(SAC Songwriting Challenge-epilogue)
Lookie! Lookie! I did it! I made it through Pat Pattison’s songwriting course!
There’s hope for me yet!
And there’s hope for Spring too! Morning coffee visuals in my backyard:
“A moment of satisfaction and hope before I’ve sunk into a funk or tizzy over something not worth a funk or tizzy.”
-Lyrics from my ode to coffee song “Morning Lover”
Guess what! We are partnering up again with Mississauga Arts Council for another showcase at Celebration Square Amphitheatre! Happening Wednesday August 14, 2013, Wonder Fest-West will showcase original work of Wonder Women AND Super Men artists of all media and genres from visual arts, music, comedy and spoken word! Submissions being accepted until June 30, 2013!
Rogers Access Peel coverage on last summer’s Amphitheatre event can be seen by clicking here! Yes here! Click here!
It doesn’t matter what shenanigans I get up to while visiting LA– seeing Ayumi Iizuka and Doug Morency is always a Hollywood-heavy highlight!
This LA trip I was thrilled to be seeing Ayu and Doug perform as part of the Canadian improv group The EH Team at Second City LA. And, as always, Ayumi and Doug upped the thrillometer by generously inviting me onstage to perform alongside them and their group mate Marc. Oh, what fun! It was a thrill to be onstage with them again!
Me with Ayumi Iizuka and Marc Hickox of The EH Team, Second City, LA!
I’ve always admired these bright stars, and back in 2008 I featured both Ayumi and Doug in my column East End Artists in the late local newspaper etc… news. See my earlier blog for Ayumi’s feature here. As for Doug’s, eyeball this!
To meet Doug Morency offstage you may find him generally quiet and unassuming. To see Doug onstage is to witness a one-man storm, a tremendously talented, spontaneous, smart and generous performer and one of the best improvisers… ever! Doug is an improviser, actor and director. In Toronto he spent three years as part of the Second City Toronto mainstage cast and followed that by directing for the mainstage as well as the National Touring Company. He was part of the hugely successful award-winning Drowsy Chaperone, An Inconvenient Musical and SARSical. He also created the much-adored duo The Williamson Playboys with Paul Bates as well as the tongue-in-cheek religious duo The Kupps with Ayumi Iizuka. Doug has been involved with a dozen shows that have won Canadian Comedy Awards, and won two individually for Best Male Improviser.
Since my initial interview with Doug in 2008, he has moved to LA, bought a house, and taken up ownership of Connect Studios LA, casting director workshops studios, while he continues to act, write and improvise. Some of his recent LA highlights include: a role on Criminal Minds, multiple performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, a role on a cartoon network show called You’re Whole, teaching at the Second City LA, directing, performing in a showcase called Google My Tweet, won Best of Fest and Best Troupe at the LA Comedy Fest with The EH Team, started musical sketch duo Morezuka with Ayumi Iizuka.
And now, Doug’s East End Artist interview which I conducted with him way back in 2008:
KAT: What are some challenges and rewards of your career?
DOUG: There is no bigger thrill than stepping onstage and not knowing what is going to happen when you are out there. To me, it is one of the purest art forms. At its best, improv spontaneously combines the emotional work an actor does to be real in the moment with the technical knowledge of story structure and imagination that a writer utilizes.
KAT: What aspects of your career cause you fear? Elation?
DOUG: I am a little fearful every time I step on the stage to improvise. That fear is a great motivator. I feel elation on those occasions when it seems that you have tapped in to a collective consciousness of the actors you are performing with, and the audience, to produce a scene that feels like it has been channelled through you from someplace else– not controlling the scene but running like hell to keep up with where the scene is taking you.
KAT: What are your words of advice to someome embarking on this career?
DOUG: Always strive to get better! And get your ass onstage wherever and whenever you can.
KAT: Is there any other type of artist you would like to be?
DOUG: I like singing and do it often when I improvise. That would be fun.
KAT: What would you be doing if not in this line of career?
DOUG: I dunno, maybe a carpenter. I’ve always enjoyed woodworking.
KAT: In your opinion, what makes a person an artist?
DOUG: Observation and voice– whether that voice is a canvas, a poem, a song, a film, or whatever creative vehicle you choose. Observe the world to better understand it and use your voice to make it a little better for everyone.
Doug Morency is a rare and multi-faceted gem. He has many talents and he uses them brillliantly. Armed with wit and charm, he is instantly and lastingly likeable onstage and off. If you EVER are blessed with an opportunity to see Doug perform, don’t eff it up! See him! The joy from the experience will vibrate in your system for a very good long time and will make you a healthier person forevermore. For more on Doug and even some video snippets, visit: www.DougMorency.com!
