January 2, 2007

Phoenix Neutrino Project

You can watch the last several months of the Phoenix Neutrino Project on Google Video: October, November, December.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:15 PM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2006

Bob Wiltfong

New York Neutrino member Bob Wiltfong was interviewed by the New York comedy site The Apiary. Among other things, we learn which Neutrino he'd eat post-Andes plane crash:

I would probably eat Donnelly first. He's meaty.
I agree. Matt would be tasty.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:27 AM | Comments (0)

July 17, 2006

Neutrino Project at MILF

Arm Wrestling at MILF

The Neutrino Project went up to Ann Arbor without me (sniff) this weekend to perform at the Michigan Improv and Laugh Festival. (yes, the MILF. It's good to see that having a child has not changed Dan Izzo's classiness.) Kristen has posted a Flickr set of important things like... Guitar Hero in the backyard*. Arm-wrestling in the Improv Inferno basement. Awesome, guys. Did you bother doing a show?

* Kristen informs me that that image was eroneously in the MILF set.

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:03 AM | Comments (1)

July 13, 2006

Torontoist on Neutrino

Our northern cousins, the Toronto Neutrino Project are performing at the Fringe of Toronto Fest and got a nice little shout-out from Toronoist: 6.5 out of 8 ISTs.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 26, 2006

Well, now we're NEVER gonna get paid

It looks like the Three Penny Cinema has closed for good, which takes our chances of getting paid for the Neutrino Project shows we did there back in 2003 from so-incredibly-slim-it's-not-worth-thinking-about to none.

We probably shouldn't have let them get away with breaking our contract the way we did, but even back then it seemed pretty clear to Shaun and I that even taking them to court and winning wouldn't really increase our chances of getting any actual cash -- blood from a stone and all that.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:13 PM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2006

PIF Coloring Book

Another way we were spoiled when we arrived in Phoenix was with an official festival goody bag. There were schedules, guides to local eateries, toys, and a festival coloring book, with a page for each group in the festival. Our two pages were:

bare-pif-coloringbook.gif
by Michelle Edwards of The Remainders.

It's true, you know. I do like photography. And Shaun does like strip clubs.

neutrino-pifcoloringbook.gif
by The Original's Jacque Arrend

This is the secret story behind an otherwise ordinary Neutrino Project publicity photo.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:26 PM | Comments (3)

April 26, 2006

Phoenix 2006, Saturday

Saturday morning brought some pressing news -- Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, my annual Phoenix after-show dining spot -- was now only open until 10 pm, so if I was to get in some chicken AND some waffles, it was going to have to be now. Troops who were conscious (I guess the second poker game went until 7 am) were rounded up and breakfast was had. Man, I love those waffles.

We got back from Lo-Lo's just in time for me to go teach my workshops. Originally, the workshops were scheduled to be taught by Shaun and I together, but we decided that it would make more sense for both of our careers if I concentrated on teaching workshops and Shaun concentrated on hanging out by the pool. Well, it made sense the way Shaun explained it.

In any case, I had a great time. The first workshop was full - 12 students - and we cranked through the mass of information I was trying to jam into their heads about making bold character choices. Of course, I have no idea how much value any of them got out of it, but it felt really productive. For the next workshop, I guess I had lost some students to the Bingo Jam, so I only had 3 people. Intense would be the operating word for this session, as we went the full two hours, meaning everyone was up for 2/3 of the time.

Post-workshops, I had to run back to my hotel and change to get over to the venue for our Bare show.

The Phoenix Improv Festival spoils the performers unlike any other festival I've ever been to. They pay for all the performers' hotel rooms, which, frankly, is the best you're do financially from a festival unless you're a headliner at a huge festival. Every group is assigned a "den mother" - a local person who can drive you around and help with any questions or problems. And they're incredibly patient with our unreasonable requests and last-minute changes. This year, for example, Shaun jokingly asked for two custom t-shirts for Greg and Starcevich, and they produced them. And when, on Friday afternoon, we decided that our show would be a combination of Hotel and Screwed (our version of Michael Delaney and Andrew Secunda's Nailed Down) and so we would need two pairs of extra-large shoes and a drill, Jose just said, "I think I know where we can get those."

"Jose," I said after Shaun was done with his laundry list, "if I was running a festival, I wouldn't take that kind of crap. That's a ridiculous list."

But, Jose produced, and so half of the show was slow, patient near-us conversation between two characters, and the other half was a frentic, absurd mass of at least a dozen characters, each running off their own suggestion. We ran back and forth between the two sides of the stages, occasionally occupying both sides of the stage at the same time. That, Shaun and I agree, was the only part of the show that didn't work. It was easy enough to be by yourself on the Hotel side of the stage, but on the Screwed side it was really difficult to get into the rhythm of our conversation alone. Anyway, I give the show a B+.

And then we were getting ready for our second Neutrino Project show. I do feel a little bad that I didn't see more of the other groups, but it really did feel like I was always getting ready for- or recovering from- a show of my own. So, I missed all the groups between Bare and Neutrino Project. Sorry.

During this break, Shaun blithely told Kristen and Chuck, as though we did it all the time, "Go knock on some neighborhood doors and see if we can film in someone's living room." Well, they went wandering around the immediate neighborhood of the theater and found a house where they were holding public garden tours. Zing, and yay for Shaun's chutzpah.

I did my set of scenes with Alison and with Matt Martin. Matt is now an Air Force Major, but back in the day he was already a part of National Velveeta before I joined that group, and he introduced Shaun to improv at a summer camp they were both counselors at. He also co-founded, with Shaun, Bare Essentials, the group that eventually transformed into Bare. So it was cool to be back performing with Matt.

Greg, as usual, was the only one of us who got to see the whole show and he said it was even better than Friday's. So yay.

Here's how you know I was really busy all weekend -- I hardly took any photos. Selections of the ones I did take are in a Flickr set.

Kristen Freilich also has a Flickr set of 65 photos.

And Kevin Patterson has posted an astounding 656 pictures from the festival (there's also a smaller set of his best 65 shots). He even took pictures of the Neutrino Project while it was being projected.

Posted by Fuzzy at 8:01 PM

April 22, 2006

Phoenix 2006, Friday

It seems I didn't pack my camera USB cord, so pictures will have to wait.

On the plane here I went through the festival schedule and realized that a) I'm going to be in Phoenix just a bit less than 48 hours and b) in that time I have three shows, a tech, and am teaching two workshops. So there's not going to be much time for sightseeing.

There's an official festival coloring book, with pictures of all the groups to color in. It's pretty freakin' awesome.

Yesterday we did our first of two Neutrino shows. Greg, our usual arbiter for such things (since he's the only one of our group who sees the whole show) says it was pretty good. I'm just going to have to trust him on that, because nobody pushed record on the VCR. Sometimes I really try to let go of my control-freak-iness and then something doesn't get done because I didn't do it... Anyway, I climbed a tree for my scene, and ended up 'stuck' there for the rest of the show. I 'fell' out of the tree right at the end of the show, but Shaun was already fading out the shot and so didn't get it. Ah, improvised film.

After our show I watched Apollo 12 do a really spectacular show and then the up-since-4-am-chicago-time hit me all at once, so I regretfully went back to the hotel and took a nap. But what's important at a festival is not the shows, but the partying, right? Well, anyway the crew came back to the hotel and woke me up and we went over to the Bikini Lounge. Four years ago when we started coming to Phoenix, the Bikini Lounge was an empty, grimy little dive bar. Now it's a super-crowded, grimy little dive bar. Yay, progress.

At the bar, Jose said I needed to come next door to The Trunk Space gallery and see a show. Indeed I did need to see that show. Travis Nichols does some amazingly cute, fun art. Art is fun! Yay, art!

OK, I'm off to get some breakfast to have energy to teach some workshops. Oh, impressionable minds, bend to my will!

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:12 PM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2006

This weekend, Phoenix

Shaun and I are headed to Phoenix, AZ this weekend for the Phoenix Improv Fest. This will be our fourth PIF (and I believe we've performed at every PIF that featured performers from outside Arizona).

Also coming along with us are some of the Chicago Neutrino Project cast. Last year we realized that Election Show 2004 was going to be performing at the PIF, and that Election Show had a strong overlap with the Seattle Neutrino Project cast. So we put together a special combination cast Neutrino Project show for the festival.

This year we're bringing along some of Detroit's Neutrino Project cast and pulling some of Phoenix's finest improv actors to create another All-Star Neutrino Project.

Bare performs Saturday night (4/22) at 7:00 pm
Neutrino Project performs Friday (4/21) at 7:00 pm and Saturday (4/22) at 10:00 pm

All shows are at the Viad Center (1850 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ)

I'll also be teaching two workshops on Saturday afternoon at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm. The workshop listing says I'll be covering "Risk Taking Performance: Break out of safe choices, focus on you as a performer, and learn to better take care of yourself on stage. Decide what rules apply to you and which don’t." Which sounds about right.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:13 PM | Comments (1)

February 2, 2006

More press for Toronto Neutrino

Eye Weekly: Fast Film

In a matter of three years, James Cameron wrote, directed and produced the epic blockbuster Titanic. Let it be known: James Cameron is a lazy son of a bitch. Every month at the Drake Hotel, the Neutrino Film Project simultaneously shoots and screens an hour-long improvised movie in the time it takes a live audience to watch it.

Posted by Fuzzy at 8:54 AM | Comments (1)

January 9, 2006

Welcome Toronto

Toronto is the newest Neutrino Video Project "franchisee" and they've started off with some good press in the Toronto Star.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2005

Neutrino Project wraps

We finished up our 5th full run of the Neutrino Project in Chicago with another daaaangerous show. Normally, the different camera crews leave the theater as soon as they've gotten their audience-supplied object and head in different directions, and then we meet up at the end of the show to see how we can connect the disparate story lines. For some time, I've been wanting to try reversing that -- to start by showing all the actors together in some situation and then having them break off to pursue their own stories. I'd like to do it with an extended first scene at a dinner party or something, but that would, given the nature of the show, require some math that I just didn't have time to work out before Friday night.

So we did something perhaps even more complicated -- we started the show by having cameras 1 and 2 film their intermingled actors leaving the theater together and then breaking off, and then cameras 3 and 4 doing the same for their actors. Further, we stayed within a block of the theater and each crew was given the challenge of interacting with the two teams that they hadn't just left. So it became a very tangled show, with many scenes being filmed twice, from two simultaneous perspectives, and tons of connections between the different scenes. Some people who've seen the show before gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

So now we're on hiatus again. We might be taking the show to the PIF again (if they'll have us) and I've got some ideas for a summer run. Or, we might never do the show ever again (I say that every time...).

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:09 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2005

Daaaaanger

First off, we're never extending a Neutrino Project run again -- it's just never worth it. I mean, I love doing the show, and our over-all quality doesn't change, but audiences always fall off immediately and everyone's schedules are all full up suddenly with projects they had put off until after the original end-date of the run. The last three weeks of September, the show was running like clock-work. Last night, between everyone's now-busy schedules we were really light on actors and camera people. And cameras -- everyone in the show is willing to step up and be an camera-person, but we had forgotten to secure an extra camera and so we only had three cameras for four teams.

So, we tried something new and different -- we used the Improv Kitchen's green screen studio as our fourth camera. Of course, we had never done it before, so it required a lot of frantic pre-show tech setup (cheers to the IK's Liviu who really stepped up and made it happen and to Ryan Stone for stepping in on tech). And, because of the green screen processing, it couldn't be taped, so we were live. Whenever it came time for team 1's "tape" to be played, Ryan would cue Shaun and me in the studio and we'd just go live for 2 or 3 minutes (once I saw Ryan give us the universal "stretch it out" hand signal, as evidently a tape was late) until they cut us off.

There were plenty of bobbles with our lapel mics (oops -- we're still live!) and more blue screen between tapes than I usually like. But it worked, the show happened, and I think it was pretty good.

We also stuck a group in a cab, which I think has been done before by other Neutrino casts, but we've never done (I think).

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)

A lil' Neutrino story

A little Neutrino Project story I don't want to forget to get down...

If you know me, you know I'm somewhat of an authority-phobe. I often get nervous when we're doing the Neutrino Project, especially in cop-heavy Wrigleyville, that some police officer is going to decide that what we're doing is illegal and hassle a crew, which would, if nothing else, screw up the timing of the show.

So when we were up in Ann Arbor a few weeks ago, my team had just come out of the BP where we had been filming* and as we were filming out by the "$5.78/gallon" sign I saw some cops across the street. I got my usual little twinge, but they walked by. We finished shooting and headed to meet the others for the final scene. As we were headed down the street, I noticed that the cops were a few feet behind us and keeping pace and I started to come up with all my Neutrino excuses: "It's a theater project" or "it's a student film". (Crap! Does Michigan have a film department?) The cops caught up with me at an intersection.

"What's that you're drinking, there?"

What's that I'm drin...? But, I... I was so flummoxed that it wasn't about the cameras that I couldn't say anything and just turned my AriZona "Caution" energy drink so that they could see the label.

* It's unusual that we get to film in chain or corporate stores. It made my little post-punk heart sad when I was location scouting in a chain sandwich shop (rhymes with Jimmy John's) and the tattooed and pierced lone employee didn't want us to film there because of what "corporate" might think. CORPORATE?! That's The Man! Aren't we supposed to stick it to him?

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:42 AM | Comments (2)

October 11, 2005

Thx

Dan Izzo

Thanks to Dan, Trish, and Sabrina for being the best hosts in the universe, and to Mark for helping out with tech, and to Erik, Clif, and David for running.

I haven't watched the show yet, but Greg tells us that Porcupines Float was a pretty good Neutrino Project movie. And I think that the X Show was 33% less cluster-fucky than the last time we Chicago barbarians invaded that Ann Arbor stage.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:17 AM | Comments (1)

October 7, 2005

Neutrino-rific weekend

Tonight! The first of extension shows for the Neutrino Project at the Improv Kitchen. We'll see if people pay attention to closing dates and assume the show is done, or if people keep coming in the same sorts of numbers.

Tomorrow! We drive to beautiful Ann Arbor, Meechigan for our second show at the Improv Inferno. Allll you Michiganers, come see the show!

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:25 AM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2005

Neutrino Extension

Neutrino Project Extension

I realized that I've been mainly talking about the Neutrino Project when we have external validation. An extension isn't really external -- we decided to do it -- but we wouldn't have extended unless people were coming to the shows, which they are. So, there you go. What?

Whatever, I'm too busy to make sense. Four more chances to see the Neutrino Project. One more chance to see us in Ann Arbor, this Saturday at 8 PM. Awesome.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2005

Neutrino Project Extended

Well, I was going to gear up to try and guilt you into seeing Neutrino Project this Friday, if you haven't already, because it was going to be our last show of the run. But then we went and extended. So, the clock is reset. You only have five more chances to see the show, and this time we're serious -- it's gonna start getting chilly and we've vowed never to do the show in winter again, so we're not extending past the end of October. Ooohh... that's Halloween. Maybe we'll do a special costume show or something.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:42 PM | Comments (1)

September 15, 2005

Brief Mentions redux

Newcity 5 shows to see now

Life is precarious when you're #5 of Newcity's "5 Shows to See Now". Something knocked us off the list last week, but now we're back. Three weeks left, kids, so hurry up if you wanna see the show!

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2005

Special guests

Erica and Ben

We had a very special guest at this weekend's Neutrino Project: Automated Workflows' Benjamin Waldie (AKA Erica's brother's brother-in-law -- hooray for extended family).

The show he got to see was, modesty aside, pretty darn good. Greg, who sees all the shows from the control booth, said it was the best one yet (of the run or ever? I forgot to ask).

I've been following my own advice for the last couple shows. That is, when the question of "what to wear?" had come up with previous casts, our answer has always been that, since the Neutrino Project restricts you to the reality of what kind of body you have and what you're actually wearing, that cast members should either dress neutrally, so that they can play a variety of characters, or make bold choices with costuming and then come prepared to back them up. Last week, I wore a cowboy hat and shirt but it didn't affect my character much beyond an accent.

This week, I wore my new $10 yard sale tuxedo (with a $40 tux shirt from H&M). On the way to the show, I was trying not to plan ahead, but I was thinking of the possibilites that a tux includes: on my way to or from a wedding? An awards show. And, I was going to be on a team with Bob Ladewig and Brian Goodman, so I'd be the odd-man-out in my fancy duds.

When I got to the show, I was reminded that Ben Taylor was out of town, so Bob was going to be taking over DJ duties. So it was going to be just Brian and me. And Shaun assigned our team the "location" of his motorcycle. And then, in the theater, our audience-supplied object was a Mayor of London business card holder stuffed with business cards from "Scott Wild". So, naturally, we became international action heroes Scott Wild and Hank Savage. Done and done.

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:49 PM

September 9, 2005

Weekend

If you only go to one comedy show this weekend, it should probably be one of the Laughing Matters: Katrina Relief shows.

If you go to two shows, well then you should hit up the special Saturday midnight Don't Spit the Water show, which is a fund-raiser for their planned trip to New York to do a show at the UCB Theater. Rumor has it that a certain Ms. Cutie Bumblesnatch will be performing.

If you see three shows, my goodness that's a lot, and I'd be pleased as punch if the third show were the Neutrino Project tonight. We've only got four shows left. I think I'm going to wear a tux tonight. How could that not entice you?

