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Spontaneous Commotion



ROX Episodes

Title: Spontaneous Commotion
Type: production note
Date: August 4th, 2003

It may seem hard to believe, but we actually did a good deal of planning and preparation for the earliest episodes of ROX. We brainstormed topics to discuss on the show, mapping out the flow of ideas that would carry us from beginning to end. We did research to get statistics and quotes. A trip to the library was usually in order, at the very least. This was before the web had become a ubiquitous, remember.

But as our first season went on, the rigors of our weekly production schedule began to catch up with us, and we were finding it harder to prepare for each epsiode. We simply couldn't find the time. From week to week, we were planning a bit less and winging it bit more.

Come “Sunday Morning,” our 23rd episode, we were completely unprepared. So here was our first show that was (almost) entirely improvised.

We really had no more idea in our heads than the title implies. It was Sunday, and we had friends over for breakfast. J cooked up some of his very special home fries; the secret ingredient is hinted at obliquely in the show. (Perhaps it's just me, but I think the entire episode has a slightly psychedelic flavor.) We made the program up as we went along. What happened, happened.

In retrospect, the finished product may not be a stunning artistic achievement, but for us, it was another minor revelation in just how much could be improvised out of so little.

TBlack's monologue on cheese puffs still stands out in my mind as an achievement. By simple editing, I gave his observations a deliberate, dramatic edge that uncut footage would have lacked. I think that it was as much of a revelation for T as it was for me.

At 34 minutes, this show probably runs a little too long for its own good. I wish I'd ended it after our visit to the church on Kirkwood. That would have been more elegant, and would have better served the “Sunday Morning” theme. As it is, the visit to BCAT and the viewer mail seem tacked on. Perhaps my scream during the closing credits was born of a precognitive frustration.

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