"...Through our music we bring order to chaos; we bring solace to suffering; we bring joy to heartbreak; we bring freedom to captivity; we bring hope to despair; we bring soul to the machines and meaning to the lives of millions." Paul Williams, President ASCAP
Last week, I went down to LA with my friend Kat Leonard to check out ASCAP Expo (April 18-20).
Report: ASCAP Expo! The lovely Heather Hill did a bang-up writeup on our adventures at ASCAP Expo and all I did was hit "Reblog". Love, KAT! XO
(SAC Songwriting Challenge-Week 6-FINAL!)
I see the light!
I made it! I submitted my final peer evaluations for Pat Pattison’s course this morn! This songwriting course has introduced me to a whole world of what I don’t know. But now I actually know what I don’t know, and what I should know. And knowing is half the knowing! Now when I discuss songwriting, I have new musical vocabulary as well as deeper definitions for common vocabulary like stable and unstable. I’m able to absorb song execution tactics with more profound saturation. I see a door to a valuable toolshed, a door beckoning me like freshly baked cake to a whole new world of songwriting. Knowing that door to the toolshed is there, and that I have access to it whenever I find the initiative to flick the latch, is as comforting as eating half that freshly baked cake and knowing the second half of the cake is there for dessert!
Wanna know what my perfect day entails? Read about that and more in my interview for The Karina Chronicles. And check out the awesome dresses!
Just in case you were searching for my Curry Lasagna recipe, it’s been posted at the esteemed Harlton Empire!
Click here for the recipe and more from the Empire! xo
(SAC Songwriting challenge-Week 5)
Resistance is fertile and insidious and endemic. During this week’s songwriting assignment, I found myself quivering with defiance. Every moment was a battle of the nitwits (myself, me and I). Even my shoulder devil and shoulder angel were harmonizing, “I don’t wanna do it!” I managed to cough up an assignment submission, but resistance has now crept into my will to finish this blog entry.
I don’t wanna do it!
SAC songwriting challenge-Week 4
Oh man, during this week’s Pat Pattison songwriting lesson, I got lost by “industrial strength magnets” when a squirrel hopped upon my windowsill… or rather I was drawn vegetatively to the windowsill in hopes of luring a squirrel to hop on by and entertain me. This week’s lesson felt like someone forced me to go camping against my will. And camping is ALWAYS against my will. Ugh. Perhaps I’m over-exhausted from Canadian Music Week shenanigans.
To stress or not to stress… within music, means to analyze the syllables and whether they’re nouns or articles or verbs or squirrels. I tried sooooo hard to pay attention. Okay, to be honest, I can’t precisely qualify how deep my effort to pay attention was, for I kept winding up unconscious. I felt a tangible resistance to attention paying. It felt like the times I’d feigned attention while being scolded for something I planned to do again anyway. The stress was definitely ON.
I didn’t like it. So I shifted my attention to something else important to me: my next live show, for which I plan to perform new songs that are in various stages of incompletion. The most amazing thing happened! I was working with lyrics and– guess what! I found myself employing the tactics of syllable stress in my writing– and– I altered the chorus of one of the songs so that the chorus’s title was more defined! I couldn’t believe it! It worked! Pat Pattison’s songwriting tools had hoed their way into my songwriting process and it wasn’t painful or numbing! Weehaaaaahoooooooey! I believe there’s hope for me yet! I CAN use tools outside of myself! Needless to blog, I am thrilled with the prospect, and recharged with vigor! I feel like I’ve benefited from a long-needed nap! Yowza! Yowza!
And on the songwriting note– ha! Get it?! If you’d like to be among the first to hear these new songs, you should come out to Smiling Buddha Bar next week! There’s even some open mic slots, so you could play a song new or old as well! I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a smack-on good time! Come if you can!
The Four Winds Collective smiles at Buddha Thursday April 4th 9pm!
Canadian Music Week wrapped up last Saturday with a special SAC Words and Music Demo Listening Session at the Toronto Marriott Downtown Eaton Centre. I have attended a few Date With A Demo sessions before, but this was by far and away the best yet, for a couple of reasons.
First, the 23 songs auditioned by the panel during the two-hour session were, as a group, of much higher quality than I had seen at any SAC session before; and second, because the panelists themselves, drawn from different sectors of the industry that are all relevant to aspiring songwriters, gave such precise prescriptions for making good songs great.