22 October 2008

I doubled my funnies :)

This is a quick post and even though it's like 4 days late (it happened 4 days ago, on Saturday night), I won the English Comedy Competition and became Hong Kong's funniest person (in English) in 2008 :)
So now my trophies stand proudly on my shelf, side by side:
  • 2007 - Funniest Person in Hong Kong: Chinese
  • 2008 - Funniest Person in Hong Kong: English
I'm a happy (but very, very exhausted) chap :).

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15 October 2008


Yes. I'm back on track. My sleeping cycles have gone back to normal and I'm feeling more inspired than ever! So much has happened in the past 10 days, I don't know where to start.
So I have an early morning tomorrow (Wednesday) but I figured I really ought to stay on track with my blogging, after all, once I fall behind my schedule, I'll keep tumbling like before.

Tonight, I got to enjoy a great, great drum clinic by the magnificent Marco Minnemann and boy oh boy was he mind blowing. I mean, it was crazy enough just watching Mike Mangini yesterday, but Marco just finished me off! As much as deep down inside I'm thinking "man, they're so lucky to be able to play like that", I know there's no luck involved, it's all hard, dedicated effort they've put in over the years. I mean these guys have been playing drums for over 15 years so I'm nowhere close to them with just a bit over 3 years under my belt. The cool thing is, this is exactly the kind of inspiration I needed recently. I've been really busy filming for a documentary I'm hosting for RTHK that I haven't had a chance to sit in front of my kit and just play let alone practice!

Speaking of practicing, I haven't had a chance to rework my set for this Saturday's English Comedy Competition Finals! Yikes! Filming has been non-stop since Sunday and every evening I've had the drum clinics and here I am on the verge of going to bed so there goes any chance to work at my material and refine it even more. For those of you who weren't at the heats, this year's competition is very, very stiff! Everyone's upped their game and this is exactly the way I love it! May the best man/woman win! I really appreciate a good, hard competition because it makes the victory all the more worth it, not to mention even if you lose, you know you lost to some of the top notch people available! :D So in many ways, I've already won. In fact, this reminds me of this time last year when I was just getting into stand up comedy. Before the Chinese competitions, my friend Bun asked me once on the phone "Just tell me this Viv, what will you do if you don't win the competition?" and I responded "You know, the fact that I'm just able to do stand up comedy is a victory for me, it was a dream, now it's a reality, winning the competition is secondary" and in many ways, the same applies this year. I mean, sure, it'd be great if I won, I'd love it and all, but if I don't, so what? I mean, I'm the type of person that grows through both success and failure so both ways I will come out strong so I'm not really worried in that sense. I'd only feel bad if I knew I could have done better. In fact, isn't that what kills most people? Not the feeling of losing, but the feeling of losing when you could have won if you just did your work better?

I've been recently reading some stuff about fitness and it had a whole chapter talking about goal setting. Sure, every book always touches on that topic but this one included some really good points as well as quotes and I'd like to share them with you here.

In his book Watermelon Magic, Wally “Famous” Amos wrote:
“Mistakes are natural. Mistakes are how we learn. When we stop making mistakes, we stop learning and growing. But repeating the same mistake over and over is not continuous learning – it’s not paying attention.”
Legendary Green Bay Packers Coach Vince Lombardi put it best when he said, "The dictionary is the only place success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success."

And finally,

In developing the martial art of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee worked hard to quantify and formulate a philosophy for self-defense and personal growth. His formula was: 1) Research your own experience, 2) Absorb what is useful, 3) Reject what is useless, and 4) Add what is specifically your own.
“Formulas can only inhibit freedom,” said Lee, “They are externally dictated prescriptions that only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery – a process without end.”
I guess when you put all these together, it kind of tells you the same thing, everything requires effort. There is no quick fix nor a short cut. Marco Minnemann never got to where he was from just mucking around, he spent hours and hours working at his technique and refining his musical mind. But effort really isn't enough. Like Bruce Lee says, learning is not mere imitation, just repeating something that already can be done is useless, why would anyone find you to do something they could find someone else to do? It's point #4, adding what is specifically your own that makes me smile. It's this point that differentiates us from anyone else.

Even in my comedy, I know it when it's my style, that's my goal, to have my own style, my own signature, my own stamp that people can recognize immediately. The same goes with my drumming as well. Of course, don't get me wrong, I personally think imitation is a form of learning, much like how you have to learn the rules before you can expect to break them. With drumming, you got to learn the basic rock patterns before you expect to create your own. Like Bruce Lee said, after researching, you absorb and reject the information, then you personalize it. I do this a lot with my comedy, I observe my surroundings, absorb, perceive and acknowledge it, then let my perspective on it sink in and see what I get out of it. Very often I get nothing. Sometimes, however, I get a great bit and that goes into my arsenal of humor. Heck, sometimes I could be showering and an idea comes into my head and I'm rushing to write it down or I keep repeating it so I don't forget. If there's one thing I really don't like, it's forgetting an idea. Great or not great idea, I hate forgetting it because there's a difference between being great now, or being potentially great. They're both great, just at different times. Just like asking, which is better? Sun rise or sun set? They're both good in their own ways.

So, as usual, my inspiration is limited by the same thing as always -- time. It's Tuesday night and I feel like I've accomplished so much, yet accomplished nothing at the same time because things I wanted to do haven't been done, but things that needed to be done, have. Well on a brighter note, tomorrow I have a quick medical scan, then I can finally sit and catch up on my work. I've got a lot of stuff lined up, so hopefully I'll be in the cranking the widgets mentality and get it all done as fast as possible. And now, I'm off to bed. Have a great night's sleep and happy hump day! :D

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