I am Dan Bain

Dan Bain is a comedian, director, actor, writer and general know it all. This is his blog of things.
  • me: Make sure you really cue that line up, as it propels the next phase of action.
  • Tim: That really made you sound like a director.
  • Me: Really?! Awesome! Annabel, whatever I just said, write that down!

On moving to Auckland

Very soon my final two contracts in Christchurch will finish up. When that happens I will have a short while to potter about (maybe finish Mass Effect 2 on hardcore) do a smattering of gigs, spend a day or three in Dunedin watching Avenue Q and seeing my dear friend Kathleen Burns.

Then I have a month of things to do in the UK, talking to university students about how to not be dicks and seeing my dear friend Mister Javier Jarquin and his charming fiancee.

When I return to New Zealand I plan to move to Auckland as there are no large contracts in Christchurch that I could pitch for until at least February next year. So, I’m going to go see what I can scrape around and find elsewhere. Hopefully there is a space in their industry for me.

It is very nerve wracking, as I am leaving behind what was a succesful little mini-empire. But it is no more, it is fallen and I must move on.

If you have a gig, I’ll do it.
My skills are: comedy, improv, acting, writing, directing, juggling and barrel making.

The internet is awesome (also, shit)

I did a thing a while ago, where I was booked to write and perform a comedy lecture for the university of about a half an hour in duration with slides and things.
It was a lot of fun, we ended up having to do it extra times due to the popularity of it (caused in no doubt by the attendence of Misters Paul Ego and Leigh Hart from the television) and I must say I was very pleased with how my piece “Other People’s children 101” went. It had excellent laugh to talk ratio (primary goal) as well as being a bit offbeat and dark (personal goal)

I also got several tweets about the thing, saying how people had enjoyed it and whatnot. Boy, I thiought, the internet is great!
And finally as I headed off to the land of slumbers i received as a comment on my youtube channel

"You’re fucking shit. went to thing at university tonight what a waste of my time even though it was free. What a fucking wanker."

Boo. The internet is shit.

The longer I do these things the more I am impressed by people who decide to start careers in comedy or just generally put themselves out in public, esecially who make these choices later in life. If i’d known when I started what I know now about getting random asshats sending me hatemail or trolling my internets which is IN MY HOUSE NOT EVEN DURING THE GIG I dunno if i’d have the balls. But I was stupid and full of angry testosterone. And now i’ve dug my hole and must lie in it.

On monday

Yesterday i went to a meeting looking suspiciously like a hobo, in a suit, driving a sports car. The meeting was with someone i had never met but who wanted to engage my services as a comic writer. I said yes. I have a difficult task but i think a good deal. We shall see. I already wrote some jokes for them and that is ahead of schedule.

The outline is due on monday.

Today i was at coffee looking like a hobo in a hoodie most likely up to crimes, when i got a phone call. Did i remember that big project? Y’know, that one? Well it’s due in two hours, oh what’s that you haven’t done shit on it. Ok, i’ll see if i can get the deadline extended for you.

The outline is due Monday.

This afternoon i went to a meeting looking like a hobo with a hangover driving a stolen car. Everyone showed me reinterpretations of the pictures i had drawn for them except now they were good. I nodded a lot. I think one time i said something insightful. I’m so the director. I never knew that wanting everyone to have shiny buttons would be what broke the budget. Then we went to the pub.

Rehearsals start monday…

I’m watching videos of sharks on the internet!

Believing (On Norway)

Believing stuff is very important to me. If you’re making things in an imaginary world, as I do a lot of the time for most of my various works, you rely on the ability of the human brain to construct a separate reality from the one they are in. In the business we call this the ‘suspension of disbelief’ to make it seem safe. But it is not safe. Not at all. It is loaded with power and horror and worry and fear. There is no suspension of disbelief. There is just belief or not. We, as humans, are wired to believe. And as a theatre practitioner, an occasional magician and the writer and performer of a haunted walk I’ve learnt maybe one or two things about the convincing of folk that stuff which is imaginary is real. But first, lemme digress a little and talk about sports.

Those of you who know me will maybe be a little surprised to hear this but you know what I like to do every now and then? I like to get a bit boozed (no surprises so far) and watch the rugby. Yup. I like it. Only if the game means something, I won’t go watch Marist play St. Bedes and think that that means anything (on account of it doesn’t. It’s like me watching No Sex Please, We’re Sixty by The New Plymouth Repertory Theatre for acting tips) but say it’s some sort of final thing. Sure. I’ll even yell at the TV.

And as I watch it, despite my lack of A) sporting prowess B) knowledge of the intricacies of rugby C) aspirations to be a professional sports person I still believe. I carry that most quintessential NZ dream, I could be an All Black, if I got my shit together and did some running and whatnot. This is utter bullshit. There is not a chance I could do so. Not for a minute. But I get caught up in it. Caught up in the excitement of the moment. And this isn’t something I do regularly. Maybe once or twice a year.

Imagine if you did this once a week. I dunno, every Sunday maybe? You would be practising believing wouldn’t you? Getting good at it.

Here’s a thing about the internet (which I love dearly, but sometimes it is shit) no matter what you’re into, you can find someone else who is in to it as well. That’s so important I’ll say it again.

On the internet, no matter what you’re into, you can find someone else who is in to it as well.

What if that person kept reinforcing what you were into as well? You could normalise it just like that.

Then you could probably quite easily make the leap that people that didn’t believe the same things as you were inhuman, evil and threatening your way of life. I mean, you’ve done all this practice… what are they saying? That you can’t be an All Black? But that’s the NZ dream! Fuck them!

You’d probably get crazy angry. I mean you’ve invested so much in something that you’ve forgotten was never real.

Dogmatic, unthinking belief in anything is dangerous. Extreme belief even more so. The human brain is created to recognise patterns and draw meaning from them. If you constantly reinforce patterns that are based on imaginary terrors, on the fear of migrants ruining your country, on the correctness of one political system, on the purity of your crusade then you will find you can justify pretty much anything to yourself.

Think for yourself. Question authority.

What are you believing in, and why?

I’m going to pretend that the spam bot that just left notes on a whole load of my posts is a real person.

Ditto at least five of my followers.

Thanks for your love automated robots.

Difficult second album

about this time last year i made a thing called Paintbox and it worked very well. So i got asked to make some more things, some of which could be about whatever i wanted and others of which had to be reinventions of things that people would flock to for NAME RECOGNITION and MOVING UNITS OF PRODUCT and THAT CLEAN FRESH TASTE.

And i said yes and they said yes and then there was an earthquake.

So the things all got muddled up and the things that were just out of my brain had to be put on hold because IT JUST WONT SELL SON, especially not in these TRYING TIMES and the other thing had to be in a differrent building than i had planned on it being in, a building where clowns will seem as ants rather than giants and the king of birds might look a bit like a man in a sheet rather than king.

I drew some scribbly pictures and gave them to people who turned them into actual costumes and props and sets. They look really great. No one gets what i got. I played a two bar phrase on the piano and threw around meaningless phrases like “this theme is the opposite of the witch.” and “fart trombone with spooky strings, but not too spooky.” and someone turned that into a musical score. It lifts the work off the ground and into the sky.

I gave my clowns meaningless direction like “when it works it really works.” and “if you’re going to do it, really do it.” and somehow they turned that into comprehensible comedic action.

Tomorrow we will shine lights on them and suit the sound to the action. On wednesday my difficult second album will come out for 4 days only. It is a silent pantomime clown show reinvention of Hansel and Gretel. I hope you will like much of it, you and your kid, A.