So, let me begin by saying that MIM is going to be a very long journey, one that is not guaranteed full success, one that has and will continue to take lots of time, effort, strategy, and, the real kicker, money. Yet, the next steps would not be possible without this crucial first step—the premiere theater run. Saturday night, we completed that first step, and my expectations were not only met, they were exceeded ten-fold. Without the help of so many, this crucial first-step would not have been possible. I went into this whole thing not realizing exactly how much would be involved and just dove in head first. As I reflect back on the past year and a half and the way this project has morphed, and I think about all of those who have made this first step possible, I can’t help but to feel incredibly humbled and grateful. There are certain individuals and entities that I would like to, in writing, acknowledge:
Duquesne University Communication and Rhetorical Studies Department: Like anything that’s worth pursuing, this all started out with an idea. An idea that I had in the back of my mind for a long time, but had no idea how to make tangible or focused. My master’s program allowed me to focus that idea, which finally came to fruition with an independent study project during my last semester that allowed me to craft this idea, present it at the Eastern Communication Association Conference, and get credit for doing everything from the press releases to the filming and everything in between. There are two individuals in particular that were essential in this endeavor: Dr. Craig Maier, my instructor and coach who oversaw the semester project from ignition to completion, and Dr. Michael Tumolo, my faculty advisor who co-authored my first and only publication and developed the ECA panel where I presented MIM, not to mention lead me to some amazing books over the past 2 years, some of which I still have and are his…
W. Kamau Bell: I did a one-nighter in Pittsburgh with W. Kamau Bell and the next day drove him to his college gig at Bethany College in West Virginia. Knowing he’s had success with his show: The Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour, I told him about MIM and asked question after question about how I should go about this whole thing, to the point where I eventually told him that if he wanted to change the topic I would understand. He declined and answered every question I had thoroughly, and he opened my eyes to perspectives I had not yet thought of and probably wouldn’t have thought of myself. I implemented all of his suggestions and I’m glad I did. On a side note, his show Totally Biased on FX is hilarious and should be watched by everyone.
Krish and Elliott: These guys met deadline after deadline, did shot after shot, sketch after sketch, the list goes on. For me to list everything Krish has done would be impossible and would take weeks, to list everything Elliott has done would be pretty difficult too. They worked their asses off and all they got in return was the experience, a buttload of gratitude and a free lunch here and there. Neither of them ever complained.
Aaron Tarnow: It had never dawned on me that I may need a tech director person to kind of oversee the multi-media and the lighting. Well, turns out I did need one. Aaron’s heavily involved with the Steel City Improv Theater and he jumped in on every show. No tech script, all of the clips were on different audio levels which meant he had to live mix, plus he had to deal with me being a technological goof. He never once complained and was happy to lend a hand. Without him, the last show would probably still be going on, and it would be awkwardly painful for all those involved.
Justin and Kasey and the Steel City Improv Theater: Without them and what they have built and are still building, a project like mine wouldn’t have a home in Pittsburgh, or at least it wouldn’t have had a home the way it was able to. SCIT is a community of creative minds and performers that is incredibly valuable not just to improv but to theater folks, musicians, stand-ups, live-podcasters, dudes that are making one-man shows about the mass media, and I’m sure the list goes on. Not to mention they provide quality shows at a killer price for anybody that wishes to attend. They have a great thing going, and I’m grateful they took a chance on my thing. I encourage everybody to learn more about them, and if you are able, help them to start the next chapter of Steel City Improv Theater at their new (2013) location in Shadyside.
Last but certainly not least: Every single person who attended. We had people that attended multiple times, we had people come from West Virginia, Ohio and even Indiana to see the show. We had decent attendance every month including a sell-out/at capacity or two. Without people in the seats, all of the hard work would have been for nothing, the demo wouldn’t exist, and this would all be a loss. But you guys came, and I know it’s trite to say but I can’t express how grateful I am that you did, and I hope you enjoyed it.