whatever level you can and eventually you will level up. If not, fireworks.

Is there a formula or set of rules that you normally follow when you’re outlining a sketch? Do you have any rituals that you undergo before you write?

Having a to do list of “things I have to knock out” and then crossing them off really helps the discipline part of it. By the time I’m actually sitting down to write the sketch, I’ve thought of the main premise and usually some beats. Researching the topic always helps overcome the hardest part of the process: trying to find new beats or twists and turns and finally an out. That’s the hardest thing in sketch— coming up with an out… Though the advice that the “end is in the beginning” often helps.

What is your opunion on bad puns?

Here comes another Del Close quote: “puns work in great numbers.” You have to do a lot of them, before they get funny.

Are there any books you would recommend reading, perhaps for someone about to move to LA and pursue a career in TV writing?  Or just good books that you enjoy, they don’t all have to be relevant.

Check out Robert McKee’s “STORY” that’s a classic for writers of various stripes. Robert also does a 4 day lecture class that is worth taking if you can get there. Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero With A Thousand Faces.” And a more writer friendly breakdown of Campbell’s ideas, can be found in “The Writer’s Journey” by Christopher Vogler.  Bruno Betlleheim’s “The Uses of Enchantment”— an old fave “Impro” by Keith Johnstone. Random hilarious: “Letters From A Nut” Ted L Nancy and the must have: “The Far Side” Complete Collection – By Gary Larson.

 

 

K&P Writers Nominated for WGA Award

 

WGA

New York and Los Angeles (December 3, 2015)– The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) have announced nominations for outstanding achievement in television, new media, news, radio, and promotional writing during 2015. Winners will be honored at the 2016 Writers Guild Awards on Saturday, February 13, 2016, at simultaneous ceremonies in New York City and Los Angeles.

COMEDY / VARIETY – SKETCH SERIES

Key & Peele, Written by Colton Dunn, Rebecca Drysdale, Keegan-Michael Key, Phil Augusta Jackson, Jay Martel, Jordan Peele, Ian Roberts, Alex Rubens, Charlie Sanders, Rich Talarico; Comedy Central

 

 

6 Key & Peele Sketches I Wish I Wrote

6 Key & Peele Sketches I Wish I Wrote

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KEY & PEELE WRITERS TRIP – RT, Ian Roberts, Alex Rubens, Colton Dunn, Jay Martel, Phil Jackson, Charlie Sanders, Becky Drysdale – Las Vegas, NV

Tonight is the Series Finale of Key & Peele on Comedy Central. Recently a friend asked me how I felt about the show ending, and it’s strange because the way the show works, we wrapped up the writing back in MAY of 2014, so it’s been over for the writers for some time.But, it did give me a chance to reflect on how great it’s been to work with so many talented and brilliant people.

Monstrous thanks are due Keegan and Jordan for the tremendous opportunity and to Jay and Ian for their peerless guidance. Peter our director and the entire crew were superb while everyone’s attention to detail in every department gave the show it’s deserved rep.

I’m so grateful to have worked with such a crazy group of pizza loving writers. I was always amazed by everyone’s contributions to the scripts and how K&P can consistently  bring it all home.

So, here’s to the end of an era! Please enjoy 6 Key & Peele sketches I wish I wrote.

– RT

#6 – FRONTHAND BACKHAND

Alex Rubens wrote this and it’s wonderfully old school and new school at the same time. Love the reactions of the other actors, and Jordan’s sheer will to win is what makes this a fave for me.

 

#5 – RAP ALBUM CONFESSIONS

This was Phil Augusta Jackson’s sketch. Phil was new blood in the last season but brought so much old blood with him! A hilarious game played brilliantly by KP. The heightening is excellent.

 

#4 – YO MAMA HAS HEALTH PROBLEMS

Becky Drysdale’s wonderful sketch from Season One is still one of my faves. Keegan (the comedy Ben Kingsley! He can play any type!) was so grounded and subtle and dialed in, in this and Jordan was just on fire playing a guy who just didn’t get it, but thought he did. Colton is also great in the background here, too!

