Hump Night Interns

We have 6 more Hump Night shows before we take a break for the summer and I’d love to find a couple of interns to help out with the show. I’m looking for people to help by taking photos, posting to our social media and looking for ways to improve the overall experience for our audience. We only have 6 shows left, so it’s not a long commitment. If you’d like to also take the upcoming Game of the Scene class or summer Improv Boot Camp for free that can be arranged or just do it to help out with the show. We can use the help! Just fill in the form below and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can (answering the question is optional).

Please share this with your friends if you know of someone who might be interested.

Hump Night House Teams

I have put together a package deal for coaching though my new theater company, Under the Gun Theater, which I think is a terrific deal. It’s called the Hump Night House Team Project.

Instead of us holding auditions and choosing the teams, I’d like teams to form themselves and come to us. You sign up as a team in 8 week blocks. Each person on the team pays $100 and that covers all the costs for 8 two-hour rehearsals (coaching and space). You also will get up to 4 shows at the Hump Night Pregrame show (and for each show you get a free complimentary ticket to give out to a friend).

The more I’ve dealt with team systems over the years, the more I’ve felt that teams deserve to have as much autonomy as they can. Those are the teams that are more likely to have chemistry, to get along, and on average get better over time. If you want to add someone to the team, you can. If you want to take a break and come back after a few months, you can.

This is a meant to be a learning experience, a way for you to get better and have fun. No one is watching the shows, trying to decide who to cut from your team. If your team wants to stay together and we can find time to schedule rehearsals, you won’t get cut. It doesn’t work like.

I’m hoping that this will be the kind of project where performers and students grow and get better. Check out the site and let me know what you think.

Jennifer Hall – Doing Kickstarter Right

I became aware of Jennifer Hall last year when I was first booking Hump Night. She contacted me about performing at the show. Unfortunately, it never worked out. But she has been popping in and out of my radar, most recently because of the Kickstarter project for her band’s new EP.

I’d love for all my friends that are considering using Kickstarter to fund their projects to first take a look at hers. It’s super simple. For $10, you get the EP via digital download. For $20, you get the download and vinyl record. For $100 you back stage access to a show and a mention in the liner notes.

So what is she doing right? She’s not padding it with a lot of silly levels with worthless rewards like “twitter shoutouts.” Does anyone really want that? Instead for each level, you get a decent value for your money. It certainly helps that the song in the video sounds great. If you listen to it, like it, and have $10, there is no good reason not to fund her project.

My advice is to really think about what value you can give people for the money they give you. It’s not charity. It usually doesn’t work if you are just asking for money so you can do your fun art project. Offer them a digital copy of the final project. Offer them special behind the scenes access. Offer them a ticket to your show. And always, ALWAYS offer those gifts at funding levels that are similar in value to the actual thing you are offering. Giving someone a ticket to see your show if you give $100 when the actual ticket only costs $20 is obnoxious. And yet I see things like that all the time on Kickstarter.

Photos from July 17 Hump Night

Some photos from last week’s Hump Night. Tonight’s show will be the last Hump Night of the summer. We return in September. More details to come.

Photos from Hump Night, June 10, 2013

Here is some of what you missed from last week’s Hump Night. Make sure to be there tomorrow night to see Saurin Choksi and Honeybuns!

Most of these photos were taken by Oopey Mason.

Hump Night lineup for June 12th

humpnightposterHump Night returns this week with another great lineup of standup, improv, music, and storytelling.
7:30 – The Improv Hour
The improv hour features teams of players coached by Kevin Mullaney

  • Pancakes Tonght! with Will Meinen, Oopey Mason, David Prouty, Danielle Bluford, Shana Weinstein and Alex Frenkel
  • Richard and the Kids with Richard Scruggs, Jude Tedmori, Kyle Reinhard, Alex Hanpeter, Bethanie John, Matt Pina
  • Delicately Seasoned with Grant Grieshaber, Sara Cardon, Caitlin Wilson, Alex Romero, Jeff Jackel, Phil Caron
8:30 – The Variety Hour
Standup, storytelling, music, sketch and occasionally some improv.

  • Music by Andy Eninger
  • Standup by Mia McCullough
  • Standup by Jeff Hansen
  • Sketch by Sex Puppet
  • Music by Cover Stories
9:45 – Mullaney Chain
Kevin invites a great improvisor to play, who invites a third, who invites a fourth who invites one more. This weeks guests include:

  • Zach Zimmerman
  • Willie Myers
  • Blythe Roberson
  • Molly Todd

Please RSVP on Facebook!

