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Judy Carter
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Rehearse like Dean

A lot of my comedian friend’s po po the Greg Dean book “Step by Step to Stand up” I found it to be a bit confusing in the process of writing a joke and  I am still to this day a Judy Carter school of comedy guy when it comes to joke writing. But Greg Dean has changed my performing and remembering of sets and I have to say I have gotten nothing but complement from day one of using his technique.

I think the greatest complement I have gotten to date about my stand up was from my buddy Mayo, He hasn't seen me perform in a long time and we were in a contest together and after I performed.

“That was the best set I have seen you do, So much better than that crap you were doing at the Philly’s Phoniest Contest”

Prior to this technique I have been told that if you were not looking at me why I was telling jokes that it sounded like I was reading them line for line. That was hard to take, but a great to know. That is why I am not an actor and don’t really want to be one.

I suggest you get the book or even better audio book, even though the voice on the audio book is annoyingly goofy.  So I am not going to write word for word how it works I will just say how it worked for me. I don’t want to write an entire chapter just what I have learned that works for me.

Rehearsing for my type of comedy: I am would be called a story teller type of comedian. I don’t have or use one liner type jokes, I build all my sets to have a running theme and I try very hard to have a natural flow from bit to bit… this is just how I am.

What I learned from Dean:

There are 2 stages of rehearsal and they are separated into “The Critic” and “The Creator” and you need to teach yourself to separate these two jobs/ways of thinking. This is the most important thing I have learned.  The reasoning behind this is that if you rehearse your set with “The Critic” correcting you at the same time you are working on your delivery and tone your are building that little negative “Critic” voice into your head during the your set. So this negative voice will come on stage with you and distract you why you are supposed to be delivering your set and having fun with your audience.

What to do with “The Critic”

You need to give the critic his voice just not why you’re going over your delivery and staging.

You need to use the critic to your advantage he is your friend, and if you use him he will make you a better comedian/writer.

Record your sets and practice sets then listen to it as the critic… make notes of what to change, then work that into the set.

Always critique your work in a space different from your practice area; you don’t even want to see the critic’s space from your practice area. Keep them physically and mentally separated.

What to do when you’re “The Creator”

This is when you are writing everyday like you should.

This is when you are practicing your delivery and staging and open mikes and thinking of what will make a great bit, and watching people.

This is when you learn your set: I am in love with the method I am about to tell you about… its works so well for me I no longer bring my set with me to shows or open mikes, I don’t have a set list and I am so much more relaxed about my jokes/bits. It may not work for everyone but it works for me and I love it. So here we go…again buy the book for better detail.

Don’t learn the words to the jokes: this is the wrong thing to do. You need to turn your bits into Pictures, Sounds and Feelings…sounds a bit odd right. It a way of turning the bit into a real memory that you can recall like telling a story about something that actually happened to you.

If you have a set with say 3 POV (Points of views) like You , The Narrator and a Third character (3 for this example) you will tell that joke or experience from each of those points of views act them out try to get the feel for all three of their feeling. Build an experience where you are more apt to remember the moment not the joke.

Do this until you are no longer trying to remember the words of the bit and now you are imagining that story about the experience you had.

I understand that there are particular words that you need to use for some bits… just practice them into the experience and why that word is being used.

Body Language 55, Tone 38 and Words 7: these are the percentages of how people get their information so build that tonal and body language into your set during the creative. Watch your set with the sound off and see what your body is saying. It’s amazing how many things you can do with body language and vocal tones to get the point across.

I am remembering my sets so much better and having more fun, I have a long way to go but I think this is a great way to rehearse.

 

Developing New Material

Whether you're just starting stand-up, or you've had your special on Comedy Central, when developing new material, we're all reduced to beginner rank.

We all go through the same process with new material, and the methods Judy Carter uses  to take some raw ideas and polish them might help as you try to turn your rough ideas into gems.

So - here's some tips on developing new material:

1. Record your ideas as they come to you.

Funny ideas don't just magically appear when you sit down to write them.Ideas are your master -- and you are their bitch.  They'll show up when they feel like it, and you'd better jump to it and record them when they happen.

With an iPhone, this is easy; just talk and record.  But for me, the hard part's transcribing all the recordings.  (280 at last count.)  If you're like me and can't stand to listen to your own voice, get someone else to transcribe your audio rantings for you.   is cheap and gets the job done fast.


2.  Stand-up is like exercise.

Just because you got your body in shape two years ago doesn't mean it'll stay in shape.  You've got to work it every day.  And that means ALWAYS setting a goal for yourself to keep improving.

Create a specific goal for each performance, whether it's trying out some new material, working the crowd, or just making it through a set without being set on fire.


3. Get yourself a posse.

Doing stand-up alone is a one-way ticket to hell.  Depending on other comics you barely know to give you support is like asking a suicide bomber for a hug.  You probably won't get it, and it may not turn out well even if you do.

Once a week I get together with my comedy buddy to jam new material, and then we do the open mikes together. That way, we help each other tweak, change, or throw out material.  And we each have a better sense of what will (or won't) work for the other after seeing their material tried in front of an actual audience.  Click to get a comedy buddy.


4. After trying new material on stage, write it out verbatim.

Make sure you record your set at every open mike, and take the time later to transcribe it precisely.  Seeing your material in black and white will help you take out unnecessary words on the way to the laugh.  And very often, you'll find that you unintentionally said something just a tiny bit differently than last time - but the very small difference in wording made all the difference in getting a huge laugh.

5. Know where the laughs are (or where they should be).

When you deliver your material, especially the new stuff, have the guts to punch every joke and hold for the laugh.  That takes balls, or ovaries, or whatever you have that gives you courage.  If a joke doesn't work, there's an awkward silence when you pause.  It's scary, but it's the only way you'll know if the joke bombed - or if you just talked through what could have been a laugh because you were nervous.

6. Breathe.

We do it every day, but for some reason it's easy to forget when you're holding a microphone.  A full inhale and exhale without words helps separate your jokes, improves your timing, and gives you the appearance of confidence.(If you look like you think your stuff is funny, it's a little easier to convince the audience.)

This helpful info comes from my idol Judy Carter: 

 

 

Stop Waiting for Fame

I had to share this its from my mentor Judy Carter here is a link to the original post:

OK, you've read my book, The Comedy Bible, and you probably have a standup act -- or a least a journal full of ideas.

So, now what? How do comics get from being "nobody" to being "somebody"? How do you find fame?

The problem I see is that there are so many talented people who have all the desire for fame - but who aren't willing to do what it takes to be successful. (No, I don't mean anything X-rated.)

Many comics haven't realized that the way to fame has changed. They're engaged in "old school" showbiz, thinking that someone will come see them perform and discover them. But nobody is coming, because times have changed. There are plenty of ways for agents, managers, and others to discover talent without even going to clubs, and so some of them have stopped going. That's why you may have to discover yourself -- and take steps to start your career on your own.

You may not have control over fame choosing you, but you can choose and control working your craft, developing your ideas, writing that script, or directing a YouTube movie. That's something you can do without needing anyone else's approval or money.

