I read my pilot “Dream Warrior” at Re/Arte Centro Literário with the Latinx Comedy Pachanga ensemble + friends!
Man, it was a powerful moment to finally share this very personal piece of writing with the world.
Basically, a cowardly and selfish community college English teacher has to become a superhero when he inherits the mantle of “Dream Warrior” (a shaman who fights people’s demons in their dreams).
Towards the end I wanted to start crying – hearing everyone read the script in the room together with the audience reconnected me with the work in a way I didn’t expect; it took me back to the moment I finished it and accepted that I had written something special.
It was the kinda moment that felt scripted, but that there was no way I could write – validation from the universe.
Big Thanks to My Cast:
Audrey Pinto Gio Ornellas Frankie Estrella Oscar Ramirez Victor Bryan Olivas Jonathan Farach
Thanks to Rearte LA for hosting us (host your events here! Just hit them up on IG)
Thanks to my sis, Melissa Funes, for all the help with social media and producing.
Thankfully to Chris Trovador for the amazing artwork.
And a very special thanks to the Pack Theater’s Pilot Writing Class. Keisha Zollar and Andrew Kimler guided me from start to finish with this pilot, helping me grow this seed into a beautiful garden of a pilot. If you want to write your first pilot, I highly recommend you take their “Writing a Pilot” online class ASAP.
So now what? The ensemble gave me a bunch of great notes, so now it’s time to punch up! Stay tuned for the next chapter of “Dream Warrior!”
Write the thing because writing it will change you for the better.
I’m So Happy We Created a New Improv Form: The Jeffrey!
We did it! We created a new improv form last night – The Jeffrey!
Not going to lie, this experiment went better than I expected.
Here’s how we created the form:
1). I didn’t tell anyone my method until all the players were on stage.
2). I then asked the audience for the name of an improv from they’ve never seen. Hence, the Jeffrey
3). I then revealed my method: I was going to ask the players and the audience for what rules and parameters were going to guide this new form.
And I got 5! (2 from the players and 3 from the audience).
Here are the rules of the Jeffrey:
– Every 3rd scene is a 2-person scene – Every edit is a monologue – Takes place reverse chronologically – Clap to wipe – Every player has the ability to call “Sing it” on another player in the show, 1x only
And you know what? We pulled it off!
Everyone stepped up and did their darndest to bring the Jeffrey to life!
What I really loved was that almost everyone had an individual moment where they shined while weaving in moments where the ensemble came together and did some big group scenes – it felt real theatrical!
I forget: improv is theater.
Thank you to Juanito Velasco, Jamie Dana, Josh Heimendinger, Jennifer Choy, Karla Varney, Mernoosh Kiani, and Robert Souders for going on this wild ride with me; to the amazing fans and community of the Improv Collective, and to Bridget Steiner for hooking it up with the stage time and encouraging far out shows like Formaggedon.
Are we going to do Formaggedon again? I don’t know, but at least we know we can pull it off!
Check out the Improv Collective every Friday and Saturday at 9:30pm for great improv.
One of my biggest flaws as a human is that I like to hide.
I’ll show up physically in a space, but I won’t show up emotionally.
And I’m pretty sure that’s the result of a traumatic childhood where I was forced to be in abusive spaces with no escape.
When you grow up like that, you learn to check out mentally and be present physically in order to get through an experience.
So I learned how to retreat into myself at a young age. And I’m still pretty good at it to this day.
Now it’s different though: I’m a leader and an artist, and showing up emotionally is part of the job.
For the most part I do, but every now and then, I don’t.
It’s usually because I’m tired (there’s definitely a relationship with physical energy and emotional energy).
Or maybe I got some stuff from personal life that is affecting my performance in these roles.
I mean, it can be a lot of things. Whatever the reason, people notice when you don’t show up emotionally. And they’ll get concerned, and want to help you (if you’re lucky).
The problem is this: emotions are contagious. The emotions you broadcast will be reflected back to you, and then be amplified collectively, affecting the emotional energy of the whole.
And me? I’m a walking power plant of emotion. I’ve always been that way. When I’m happy, people dig that and want more of it. When I’m angry, people get concerned.
Being a big guy also means that I have a bigger emotional broadcast signal – other people can tell how I feel.
Even when I think I’m hiding, I’m not; my emotional signal breaks through, and people want to find out what’s up.
I mean, we’re human. We evolved to read each other’s emotions. So much of being a human is being able to read someone emotionally and respond in a way that fits what you want out of that situation.
So why am I writing this? I’m trying to be more consistent in how I show up emotionally in 2022.
How am I going to do that though!? How am I going to meet this goal?
Here’s what I’m going to do to show up emotionally in 2022!
1). I’m going to monitor my physical energy and health. I’m going to take care of my body and get rest so that I have the physical energy required to show up in a space emotionally.
2). I’m going to check in with myself before I enter a space, and make sure I don’t bring in weird energy into a space that is really unresolved tension from some other aspect of my life.
Side note: Chad Damiani is really great on this. When you do one of his Catsby Workshops, part of the warmup is reminding yourself to show up 100% to the workshop and leave whatever baggage from the outside world behind.
3). I’m going to remind myself of the role that I’m entering a space in, and what expectations are put on me in this role, and how I can best deliver them.
4). I’m going to breath more. I’m going to have moments throughout the day where I just relax and do nothing. Being busy isn’t the same as being productive.
5). I’m going to remind myself that emotional energy is reflected back. Whatever I give will return to me. I’m going to be positive as much as I can.
6). I’m going to stay away from haters, energy vampires, toxic people, and people who don’t treat me with respect.
7). I’m going to say more. I’m not going to hold back. I’m going to share what I believe if I think it can help someone, even if it’s myself being forced to articulate an idea.
8). I’m going to say “No” when I need to. I’ve learned that showing up as a half version of yourself is risky, and that you don’t want to leave someone disappointed when they expected all of you to show up.
9). I’m not going to take life for granted. I’m going to appreciate every opportunity that comes my way, and recognize that every moment is special while fleeting.
10). Finally, I’m going to remind myself that when I show up emotionally I open up myself to receive more than I put in. Mutual vulnerability can lead to amazing things, and I can’t be afraid to take the first step.
There’s probably more I can do, but this seems like a good start.