 

#3 – ULTIMATE FIGHTING MATCH PREVIEW

Charlie Sanders hit a home run with this sketch and so did everyone else involved. The style was nailed perfectly by the production team and director and the K&P were so so good as the two fighters. This makes me laugh every time I watch it.

 

#2 – DUBSTEP

When Dubstep was peaking, Colton Dunn was right there with this hilarious sketch to take the wind out of the sails. K&P’s gift for the physical is in full bloom (that dive out the window?!) and the visceral images and superb editing make this one perfecto.

 

#1 – PIZZA ORDER

We can all thank Jordan Peele for writing this brilliant sketch. Love how he created a character so heartbreakingly real and desperate while Keegan’s pizza shop worker is so in the zone – I keep forgetting it’s Keegan and Jordan in there!

 

#Key&Peele, #ComedyCentral

Labor Day Weekend – Out Of Bounds Comedy Festival – Austin, TX

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The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is a 7-day live performance festival that showcases some of the best in improv, sketch, stand-up, and a variety of comedy performances from all over the country and across the globe. Now in its 13th year, the festival averages over 500 performers in 120 shows over the 7 days leading up to Labor Day.

#OOB SHOWS – AUSTIN, TX

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

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Craig Cackowski, Stephnie Weir, Rich Talarico, Bob Dassie. Stateside at the Paramount – Austin, TX

Shangrila

Dasariski ft. Stephnie Weir. Miss Laura (Stephnie Weir) rides and confides in her horse Shangri La played by Dasariski.

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Hanging at Coldtowne Theater, Austin, TX. Craig Cackowski, Carla Cackowski, Rich Talarico, Tamela D’Amico and Samm Levine.

 

DASARISKI FEATURING STEPHNIE WEIR

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Dasariski combines the names and talents of Robert Dassie, Rich Talarico, and Craig Cackowski, and plays at L.A.’s IO West Theater. Dasariski is known for their “slow play” style of long-form improvisation, taking a single audience suggestion and creating a half-hour to hour-long piece of theater, focusing on creating believable characters and relationships, eschewing the cheap joke for the long-term payoff.

Stephnie Weir has performed at the Second City’s Main Stage, the Goodman Theater, and at the ImprovOlympic. In Los Angeles, Ms. Weir spent five seasons as a writer/performer on Mad TV. She has also appeared on Children’s Hospital, Modern Family and Weeds. She can currently be seen on the FX comedy, The Comedians with Billy Crystal and Josh Gad. In film, Ms. Weir appeared in Fun with Dick and Jane and stars in two upcoming independent features, Eden Court and Standby.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH

7:00 PM AT STATESIDE AT THE PARAMOUNT

BUY TICKETS

http://www.outofboundscomedy.com/events/sat-7-state/

DASARISKI FEATURING STEPHNIE WEIR

RT, Bob Dassie. Photo By Dave Alley

RT, Bob Dassie. Photo By Dave Alley

 

 

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Dasariski combines the names and talents of Robert Dassie, Rich Talarico, and Craig Cackowski, and plays at L.A.’s IO West Theater. Dasariski is known for their “slow play” style of long-form improvisation, taking a single audience suggestion and creating a half-hour to hour-long piece of theater, focusing on creating believable characters and relationships, eschewing the cheap joke for the long-term payoff.

Stephnie Weir has performed at the Second City’s Main Stage, the Goodman Theater, and at the ImprovOlympic. In Los Angeles, Ms. Weir spent five seasons as a writer/performer on Mad TV. She has also appeared on Children’s Hospital, Modern Family and Weeds. She can currently be seen on the FX comedy, The Comedians with Billy Crystal and Josh Gad. In film, Ms. Weir appeared in Fun with Dick and Jane and stars in two upcoming independent features, Eden Court and Standby.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH

7:00 PM AT STATESIDE AT THE PARAMOUNT

BUY TICKETS

http://www.outofboundscomedy.com/events/sun-7-state/

ALL-STAR STOOL PIGEON W/ SEN. KIRK WATSON

RT, Craig Cackowski, Sen. Watson, Bob Dassie, Katy Schutte, Ryan Archibald. Photo By Dave Alley

