Saturday, October 29, 2011

GT


GT the Entertainer
                                                                                          

Not too many performers in the acrobatic slam dunk game bring to the table what GT brings to the table.  But before I get into all of that. let me begin by stating the thing that allows GT to deliver what he delivers is he is simply a smart guy.  
Not only in the sense of being able to identify logical patterns which is a big part of intellect but he has the ability to also identify emotional patterns and connect them.  He has a lightning fast ability to see connections and coherently express them at will.  Combined with his penchant for telling it like he sees it, he has the gift of being funny.
His contributions to ACRODUNK are many and varied.  From graphic design to video editing and from show elements that have become iconic to just day to day team entertainment - GT has altered the trajectory of ACRODUNK for sure.
However small or large the impact might be, every member of a team leaves his/her mark.  Sometimes the impact is long-lasting and even permanent.  It is great to witness when a teammate comes to the table and takes what is already effective and powerful and makes it better.  GT has done that very thing with many aspects of our shows.      
Every great team relies on teammates that have deep reservoirs of ability and ACRODUNK has been fortunate to have many.  In recent years it has been GT’s connections that have helped populate our teams with awesome talent.  It is his gift as an entertainer that helps us be more than just a dunk team.  His gift as computer wiz that has aided our marketing, web and social media presence.  His gift of commitment that has saved many a dunk from disaster (you might have to watch the following clip twice to notice the role GT plays to make this dunk happen.  By the way, the graphic with the cool swirling ACRODUNK logo with fire and smoke at the end of the vid is GT’s work).


video

It was during GT’s first season with ACRODUNK, that his potential to become an effective teammate became apparent.  It was quite a busy season which we kicked off with about 90 shows over the course of 6 weeks.  G-Man got hurt just before Thanksgiving and with GT’s help we were able to get another dunker, Timothy Muscarella up and running to finish that leg of the tour.  Later as the 2nd half of the season was gearing up, another talented entertainer Anthony Grant was brought into the ACRODUNK family through GT’s connections.  (Tae Crawford and Matthew Marzo later joined our ranks thanks to GT's influence).
We went on to end that season with 2 veterans suffering major injuries and a changing roster from month to month and GT was the constant throughout it all - not without his own aches/pains and challenges.  He ended up performing in every show the core team had that season and began to find his voice as the funny man on the team.  
His catch-phrase “Stir at it!” became what was remembered most by audience members at schools across the country.  Being cool & funny is hard to pull off but because of his varied talents - dance, tumbling, dunking, humor - GT was able to win fans over nationwide.
GT’s confidence is admirable - I have enjoyed seeing the risks that he’s taken and the results that risk taking has produced.   Often times a challenge/opportunity will present itself and GT will profess his ability to handle it.  Whether he possesses the ability at the time is a minor detail because in most instances by the time the work needs to be delivered he will have figured out how to do it.
As we develop our stage show, GT’s talents as a DJ have been incorporated into the mix.  From our stint on America’s Got Talent to the shows we’ll create in the future. his role of helping create memorable shows continues.
Thanks GT for your contributions.  Although pint sized, you have gallons of talent and ability and ACRODUNK is all the better for it.


Friday, September 16, 2011

GREGORY L. MUELLER


Mueller at 2011 Univ. S. Carolina performance

ACRODUNK would not be what it is if not for the contribution of the performers who have blessed us with their giftedness.  Gregory Mueller is one of many who have made a particular mark.  As I think about the progress we’ve made, the challenges we’ve overcome and the future that lies ahead of us - I am reminded of how strong we are because of Greg being on our team.
His maturity, professionalism and presentation skills are just the beginning of the depth of his abilities.  As an MC, he is polished, knowledgeable, professional and thorough.  He is able to develop rapport with all the various audiences we perform for from 1st graders at elementary schools to families gathered at festivals and fairs to millions of viewers watching us on TV.
More than all of his other skills and abilities, the core of Greg’s effectiveness is that he is a problem solver.
He quickly considers the tools we need,  the skills we need and the people we should call.  He has the uncanny ability to quickly see a variety of options and assess their viability in light of the objective we want to achieve.  Because he understands what ACRODUNK is about, he is also quickly able to consider and then discard those options that would compromise our integrity and go against what we stand for.  
As an acrobatic dunker, Mueller is a double through the legs master.  His signature ability is that he can finish any pass with a double through the legs dunk.  Any pass!  As a non gymnast, Mueller had to go way out of his comfort zone to learn how to flip dunk.  Over the years and 1000’s of shows later, he can pretty much flip dunk blind folded and clutch-dunk solo and off the pass.
There is a certain level of comfort that comes from having teammates that know what the hell they are doing and will pick up the slack when necessary.  Mueller is one of the few players in the game that can do it all.  Having provided leadership over the course of many hundreds of shows, he has experienced a multitude of challenges that give him a breadth and scope of experience unmatched by others in the game.
There are students enrolled in college right now because they were inspired by Greg Mueller.  There are young people pursuing their dreams right now because they were convinced that they matter by Greg Mueller.  There are dudes in the acrobatic dunk game who have taken their skills to a higher level because they were taking notes from Greg Mueller.
Not to discount any of our other teammates who all bring something special to the table, I have often thought how much greater our team would be if we had a few more Greg Muellers in the mix.  Greg, thank you for being the amazingly committed teammate that you have been over the years.  ACRODUNK and I appreciate you!

Check out the video below with Mueller heading the effort to make a difference in the lives of a local Houston Family.  As we were preparing to set a world record, our biggest challenge was what to do with the basketballs after we dunked them so we wouldn't land on them.  His suggestion to create a chute of some kind to carry the balls out of the performance area is what ultimately led to the ingenious solution we ended up using.



Thursday, January 20, 2011

REV_L_TION! Gamecocks Style

The 5-man version of our show REV_L_TION! is a challenge. We performed it last night at the University of South Carolina Men's game and the Gamecock fans loved it. It is not perfect yet but it definitely has just the right mixture of action, humor, suspense and amazement.

Because there are no breaks in the action, it requires that each of us be at the top of our game to pull it off. It goes without saying that not all of us is going to be at the top of our game everynight. Someone will be under the weather, someone will have an upset stomach, someone will have distractions from home, someone will have a sore this or a sprained that. But, as I mentioned the show requires that ALL of us be at the top of our game nightly to pull it off.

That is the challenge. What it means is that we have to dig deep on those nights when everyone is not "on". In last nights show 3D, GT and I were huffing and puffing and we still had 3 more dunks to go.

I remember the shows we used to do where we did a dunk and just clapped until we did another dunk and just clapped while we caught our breath until we did another dunk and on and on and on. No challenge to it. I don't miss those days, I just know I have to train harder to deliver better with this new show.

The interesting thing is that because 99.9% of the population can't do what we do, we could still do that old show and get mad love. But if audiences saw both shows side by side, the differences would be like night is to the day. The showmanship, the seamlessness, the delivery and the passion of our new show are all at such an elevated level - the old show would feel tired and dated in comparison.

It certainly helps to have the audience pulling for you and willing the ball into position with every pass. When you give it all like we do night in and night out, we've discovered the audience stands by you through thick and thin. Thanks Gamecock fans, you made performing for you so much fun and we appreciate the standing ovation!