I’m a nerd so I watch YouTube videos and interviews allllll the time when at home.
One of my absolute favorite pieces of entertainment which I learned a hulluvalot from is a short documentary called “Talking Funny” (It’s just Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK, and Chris Rock talking about being funny for an hour….and it’s FREAKING AMAZING).
There’s a profound moment I will NEVER forget…
It was said by Louis CK, while he was talking about how he makes his act stronger:
Click the image below and it’ll take you to the video starting at the 4min15second mark:
“One of the things I started doing was taking my closing bit, and opening with it, just to fuck myself. Because then I have to follow my strongest bit. So the end of my act gets stronger, because I don’t have a choice.“
I won’t sit here and micro-examine that phrase, because I’m sure you extract what you need from it on your own.
Just thought I’d share this piece of advice that’s stuck with me since the day I watched it (I’ve since watched it at least 30+ times…no joke)!
Watch it now, or save it for later. Enjoy!
Sooo many people want to work at home, and they immediately start searching for “business ideas” or “consulting ideas” they can do.
One of the highest paid and easiest (in terms of equipment needed) services you can do is copywriting.
Essentially you type out words on a laptop from anywhere in the world….and people pay money for it (often A LOT of money since you’re helping improve conversion rates of businesses….which obviously makes them a lot of money).
One of my completely-non-financial-related March 2011 goals was, “Play bass scales for at least 30 minutes per day.”
This isn’t just a goal to get better at the bass guitar…in fact I BARELY EVEN PLAY the bass!
But a funny thing happened recently….
A very close friend is getting married, and wanted me and my brother to play a set of jazz at her wedding! In Indian weddings, close friends of the bride/groom do all sorts of dances…so this is me and my brother’s entertainment contribution.
Unfortunately I suck at the guitar. I mean…I can play several songs really well, but I don’t know much music theory, which means I simply memorize songs but can’t improvise.
This left me roughly 3 months to become an expert bass and guitar player (fortunately my brother is really good so he can just cover me the whole time). So the learning began….
I kid you not….to learn more about the guitar, I started downloading iPhone apps!
Here’s one of my favorite apps (Jam Tracks) that lets you select a key and it plays a “backing track” which you can play along with:
Then it shows you simple scales that go along with that key….so as long as you play those scales, the backing tracking and your playing will sound good together.
This gets you playing your scales in a MUCH MORE FUN way than simply repeating it without music.
So hopefully in the next month I’ll be able to get good enough (and have enough stamina) to play a 30 or 45 minute jazz set!
Just for fun I tried playing a song all by myself with some of these newly learned scales. Check it out!
The bass line is simply the first four notes of a scale, and the guitar track is me simply improvising on a guitar scale. Put them together…BAM! It looks like I know what I’m doing (sort of) ;-)
Now of course I need to practice, but the thing about this performance is it’s in front of a lot of people.
If you want to get good at public speaking…you should probably give a lot of speeches in front of an audience for practice.
Hence….if I’m playing in front of people, I should probably give it a shot a few times before doing it live. Who knows…maybe I’ll get terrible stage fright and freeze up?
Fortunately I live in Austin, which happens to be the Live Music Captiol of the World…..and it turns out one of our friends hosts an “Open Mic” night on Monday’s. I took some friends and signed up.
At first the open mic was mainly semi-professional people playing solo with their guitars and singing…but then they opened it up for a random jam session. Random people jumped on different instruments and we just started playing. I hopped one of the guitars first and the bass later (don’t have video of the bass part).
A friend took some video of me playing….I honestly had no idea what the hell I was doing, but it turned out ok. Everyone else was playing by ear, and I was sitting on a stool with an iPhone on my lap! Watch the video and you can see me literally reading scales off the phone :-)
….so that was my first real live jam session. I must say, I actually got a wee-bit nervous before getting on. However once playing I hardly took notice of the crowd. It was pretty fun :-)
For Christmas my brother bought me a Samson C01U Studio Condenser Microphone. That’s basically fancy talk for a high quality microphone I can hookup to my computer:
I always wanted a nice mic but never got around to buying one, and now I realize all the fun things I can do with it.
I can speak like I’m on NPR radio and talk like the Saturday morning classical music announcer. Today we’ll be listening to Concierto Number 5 by Beethoven.
I can even talk like God.
Silly stuff aside, I can record written posts into audio, all in a high quality format. I have some expensive software such as Adobe Sound Booth, but the free and open source program Audacity is by far my favorite and easiest to use so far.
I wrote this post simply to have a script to read from. You can now hear the whole thing here: