Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Tonight - what a wonderful awful rainy night. Tonight featured Princeton Elementary's "Evening of Excellence," a night of recognition of Princeton Elementary students. Both Marina and Walker were invited to take part. Both kids are on the Principal's Honor Roll meaning they've received A's on their report card for each of the grading periods this year.They both also were honored for reaching their AR goals (Accelerated Reading) for all three grading periods. And if that wasn't exciting enough, they both were honored with the distinction of Writing Wizard for their class. Great job kiddos!!

Afterwards we go to Jade Bistro on Edgewater avenue for a celebration Asian fusion dinner. While we're ordering, Walker is drawing on the back of his sushi form and Marina is writing on the back of hers. Suddenly Walker holds up his drawing and announces "Look what I drew - it's Fagzilla."
"What? We responded, embarrassed and surprised.
"It's Fagzilla." Now our minds are reeling, wondering how our writing wizard has bolstered his vocabulary with this word.
"How have you come to know this word, Walker?"
"Well, he's fat, and he's Godzilla, so that's Fagzilla."
"Oh, of course. Fagzilla." In our relief we didn't really realize how comfortable we'd now become with this new and wonderful name. So for the rest of the dinner we had a wonderful time saying Fagzilla over and over without any shame or remorse. Thanks Walker.

Oh, and this one is his follow up drawing - King Pong - it's a ping pong reference. See how he's shaped like a paddle?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Another Blog to Get Behind On

Hey, now I have 2, count em' 2 blogs I can struggle with keeping current. With that, I officially introduce my Quantum Improv blog to the world. If you get a chance to check it out, be sure to look at the foundation posts - they are easily bookmarked at the top.

Quantum Improv is a new venture that is be becoming a major part of my life, not to mention my improv teaching. The basics molded in Quantum are shaping a philosophy, process and program that will continue to grow. I call it the Quantum Vision and it has wonderful applications past even Quantum Improv. But improv is where it starts and improv is where it will always have a base.

I am currently writing the book Quantum Improv and plan to have the first published copies available by the end of the year. I'm excited to be entering a publishing agreement with a firm that will be a combination I guess you could say of self-publishing and mainstream publishing. I'm talking about a co-publishing arrangement which will allow me to keep my book rights while the publisher (having limited trade rights) will do all the marketing and promotion of the book to retailers like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Amazon as well as retailers such as Target, Wal-Mart, etc. All the things I have no earthly idea how to do. I am very thankful for such an arrangement. My part of the deal will be to order an initial printing of books that I will sell myself through SAK, the Quantum Improv website, etc.

It is all new to me so surely I will post the victories and the defeats along the way.

Be sure to check out the Quantum Improv blog. Onward and Forward!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Hammer Comes Down at Disney

Well the several weeks of nervous Disney employees is pretty much over. And how things can change over just a few months. Although I have served as a contract Show Director for the past several years and not an actual Disney employee, I was not really on the chopping block, as they say. But, the current climate has affected me as well. Last September, 2 of the shows I looked after closed - Comedy Warehouse and Adventurers Club. Luckily I still had Turtle Talk, Monsters Laugh Floor and World Showcase Players. And last week, I was informed that Monsters and Turtle Talk have been reassigned to one of the full time Show Directors at Maingate. I don't officially know at this time who has them, (althought I think it is Jason Surrell), I just know it isn't me. So the hammer has come down on my wee little head. I do still have responsibility for World Showcase Players so fortunately I get to keep my parking pass and still have a reason to stroll through Maingate from time to time. But my goodness - 8 months ago I was looking after 5 shows, and today, I have one. This represents a 90% decrease in my Disney responsibilities.

So like many others, I eagerly await the next chapter in my life. I bet you'll be seeing a bit more of me down at the ol' SAK Comedy Lab, that's for sure. I'll be teaching more classes I think, especially Quantum Improv which is steadily growing. Two semesters under the belt and looking forward to more of that.

As sad as it is to lose the Disney shows, I'm still amazed that I had so many in-park shows to look after in the first place. It is very unusual for a contract (outside) show director to look after even one ongoing show. For awhile there I had 5. I'm pleased to say I have really enjoyed every one of them very much. It was very sad to see the Island shows come to an end. Obviously the Comedy Warehouse is especially near and dear to my heart. I really loved the Adventurers Club too. Somehow the closing of those was dignified and I felt we really celebrated the legacy and history of what those shows were.