RT, Craig Cackowski, Sen. Watson, Bob Dassie, Katy Schutte, Ryan Archibald. Photo By Dave Alley

 

 

 

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IMPROV – AUSTIN, TX

Stool Pigeon is one of ColdTowne Theater’s flagship show. Using an Armando format similar to that of UCB’s famed ASSSSCAT3000, Stool Pigeon features a different guest monologist each week. Based on that guest’s stories, an all-star cast of improvisers will craft a complete show of original, hilarious scenes. Oh yeah. We buried the lead. This cast is BONKERS talented. Stool Pigeon features a slew of Austin’s finest comedy performers mixing it with with our headliners. They play in your favorite shows and have been trained at some of America’s finest institutions including UCB, iO, the Annoyance, and The Second City. Bring your sunglasses and hold onto your butts. This show is hot fire.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH

11:00 PM AT STATESIDE AT THE PARAMOUNT

http://www.outofboundscomedy.com/events/2015-stool-pigeon-senator-kirk-watson/

 

#OOB CLASSES – AUSTIN, TX

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

 

OBJECT WORK: THE SECRET WEAPON OF IMPROV – RICH TALARICO

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5TH

11:00 AM AT THE HIDEOUT THEATRE – DOWNSTAIRS

THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW SOLD OUT. AUDIT SLOTS ARE AVAILABLE.

A picture is worth a thousand words… So, why wouldn’t you want a thousand words of info pouring into your scenes with each and every object you touch. Learn why the secret weapon of improv is object work. Avoid talking heads scenes, stay out of your head, engage the audience and inform your character. Discover the benefits of object work and how, when done well, it can do much of the heavy lifting of exposition for you.

http://www.outofboundscomedy.com/events/object-work-the-secret-weapon-of-improv-rich-talarico/#tickets

POINT OF VIEW: THE CHOICE THAT GUIDES ALL CHOICES – RICH TALARICO

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6TH

2:30 PM AT THE HIDEOUT THEATRE – UPSTAIRS

THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW SOLD OUT. AUDIT SLOTS ARE AVAILABLE.

Play from  the inside out. This improv workshop will show you how to instantly create and build honest characters. Characters are not just voices or walks, they are the soul of your show, . Giving and using organic gifts will further deepen your insight to character.   Learn how to live moment to moment in present-tense engagement with the world around you –as you character.   These simple techniques will strengthen any show/ performance.

http://www.outofboundscomedy.com/events/point-of-view-the-choice-that-guides-all-choices-rich-talarico/#tickets

ASK RICH – Advice for Writers and Actors

ASK RICH LOGO

From time to time, I get approached with questions from people wanting to get my take on what’s happening for them in the worlds of writing or performing. I reply here through my website in this feature called “Ask Rich.” 
 
IN A TAILSPIN… 
 
Hi Rich, 
 
I finished a solid draft of a new 1/2 hour single-cam pilot. I sent it out to members of my writers group and a few friends (all who I trust their notes).  Not everyone read it, but those who did, had mostly all positive things to say about it.  I just heard back from a Borris Santiago*  (NOTE: *CHANGED NAME FOR ANONYMITY – RT) a working writer/producer…film and TV, whom I was intro’d to and met with recently.  He read the script and had issues with it.  Like, “trash it and start over again” issues. So, this has, sort of, sent me into a tailspin.  
 
I’ve already started outlining my next script. Deep down, I want to move on and keep writing what I just started. But, with the goal of finding some representation (manager or agent), just the thought of this finished script not being ready for anyone to read…makes it harder to breathe. I don’t know if you’ve ever been in this situation before, but how would you handle it?  Move on with what’s currently making you excited about writing…or go back to the work that you can’t bare to even look at any more?  
 
Hope you’re well, man! 
 
– Jason S.
 
 
Dear Jason,  
 
Yes I’ve been there many times when friends or employers or both did not respond to something I wrote. Happens all the time. That’s just the nature of doing anything creative. I think it’s okay to put a finger in the wind and see what people think of what you’re creating.  Then I wonder, is it possible you are creating a “tailspin” situation by just asking too many people? 
 
