Being a part of the Disney thing for so long will make you not want to be this perfect little puppet forever. Eventually, I hit a limit and thought, Screw all this, I’m just going to show people who I am. I think that happened to a lot of us. Disney kids are spunky in some way, and I think that’s why Disney hires them. “Look, he jumped up on the table!” Five, six, ten years later, they’re like, “Oh! What do we do?” Come on, guys. You did this to yourselves.
Who knows how much of this is just really good, massaged PR messaging, but still. An interesting look from the inside out.
With my stand-up now, I’ve realized there are two types of jokes. One type is me talking about miscellaneous topics and getting laughs. That would be how I feel my first two stand-up specials come off. The second type is, you get a laugh, but you also get the feeling that the audience is saying, “Thank you for saying that!” I find the second type way more satisfying.
Everybody talks about the writer’s feeling and the writer’s expression and the writer’s experience, and, you know, I don’t give a fuck how the writer feels. I want a fucking book that I can be in love with. I want a book that I’ll reread seventeen times. That’s what I want.
Mary Karr. I usually finish reading before I tumble, but I couldn’t help it this time. (via)
Q: What are the incentives you think artists are responding to?
Money and fame and sex—the same as always—but now there’s a difference. You can’t perfect your masterwork for 20 years. There’s a bit of a hurry. There’s a sense that things are changing. You can end up obsolete.
Q: How about from the audience perspective? How different is consuming art versus other consumption?
I think it’s changed enormously in the last 10 years. You see it in movie theaters, but it’s everywhere: people text or tweet and don’t pay full attention. They’re in some ways quite fussy. The attitude is, I’m already in control of my own informational life and entertainment. What else can you bring to the table? Not in a hostile way, but in an entirely legitimate “what have you got for me?” way. A lot of creators aren’t really up to it.
A book exists at the intersection of the author’s subconscious and the reader’s response. An author’s career exists in the same way. A writer worries away at a jumble of thoughts, building them into a device that communicates, but the writer doesn’t know what’s been communicated until it’s possible to see it communicated.
There’s only one problem with home cinema: it doesn’t exist. The very phrase is an oxymoron. As you pause your film to answer the door or fetch a Coke, the experience ceases to be cinema. Even the act of choosing when to watch means you are no longer at the movies. Choice—preferably an exhaustive menu of it—pretty much defines our status as consumers, and has long been an unquestioned tenet of the capitalist feast, but in fact carte blanche is no way to run a cultural life (or any kind of life, for that matter), and one thing that has nourished the theatrical experience, from the Athens of Aeschylus to the multiplex, is the element of compulsion. Someone else decides when the show will start; we may decide whether to attend, but, once we take our seats, we join the ride and surrender our will. The same goes for the folks around us, whom we do not know, and whom we resemble only in our private desire to know more of what will unfold in public, on the stage or screen. We are strangers in communion, and, once that pact of the intimate and the populous is snapped, the charm is gone. Our revels now are ended.
Part of the fascination rock stars, even those of the wannabe variety, hold for fiction writers must have to do with the degrees of mediation in an artist’s relationship to his or her audience. What would it be like to jump the gap between oneself and the presentation of one’s own art? In live performance the feedback is instant, for better or worse, and the artist’s presence as a conduit for his or her work is a precondition for that work’s existence.
The greatest audience comment ever recorded is, I think, a remark overheard at a performance of Ernst Krenek’s Second Piano Concerto at the Boston Symphony in 1938. A Boston matriarch responded to Krenek’s twelve-tone discourse by saying, ‘Conditions in Europe must be dreadful.’
What you want to do is build the people up. You start ‘em off and you give them this first half, and their feet, and next thing they got their heads goin’, and the next thing they got their mouths open and they’re yellin’ and they’re screamin’. It’s a great feeling when you can have your audience get involved with you […] where everyone can jump in and have a real good time. “What’d I Say” is my last song onstage. When I do “What’d I Say,” you don’t have to worry about it — that’s the end of me. There ain’t no encore, no nothin’. I’m finished!
It matters a great deal if people have to write out questions in advance, or during the talk, and a moderator then reads out the question. That mechanism improves question quality and cuts down on the first three motives cited. Yet it is rarely used. In part we wish to experience the contrast between the speaker and the erratic questioners and the resulting drama.
I like the second commenter’s suggestion: “Take multiple questions at once. The moderator will take say three questions from three audience members before giving the presenter a chance to answer them one-by-one.”
Often insomnia would strike in, and I would ask aloud, to the darkness of the room, “will anyone appreciate this”? (My girlfriend had by that time developed the habit of using earplugs). And then in a spectacle of light rays and stars, the Fairy of Reason would appear to me and speak tenderly: “good hearted child, if you love it, some people, who have things in common with you, will too”. And then, on my knees, holding my hands together, tears shaking on the corners of my begging eyes, I would ask, “what if I’m just a freak and no one is like me?”