Various thoughts on where I’m at after Drawn Dead at EFF

This is going to go a little more free form than usual.

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Spending an evening managing the studios at Pendulum Space, because perk number umpteen of getting your free time back is getting the chance to help out colleagues, and partially wishing I had bit the bullet on getting that 6pm cup of coffee, while being glad that sleep will come somewhat easier once I get home around 11.

Some people come out of doing a major show with a depressive hangover and a sense of loss. I don’t really feel *that*. I do feel a bit worn out, and yet a what’s-next sense, of my energy lacking focus of a big project.

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During the Elgin Fringe Festival weekend I wrote out some ideas I had been tossing around, and found that I have solid ideas for at least three other full length solo shows… a trilogy in fact. All three are sports ideas built around multiple characters and a somewhat ridiculous but intriguing central storyline. One is pro wrestling, one is about pro football and one is (of course) about baseball.

The challenge with these show ideas is, while I have a ton of character and plot ideas, I don’t have the benefit of reality or building a show around myself. Drawn Dead was in large part based on a true story, and the show is built around actual events in my life. It was still hard to write the show, but I always had the plot backdrop of the actual things that happened in my life during the time described. I always knew how the story went for the most part, and I totally understood the main character because he was me.

I would not have that benefit in these shows. I’m crafting character motivations out of thin air, plus while to some extent I’d model off of real life archetypes, I have to worry about plausibility and creating an intriguing, sustainable storyline that doesn’t yet exist. I suppose as an improviser that’s ultimately small potatoes, but rarely does an experienced player improvise with plot in mind.

I also currently don’t have a timeline, and give the difficulties in 2013 I’m not sure I want to force one on any of these shows just yet. At the very least, I want to build out and run some of these characters and scene ideas, and can find several opportunities to do so even this fall. But I also recognize the value of a deadline, and know that when you don’t have one you can tend to let an idea stagnate.

It looks like finding the balance between those concerns is the next step.

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Also, I finally stepped on a scale a few weeks ago for the first time in a while, and found I had dropped about 20 pounds since leaving Seattle. I don’t have a major weight problem, but I do carry some weight I don’t need, and was pretty happy to find I had shed some of it over the months. I had been exercising a lot in those months, doing some running, some weight lifting, as well as working on Drawn Dead, and it clearly had some effect.

I was a bit dismayed to find a scale a few days ago and discover I had gained a few of them back. I had let the exercise go as I ramped up to the festival. So I feel like I should find the time to get it back while the weather allows it. And probably clean up my diet a bit. Or simplify it. Or whatever will help get me in better shape.

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I just scheduled my annual Christmas trip to visit family in Las Vegas, and am glad I was finally able to pull off booking it. First off, while I’m not starving or behind on bills, money’s been a bit tight, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could find the funding to book the flight. But I found it and it happened.

I also realize, as my comedy and theatre work in Chicago starts to take off, the point may come where one year I may need to stay in town for work and won’t be able to make the trip. I appreciate every chance I do get to spend the holiday season with family and don’t take it for granted. I realize that should the above scenario ever occur I could probably just visit on Thanksgiving or make midyear trips to the scorching desert during the year or something, but still.

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Much like how 2015 was the great gateway to a Chicago life, 2016 feels like a pivotal year that could go a myriad of ways. My year+ of current Chicago improv training programs will end early next year. I don’t know which way my job situation will go: I’ll be eligible to transfer within my workplace in early January, and admittedly my current job is less than ideal so I’m looking for something else.

I could continue training in comedy (Second City Conservatory?). I could pursue performing several fringe festivals (so many within 5-6 hours of Chicago). I could get another job, or find a workable freelance situation that would open up time for more traveling and projects.

I also have a car whose lease is up in May. I could finance a purchase of that car. I could save up money to spruce it up so I can give it back to the dealer, saving the cost of car payments, insurance, gas, parking, etc. But I’d also lose having a car, which would impact travel, work commuting, etc. At the same time, outside of incidental road trips and work commutes I don’t really use it, and it costs money to have it. But not having it would severely limit my ability to do fringe festivals, take trips, perform certain jobs, etc etc etc. Lots to consider before I have to make the decision.

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Lots to consider, in general.

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