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:11 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2005

Brief! Mention!

Time Out Chicago says (sandwiched between Robert Klein's headshot and a plug for his show) "Don't Miss! Neutrino Project (See Fri 9) This improvised movie's run at the Improv Kitchen won't last forever. In fact, it won't last past the end of this month. Do yourself a favor and check it out while you can."

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:20 PM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2005

Yet Another Brief Mention

Newcity 5 shows to see now

Though this one could be a poster pull-out quote: "Newcity's 5 shows to see now." ("Surprisingly well"? I'll take that as a compliment...)

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:01 AM | Comments (0)

August 25, 2005

Mentions

Another brief mention of Neutrino Project, this time in this week's Newcity cover story, "Seeing Stars".

... and this month, FuzzyCo is back with the Neutrino Project, its improv-movie crossbreed.

As I said, brief. But it's in the context of "there's a lot of good improv going on around town." So I'll take it. Besides, it's our name in print. Whee! We're in the paper! Look, ma!

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2005

Two more pieces of Neutrino press

I realized I've said nothing about how the show is going. Very well, thanks. This last week we were sold out, so I encourage you to make reservations in advance if you want to see the show.

Monday there was a piece in the Red Eye with the notion "Can't get a ticket to the I.O. Anniversary Show? Well, here are some other funny shows around town..." The Neutrino Project was one of thirteen shows mentioned. Don't Spit the Water got a nice mention with a big picture of Timekeeper Willis.

Oh, and three of the shows listed are all directed by Lillie Frances (Neutrino Project, Sirens: Paso Doble, and Improvidate). Lillie's the shiznit.

And I was watching for the article to come out, but somehow missed last Friday's Daily Herald (if anybody has a copy, I'd love to have/borrow it). Jack Helbig wrote an article about "improv shows inspired by reality TV" and Neutrino Project is featured along with pHrenzy, Justice is Served, and The Improv Match Game. For some reason that I'm sure makes sense to the Daily Herald's web system, the article is spread across two webpages: the introduction and the groups.

And, of course, it's time for an installment of FuzzyQuibblesWithAnArticle. I understand that Jack was trying to make things fit into his theme, but I wouldn't call the Neutrino Project Reality TV -- we're explicitly making works of fiction. And before you start wondering when you're going to see the Neutrino Project on your regular TV, because the article says I'm "investigating the idea of turning the show into a real reality TV show" -- Jack must have misunderstood my mentioning previous inquiries we had from television producers (which never went anywhere) and my musings about what it would take to turn the Neutrino Project into a TV show.

And if you read that article and want to find the Chicago Improv Network, it's actually www.chicagoimprov.org (cin.org is the "Catholic Information Network").

And since I'm in Quibbling mode, I think that in the otherwise-excellent Tribune article a few weeks ago, the actor "standing in a parking lot alone and conspicuously undressed, drawing befuddled stares from the lot attendant and occupants of a passing car" was actually Bob Ladewig. I just wanted to say that out-loud for Bob, especially since that scene is called "the best one of the night".

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:15 PM | Comments (2)

August 19, 2005

Big Weekend

It's a big weekend here at FuzzyCo HQ. Which I've started calling FuzzyCo HQ. I think you'll all just have to deal with it.

Friday night, Erica's improv ensemble KOKO will be performing at The Playground at 8 PM (Mustang Repair, Show Pony, and American Dream also appear). If you're a fan of those ladies, you'll be delighted to know that all 5 members will be at the show, which hasn't happened in awhile.

Then, at 9 PM it's the Neutrino Project at the Improv Kitchen. You've read about the show in the Tribune and Time Out. I've been yapping out the show for years. Just come see it and get it over with.

Saturday morning the Little Corner Restaurant is open again after the owner's three week vacation and it may not affect you, but it brightens our whole weekend.

Saturday night, Erica is doing a short play as part of the Abbie Hoffman Theater Festival. Change goes up at 8:15 pm. It's only 20 minutes or so, but there's plenty more going on during the festival -- plenty of good stuff and undoubtedly some crap. But at $25 for 41 hours of theater, that's about 61¢ per hour. How can you pass up such a bargain?

And since you'll already be up late at the Abbie Hoffman, you can duck down the street at midnight to see Documentary South, at The Playground. We only have three shows left and it's really a different improv show, so please come out. And this week we have special guests The Franchise opening up for us.

And my friend Lawrence is visiting this weekend. Again, doesn't affect you, just thought I'd mention it. Whew. I'm worn out just typing it all.

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:53 AM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2005

Improv Kitchen

This week's Time Out Chicago has an article (pg 42 - not online for non-subscribers) on the Improv Kitchen, the venue for our current run of the Neutrino Project and we have the briefest mention in the article. (Literally, the briefest: "In addition to Special Affect, about four groups perform monthly, including ... the Neutrino Project (through the end of September).")

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

Particular Interest

It was pointed out to me tonight that Neutrino Project's listing in Chicago Magazine has a star. The legend notes that a star indicates "a listing of particular interest." I'm not sure if that's a pull-quote for a poster or anything, but it's a nice treat, for me, for a Tuesday night.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:05 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2005

Detroit

Our cousins the Detroit Neutrino Project had their opening night reviewed. It isn't a bad review, but the reviewer spends the last 1/2 of the article on suggestions of ways he thinks the show could be improved, which immediately raises my "if you're so damned smart, why don't you go direct your own show" hackles. I mean, please do point out things you didn't like about the show -- that's part of a review -- but a laundry list of suggested changes tells me more about the reviewer than the show. ("why not have us vote for the team with the best plotline and video?" -- Why not go home and watch American Idol if that's the kind of entertainment you want.)

(I probably shouldn't say anything. I normally have a grin-and-bear it policy with reviews I don't like. I'm feeling emboldened because it's not my show and it's a different city. But with my luck, the moment I post this, that guy will move to Chicago.)

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:55 PM | Comments (0)

Neutrino Press

If you've only read the online version of our Tribune article you missed two great pictures by Tribune photographer David Zentz, so here's scans (it says "Party Boy" on Bob's chest).

Bob Ladewig in Neutrino Project

Patrick Brennan and Fuzzy Gerdes in the Neutrino Project

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:19 PM | Comments (0)

Today's Tribune

Making a movie in Wrigleyville. Without a script. by Nina Metz. The article has some nice pictures, so pick up a copy (or wait for the inevitable scan).

Posted by Fuzzy at 8:50 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2005

It's Wednesday

Do you like responding to imaginary questions, Fuzzy?

Yes, I do!

Is that because you're too lazy to write interesting sentences?

Shut up, imaginary questioner.

Fine, be that way.

I'm sorry, imaginary questioner. Ask your questions, please.

... Oh, alright... So have you had an interesting week so far?

Yup!

Is it all stuff you don't feel like you can talk about publicly?

Yup!

Monday I had a meeting with someone who's putting up a play pretty soon. They had asked me to direct it (I know I was their second choice behind Steev Gadlin. I have no idea how far down the list he was. Homer once told me I was his sixth choice to direct Fratricide) and I had declined. But I agreed to have a few meetings and help advise on the show. I was a little worried that it was just a wimp-out way to direct the show but wash my hands of the show if it wasn't a smash hit. But it really was just advice -- the arrangement gave the writer/producer the freedom to reject my advice if they wanted to. Which they did, sometimes. "Does the show really need to open with a giant chicken doing the robot?" "Yes, it does." "Well, alright then." But I think we hammered out some important questions about the overall structure of the show and I'll be coming back for more advice-giving after they've had a few rehearsals.

Over the weekend I did some follow-up stuff for one article on the Neutrino Project and today I did a phone interview for another. I don't know why, but I feel like it's somewhere between uncouth and unlucky to mention the publication until the article actually comes out. Is that right or am I just dumb?

Don't ask me.

And tonight I'm headed off to Funny Ha-Ha 4-Ever at the Hideout. I've got my good camera and I'm hoping to snap a few snaps.

Well, good luck with that.

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:04 PM | Comments (1)

August 5, 2005

This crazy weekend

So, Neutrino Project: The Instant Movie finally opens in Chicago tonight. 9 PM at the Improv Kitchen. A lil' secret just for you, my web friends -- we're having an opening night thingy at the Town Hall Pub (3340 N Halsted) around 11 PM. Since the cast never gets to see the show while it's happening, we'll be watching the show on their TVs. I wrote up a list of reasons the show rocks.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Saturday night at 10:30, Erica will be co-hosting Don't Spit the Water as Patricia Montgomery, Sasha and the Noobs therapist. (The Noob is taking the week off.) I'll be helping Noah perform a bit that will make no sense to anyone not privy to a ton of complicated background.

And at midnight, Documentary South rides again. For the next two months, we'll be doing shows every other week at midnight during DSI's Afterparty slots at the Playground. Tomorrow night we're joined by a guest ensemble, The Glass Joe Project: Jim Buelow, Ben Duerr, Jason Kollar, Mike Kosinski, Jamie Landolfi, Tyler Lansdown, Nat Miller, Deanna Moffitt, Jeff Sevener, and Emily Tamblyn.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2005

Time Out

Well, that interview I said I shouldn't talk about -- the article is out now. Time Out Chicago has a nice article about the Neutrino Project. Go buy a copy of their fine magazine, if you live in Chicago, but here's a scan:

Neutrino Project in Time Out Chicago

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:38 PM | Comments (0)

Done!

I just finished making the intro video for the Neutrino Project. We wanted to have something that would explain and introduce the show a little - kinda like this flash animation that Neutrino made (it's all Scottish because it was for their trip to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival). Ol' Leave-Everything-To-The-Last-Minute Gerdes, that's me.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2005

Detroit Top 10

It doesn't mean anything. It was just a little blurb. And it was last weekend.

I guess I just want to brag a little and if you can't brag on your own website, where can you?

Chicago Neutrino Project was one of the Detroit News and Free Press' Top Ten Things to Do This Weekend on Saturday, July 30, 2005.

That's all.

Posted by Fuzzy at 8:09 PM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2005

Neutrino Project visits Improv Inferno

Improv Inferno

Gah, I'm (supposed to be) editing the intro video for the Neutrino Project show (opens Friday! 9 pm! Improv Kitchen!) so no time to tell you about our great trip up to the Improv Inferno and how great it was to see Dan and Trish again. And Sabrina. And Shirley. But I do have the pictures for you.

If you're up in Michigan, the Detroit Neutrino Project opens this week at the Improv Inferno. Check 'em out.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:40 PM | Comments (0)

July 27, 2005

To Ann Arbor and back

Hey, our Neutrino Project trip to Ann Arbor this upcoming weekend got a mention on the brand new Detroit Metblog. And there was no cross-metblog nepotism to it at all. Much. Except for all the nepotism.

Saturday, July 30 at 8 pm
Improv Inferno
309 S. Main St, Ann Arbor, MI

Special Izzo-guests! Super fun times! Maaaaybe special Chicago guests in the X Show later. Who knows!

And work continues for getting the show up for the run here in Chicago. We finally got into the space at the Improv Kitchen to deal with all their ker-azy tech. Which really isn't that ker-azy, but it's the little differences that threaten to trip us up. For example, all the times we've done the show in the past, Greg switched between our video decks with a simple Radio Shack A-B switcher, which switched both the video and audio signals. So Ben just had a single slider on the audio mixer marked "video" which he used to mix in with the music. Well, at the Improv Kitchen we're using their video mixer, which makes the transitions between scenes look 100x better. But it means that Greg isn't touching the audio signal at all, so Ben has two sliders -- video 1 and video 2 and will need to switch between them during scene changes. Which is, of course, not very complex and certainly within Ben's awesome abilities. But it's new and different.

I also need to finish the Intro Video -- we decided to up the professionalism a bit and have our explanation of how the show works be on video. I have over an hour of footage to edit into a 5-10 minute preview of the show. Neutrino (NY) has a Flash Intro that is our loose inspiration (this version of it is tailored for their Edinburgh shows last summer).

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:18 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2005

Hats

I've been mentioning lately (in person, at least -- I don't know if I've mentioned it here) how much I enjoy having Lillie as a director. Among other things, she's taken full control of rehearsals and it's been really liberating for me to just show up to a Neutrino Project rehearsal. Well, tonight that bit us in the ass a little when I realized that while the actor-Fuzzy can just relax and show up to rehearsals, the tech director-Fuzzy needed to have planned ahead for tonight's rehearsal. It worked out OK for the cast, but I had to leave the rehearsal in the middle to have a talk with the Improv Kitchen tech guy who's going to be working with our show. Which screwed actor-Fuzzy out of some of the rehearsal.

I'm wearing three hats in this run of Neutrino. I'm an actor in the show, which as I've said means mainly just showing up to rehearsals. I'm also a co-producer of the show, and Shaun's so busy with his game that I've taken over a number of the press-liason duties he usually covers, in addition to the graphic design work I usually do (though maybe that's a fourth hat). And I'm the technical director of the show. Out of all the different parts of the show that I've tried to delegate over time, it's the hardest to give up -- I have the gear, I know how the show works, and I just don't trust that anyone else understands it as well as I do. Which is silly -- there are plenty of very technically competent people in the FuzzyCo family. It's just... my baby.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2005

Chugging along

The Neutrino Project is chugging along. Lillie and I did an interview today with a publication that I think I'm not suppposed to say what it is until the article comes out, so I won't. I talked so much that I only ate half of my Corner Bakery D.C. Chicken Salad sandwich -- and I love those things. I hope I let Lillie get a word in edgewise. Anyway, I'll be plugging it to pieces once it's published.

The rest of the Neutrino Project PR seems to be in place: I got a big 24"x36" version of the poster to the Improv Kitchen so they can hang it in their window. Erica and I spent our Sunday afternoon flyering in Wrigleyville and tomorrow I'll be giving the cast regular-size posters and half-size postcards. (FuzzyCo promo trick - I get regular 4"x6" postcards printed at Rocket Postcards and then cut them in half. I mean, I lay them out as small cards side-by-side, I don't just take a big postcard design and cut it in half. Oh, you know what I mean. Anyway, I did 250 and Erica did 250 last night. Chop chop chop on the ol' paper cutter that Lee Davis gave me years ago.) Oh, and buttons. Dan Telfer made me some neat lil' 1" buttons. Tell you what, if you'd like a promotional Neutrino Project 1" button, email me with your mailing address and I'll send you one. Um... while supplies last and all that.

Rehearsals, as I was telling the mystery reporter from the mystery publication, have been great. Lillie has been coming in with a ton of fun exercises and lay-ons. And one of Shaun's colleagues in the gaming industry who does cinematography for video game cut-scenes came out to a rehearsal and gave us all a Cinematography 101 lesson. I'm a self-taught film-maker and I learned a ton in just that hour. For example, I had never known the 180°ree; rule. And now I do. Too bad I'm an actor in this run.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2005

Neutrino Project returns

neutrino2k5poster.jpg

Well, it's been lurking up there on the calendar for a few weeks now, but I finally got the poster done, which seems like a good excuse to formally talk about the show. To wit, the Neutrino Project is back!

If you're a new FuzzyCo reader, the Neutrino Project is a unique film-theater hybrid: we create an entire movie while the audience is watching it. That's cool if you want to take a moment to wrap your head around that -- it blew my mind at first, too. The show was created by Neutrino in NYC and Shaun and I were the first outside group to ask them if we could develop the show in our own city, back in 2002. There are now versions of the show in Seattle and Washington, DC, too.

It's been a year and a half since we've done a run of the Neutrino Project in Chicago, and that run at the Three Penny Cinema was, frankly, a little rough. At the start of the run we overlapped with the Cubs play-offs appearance and at the end of the run we had problems getting paid by the Three Penny management. (Actually, we've never been paid. Fie on them, I say.) So that put us off the show for a while. But over the interval, I went to the Edinburgh Festival with the NY Neutrino, we took the show to Toronto Second City, and teamed up with the Seattle Neutrino Project to do the show at the Phoenix Improv Festival. All of which kept reminding us how much we enjoyed doing the show.

So Shaun has been on the prowl for a venue for a while and recently got us hooked up with the Improv Kitchen (3419 N Clark). The Improv Kitchen does an interesting short-form show with green-screen work, but the big attraction for us was that they have a full video set-up backstage and a big plasma screen at every table. No more setting up a projector and screen minutes before the show!

A big change for this run is that we brought in an outside director. Well, outside as in "outside of Shaun and I" as we've both directed the show in past runs. Lillian Frances has been an actor in previous runs of the Neutrino Project, but is an accomplished and acclaimed director and she and we all leapt at the chance to have her direct the show. Greg Inda, whose been integral to the show from the beginning as our tech manager is now also the assistant director. Looking back, I think we spent a lot of time in past runs on getting the show to work, and now Lillie is really making us all think about how to make the show work well.

There are a few new faces on the cast as well as plenty of old hands (alphabetical by first name, since that's how it comes out of my email program): Adam Devlin-Brown, Alison Mayer, Andrea Swanson, Ben Taylor (musical director), Bob Ladewig, Brian Goodman, Cesar Jaime, Chad Reinhart, Erica Reid, Fuzzy Gerdes, Jacqueline Stone, Jin Kim, Josh Chamberlin, Megan Diemer, Michael Starcevich, Patrick Brennan, Rebecca Hanson, Sean Cusick, and Shaun Himmerick.

