Yesterday, before officially wrapping up my "One at Marquette" project, I decided to write a quick blog post explaining my journey with this assignment. I did not feel up to writing my philosophy paper and I definitely had a lot to say about "One at Marquette." Well, that "quick" blog post turned into a 1200-word post. I broke down my long process month-by-month and included a few pictures to enhance the reading experience. I edited and then published it, because I had to go to my film class. I tweeted and posted on Facebook about my blog post, and then ran out the door. 

While in class, I happened to check my phone and got a notification about a tweet sent to me: 
@MarquetteU was referring to the picture below. I have been in love with this picture since the day I took it, so I was pretty ecstatic about the positive feedback it was getting. So I took my laptop, snuck out of class to sit with my computer in the hallway to give Marquette the go-ahead to use my picture. 
Marquette was pretty quick with getting my picture out there. As soon as I went on Facebook to notify the Fugees about this tweet, Marquette informed me that the picture was on their Tumblr and Pinterest accounts. Once again, I was happy to share this news with the Fugees. 
I was thrilled and humbled by the attention that my little blog was receiving. It brought the highest number of readers ever to my blog. But the real test would be the next day: when I present my project to my class. 
Today was the day I have been waiting for. I finally got to share my effort with the class. Professor Lowe randomly picked someone to go first. After that presentation was over, he asked who would like to go next. No one volunteered, so he began to pull up the project of a classmate who did not want to go next. As she voiced her protest I told Professor Lowe that I would be happy to go next. My classmate pleaded with him: "Brynne said she'd go next! She's the Eager Beaver! Let her go!"

Professor Lowe complied. But, instead of pulling up my project on the big screen, he pulled up my blog. "Uhhh my project isn't there," I thought to myself. He went to my post from yesterday. "Who's read this? Only me? Okay, read it now," he announced to the class. So I sat there, slightly awkwardly, as my class silently read my incredibly long blog post to themselves. I was met with positive feedback from my class and my professor called the post remarkable. All the attention was slightly embarrassing, but incredibly humbling and gratifying. 
After today's class period, Professor Lowe kept me afterwards for one of his famous "life meetings." Once again, he praised my work. But helped me find ways to improve it. We spent almost an hour editing my blog post from yesterday. He suggested putting my two previous blog posts, my final project and one more blog post (this one), into their own separate blog. Hence, my new "One at Marquette" blog. 

I spent the rest of the day working on the edits. I basically have not stopped all day. I worked through lunch, mentally edited as I sat through class, edited for five hours straight before I met my friends for dinner and of course, I edited through dinner. I even continue to work as my friends and I watch one of our favorite TV shows together. Okay, as *they* watch. 

I have reached the end of my blog post, which signifies reaching the end of my "One at Marquette" project. Once I finish these edits, I can finally make my project public to everyone. It's a little nerve-wracking to let this project out of my hands, but I'm confident it will do well in the world. Thanks to everyone whose been involved in the project, listened to my complaints or listened to me gush about my successes with "One at Marquette." It's been a blast! 

How will I procrastinate from my philosophy paper now? 
  • Andrew Pauly is president of Marquette University's only improv comedy troupe, The Studio 013 Refugees
  • Pauly started doing improv when he was a high school freshman
  • Pauly and his co-president's duties include booking new shows and organizing games for those shows
One at Marquette: Andrew Pauly

Andrew Pauly looks to his right: “A giant piece of bread and a giant knife – welcome to the big, oversized food store!” No, Pauly does not sell gigantic baked goods. 

Welcome to improv comedy.

Pauly is a senior and president of Marquette University’s improv troupe, The Studio 013 Refugees, also known as the Fugees. He became interested in comedy during grade school. The improv troupe from his future high school came to his grade school for an interest day. When Pauly saw the team perform, he was hooked.

“I knew right then that this is what I wanted to do,” Pauly said. “That’s awesome.”   

When he entered high school, Pauly joined an improv team that competed with other local high schools. He also took classes at Comedy Sportz, which is an improv comedy company in downtown Milwaukee. After high school, he enrolled at Marquette. That is where he discovered the Studio 013 Refugees.

Pauly recalls his first memory of the Fugees with a smile. He was strolling through the university’s student organizations festival when he saw a flyer. 

“It was poorly designed,” he said. “I had no idea what it was or what it meant.”

Despite his confusion, two words jumped out at him: improv and tryouts. Pauly auditioned and embarked on what he describes as one of his greatest experiences at Marquette. 

