Behind The Scenes At The Final Days Of 30 Rock:
Last day at the writer’s room.
Last table read.
Last shooting day. (x)
In memorandum. Blerg.
People who are negative tend to want to demean people’s ideas. They say what they don’t like, but they don’t really say what they want to do. It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there. It’s very hard to be vulnerable. But those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers and the creators. They’re the magic people of the world. So try to strive to be one of those.
Resolutions: checking in and checking out (reprisal)
Here’s how this went last year.
And now, checking in on those resolutions made for 2012:
Do awesome photo projects
Started the Brooklyn Bathroom Blog and have been going on fun photo outings. Also bartered grantwriting help with a photography lesson. Definitely giving space for photography exploration, though I’d like to enjoy what I do in physical form instead of just digital, too.
Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
Very much so! I was proud of doing a better job than ever making space for people I wanted to spend more time with and spending that time in what I felt were meaningful ways. CARRY FORWARD the goal to continue this!
Continue to explore professional and personal growth opportunities
Did a lot of informational interviewing (aka chatting with people who do cool things about what they do), so that was exciting. Big victory too was developing and teaching four courses at the Brooklyn Brainery that have been successful as professional classes and also for me personally. I went to a few workshops and conferences to build professional skill sets, and jumped on various consulting opportunities that came my way. Oh, and I think getting a blogger profile with Huffington Post is a positive thing!
Function better in unplanned, last-minute scenarios or blips in plans
Yes. I like that this was a goal, and I think I overall executed. I got a bit less crazy when people were late, and went with the flow more in general. Accountability buddy Sam was a key part of this, and I hope to keep that partnership in place in the coming year.
Make this blog or another writing venture something more public, as long as I keep enjoy doing it
See two bullets up. Also, I think more people read this blog than I think, because people randomly mention a post that stood out to them in conversations. Also, on the point of “as long as I keep enjoy doing it,” I am 1) aware that this was not an example of good editing and 2) still very much enjoying writing, and have realized that I love it because I can write in the exact style I’d like and about the exact content that strikes me. For now at least, this is the primary type of writing that excites me. I will CARRY FORWARD a more polished version of this goal!
Wear makeup a little bit more, but never spend more than 120 seconds on it.
Fail. And fine with it. Though I have taken more time to put together ‘a look’, which accomplishes a similar thing.
Take more improv classes, and continue to formulate what I want to do with it as it relates to longterm goals
I took Level 3 at Magnet and was also on a team this Fall. I continued to guest on PreRecorded.com as it worked with my schedule. I think the aspects of improv that are most appealing to me are groupwork, listening skills, creativity, and sincere fun. I’d love to integrate improv that truly embodies each of those elements into my life this year. Also, I took a storytelling class this year, which was profoundly impactful both because of the people I met and the power of the craft. I want to grow stronger roots in that this year.
Become a member of a nonprofit board
Sadly, no. Silver lining #1: wouldn’t have had the fair amount of energy to give to it this year. I’m currently on my last planned year of co-chairing Young Friends of Tufts Advancement, which will hopefully free up some time for board membership. Silver lining #2: I spent a lot of time thinking about what my ideal role on a board would be, and what sort of organization that would work best at. CARRY FORWARD!
Cook more in cost effective, healthy, and fun ways
Embarrassed to say no. I think I didn’t accomplish it because I had no real driver and truly didn’t make the time for it. Chalk it up to city living?
Work on building a sustainable skillshare of some sort among friends
Didn’t end up doing, but mostly because of the wonderful community I found at the Brainery.
Get Anderson Cooper to come for dinner
Let’s just leave this one alone.
- Maintain strong connections with important friends and family
- Explore and activate professional and personal growth opportunities
- Continue writing, publicly and privately, with enjoyment and while pushing limits of what I think I can do
- Be more vulnerable
- Seek out improv and storytelling opportunities that capitalize on personal creativity and fun, or that allow for meaningful group work
- Send more snail mail to friends
- Become a member of a nonprofit board
- Travel at least once for me (and not just for four incredible weddings)
- Read books in time that is otherwise wasted online
- Exercise regularly while pushing myself a little bit harder
- Learn to fix a bike if something simple goes wrong
Cheers! Happy New Year!
This isn’t a scam! Cast your second vote of the week for Pre-Recorded Late Night and be entered to win! And you know what, I’ll throw in a little something special if you vote for one of my episodes, because that’s the kind of briber I am! You can also tune into the LIVE show on Sunday while hanging out in your pjs. It’ll be a blast.
Interview: Josh Gondelman, Postcard Sender Extraordinaire
I’m endlessly fascinated by people who communicate in new or different ways. Josh Gondelman, a writer and comedian based in NYC, decided earlier this year to send a postcard to anyone who wanted one because he loves letter-writing. My friend Barry told me about it, and of course I eat these things up. I signed up and promptly forgot about it, and then got a wonderfully hilarious mystery postcard in the mail a few months later. It took me a whole night to figure out who Josh was, and that in and of itself was lots of fun. Then, I interviewed him.
Jen Bokoff: From whom and where was the first postcard you ever received?
