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Basic Production Elements

Today I started to deal with the limitations I have to work with. When I was going over the contract, I had promised the management of the theater that I would bring no more than one average-sized trunk worth of production and props.

There's not a lot going on in the world of rolling trunks these days. I even went as far as calling a local Army Navy store but they didn't bother to answer the phone. The outer dimensions are 32" x 17" x 13". There's notation of the internal dimensions, and the reviews state that the hinges are going to fall apart quickly and will require duct tape. Perfect for our purposes.

The biggest pieces we need to fit in here are:


3 Microphone StandsBackdrop StandLighting PoleMusic Stand Now I already have a collapsable music stand, I haven't measured the lighting pole, and I have one boom mic stand that probably won't fit in here.
I was able to find this generic mic stand setup
I'm presuming it's garbage because it's …

Running Order

I've started to lay out all the works and try to figure out the running order.

There's a lot of confusion if I want to start on a high note, slow it down, and then build it back up (which would be the normal order for a concert) or if I really want to screw around with that format and do an extended version of the show I did in Orange County last year. 

It's important to always have just the right amount of crazy running through every scene. When you drop out after the opening number, you lose that crazy. It works well in stadiums and maybe arenas but in a small theater I think it fails. You need that little degree of crazy in each piece so that the 98 percent of the audience who has no idea what they are watching feels that the promise of going to an "arts" event is seeing something they identify as "art" even if they don't understand it. Once they get bored for more than five seconds you lose the momentum and I think it's really hard to get that…

Concept art for the poster and the venue is booked

Josh, the artist I used for the previous poster concept is working on the new poster. He sent this idea first which is very true to the video clips of previous performances

But it doesn't scream "rock star" so much as it screams shlubby depressed guy trying to get his life back in order at an open mic night. So I thought about the title "How To Be A Rock Star" and google image searched "Rock Star". There were some stereotypes so I sent those to Josh along with a stock photo of one of the lighting rigs and he sent this back
Which is way more rock star than the first piece. 
I also met with the owner of the theater to go over some details. They decided to start taking reservations for the festival early. I'm the second contract they've signed and the first one in the space I'll be using. It was the first time I had to write a check for something that wasn't rent in years.

A Slight Change of Plan

So this happened...


The lights were all moved around, the sound was all off, the sound engineer was out taking a smoke break or something, and it's not that I wasn't prepared because my performance is generally fine, but if you bother to watch to the end you can see that the temporary host of the open mic yanked me off stage before my time was even up.

I got stuck in a cockroach-infested Uber on the way home and the driver was playing Christmas music on the radio and I couldn't decide which of the two was worse.

I don't really think that I need to workshop this every week in this way, it kind of serves no purpose. I had to do it long enough to come up with an idea for a show and to refresh my knowledge of what I've done already and how it all works. Luckily there's video of everything for reference.

This blog will continue and the show will go on, but there's no need to keep punching myself in the face with this stupid open mic.

Also I decided that after th…

Week 3 : Making The Show - Returning To The Stage

You will immediately notice that after spending so much time figuring out where to stand, I proceeded to walk on stage last night and stand in the completely wrong place. Now that we've researched the lighting it's almost comical.

I didn't know it until I watched the video this morning and realized that the only reason I had stood in this spot is that it was where the microphone stand had been located when I walked up on stage. Who placed it there? The sound engineer who was concerned with sound and nothing else.


One thing I'm really looking forward to at the Fringe is playing in a proper theater and not worrying about people coming and going with drinks and doing stuff like sitting in my seat and moving all my stuff. Open mic regulars are OK but it's the people who just show up without taking two seconds to read about appropriate behavior who are the worst.

Some notes here: I lost a piece of my music stand, if we're going to do this I should just go out and bu…

Research Gathering Phase for #HFF19

I spent the last several days in Las Vegas doing research on the 2018 Hollywood Fringe Festival, walking around shopping malls listening to the town hall recordings, and sort of floating through the alternate universe of Vegas hoping to come up with some ideas.

Last week I was struggling to think of a single one-man show that I'd ever enjoyed. I kept asking people the wrong question, I was asking "what was the most successful one man show of all time?" and all I could come up with was "Mark Twain Tonight".

Anyway I was in the shower and remembered this one:


I was about 10 years old when this ran on Broadway and it was a big hit, I believe it won a Tony award. My grandfather had the cassette tape of it and I listened to it endlessly, I knew every word. For whatever reason, I asked to see the show over and over again and my grandfather obliged, I think he took me to see it three times (possibly more). I was the only ten year old in the theater. I was mesmerized. …

The Five Stages of Creating a Fringe Festival Show

Last night I finally sat down to try and work my way through the Hollywood Fringe Festival production videos on YouTube.

Let's look at where I'm at with the show at the moment:

It could either be a one-man show that expands on all the work I've done at open mic

or

It could be an ensemble jukebox musical based on my songs

or

I could finally direct a production of "Moose Murders"

I priced out Samuel French for "Moose Murders" and assuming Arthur Bicknell gave the go-ahead it would be around $600 in licensing fees.

In terms of getting cast, crew, etc for a musical I was referred to a production company that I haven't called yet for an estimate.

One-man show of course has the lowest barrier of entry and in my mind the worst stigma attached to it.