The show will play Friday nights in August and September at 9 PM. The Improv Kitchen has a full bar and (of course) kitchen, but there's no two-drink-minimum or anything -- you can just come and watch the show if you want. But the food's really yummy...

Other exciting Neutrino Project news is that we'll be book-ending our Chicago run with trips up to Ann Arbor to Neutrino-alums Dan and Trish Izzo's Improv Inferno. I've been trying to get up there since it opened (and I have a computer to give back to Dan) so it's nice to be forced to go up and do a show.

We're halfway through our rehearsal process now and Shaun and I have been taking a few Behind the Scenes shots. Unfortunately, during the active part of rehearsal, we're usually too busy to take any pictures. So most of our shots are of people sitting on couches watching a TV or listening to Lillie give notes.

notes
Like this.

Jin burger head
Adam hungers for Jin's head-burger

Over Adam's shoulder
Adam films Bob and Erica

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:03 PM | Comments (3)

April 17, 2005

PIF Neutrino Thanks

I got a little flack in the comments on the last PIF entry for leaving someone out of my list of who participated in the Neutrino Video Project here at the Phoenix Improv Festival. So I thought I'd do a complete shout-out:

Actors
Tyler Barkley (Seattle Neutrino Project)
Ali Davis (Baby Wants Candy)
Jose Gonzalez (Galapagos, PIF)
Dan Izzo (Improv Inferno)
Trish Izzo (Improv Inferno)
Pam Man (Seattle Neutrino Project)
Matt Owens (Seattle Neutrino Project)
Ian Schempp (Seattle Neutrino Project)

Cameras
Fuzzy Gerdes (Chicago Neutrino Project)
Shaun Himmerick (Chicago Neutrino Project)
Michael Starcevich (Chicago Neutrino Project)

Runners
Jesse Parent (JoKyR and Jesster)
Joseph Kyle Rogan (JoKyR and Jesster)
Darin Webb (Apollo 12)

In the Booth
Greg Inda (Chicago Neutrino Project)
Mark Jordan (PIF)

Super thanks to each and every one, and to the Phoenix Improv Festival for making it possible.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

PIF

Hello from the party suite of the Phoenix Improv Festival. One of the great things about this festival is the hotel arrangements -- we're all in the same hotel and the festival has a suite with drinks and this computer and a poker table and snacks. The hotel management, I understand, did screw up on the reserved block of rooms, so there are non-festivalians on each side of the suite, so we have to play the "shush" game, where every few minutes as the volume of the room escalates as everyone tries to talk over everyone else, someone will notice that the volume has gotten a little extreme and start a "shhhhhh" that lowers the volume for 10 or 15 seconds.

We did Neutrino AND Bare tonight. The Neutrino Video Project went well -- it was all Chicago shooters (me and Shaun and Starcevich) and a combo cast of Chicago and Seattle and Jose from Phoenix and special guest sit-in Ali "True Porn Clerk Stories" Davis. (And Greg Inda came out from Chicago too, which made me super happy that I could just trust that the in-theater tech would be taken care of and I could run around with my team worry-free.)

It was a little odd to do a Bare show so soon after the NVP -- despite what I just said, I do kind of ramp up the stress for a NVP, jumping around all jittery before the show (there's sooo much that can go wrong technically in this show, especially in a new venue) and then the show is so tight and frantic, so I was pretty wiped after the show. But we did have a full show between the NVP and Bare (Joe Bill's Scramble and Baby Wants Candy) so Shaun and I were able to run back to the hotel to drop off our gear and grab a burger at the BK next door and chill out a little. And then I chugged a Pepsi and a Reeses' Peanut Butter Cup (just one) in the dressing room to get my energy back up right before we went on stage.

We were trying something kinda new tonight -- I won't bore you with our long-form meanderings, but we wanted to focus on a longer scene and it did end up that almost the whole thing took place at a single church service (from the excellent suggestion "the woman at church who sings too loudly") with a cast of about 10 characters. And Shaun got to punch Jesus.

OK, I should get off. I have to teach a workshop or two tomorrow before I fly back to Chicago for 5 hours and then fly off to New York. Busy week.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:38 AM | Comments (1)

April 15, 2005

PIF Plugging

Well, I'm going to be told to "turn off all electronic devices for landing" very shortly, but we'll see if I'm as fast a typist as Steev "Demon Fingers" Gadlin.

I'm on the plane to Phoenix for the Phoenix Improv Festival this weekend. I'll be doing two shows this weekend, both on Saturday, both at the same venue: The Playhouse on the Park Theater on 1850 N. Central Avenue.

Bare, of course, is my two-man improv show that I do with Shaun Himmerick. This will be the third time Shaun and I have been to the PIF, and we've all ready decided that after our experiment in boldness last year, we're going to do a light and crowd-pleasing batch of improv for Phoenix. Anyway, when we do our show at 11 pm, we'll still be coming down off the high of doing a Neutrino Video Project at 8 pm.

Shaun and I produce the Chicago version of the NVP (there are now casts in 4 cities, and I heard a rumor of a fifth the last time I was in NY) and when we found out that a number of the Seattle NVPers were going to be in Phoenix also, we proposed to the PIF organizers that we could put on a Neutrino Video Project. They accepted, and we started the fun work of organizing this very tech-heavy show between two different producers and in a third location (it's the little details -- I'm still not certain how far it is from where our tech booth will be to the projector -- did I bring enough cable?). But I am really excited that we'll be joined by the Izzos, who I haven't seen since they moved up to Ann Arbor to start their own improv venue, the Improv Inferno.

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2005

Neutrino DC

neutrinoissoldout.jpg

Ben Taylor represented Chicago at the Neutrino All-Stars show this weekend in DC and he brought back this sign as a souvenir for me. Congrats, all.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 19, 2005

Doing it up

As I write this, members of all four casts of the Neutrino Video Projects (Chicago, DC, New York, and Seattle) are likely sleeping-in in DC, resting up from last night's performance of the Neutrino All-Stars to do it all again tonight. I wanted to be there, but it had looked like my day job needed me all day Friday. By the time we figured out that it wasn't as crucial a day as we had thought, I couldn't get a plane ticket for any sort of reasonable price. Oh well, it means I get to do the CCC show at The Playground tonight.

We're getting geared up to do something similar in Phoenix next month. Last month when Shaun and I were in Miami performing as Bare at the Miami Improv Festival, we got chatting with Election Show 2004 (whose cast overlaps quite a bit with the Seattle Neutrino Project). "Doing any other festivals this year?" "We're going to Phoenix." "So are we!" "We should do a Neutrino down there!" "We should!" "Let's go stand outside because we're in Miami and it's warm!"

So, we contacted the organizers of the Phoenix Improv Festival and they leapt at the chance to have the critically acclaimed, world-renowned Neutrino Project performed at their festival. Leapt, I tell you.

It's been interesting planning this. Getting ready to do a show this technically complex in a far-off city, with cast and crew members I've never really worked with before, has gotten me to get off my butt and get some things formalized I hadn't before. I made a tech plot that shows what plugs into what in the theater! It's something I've scribbled on countless pieces of scrap paper trying to explain the show to people, but now I've got a shiny PDF with boxes and lines and everything.

It also got me to do the sort of FuzzyCo Media Blitz(tm) that I know how to do and always plan on doing when we go to a festival, but somehow I never quite get around to it. "Oh, the festival organizers will do publicity," I always think. And it's true, and I'm sure the PIF is doing an excellent job with the press. But at some level, press attention is something of a crap-shoot of what happens to catch the eye of what particular editor on a particular day. Like how after Steev went on WGN to promote Don't Spit the Water, the sports anchor was so tickled by the DVDs of Silly Faces* and Silly Dances that he's been using them, including prominent displays of the URL, as intros and outros to his segment for weeks.

So, I bugged April, the PIF's press coordinator, for her Phoenix press contacts. She sent over a list with phone, email, and website contacts -- very 21st Century. I looked up mailing addresses for all of them** on the crap-shoot theory -- if April had already sent them all emails, maybe a physical thing in their hands would be a different stimulus that might get a response.
I sent out 19 envelopes with press kits for both Bare and Neutrino Project in each one, and everybody got an extra goody targeted to their market. Radio stations got an audio CD with Shaun and I doing his "Big Tony, Little Tony" sketch*** and audio clips from three Neutrino scenes. Newspapers got a data CD with high resolution photos of Bare and the Chicago Neutrino Project cast. And TV stations got a DVD of a Neutrino Project show. (I was planning on making a "selected scenes and best-of" DVD, but I decided timeliness was more important, so that got shelved for the moment and I just duplicated an entire show.)

So... tell everyone you know who lives in Arizona. Saturday, April 16, 2005 at The Playhouse on the Park Theater (1850 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ). The Neutrino Project (with Cog) at 8 pm. Bare (with Hemi & The Buzz) at 11 pm. Whee!

*Featuring 60 seconds of *my* silly face.

** Well, almost all -- if you happen to know the mailing address for the Phoenix-area Clear Channel stations, wanna pass that along?

*** Yes, sketch not improv -- I'll grimace at you when you call my improv a "skit," and then happily turn around and exploit that confusion when I'm doing PR. Sue me.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)

November 22, 2004

Neutrino Projects movement in Dramatics Magazine

This month's issue of Dramatics Magazine (the Educational Theatre Associationís magazine for theatre students and teachers) has an excellent article on the entire Neutrino Projects movement, with comments from Kurt in New York and Justin in Seattle, and a big picture of Chicago's Michael, Beth, and Dave.

(via Neutrino)

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2004

Photos from Toronto

Chicago Neutrino Project

Hey, I've put up a gallery of photos of the Chicago Neutrino Project crew in Toronto.

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:00 PM

September 11, 2004

Halfway

Chicago Neutrino Project: The Instant MovieTwo more shows tonight -- 10:30 and midnight. Tabetha and Kerry from Slap Happy sat in last night. Then we partied with Joey. Who will sit in and who will we party with tonight? You'll have to come to the show to find out.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:05 AM

September 10, 2004

Toronto arrival

I'm sitting in Slap Happy's Kerry Griffin's living room, blanking the rest of the tapes for the shows this weekend and watching Rounders on TV. (Hey! John Malkovich is the Russian bad guy!)

I came into town a day early to be a point man in case anything needed doing. Other than the tapes, it doesn't seem like anything needs doing. Oh well. But it did mean I got to see the Second City Toronto mainstage show - "Invasion Free Since 1812" - with Slap Happy's Sandy Jobin-Bevins. And I both worked my way into the improv set and was invited. (It had been recommended to me that sitting in on the set was a good way to promote the show, so I had asked Carlie if that was OK. Sandy evidently didn't know about that and when he saw me after the second act he asked if I'd like to do the set.) It's only my second Second City improv set sit-in, and the other one was a TourCo show in Arlington Heights, so... I was a little nervous. You wanna be cool for the cool kids, you know. But it was fun. I jumped out near the beginning playng a parakeet with my hands. Who became the main character of the scene. After that, it all seems easy.

A bonus feature of watching Rounders is that I've now seen Sandy's new commercial for the Cash for Life lottery 3 times. Sandy and his family! Sandy in a beret! Old Sandy!

Oh, and I don't want to say that Toronto street signs are terrible. But they are. I got lost 5 times trying to get from Second City to Kerry's house.

OK, if you're in Toronto. Or eastern Canada. Or upstate New York. Come see one of the four Chicago Neutrino Project shows this weekend.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:06 AM

September 8, 2004

On the Radio

It looks like the Chicago Neutrino Project's visit to Toronto will be plugged on CBC Toronto's Here and Now program. If you don't already listen to this paragon of radio excellence, I think this week is the time to start, don't you?

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:10 PM

September 5, 2004

Toronto bound

Chicago Neutrino Project: The Instant MovieWe got invited to go up to Toronto to do the Chicago Neutrino Project at Second City's Tim Sims Playhouse. Second City is tieing into the Toronto Film Fest with the opening of their first film production, Dave Thomas' Intern Academy, and what says film tie-in better than instantly making a movie? Nothing, that's what.

We'll be doing four shows over two nights -- Friday, September 10 at 10:00 PM and 11:30 PM and on Saturday, September 11 at 10:30 PM and midnight.

It's all come together on rather short notice, so if you know someone in Toronto, be sure to plug the show to them.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:56 AM

August 20, 2004

Foreign press

"Hey Fuzzy," you say, "I'd love to spend my Friday afternoon reading reviews of shows you're vaguely related to, but aren't actually performing in."

OK, you, you've read my mind...

Washington Times article on the DC Neutrino Video Project: Movie in a Flash

Three Fest magazine reporters do a ride-along with Neutrino - The Instant Movie: Instant gratification (and Matt is a "a big smiley manic grizzly bear")

Fest magazine review of Neutrino - The Instant Movie

Fest magazine interview with Bob Wiltfong, with a nice picture of Bob making one of his funny faces (which he doesn't do in Anchor's Away at all): Have I got news for you

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

August 19, 2004

Neutrino Edinburgh mini-site

Neutrino has added a special Fringe Festival mini-site.

Also, Jen Nails, who is guesting with Neutrino in Edinburgh, got a 4-star review for her solo show Lylice.

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 17, 2004

Kurt from Neutrino answers the BBC's questions

Kurt from Neutrino answers the BBC's commedian questionnaire.

If the Edinburgh fairy could grant your wish, what would your wish for?

That lots of people come see our show! (But I'm sure that's every performer's wish.) My second wish would be that I could become friends with a real dragon who would give me a tour of Scotland and get people to some to see the show by breathing fire over the theatre like a spotlight. But it wouldn't be all touring and promotion with my friendly dragon - there'd also be the small moments I'd treasure like that one time he tried to light my cigarette and burnt my eyebrows off, or the time he told me that his dream was to be an airline attendant. Or just those moments over a cup of tea (his is a large bucket) where our silence speaks volumes. Oh friendly dragon, why won't you call?

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:57 PM

Neutrino is "shock of the new"

The Scotsman covers Neutrino's Instant Movie and another new-every-time show at the Edinburgh Fringe: Shows promise shock of the new

Putting on one show at the Fringe festival can be a torturous and costly experience.

But this year two companies are throwing caution to the wind and endeavouring to put on a new show for every single audience.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

Edinburgh photos

Edinburgh photos: Tron Kirk

I've posted a gallery of photos from my week at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival with Neutrino helping perform their Instant Movie.

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:47 PM | Comments (1)

Another Neutrino in Edinburgh Review

ThreeWeeks in Edinburgh has this short review of The Instant Movie:


Neutrino: the Instant Movie

The advantage of improvisation is that in theory, you always get something new. This American comedy collective improvise films using objects belonging to the audience and volunteers as extras. The actors dash out and film scenes around the Gilded Balloon - outside, by the skateboarders, in the bar and, hilariously, in the toilets downstairs - while runners rush the tapes back to be shown minutes after they've been filmed. The resulting footage is brilliantly funny, made more so by the gawking bystanders. Of course, if they are what they say they are, each show will be completely different. The version I saw made me want to come back tomorrow and the day after that. Hell, and the day after that too.

Gilded Balloon Teviot, 6-30 Aug (not 17, 26), 8:45pm (9:45pm), prices vary, fpp 50

tw rating: 4/5

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Going Home

It's 3:50 and I need to be up in 2 hours to catch my plane home, so for now I'll just say that it's been a blast.

And here's Bob Wiltfong's 5-star review from the Evening News.

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 9, 2004

Oh, this is a review

I'm sorry -- the Scotsman piece I linked to yesterday was a feature. This is a review. A (cough, cough) four-star review.

Itís wild, wonderful stuff, transforming Teviot and its environs into a glorious arty playpen, criss-crossed with stories that shift between comedy, tragedy and voyeurism with nary a by-your-leave. If TV is a drug, it wonít be long before these young Americans have Edinburgh hooked.

(And here's the four-star review of Neutrino member Bob Wiltfong's one-man show.)

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:09 PM | Comments (2)

Hard times, people

Here's the hard life of a festival performer: I was going to go do some shopping today, but I was woken up this morning (using "morning" rather loosely -- it was actually noon) with the Scotsman review feature and the news, "we have a photo shoot at 1 pm. Get showered and let's go."

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:24 AM

Neutrino feature

The Scotsman ("Scotland's National Newspaper") has reviewed a feature on Neutrino (and Bob Wiltfong).

Certainly, from the smallest scraps of collected information, Neutrino manage to create something that while often being quite raw and off-the-cuff, seems scripted and thoroughly composed, consistently hilarious and, surprisingly, frequently moving.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:57 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2004

The days are just packed

Edinburgh Fringe

So much to talk about... and I have to get to sleep. I'm about to fall over and I want to get up early tomorrow to go shopping. And get a copy of the Scotsman. We've heard that we're being reviewed. Whee!

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:19 PM

August 7, 2004

"It's an Instant Movie..."

"It's an Instant Movie. A new, improvised film every night."

I said that about 300 times today, handing out flyers on the Royal Mile. It's a madhouse of groups in costume handing out flyers, street performers performing on the street, and thousands of just plain folks trying to walk somewhere.

I need to go talk a shower and get ready for tonight. But members of Neutrino are keeping a blog over at Chortle...

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:44 AM

August 6, 2004

Happy run-into

Matt Donnelly

I ran into Matt Donnelly at the Gilded Balloon office, which was fortunate because I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to find everyone (a poor way to arrive in a foreign country, I know).