Josh Gondelman: I don’t remember exactly the first postcard I ever got, but my grandmother, my dad’s mother, used to travel all around the world when I was younger, and so we’d get postcards from Russia and Greece and China. I don’t remember whether Antarctica has a post office for commercial use. Sometimes the mail took longer than my grandmother to get back to America, which was confusing to little me. I thought she was faking the cards and just sending them from her house, because I’d already seen her.
JB: Have you ever developed relationships beyond just a few interactions by sending random people postcards?
JG: I have! There are people I correspond with pretty regularly now that I’d first “met” through the project. Plus there are acquaintances that I’ve gotten to know a lot better because of their involvement. There’s one person who I see out a lot at standup shows (I am a standup comedian), and we’ve exchanged letters and met in person, but it’s a little awkward bridging the gap to casual, running-into-you friend. I’m trying to be more relaxed and natural about it. I always come off as, “Oh. It is so pleasant to see you in the world of buildings and bodies. What? Why did I say that?”
JB: You have nice handwriting. Do you think that’s becoming rarer as typing becomes more common?
JG: Oh gosh! Thanks! I do imagine probably people are less proficient at writing by hand now than they used to be. You must have received one of my early in the morning postcards. If I write a whole bunch in a day, by the end it’s just a lunatic scrawl. I try not to be a dinosaur and sob about how the decline of handwriting indicates a larger societal problem. On the other hand, it’s off-putting when someone writes down a takeout order, and it looks like something out of a serial killer’s diary.
JB: What’s the most memorable postcard you’ve ever sent?
JG: One guy requested that I write to him with my thoughts on medical marijuana, and I wrote back: “I think they should legalize pot but outlaw white guys with dreadlocks.” That was pretty succinct. I felt like I got it just right.
JB: Do you write other things besides letters and your tumblr?
JG: I do! I’m always writing for my standup act, and I write a lot of humor type pieces for Thought Catalog. Right now I’m actually working on a proposal for a memoirish book about this postcard project. So we’ll see if that becomes anything. It’s very exciting to think that anyone might want to read that! Ideally I’d love to get it so my job is some triangulation of standup, prose writing, and tv writing. We’ll see if I make it there!
A Very Young Republican
This is a fun listen from Pre-Recorded Late Night, in which I am completely serious about personal and political dreams. This episode is in honor of the Republican National Convention, which is truly weathering the political storm.
The good folks at CollegeHumor teamed up with nonprofit Malaria No More for “Malarious” (rhymes with hilarious…get it?), a collection of 24 short, original comedy videos starring more than 30 celebrities and comedians, to raise money for Malaria No More and help treat children in Africa for Malaria. The videos are available for a minimum donation of just $1. (Just like what Louie C.K. did, but for charity!) Some highlights include Nick Offerman reading a slam poem about bacon, Reggie Watts performing a special Mosquito-related song, and Ellie Kemper trying to criticize cute little puppies.
I donated and am slowly combing through the videos; they’re hilarious and benefit a really important, actionable cause. The trailer posted here is only the tip of the iceberg. Get on board: http://www.collegehumor.com/malarious
Improv, Meet Pathology. Pathology, Improv.
I’ve dabbled in improv comedy classes and fun for several years now, and I have often characterized it as professional development (on top of being super enjoyable, of course!). It reminds you of the importance of listening, supporting your team, giving gifts, thinking on your feet, and being “in the moment”.
Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx has integrated improv training into professional development. Izzy Gesell, one of the instructors, explains:
I think this is part of a growing awareness of the need for science and medical students to communicate to non-science people. It’s to communicate when things don’t go exactly as planned.
Improving skills and workplace culture are always good, so kudos to Montefiore! I hope more organizations across industries will be open-minded to this sort of professional development. [shameless plug: I will help you!]
I, in the past, thought about getting a Mohawk myself. But my team keeps on discouraging me. And now that [Bobak Ferdowski]’s received marriage proposals and thousands of new Twitter followers, I think I’m going to go back to my team and see if it makes sense.
This is good old amazing humor. It makes me cry, because it makes me laugh so hard.
I do tend to be an anxious fellow and I do tend to see the world as a little darker than perhaps it genuinely is, but I also do appreciate much more than a rosy scenario, I appreciate straight news. I appreciate honesty. I appreciate confronting something head on and being given all the details first — and then responding to them in whatever way I might. At best, it simply confirmed who I am to myself. It helps me. For me, it works.
W. Kamau Bell’s new show premiering on FX tonight is going to be awesome. Seriously, this guy is brilliantly hilarious. He and Maria Bamford led a stand up open mic at MaxFunCon this year, and I got to heckle him as part of a comedy challenges role play; let’s just say he aced it and still had me cracking up.
I was a guest on the awesome mischievous exploits + games + chit chat + charity-benefiting podcast Flee The Scene! It was a pranks episode in which we also discuss horrible cat noises, scamming old people, the Penn State racquetball scandal, and inventing a dumb charity. I played True Crime and Unbelievable Laws for LIFT and gosh was it a nail-biter….
I also needed to give something back. I made good on my promise.