I don't like to see one person shows (the pitches usually sound like "It's about a boy who (suffered some kind of abuse)" or "It's about a girl who (got some kind of disease)". T…

Sam Pocker - Wikipedia

"Hey Sam,Despite having press links from high authority websites, the context of wiki page is not notable. You might get a Wikipedia page live for a day or two but when it goes through the sight of 'Wikipedia reviewers', they'll take it down." This was the email I received from a wikipedia editor who had offered to help me get a page. Why did I want a Wikipedia entry? I felt like it would be the easiest way for someone who had just discovered my work to see the multifaceted overarching body of work. Nobody really cares, but I had put in the effort into writing one anyway.

The editor didn't want to see the article or know anything about me, he just asked for some of the footnote links. I sent the first few that came to mind : The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Daily News, Washington Post, etc.. There are so many more that I didn't even bother to dig up after he shot down the idea.

I don't question his knowledge of the system, but it still feels bad. Like m…

My New Country Single "I Think I Liked You Better When You Drank"

I've written an article about the process of making the song and video, you can read it here.
You can check out the video and pre-order the song at the links below.
If you don't already do so, please follow me on Spotify


"I Think I Liked You Better When You Drank" Produced by Sam Pocker & Geza X
Mixed by Mark Nevers Mastered by Kramer
Special thanks to Laura Cantrell & Paul Kostabi
To be released on November 2, 2018
Pre order on
Apple Music https://goo.gl/DKdUVY
Itunes https://goo.gl/MHKevr
Amazon https://goo.gl/r2zWt3
Google Play https://goo.gl/x39W8b
Bandcamp https://goo.gl/zBjSiG Follow Sam Pocker & the Pretty Colors:
YouTube: http://bit.ly/SamPockerYT
Facebook: http://bit.ly/SamPockerFB
Bandcamp: http://bit.ly/SamPockerBC
Instagram : https://goo.gl/bBT2Zv

Week 2 : Making the Show - The Process of Creating a Show for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019 - The Lights

The stage at the Pig N Whistle has three LED fake PAR lights and a disco ball with a spotlight (that has a red filter and very low wattage). Other than that there are a few rows of house lighting on a variety of dimmers behind the bar.


In the past when I've shot video on this stage the pars have effectively destroyed the performance, focusing entirely on my mid-section and in one case washing out an illuminated costume.


I wanted to take some time at this week's open mic to explore where the lights are focused, if we have any flexibility with their levels, and where the optimal location on the stage would be for the performers.

This wide-angle shot that I took this evening is somewhat deceptive as compared to the close up of my performance from a few months ago. Had the lights been adjusted in some way?
Also note the entrance on stage left. Mike (the event promoter) sits at the table and collects door money here. He insists on having his workspace fully illuminated. So if we cu…

Making the Show - The Process of Creating a Show for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019

I'd been trying for some time to put together an opera called "The Holy Trinity" which took place the night Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears went joyriding together about ten years ago. I had written a treatment, sketched out some ideas, and even had a poster made. Then I kept looking at how to produce it and there was simply no way it wasn't going to lose money.



During the discovery process for that project I learned about the Hollywood Fringe Festival which seemed to be the least expensive way to present the work. I looked at some theaters and when I called the one that seemed to be the best fit I was asked what my show was about. "Oh, we had a show just like that last year," was the immediate reply.

After doing some research I saw there was a show with a similar theme that was nothing at all like what I was working on. Regardless, I knew that popular opinion would simply be that my show was a copy of that show and it would cause the show t…

I wrote an article about how I made 7 albums in 11 months

I wanted to play shows
In order to play shows I needed songs
So I learned how to write songs
Then in order to get people to go to the shows I had to record the songs
So I recorded the songs
Then in order to get people to listen to the songs I had to make videos
So I made videos
Then to get people to watch the videos I had to write about them
So I wrote about them
It's a vicious cycle

Read the whole story on Medium

This Year So Far

Visited the Museum of Failure Played at Kulak’s Woodshed Saw K-Flay at the Fonda Went to Moster Trucks at Angel Stadium Helped Charlsey sell her car Took Alex to the Comedy Store Went to a Kings game Took Alex to King’s Hawaiian Saw Guards at the Echo Went to the Old Spaghetti Factory with Charlsey Recorded a pilot episode of podcast with Nick Became a Disneyland Annual Passholder for the first time in my life Shot the video for “Eye Contact” Helped Gadi shoot his video Saw Mummenchanz in Long Beach Had a cronut when there was no line Saw Dua Lipa at the Palladium Went to the Sagus Cafe Saw Cheech and Chong in Santa Clarita Learned how to make pickles Saw Poppy at the Hard Rock in Vegas Saw Lana Del Ray at Mandalay Bay Saw Donnie and Marie with Eric and then attended my first meet & greet  Had my first ever band t-shirts made for The Pregnant Vegans Saw Veruca Salt for the second time ever Went to Monterey Park for the first time, had good Chinese food Went to the other Astroburger for the first time Saw Ba…

310-CUT-FOOT

A few weeks ago I took over the responsibilities of running (310) CUT-FOOT, a local hotline which has been running since at least the 1980's. (You can read some more about it here). I've been calling it regularly for about two years at the insistence of my friend Paul who is one of it's most vocal supporters.

The format basically revolves around a character who pretends to be so entrenched in a certain milieu of cultural events that they assume you understand all of the shorthanded codewords which they are presenting in under two minutes. It's the sort of scene that exists in all major cities, it revolves around cultural inbreeding and nothing from any of these scenes ever goes anywhere.

Some examples might be the punk band that sucks performing at the restaurant that's terrible, down the street from the University where the clientele will change every four years, or the art show in the gallery that's nothing more than a stockroom in the back of a shoe store.

I…