Monday, August 24, 2009

NYC and Charlotte

My improv comedy team, Big Fat & Stealthy, just returned from the Del Close Marathon in NYC. It was a great weekend full of laughs and good friends. We performed at 1pm on Saturday, August 15 at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. For those whom have never attended, the Del Close Marathon is a weekend of mass consumption of improv shows. My friend tells me that about 1,000 teams applied and 300 were accepted to perform. It's an honor to be a part of such a weekend, and I do hope to return next year (either as a performer or observer). The photo above is of Matt Walsh, one of the guys who started UCBT.

While the weekend was delightfully fun, I did manage to pick up a cold. It has made it hard to accomplish much this week--but it's just a cold. Thankfully, I think I have now caught up on some much needed rest. The cough lingers, but that I can definitely handle.

Today I am in Charlotte, N.C., at a conference called Social Fresh, which is all about social media. Social media has been a fascination of mine for years now, and being in a room full of experts is not something I take for granted. Hearing people talk about their experiments, lessons and best practices has been a great thing. Some of the challenges I have faced over the years are common, it seems. Explaining the benefits, proving return on investment (ROI), and helping people understand how do to it the right way (transparency, collaboration, genuine relationships, etc.). It's nice to be in a room of people thinking about the same things, you know?

And that's the basis for social media. If you don't know what that term means, then no worries. When you distill this down to it's most basic form, it's simply a means by which we surround ourselves with like-minded individuals that we want to communicate with and care to know. Seth Godin calls it a tribe. Which I find incredibly appropriate and it's incredibly relevant in my work on this film.

Today, I have a tribe of volunteers working on the film. When the film is released, hopefully we'll have a tribe of people that want to learn more about the Montagnards, become fans of the film, and help spread the word. When you look at the culture and history of the Montagnards, you learn that the term references a collective groups of different tribes. The Montagnard tribes have different languages and traditions, just like those tribes you see online today.

There are huge connections between these two seemlingly unrelated trips and this filmmaking adventure. The trip to NYC helped me recognize that my passion for film production is undeniable and needed. I know people that want to act, direct, edit--but a producer is needed to make it all happen (on time and within the budget). So, production is definitely the role I enjoy playing. There were a few key discussions that helped me remember this, some of which happened in the van on the way to/from NYC with my teammates.

The conference today in Charlotte has helped me recognize that social media is directly related to the history and future of the Montagnards. On Saturday night, I had a great conversation with one of our cast members, Lap. I am incredibly impressed and energized by his ideas and passion. We talked about preservation of history and how research and books no longer in print might be shared online. What a wonderful idea. I hope it comes to fruition.

There are many great things happening right now. I'm learning a lot every day. And every day, I grow more and more anxious to get the film finished. Here's hoping we can do that soon. No, not hoping. Here's *knowing* that we can make that happen soon!