Recently, I was talking to an actress friend of mine who said, "I want to do a TV talk show. I would be a great interviewer."

At first, I wanted to discourage her, because I know how hard it is to get a talk show on network TV, especially if you're not a household name. But, then I thought, "You want to do a talk show - then just friggin' do it!"

Anyone who wants to star in their own show can do it with a few friends, a cheap camera, and an Internet connection. Many of the recipients of movie, TV, and book deals include people who got their start by creating DIY shows on YouTube.

Justin Bieber was a virtual unknown until his soon-to-be manager accidentally happened

Justin Bieber upon his YouTube videos. Comedian Bo Burnham received so many hits on YouTube that Comedy Central Records picked him up and started producing his albums. There are many, many more stories like these, because online is the new Hollywood.

It's hard to do it all yourself - but don't use that as an excuse to stop your career from happening.

Don't know how to edit, shoot video, or write? Check out Craigslist. There, you can find your production team. But, if you can't get past these problems on small projects -- how are you going to handle the huge projects that come with success?

After you produce your work, you need to find your audience. But in new school Hollywood, you don't need to hire an expensive publicist. You can use Twitter, Facebook, and email programs to find and grow your audience, or as the industry calls it, your "platform."

Having a "platform" played a big part in my getting another book deal with a generous advance. Being the author of several successful books in the past doesn't guarantee getting a deal anymore in a down economy. So, I spent four months writing a really convincing book proposal. The bulk of the proposal was highlighting my "platform" of comics and speakers who I assist with reaching their career goals, to reassure the publisher that they weren't taking too much of a risk.

A few years ago, people in the industry didn't need this level of assurance. But we are in tough times, where nobody is taking a chance on anything. Even if you are famous and successful, you still have to do the grunt work to get the big deals. Just showing up with an idea is no longer enough.

My friend is an Emmy award winning executive producer in reality TV. Even though she is extremely successful in the past and has a big shot agent, she still can't just show up and pitch an idea. So she's spent months writing up detailed treatments with act breaks, auditioned and cast her shows, and produced three minute "sizzle reels" for each show idea. She essentially does the entire show, herself, on her dime.

Are you willing to put your own money and time into producing your ideas? Because if you don't believe in what you're doing - why would anyone else?

If you are really passionate about what you do - then DIY your career.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. The hard work it takes to get anything done tends to weed out the unmotivated. That means there's less competition out there for those of us who don't just talk about doing something, but who do the work needed to make something happen.

This blog often feels like a full-time job, but it is an integral part of my DIY promotion platform. I don't have advertisers or a publishing house saying here's $50 write us something funny each week. But, this blog gives me a chance to share my knowledge with those that need it and I guess for now that's payment enough. (Psst - I offer coaching services)

Click here to leave your feedback, or on the following links to get tips on out how to produce a sizzle reel and typical submission guidelines for a book proposal.

And don't be afraid to ask people to follow you. If you don't ask, they won't.

-Judy

Comic Timing

I recently decided to learn more about comic timing or as some would call it the delivery. There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to this: “either you have it or you don’t” and the “it can be learned” school of thought. I like everything in my life was not born with this so I am a firm believer that anything can be learned. (Even thought I never learned to spell!)

The comedians that I like all have great timing, strong characters and smart jokes. I need to get my timing down in order to get my character or persona, with that I can deliver and write great jokes for myself.

Timing became my next area to work on when I recently sped through my set in a contest… because I was nervous and really felt I could have done so much better. Not saying I would have placed in the contest, but better competing with myself. (I am always competing with the Jess that performed his last show)… I watched my video and was so let down that I did not pause in places , sped through the set so fast that what I had times as 5 min was actually 4.5 in the end… that is 30 seconds of timing out the window.

Here is the bad set and you can see that I was way to fast… My start was rough so I think I did the age old beginners mistake of trying to get to a punch… I am a story teller that is the kiss of death for my style of stand up.

 

Here are some basic things to keep in mind.

One thing I have done is stepped on my laughs… We work so hard to get them to laugh and you don’t want top squash that… this is when you go into another joke too early and don’t enjoy the praise… this does 2 things… one they will not really hear the beginning of your next joke or the set up… and two… you are actually training them not to laugh… seriously! There is like a bell curve to the timing in this situation… You need to wait till they get to the loudest point of that laugh then once they go over the top and start to go down in volume you can start to go into your nest set up or tag what you just did.

Vocabulary: A beat is a pause taken for the purposes of comic timing, often to allow the audience time to recognize the joke and react, or to heighten the suspense before delivery of the expected punch line.

Slapstick timing Comic timing can also be seen in the more physical forms of comedy as well. Every slapstick comedian from Charlie Chaplin onwards has relied on the physical joke being made at justthe right time. The bucket of water never falls until the audience has built up for it to just the right level. Farce The farce is another example of comic timing. Here, the humour is derived both from rapid speech and rapid movement — people running into and out of rooms at breakneck speed and managing to cause havoc in the process as done to perfection in the series Fawlty Towers.

Pregnant pause A pregnant pause (as in the classical definition, "many possibilities") is a technique of comic timing used to accentuate a comedy element, where the comic pauses at the end of a phrase to build up suspense. It's often used at the end of a comically awkward statement or in the silence after a seemingly non-comic phrase to build up a comeback. Refined by Jack Benny, the pregnant pause has become a staple of stand-up comedy.

Here are some great things I have found on the internet pertaining the Timing. If you know me I have not leaned to do these yet. I am just sharing the information I find as I learn it… so don’t judge me…lol You must know the joke. You have to know exactly where the laughs are and leave room for the audience to react. Your laughs come from your knowledge of them, not accidentally.

Hint: Punchlines do NOT have to be just words. There are a number of reasons that new comedians don’t pause enough to allow an audience to laugh:

1. Having a set that is too long for the time allotted—so there is no time built in for the audience to laugh.

2. Nervousness and increased adrenalin, causing the comedian to “barrel through” their act.

3. Lack of confidence in their comedy material.

4. Absence of proper preparation or improper preparation that doesn’t account for pauses for laughter. Most new comedians don’t even really know when to start talking again when they do get a big laugh (Hint: You don’t wait until there’s complete silence to start talking again).

Here’s my stand-up-showcase tip for today: There are only two things that happen when a comedian is on stage—the comedian is talking or the audience is laughing. Giving audiences sufficient time to laugh is a HUGE part of comedy timing.

Stage Time Continuum

Have you ever seen a new comic show up everywhere, or every time your at an open mic you see this person, sure in the beginning they may not be that great, but then you start to see them evolving, changing and the whole time you are seeing this happen on stage faster that other comedian you have seen for a while… its call the “stage time continuum”. These comics are not better than you or the other comedians from the start, but they are doing what they need to do to be better than you. Get as much time on stage as possible to get the bad jokes out of the way, become comfortable on stage, the learn the best way to use the mic, to deal with hecklers, and all the other fun stuff that happens on stage. You need to get that out of the way, the unknown is the thing we fear the most.

So when something really shitty happens on stage, you are lucky; you just got that out of the way and it wont happen when your doing your Comedy Central Spot.

