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Answers #7 [Apr. 21st, 2006|09:09 am]

These are answers from my Ask Me Anything post. Post any new questions over there.

1. How far East have you traveled?

2. Do you have a favorite typeface?

3. Do you have any pet peeves about your improv workshops at FC?

1. Well, it depends how you want to divide the globe. I've travelled through Greenwich; if you use the great circle of zero time, that means that I've been quite far east. If we use the international dateline, I think that the easternmost area I've visited would be Switzerland.

2. Hmm, difficult question. As I know you know (that I know), I have a love of typography, though I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination.

I'd have to say that, for overall utility, my favorite font is definitely Garamond. Not unusual, I know, but the overhanging nose on the "a" and the nice proportions are really appealing. The serifs and wedges are good (witness "b"). Plus, it is usually provided with a stylish italic face (see "f").

For titling or other uses, I've got to give a nod to Zapfino, one that I've been really into lately. This is a particularly appealing font to me since I like long ascenders and descenders (thus, short x-heights) in styled fonts. Zapfino bears a passing resemblance to my own writing. (I wish it were more than passing!) But the flow and sweep of the lines in Zapfino are wonderful, compared to some similarly-proportioned handwriting fonts such as Cezanne; those curls don't appeal to me.

Finally, for a funky font with less of a calligraphy appearance, I've got to give a token nod to Dauphin. It's a bit funky, with slightly varying capital heights and odd wedge descenders. It contains a few curious throwbacks to earlier letterforms (see "d" and "y"). Besides, it has a lovely set of numerals (though there are many, many typefaces with similar digits). Since I've generally seen Dauphin as a free font, I'm guessing it's modeled off some commercial typeface, though I couldn't say which one.

3. My biggest pet peeve is that there isn't enough instruction. We have fun, play games, and all that -- which is good -- but we rarely get a chance to seriously focus on skills. This is partly due to the fact that we have to assume that participants have zero skills since it's open to anyone. And we usually do get a broad range of talent in the room. This makes it very hard to design activities which will allow advanced people to stretch themselves while not loosing the beginners.

I'd really like to see more practice at scene building skills, such as blocking, sharing focus, and character status. But it takes more concentrated practice to develop these (i.e. it stops feeling like "games" and more like "practice"). It would seem that the con environment isn't suited to that as much. The result is that our scenes suffer and we really don't advance much, year to year. *sigh*

But we still have fun, which I guess is our goal. Less learning, more silliness!

[User Picture]From: insofox
2006-04-21 05:37 pm (UTC)
I agree with 3. Not in a detrimental way - when I went it was tremendous fun, but I would have loved more instruction. But it is very difficult, as you say. I don't see a way around it, except to have more than one per con, so that there's just more time to work with the people who stick with it. But that is of course a huge time commitment for the con and so brings its own problem.

Perhaps just focus on one big thing, like spontaneity. They might not get all the finesse that comes with narrative skills and status interactions, but they'll maybe learn a bit about their own creative potential, and it's something beginners and old hands alike can benefit from going back to over and over.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-04-21 07:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah. It's difficult to organize a good workshop for a con venue. You don't get to work with the same group repeatedly and it's often been a year since the last improv experience for people. But I do try to change it up and bit and push people.

Spontaneity is a good suggestion. Maybe next year I'll also try to push a bit of scene structure.
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[User Picture]From: kigeni
2006-04-21 08:13 pm (UTC)
Would you like to have an improv critical workshop?
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-04-21 10:23 pm (UTC)
"Critical", as in we provide critical notes after each performance? Yes, I'd like to do that. Or do you mean as a separate workshop? We've experimented with various ways of splitting improv workshops in the past and not hit upon any satisfactory solution... But I'm all ears for new ideas!
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[User Picture]From: insofox
2006-04-21 10:59 pm (UTC)
sounds good to me, too. 'course, my plans for FC07 are a bit up in the air. I might well be skiing at the time with a fine bunch of improvisors. What is the collective noun for a group of improvisors, anyway? There should be one.

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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-04-21 11:07 pm (UTC)
There should be... how about an "entropy" of improvisors? (Or "entroupey", to emphasize the pun. :)
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[User Picture]From: foxcoon
2006-04-21 09:06 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you typed "loosing" instead of "losing." :)
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-04-21 10:22 pm (UTC)
Doh! I'll claim it was a deliberate pun. It invokes imagery of the running of the bulls in Pamplona as beginners run wild across our workshop. :D
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[User Picture]From: kit_ping
2006-04-21 11:57 pm (UTC)
Oh, good; I was trying to figure out a diplomatic way to point it out. Now I don't have to! :)
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[User Picture]From: loranskunky
2006-04-22 01:58 am (UTC)
Wow, you're very classical in your font perferences, which, is very like you.
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[User Picture]From: nicodemusrat
2006-04-24 04:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah, my answers there were probably not much of a surprise. :) I do like classically-proportioned fonts and also ones that have clean contours. Curlicue and frilly "decorative" fonts just do nothing for me.

(I spent about eight hours sorting through fonts to find the titling font for my book. I'm a font snob!)
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