Monday, January 16, 2012

7 Tips For Becoming Stage-Ready

by Daniel Eachus, Secret City Cast Member

Improvisational comedy is a difficult art form, and there are many skills involved in attempting to master it. Here are seven important pieces of advice that I feel will take an improv comedy performer to the level necessary to be able to perform for an audience on a regular basis.

#7. Don’t try to be funny.
It’s weird that a comedian would not try to be funny, but it never works with improv. You can ruin the scene for your partners, and they may never want to work with you again. Let the comedy come naturally to the scene.

#6. Know your pop culture.
I’m not asking you to be ready for Jeopardy, but you have to be ready for any suggestions that people throw out, and most of the time, the suggestions have to do with what’s relevant in pop culture.

#5. Take notes.
Take notes on every performance you do. Make sure to list what you did wrong, as well as what you did right. Create goals for yourself and work on them, slowly, one by one.

#4. Practice, a lot.
I know it seems ironic that you have to practice an improvised art form, but improv is just that – an art form, and it takes a lot of skill honing to perfect it. Just like with everything, the more you do it, the better you will get. Improv is no exception.

#3. Confidence is key.
The audience doesn’t know if you’ve been doing improv for twenty years or if it’s your first twenty seconds onstage. If you go in with confidence, then your scene partners will feel more confident about you and put on a better show themselves.

#2. Have fun onstage.
If you’re having fun, chances are the audience will be having fun. This can be the difference from a good show and a memorable one.

#1. Do not fear failure.
When you embrace your failures, then every performance you do becomes a workshop for you. Take note of what you did right and wrong and learn from it!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Secret City - 2011 in review.

Last night we performed the last show of 2011. I always have to qualify this by saying we are back next weekend with our regular shows. As 2011 comes to a close, I can't help but think of our past and to think of our future.

Let's start with the past.  One year ago today, out cast did not know each other. We held our first audition in January 2011 at the Fullerton Marriott hotel. I took on a crew of 12 people and 7 still remain as our veteran cast.  Since then we would hold two more auditions.  We had many people come and go but I will always have a soft spot for my current cast.

Getting into our current venue was an adventure. We had a theater all locked up in Fullerton but because we couldn't come up with 30 parking spaces, we had to give up the location.  In the meantime, we began rehearsals at the Stage One Dance Studio. After talking with the owners of this fine business, we found that it made sense for us to team up and Stage One would become our home.

In June, we had our grand opening. Because of some issues with the city, we would open 3 months late. But we're grateful to be open. We've been open every weekend since. In just a few weeks, we would ultimately fall in love with the city of Fullerton.

Here are some quick highlights. We hosted a show with Improv City from Tustin. Performed our first Halloween shows. Teamed up with other local improv troupes and participated in the OC Improv Cup. 

Our best achievement was being named by the OC Weekly as 2011 Best Improv Team. Funny story we didn't know about this honor for three weeks. We also have no idea when the OC Weekly was at our show. The best part was we didn't have ask you, our fans, to vote online.

That's the year in review. I'd like to thank you, our fans for being a part of the fun and supporting us with your tickets and telling your friends.  I also have to thank my cast for their support, patience and their humor.  This is everyone who has performed at Secret City since we opened:

Alan Ng
Amy Valdez
Audrey Grace
Cody Wallace
Chuck Hayes
Daniel Eachus
Dimithri Perera
Jared Lomeli
Jessica Lowerre
Keegan Lund
Kristin Ferris
Leah Burnette
Loren Kling
Manual Ortiz
Marc Chester
Michael Garate
Rocco Ambrosio
Sarah Brooks
Stephanie De La Cruz
Taylor Moore