What are these stage junkies doing actually? They are getting their brains use to the fact that they go on stage and get in front of people. Turns out that this is a very important exercise for the way our brains and bodies work.  I have been reading more about how the brain work and less about wring jokes, and here is a nugget of info I can share with you.

Turns out getting on stage is stressful to most people, even comedians who have done it for a very long time can have stage fright type stress…

Stress tells the brain to go into a Fight or Flight mode… this is a basic built in function we have to survive.  If you feel some stress you get adrenalin released, this is fine...  it gives you the energy and sharpness you want. If you get too stressed that is where there is an issue… when this accurse the brain releases a chemical called . This is made more or less to make the body work and think about the muscle reactions and less about the way the brain works, your brain usually goes to either anger or fear during this step. So this is what makes you forget the words you use to know so easily. This stress hormone is associated with memory loss, if you have too much or two little released, it makes you lose attention and can actually hurt the brain. It can interfere with the brain cells ability to communicate with each other; can even evoke your freeze alarm. It’s “The dear in the headlights moment.” It’s not fun to be that dear on stage!

Cortisol : Its supposed to help bring your blood flow to the muscles and away from your  , this is good if you saw a tiger and needed to run, not if you are going to walk onto a stage with 1000 people looking at you. It can compromise your working memory; it can even hurt your ability to form new memories. If that is not bad enough long turn stress can actual cause your Cortisol levels to stay high and damage your brain, impairing your ability to remember and causes hippocampus damage.

So chill out de-stress, and get on that stage, get on any stage you can and get those hour’s of stage time under your belt. Your going to get your body use to the stage 5 min at a time and learn each and every time you’re up there. I recently did a show that was my first time doing 25 min in front of a literally sold out room.  I went out there and did only 17 min of material, forgot a few key phrases and second halves to my bits. This is what I am talking about… I need to get on the stage more and get use to this.

I am lucky that the other things I have read helped with my performance: I was not robotic, I had fun with the audience, I slowed down when I needed two and even went back to a joke that I forgot earlier. The audience did not know what I forgot and it was still a fun show.

So it's time to hit the stage as much as I can.

 

Improv Class’s

I have taken up to level 3 of Philadelphia's PHIT Improv class's and currently doing a Level one in NY at the Magnet (Long Form) as well as Comedy Sports (Short Form)

I will be comparing the two and contrasting them and how they are helping me in "Stand up" and "Public speaking".

Here is what we did last week in Long form class:

We warmed up with a “pass-the-clap” game, a game of “Thank you statue” and “Samurai warriors/swords”.  Then we did a bunch of warm-up scenes and spent a lot of time on object work.  Half of us got up and we did a bunch of scene initiations (of important moments in life) where one person initiates and someone else joins.  After that we did a bunch of “describe the environment” scenes with a suggestion of a location, where both scene partners looked around the stage and described the environment to each other/the audience.  There was a great moment in one of those scenes where two guys were in a bomb shelter and someone said “I hate your kids”.  Rick talked about how we sometimes get so caught up in talking about the space/coming up with dialogue in our head that we miss a jewel of a line, like that. He stopped the scene and pointed this out, and the scene continued…it was hilarious!  While describing the space and interacting with the environment are meant to free us up, Rick’s point was, sometimes the opposite happens.  Sometimes we get so caught up with “working” in the scene that you don’t listen.  But you can do both – both improvisers can have wants and can be interacting with the environment, as long as you’re listening to each other.  How two people interact is good enough to make the scene great.  

We took a break and came back with a warm-up game of “Zip, zap, zop” and more scenes with suggestions of locations.  We did another listening exercise, “Back-to-back” scenes, where two people sat in chairs with their backs to each other and had to really listen to what the other person was saying.  It makes you really slow down and listen.  Rick said to think of it as a ping-pong match where someone hits the ball to you, you take your time and then return the ball to them.  It forces you not to get ahead of yourself and to make the scene about the two of you, not about some preconceived notion.  We finished the class with some object monologues where each person took on the perspective of an inanimate object in a location and had to speak from the point of view of that object.

Lessons:

-Naming stuff – don’t wait, name things as soon as you can... This is in one of those cases where you are holding an inviable object and the other person on the stage and you are referring to its quolities but not saying what it is... this can lead you down a path of trying to figure out what can have all those quolities...

Its so big
Look at those eyes great shade of blue I must say
It looks delicouse..

Just name it and move on

-Object work – it doesn’t matter if what you’re doing is accurate, just as long as YOU know what you’re doing.  In addition to that, anything that we do/say is more REAL when we see the space in our head

-Don’t be afraid to REACT to what someone says and to have a POINT OF VIEW – you always want to be effected in a scene.  Having a point of view can be a great source of info – a point of view fuels what you say, and in turn, what you say fuels your point of view

-If it’s fun, keep doing it!!! – even if it’s silly (i.e. rolling around on the floor as if you're doing BAD yoga), if you’re having fun, the audience is probably having fun too

Two Main Take-Aways

1) “Ping-Pong Effect” – slow down and let yourself be effected/react to your partner

2) Have a point of view

**These two things combined take the pressure off of us to think.  The details and richness will all come naturally if you’re coming from a place of natural reaction**

Lessons from the first class:

-Truth in Comedy -- most impactful stuff comes from real life 
-Yes, and... - everything that happens on stage is information

Here is what we did in The Short form Class:

We started off talking about the golden rule of  "Yes and" and then what they called the platform this is the relationship, place and issue of the scene ... In short form you need to get to it faster to get to the comedy... Short is all about the joke in the scene.

We then did the pass the clap same as above, the Big booty (one of my favorite games)  then we did the name game where we just learned each others names while clapping hands with people to the left and right of us.

We lined up 4 on one side and 3 on the other and did a 3 line exorcizer where we had to get the relationship and place established within in 3 lines. But use natureal feeling sentences.

Then we did the same thing but with environment work, someone comes out and starts miming the actions they are doing in the environment, the other person joins the scene and they go from there just like above.

5 things: you ask the person next to you to list 5 things ... Example List 5 new words to be added to the dictionary, or 5 Spielberg movies that never got made... start off interesting , then go crazy. As they are listing the 5 things walk around the circle and back to your spot.

The statue game, then Statue thank you, then we turned away from the stage and said freeze during a scene and walked out and took that persons exact position. Started a new scene based off the position.

Worlds Worst: a where you play out situations with characters that are the worlds worse...Doctor,lawyer, husband, handyman...get it.

We then circled up and did story time where we each say a sentence to a story building the character in the first round, then the problem second round then the solution 3rd round.

We finished up with a talk about being clean, and how its better to learn to get the laughs being clean then you know how to break the rules in the future if you want. and how different parts on the country have their improv tastes...like Philadelphia likes clever and even some innuendo, but the Midwest is more about shtick corny!

Two Main Take-Aways

Short is about the funny the comedy and long is about the truth the real.

Both Long and Short form have some of the greatest people you will ever have the fortune to work with.

