Ripping up the script

Once upon a time, I was a faithful MTV viewer.  I remember making the mad dash home at 3:15 from high school to be home by 4 to see the latest world premiere video (cough, Alphabet Street by Prince, cough).  Just like any faithful MTV viewer, the one event I looked forward to the most was the Video Music Awards now known as the VMA’s.  For those not familiar with the VMAs, think big stars + insignificant “celebrities” + outrageous performances = getting a moonman-shaped paperweight.

One year, MTV hosted a behind-the-scenes look at the amount of time, effort and insanity that goes into developing such a production.  The best nugget from that special came from VMA executive producer Dave Sirulnick who stated that after all of the rehearsals and careful planning, minutes before the show, he would literally rip up the script.  His reason? Anything that could happen during a live show will happen and a 10-page script wasn’t going to stop it.

Just for a moment, imagine if someone ripped up your script.  What if you were asked to give a presentation with 10 minutes to prep for it?  What if the only way to distribute your legislative alert was via Twitter?  What if the intern took the lead on a project?  Potentially scary, but would it be the end of the world?  Of course not.  Because we’ve all been there.  We’ve all been put on the spot at the worst possible time and we survived.  It may not be the most pleasant or professional experience, but it’s the messiness that makes us human and fun, just like the VMAs used to be.

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One thought on “Ripping up the script

  1. Smilng – this is how I felt first about the “Mickey Mouse Club” and then “American Bandstand” .. but I digress.

    Izzy Gesell, a facilitator and improv-er, said in his book and I paraphrase “Unless you start the day with a script next to your bed that has everything you’re going to say and do for the day, you’re doing improv.”

    Scripts are useful as a guideline; if we each tried more improv – which involves lots of listening – I think we’d do better!

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