My name is Rachael. I teach sketch writing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in New York City. I act in things sometimes. I also write some things here and there and make some videos for the internet and that general malarkey. I go to the movies once a year, and I drink whiskey often. You can follow my quirky internet ramblings on Twitter @rachaelmason.Ask me everything I can post something for you, but seriously, just start your own blog, I mean seriously.
Anonymous said: The improv company I'm in has a team of 7-8 who are responsible for festival shows and a big monthly show at one of my city's biggest theatres. Half of them are selfish, ungenerous performers but are consistently given stage time because they're the senior members. It's really demoralizing as a newer performer (5 years) to see terrible, under-rehearsed work rewarded, especially when attendance at our shows has flagged over the last few years, but how do you tell the house team that they suck?
You don’t. Worry about your own work and move on when there’s a chance. It’s not your show, so don’t try to direct it from your head.
Do the people on the team share your opinion? Probably not, so don’t worry about them. Does the audience like the shows? If not, the show won’t survive. But if the audience does — which I suspect they do — then try and figure out what the show is doing right.
You sound like people who complain that SNL is a bad show. It’s easy to find people who wonder out loud “How can that show be rewarded with its long term success when it (pick one: focuses so much on dumb pop culture, caters to a young audience, runs popular characters into the ground with little variation)?” Rather than figuring out why it is that SNL is the most successful sketch show in American (world?) history (ah, it focuses on the pop culture everyone is talking about, it’s one of the few shows with talent catering to a young audience, it repeats its popular characters).
What I’m saying: You’re being too harsh. The judge who lives in your brain is being given too much power. It will turn on you in times of low confidence and you won’t be able to recover and you’ll quit. Practice compassion and empathy. This paragraph is perhaps too new agey to be accepted at face value, but I suggest you take this advice if you want to be happy doing creative things.
POST SCRIPT (added a few hours after posting): Ugh, I jumped on this in too hostile a manner, which is hypocritical. Though I mean what I say above I want to add that I am sympathetic with the frustration this person expresses. It is frustrating to see people take for granted a good show or a good time slot, etc. I do understand that. But the “judge” thing I speak of —- I know this from experience. If you indulge the part of your brain that is scanning someone else’s show and demanding that it be improved or fixed and wanting to punish those who fall short — that part of your brain will get stronger and turn on you in ways you do not realize. This is the same point but I wanted to add that I also have the feelings you express but I’ve learned they are a red flag to be dealt with in my head for my own sake!