 

 

A note from Judy

Standup and Speakers

Use this technique to write funnier material

By Judy Carter

I've got a new favorite set-up I'm using that's so new it's not even in "The Comedy Bible." I call it, "Reluctant Admissions" and here's how it works:  I make a big, bold statement of "truth" and then I have to admit that it was actually a total lie.  Now, here's how you put it into action...

Recently, I was performing for a Canadian audience and I said:

[STATEMENT] "We have so much in common, you're from Canada - I'm from Canada!"

[ADMISSION ONE] "Well, not exactly 'Canada' Canada...'"

[ADMISSION TWO] "Actually, that's just what I tell people when I'm travelling through France."

Here's another example:

[STATEMENT] I lost 120 pounds!

[ADMISSION ONE] Well... I didn't exactly lose all of it at once.

[ADMISSION TWO] Well, actually - I just lost and gained the same 10 pounds twelve times.

Your turn now. Riff on this:

 

[STATEMENT] I finished my first 5K yesterday!

[ADMISSION ONE]

[ADMISSION TWO]

And you don't have to be a comic to add this to your spiel. It's a great opening joke for speakers and comics alike!

Did you really Kill?

From "Talent is Over rated" one of the best lessons I have learned:

Basic Conditioning and Simulation:

The equivalent to this in sports conditioning:  NFL linemen doing leg presses, so they can have explosive power and energy. A tennis player work on their stamina so they can still get to the ball 3 hr into match.

Rebuilding your basic skills sets is conditioning. This will make you stronger and faster in your chosen area. The truth is every linebacker even in high school does leg presses, but how many Comedians and Public Speakers work on their skill base?

Say you are a public Speaker or Comedian… Basic writing is needed for the presentations structure and joke structure are the base over all skill set. We all need to maintain the basic skills we have for our jobs or goals. People forget things the longer it’s been sense you first learned or worked on your initial skill, in my case writing  jokes and story structure skills. So I need to reread The Elements of Style as a book on writing, or Judy Carters 5 Steps to joke writing, or Truth in Comedy for improv.

Focused simulation: Athletes spend time on specific skills like pitching a baseball or serving a tennis ball, or hitting a golf ball out of the sand, they are all about your specific skills. They must be performed differently each time to simulate real life changes. Unlike a musician who practices the notes witch will never change. But for a quarterback no 2 passing situations will be the same.

Analyze others speeches and talks, and think what you would do differently. Analyze how a comedian that is on the top of their game is working the audience or set up their set list building the energy of their show and controlling the experience for the audience.

Self Regulation: (Background reading reminder) I read a month or so back in the Dean book that during rehearsal our goal is to rehearse the critic out of the performance so you do not have that critical voice in your head getting in the way of your performance. So keep this in mind. I also like to keep the idea of doing your edits in a different part of the room as you rehearse your delivery and entire set in keep that critic physically separate from your actor.

Deep practice is self regulation and its about learning and how to get better at performing a particular skill or getting better at performance in general.
One major aspect is Goal Setting:
A poor performer:
will not have any goal for that day. They just slug through their set without an aim other than to do the set. There is nothing they are striving to do better.
A mediocre performer: sets goals that are general basically to get to a good outcome. Get a laugh.
A great performer: Sets goals that will help them in the future. Like work on audience participation, don’t use a particular nervous twitch word like “um” or use more body language or voice inflection. Then see if you matched your goal, see if you can get better at a specific goal you set.

The next step is to reach that goal.
Make an exact plan, if your goal is to How exactly will they reach this goal? It’s more about the process to the outcome not just the outcome.
Attitude: Planning a goal and sticking to it everyday sounds had and you will need motivation… Where do you get it?
Self efficacy: your ability to perform and believing that all the work will pay off.

Feedback: We need to self evaluate only we can know what the goals were and if me met out goals.

Excellent Performers: are more specific and set the bar for them setting s specific goal and aiming only to match that goal. Sometimes they compare their performance to their own personal best, or other performers on their level or the best in that field. The key is to know when. Choose a comparison that will stretch you just beyond your current limits.

Mediocre Performers: are content with telling themselves they “Killed” or did great or poorly or ok.

Everything I have read to-date says not to set your goals so high that no meeting them will discouraging and not very constructive, on the other hand too low a standard produces no advancement. If you pushed your appropriately and evaluated yourself rigorously then you would have identified errors that you made. (No one is perfect) A critical part of self evaluation is figuring out what caused the errors.

Mediocre Performers: believe that their errors were caused by someone or thing outside their control… My fellow comedian got lucky, the audience was cold, and I was put on to late or early in the show…

Top Performers: believe they are responsible for their errors; this is not a personality thing. Remember the Pro set very specific goals and worked on specific skill sets, so if something did not work they can look back and pinpoint the part of their performance that may have misfired.

In the world of Golf a champion performer does not blame the weather or the green for a bad performance, they blame themselves.

So when you get off stage: Odds are strong the experience was not perfect, how do you respond? That part were unpleasant. Top Performers: Respond by adapting the way they act. They can make an educated guess on what actions they should change then repeat that situation with a tweaked goal and do better. They believe in their pressing on and making their work pay off.

Mediocre Performers: Respond by avoiding those situations in the future, not working on that bit till it gets the response you are looking for. Average performers did not have an action plan and blame things on the environment and are clueless on how to adapt. They will not repeat the performance, it they do they will not have adapted and not gotten any better.

Deep Knowledge: Educate yourself about the Domain you work in… Become an expert in your industry; learn all you can about the field. The more you know the better you will be. The opportunity to learn about your domain is easier to do than you think. We have the internet and written history about just about anything. Learn how that info works and functions as a system a working model.

Put it this way: You probably know how to drive and it works for you and you are failure to some well traveled routs and you may even pay attention to gas prices. But a Top performing Truck drive posses an extremely rich mental modal of his domain. He understands all the subsystems of his vehicle, hydraulic, mechanical, electric and how they interact, he knows 100’s of routs and their features as well as speed limits, weather conditions, police activity, gas prices, state licensing requirements and so much more. He knows how it all works together.

A Rich Mental Model helps all performers in 3 essential ways:
A Mental Model forms the framework for how you hang the knowledge you learn about your domain. Top performers can reach into their memory and use facts specific to their domain, because they understand their domain. They organize so the information can be used and absorbed better and faster. Because you have a mental model you know where that information fits and works with other information, creating a larger working structure to pull from.

A Mental Model helps you distinguish relevant information from irrelevant information. This is valuable when you’re in new situations, it allows you to free up valuable mental resources to work on what’s really important. Focusing on what’s most important.

A Mental Model will help you project what happens next… Because you understand how the system works you can better know the results from particular inputs. How the events that just happened will create the events of what will happen. A mental model is never finished; it’s always growing and changing.

You need to keep those skills sharp, Set some goals, be realistic on your achievements, and learn all you can about your field. Comedy is not all fun and games and speaking is not just talking. Start thinking better to do better!

Joke Thief

To catch a joke thief is so much better than actual rumors of it happening. I remember reading about Robin Williams and hearing about some of the comedians once they get on TV...(Look to the Right) My Girl Judy Carter talks about stealing jokes in the first paragraph of her book and in the beginning of her DVD and Audio programs... Stealing is our only rule. Our comedian golden rule. So be on the up and up and realize if you are taking the work of another comedian...your are only cheating yourself.

