IRC Podcast with Will Hines and John Frusciante

Finally, episode #11 of the Improv Resource Center Podcast is ready and uploaded! Will Hines and John Frusciante from the UCB Theatre in New York discuss the game, improv training simulators, an improv sabbath and things to steal from Ian Roberts.

Will and John host the UCB Theatre Podcast and teach at the UCB Training Center.

How to Add an Image to Your Podcast

IRC Podcast with Kevin Mullaney
IRC Podcast image
A few months ago, I started a podcast on improv. To publish the actual RSS feed for the podcast I used an open source PHP script called Podcast Generator. I’ve been very happy with it. It allowed me to setup the website for the podcast very quickly. It doesn’t even require a MySQL database. It handled everything seamlessly. My podcast was listed on iTunes within minutes of uploading the first mp3 file to my site.

However, there was a problem. One of the things that I assumed it would handle was the image that you see on your iPod while it is playing. When you add a new podcast to the RSS stream, the script requires you to assign an image for iTunes. And when you search for the podcast on iTunes, you do see an image for the show. But that was not enough to get the image on my iPod. When you listen to the first 10 episodes of my podcast, you won’t see an image on your iPod.

I finally decided to research it today. The solution is pretty simple. You have to embed the image into the mp3 file before you upload it to your website. Continue reading “How to Add an Image to Your Podcast”

IRC Podcast with Kurt Braunohler

Yesterday, I uploaded episode #10 of my improv podcast. This week my guest is Kurt Braunohler. I really enjoyed this conversation. We began by talking about how one goes about teaching Harold, but we quickly moved on to other topics like solo improv, image streaming and viewpoints. Finally we talked briefly about Caligula, an exercise that we talked about in the Susan Messing podcast.

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IRC Podcast with Lillian Frances

I uploaded episode #9 of the IRC Podcast yesterday. My guest this week is Lillian Frances who owns and runs the Laugh Out Loud Theater in Schaumburg, IL. She talks about auditions, teaching kids, using your warmups well, and yes-anding life. She performed at iO Theater and with many improv groups in Chicago. She was also a perfomer and assistant director for Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. She directed for Second City National Touring Company, the all women’ improv groups Jane and Sirens, and sketch shows with GayCo and Stir Friday Night.

This interview was a little different than the others, because we ended up talking a lot about what it’s like to run the business of a small improv theater. I really like how Lillie talks about her performers. It’s obvious that she has a lot of respect for her performers and trusts them in ways that not all improv directors do. It’s not surprising that several years after she first held auditions, seventeen of her first hires still work for her.

IRC Podcast with Susan Messing

Episode #8 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. This week’s guest is Susan Messing. She performs regularly at the Annoyance Theatre in Chicago, where she teaches level four classes. She created the curriculum for level 2 at iO Theatre and teaches there as well. Among the episodes we discuss are Caligula, Busby Berkeley, and Doublemint Twins.

She can be seen performing every Thursday at 10:30 in Messing with a Friend at the Annoyance.

IRC Podcast with Billy Merritt

Episode #7 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded.

This week my guest is Billy Merritt who performs and teaches at the UCB Theatre in LA. We talk about premise based Harolds (Pirate Harolds, Robot Harolds and Ninja Harolds) and his character based performance classes where he has his students to create a single character over eight weeks. We also discuss character wheels, the cube edit and the hawk edit.

Checklists, podcasting, blogging and an app

I have recently began using checklists for things like podcasting, blogging, working out and rehearsing. I think checklists really begin to shine when you use them to walk you through a process you do over and over again. A checklist helps me eliminate mistakes, keeps me focused on only the task I’m currently doing, and raises the quality of my work overall. It also provides me with a method to review my work and improve every time I do a podcast, by translating what I learn into new steps.

I’ve never been the most organized person. I can be passionate, dedicated and sometimes obsessive about the things I love doing, but organization doesn’t come naturally to me. One thing I’ve tried before is little “To Do” lists, but it’s not something I’ve done often or methodically. Recently that has changed.

I first started thinking about this because of Checklist Manifesto, a book by Atul Gawande. I have not read the book yet, but I’ve heard several interviews of him. The book is about how checklists for complicated procedures help minimize mistakes and save lives. He is a surgeon and he has seen how a simple checklist for a surgical procedure can dramatically reduce the number of complications. I don’t do anything as grave as surgery, but there are a lot of things I want to accomplish each day. I thought checklists might help and started using them.

My first checklist was a weekly one. Continue reading “Checklists, podcasting, blogging and an app”

IRC Podcast with Caitlin Tegart

Episode #6 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded to the site. This week, I talk to Caitlin Tegart, a sketch writer and director who teaches for the UCB Theatre in NYC. We discuss how sketch writers can help themselves by not worrying about how good an idea is, that instead they need to simply get their ideas onto the page. We also discuss the process of taking a bunch sketches and turning them into a show.

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IRC Podcast with Tara Defrancisco

Episode #5 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. Tara Defrancisco is a former member of the Second City Touring Company. She performs and teaches for iO Theater and ComedySportz in Chicago. She discusses several exercises she uses in her classes and workshops. We start by talking about "What’s in the Box?" a short form exercise to help people make quick decisions and to yes and those decisions. Next we talk about an exercise where students initiate scenes as if they are expressing an important idea to a real person in their life. Last we discuss a couple of exercises designed to get students to make new and different character choices in their scenes.

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IRC Podcast with Kevin Hines

Episode #4 of the IRC Podcast has just been uploaded. Kevin Hines is a performer and teacher at the UCB Theatre in NYC. We begin by talking about a couple of exercises he uses to get students reacting quicker and more realistically to twists and turns in their scenes. We next talk about The Macroscene, a show that came out of his last performance class. Finally, we discuss an exercise he uses to rehearse third beats for Harolds.

Continue reading “IRC Podcast with Kevin Hines”