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dallas solo fest

An Inauspicious Beginning…

This is the first in what will (hopefully) be many entries as I travel the country this summer with my one man show, And Then I Woke Up, to various fringe festivals and the like.

This isn’t Day 1, though. That was technically last Thursday, opening night at the Dallas Solo Fest.

The entries in this blog are intended to be more about the road. Also, I was still so busy preparing in the days leading up to and during the fest that I didn’t really have much time to blog.

So, I’ll give a quick post-mortem on the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest…

It was okay. Brad McEntire does a great job with the fest and there are some really talented performers this year. Among them, I’m definitely the most amateur. And, it showed.

Opening Night was nerve-racking, though not as much as one review from a friend who has access to my Facebook page would have you believe. To me, it was the normal run up to a show. Stressful, but optimistic.

That said, I was definitely nervous. Ironic, given that I talk in the show about how performing has never scared me.

Pretty early on in the opening night performance, I got a little lost. My concentration was shaken early from an overworked voice that was on the verge of throwing in the towel. It cracked and quavered with every rise of the voice. It got to me and I lost my place. Not for long. I soon found it and the rest of the show went fairly smoothly. I dropped a few lines, including a bit that would prove to be pretty much everyone’s favorite in the last two performances. But, I got through the whole thing relatively unscathed. The (admittedly minor) scathing would come later when the reviews came out. Scattered compliments that got the wind knocked out of them by some pointed criticisms.

But, it was my first performance. Kind of. Really, it was the first time I ever performed an entire, complete piece that I wrote. I’ve performed smaller sections of the show in public. But, this was the first time it was all ever presented in one place.

So, considering that, I guess it’s not too bad.

After all, half the show had never been workshopped. I have no director (yet). This was about as true to “one man show” as you can get. This was a Kris Noteboom joint all the way. And, just like with my writing, it turns out I need an editor.

There’s no shame in that, for any other writer/performers reading this. Pretty much every great writer of the last several hundred years has had an editor. A good editor is worth her or his weight in gold. I learned this when I became a journalist and saw that Mark Lowry was able to take my rambling sentences and make them sound much better.

Forgive the self-congratulatory tone…but both reviews said, in one way or another, that I’m smart, talented and funny. Lindsey Wilson of Culture Map called me a “wordsmith”. Amy Martin (of my employer Theater Jones) said: “Woke Up is full of zingers, witty phrases, and bon mots to make a dependable hour of laughs.”

I can work with that!

But, both reviews also noted that the show is sometimes unfocused and a little too exposition heavy. They’re right. I’ve taken enough writing classes at this point to know that “too much exposition” might end up being my epitaph.

Arguably, I’ve gotten much better. Taking a short story creative writing class last semester helped a lot. The story I eventually submitted for publication went from over 10,000 words in the first draft to just over 5,000 after a couple of revisions.

So, even as this blog post is already well over 600 words, I’m getting better!

My performances on Saturday and Sunday went much better than Thursday. Those opening night jitters were exorcised, but I also just got more comfortable with the material with each passing day. Also, my voice recovered, somewhat.

In the end, a lot of family and friends came to see me perform. That was very meaningful. I’ve been telling these people for years that I’m working on something. I’m glad they finally got to see me. And true to being good friends, they all said they liked it.

Ultimately, I was right that it was more difficult to perform in Dallas. I’ve been a critic for the past five years. I don’t have a lot of friends in the theater community, but I’m friendly with all the other critics. To that end, the only part of my reviews that miffed me a little was when my private Facebook postings (which only my friends would have been able to see) were used as a plot point. It made me sound like I was having a breakdown in the days leading up to the show, which wasn’t really true. I’ve performed in front of audiences hundreds of times. I’ve spent 6x more time in my life performing than being a critic. The week before a show is always stressful.

Anyway, I’m not complaining. The reviews were accurate and fair. It’s not the greatest show in the world. And, that’s okay. It’s my first.

And, yes. I’m telling everyone right now, I’m not destined for Broadway just yet. But, you should come out and see it anyway. People have seemed to enjoy it and have been laughing a lot.

So, there’s that.

And, that’s the post mortem.

Now, I’m in LA for the Hollywood Fringe Festival. I perform Friday. For now, I’m visiting friends in Orange County. I’ll post about that next.

Stay cool.

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My Indiegogo Campaign

Hello, all!

Today, I have launched an Indiegogo fundraising campaign for the 2015 Summer Tour of my comedic one man show, “And Then I Woke Up”.

Well, actually I launched it last week. It took me forever to make a video for it. I got in my head – or rather I let other people get in my head – and got to where I was really overthinking it.

This isn’t a huge campaign. Id say it’s fairly modest.I’m not trying to appeal to millions, though if I do, cool.

So, what is this for?

There are a lot of costs associated with going to these festivals around the country. They basically provide the opportunity to perform, while I provide everything else. And honestly, that’s really great. For us non-professionals that want to try and build our work into something, these festivals are a great way to get exposure. But, in the meantime there are travel costs, lodging costs, food, publicity and advertising, having enough to make sure I can keep paying rent while I’m gone, and biggest of all, venue fees. It costs money to run these venues and pay the well-deserving staff. That’s on me as the producer of my show.

All in all, I’ve estimated that this tour will cost me about $12,000 when it’s all said and done. To date, I’ve already spent close to $3,000. And, you’ll notice that my Inidiegogo campaign is for $6,000. That’s because I expect to put in just as much, and probably ultimately more, than I would ask anyone else to put in.