I want to just finish this with a word to those of you who worked your but off writing a bit that is really close to another comedians work. That does happen... The California Comedy Coach says that we may have seen a comedian do this set forgotten about it and then wrote the joke not realizing it. But there is no way you will end up with it being word for word like this guy did.

We can even have bits that are in the style of or "Seinfeld or Mitch esk" that is also not stealing. I have been in the room when a comedian calls another comedian out for it. but unless its your joke being lifted I would stay out of it. Some times comedians do sell bits to one another, so I would just say don't be one to soil another comedians good name because you didn't know what you were talking about. You cant take that stuff back. Its too small of a community and that stuff gets around true or not.

Deliberate or Spontaneous Creativity

It is starting to amaze me how all my reading materials are crossing paths and starting to support each other theory, this is better than anything I have done is school. Here’s the meeting of the minds as you would say:

In “The War of Art” : After he writes for about 4 hrs he takes a hike in the woods, and during that hike corrections and ideas would come to him. He would carry a voice recorder to take notes of the great feedback. (Things like: the opening line on page 158 is to much like the one on 456… Change the word X to Y… and so on.) He calls it his “Angels in the Abstract”, or refers to it as our minds super computer going through a background process, crunching information.

In the book “Talent is Over Rated” it referred to how practicing something that you find the most difficult / uncomfortable out of the desired "skill set" that your focused on learning. Going over it “over and over” with a deliberate focused on the things your least able to comprehend.  You need to amerce yourself in the information and work on the part that you least comprehend you will increase your skill set over all. It’s called Deliberate Practice.

Yet another book I al working through is “The Talent Code” and this is also about the way training in a very particular way will get you to learn better and create strong pathways in the brain for better thought processing. This is called “Deep Practice”.

Example: Let’s say you’re at a party and you see someone you know but you can not remember their name… if someone tells you their name you learn nothing, but if you figure it out and correctly retrieve that information you just worked or engraved into your memory and you practiced finding that name deeper.

The current book I am reading is called “Your Creative Brain” and again this process comes up as the concept of Deliberate and Spontaneous paths of creativity. The two use different parts of the brain:

The Deliberate Processes like problem solving, retrieving knowledge, and making plans are the so called “higher order thinking” that is the Lateral areas of the Prefrontal Cortex. Remember I talked about the “CEO or the Executive” calling the shots in the brain, that what this area is… looking for facts and making decisions.

The Spontaneous Process the areas of the brain that are used/activated are the Medial (middle) Prefrontal Cortex and other midline areas in the frontal and parietal lobes as well as areas in the rear of the brain. These are areas also associated when you are daydreaming. But most important these are the areas now associated with things like spontaneous thought and imagination, reverie and envisioning the future.

When you create you do something no one has ever done before, because it’s never been done there is no rule books for how to proceed. You have to forge ahead, blaze new trails, stepping onto the edge of chaos and look over the edge to infinity… well sort of there are some rules we can learn from. And lucky for us written accounts of creative processes have been notes since the early Greeks.

Here is a great example of  how all of the above come together back in the day.  There was this dude called Archimedes and he was given the task to find out the volume of gold in an intricate crown for this King Hiero, who was having some trust issues with his jewelers.

Archimedes was racking his brain over the issue trying to figure it out for some time and decided he needed a break, so I went to the baths and as he was getting into the water he noticed the water was splashing out of the tub, more and more as he submerged himself and it hit him. Eureka! Without even thinking he ran to his down the street buck naked trying to get to his pad to prove his hypothesis. The volume of an irregular shape can be calculated by noting the amount of water displaced when the object was submerged…

See how that works… Here is a doodle from the book I took a snapshot of.

Preparation Stage is made up of 4 main components:

1) Gathering General Knowledge

Sense the basic premise of creative ideas is that they are original and useful combinations of recombinations of desperate bits of information. Then is stands to reason that the more stuff you know the more creative you can be. “I had an improv teach Amie who told us that to be great at improve we have to have as many interests out side of improve as we can, that will give us more fuel to use in improve.“

No one else had the mental library that you have; this is what makes us all unique you have stuffed in your brain every memory from how to hold a spoon to quantum theory. So the more you know the more you want to know.

2) Acquiring Specific Skills and Information

So here you need to acquire the skills specific to the endeavor you looking to take on, in my case I want to be better at public speaking, writing joke, speeches and motivation.

So if you want to paint you need to learn about color theory, brushes, how to spread paint on a canvas, what colors are used in shadow, how to draw using perspective and so on. So you need to learn about what has been done before, experts call this “Learning your Domain” Learning all you can about your specific endeavor not only will this generate even more interests for you it will also help you with the next step.

3)Problem Finding

This is the search or – a definition of--- a problem or dilemma that can be solved with a creative idea. This is another way of saying finding new ways that things can be done or done differently. Seurat was a painter but painted with Dots not Strokes.

4) Problem Immersion

You consider the problem or dilemma from many angles, every aspect, turning it over and over in your mind and attempt to generate potential solutions. You marry yourself to the problem, temporary obsession.

Incubation:

Let it go, go rest, turn your attention else wear, go for a walk in the park/woods. This is called incubation stage because you can stare at an egg each day for several weeks but not be aware of the chick developing inside. So now you can send the dilemma you have been thinking so much about to the back burner also knowing that it too is developing out of site like that egg. This is the point where the Deliberate and the Spontaneous paths to creativity diverge.

If you are deliberately trying to solve the problem you will resist the incubation and continue to search for a solution for the problem…That Executive section of the brain active the whole time…You will consciously go over memories and information from the back of your brain until you find a suitable solution.

If you take the spontaneous rout you will notice that taking a break from creative problem solving will have some beneficial effects, like recovery from mental fatigue or recharging your mental batteries. Say that one of the issues you were having was that the wrong answer kept popping up; this break will help you forget about that answer you have become fixated on.

Finally the incubation period will allow you to focus on your environment. Just like Archimedes noticed the water overflow in the baths. You too may see something that can trigger a “Eureka!” moment.

Illumination:

If your spontaneously problem solving, your executive center now needs to delegate the work and the solution will spontaneously spring into consciousness when you least expect it. Some call this illumination, some call this insight the Greeks called this inspiration… this is what “War of art “calls angels in the abstract or the muse. Some call it creative genius… but let’s just make sure you realize, you worked hard for this in the first place.

Verification:

Once your creative solution is here now the real work begins…The verification stage and that has 3 steps: Evaluation, Elaboration, and Implementation.

Not all creative solutions are good for your particular problem. Now you need to see if it’s worth pursuing, you need to look at its strengths and weaknesses. If it’s a keeper you move forward. If its not going to work you start over from the Problem Immersion.

If you like your idea, next comes elaboration you flesh it out… like if your are writing a short story and you have an idea for the plot you can then fill in the story details in this step. At the end of the elaboration stage you should have a finished product.