My wife pointed out what a special and wonderful surprise that was - to have a chance to close the shows with a little celebration and fanfare. Usually, (as it was with the current layoffs), Disney likes minimal (if any) fanfare and quick closure. You don't even get 2 weeks if laid off. You're immediately escorted off property. What a great and wonderful opportunity we had (because someone leaked the plans to the press), to close the Warehouse and Ad Club as we did. Morgan said I was able to bring a nice balance of celebrating the legacy and maintaining the dignity of all those who lost their jobs.

For some reason - there is a deeper sadness to having Turtle and Monsters reassigned. I understand it is a better fit to have them looked after by the full time Show Director staff, but I have marshalled those shows from their infancy, after being birthed by WDI. It is with a great deal of sadness that I say good bye to those wonderful shows and especially the wonderful actors who made/make those shows what they are.

Good Bye my lovelies. I wish you all the very best.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mad Disney Week Over

It has been a very busy couple of weeks with work on the Walt Disney World Resort Showcase. Several events culminated last week, each as part of the Resort Showcase. Since there has been little time to consider what to write - I have pulled something from the archives. Enjoy the following movie short. It was created 5 years or so ago when the Houseful of Honkeys performed a show called Hooray For Honkeywood!

Each week we had a show built around the game the Honkeys developed called "My Movie, My Movie, My Movie..." In our version, each week found one Honkey at the end of the show, riffing improvised movie titles one after the other until the current week's Producer proclaims - "Make That Movie!" That Honkey then had one week to create, write, produce, shoot, edit and premiere a movie using that improvised phrase, word or sentence as their title. The movie would premiere for our Honkeywood audience the following week. I think I got the call the second week. That title was "I Got A New Shirt." I eventually followed with several other titles, "Seething Biscuit," "Help! I'm Yearning For A Pale," and "Cinderheart."

I'm proud of them all for various reasons, but one of the wackiest ones was "Seething Biscuit." I made this little movie about 3 months before we heard of a movie being made for the big screen - "Sea Biscuit." It's mind boggling and a little scary how this improvised title could parallel what would eventually come to the theaters.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mac Ingenuity at its Finest

I gotta admit I'm a Mac fan. As a proud owner of a MacBook Pro and an iPhone, both which I love, this video hits my funny bone rather well. In fact, I must say I have been enjoying very much comedy videos from the Onion. I am impressed with the level of production they are able to obtain. They score extremely high on news parody - they did so in print and now in picture.

Very funny.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Christmas Lights are Still Up

This post is made after our neighbor comments to my wife Morgan - "Hey, what's up with the Christmas Lights?"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Disney Dollars Hard at Work

At this time of year I usually work on the Disney Media Resort Showcase and that is in full swing again this year. It takes place in Feburary but this year things are starting early. My work on them is generally to create characters the radio broadcast media can interview - they usually carry the current marketing / branding / PR messages from the Resort perspective in an entertaining way.

This year is all about affordability and value of the Resort Benefits, plus a new vacation package plan. So Penny Pinter (she's nicknamed Penny Pincher) and Val Eugenio (she's a Value Genie-us) help deliver that message. They're neighbors and friends and have started a club for Mom's across the country - Bargain Reconnaissance And Savings Hunters - they're BRASH Mom's. You see how I did that - clever clever - that's how I make those Disney dollars - with a ton of those wacky word play characters.

Today, as well as being Inauguration Day we had a high level review with the Walt Disney Entertainment executives. All went well, and luckily the work continues. I have done this project for the past 4 or 5 years, but somehow it seems to be much busier this year, taking up much more of my time. I remember in the first years the job was creating the characters and prepping them for the interviews.

Last year they added an element called the "Dream's Player" where each broadcast media partner has a Disney site customized for them that their listening audience can check in with to follow their journeys. We schedule the radio personalities for various segments that can be played and viewed later from their respective site. The characters I develop will have an interaction with each radio personality that is loosely scripted. All that development and scripting is added into the mix.

