The One About… Acting Without A Net…

There was an old joke about improvisational acting – Improv is acting without a net, and Annette is often quite annoyed about it.

Yes, a bad pun. But sometimes, Improv is about bad puns, but also about making the unreal real – it’s about offering and sharing – communication between performers – sharing on the fly, building between, being open to offerings that make what you create on stage a harmony. It’s as close to jazz as acting ever gets.

If working off a script is a symphony, then improv is jazz. And just as not everyone can be a classical violinist, not everyone can be Charlie Parker. Just as not everyone can be Meryl Streep, they also can’t be Wayne Brady.

This weekend (11/11/17), I get to be just a little bit of Wayne Brady. Except, of course, I’m not black. Or tall. Or anywhere that good looking.

Improvmania-mainI had promised it would take something awesome to drag me out of the retirement rocker. Improv is pretty awesome. Paul Ortigoni and his I Am 50 Million organization is VERY awesome. Combine the two, and there I am. ImprovMania29 (Yes, he’s been doing these a while now) in Winter Springs, FL.

Tickets here. Veterans Day 2017, so Active Duty and Vets get in free.

Even Annette.

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The One About… Bio versus Biography

Hmm...As a novelist, one option I have is to include an “About the Author” page at the end of my novels. It adds a little extra bulk but gives the reader a little insight into who I am. The current version can be seen here on the website on my Biography page here.

Here’s the thing. I can fill a few paragraphs inside a book. But on a book jacket or the back cover of a trade paperback, you want something much more succinct – one or two sentences at most that give a flavor about you. My existing biography is way too big for that task.

So I’ve been considering what my short bookjacket bio should look like will be. These change over time, but since I’m in the midst of a rebranding, a new brief bio (as opposed to biography) is appropriate. As of now, it reads like this:

D.G. Speirs is a storyteller, novelist and voice actor living in central Florida with his cats, George and Harry. He keeps searching for better stories to tell, even if he has to make them up himself.

A different version for online locations reads:

D.G. Speirs is a storyteller, novelist, and voice actor living in central Florida. He keeps searching for better stories to tell, even if he has to make them up himself. His latest novel, TRIANGLE: WILDCARD is available now on amazon.com.

As noted, both works in progress, but I like the flavor of it. More to come, I’m sure.

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The One About… Jerry Brown, Marshall McLuhan, and Me

I graduated in 1979 as part of the first graduating class from Irvine High School in Irvine, CA. I am pleased to say that for the most part, I left the place in the rear-view mirror and, except for a few scattered moments of weakness, have not entertained any desire to return.

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However, despite the thorough unpleasantness that occurred to me there (I’ll describe that another time), there were some very excellent moments. One happened in February of 1978, when the then Governor (and now current Governor), Jerry Bown, along with the Superintendent of Schools, Wilson Riles, came to visit. Irvine High was chosen as one of the host cities for the PIRS conference – Project Interactive Regional Satellites. The idea was to allow schools to have two-way satellite time for real-time video communication. The highlight was a conversation between Brown and futurist Marshall McLuhan.

It would have been nice if we students could have had a chance to speak, but it wasn’t on the agenda. Still, this was a groundbreaking moment. Imagine – schools talking, sharing instructors in real-time across the country using dedicated closed circuit channels.

Four months later, Prop 13 hit California and blew this up. It was nice while it lasted.

D. G. Speirs Teleconferences with NLMS

Author D. G. Speirs conducts a teleconference with students at North Lake Middle School in Lake Stevens, WA. 10-12-2017, Photo : D. G. Speirs

Fast forward to today. I spent the better part of two hours answering questions from fifty students at North Lake Middle School a continent away using technology McLuhan could only dream of, helping them understand the nuances of writing and performing a monologue, all with brighter sound and a bigger picture than McLuhan and Brown had then. I have to marvel, because what was a VBD two generations ago (think of the intellectual and political firepower involved) was NBD today. The teacher and I arranged this in a week, and we popped in and out using existing off the shelf hardware and free software (Google Hangouts) for this

The kids have lined up a dozen deep to read my Triangle books in the library, some are also beta reading the Hex manuscript as well. I’m available to review and comment on any of their monologues. Most of all, we had fun. Media itself as the message? Perhaps. Seems more Aldous Huxley than McLuhan. But it definitely is taking what I saw four decades ago for granted now. Brave new world indeed.

 

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