Thursday, July 1, 2010

Improv Thunderdome arrives in nine days and you're nervous. How are you going to decide who to vote for? With this season being a draft season everything is mixed up. There are different coaches for each group. All the teams have casts that have never worked together before. You may even have different friends in different casts all competing on the same night! Well, all of us here at the T5s understand your feelings. Here are some methods to the voting madness that we have gathered to help you out:

  1. Blind Support

    This method is pretty straight forward and, once you sit down, it doesn't require a lot of effort on your part. The plan here is to vote for who you came to support. You aren't here to see anyone else. The best way to achieve this is to bring a distraction. This way you won't get swayed by another group. Headphones, some reading material, a head cold or even a baby would work as a proper distraction. A baby with a head cold and wearing a bib with the image of the person you support is probably best.

  2. The Laugh Tally

    This one comes from Rita Marks and is pretty ingenious and simple. Every time Rita laughs she marks down a tally. At voting time she simple picks the team with the greatest amounts of tallies. It's the beautiful marriage of science and improv comedy. You may even develop a system to award according to the degree of laugh you have. Like a half a mark for a giggle or two full ticks for a gut laugh. This method will require a writing utensil and a piece of paper or, a calculator watch. You might be able to get by with one of those.

  3. The Format

    This is for those who like form with their function. You want to laugh but you want it wrapped in a slick package. You need to look for the structure of the set as the show unfolds. Typically you'll find the format in what gets repeated in a set. You might see something as simple as a set of scenes dissolving into a monologue that will develop material for later scenes. Others may be more complicated and attempt to tell a narrative. You'll also find that the groups may use some different edits or ways to move between characters and scenes. Does the group have smooth transitions and is the format a tool the players are using in inventive ways? Jotting down words that mark what stood out in the set can work here. If a team tells you their name and then the name of their piece... get ready to watch their format.

  4. The Rules

    Maybe you are familiar with improv. If so, consider this option. You know some rules of improv. Perhaps you are an Improv Olympic guy. You have read Truth in Comedy and you "Yes, and" with yourself in the shower instead of singing songs. You understand the concept of "who, who, where". Because of this you constantly take mental note of the people and places involved in your daily conversations. Or, you are more of the Annoyance type. You want to see a team that has players with bold initiations or who play fearlessly. The groups that will get your vote take care of themselves onstage and take no prisoners. You may have even heard of "Viewpoints" or David Razowski. You want to see more emotional involvement and players who follow compulsion over anything else. If this method speaks to you, you'll focus what you think is the most important or difficult of your rules before each groups set. As they play think about how well they handle that aspect. After the show, make sure you have a beer with the casts. You are either an improv geek or too uptight. In either case, beer and improvisers may help. Or not, you could be too far gone to save.

  5. You want to buy Ed Doris, host of Improv Thunderdome, a beer. Unfortunately you are broke.

    Don't you fret. This one is very similar to the blind loyalty method. However, it is nobler since it will take more time and you are helping a good cause. You are the type that appreciates someone who knows what they do well and is not afraid to do it. This is why you want to buy Ed a beer. However, you are also broke. Do not fret. You just need to vote for Ed's team in both the preliminary match and the Finals. Then Ed can purchase a beer with the winnings he and his team collect from winning this summer's Thunderdome! You will have served both Thunderdome and your fellow man. I'm even sure if you told Ed that you were a number 5 type of voter at the finals after party he would let you have a sip of his beer.

Well there are just a few of the ways the T5s have found to vote. If you don't find something that soothes your pre-thunderdome jitters hopefully it gave you some ideas. Here's to seeing you on the 10th!

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