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:03 AM

Fringe Posters

Fringe posters

There are a lot of shows in the Fringe.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:56 AM

I'm in Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

I'm in Edinburgh! I'm tired and loopy! We're doing a show tonight!

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:12 AM

Ramblings from the Road

I'm on the plane to Edinburgh (Scotland!) (well, on the plane to Manchester, then on to Edinburgh) to do shows with Neutrino during their run at the Edinburgh Fringe Fest. Matthew Perry just kissed Bruce Willis' head in The Whole 10 Yards.

I decided the best way to avoid jet lag was to sleep the whole flight. So I drank a beer between gates M9 and M19 before I got on the flight and now a lil' bottle of white wine has got me a lil' tipsy.

I think I have less room on this flight than I did on the road-trip to New York last week. And, of course, that I'm sandwiched between two strangers, rather than up against my girlfriend.

-----

Fitful sleeping, and the end of Walking Tall (the new one with The Rock and Johnny Knoxville) and now I'm in Manchester airport, with a four hour layover until my next flight. They gave me a boarding pass in Chicago for this flight, but no one here seems to know which gate I'm supposed to be at. I'm not stressed -- I'm going to wait until an hour or so before the flight to start asking around again.

The clock in the corner of this laptop says "2:05 am" but I've already set my watch to local time (8:05 am) and I'm following my usual jet lag plan -- set all my clocks immediately to local time and just bull on through the day, ignoring my body's protests.

-----

Well, I was in the completely wrong place. Being in the right place is good for my impressions of Manchester Airport -- the waiting lounge is much nicer than gates 3A-3C waiting area. And I have some local currency and a juice now. Though, being in the wrong place was also good for me -- it was much quieter and it doesn't look like there are any outlets here. But the bathroom is much nicer up here. Life is about compromise and trade-offs, my friends.

Ack! I didn't even think to check until just now. There's wireless up here! I'm gonna email and post like crazy!

Ah crap. It's not free.

So, back to generalizing -- American airports want to get you to the gate as soon as possible, to get you on the plane as early as possible, to get the plane out on time. Manchester (I'm not going to generalize to other UK airports) seems to want to corral you in a central waiting lounge until 30 minutes before the flight is scheduled to depart. American airlines want to be putting you on the plane 30 minutes before departure. And just now my little sign has lit up to tell me to "Go to Gate."

Man, and the security. I had to show my boarding pass and have my picture taken to get into the lounge and then they checked it on the way out.

OK, I'm on the little Buddy-Holly-killer to go up to Edinburgh. Almost there!

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:59 AM | Comments (2)

July 14, 2004

Neutrino Scotland tickets available

You can now purchase tickets online for the Neutrino shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I'll be doing the August 6-10 shows. Just so you know. When you're buying your tickets.

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:35 PM | Comments (0)

April 30, 2004

Neutrino Project 30,000 @ CIF

My work will be on the CIF mainstage tonight, in the form of the intro video. The only reason I have time to post this is because I'm rendering a version of video right now. (Shaun and I did a brilliant all-over-the-city shot on Wednesday night, but right at the end of it, the marquee sign at the Atheneum was turned off. Makes Fuzzy grumpy.)

But your first chance during the festival to see my work for real is Monday night at 7 pm. Neutrino Project 30,000 will be performing as part of "Video Night" in the Chicago Cultural Center's Claudia Cassidy Theatre (78 E. Randolph Street). The show, I might add, is free. Free! This show sold out! All the time! And you can see it for free!

Nick Green says in this week's Chicago Reader: "This show offers the chance to see something you've never seen before assembled with unrestrained enthusiasm."

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:14 PM | Comments (1)

February 12, 2004

Just in case you're gonna be in Aspen...

[Neutrino]Neutrino, the New York group that created the Neutrino Video Projects (a version of which FuzzyCo performs in Chicago as Neutrino Project 30,000) will be appearing at the HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen in March. I've mentioned this before, but I've just been informed of their show times:

In Salon 2 of the Grand Ballroom at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, CO

Wednesday, March 3, 9:00 pm
Thursday, March 4, 8:30 pm
Friday, March 5, 4:30 pm

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:29 PM

January 19, 2004

Neutrino in Aspen

I'm very proud to relate that our friends Neutrino will be taking the Neutrino Video Projects to the HBO's US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen this March.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:22 PM

December 31, 2003

Top 5

Nina Metz' Top 5You can't stop the beat, and we can't stop getting good press. For a show that's not even running anymore. Imagine what it'd be like if we were actually doing the show. I suppose the daily ticker-tape parades would get tiring. What with all the ticker-tape and all. Can you tell I was at work wrasslin' with a moody server until 3:30 am last night?

The point? Newcity's last issue of the year (or technically their first of 2004, according to the cover date, though in some freak of time travel I already have this missive from the future in my hands) is their Top 5s of 2003. And on the list of Nina Metz' Top 5 Innovative Productions? The Neutrino Project (FuzzyCo) (with a mysterious period after FuzzyCo. It's not an abbreviation for Fuzzy Company, folks. We're not the band "Adult.") Anyway, yay.

Happy new year, y'all.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:55 AM

December 5, 2003

Neutrino on Next Big Thing

Neutrino, the New York group that we got the idea for the Neutrino Project from, will be on NPR's The Next Big Thing this weekend.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:34 PM

November 18, 2003

Post-mortem

We're done!

We survived an 8 week run of Neutrino Project 30,000 at the 3 Penny Cinema. This last show was not devoid of the sort of last-minute crises that have plagued this production -- two weeks ago our tape deck had a severe conflict with Andy Eninger's camera such that the image was very jittery and there was no sound and last week the iBook that I use to do the credits and inter-tape animations had a fatal harddrive crash an hour before the show -- Ben Taylor called me a few hours before the show and said he was too sick to come to the show. Not insurmountable -- we've done the show without a musician plenty of times. It just falls into the category of "one more thing." Fortunately, Todd, the other half of the Cinema 2.0 band, was able to fill-in with his acoustic guitar and Casio Rap-man.

Giant thanks to the 41(!) people who helped out with the show during this run.

Now I just get to archive all the shows for the cast and crew.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:29 PM

November 11, 2003

Lots of theater

This last weekend was chock-full of theater, most of it pretty good.

On Friday night, KW and I went to check out "Job Opportunity." It's a play that takes place in an actual car being driven around Chicago -- at most 4 people, sitting in the back seat, can see each performance. I found out it about from a Tribune review where the Neutrino Project was name-checked. I'm happy to report that it's great. We were the whole audience (which was nice, because I can imagine the back seat would be crowded with 4 people) and we were quickly immersed in the efforts of two friends to deliver a mysterious package. The use of actual Chicago (in fact, mostly my neighborhood) adds quite a bit to an already-good play. (The Tribune review doesn't seem to be online, for some reason, so check out the Reader listing.)

Saturday afternoon, we went with a high-school friend of KW's and his wife to see Naked Eye's "Nickel and Dimed" (a play based on the book by Barbara Ehrenreich). We had a nice pizza lunch at Lou Malnati's, I had really enjoyed Naked Eye's "The Idiot Box," and I'd heard good things about the book, so I was ready to enjoy an afternoon of theater. Sadly, I was disappointed. The production was well-produced and the cast was all very capable, but I found the play preachy and clumsy, and I found the character of Barbara very unlikable (KW had read the book and said that didn't reflect the voice of the author).

So, then I was off from criticizing the work of others to seeing if I could produce some worthwhile theater of my own.

Let's just start with the fact that Saturday's Neutrino Project 30,000 was the smoothest setup we've had so far. The 3 Penny schedules us as though we were a movie, so we have a very short amount of time after the previous movie lets out to blow into the theater and get our entire, complicated technical setup going. Oh, and my iBook, which does the credits for the show, had a harddrive crash about an hour and a half before the show. Did I panic? Nope, we just grabbed a small white board on the way out of the house and did the credits the way the New York Neutrino does.

On top of that, the actual show was great. Todd Leibov joined Ben to create the live score -- Todd and Ben have done all the Cinema 2.0 shows together, which is a similar enterprise for them, so they were able to really attack the score. This was Ben's 9th Neutrino Project as musical director, so he was getting pretty agressive with the sampler -- sampling lines of dialogue and layering them over the scenes and transitions.

I was a runner for the show. I was theoretically an actor for this run, but in the end I'll only have done 4 shows on-screen. I've run twice (once planned, once to fill an emergency need) and shot twice (same thing). I think I'd love to be in the Neutrino Project as an actor if someone else was producing it -- I end up running around until the last second and it is tricky to switch gears into the mindset to be the best improvisor I can be.

After NP30K, I stayed to help transition the equipment for "Dr. Obvious". My friend Kate Parker is producing a new show at the 3 Penny right after NP30K, and she's renting a bunch of my equipment to do her show. "Dr. Obvious" is inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000. Which is to say, the show features 3 performers on microphones talking over a movie (in this run, Schwarzenegger's The Running Man). Which is to say, it's an exact rip-off of MST3K.

Given that, it's a pretty good rip-off. Kate, Dave Colan, and Bob Ladewig are all quick and clever and they've come up with a fun show. I saw it at a tech rehearsal earlier last week and I was quite amused.

I am sure that the show will inspire some marketplace-confusion between Dr. Obvious and Cinema 2.0 (unless I'm flattering myself that anyone knows about either of our shows). Here's your quick guide to the two shows:

Cinema 2.0:


Dr. Obvious:

So anyway, after I helped get the gear set up, I headed over to WNEP to catch opening night of a new run of Angry White Guy Reads the Paper. I didn't make it, but there's a plug, anyway.

I did make it to WNEP in time for Sickest Stories. For a change, I had nothing to executive produce about the show -- I wasn't in it, I didn't have to do tech, I just hung out at the back of the theater and watched. Dee-lightful.

And that was the weekend -- Sunday I had an abortive computer-fixing appointment, so I spent a good chunk of the day playing Morrowind. I... no, I don't think I'm going to try and make the argument that that's theater.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:07 PM

November 7, 2003

Two weeks left

Two weeks left

There are only two weeks left in our run of Neutrino Project 30,000. For you, this means there are only two more chances to see this critically acclaimed show. For me, it means only two more weeks of stress and worry and concern. I love doing this show, but I'm really looking forward to not doing it anymore.

(Make your own church sign)

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:19 PM

November 4, 2003

Name Checked

In last Friday's Tribune review of "Job Opportunity" (a play that takes place in a car driving around the city) Chris Jones writes:

"Unlike most similar projects, 'Job Opportunity' has the effect of turning the whole city into a kind of creative backdrop. In that way, it's reminiscent of the fabulous 'Neutrino Project' (which just started a welcome new run at the Threepenny Theatre), a show wherein the actors improvise and then exhibit an entire movie, all in the space of an hour or so."

I'm excited that we're a standard against other projects are being compared. And we're fabulous! And I'm heart-broken that Mr. Jones thinks we 'just started' our run.

You have two more chances to see this fabulous, critically-acclaimed show.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:53 PM

October 29, 2003

Special Guests

Schadenfreude

You love their radio show. You've been to all their live shows. Now, thrill to Schadenfreude on the big screen as Chicago's own WackyFunsters(tm) join Neutrino Project 30,000 for one night only -- Saturday, November 1 at 9:00 pm.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:11 PM

October 13, 2003

"Hot Dog"

Saturday night was the 3rd night of our new Neutrino Project (30,000!) run, and the 3rd week in a row that we were up against a Cubs playoff game. So... we once again had a light audience. It seems likely the Cubs will be playing Game 1 of the World Series on Saturday night. If you care nothing about baseball, this may be a great week to come see the show.

Bassprov's Joe Bill sat in with us and played a lascivious bartender to great effect. Joe had done the Neutrino Video Project at the Toronto Improv Festival, so he was able to jump in with no prep, which was great since we didn't give him any.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:54 PM

October 6, 2003

"Fellowship of Nothingness"

HCBB
HCBB and their pirate leader. The ATM at the Osco next to the 3 Penny was broken, so we were all buying little items to get cash back with our purchase. I bought a juice. Sean bought an eye-patch. Sean is much cooler than I.

Marquee
Neutrino going up on the marquee.

Marquee
835? Whatever.

Danger!
Adam shooting Sean and Jen in the middle of Lincoln Ave.

Set up at the 3 Penny went a lot faster this week, because I spent a couple hours at home on Saturday afternoon organizing and labeling cables, making sure I only had the gear I needed, etc. It was good that it all went faster, because the 3 Penny had scheduled an even tighter interval between our show and the earlier movie than the week before. And Shaun was out of town, which mainly affected my pre-show time in that I had to answer the question "Where's Shaun?" 20 different times for each cast and crew member. Special thanks to the HCBB crew for stringing cables like mad.

We also had camera person confusions (Andy Eninger's shooting, right? Well, he is, except he hasn't slept since GayCo got back from LA. But Starcevich is out town. Oh, no he's not.) and a runner no-show. But we had some great last-minute help from Rachel Michalski and Phillip Mottaz, who came just to see the show and ended up teching and running, respectively. We also had some great (planned) sit-ins: Schadenfreude's Adam Witt on camera, Megan Kellie and Jen Ellison on camera, and Paul Miller joined Ben to create the score. And I gave up my on-screen spot to run.

The audience was, again, a little small (damn you, Chicago Cubs, for winning so much*) but enthusiastic. David Shepard is in town to do a workshop on his video improvisation techniques, and he came and saw the show.

* The rumor around town is that a Long-Running and Popular Show had 7 people in their 300 seat theater on Friday night. We had quadruple that, so I don't feel so bad.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:50 PM | Comments (1)

October 3, 2003

Only 7 more chances!

OK, that doesn't have a lot of urgency, I realize. But maybe this delightful article in today's Chicago Sun-Times will change your mind. [I'm not actually Australian -- I lived there for 3 years in the '80s, but that's all. The rest is true. Even Shaun's sentence, "It's amazing to movie and improv people." That's the most true of all.]

This week is your only chance to hear trumpet player Paul Miller join Ben Taylor to create a live improvised score for the movie.

Saturday, 8:30 pm at the 3 Penny Cinema, 2424 N. Lincoln.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:05 PM | Comments (1)

October 1, 2003

War Stories

There's a piece on "wacky things we've encounted doing the Neutrino Project" in this week's New City. The "gig up in Toronto" was, of course, Neutrino (NY) at the Toronto Improv Fest. This is the piece that I thought was going to run in the RedEye and then missed the day I thought it was out.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:56 PM

September 30, 2003

"The Audience"

Cinema 1 - Neutrino Project 30,000So we opened Neutrino Project 30,000 at the 3 Penny Cinema on Saturday night. Opening night was a little rocky from a technical perspective. We were in a different theater than we had been planning on and my cable bag was a mess and we plugged the projector into an outlet that turned out to be controlled by the house-lights switch, so when Shaun turned off the house-lights as he left the theater, the projector went out, too. Fortunately, Greg kept his head and figured out the problem.

It's really great to see our freshly-made movie up on the big screen. We have, however, learned some things about movie theaters. They don't, for example, have a back stage. Nor is the sound system really designed to have anything plugged into it.

I'll report that I felt great about my Neutrino Project acting debut. I just counted up and realized that I've been on the Neutrino screen three times before (twice here and once in NY) but somehow this felt like a beginning -- being an actor for the whole run and all. Becky Eldridge and I did a fairly grounded set of scenes about a couple on their fourth date.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:34 PM | Comments (1)

September 26, 2003

Ted!?

Dave Colan says that someone told him that a short we made for the Fast Forward Film Festival, Ted McGillicutty, Man of Action, was shown at their "The Producers" best-of showing. If true, yay!

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:39 PM

Not the one but the other

I grabbed a Red Eye on my way to my root canal this morning, expecting to find a short piece about Neutrino Project 30,000*. Instead, Cinema 2.0 was listed in the "bestbets" section. I love all my theatrical children the same, so I'm very happy. It was just... unexpected.

(I'm really trying to do my best to not say, "but it's not really like Mystery Science Theater so much-- we make up a whole new story." I think I need to just shut up and take a compliment and a little free publicity. Also, I never listed Nancy Drew in the press release, so Laura Baginski must have read this page to discover that piece of information. So she might be reading this. And I certainly don't want her to think I don't like the blurb. I'm tickled pink. I understand the value of such a comparison, especially in such a short piece. I just like to use the space available to me in this, my own forum, to try and explain the subtleties of my projects. And now I'm thinking that to the average person, a simple "it's like MST3K" might get them into the theater, where my lengthy, whiny nitpicking about exactly what the show is like might not. Hmm.)

Oh, and if you're worried about sitting through the whole movie, Nancy Drew is just 65 minutes long.

So, here's your weekend plans: tonight you're on your own. Sorry, I can't hold your hand all the time. Tomorrow night, Neutrino Project 30,000 at 8:30 pm at the 3 Penny (have I mentioned yet that the 3 Penny has a fully licensed bar? They do.), go have a drink some where, then wander up Halsted to WNEP for Cinema 2.0 at midnight (have I mentioned that WNEP is BYOB? They are.). See you there!

*Update: I'm an idiot. I was very clearly told that NP30K would be in the RedEye on Thursday. So now I'm looking for yesterday's RedEye. Oops.