When Pauly remembers back to his first show with the Fugees, he cannot recall what went through his head, but he distinctly remembers what went through his stomach – butterflies. He described the show as nerve-wracking, but he also remembers the rush of working with a new group in a new venue. 

“The thrill of live performance and the thrill of not knowing what’s going to happen next is why I love improv,” Pauly said. 

Pauly has stuck with the Fugees since that show. Over the years, he has borrowed from multiple sources to keep his comedy evolving. Pauly describes his style of comedy as a mixture of real characters, zany cartoon characters, physical and deadpan humor. He pulls inspiration from real-life people, like professional comedians or those he observes from people watching. He even grabs ideas from cartoons, such as “Spongebob Squarepants.”  

With his experience from the last few years with the Fugees, Pauly has grown in his comedy. While he still gets a little nervous before each of the group’s shows, he says he is much more calm when performing. 

Pauly said: “Once a month we put on free shows in Marquette Hall. That’s my home field. I get in the zone. I’ve done it 100 times before. I know that the people who are coming love us as friends and as an improv troupe.” 

As president of the group, Pauly’s duties go far beyond performing in the Fugees’ shows. Pauly describes his co-president, Sam Martinson, and himself as connections for the team to the rest of the university and any other organization that wants the group to perform. Their other presidential roles include organizing and planning games, running tryouts, making sure everything is ready for the monthly shows at Marquette Hall and booking new shows. 

However, all of these duties will soon be passed off to someone else. The Fugees’ tradition is to have a senior as president, which means that Pauly’s time with the group is coming to a close. He said that when he graduates, he will miss the family aspect of the group most.

“It’s like a mini fraternity, I kind of say,” Pauly said. “We spend so much time together and it’s unlike any improv troupe you’ll ever have the opportunity to be in for the rest of your life.” 

His days with the Fugees may be numbered, but his days in improv are far from over. Pauly will continue to work with Comedy Sportz after graduation and hopes to go to Chicago’s improv company, Second City, to take classes. 

Pauly said: “You learn a lot about improv there. It’s a school, essentially, where people graduate and go on to show business. That’s what Danny Pudi did when he graduated from Marquette, before he went on to NBC’s ‘Community.’ Maybe I’ll be the next Danny Pudi.”
In my previous blog post, I introduced my "One at Marquette" project. That assignment was supposed to be my midterm for Journalism 1550. Clearly plans changed. This is due to the timing of our recent MNNS projects. Because of that, I have stuck with this project for more than three months, which is something I've never done before. To understand this whole process, I'll have to break it down by month. Yes, that's how long this thing lasted.

After a couple weeks of pestering my professor, Herbert Lowe, for the go-ahead with my project, I got approval. After a few attempts to contact Andrew Pauly, president of The Studio 013 Refugees, Marquette's improv troupe, I reached him over email. Pauly agreed to let me photograph practices and an upcoming show, with a one-on-one interview to come afterwards. 

Since the Fugees had a show coming up soon, I was working ahead of most of the class. I didn't anticipate what a problem that would be for me. Our class had not yet delved into photography. I attended the Fugees' practice at Humphrey Hall auditorium a few days after I emailed Pauly. I was equipped with my little digital camera, and thought that would be fine. 

I started snapping pictures and, just as Pauly warned me, the lighting absolutely sucked. I was getting nothing. Best of all, my camera died in the middle of practice. Imagine my panic. I ran out of the room as quietly as I could. Leaning against the other side of the door, I called my roommate and begged her to bring my camera charger. As I was on the phone, I could hear the Fugees talking inside. One member asked, "Guys, did she just leave?" "I was gonna turn around and scream at her, but then she was gone," another one of the Fugees said. Needless to say, that practice was a failure on my part.

I went back to another practice three days later. I thought I was more prepared. My camera was 48-hours charged. I decided not to be afraid to use flash, like I was last time. I thought everything went great, I assumed that would be my last time at their practice. The next day, my journalism class reviewed my pictures with me. My professor ripped my work apart. I was upset at first, but looking back, in what world would this be an acceptable picture? Who knows what I was thinking. 
Pauly plays Lacy's father in a scene with Aliza McKamey during one of the Fugees' practices.
Yes, I had to go back for a third practice. This time, I was determined to make it the last practice I would attend. I checked out a nice quality camera from the Wakerly Technology Training Center. I wasn't afraid to run around the room to get some good pictures. I got some really great ones. Their improv show was that Friday, so I photographed that as well. I was incredibly pleased with how my pictures turned out. 