Every night there is some or other themed dinner or dining experience we send them to. One of those for this year seems to have blossomed into a large scale dinner event. The theme is What Will You Celebrate? - one of the current promotional themes at Walt Disney World this year. I am floored with the amount of production and money that flows through Disney events such as this. As a Show Director at Disney I get to live an alter ego life compared to my SAK life. As is often the case, however, the SAK experience is closer to my heart, and ultimately more fulfilling. So this week I hurt my head concentrating on how we can find a thousand dollars for 2 LED light instruments for our SAK show, and I unveiled a vision for the What Will You Celebrate dinner event with a team of 5 designers from different departments all eager to bring that vision to life - for only $60,000!

A collision of 2 completely different worlds.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Resolution Held

Okay I'm two weeks into my resolution and luckily we're still holding. Seems there's so much busy work - the weeks go by so quickly. It's been almost 4 months since the Pleasure Island clubs closed, which made up about half of my Disney work, but there is no shortage of work to be done. 4th Quarter of 2008 had me very busy with SAK stuff. Keith moved to Nashville and we're looking for an in-house Sales person. In between all the interviewing and getting set for that transition I've been the Sales person, Production Coordinator and Production Manager. Lots of layers of business.

This weekend is Robyn Pedretti's (one of our SAK ensemble) wedding. That's the good news. The bad news is she's invited the whole SAK ensemble to the wedding. The good news is I've scheduled a Comedy Warehouse Reunion Show that Saturday. The bad news is I might have to hang back and be at SAK to be a conduit of familiarity for the Comedy Warehouse peeps. We'll see. I'd sure like to be at the wedding if that is possible. I'm also trying my best to plan around what promises to be a very hectic traffic night down at SAK. These are the times that try our patience and test the fortitude of our audience. We've got Riverdance at the Bob Carr (which I'd really like to see sometime) and Ringling Bros. Circus at the Amway Arena. Now those Ringling cats is some hard working folks. They've got 3 shows scheduled on Saturday - 11:30am, 3:30pm and 7:30pm. Wow. I guess for the acts it's an okay schedule - just do your act 3 times in a day but my goodness, circus folk work it. The epitome of cross-utilization. If they're not swinging from the trapeze 40 feet in the air, they're holding the flaming hoop for the zebra to jump through. (Incidentally the zebra's not a zebra, it's a white-haired horse who's just gotten charred from the flaming hoop over time. I think they switch them out every couple of performances.)

Finally - a Christmas lights update. This year I was fortunate enough to have the time to put up extensive Christmas lights on our house - thanks to PI closing. they look great - best on the block - and I love Christmas lights. They are still up and I'm not sure when they will be coming down. If it was up to me I'd have them up all year long. The only downside is the electric bill. But it seems like we just got them all up and now it's time to take them down? I'll keep an update as to the date they actually come down. It will be a sad day for me.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Resolved for 2009

Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been 4 months since my last blog entry. Holy Samoli! What's the use of having a blog if you never write on it? Well, this is a new year, old habits are off, new ones to begin. I am resolved in 2009 to blog more regularly. In fact, my resolution is to write on my blog at least weekly. What has kept me generally from blogging more often is that I think too much about what this or that entry will be and then go about trying to make cute graphics to go with it so it doesn't look like just a bunch of words. To make this resolution come to pass I may need to sacrifice some of that. I believe I am prepared to do so, although even the thought of just writing words makes my stomach churn a little bit. Surely this will be a good growth experience for me. I did however, in preparing this post, make a little slide show of our end of year/holiday times. What a great time of year. I just love Christmas and the holidays. This was our first holiday season in our new house and we just love it. We bought this house at the end of last year - closed on the 17th of December and moved in Christmas Eve night, so we did have our Christmas here last year. But this year we were all settled in for the whole Christmas season. I had some extra time on my hands this year what with the closing of Pleasure Island at the end of September, so I got to do one of the things I've always wanted to do but never really had the time - put up Christmas lights. I like that very much.

So this is the beginning of a more regular output schedule as far as my blog goes. You can expect posts at least weekly. Keep in mind, however, without much forethought sometimes the posts might get a little boring, be very brief and have no pictures or graphics. Who knows, that might be better in the long run anyway.