** Double update: I've now been told that the piece was not in the RedEye at all, anyway.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:44 AM | Comments (1)

September 24, 2003

Best use of a video camera

Best of Chicago!New City's annual "Best of Chicago" edition came out today and The Neutrino Project was the first item in the Culture section with the heading "Best use of a video camera". Yay!

[nit-pick in brackets]

"The most ingenious idea to hit the camcorder craze is surely The Neutrino Project, that guerilla improv-film hybrid organized by Fuzzy Gerdes [and Shaun Himmerick]. Based on a single audience suggestion, director Gerdes [Shaun's the director now], four different teams of camera crews and a slew of actors race out into the night and create a one-hour film, on the spot. It's a concept so winning (and seemingly obvious), it's kind of amazing no one thought of it earlier. Gerdes and company are back at it again this month at the Three Penny Cinema, launching an 8-week run of "Neutrino Project 30,000" a bigger and better version that features a live score improvised by musician Ben Taylor."

[And I understand it's a short paragraph, but the implication is that we came up with this "seemingly obvious" idea, and of course that was Neutrino.]

Anyway, here is a picture of our poster up at the Three Penny:
Neutrino Project poster

and the cast getting ready to watch themselves at our last rehearsal:
Neutrino Project cast

and Greg Inda and Ben Taylor rehearsing being technical:
Neutrino Project cast

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:43 PM

September 23, 2003

Busy busy

Bleh. It's one of those weeks where I need to be alert and productive alllll week, or things are going to fall over. I've got two shows opening this week, and projects left over from the summer are stacking up like cordwood. Really, I shouldn't even be typing this right now -- I should be working on a spinning N for Neutrino Project 30,000. Or measuring video cables to make sure I have 60'. Or changing the voice mail at home to be the reservation line for NP30K.

Me and my technical panicking are really the only things left to worry about with these shows. The cast for Cinema 2.0 is the exact same cast as the Playground run, so they got right back up to speed. And the cast for NP30K, which as usual contains a mix of seasoned hands and new folks, just keep getting better and better. We had a rehearsal last night where we ran two full shows. The first one we didn't even watch -- we just rewound the tapes when we were done and shot the next show over that. That was very odd -- it was even more ephemeral than regular improv, since Greg and Ben are the only people in the world who know what that movie looked like.

For myself, I think I've got the hang of this whole "acting on camera" thing. In last night's rehearsal I only did 7 or 8 things that I would have yelled at myself about if I was the director. Self-promo note (not that promo-ing the show isn't already a self-promo, so I suppose this is a self-self-promo note): If you really miss my camera work, be sure to come see the October 25 show, as I'll be on camera again that night. And if you're coming to NP30K just to see me, don't come November 8, because I'll be a runner that night. But otherwise, it's all Fuzzy all the time the rest of the run.

OK, last thing: check out The Depaulia for our ad, and Friday's Red Eye and Sunday's Sun-Times for pieces about the show.

Posted by Fuzzy at 8:01 PM

September 8, 2003

PR!

Jackie Stone and Brian Goodman

So last Monday Aaron Gang came to Neutrino Project rehearsal and took some new publicity shots for us. We ended up doing all of the shots in Ginger's Ale House, right next door to our rehearsal space. For better or for worse, the Neutrino Project Way is "ask at the last minute." I know it means we've been able to shoot some places we wouldn't have been able to if we had asked ahead of time (Burger King, Taco Bell) but it has meant we couldn't shoot other places that we might have been able to if we explained things better. None of this really applies to Ginger's -- except that we breezed in, got quick permission from the bartender, and then shot in their party room. I just got nervous when we were loud and such. But then, I get nervous a lot, anyway.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:41 PM

August 26, 2003

Cranking back up

We started rehearsals last night for a tweaked "Neutrino Project 30,000". We're changing several about the show other than just the name:

Rehearsal was fine. We've already burned one real-world location (they won't let us back in that laundromat any more) which is sort of an occupational hazard of the show -- we try not to be jerks, but some people get freaked out by the combination of our antics in character and the cameras. Fortunately, it's just near our rehearsal location, not the 3 Penny.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:48 PM | Comments (2)

July 1, 2003

"The Movie"

The last (as in, second) show of our mini-run at Lakeshore Theater went fine. We had about the same number of people at the show (60 or so). Ben was joined by keyboardist Pete Prezzano on music -- again everyone noticed how much it added to have a live score. And Don Hall jumped in at the last minute to VJ the show and he only screwed one thing up, which is pretty good.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:15 AM

June 27, 2003

4 reasons ...

... why you should come see The Neutrino Project tomorrow at the Lakeshore Theater:

1. The Lakeshore has been beautifully renovated and it's nice to just sit around and look at the space (until we turn the lights out to do the show).

2. Ben Taylor will be joined by Pete Prezzano this week to help create a live score. I've been grooving to some Ben & Pete jams all day, so I can't wait to hear what they come up with for the show.

3. It might be your last chance. Sure, we'd like to do the show again, but we never know.

4. I'll miss you if you're not there.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:48 PM

June 23, 2003

Opening night! - "Narcolepsy"

FuzzyCo at Lakeshore Theater All told, everything went very, very well for our first show at Lakeshore Theater.

The dimensions of the theater and the constraints of our projector meant that we had to use rear-projection. Which we had never done before. So we arranged for a rental screen and crossed our fingers. We formulated a series of back up plans, but fortunately didn't have to use any of them because the projection looked great.

Ben Taylor A huge leap forward for this show was the addition of Ben Taylor as musical director. Ben was half of the band for Cinema 2.0, and just as I found with that show, that music fills out a movie enormously, the same was true with The Neutrino Project. Ben played bass, drum machine, effects box, and iPod and everyone said the music was great. (I had set up a VCR to tape the show, but forgot to press record before I left the theater. I had Megan do it when I remembered, but we only got the last 20 minutes of the show. That 20 minutes sounded great, so I trust that the rest was great, too.)

Fuzzy and Shaun and Emo Phillips The show was rather good, too. The suggestion was "Narcolepsy" and we had the world's worst cop duo, a narcoleptic date that ended in an accidental death, a very over-protective friend, and a dream sequence.

The only down-side to the whole night was that there were only 62 people in the audience, our smallest audience yet. We didn't have a lot of time to do advance PR, but it was still a little disappointing, especially in a 330-seat theater. One of those sixty-two, though, was Emo Philips. Evidently, he liked the show. Emo is going to be performing with our friends Bassprov on Wednesday at WNEP.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:58 PM | Comments (3)

June 20, 2003

Mighty Mango-go

Man, if 540% RDA Vitamin C doesn't do something for this lingering ick I've got, what will?

So we're doing The Neutrino Project this weekend and next. The two-week run is a bit of awkward timing (we're opening! we're closing!), but between all the Neutrino cast members getting married this summer and The Science Project and Bare's out-of-town trips, these two weeks were the only two weekends we could do before September. And we didn't want the opportunity to perform at such a large and beautiful space to slip out of our hands. Even if it means killing ourselves to make it happen.

Or killing each other. Shaun and I have been at each other's throats since before Omaha. I even know I'm doing it, and I can't stop myself from snapping at him over the most trival things. (I yelled at him about a napkin at the Vidiocy showing this Tuesday. A napkin that he was giving me as I had requested. The nerve.)

Anyway, speaking of Vidiocy, Cesar and Adam's Vidiocy entries both made it into the semi-finals and Adam's took 3rd place, so yay! for the Neutrino folks. We'll be showing their entries at the Neutrino Project show. (Not-too-surprisingly, Shaun's entry that we made in 2 1/2 hours the night it was due, didn't make the cut.)

And speaking of making the cut, Ben Taylor, who was Musical Director for Cinema 2.0 and did such a great job on that show is joining The Neutrino Project with the same title. Ben will be DJing and performing live music to create an improvised score for the improvised movie.

And speaking of the Lakeshore Theater (work with me, here), you should know that they finally got their liquor license and will be serving. Booze, that is. Also, the Lakeshore has 330 seats and has been very nicely renovated, which is cool given its long history in the neighborhood. And speaking of 330 seats -- if you ever had trouble seeing our early runs because we kept selling out, well... this is your chance (not that I'm saying we can't sell out that many seats, I'm just being realistic).

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 6, 2003

Two Neutrino Project Shows

We have just confirmed a booking to do two performances of the Neutrino Project on two Saturdays, June 21 & 28, at 8 pm at the Lakeshore Theater, 3175 N Broadway. It's a gorgeous 300-seat theater, so please help us fill it.

Tickets are $15 and can be purchased from the box office at (773) 472-3492 or through tickets.com.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:46 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2003

Snip snip

I feel a bit like Kevin Costner in the Big Chill (as in, he's not in there). Nina Metz wrote a very nice article that was in the Tribune yesterday about the Fast Forward Film Fest and similar events. I answered an extensive email interview for her for the article, but all my comments that she put in the article got snip-snipped by her editor. She did plug the combo Neutrino show in a side bar, though.

Speaking of that show, it was a hoot. The 7 pm show was great, with both groups doing fine work. For the 9 pm show we abandoned our usual narrative forms, mixed the actors and crews up between cities, and produced 21 distinct short films. People did lots of keeer-aze and experimental stuff -- from incredible camera work from Adam Devlin-Brown to people just getting naked. Oh, and I got a tattoo. In the show.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)

May 9, 2003

Critic's Choice

Things are heating up as we move towards the Chicago Improv Festival. I've been spending all my time editing video for a play called Versailles that opens on Monday. And I've been spending all my time getting ready for doing The Neutrino Project at the CIF on Thursday. Which is 2 x "all my time". Oh, and we got the MSI gig. And Bare will be up at the CIF on Friday. Anything else?

Oh yeah, The Neutrino Project/Neutrino Video Projects is a Critic's Choice in this week's Chicago Reader.

We had a Neutrino Project rehearsal this week. We spent the first hour watching a great (and hilarious, but great nonetheless) video, Michael Caine on Acting in Film. We devised a great drinking game where you do a shot every time Michael Caine says, "Here, let me sit there and show you."

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:21 PM

April 4, 2003

Neutrino Project Updates

This last weekend I was in New York visiting a friend and I was going to go to see the Neutrino Video Project and I really, really intended to just watch it. I didn't even tell them I was coming, I just showed up at the theater. But then their celebrity guest for the week fell through and they asked if I wanted to jump in and I couldn't resist and I said yes. I felt weird about my performance, and I haven't seen the show yet, but a reliable source who has tells me that it was the "best ever." Also, I walked all the way around Central Park. Oh, not as part of the show, I just thought I'd mention it.

People (well, this one guy, anyway) are always asking me, "When are you going to do the Neutrino Project again?" Thursday, May 15, for sure, as part of the Chicago Improv Festival. And since we don't really need a stage, just somewhere to put the screen that people can see it, we've been looking at non-theater venues like bars and real movie theaters and so on, but nothing has panned out so far.

And, this is exciting, we've made it past the first round of a selection process to be part of a performance series at the Museum of Science and Industry this summer. They'd like the performances to be 15-minutes, so we've got to come up with something that's Neutrino Project-y, but really, really fast.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:49 AM | Comments (2)

March 3, 2003

"Pez"

Well, we closed the Neutrino Project, but this time for good (for now). Yay! So now I'm down to, like, three projects. What will I do with all my copious free time?

Closing night was marked, for me, by sudden last-minute panic. At 7:50, we were down an actor (someone just not-showing-up) and a runner (via poor planning on my part). We pulled Jackie Stone-Kulhan out of the audience (under my mistaken impression that this was the second time she had seen the show) and did some hurried and confused reorganization of the teams to cover the lack of a runner. Then at 7:55, just after we had everything covered, the missing actor showed up and Lance, who wasn't scheduled to be there, arrived to lend a hand. So we were extra covered. Yay!

So then as I playing a short for the audience before we started the actual show (a rehearsal set from Seattle with Shaun and Kevin Mullaney making out) Lance appeared at my side to ask if I had an extra charged battery, because one of the camera guys had discovered that his battery was dead. Unusually for me, I just froze. I knew I had an extra battery, but I couldn't think where it was or how to go about remembering where it was or how to get it. It only lasted 30 seconds or so, but it was a moment of blind panic. Eek.

So then we got the suggestion of "Pez" and started the show and things went very well. My crew (Andrea, Sean, and Tim) had a great set of scenes about life change and discovering new love. Michael Starcevich's team did a "meta" set where they were playing actors in a Neutrino Project-like project. One of the audience objects that team 4 borrowed (have I mentioned that? Team 4, who stay in the theater to vamp while we're waiting for the first tape to arrive, borrows objects from the audience that then show up in their scenes) was a woman's divorce papers(!). So Shaun and Elizabeth were a newly divorced couple who got drunk on (also audience borrowed) champagne and rekindled their romance. And our other guest star, international heart-throb Alex Fendrich, had to choose between Jens (Jen Ellison and Jennifer Shepard).

After the show, I got a chance to talk to Crazy Monkeys alums Elliott and Brandon who surprised me by showing up out of the blue. Shaun and I (and Liz and Ben Taylor) started the Crazy Monkeys back in the day, and it's always cool to see old Monkeys.

So... we're done. Until May at least. Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows, and thanks to everyone (31 people, by my last count) who acted and cameraed and ran and teched for the shows.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:14 PM | Comments (2)

February 28, 2003

Closing Night

Tonight is closing night for The Neutrino Project. Again.

This time, however, I can assure you that we won't be making any last-minute extension announcements. We had a few offers for possible extensions, but all of them involved hopping around different nights and times, week after week. That, we easily decided, was too much work for us and for the audience to try and find us.

The Neutrino Project, as well as Neutrino (the original NYC group) has been accepted to the Chicago Improv Festival, so we'll be back in May, if not before.

And, frankly, I'm ready for a break from TNP. I was up until 3 am last night capturing last week's show and then blanking the tapes, packing up the gear, etc. And I've got a bunch of work to do for Cinema 2.0. And I really need to do the dishes. (Or maybe it's Shaun's turn...)

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:16 PM

February 24, 2003

"Publication"

None of us need any extra stress in our lives, and I think I need less (extra) stress than you. Unless you're Hans Blix or something. Hi, Hans!

So I wasn't super happy to receive a call at 5:00 pm on Friday from one of the Neutrino Project's camera guys saying that he was stuck at work and wouldn't be able to come to the show. Worse, he supplies one of the video players we need to do the show. Good news: he was happy to let us use his camera and player. Bad news: his camera was in his car and his player was at home.

There was nothing for it but to pack up, run over to his office, pick up his house keys and car park claim ticket, head for his car, realize I hadn't actually taken the keys, go back to his office and get the keys, realize that it was over a mile from his office to where his car was parked (how does he get from the car park to work?), take a cab to the parking lot, get the camera, take a cab to his house, get the player, and take a cab to the ImprovOlympic.

In the end (and after $35 in cabs) I was only 5 minutes late for call, and Scott McNulty stepped up again to ably run camera.

The suggestion was "Publish" "Publication," which for some reason led to a very violent show. Lillie egged Phillip into a fight with Sean. Lance got his head shaved (thanks to Orbit Salon, one of our locations) which made him "feel like a skinhead" and lash out at Shaun and later Ben. (In the first scene, one of Orbit's stylists was gently trimming Lance's hair. When I popped the tape out so Jennifer could run it to the theater, Lance said "OK, let's do it -- shave it all off". And so she did.)

When we decided that Lance would hit Shaun in the salon, we quickly rehearsed the punch so it could look (semi-)realistic but be (reasonably-)safe. Shaun and Lance worked out two lines of dailogue that would lead up to the punch and let Shaun get ready for it. When I said "action," Lance popped Shaun. Bloodlust, indeed. Later, when Lance hit Ben, Ben hurt his elbow when he fell down, so we're all pretty scared of Lance now.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:21 PM

Performink article

The Neutrino Project and our entry into the Fast Forward Film Festival are included in an article in Performink about the intersection of theatre and film.

In a first for me, some of the quotes Christina used are straight from this journal. That's cool, under the any-publicity-is-good-publicity rule, but a little scary, too, given the number of times I talk about freaking out, my uncertainties about directing, etc. Next entry -- more freaking out!

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:55 AM

February 19, 2003

Pix from Seattle

I've posted some pictures from our trip to Seattle last weekend.

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:09 PM

February 17, 2003

Seattle...

Saturday we rocked, again. Can I say that? I just did.

Also, Neutrino rocked, especially for the rag-tag group it was (1/2 NY Neutrino, 1/4 FuzzyCo, 1/4 WIT). The only problem with the NVP was that Shaun's scene had him jumping around in a dumpster in the rain in a t-shirt, and it gave him an awful cold. I hope Bob, his scene partner in the dumpster, is OK.

Oh, and I guess all the NY folks are stuck in Seattle because of the snow in NY. Strength, NY friends.

Pictures up soon. Neutrino has a new web site. Love to all Seattle.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:24 PM

February 15, 2003

Seattle Day Two

Friday was a very, very busy day. The two hour time difference from Chicago means that we get tired faster in the evening, but have trouble sleeping-in. So we got up and went out with four of the Neutrino folks to the Pike Place Fish Market. While I was off getting a coffee, the others decided they didn't want to wait for the fish sellers to throw fish in the normal course of their day, so they paid a guy $5 to throw a fish at Bob. Evidently, they think it was money well spent.

After a hearty fish-laden breakfast, we went off via the monorail to the Space Needle. At the foot of the Space Needle is "Fun Forest" -- an arcade and low-rent amusement park. We played Chicago vs. New York lasertag (Kurt had the highest individual score, but Chicago ruled on team score) and rode the little Ferris wheel and put Rachel on the carrosel and made fun of her.


Chicago vs New York Lasertag

Then we went over to the Experience Music Project and pretended to be a band and jammed in a jam room and danced in the disco exhibit.


Bare in the reflection of the EMP

And then, oh yeah, why are we in Seattle in the first place? Oh yeah, the shows. We had a Neutrino tech rehearsal and I was glad to see that it wasn't just me who starts a tech rehearsal by sending someone out to Radio Shack to buy all the cables I left at home.

The shows were good again, with the stand-outs being Jet City's Lost Folio (an improvised Shakespeare play) and (cough, cough, false modesy) Bare.

Yeah, we rocked. We decided to take off from that erroneous listing that said we did vaudville acts and we started the show with me juggling and Shaun eating fire. The eating fire went fine, but then Shaun escalated to breathing (technically, blowing) fire. We had forgotten to pick up some liquor during the day, so Shaun got the Rumpleminze for his fire tricks from a local bar and it's our suspicion that they watered down their liquor, because when Shaun went to breathe fire, he ended up just covering the stage with a fine mist of Rumpleminze, which made the floor sticky for the whole show. (We tried to find a mop in the intermission, but failed, and Uncle Elaine ended up doing a very physical show where they rolled around in our Rumpleminze mess a lot. Sorry.)

And the suggestion we got was "blast," which was perfect for our mood and led us into a bizarre world of Mexican stand-offs and Marlon Brando disguises and Miss Arkansas. ("My speech topic was that there's nothing anyone can't not do.")

Today's about to start off with more Neutrino rehearsal and we've got another show tonight. S-the-D, B.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:06 PM | Comments (1)

February 14, 2003

Hello from Seattle

Hello from Seattle! Shaun and I are here to do two Bare shows (Friday and Saturday at 10 pm) and sit in with the New York Neutrino. Tonight was all Seattle groups, and we saw some fine improv indeed.

Tomorrow the Chicago Neutrino Project will happen for the first time without Shaun or I. I'm sure they'll be fine, but we're both control freaks, so it was hard for us to leave. We both left lots of instructions that I hope the crew will just ignore and just do the show they know full well how to do.

Tomorrow morning we're off to see the market where they throw the fish.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:56 AM

February 10, 2003

Oh, and Seattle

And this week I have to get everything all straight by Wednesday again, because Shaun and I are flying to Seattle on Thursday. We'll be sitting in with the New york Neutrino, which is very exciting, but as a control freak it's very disconcerting to be leaving the show here.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

"Peppermint Ice Cream"

It's been a busy Neutrino Project week, a busy AYUMDS week, and a busy Bare week. And the ol' personal life has been an unbloggable rollercoaster. So... get off my case, Don, for the lack of updates.

We had a tech rehearsal at IO on Wednesday. The two big changes were sound and where Greg sat.

Everyone we spoke to who had done a show in the Del Close Theater said "get your own sound." I guess the speakers cut out a lot and such. We didn't want to risk it, so Shaun and I went down to Guitar Center and bought a Fender PD-250. Which brings our total expenditures for this show to somewhere around a half-a-jillion dollars. It's all equipment we can use for this and future shows, but still. But, I can't wait until we get a golf cart to mount our PD-250 on.

We also had to figure out where to stick Greg and all the gear. The lightbooth at IO is pretty small, and the runners would either have to run across the picture or come in the back door, which is currently broken. So, we stuck Greg just to the right of the stage. I'm not sure if having him visible adds to or detracts from the show. But that's what we're stuck with.

The tech rehearsal was also an opportunity to break in a few new folks. Because the extension was so last minute, no one had cleared their schedule for the four Fridays. The only person we're losing completely for this run is Rachel Michalski (which is a huge shame) but the rest of the schedule is a hodge-podge of people missing one or two shows. Add in that we're trying to give each of the runners a show as an actor and we're back in huge, complicated chart-land and we're pulling in some Neutrino Project alumni (Tim Sniffen) and some new faces (Trish Conlon, Chad Reinhart).

A big advantage of a Saturday show is that I can put off lots of stuff until Saturday afternoon -- for a Friday show I need to be ready for by Thursday night, so I can go straight from work to the show. And since I was going to Steppenwolf and Lakeview Lounge for my birthday on Thursday night, I had to go home after the tech rehearsal on Wednesday and blank all the tapes and pack up cables, etc. Whew -- planning ahead?! What do you people want from me!?

So, Friday came all too fast and we were still short a runner. At 5:30, when I needed to leave for the theater, I walked over to the desk of Ben Taylor, who was fortunately still at work, and asked if he'd mind running. Ben wins the all-around-great-guy award of the year for saying "sure" and heading to the theater with me. (Ben's the band leader for the two-piece that will be doing the scores for the AYUMDS.)

The suggestion for the show was "peppermint ice cream" and the show was more-or-less about childish behavior. Dave Colan (in his Neutrino Project debut) and Andrea made a giant mess as food-artists at the Billy Goat and Beth and Jen were a professor and frightfully under-age student at Mullen's. Mike Starcevich was in San Diego, so Scott McNulty, who had run camera in some of the early rehearsals, stepped up to the plate and acquited himself well as a videographer.

We had an audience of about 40, which was about what we were expecting for moving theaters, days, and times. I hope too many people didn't show up at WNEP on Saturday at 10:30 (or if they did, I hope they stayed for Dirty Bible Stories). Forty people in WNEP feels pretty full. Forty people in the Del Close Theater doesn't feel quite so packed, so I hope things pick back up in the next few weeks.

I know that one concern is the higher ticket price at IO, so here's my special you-read-this-far-you-must-be-cool offer -- send me an email and I'll hook you up with a 2-for-1.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:56 AM

February 3, 2003

"Hemoglobin"

I think Greg put a hyphen in there somewhere, but I'll spell it right for here. So we had former plasma donators reuniting after 5 years, we had blood donation induced craziness, we had the actually-sick Elizabeth McNaughton playing a sickly lesbian, and a very, very angry Shaun and Beth, arguing about kidney donations to mail-order brides. I was really happy with the end of the show (which, yes, I shot) because I thought it linked the stories without being sledgehammer about it.

I was also happy with my new, too-expensive, video camera. An extravagant birthday present to myself, and it means that I'm one step closer to owning everything I need to do the show without borrowing stuff from people.

The midnight showing was sparsely attended, which surprised us a little, especially because a number of people had called to ask about it and try to make reservations. We showed Michael Starcevich's trailer for Pop Psychology, our Fast Forward Film Festival entry ("Ted McGuillicutty, Man of Action"), a sequence shot by Adam Witt in rehearsal that I think stands on it's own as a delightful short (it's got some great physical comedy by Jen Ellison and great bitchiness from Andrea and Lillie), and then last week's show, which was voted by the cast as the one they wanted to see.

And then we tore down and cleaned up and we were officially done at WNEP. Sniff. WNEP has been good to us and I wish we could have extended there.

This Friday we'll be opening at the ImprovOlympic (8 PM. Friday.). We're having a tech rehearsal Wednesday to figure out crucial details like where to put Greg that the runners can get to him. I need to get over there tomorrow with a tape measure and then make a RadioShack run for audio cable, I think. And we need to look at locations up in that neighborhood (first impression - lots of bars).

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:26 AM

January 30, 2003

Extension Blues

If you hate to read me complaining about how much work it is to have a show that people want to see, just skip this entry.

Tensions are a little high around the FuzzyCo offices today. Shaun called me up with some legitimate and constructive criticisms of the extension press release and I kinda bit his head off. We both have a lot to get done in the next few days to make sure that people know about the extension, since we are moving days, times, and theaters (that's Fridays at 8 in February at the ImprovOlympic).

All the papers called Shaun on Tuesday morning to confirm that we were closing. "Yup," he said, none of the negotiations I so coyly alluded to having produced any results. And then IO called on Tuesday afternoon with an offer of the four Fridays in February. Shaun and I debated the pros (IO's a great theater in a fun neighborhood) and cons (it's still cold, we're going to have problems with cast and crew prior committments (including Shaun and I being out of town the 14th)) and decided to go for it.

So now we have to call all the papers back, and I have to make a new press release (done), design and order new postcards (done), design a new poster (not done), figure out who can do which show and who can replace them and so on and so forth (not done). Oh, and find a Digital-8 camera to borrow for this weekend and figure out what we're doing for cameras for the new run.

Hey, here's a non-complainy thing. I paused in the middle of writing this to write an email to the cast about the extension (I figured I owed it to them to give them the information before I gave it to the world) and I finished up a long message of duties and reponsibilities with "You are all the bestest mostest funnest people." Which I included in the message under a generic "say something nice" principle, but then I surprised myself by realizing that it's true. I watched last week's show again last night and it was, you know, good. And I took a moment to remember just now that I had fun doing it. And that's why I do all this stuff that makes me crazy, to be able to do this fun thing with these fun people.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:45 PM

January 29, 2003

Extension!

We're extending the Neutrino Project! We're moving to the ImprovOlympic (corner of Clark and Addison), Fridays at 8 PM in February.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:26 AM

January 28, 2003

"Juggling"

Hey, look at me! I'm on screen!

Which is to say... at this week's Neutrino Project, Andy Eninger (Sybil, Chicago Comedy Company, GayCo, Hungarian film school grad) sat in as a videographer, so I sat out. And Jennifer S. is in England and Elizabeth was ill, which takes us down to 8 actors, which is do-able, but it's nice to have a group of three for variety, so I sat back in as an actor. Which was pure selfishness -- I haven't rehearsed improv on camera, the other videographers would love to do the same, etc. etc. So I took a big, deep "I'm the [co-]producer and I've worked really hard on this show and I want to" breath and put myself on the schedule.

As for my personal performance, all I can say is that no one looked at me after the show and sadly shook their head, so it must not have gone too badly.

As for the entire show (suggestion "Juggling"), Greg and Rachel, who get to see the whole show from the booth, said "best show ever". I captured the footage Sunday and I agree it was very good.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:15 PM | Comments (0)

January 24, 2003

100% Sold Out

We're now officially 100% sold out for the last two weeks of The Neutrino Project. We do release reservations at 10:15 on the night of show, so if you can brave the cold you can try to get in. As far as I know, we're not doing reservations for the February 1 midnight show, so that'll just be first-come-and-freeze-first-in. Did I mention that was my birthday weekend? As I mention every year, I don't like cake. I like pie and cookies and cheesecake and ice cream. Just not cake. Not that I'm saying that bringing a pie to the show would get you in.

Since we're all sold out, people keep asking if we're going to extend. Of course we'd love to. We can't extend in the same time slot at WNEP, because of . Which I'm sure is going to be a great show, but still, damn Dirty Bible Stories. We can't extend at WNEP in any other time slot because of all the other shows at WNEP. Damn other shows.

So that takes us to other theaters. Which means negotiations and negotiations. Which is what Shaun does all day at work, so he handles the majority of that for FuzzyCo. And I'd love to tell you all about who we're talking to about what and when, but that tends to jinx negotiations. So I can't. At this point, it doesn't look like we're going to be extended right away -- which the cast won't mind -- they've already indicated that they won't mind taking the coldest weeks of the year off.

Oh, and someone used the phrase "Fat cash" in an email to me about the show. Indeed, despite my early pessimism about making money on the show (based on the money I've lost on pretty much every other show I've produced) we're going to make a profit on the show. Which, as we promised the cast and crew, will go to the cast and crew. It's a FuzzyCo rule that everyone gets paid, even if we lose money. (We paid people $2.50 a show for the two preview Neutrino Projects. Not much, but it came straight out of my pocket.) This time, happily, I don't have to shell out my own cash to make that happen.

Wow. I wrote that last paragraph and then Shaun called -- some loaned equipment suddenly fell through for this weekend. It looks like we're going to have to go buy stuff tomorrow morning. We're not going to take that cost out of the show profits, that wouldn't be fair to the cast, but it turns a break-even show back into an expensive proposition. Poop.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:33 PM

RadioHead

Yes, that was me on WBEZ this morning. Soon it will be on their Audio On-Demand page for Eight Forty-Eight. Fast-forward the audio to 1 hour and 4 minutes in.

P.S. It's "Himmerick" (it sounded to me like Steve Edwards said "Immerick") and my last name is pronounced Grrrr-diss, not Grrrr-deez. Just FYI.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:54 PM

January 23, 2003

AYUMDS

Auditions have been announced for the As Yet Untitled Movie Dubbing Show. This is a show I'll be directing as part of the Playground's Directors Series. The show will feature "live improvisation over a variety of pre-existing projected movies. A cast of six improvisers will provide the improvised dialogue and sound effects accompanied by a live band which will create an original improvised score, thus transforming the film into an entirely new viewing experience." (Megan Pedersen wrote that. She's smart.)

If you're reading the Neutrino Project journal only, entries about the AYUMDS will be on the FuzzyCo mainpage and on the AYUMDS-specific archive.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:18 PM

240% Sold Out

One of the great things about renting from WNEP is that they handle reservations through their voice mail system. Don Hall was feeling a little under the weather this week and didn't check the voice mail for a couple days, though. We have 160 reservations for this Saturday. The theater seats about 65. We're 240% sold out! Shades of The Producers, only in reverse, or something.

So... if you want to see the show, you can either camp-out in the dangerous wind chill (we release all reservations at 10:15), or make your reservation now for next week (February 1). Next week we have two shows -- the regular show at 10:30 and then an encore midnight show. At midnight we won't actually be DOING the show, the cast and crew will be sitting in the theater watching the show and yelling and drinking. Because of the yelling and drinking, that show is only $5. Make your reservations now! Quickly! Act without thinking! 773-296-1100!

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:46 PM

January 22, 2003

A Face for Radio

There will be a piece on The Neutrino Project on WBEZ's (91.5 FM) Eight Forty-Eight on Friday (Jan 17) Wednesday (Jan 22) Friday (Jan 24) between 10:00 am and 11:00 am.

Can I just take a moment to bite the hand that's feeding me and note that Eight Forty-Eight is a bad name for a great radio program? Every single person that I've tried to tell about the program says, "OK, 8:48 am on Friday." WBEZ is located at 848 East Grand, which is where the name comes from, which is clever, and yet... not.

UPDATE (1/22): Confusingly, they used a clip of my voice at 9:30 but then they ran out of time and never played the piece. Justin (Kaufmann of Schadenfruede, as well as WBEZ) assures me it will run this Friday (1/24) in the 10 o'clock hour.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:13 PM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2003

"Butt Hair"

Sigh. "Butt Hair." Some days I wonder why we take suggestions at all. (Don't even get me started.) And I'm kicking myself over the ending -- it was very dark (lighting-wise, not in mood) and I figured out some things I should have done as soon as I handed the tape off to Dave to run back to the theater.

Also, it's my dream to someday own everything I need to do this show. This week, Adam Witt saved my bacon at the last minute with a loan of his very expensive video camera. So, yay for Adam.

Anyhoo, another sold out show. I don't think it's going to cut into our audience much to say that we're looking at extending. None of the upcoming shows at WNEP can be bumped, so we're talking with other theaters. Which will be a pain. Which is annoying of me, I'm sure, to be complaining about the troubles of dealing with a hit show.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:00 PM

January 13, 2003

"Octopus"

As I mentioned below, we showed our FFFF short at the start of the show. People seemed to like it, and the show still clocked in at just under an hour, so I'm thinking of showing other cast-created shorts at TNP.

Saturday night was COLD. C-O-L-D. 18-degrees-4-with-wind-chill cold. The cast and crew went through half a case of HotHands hand warmer packs. So, my thanks to everyone in the audience for coming out, and triple thanks to the cast and crew for risking frostbite to do their outside scenes.

The suggestion was "Octopus", which put most of the cast in a sexual state of mind. Not that it takes much to put this cast in a sexual state of mind, it seems. Dan and Beth Andrea were squabbling step siblings who ended up making out and smoking dope in a van, Jennifer discovered that her new movie was actually a porno, and Scott and Jen were a couple-on-the-rocks trying, awkwardly, to spice things up in a sex-toy store. Nobody does awkward like Jen Ellison, so the sight of her reluctantly wearing a chain bra was priceless. And Shaun turned in a remarkably restrained performance as a sexuality workshop leader named "Raw".

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:03 PM

Note to Self: Check the Time

So Friday night, Dave Colan, Lance Hoffman and I headed over to Atomix Coffeeshop to pick up our Fast Forward Film Festival suggestion. This FFFF the suggestions were provided by Found Magazine, so every team got a color photocopy of two found photographs. Our team, Team #17, got a picture of a bearded man posing for a portrait and a polaroid of a Jack Daniel's bottle on top of a red car.

After an hour and a half of brain-storming, we decided that Dave looked enough like the man in the picture that he would play our hero -- Matt McGillicutty, Man of Action -- and that we would be making an entire cop movie in three minutes. And Lance had made the mistake of revealing that he could play the saxophone, so we knew we'd stick that in somewhere. We made a few phone calls to try to line up extra actors, of which only Andrea Swanson answered her phone, and set up a filming time of 8 in the morning. I went home, set my camera to recharge the battery and went to sleep.

