Broken Pencil Improv Comedy
Oct18

Broken Pencil Improv Comedy

  Was Broken Pencil’s performance at Broadway Street Stroll in July its first? We officially formed in May out of the Fort Wayne Improv Comedy Practices. Our first performance as the Broken Pencil group was in May at a Guerrilla Theater show.   Where are each of you from and when did improv comedy start for you? Jeanne: Nashville! I fell in love with comedy. I’ve always been a fan of Second City. William really taught me about the layers to improv. This was his dream; I was just following along! Will: I’ve been a fan of all forms of comedy for a long time, but improv struck me as one that was particularly magical. Since Fort Wayne was building its own homegrown comedy scene, I thought we should add improv to that mix. The first time we got a large group for a practice and played games like Buckets and Freeze, I saw the sheer joy on someone’s face when they had to shout out “fuzzy nerfherders” or start a scene standing in the Karate Kid flamingo stance, and I knew this was something people needed. Phil: Fort Wayne. After college, I moved to Chicago, and then to Indianapolis. Beyond seeing TV shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyways?”, “Wild-N-Out” and such, my involvement in improv started over a decade ago when I was living in Indianapolis and started taking the adult improv classes at ComedySportz. I took those classes for fun without knowing what to expect, because I was getting to the age where the recreational sports I was playing was requiring too many ice packs. After taking the classes for a while, I was invited to join ComedySportz’s performing group where the fun continued, but entertaining an audience was added to the experience.   Is comedy perspective or commentary? Everyone has their own style. Will: Given that question I’d have to say it’s both. Showing people different, and sometimes imaginary, perspectives on life is a great source of comedy. One’s perspective contains a great deal of intrinsic social commentary.  I’m still finding my voice, but it’s usually about pointing out how absurd life’s twists are and to not take anything for granted or normal.   Is anything in humor sacred or off limits? I know there is always a time and place, but classic moments aren’t always classy. We keep it PG13.   What does improv comedy do for an individual? Jeanne: My background is public speaking, never funny, never quick. Comedy gets you out of your head and helps you play loose, pay attention and be spontaneous. It helps your reactions to new situations and it’s good for...

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Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne
Aug08

Good Neighbors – Steve Franks in Fort Wayne

Fort Wayne area community good neighbor Steve Franks “Fort Wayne, a league of its own.” For over a decade, Steve Franks has been helping small businesses take their first step. He works with Start Fort Wayne coaching entrepreneurs through their LevelUP program and serves on the board for the nonprofit Believe in a Dream, working with their Believe in Your Business program that focuses on high school age entrepreneurs. He sees youth-centered entrepreneurship as vibrant and world changers. When encouraged, they will find the way. I asked how one would encourage these young entrepreneurs. “Not every venture needs to be a home run, but a lot of singles will get a lot of runs,“ Steve replied. He went on to explain that not every first venture will be your best.   I find myself continually amazed and inspired by people living in the Fort Wayne area, Steve Franks being one of them. We had an opportunity to ask Steve about who he is and what he does. How long have you been helping small businesses? I left the world of innovation consulting 13 years ago and started coaching entrepreneurs at the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center. NIIC was fairly new at the time. I sought it out since it had the word “innovation” in its name – it turned out to be more about entrepreneurship than what I had come to know as innovation. Fortunately, discovering I loved working with startup entrepreneur, I started helping them think through their new ventures. Most everything I’ve done for the past three decades or so has been with smaller entrepreneurial companies.  I’ve co-founded two ventures and have been working around and developing new things.   What was the first job or one of the first jobs you had? The job that made the biggest difference in the trajectory of my life was when I resigned from the cushy office job at North American Van Lines (where I worked since high school) to go sell microcomputers on commission. Not the most fiscally prudent move, perhaps, but it worked out and gave me a foothold into something I love–which was why I took the plunge. It started me down the path of working with things I was passionate about, rather than just some financially comfortable salary job. It allowed me to hone skills that help me be a good entrepreneur coach today.   You are helping with things all over. How do you keep your energy up and prioritize to prevent burn out? What is this “prioritize” thing you speak of?  One way to not burn out is to be busy. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but you only really burn...

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