A few days after the show, I interviewed Pauly. It was my first time using audio and, once again, I was working ahead of the class. So I didn't learn what is now common sense to me: an audio recorder will pick up every little noise. But hey, I figured I could make it work. I then wrote my text story for this project, and figured I would soon be done with my assignment. 

March became the dormant month for this project. Like, oddly dormant. We literally did not speak about this project in class at all. Sure, we were all hard at work on our MNNS projects, but still – nothing. During the interim, I reviewed my audio. I was not thrilled with it but, whatever, I thought. I didn't want to bug Pauly again, so it worked. I wrote my text story in a rush, but I figured that I would have time to fix that, too. March was almost coming to a close, and still no word of this project in class. I even ran into Pauly and had to tell him, "This project really exists, I swear!" But, I was actually starting to doubt its existence. 

Here's where things get interesting. We finally wrapped up our MNNS projects, so it was back to "One at Marquette." This sudden renewed focus panicked our class. Professor Lowe told us to start thinking about our *second* "One at Marquette" project. Wait – second?! That was what was in the syllabus. We had a month left of classes, and no one was near done with their effort. Our class became somewhat of a 10 person-angry mob. So our professor gave us a choice: we could do two two minute pieces or extend our original piece to three minutes. 

Naturally, I picked the second option. I hated the idea of bugging Pauly again, but this was an opportunity to redo my audio and text story. But three minutes of audio means I would need more photos. It would look silly to have Pauly in four different outfits (two practices and two shows), so I made the near-heartbreaking decision to start over with my pictures. I developed an odd attachment to them. I'm not sure, maybe it was the six hours I spent acquiring them. There's a chance I looked over that picture album a few times on my computer. My own form of mourning. But, for journalism's sake, I decided to start over on everything. That's right, everything.

I got in touch with Pauly, and he so kindly let me to photograph another show and practice. After a few months, the Fugees got a little too used to me hanging around at their practices. As I walked in, one of the Fugees said, "Make sure you get a lot of pictures of me. I look good today." Another Fugee joked that she was going to count the number of pictures she was in. They even decided to have a little fun at Pauly's expensive. 
As Wallander, Pauly and Donahue watch an ongoing scene, Wilson and Lacy have a little fun.
After taking probably close to 200 pictures, I interviewed Pauly again. I'm not sure if I just understand the dynamics of Pauly and the group better, my journalism skills just have improved, but I got much better audio for my story. Pauly gave me such a wonderful kicker quote to use for my story, and I spent the rest of the night geeking out about how wonderful that quote was. You know you belong in journalism when you obsess about how wonderful a quote is. 

After gathering all my information, it was time to edit. And boy, did I edit obsessively. This was my first solo attempt at editing audio. I downloaded a free trial of Final Cut Pro X to use. I expected learning to use that program would be impossible. After a few tries with it, I got the hang of it. I even had fun with it. One of my friends would make fun of me for repeatedly watching my video on Final Cut Pro X, and constantly finding tiny portions of pictures or audio to edit. 

After an estimated 11 hours gathering all my info, and God only knows how many hours editing, the project is finally done. I will go to my Journalism class tomorrow and present my project to the class. If all goes well, then I can finally post it online.
Bill Lacy and Chris O'Reilly laugh as Andrew Pauly makes a point during a scene.
As we wrap up our "One at Marquette projects," I can’t help but reflect back to the beginning of this journey…a long, long, long time ago. During one of our first classes, we were introduced to this project. We had to find a student on campus and profile him or her with an online package consisting of an audio slideshow and a complementary text story.

We were told by our professor, Herbert Lowe, to go outside our comfort zone to find a subject for the piece. I decided to do the opposite – I happily stayed within my comfort zone. I’m interested in reading and writing about entertainment related stories, so that’s exactly what I aimed to do. 

As soon as I left that class, my mind awoke from its Christmas break slumber and began to work. I searched for inspiration all over campus. I continued to think while I simultaneously pretended to listen to my roommate talk at lunch. I finally settled on the president of Marquette’s improv troupe – The Studio 013 Refugees, also known as the Fugees.

I was the first one in my class to pitch my idea to my professor, earning myself the reputation of class “Eager Beaver.” I emailed the president of the Fugees, Andrew Pauly, who was a complete stranger at the time. Little did I know that I was embarking on the longest-lasting, most frustrating and most fun project I’ve ever done. 

My journey with project is too long and tedious to break down in just one blog post, so the rest will be coming in my next post. 


    This blog is dedicated to my Journalism 1550 final, "One at Marquette: Andrew Pauly."


    May 2012