And the last step implementation, that’s getting your work out there, like for a comedian or speaker like me that is shopping it at open mikes and offering to do speeches for meetings and stuff. If you don’t get it out there is will end up just being some unused work you have laying around gathering dust.

Side note to add to your learning:

I am also reading the book “Spark” and one of the things that is talk a lot about is how cardio vascular exercise helps grow new brain cells as well as releases all kinds of great chemicals for the brain and that after a vigorous half hour of physical activity your brain is primed to learn something. (Note, your brain is not very good at learning and retaining information why you’re on the tread mill, most brain activity is on vital body functions and stuff.) But the part where this comes in is after your work out, if you work on a complex task you brain is able to learn that and build stronger path ways as your learning. This is prime time, you’re a sponge and you need to take advantage of that time. So think of it this way, when you are going to rehearse your set or write you jokes, do it after a good hard 30 min cardio work out and you will be better for it.

 

Picture this situation: I spent weeks prepping and testing my set, I work out the kinks at open mike nights, and rehearsed, thought of my opener, my closer and now, the big day has arrived and it's your moment to step on stage.

The emcee/host takes the mike and says, Well, this next comic.... Is a no baby and I don't know him from Adam.   Now, you're going to have to spend the next five minutes trying to win over an audience that now thinks you're a nobody.  In other words, whether you're a comic or a corporate speaker, you can't leave your intro to the imagination of an emcee. They usually don't have one.


So "WWJCD"  What would Judy Carter do!
Here's a few tips on how to prevent a bad intro from ruining your gig:
Always come to your gig with your intro typed in huge letters. A lot of emcees don't wear their glasses on stage. Make it easy for them to read your intro especially if they are over 40.

Tell the emcee not to improvise, just read it.
Work a joke into your intro. When speaking, I have a little joke at the beginning that tests the temperature of the audience. If they laugh during the intro, I know it's a hot audience. If they don't, I usually readjust my set since this audience is going to need some warming up.
Put your impressive credits right up front.  If you don't have credits yet, find something that could impress the audience even if it's from another field or your mother.
Give the audience an idea of what they can expect. I.e. "One of the top political satirists" or "Stress reduction expert."

End with your name and if your name is anything other than John Do... Spell it out Phonetically for them.

Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain

I am currently in the mode of learning about the BRAIN and how we learn so all this time I am spending learning stuff I could actually “learn” it and be able to recall that information better. I feel that one of the things holding me back as an Improv person is the ability to think quickly and make connections to things faster.

I noticed when I got home from Boot-camp (a calisthenics program I do 2 days a week) I am able to write better and gather information faster. I thought it was just a coincidence that I was more awake and using that energy to get my reading and stuff done. But turns out that is and is not the case.

In the book “Spark” I am about halfway through is all about the science in how the brain and the body are connected and how exercise helps you in so many ways we never knew before. Cardiovascular exercise actually will reduce stress physically in your body and mentally in your brain why at the same time helping your brain grow more cells; yes we grow brain cells when we exercise. We also reduce insulin and produce all kinds of great brain fuels… He calls one of them Miracle Grow for the brain.

This sounds sort of sill if you compare the amount of Dumb Jocks out their and out of shape nerds. But it’s also all about timing. Turns out when you push your heart rate up through exercise the activity of the brain is not focused on absorbing information its thinking about body activities and running our machine type movements.  So trying to study or learn your lines why on a tread mill not a good idea. But after a work out is when your mind is primed for absorbing that knowledge. So in my case I can work out before I do my studies as well as try to rehears my sets and I will get more results out of this.

There is a lot of information in the book, and I am only discussing the things pertinent to Public speaking and Stand up comedy. But if you have any issues like ADD, ADHD, and heightened panic issues, this will help you as well.

The brain actually does work like a muscle in some ways, when you are trying to build a  muscle you work that area over and over again breaking it down to build it up. The brain and memory/learning needs you to keep learning and relearning that concept or Idea in order to strengthen the neural connections building that “Idea”. Thinking of it another way is when you hike in the woods a trail is created from walking that path over and over. You can build a neural path by re examining the concept or idea you are trying to learn over and over and from different angles. This can also work to help you let old bad habits paths grow over from lack of use.

My favorite saying is 30 days makes a habit. If you do it or don’t do it for 30 days you will make a strong path to what you are trying to accomplish.

Q: So What does this have to do with Stand up comedy?

A: A comedian needs to have original ideas witch should be well crafted, A good comedian gets there by writing his bits and rehearsing them. Why not do it after a good healthy work out where you reduce your stress, you can concentrate better when you write your joke, and your ready to absorb your bit or story and you’re healthier for it.

And added benefit, Cardiovascular exercise also helps you with having a richer stronger voice.

So with my latest check up, I was told I am pre-diabetic and I need to lose some weight… I am motivated more now that I can loose weight and gain some funny all at the same time.

 

Today’s lesson I learned about Personal Branding or Brand YOU as it’s called. I wrote about “You INC” from the book The War of Art: Where you treat your Art as a company, you work every day on it, improving it; you separate your private life from your business (Art) and so on… So in this Branding process I am going to bring forward the strengths I want the world to see and remember and get known for who I am and revealing it in a natural way.

I will do this by reinforcing my strengths and minimize any distractions. Distractions are anything that inhibits people getting the point I am trying to put across. Like body language, low self esteem, my clothes, anything that does not align with what I am trying to say. If you get rid of the distractions you are left with a pure message.

I suggest getting this audio file, it’s only like an hour and it’s really helpful, it has a worksheet to help you set your goals and all that fun stuff. You have to think… Most celebrities have a team of agents and PR people working on making their brand. You need to step up for now and figure out your “Brand”

The Problem: I have been in search of a persona for my stand up career… and a bit too into this, to own my detriment I am thinking. I wanted a character I can slip into before I got on stage, I thought it would help. I even went so far as to hire an acting coach, this did not work for me at all. I was trying too hard trying to create a character… Turns out I already have a brand and so do you…But what is it saying about me. I made the hardest decision for my stand up/corporate speaking career and that was to be out as a gay guy, this has cost me many rooms and shows I am sure, but I know that I made the right decision down deep in my heart. So what do I do to make the most or best of this?

Suggested Solution: A brand is not a persona its not some superficial label you ware to pretend you are someone your not… Everyone can spot a fake. True personal branding is shining a light on all the positive facets of who you already are. We all have great things about us, some you let people see and others you don’t, some you know about and some you are not concourse of.

If you’re like me starting a new business/career and want to stand out in the crowd, powering up “brand you” will help you to proactively manage the impact you have on others, improve your self confidence and ultimately help you be more successful. These tips and techniques I am reviewing are useful to senior executives, entrepreneurs, moms returning to work, singers, TV presenters, artists and authors and yes comedians.

People with a strong brand are: Distinctive: they stick out of a crowd. I need that as a public speaker. Natural: they are authentic and genuine. I need to be me and proud of whom I am to get this across. Aligned: they walk their talk in every aspect. Nuff said!

So here is what I learned: There is a three step plan for powering up “brand you”, just think PIE for short.