And, that goes to the incentives as well. It’s not a lot of trinkets that you’ll never wear or use. It’s mostly stuff that I have to work for. Whether it’s performing, collaborating, straight up working, or brewing, I tried to make my incentives something that I had to work to earn. I believe in working for what I get, and I thought this was a good way to run my campaign.

So, check it out. And please donate. I appreciate the support.

Also, please “like” and “share” liberally. These campaigns aren’t made by just friends and family. They’re made by friends of friends, friends of family, and friends I haven’t even met yet.

Thank you for your time and thank you for your support.

Hooray for Hollywood!

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I’ll be performing at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival

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Where: The Complex in The East Theatre (6468 Santa Monica Blvd)

When:

Friday, June 12 @ 9:00

Saturday, June 13 @ 7:00

Monday, June 15 @ 9:00

Thursday, June 18 @ 7:30

Saturday, June 20 @ 8:30

TIckets: On sale May 1st http://www.hollywoodfringe.org/ (I’ll post direct links on the 1st)

This is my first out of town show ever. It’s super exciting! Also, looking forward to seeing all my LA friends (and begging to sleep on their couches).

Also, don’t forget. Tickets for the Dallas Solo Fest go on sale tomorrow @ www.dallassolofest.com

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2015 Dallas Solo Fest!!!

I am incredibly honored to announce that I’ll be performing at the 2015 Dallas Solo Fest, June 4-14

Where: Margo Jones Theatre in Fair Park, Dallas, TX

When: June 4-14, 2015

My Specific Shows:

Thursday, June 4 at 9:00 pm

Saturday, June 6 at 10:30 pm

Sunday, June 7 at 5:00 pm

Tickets: $12    http://www.dallassolofest.com/tickets.html

More Info: http://www.dallassolofest.com

This is a particularly exciting show for a couple of reasons. 

          First, it’ll be the World Premiere of …and then I woke up

          Second, it takes place in my hometown (sort of…I’m from Ft. Worth, but close enough!)

     Those that have known me for any amount of time know that the struggle to get to this point has been pretty tough at times. In fact, the show uses this for some good comedy. But, it was very real. When I made the decision that I was gonna go for it and really try and get my writing and performance career off the ground, it was at a time in my life when things really couldn’t have been any lower. 2008-2009 was devastating on several fronts. Like many people, the recession wiped me out. I’d finally (I thought) taken a step towards something good (my art gallery) when the economy went into the tank. I’d gone through a pretty terrible breakup. I’d had some issues at school that would end up delaying my graduation by years, and I’d endured several other (almost entirely by my own actions) personal struggles. It was bad.

     But, as I sat in the gallery one day, knowing that it was about to close, and knowing that I had little choice but to crawl back home with my tail between my legs, I made a decision. I decided that I was done working for other people (metaphorically, of course). From then on, everything I did would be in service to this very moment.

     And, it’s taken a very long time. And, it has rarely been smooth sailing. But, the moment is finally here. I’m premiering an original work at a performance festival in the place I live.

     I’m excited that Dallas is the first (followed, so far, by Hollywood, DC, and Chicago).

     A very big thank you to Brad McEntire at Audacity Theatre Lab. He’s the man behind the Solo Fest. Over the years I covered him as a critic, we became friends. Or, as friendly as an artist and critic could be. It was a little easier considering how amazing his work consistently is. This opportunity is a direct result of his belief in my work. He saw my first public performance last year and immediately invited me to perform in the Audacity Solo Salon in December, and apply for the Solo Fest. I owe a lot to him, and hopefully I’ll justify his confidence with a solid set of performances in June.

     Another big thank you goes to Erin Singleton and the team at the Nouveau 47 Theatre. Erin gave me that first performance opportunity last year. And, she did it knowing I was a critic. There has been some pushback from the local theater community as a couple of us critics have crossed over into performing, but Erin gave me a shot. And, that went so well she gave me a chance to submit a short play to the Nouveau Holiday Show, which also went well. Just like with Brad, Erin, has been an early believer in my work. And I’m grateful. Especially since it is a considerable risk to give me a shot in this town. A lot of people still think of me as a critic. A critic who has ruffled some feathers at times. Erin saw past that, and I’m eternally grateful.

    There are so many people to thank. Really, I’ll try to list some, but if your name isn’t here, know that the list is very long. And if I see you, I’ll tell you in person, which is always better anyway.

     To my teachers over the years. Faye Youngblood, Suzanne Borski Robinson, Donna Matney, Donna Clevenger, Larry Wheeler, Amy Jackson, Kelly Taylor, Justin Trudeau, Jay Allison, Shaun Treat, Brian Lain, Karen Anderson Lain, Thomas Riccio, and Fred Curchack.

     To Kim Jackson, Robert Hart, Joe Lipscomb, Nathan Siegele, Lance Lusk, John Michael Colgin, Danielle Clemens, Melia McFarland, Jillian Jordan, Carrie Helms Tippen, Jay Tippen, Shelly Stearns, Matt Ducey, Jesse Jenkins, Mark Lowry, Elaine Liner, my cigar shop family, etc, etc, etc. I have a really great group of friends who have always supported me and I’ll never be able to thank you as much as I should. But, I’ll try.

     And to my family. My choices haven’t always made sense to you, I know. But, you’ve supported me nonetheless and that really does mean a lot. It’s more than most people get, and I’m very grateful.

Thank you again to everyone. This is a super exciting time and I’m glad I get to share it with all of you. See you at the Margo Jones Theatre in June!

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