Mixmaster presents "100 Creatives," in which we feature cultural entrepreneurs of Dallas in random order. Know an artistic mind who deserves a little bit of blog love? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the whos and whys.
Dallas Comedy House performer and writer Noa Gavin started her comedy career by creating the popular comedy blog community Oh Noa! and the League of Fuckin' Bitches as an outlet for her sense of humor that she couldn't showcase in her original job as the co-operator of a chain of marital arts stores.
Since then, she's earned a spot on the DCH roster of long-form improv comedy club regulars who helped create one of its most signature groups, Atlantic Pacific Billy -they reenact movies - and one of its first sketch shows Various Artists. She also writes regularly for the NickMom humor blog and recently started a short story project with fellow APB members Nick Scott and Alicia Sherrod. We got the lowdown on how she pulls creativity out of herself and why comedy is better (and cheaper) than therapy.
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How does your creative process work? You try to write when inspiration strikes but when it's there, you want to go ahead and do it when you've got it. When you're working in a creative field, that inspiration runs dry really quickly and you start to realize that. So if you only write when you're motivated, you won't get anything done. I'm a hyper organized person so I have a really big planner that goes week by week and I write down kind of the thing that I like to focus on for that day. If there are a couple of things I have to get done for that day, I'll write that down underneath it, but I have to schedule time and make myself do it. It works a little bit like improv in that way when you walk out on stage and you say just one thing and then something else will happen and something else will happen and something else will happen. You have to trust that if you just get started, if you just write one sentence then the rest will be there. I have to sit down at a certain time and get that work done or I just flat won't get it done at all.
Is there a time when you sit down and do that one word or sentence and nothing else follows it? What do you do? It's probably not the healthiest thing in the world but if nothing is really there and if you have this gut feeling that you don't have anything there, I will either go for a drive late at night and listen to really loud music and drive really fast and shake my brain out or if it's during the day and I've just woken up, I'll usually just watch Netflix all day. Sometimes you just kind of need a day off but you have to know that the next day, you're going to have to double up.
How has doing improv affected your creative process? Improv definitely has influenced everything that I do creatively. It has been probably the best thing that I've ever done in my entire life and I know people say that all the time but I was also going through therapy when I first started and improv forced me to feel something. Therapy couldn't make me do that but improv made me do that. I wanted to get better at it and I had to and that was hugely instrumental and made me a much healthier person. I'm not prone to fits of rage quite as frequently anymore.
Where do your stories come from? I write a lot of fiction and I just start with the first idea and it all kind of comes to you. It's all there in your brain. You just have to trust yourself and definitely with all other writing as well. You just have to be courageous and trust that first step and trust that you'll figure things out. That's how I started my photography company that way. I approached my friend Alicia and was like, "Hey, you're good at this, do you want to do this?" and it turns out that we're actually pretty good at what we do. It has been hugely instrumental in structuring the way that I write but also the way that I work everyday. 100 Creatives: 100. Theater Mastermind Matt Posey 99. Comedy Queen Amanda Austin 98. Deep Ellum Enterpriser Brandon Castillo 97. Humanitarian Artist Willie Baronet 96. Funny Man Paul Varghese 95. Painting Provocateur Art Peña 94. Magic Man Trigg Watson 93. Enigmatic Musician George Quartz 92. Artistic Luminary Joshua King 91. Inventive Director Rene Moreno 90. Color Mavens Marianne Newsom and Sunny Sliger 89. Literary Lion Thea Temple 88. Movie Maestro Eric Steele 87. Storytelling Dynamo Nicole Stewart 86. Collaborative Artist Ryder Richards 85. Party Planning Print maker Raymond Butler 84. Avant-gardist Publisher Javier Valadez 83. Movie Nerd James Wallace 82. Artistic Tastemakers Elissa & Erin Stafford 81. Pioneering Arts Advocates Mark Lowry & Michael Warner 80. Imaginative Director Jeremy Bartel 79. Behind-the-Scenes Teacher Rachel Hull 78. Kaleidoscopic Artist Taylor "Effin" Cleveland 77. Filmmaker & Environmentalist Michael Cain 76. Music Activist Salim Nourallah 75. Underground Entrepreneur Daniel Yanez 74. Original Talent Celia Eberle 73. Comic Artist Aaron Aryanpur 72. Classical Thespian Raphael Parry 71. Dance Captain Valerie Shelton Tabor 70. Underground Culture Mainstay Karen X. Minzer 69. Effervescent Gallerist Brandy Michele Adams 68. Birthday Party Enthusiast Paige Chenault 67. Community Architect Monica Diodati 66. Intrepid Publisher Will Evans