STEP 1: P- What is Your PRESENT Impact? In many ways we are like a TV station but instead of the picture being clean and clear it fuzzy. What we transmit the good, the bad and the ugly… all of it, and at times that can be so much excess that it causes static or white noise, this can take away from what you are trying to convey all of this is pick up by the other person and usually you have no idea what your projecting to the outside world. That is why getting feedback is so important. There is this exorcise you can do to find out its called “Johari’s Window”:

Open Self:
What you know about yourself and what others know about you.

Blind Spots:
What others see in you, but you’re not aware of yourself. This can be both good and bad.
Example, your eyes my flit around when you are talking with others and they think it’s rude. Or that that others think you are great under pressure.

Hidden Self:
Things you know about yourself but other people might not be aware of, like you speak Spanish, or can play the flute.

Unknown Self:
Things you have not yet discovered about yourself. Being placed in new situations help you find out these qualities.

It’s interesting how it when you show and express your hidden self qualities or move them to your open self it changes how others look at you or perceive you. It reinforces how important it is to know what your blind spots are both for the positive and negative. Best of all as you move into unknown situations this will bring out qualities in you that you never even knew you had. I personally have been experiencing this will all the classes and situations I am finding myself in. I have found that most of the fears I had 2 years ago have been put to rest now that I have faced the unknown.

What you need to do that you can’t do on your own is ask for feedback from others. You need to make sure you realize that this is going to be hard to take at first, and you need to reassure them that you will be a big boy or girl about the feedback…it’s a gift! The perception others have may be hard to take, but if you want to be in the drivers see in your personal brand you need to know what people perceive of you. You need to know what attributes you need to turn up or tune down to get ahead….

But that’s just who I am… I beg to differ, we are all results of Family norms and behaviors that are considered acceptable by those around us, and these are learned behaviors. You can learn to be anything you want and still be intrinsically you. I was raised in a home where foul language was used all the time f bombs were every other word. I learned on my own to not use that language once I moved out of that situation. So it your actions are not working for you now then they can be changes or modified.

STEP 2: I -What is Your IDEAL Impact? Your unique combination of strength usually you would have 2 or 3 leading “P’s” In my case mine are as follows.
Proficiency: (Martha Stewart, Bill Gates) I have 15 years of experience in the design / relative field. Principles: Your code of ethics or values. I am a clean comedian not into blue or dick jokes. I respect those who have different values and principles; I just know what my principles are no judgment. I want to help people. I don’t want to get caught up in any petty controversies. I want to have integrity.

Personality: (Bill Clinton, Gordon Ramsey)
I am a nice guy, guy next door type. I have a hard time talking to strangers but am great with small groups if I have a message or goal.

Passion: (Gandhi, Mother Teresa)
My passion is to inspire people and educate them in diversity (not just race and gay, but the poor is also looked down upon and the less educated) and customer service. I wan to be clean and help people look at the Gay community as just like them, I want us to be more similar than different.

Purpose:
I want to make the world better for the next generation and for people like my parents who were too poor to feel they deserve customer service. We all deserve respect no matter what.

So imagining your boss or in my case a booker was in a bar talking about me: What 5 words would I want them to use to describe me? This is what I need to project as my brand… No one in the world has the same qualities I have so I need to figure out what they are and if I am a TV I need to broadcast them and emphasize and strengthen the signal to those words…My Key Messaging.

STEP 3: E- How Can You EXPRESS Yourself Differently? So I now need to reinforce my strengths and learn how to communicate them.

Remember earlier in my blog I used these numbers 55% body language and clothing, 38% sounds and voice, 7 % what you say. How we express ourselves comes from the way we learned through family, surroundings or work culture, and this is a big part of how you will be perceived. And this is also how you can change the way you are received. I want to be considered the guy next door, but noticed during my set when I did any gay material I would lisp and act effeminate… I can give that character more respect and make that character fit that guy next door act.

Take a closer look at the key forms of expression:

Your content: This is both verbal and written, even what you’re not saying. If your words are out of sink with what your projecting it will turn people off. Start using the word that represents you in your marketing materials / website with your key words. I will clean up my language no inappropriate language, lisps, and the word UM. Always prepare in advance, practice speaking out loud, and be prepared.

Your voice: Don’t talk to fast, don’t be monotone, don’t go high pitch, or too quiet and Add energy and emotion to your voice. Breathe… the more oxygen you have in your lungs the richer and more confidence your voice will sound. Modulations speak from your stomach, change the speed of your delivery, and add a pause at the end of a bit or paragraph. Smile it will worm a voice…it actually works. Slow down if you want to add authority, slow and deep will make an impact.

Your body language and image 55% of how you communicate is how you look. It’s your image.

Body and Posture: Think about where your posture is at the moment, now how is it when your with others? How powerful do you look? It’s very important to look grounded and erect. A power stance! Stand tall feet firmly grounded, arms at your side not fidgeting. You give a great vide of quite assured and confident. Feet firmly on the ground, knees bent slightly, shoulders back, take a deep breath and expand and feel that shape of the body. Breathe in and out and feel that breath going up and down the body… its cool. And it works with the other exercise I wrote about wear you take 5 deep breathes before going on stage to clear your head… See how other lessons are coming together.

Image: if your style doesn’t match your statement it can be distracting. If I were delivering a corporate speech and I wore street clothes that would be a deterrent from my message. Look at it like this. The norm in business is a suit and if someone comes in wearing a suit they will easily be able to absorb a message from them with no distractions. If you are wearing street clothes that don’t resemble the norm for the culture your clothes will distract from the message I am trying to deliver.

What’s important with your image is that your cloths fit the message you are delivering, the clothes fit well and don’t forget about the hair and shoes. Get some feedback about your style and remember feedback is a gift. When I was in the corporate environment and I was delivering a presentation about a new design. I would get more respect if I kept the suit jacket on vs. taking it off and opting for a more casual feel. The casual atmosphere detracted from my credibility, especially during big decision moments.

Visibility: You need to be seen raise your visibility with those who can help put your name on the map. Make if relevant Make a list of the people that are important to your success and write down 3 ways you can improve your visibility with each one. Join groups and associations within your field, and get your name out there. Write short articles for a newsletter or website. Get your face known and allow other people to recognize you and to sing your praises… so get out there and get seen. If your waiting to get discovered that will not happen, you need to be out and about, you need to cross people paths for them to recognize you. Make it easy for them to remember you.

How can you be easily found?

“Keep learning new things. Take courses, read widely, and learn how to play a new instrument or how to cook Tuscan food. Learn, learn, learn! Second, try not to judge the things you’re learning. Keep an open mind. Everything you learn is a possible element that may make its way into some future creative idea that you can’t even imagine today. And the more open-minded you remain about what you learn, the more likely you are to see how it can be combined with other information to form a novel and original product or idea.”

Today I started reading this book, unlike most information I like to receive through audio, this is not available in that format.

To me the best line I read so far is that we are always building connections to information stored in our brain and that if we go and revisit information often and build more connections we go fro having a path to the information to an interstate highway to that info, faster recall, better understanding and association. I have only gotten thou the first 3 chapters. This will be the subject matter of my Tuesday blogs until its completed.