Saturday morning, I woke Shaun up at 7:50. As much as I complain about Shaun, I love that I can wake him up after a late night of drinking, say "we're making a movie in 10 minutes and you're the villian" and know that he'll just say, as he did, "OK, I'll take a quick shower -- what do you need me to wear?"

Lance, Dave, and Andrea all showed up on time and we began to work out the choreography. I had decided that a) because of the tight schedule, I didn't want to do any editing and b) it would coolest if the whole cop movie took place in 3 real minutes (and in the 20 yards from my front hallway to the back gate of our parking lot) so I wanted to do the whole thing in one continuous shot. Because Lance was our only extra actor, he had to play the other 3 characters (plus himself with his sax), so we worked out all the moves to let him get off camera and change costumes.

We did a take for practice, without using any of our "special effects" and tried a take for real. We got all the way to the last thirty seconds of the take and my landlord drove up to the back gate, ruining the shot. We did another take where I accidently got Lance changing costumes on camera, and then finally a good take. And then we did one more for good measure. And it was wonderful.

And it was 9:30 and Andrea and Dave both had to leave to go to rehearsals. We didn't watch the tape (experienced film makers will recognize the ominous sounds of foreshadowing music playing in the background here) because there wasn't time to do another take anyway, and it was so cold we didn't want to go outside anymore, and from what I had seen through the viewfinder, the take was perfect.

I dropped those two off at their rehearsals and then Lance and I went looking for somewhere to record his sax solo for the film. All the theaters I have access to were being used, so I called Don Hall because he's a trumpet player and smart. He suggested that for a wind instrument, we just record in a bathroom for it's concert hall-like reverb. So we ended up back at my place.

Lance wanted to watch the tape to see how long to make the solo. And the take was great. But it was 4 minutes long. FFFF films are supposed to be 3 minutes or less. Crap.

But there was nothing I could do. There was no time before the 5 pm deadline that all 5 people could meet up again. So I recorded Lance's sax solos and sat down to edit the film down to 3 minutes.

By chopping out a bunch of walking-from-point-a-to-b, and removing Lance's on-screen sax part altogether, and without any sort of title or credits, I was able to get it down to 3 minutes exactly. It was a shame, because with editing Lance's quick changes weren't as funny anymore, but we didn't know how strict they were about time, and I didn't want my first FFFF to get summarily ejected for going over time. Shaun drove the tape down to Atomix just before the deadline.

A few hours later, Shaun and I went over to Collaboraction's space for the FFFF showing. It was supposed to start at 8, and Sean U'Ren had even made a announcement at the suggestion-giving that the showing would start at 8:00 or 8:15. The first film was shown at 8:50. I'm not complaining, I'm just, you know, complaining. Because of the delay, and our 9:45 call time for The Neutrino Project, we were only to see the first 4 teams' films. So we have no idea how the edited film was received. We showed the uncut 4 minute version as an opening short at The Neutrino Project, and people loved that one, so I hope people liked the edited version.

Oh, and one of those 4 films was 3 and a half minutes long. So maybe we could have gotten away with an extra minute. Oh well.

I'm going to see about getting the short up on iFilm or somesuch. If anyone has any suggestions of their favorite internet short-film posting sites, let me know.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:43 PM

January 10, 2003

And yet another review

Nick Green, in the Chicago Reader, says the show "crackles with possibility" and "unrestrained enthusiasm."

And the Chris Jones review was in the Tribune today, with a HUGE picture of Beth and Lillie, and a smaller, but still respectable, picture of Cesar, Jen, and Andrea. A big shout out (do people still do shout outs?) to Aaron Gang who took those great PR shots for us.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:03 PM

January 9, 2003

Busy Weekend

I'll be making two movies this weekend, though fortunately one of them will only be three minutes long.

On Friday night, many of the Neutrino Project crew and I will be getting together to make a three-minute film for the Fast Forward Film Festival. That movie, and 29 others, will be shown at Collaboration (thanks, Lee) Collaboraction (2046 W Carroll) on Saturday night (Jan 11) at 8 PM. (We're not procrastinating, that's how the FFFF works.)

And Saturday night at 10:30 PM, we'll be doing The Neutrino Project as usual. This week we have a guest videographer -- Adam Witt of Schadenfreude will be sitting in with us. Adam did some great stuff in rehearsal, so I'm looking forward to seeing it on screen.

And Andy Eninger, who shot with us during the preview shows, will be sitting in on January 25. Andy has a cinematography degree from a Hungarian film school, and I'm not sure how you can get much better than that.

Unfortunately, someone sitting in means someone has to sit out, so Adam Devlin-Brown won't be shooting this week. But he came up with an excellent idea and he'll be shooting behind-the-scenes footage of how the show is put together. I did a full-featured DVD for Superpunk (deleted scene, commentary, sub-titles, easter eggs, etc.) and with all the supplemental materials I'm accumulating for the Neutrino Project, I'm starting to think about doing one for this show. I probably shouldn't have said that out-loud -- I still haven't finished dubbing peoples tapes from Sybilization.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:36 PM | Comments (1)

An Instant Blast

I think this will appear in the Chicago Tribune tomorrow, but it's already up on Metromix -- Chris Jones called the show "a fresh, funny and remarkably inventive show", "an instant blast", and predicted that it "will become a big, deserving, late-night hit."

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:12 PM

January 8, 2003

Reviews

A lot of theater people don't read reviews, either not during the run of the show, or never at all. Not me. I love reviews -- good and bad. If nothing else, hey there's my name in print! And with FuzzyCo shows, I'm not just in the show, I'm a producer, so I have to read the reviews to pull out quotes like "this experiment [is] a success and a compelling first step in exploring the boundaries of improv" to put on posters and such. And that's just what Nina Metz said in New City in the first review of The Neutrino Project.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:13 PM

Snaps from Opening Night

Opening night of The Neutrino Project, as the video camera saw it.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:18 AM

January 5, 2003

"Surfing"

Yesterday, if I had had a chance to get the computer, I would have posted "My personal life is a shambles, I'm not eating right, I've lost 5 pounds in a week, I'm not sleeping, so I guess I'm ready for the show to open."

And open we did. The house was packed. The suggestion was "surfing".

A number of things went wrong, but I'm not sure how much the audience was aware. There was a mix-up where a tape was delivered, but Greg didn't know it was, so there was dead air while he looked around the booth with a flash light. And we got rather confused about how much time we had left when we were shooting the final group scene, which meant it was short and frenetic (I'll say frenetic since I'm not using word "chaos" about my own shows anymore). Both of these problems would have been avoided if Rachel had been there in her role as TimeMaster, but she and Phillip had to miss opening night to do Superpunk at Chicago Sketchfest.

What Rachel couldn't have helped was how slow the Digital8 player was to eject and inject tapes. The audience got to see quite a bit of my new spinning-N transition. We had thought about playing music during the transitions but decided not to because I thought they wouldn't be that long, but the silence is pretty painful. We'll fix that next week.

The exact moment the show was over, I felt... exhausted. Everybody was cheering and congratulating and so on and I was just stumbling around, tearing down our gear and trying not to fall over. The cast and crew all came over to my house and I set all the gear up again and I played the show for everyone. It was pretty good. There were a few moments of camera brilliance and people said funny things and there was an awkward breakup scene and Shaun ran around without his shirt on in the snow and Beth did the robot dance (in the show, not at my house).

So my "next" is clean up the house from the party, archive the show, reblank the tapes, figure out transition music, and do it all again next week.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:04 AM | Comments (2)

January 3, 2003

"Collapse"

Note to self: never use the words "chaos" or "collapse" when describing your own show to a journalist, because they will, you know, print that. Otherwise, a great article in today's Chicago Tribune.

And Film Threat put up an article that is basically our press release. (I'm not complaining about that -- I love when that happens -- I consider it a sign of a well-written press release. Besides, they used one of the make-out session pictures.)

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:21 AM

January 2, 2003

Not. Panicking.

Say, if anybody knows someone with a Digital8 video camera that they might loan/rent us, please let me know. The camera would sit safely in the theater for the show, not be slogged around the streets.

UPDATE: never mind. Thanks.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:15 PM

Last Minutes

Happy New-trino Year!

The Tech/Dress on Monday went far better than I could have hoped, given all the technical problems we've been having in rehearsal. Our biggest technical glitch was a single tape that simply wouldn't play until Greg ejected and re-inserted it two or three times. But then it did, so problem solved. Hopefully. My ad-hoc, untested sound system worked fine ($20 computer speakers from MicroCenter!), I figured out a work around for a missing player, and even my lousy old 8mm camcorder worked fine.

And the acting... oh, I was so happy with the acting. Everyone had a great balance between interesting situations and emotional relationships between the characters in those situations. Even the fever-dream sequence between far-too-sick-to-leave-the-house-but-she-came-anyway-because-I-asked Jen Shepard and Phillip. If we do that same exact show on Saturday (hey, there's a thought... nah) I'd be very, very happy.

Now all I have to do is most of the things I had planned to get done last weekend. And a few more. I came up with a great idea for the pre-show on Monday (you know how they do trivia and ads before the movies? I'm going to do that) but it definitely falls into the category of "more work for me," and I have no one else to blame.

More pictures! We've got a cast photo and a gallery of publicity pictures (all taken by the inimitable Aaron Gang. If you're a news outlet and would like to print any of the latter pictures, contact me and I'll get you a high resolution copy.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:36 PM

December 27, 2002

Crunch Time

So I had a little personal crisis and decided, at the last minute, to join my family holiday gathering at my sister's place in Austin, Texas. We had a lovely time, hanging out with my insufferably cute niece and nephew. (My brother's Christmas present was the anime-style sketch of me that's now on the top of the main page.)

What does that have to do with The Neutrino Project? Well, between the crisis and the unexpected travel, I now have just a few days to get ready for our final tech/dress rehearsal on Monday. I'm working at Rive Gauche tonight (I take pictures for their galleries) until 4 am, so I'll be sleeping in tomorrow but then the rest of the weekend is going to be spent blanking tapes and double-checking equipment.

We're almost out of postcards, so the half-postcards came in just in time. Half-postcards? Whenever I work at Rive Gauche, I always come home with a stack of flyers that other clubs have stuck in the window of my car. These flyers are seldom a stock 4x6" postcard, but rather are a variety of shapes and sizes. Shaun saw a long bookmark-sized one and said, "I want ones like this for The Neutrino Project!" and then went off to play Vice City for 6 hours while I figured out how to make it happen. (This is generally the way FuzzyCo staff meetings go.) I didn't want to get into custom-size printing costs, so I laid out two 2x6" cards on a 4x6" card and had them printed at Rocket Postcards. Then we had Kinko's chop them in half and, voila, 1000 bookmark-sized flyers for the cost of 500 postcards. I think they're a great hand-out size.

We also got stickers. They just have the name and logo, and they're black-and-white, and I mainly got them for people to stick on their Trapper Keeper or whatever (besides, they're cheap from The Sticker Guy).

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:26 PM

December 20, 2002

Technical Difficulties, redux

Lucia Mauro came out on Wednesday to interview Shaun and I and some of the cast and crew (even just picking a few of each, we ended up with 10 people at the interview -- this show is huge) (OK, I realize that in relation to big Broadway musicals or whatever, our show is tiny. But my main show has two actors and, if we're lucky, someone in the lightbooth.)

A cool thing, for me, in the interview was to hear the cast reply to questions with "Fuzzy says..." or "Fuzzy always tells us...". They were listening! I've been getting a little caught up in some of the technical problems of the show, and a couple of things Phillip said made me go think, "oh yeah, I did say that. I should remember to do that."

Oh, and since I've been caught up in those technical problems, I answered Lucia's first question, about how the rehearsals have been going, with something about how they've been a "series of near-catastrophes, averted at the last minute by collective brilliance". Which is a) not the way to 'sell' the show (headline: "Neutrino Project A Disaster Waiting To Happen") and b) not strictly accurate. Things are going fairly well. Really.

And then once Lucia had her journalistic way with us, Aaron Gang showed up in the middle of rehearsal. By surprise! Or rather, at my request and at exactly the time he said he'd show up. Aaron got some great shots. I'll put some up soonish. But there's no two ways about it, it was an additional distraction in an already scattered rehearsal.

The biggest distraction was (again!) the lack of a TV. We didn't have the projector this week, so we (well, Shaun) wrestled his huge TV out of his bedroom, into the car, and then into the theater. Only to discover that you couldn't switch it to video-input without the remote, which was conveniently located on Shaun's nightstand at home.

So... we've got one more rehearsal before opening. It's a full tech, and I've sworn to the cast that everything will be perfect. No pressure.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:59 PM

Conference Call

I sat at my desk today at lunch to participate in a phone interview via conference call about The Neutrino Project. And sat. And sat. Shaun called me 10 minutes after the call was supposed to have started to say, "it's over." The reporter had hit him with a barrage of questions and he never had a chance to conference me in. Evidently, after questions aimed at understanding the concept of the show, he was mainly fixated on the word "Neutrino". I realized that I couldn't remember who had invented the word "neutrino". Enrico Fermi did. Which, even though the group Neutrino is from New York, brings the whole thing back around to Chicago very nicely.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:41 PM

E-flyer 2

Here's another one of Cesar's clever e-flyers. This one's rather heftier (about a meg and a half) but it features a rather scruffy version of me demonstrating the dangers of our logo.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:24 PM

December 17, 2002

E-flyer

Cesar Jaime made what he calls e-flyers for the show... here's a cool one.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:49 PM

December 12, 2002

Technical Difficulties

So first, I brought the wrong cable for the iBook, so all the footage from last week that I had so carefully captured was only visible by everyone crowding around the iBook's tiny screen.

And then the speaker on the video projector proved to be terrible and the scenes were nearly impossible to hear. Fortunately, Lance saved the day. Lance had an idea about trying to integrate music into the scenes and so had brought a minidisc player and some battery-powered speakers to rehearsal. We were able to hook his speakers up to the headphone jack of each camera to hear our scenes as well as watch them.

Most of the scenes last night were pretty mellow. Except for Dan and Phillip in the shower scene. That was some hot, hot, pretending-we're-naked-by-casting-shadows-behind-a-curtain-with-Lance-making-the-shower-sound-with-his-mouth action.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:35 AM

December 11, 2002

Dogtags

Why did Shaun give everyone in The Neutrino Project dogtags? It's simple. Sandy was doing the wigs and makeup for a show called Cooking With Elvis and when they needed an understudy for the part of the Elvis impersonator, Sandy mentioned that Shaun was playing Elvis in the Steve Martin play Picasso at the Lapin Agile. So Shaun became the understudy in that show, and Dale, the director, gave everyone in that cast and crew "What Would Elvis Do" dogtags (which makes sense as Elvis was in the Army and all). Shaun loved his so much he wanted to give the Neutrino Project cast something similar, so he had custom dogtags made in England(!).

I was initially skeptical ("What do dogtags have to do with improvised video?") but as I wear mine around a good number of people ask "what's on your dogtag" and then I get to plug the show. And I looooove plugging this show.

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:53 AM

Pictures from Rehearsal

I captured a few stills from the video from last week's Neutrino Project rehearsal. We're rehearsing at The Playground now, for a change of scenery, so all the locations are in that neighborhood.

Posted by Fuzzy at 9:35 AM

December 10, 2002

The Fork in the Thing

"The Fork in the Thing" is what the cast nicknamed my looped animation of a fork approaching (and retreating from) an outlet that we used between scenes in the preview run. We need something between the scenes because Greg, in the booth, finds out when the scene ends the same time the audience does. The animation covers the time between Greg (and the audience) seeing that the scene has ended and Greg being able to get the next tape playing.

When I mentioned the animation in this journal before the preview, an enterprising soul sent me some delightful animations using elements he downloaded from the FuzzyCo website. Unfortunately, I hadn't really laid out the design requirements for the animation, so the ones he sent me were completely unsuitable for use in the show. So... in case any other enterprising souls out there are thinking of submitting Neutrino Project inter-scene animations (and, more realistically, as a design spec for myself as I work on redoing the animation with our new logo) here's the specs:

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:26 PM

December 9, 2002

Don't forget to bring a TV

"Don't forget to bring a TV." That's my #1 note to myself as a director of this show. We switched rehearsal locations this week and my plans to have a TV at this new location fell through at the last minute on Wednesday. So... "How'd everybody feel about that?" was the best I could do for notes. It was OK on one level, though, because I was losing my voice and really was terribly ill. I had to sit down at one point because my chest muscles hurt from coughing. I think I did an OK job of keeping a brave face on for the cast, though, and not wasting time feeling sick. (A Mick-ism is "You can be tired, just don't act tired.")

We got through two full shows, too. I had the runners practice running the tapes back to the theater, but to save wear and tear on tapes I had the camera guys use the same tape for all their scenes. I hope the runners didn't feel too dopey running around the neighborhood with imaginary tapes. With one exception, we were right on with our timing for the both shows, which was good for the first time we've run the whole complicated structure since September.

We'll definitely have a TV this week. I swear.

Posted by Fuzzy at 11:30 PM

The Cough Syrup Makes Me Dizzy

This is one of those annoying "I got sick and stopped posting but I'll post soon" posts. I got sick and stopped posting but I'll post soon.

I think, in fact, there's some sort of cosmic rule that as soon as you post a message to a journal promising to make more or better posts, circumstances will force you to stop posting altogether.

