Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Did any of you see "Yes Man", the Jim Carrey movie that came out a little while ago? I didn't, mostly because the trailer didn't look great, but also out of deference to my improv guru, John Thies.
John had already lived that movie in real life, and his stories were so rich, so surprising, so joyful that I knew the Hollywood version would not compare.
What do I mean?
Well, John spent a couple of years in New York just following his gut. He would wake up in the morning, grab a cup of coffee, and say to himself, well which direction to do you want to go? His gut would say, that way, to which John replied, "yes!". And he would head in that direction until his gut said, take a left here... you get the picture. He did this everyday. High-jinx ensued, and he said to yes to all the situations his gut led him to, not least of which led him to a job at Conan O'Brien and I believe a couple of gigs at SNL. Not bad, huh?
John asked us to do the same thing when we started class, and let me tell you, I couldn't even do it for a day. I am a control freak. There. I said it. But I'm realising that my kind of control freak-ism also belies an innate lack of trust in my gut. I can't imagine what kind of confidence a year of living that way would build in your gut -- your gut, that got you jobs you dreamed of, adventures you never imagined, risks that showed you how strong you really are! John says that he's got a book in him somewhere, and when that book arrives, I will be the first to buy it.
I mention this philosophy because Brendan followed his gut the other week, and I am proud to say that it rewarded him greatly!
It was a risky proposition. Bren came home from a Hothouse Films shoot, and the following conversation unfolded.
B: "So, I was driving home, and I saw Stephon Marbury sitting at a bus stop down the street."
A: "WHAT? The basketball player Stephon Marbury?!!"
B: "Yah. I think I'm going to go see if he'll shoot some scenes with me."
A: Pause. Pause. Pause. "WHAT?"
B: "Yeah, I mean, he's right there, right?"
A: "Well, yeah! That's a great idea. Go baba!"
A: "Um, what are you going to have him do?"
B: "I dunno. But I'm an improv-er! This is what I'm supposed to be able to do!"
And with that, Bren grabbed his camera and left.
Now, Bren has followed Stephon Marbury since Bren was in highschool. This is a multi-million dollar player, who will forever have a place in my heart for his line of basketball shoes. "Starburys" buck the trend; rather than charging $80-$100 for his shoes, his cost less than $20. Anyone who can withstand the greed that comes so easily when you have that kind of pull, goes in my "that guy's cool" category. He's also in Bren's "cool guy" category because of the recent scandal Marbury's in with the Knicks.
So Bren was understandably nervous about propositioning Marbury, who was minding his own business, and probably under a bit of stress waiting for his car to get fixed. But lo and behold, ask and you shall receive! Marbury was TOTALLY cool about the whole thing, and, while sitting at the bus stop, and shot the breeze with Bren, messing around and talking about everything from the Knicks, to his tattoos (and Bren's!) to of all things, "Curb Your Enthusiasm". My favorite parts are when Bren makes Stephon laugh so hard that he breaks his tough-guy basketball player character. Isn't that amazing?
I was already proud of Bren for shooting the bless-ed thing. But this evening, I am jumping up and down for joy.
Bren put up the first video on his YouTube page. He then submitted it to the premier baskbetball online magazine, Slam, which happily posted it under the "Links" section... aaaaand... as I type, the video has garnered more than 1,000 hits!
Have I piqued your interest? Well, then go check it out! And while you're on YouTube, check out a couple of my favorite shows on Hothouse Films this season: Action Figure Theatre and Tender Hooligans. I make a cameo in one of them! And if you're interested, Bren will be posting further installments of his time with Marbury later this week.
Three cheers for following your gut and three cheers for my sweet Brendan!
at 5:25 PM