Your Creative Brain: The trick is in understanding networks that connect our brain’s “hot spots” for creative thought, and then developing the ability to “turn on” these networks.  Each of us is stronger in some areas than others – some are great at brainstorming but weak in follow-through. Others experience creative block because they’re too critical or inhibited. And some people squelch their imaginations when they’re feeling low, rather than recognize that there is creative potential in a negative mood.

Based on the latest findings in neuroscience using brain imaging and neuropsychological testing, combined with interviews with hundreds of creative achievers, Dr. Carson has created a model of seven brain states – CREATES brainsets – of creativity. Through a variety of entertaining exercises, quizzes and problem sets she helps us identify and temper our own most effective brainsets – and strengthen those that are lower-performing.

The book:

  • Explains the seven CREATES brainsets – Connect, Reason, Envision, Absorb, Transform, Evaluate, and Stream – and how they relate to creativity, productivity, and innovation.
  • Provides quizzes, exercises, and self-tests to activate each of these seven “brainsets” to unlock our maximum creativity
  • This book is a Harvard Health Publication that offers helpful suggestions that can be applied in both your personal and professional life.

What I got out of it so far:

So I started off taking the tests to figure out what “brainsets” I am currently using the most or are the most comfortable with to problem solve. Here is a smaller vertion of the test that you can take on line. This was bringing me back to my child hood with IQ tests and special education level test…I hate tests… But did my best and did not cheat. So the way I think is with mostly Reason, Envision, Connect and Absorb are my top 4 scores. What this book is going to teach me is how to use all the “brainsets” to be the most creative I can be.

Then I read about the physical layout of how the brain works with the Left and Right hemisphere, The Lobes of the Cerebral Cortex, and what they were responsible for, then on to the way the brain works according as centers or sections and how they work with information.

2 of my favorite example and someday interesting stories: is that in 1960’s there were these 2 patients that because of epileptic seizures their connection (corpus callosa) for their left and right sides of the brain were cut. Each side of the brain acted in different ways:

One patient his left arm would try to beat his wife while the other arm tried to protect her.

The other paitient one side of him wanted to be an architect and the other side wanted to be a race care driver (to me both sides were a 6 year old kid)

This is where I started actually getting into the book... Here is how it was broken down to me; if you want all the details I suggest getting the book.

There is the Executive Center (Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex “DLPFC”) and like in a company the executive center is critical to “problem finding” and important to virtually all aspects of creativity. It’s responsible for Planning, abstract reasoning, and decision making, and visualizing the future are some of its larger responsibilities. The Executive is a fact only thinker, all the other parts of the brain will treat it just like business treats their executive, they filter the info down to mall bits of info and leave some of the fact out. This is where problems are thought through.

The “Me” Center (Medial Prefrontal Cortex “MPFC”) Functions include: Self-awareness, Social Understanding, Social comparison, determining how events affect you personally, and autobiographical memory. Can you see how this would work for joke creation as well as fear. But it can also get in the way of your creativity and you will need to learn how to tun the volume of this down.

The Judgment Center (Lateral Orbitofrontal Cortex “OFC”) Functions include: conforming to social demands, inhibition or inappropriate behavior, judgment of positive or negative impact of an event or situation.

The Reward Center (Nuleus Accuben a.k.a ventral Stratum) Functions include: internal rewards to make you feel self-confidant and good about yourself this part of the brain is connected to the “Me brain” and other emotion centers.

The Fear Center (Amyngdala) Functions include: appraisal of fear-related events and other highly emotional stimuli.

The Associations Center (angular Gyrus, supramrginal gyrus) Functions include: this is the integration of the sensory information, connection meanings to words.

These are the “hot spots” for creative thought and activity. Many of them are highly interconnected. When you activate different brain centers, you change the way you access information both from the environment and from your own personal memory stores.

Now that I have learned about these hotspots I am one step closer to learning about next weeks lesson the “CREATES’ brainsets. Sorry this was not the usually easy to digest info I am usually posting, but this will make you a better comedian and performer once you get all the understand down, so keep an open minds and come mack for more or by the book.

 

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As of late I have been in my learning zone. I have been learning how to write and perform better I have been reading and writing about how to perform better but has it helped me perform better or just taught me how to remember facts.

1) I haven’t had as much a chance to perform stand up comedy as I would like. But the shows I did have were better than the prier shows. I did 2 different sets of material and I had an opener for both. I was more relaxed and even interacted with the audience.

So my comedy coach telling me to write openers did me a big favor, my Dean book taught me a great way to rehearse, and my going over my recording of earlier shows to see where things fell flat and what words worked the best was a great help.

2) I have been writing but not as much as I would like to but way more than I use to. I don’t have all the excuses I did before; I am getting better at giving myself a goal and accomplishing it. I also realize that hard work can solve anything even if you really suck at it. I have been fine with accepting criticism from people I did not ask advice of and finding the good out of it. (Even thought some made no sense to me at first!)

So I think the War of art thought me that I need to buckle down and get into a routine of writing and rehearsing, as well as learning to accept criticism without letting it back up your own inner critic’s voice. Very important to not let that happen. You can have someone say that you are at something and use that as leverage to become either better at that or just quit. It’s your decision. And the talent is over rated book thought me that you need to put the work in to get the rewords.

3) Improv is something you need to do, and do often. I have been doing this more that my stand up and at time I resent the time its taking me away from open mikes, from comedy shows and from my own bits. But then when I am with my team and on the stage having fun it’s all worth it. I have learned a lot about myself, my skills and lack of skills. But most of all I am learning a skill set that will help me with my ultimate goal of being a corporate speaker and trainer. I can use improve to teach team building and brain storming. I have a whole new understanding of simple things like people watching, and appreciating body language or something even as simple as knowing what my team member does before it happens is a magical moment.

We have a team coach that tells us how and what I am doing wrong, and how I can do it better. I am taking classes in long form, and starting next week both long and short form improve. There is something to be said about starting from scratch to refresh your skills. So class is a great way to do this and learn to play with a totally different group of improvisers. I can’t wait to learn the short form see how it feel to perform.

4) I worked with a buddy on the first lesson of Judy carters Public Speaking, I am taking a class on Story telling to help me get my “Heart” Story as they call it for inspirational speaking and that is going well. I have started making the Website "" for my future career, this will help me with learning what I want to offer and what I need to learn and have ready.

Adam Wade is one of the most talented story tellers I have met and I have to say I have never met any, but he is great is all I am saying. I am looking forward to my final product. I learned from Judy Carter that there is an industry that is more lucrative than stand up with better hours and that fits my goal to help others and make a difference. Trust me hearing a bunch of drunken comedians tell dick jokes all week long gets old fast.

So this is the end of the first set of audio books I will be starting with a new set this week. So in conclusion I have learned:

To relax more on stage

To rehearse in a smarter more effective way

To deliver my bits with more ease and emotion

To write everyday even if you’re not inspired

To learn everyday

How improve will help my career

How public speaking is a conversation but a professional one

Being prepared is next to godliness

How to accept feedback good or bad

How hard work really dose pay off