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Mortified Live

Participatation FAQ

Q: What is Mortified Live?
A: Mortified Live is a stage show where people share their adolescent "artifacts" (childhood letters, lyrics, notes, schoolwork, novellas, plays, photos, home movies) with an audience of total strangers... in order to reveal a story about their lives.

Q: How do I participate in Mortified Live?
A: You request a screening session (aka: shoebox sessions, producer sessions. Bascially, you show up with a box of stuff you created as a kid, and we try to help you determine which stuff will resonate with an audience of strangers. All we ask is that you earmark 5 excerpts of your material that TRULY mortifies you today. That gives us a great starting place, and we often sift through all the extra stuff you saved, too.

Q: What do I bring to a session?
A: Pre-select 5 excerpts that truly embarrass you from your childhood artifacts (letters, poems, journals, lyrics, schoolwork, scripts, novellas, comics, home movies, artwork). That said, bring along any additional things you saved, too. If you have a shoebox of writings sitting under your bed, bring all of it just in case. But earmark 5 favorites first, as it helps give us a starting point.

Q: Is this an "audition"?
A: No. Our show is curated, but this is not a talent tryout, and we never want people coming in with prepared performances.

Q: What happens during a screening session?
A: It's part reading, part interview. You show up with stuff you created as a kid. You read it aloud. We talk about it. We joke. We talk some more. And that's it. It's very conversational and casual. If you've ever seen our TV series, it's actually very smiliar, oddly. It can take anywhere from 20-50 minutes. We try to make the process as inviting and nurturing as possible.

Q: Do you screen all material?
A: Yep. Our curating process is the most important aspect of what we do. Since there are so many nuances to what can make someone's childhood writings captivating to strangers, we work very hard to help people select excerpts.

Q: Who performs the material?
A: You do. The original author is always the focus of Mortified Live. Part of the fun of the show is the audience seeing the relationship between someone's past and present self.

Q: Can participants ever embellish the original wording?
A: We do not embellish the source material.

Q: Are there any topics that are off-limits?
A: We tackle any subject that kids face... from the PG-rated (crushes, camp, religion) to the R-rated (addiction, depression, illness). There is not really one topic that is better than another. Just keep in mind, the majority of what is submitted to us involves "crushes," so we're always on the lookout for things beyond that, too.

Q: Who can participate?
A: Adults of any profession, gender, ethnicity, generation. We. Want. You. Your resume is totally incidental. In fact, we prefer people with little performace experience.

Q: Do you reject anyone?
A: Mortified is curated. We sit down with each prospective participant and try to help them find excerpts that work. If we find enough excerpts, we invite them on stage. If we don't, we give them tips on how to find material that will work and encourage them to return when they unearth more. Some of our best material takes several sessions to discover.

Q: Can I perform something that somebody else to wrote "to" me (ex: a love letter from an old flame)?
A: We look for material that is revealing about you. So if it fits that bill, we'll happily consider it. But with rare exception, we find it best to stick to stuff that you wrote. Otherwise, it can get mean-spirited.

Q: Why do people participate in Mortified?
A: Inititally, performers get involved simply to make people laugh. But time and time again, we're told how therapeutic they found the whole process to be. We've inspired many reunions between long lost friends and relatives, and that makes us feel pretty damn awesome.

Q: How can I enjoy clips of Mortified in action if I haven't ever been to a show?
A: Watch our web videos for a few examples.

Q: Can I perform even if I dont have an artifact?
A: We are a forum to share things you created as a kid. If you want to share a personal essay or monologue (be it online, on air, or on stage), there are TONS of truly fantastic outlets across the world, including:
The Moth, This American Life, Snap Judgment, Fresh Yarn, Stripped Stories, BackFencePDX and beyond.

Q: How often do you hold screening sessions?
A: It's ongoing. And open to all. We are always on the lookout for new finds. If you don't hear from us immediately, hang tight, your request will be kept on file until our next round. We're a pretty small crew. With extremely rare exception, we contact everyone who contacts us.