No one KNOWS what is “good” or what will work. And, a script is not the final product, it’s an early treasure map that many people will try to follow to the gold. Everyone is forecasting best they can. And, if it is a spec piece, you’re writing (meaning it’s a door opener) the only opinion that truly matters is yours. Sure— consider other’s feedback, but ultimately you have to make the executive decisions. Sometimes you will be wrong, sometimes you will be right. Most important thing is that YOU dig the material you are sending off to convince an agent to represent you. 
 
Another thought— is it possible that the note from Boris sent you into a tailspin because maybe deep down, you believe there’s an bit of truth to it. You know, if you had total confidence in the material, an army of Boris’ could not infiltrate your airspace and send you into such a whirl. As with all notes, take what you think can help you push your vision of the project and leave the rest of the notes behind. 
 
It’s important when writing to have asked and answered all the questions that the audience might have. Think about the script from every point of view. Asking friends for critical feedback on your scripts can be helpful or painful when too many opinions puts you in a spin or if you realize that negative notes might be right and this script is not the “chosen one.” 
 
Writing should be fun and fulfilling for you. Try to keep it loose and approach even the most dreadful re-writes with a positive attitude, see each writing problem as a chess problem to solve. Try to enjoy the painful opera of creation.  And, there’s nothing wrong with juggling both projects if you want to do both at the same time. Why not. Maybe you combine them. Choices are endless. If you don’t know what to do, you just don’t have enough information. So, keep asking questions till there are no more and get comfortable taking all the responsibility for what you’re putting out.  Take heart: you’ll be right some of the time! 
 
FYI: The Writer’s Guild website has a list of agents in town. 
 
And, to hell with Boris Santiago anyway, I never liked that guy. 
 
Truly, 
 
RT
 
 
FORK IN THE ROAD… 
Hi Rich, 
 
I was wondering if I could get your advice about a question I have been pondering, I feel your experiences would add great value. 
 
I took classes at COMEDY THEATER 1 here in LA, years ago and completed their curriculum, took some workshops at COMEDY THEATER 2 and other places as well. Earlier this year I challenged myself to take a class at COMEDY THEATER 3 after having long stayed away due to it’s reputation of how one advances in their structure.
 
I found their intro class and saw their style was not to be for me and thus didn’t pass since I wasn’t charactery enough. Now my ego wants to say two contradicting things 1) screw that I didn’t like their style anyways and 2) get back on the horse and knock it out of the park. 
 
I was curious if you would see any value of redoing the course from a learning stand point or would you recommend that my time and money best be spent elsewhere?
 
Sonny D. 
Ahoy Sonny, 
 
Thanks for writing. 

You know it all depends on what you want to achieve. There are many, many dojos in LA teaching a large range of comedy styles. Many different teacher/ interpreters of those styles.  Students of comedy today, enjoy a huge range of possibilities. 
 
I signed up for Second City’s classes in Chicago back in 1992. I failed the audition many times to get into the training center. Finished training and then proceeded to fail the auditions for Second City’s Touring Company three years in a row. 
 
Did I get mad? Did I cry?
 
Yes. 
 
But, during each of those years between auditions, I kept working out at Improv Olympic and other small theaters in Chicago. I did as many shows as I could and eventually found my rhythm. Students need something reliable to grind against to shape their style. 
 
Presently, you are at a fork in the road. Which way should I go?  
 
I think you could go back to THEATER 3 and say; “give me another shot!” As long as you’re doing it with the right intentions, you will be fine.  You could also go to theater 4, 5, 6. Just keep going.
 
I’ve said this before in these postings, but I think we (people in the arts) are all creatively trying to level up in some way. So, just do what you can as best you can every day to push yourself closer to your goals. All that honest effort will add up in a variety of ways, many you couldn’t predict. Whatever you decide to do, just try to get to be the best performer you can be, right now– whatever the road looks like. Everything that happens from now on is an obstacle or an opportunity, the choice is yours.  
Rich
(c) BRONZE MEDAL ENTERTAINMENT – 2015  
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Rich Talarico

Rich Talarico