Improv scene templates: We Need to Talk

Last night I was working with one of the groups that perform at Hump Night. We crafted a template together that was producing some wonderful scenes. The template is a little more complicated than scene templates I’ve written about before. It took us a few steps to get there during the rehearsal. So rather than jumping to the end, I’ll walk through the steps we took.

Last night I was working with one of the groups that perform at Hump Night. We crafted a template together that was producing some wonderful scenes. The template is a little more complicated than scene templates I’ve written about before. It took us a few steps to get there during the rehearsal. So rather than jumping to the end, I’ll walk through the steps we took.

Step 1: One Person Silent

I’ve been working a lot lately with one person silent scenes. This was first explained to me by Jill Bernard from Huge Theater in Minneapolis (IRC Podcast 2010-02-15 Jill Bernard). The exercise is very simple. You do a two person scene where one person doesn’t speak. All they do is listen, and all they have to do is listen.

Continue reading “Improv scene templates: We Need to Talk”

I could use a little help

Hey there,

Five months ago, I started a variety show called Hump Night. If you follow me, you’ve probably heard about it. You may have come to see it once or twice. Maybe you have even performed at Hump Night. Well, if you like Hump Night, if you have been getting something out of it, I could use a little help.

The deal I have with Strawdog is pretty good. They don’t charge me upfront for the space. Instead, they have a bar in the back of the room. They have a certain minimum that they’d like the bar to make and if they don’t reach that, then I have to make up the difference. Many times, that hasn’t been a problem. Between the donations and the bar, I haven’t had to pay a lot each week. And in the beginning, the students who were performing were essentially subsidizing the rest of the night. I was using part of the money from their tuition to pay for the space.

However, some nights it has cost a lot to run the show. Sometimes we don’t sell much at the bar and we don’t take enough in donations and I end up spending more to keep Hump Night going, then I earn for coaching the teams that perform there.

So there are a few things I could do.

  • I could search for another venue, one that would be less expensive. There are not a lot of venues out there that are as nice as Strawdog and less expensive though. Plus I do really like the location.
  • I could try to charge for the show. But I really prefer the donation model for this show.
  • I could do better at promoting the show. This is true and I’m working on it. It’s a challenge to get people there and I’m constantly trying to figure out the most time-effective ways to get the word out.
  • I could close the show. This is an option. I currently have extended the show through July, and if I can’t figure out a way to support the show, this is the likely outcome.

So what can you do? Maybe you perform at Hump Night, maybe you have come to see some shows. If you get something out of the show and you want to see it continue past July, there are some things you can do.

  • When you come see the show, have a beer or two. Every dollar you spend at the bar is as good as throwing a dollar into the bucket.
  • If you don’t drink, please put a few dollars in the bucket.
  • If you perform, try to recruit one or two people to come each week.

The thing is with the number of people participating in Hump Night in some fashion it shouldn’t be hard to make enough to keep it going. And I don’t mind pitching in a few bucks myself.

I think though, if I’m asking for money so directly, I’m going to take a leap here myself. It’s a small one, but I’m going to change how the donations work. I think people aren’t really sure what happens to the donations and so they are a little reluctant to give. So every show, I’m going to give half the donations to the performers in the Variety Hour. It probably won’t be a huge amount, but I have a hunch that if I give away half, the audience will be more apt to throw some money in the bucket. And this new policy starts tonight.

See you at Hump Night!


Hump Night Photos, April 24, 2013

Hump Night News

I have a bunch of things to announce about Hump Night. First off, we will be extending at least until July. Here are the dates of all the Hump Night shows that we have scheduled:

Second, I’m looking for musical acts for Hump Night. If you are interested in submitting your self or your group, check out that posting in Craigslist and respond to it.

Third, over the next few shows, the improv hour will begin to feature house teams formed from some of my recent students. Richard and the Kids is the first one featuring: Richard Scruggs, Jude Tedmori, Kyle Reinhard, Alex Hanpeter, Bethanie John, Matt Pina, and Matt Visconage. Others will be added in May.

If you haven’t checked out the lineup for this week’s Hump Night, it’s going to be really great. Mullaney Chain will feature John Hildreth, Lori McClain, Nicky Margolis and Tim Paul. Hope to see you there.