I'll make myself a little list of things to talk about as a sort of thinking out loud:

Posted by Fuzzy at 1:44 PM

December 4, 2002

Fast Forward Film Festival

The Fast Forward Film Festival (formerly the 5x8 Festival) now has a website. The FFFF gives 30 teams 21 hours to make a 3 minute movie. Wusses. They get to use editing and everything. We make a 45 minute movie in an hour. Woo-oo!

(In "but seriously folks" mode, I've seen some beautiful work at the FFFF. Some 3 minute pieces of mess, too, but some wonderful, wonderful stuff.)

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 3, 2002

The Cold

I realized something viscerally tonight that previously had been a theoretical concern -- it's really cold out. I had my gloves off for 3 minutes tonight taking a picture with a still camera and my fingers were hurting from the cold. I can only imagine what it's going to be like trying to shoot video in weather like this. And the actors all muffled in layers of clothing, and condensation on lens when we come in from the cold, and what else I haven't even thought of?

Of course, we don't shoot everything outside, but because of the tight timing, we do end up shooting a lot on the way to and from other locations. I guess we'll find out how bad it is tomorrow night.

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:27 PM

So Lame

I had a conversation at the bar after class last night with Dave and Sean and Mick (and Drew and the air-drumming madness of Mike Davenport). Mick, of course, started the whole journal-of-a-production thingy with his Directing Second City Mainstage journal back in 1996. The consensus of the table was that online journals are lame city.

After I crawled out from under the table, I resolved to make The Neutrino Project journal the bestest journal-of-a-production in the whole wide world. Of course, I haven't actually done anything for the show since last night, so I don't have anything new to offer. But after tomorrow night, watch out, kiddo.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:01 PM

November 28, 2002

Week Off

There wasn't any Neutrino Project rehearsal last night because of Thanksgiving. So Shaun and I (with our Sickest F***in' Stories and Around Midnite Series producer hats on respectively) had a meeting with Don Hall (with his WNEP Exective Producer hat on). Inevitably the conversation wandered to The Neutrino Project, because Don (with his Pit Bull PR hat on) is helping us do some of the PR for the show. We're usually pretty good at PR, but for once everything is on schedule. Postcards are in, cast tchotchkes are in, press releases are out, phone calls have been made, posters are ready to be posted. It's almost frightening.

Don's been reading this journal and pointed out that last week I didn't say what we actually did in rehearsal. (The fact that he could have asked Jen when she got home is, I suppose, beside the point.)

I've settled on two warm ups that we do every rehearsal -- follow the follower and race car. My thought is that since we're so disconnected when we're actually doing the show (that is, each team is in completely separate physical locations), anything that gets us started on the same page is good. So, we did those two warm-ups.

Then I sent everyone out in teams to do first scenes -- so shoot them fast and with minimal camera set ups. They'd come back to the rehearsal space, I'd watch the scene with the team, we'd talk about it, and then I'd send them out again to do another first scene. A lot of the scenes were great, but I found that by the end of an hour plus of scene after scene, it was wearing me out to be watching all of them with a critical eye. It's hard to be the director, huh?

So it was a nice change to grab a camera and get out in the field with just 3 actors and shoot some scenes. I had everyone switch up teams and go out to shoot 3 scenes (2 minutes, 4 minutes, 2 minutes) like they would in a real show (though we weren't doing the strict timing and running like we would in the show). To contrast with the last week's wackiness, I gave us all the directive to do our scenes as though we were trying to avoid audience laughter. It's a nice way to stay grounded.

Overall, another good rehearsal. Maybe because Shaun wasn't there. Heh. You can hear more about how hard it is to direct someone who you perform with when I'm grumpier. Tonight, it's Thanksgiving and I'm feeling good.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:56 AM

November 21, 2002

Cable Access, baby!

Kevin Reome, of the Playground's Inside Vladimir, has a new cable access show called, if my lousy memory can be trusted, Focus on Comedy Reome Comedy Probe (thanks Kevin). He came out to Neutrino Project rehearsal last night and filmed some of our rehearsal process and then did a short interview with me. The episode should air in January, just in time to plug the show as it is running.

Posted by Fuzzy at 2:52 PM | Comments (1)

November 15, 2002

Gallery of Grabs

As part of our PR push for the upcoming run of The Neutrino Project, I've posted a gallery of video grabs from the two preview shows.

Rehearsal this week was the practice/get-out-of-our-system extreme video and acting techniques. We learned that fake slo-mo is hard, muscial montages are tricky, and drug-freak-out camera-spins are cool.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:42 PM

November 12, 2002

Gearing up

We've officially started work for a real run of The Neutrino Project. We'll be going up Saturdays at 10:30 in January and the first week of February at the WNEP Theater.

What do I mean by "work"? A whole bunch of things.

Have I mentioned we have a great cast and crew? We lost Russ LaChanse to New York (but I got his car!) and Zach, Andy, and Tim to other obligations. But we've picked up Lillie Frances, Phillip Mottaz, and Jen Shepard (and Adam Devlin-Brown is moving from running to camera-ing). Check out the full list on the main TNP page.

Last week was a remember what it's like to work together/meet the new people/remember how that video stuff works-kinda rehearsal. Tomorrow I've got a wacky rehearsal planned -- I'll post more after it's over.

Posted by Fuzzy at 4:06 PM

September 16, 2002

"Penis"

Our suggestion was "Penis" (and then seconds later, "Sea Monkeys") but Shaun went with that first gutteral utterance. It all worked out, though. The opening montage that Michael films about half an hour before the show started with an image of a billboard that just said "Mr. Right" and it was improv-magic on improv-magic from there on in.

This show, like the first one, ended in a make-out session. There must be something about the absence of an audience that lets the actors do things let probably wouldn't on stage.

This was "closing night", since we only did two shows this time around. So now I'm just making tapes for the cast and crew (unlike most improv shows, this one ends with a product that's much the same as what the audience saw) and we're looking at venues to mount a longer run in early 2003. Watch the FuzzyCo home page for updates.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:24 PM | Comments (1)

September 9, 2002

"Nepotism"

Well, I would definitely say that the Chicago premiere of The Neutrino Project was a success. For starters, the whole thing actually worked. We had a few sound problems in the final scene, and it turned out that Greg didn't rewind one scene far enough and the audience only saw half of it, but that was the worst.

Minor victories: we got the 8' screen for the 6' price. Michael got popcorn nearly donated by the Davis Theater. Lots of people said they loved it. The door take covered the cost of the beer we had for the cast after the show. It worked!

There were lots of fun, weird improv-synchronities. From the suggestion of "nepotism," we somehow ended up with four stories of relationships gone wrong. All the stories had people getting wasted. Two different pairs of characters got thrown out of establishments. The whole thing ended in a big make-out scene that was high-larious.

Fortunately for us, there was no midnight show this week at WNEP, so after the show, we cracked open the aforementioned beer and the cast and crew got to watch the movie. Several of the cast commented on the same thing I thought would be weird -- knowing that people were watching the show while we were still making it. Oh, I did bring the camera to see what the audience reactions were like, but I forgot to turn it on. Oops.

I have to give a special shout-out to the runners -- Sean Cusick, Adam Devlin-Brown, Lance Hoffman, & Scott McNulty. Those guys acted as crowd control, were extras, ran like demons, and were really draconian time-keepers. Early on in the process I empowered the runners to be the final arbiters of when the tapes absolutely had to be back to the theater. And they were on it, barking orders at the camera people -- "gimme that tape now." We didn't have any late tapes...

And a super-big thanks, again, to Neutrino in New York for inventing this thing and then sharing their hard-won knowledge so freely with us.

"But say, Fuzzy, I just noticed from the time stamp of this post that you're up pretty late on a Sunday night." It is definitely time for me to get my own miniDV camera. When we first stared working on the show, I was trying to convince myself that I needed a new camera. But I managed to talk myself out of it, because I figured my Sony Digital8 camera was good enough. I think it is for the show (you can tell the difference between my camera and Michael's, but I think mine is OK). But tonight I'm blanking all the miniDV tapes for next week's show and I have to stay up late to do it, because I only have the loan of Michael's miniDV deck for tonight. If we do a run of this show, I'm definitely getting a new camera, just so I can do tasks like this at my leisure.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:25 AM

September 7, 2002

All set ...

We had a great rehearsal this afternoon, where everything technical and acting-wise seemed to flow. I had a minor technical crisis with my crew, but we recovered and you could hardly tell when we saw the final movie.

Michael Starcevich secured us popcorn this afternoon (thanks Davis Theater!) so we'll have popcorn at our movie -- and that's just wau that should be.

I blanked all the tapes this afternoon and now I just need to run down to Radioshack and get a 30' video cable. See you at the show tonight!

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:37 PM | Comments (1)

September 6, 2002

Locations

A story from Wednesday's rehearsal I forgot to mention: The show takes place in actual real world locations, so we need to scout locations before the show. For the rehearsal, Shaun checked with two restaurants behind our house and at 7 o'clock both of them said "sure". At 8:30, one of our camera crews was kicked out of Paisan's Pizza by the owner. The moral of story, if there is one, is that we may end up doing a lot of shooting on the sidewalk, even if we think we've got our locations set.

Posted by Fuzzy at 10:20 AM

September 5, 2002

If I'm not dead, it'll be great.

Rehearsal last night went great. We had (nearly) everyone together in the same place at the same time and we ran a full show and it pretty much all worked.

On the acting side, things are butter. I love this cast like a bunch of candy. In a bad news/good news fashion, one of our cast members got a commercial gig and probably won't make the shows (good for her, but poop), but I called Jen Ellison and said, "Hey, I know you're super busy with the last rehearsals for your main stage season opening, but come be in my show." And said "OK". So, yay.

On the tech side, the show's gonna happen, but the details are what're going to kill me by Saturday (that and all the last minute details for the One Man Seen opening. Two openings in one weekend = poor planning.) I sat down after the cast left last night and made a long list. Projection screen. Platform for the projector. Animated logo (more important than it sounds). Cables. Sony vs. Canon playback issues (Agghhh! I was warned, but wished it not true. It's true.) Stop watches (Target doesn't have stopwatches. What's up with that?) Popcorn. OK, we can live without popcorn. But it'd be nice to have popcorn at the opening. It's a movie, there should be popcorn at a movie.

Oh, and thanks are owed, already, to Lance and Adam for running. Those boys can book.

Did I mention already that I know it's going to be weird on the night, not being in the theater while the audience is seeing the movie? I'm such a tech-control-freak that it's going to kill me worrying about things going wrong while I'm not there. And on an artistic level, it's going to be weird not getting audience feedback (laughs, groans, etc.) while the movie is playing. I've been thinking of setting up a camera in the theater just to see how the audience reacts to the movie.

OK, I'd better go get some lunch (and do some research on the Sony vs. Canon playback issue).

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:26 PM

August 29, 2002

I'll never get that hour back

Rehearsal last night was a bust. Russ and Lance (one of our runners - we still need one more!) showed and that was it. It looks like half the people who knew they weren't going to make it told Shaun and the other half told me and our lists didn't get meshed properly - a danger of having two producers.

Next time, though, I'm going to get all my rehearsal dates organized ahead of time and then cast people based on whether they can make those times (oh, and talent, I guess. But, really, it doesn't matter how good you are if you can't make it to rehearsal). Trying to find a time (a single time, even, let alone a recurring rehearsal time) when 17 busy people can meet is driving me insane.

Posted by Fuzzy at 6:02 PM

August 25, 2002

Graphic Design & Liz Allen

We're only doing two shows, and as I said they're trial balloons, so we're not doing the usual FuzzyCo massive media blitz (Shaun's in the middle of a FCMMB for One Man Scene). But I thought it'd be nice if we had a poster, at least. Matt Murphy did a great poster/postcard design of a fork being stuck into a socket for the New York Neutrino, and so we asked his permission to use the same idea for our show. He very graciously gave his permission.

But I wanted to have something that, while the same idea, was also my own creation. So I took a new picture of a hand poking a fork at an outlet (kids, don't try this at home) and doodled around in Photoshop until I had something cool-looking, slapped some text on it and...... realized that I had nearly recreated Matt's original design. Oh well, let's call it homage.

I took Liz Allen's class on "Coaching a Cohesive Ensemble" at the Playground Masters Class today. Her "method" starts with a one-year plan, but I got some good ideas for the 3 rehearsals we have left. We'll see how the cast likes pretending to be zoo animals :-).

Posted by Fuzzy at 7:28 PM

August 22, 2002

Real World & Runners

At rehearsal last night we got out into the real world for the first time (and found out what happened when 6 improvisors stopped pretending and, ... oh, you know).

Burger King and Lakeview Lounge were both very accomidating to allow us to film (especially since I'm sure BK has a corporate policy against it) (oops -- I hope I don't get those employess in trouble) (oh, yeah, someone would have to read this before they'd get in trouble -- no worries, then).

We discovered a raft of technical problems that we'll have to conquer on the tech side -- the real world, it turns out, is very dark at night, and it's often hard to hear in public places. But we had some inventive work both behind and in front of the cameras, so I think we're in good shape for where we are.

I shouldn't say this out loud (but I'm going to) but these two shows are just the trial balloon, anyway. If these go well, we're looking at doing a longer run early in 2003. And I think by "well" I mean "no one pees their pants in the middle of a scene and the theater doesn't burn down". Low expectations on my part, in other words. Except, I expect great things from this cast and crew. Do I contradict myself. Very well, I contradict myself -- I am large, I contain multitudes.

Runners -- I'm still trying to recruit a few runners, and I got asked a few times what exactly the runners have to do. The show (and I don't think I've spelled this out before) consists of short video segments that are improvised simultaneously by different actor/camera crews outside of the theater and are presented to the audience as though it was a single movie. The runners, simply enough, run the tapes of completed scenes back to the theater and then rejoin their crew to get the next tape. They'll also be on "set" help with timing, etc., when they're there. So, a grunt level, but crucial, job. Oh, and everybody on a FuzzyCo project gets paid -- that's a new policy we implemented. Not always a lot, but always something.

Posted by Fuzzy at 5:31 PM

August 15, 2002

Acting for Video workshop

The cast of the Neutrino Project are all excellent improvisors (we wouldn't have asked them to be in the show if they weren't), but most of them don't have much experience or training with acting for film or video. Fortunately, my girlfriend works in the industry and I asked her for suggestions of someone to come in and give us all a crash course in acting for video. She suggested a friend of hers, Tom Groenwald.

So Tom came to NP rehearsal on Wednesday night and yelled at us a bunch (in a good way). "Too big! Too big!" We got a bunch of scenes on tape and watched them and I think it was a really good rehearsal. Next week we're going to get out into the real world, which I think will add a lot of depth to the scenes. The shape of this show is really coming into focus for me, and I can't wait to start seeing it happen.

Posted by Fuzzy at 12:52 PM

August 7, 2002

Ch-ch-changes

Clever eyes will notice that a name has disappeared from the cast list. That's a danger of announcing things like this so early.

Also, August 31 is, clever minds will realize, Labor Day weekend. Several cast members said things like "I'm really excited about this show, and I could cancel my travel plans. Too bad my boy/girlfriend will break up with me over this..."

So... Shaun inquired, the next next weekend was also free at WNEP, so we moved the whole thing back a week. Still only two shows, but that's better than one, eh?

First rehearsal tonight. The last improv group I directed fired me. We'll see if this group is more receptive to the Fuzzy magic. (And, of course, it's my production company, so I'm the only one who can fire me. Bwah-ha-ha.) I'm a little nervous. And I think I have a slight fever. And I overslept this morning and was 2 hours late to work. I'll stop rambling now before I end up confessing to childhood crimes.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:38 PM

August 6, 2002

New Newness

All the newness here at FuzzyCo is invigorating.

We've got the first FuzzyCo production that's not a vanity project (as in, I'm not in it) - Andy Eninger's new one man show, One Man Seen, I've got a brand-new toy for keeping journals - the Movable Type system, and a brand-new project to keep a journal about.

So, a little background: last month Shaun and I were in New York for the 52-hour Del Close Improv Marathon. One of the many shows we saw there was Neutrino: The Video Projects. They call it (and I'm calling it) "the world's first fully improvised live video show." It was great! We were both really excited about it and when we got back to Chicago, Shaun emailed Neutrino and asked if they'd mind if we produced a version of the show here. They were fine with that and we were off.

So, we're calling "The Neutrino Project" in honor of the creators. And lemme give them a shout-out here that they've been super helpful in sharing all their hard-won knowledge with us.

We've got a cast: Becky Eldridge, Shaun Himmerick, Russ LaChanse, Elizabeth McNaughton, Beth Melewski, Tim Sniffen, Andrea Swanson, and Zach Ward. And a crew: me, Andy Eninger, Cesar Jaime, Cesar's buddy (whose contact info I still don't have, Cesar), Michael Starcevich, and Greg Inda in the booth. Oh yeah, and somehow Shaun tricked me into being the director.

Shaun found two weekends free in the WNEP schedule, so we're going up August 31 and September 7 (both Saturdays at 10:30). One month to:

But, Fuzzy, what's this show about, how does it work? Maybe I'll get around to that next entry. I have to explain it to the cast at our first rehearsal tomorrow night, so hopefully I'll have a concise explaination by then.

Posted by Fuzzy at 3:47 PM