the commentary: 04-20-06

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(the show: 04-20-06 | the replay)

that group power move still makes me smile.

I’m enjoying the fact that the transition into conversations with the audience was so subtle. I feel like “something for the comments” and “power moves” were fully integrated into the show without any real explanation of what was going on. It all looks very planned from this angle, which is very fun to experience since I had so little real structure on my end. If power moves would have stopped coming in I would have abandoned them in place of something else and I doubt that the LOA internship would have ever existed.

In the world of improvisation there is a mantra called: “Yes. And…” The idea is that you accept whatever reality the other players give you and then add on top of it. I was playing Yes And with you, and in some cases myself. I had a bit more control than an improv artist does, because I got to pick and choose what went to air… but I didn’t have that kind of control in the forum and in the comments.

That was always a wonderful part fo the day – scanning through the comments from the day before to see what I might be able to use for a segment. Some days I would have a higher tolerance for an “explaining” episode like this one in regards to net neutrality. The problem with these episodes was that they required so much extra work to get them short and concise – something I imagine news programs have to deal with all the time. I felt a good amount of pressure to get the factual summations and analogies to a point where they were sound enough to withstand some scrutiny – so I would have to do a fair amount of research until I felt like I had the corners covered.

By this point I would have way too many facts in my head and would have to strip everything down around some angle. I was pretty bad about planning this part of it, and in order to get over the anxiety of the task I would usually just start speaking to camera and building one sentence off the next. Usually I would import each sentence from the camera to the computer after I had said it without screwing up, then I would crop the end points, watch it and try to come up with the next sentence. It’s not a very natural way to work, and the result is pretty jarring if you try and make it smooth. So I went the other way and played to the cuts directly. Big jumps big gestures.

The hardest part of an “explaining episode” was the way out. I think the best outs I ever shot ended with a question instead of an answer. this one was fine though… I had fortunately played the “asshole baby” line, repeated it for my cat and had a nice threepeat call-back opportunity at the end so i got to sidestep having to land anything too specific.

I like the summary I gave though. and I think it is still very relevant.

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