Ian Thomas Malone

five college dialogues Archive



November 2015



Utilizing The Meisner Technique in Crafting the College Dialogues

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When I was faced with the decision as to how to spend my summer in 2010 after my freshman year at Boston College, I decided I wanted to do something a little different. As I say in Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues, those four years are best spent outside one’s comfort zone. On the recommendation of a friend, I enrolled at the Ted Bardy Acting Studio in New York City.

The Ted Bardy Acting Studio is world renowned for its curriculum, The Meisner Technique, named for its architect, Sanford Meisner, who was part of the legendary Group Theatre back in the 1930s, which also included Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler. Repetition, a core pillar of The Meisner Technique, ended up drastically transforming the way I approached writing.

It’s a bizarre and practically unexplainable concept, so here is a video of repetition in action with Sanford Meisner himself, courtesy of Contemporary Arts Media:


Repetition is simple in nature and yet painfully difficult at the same time. It requires the participants to be fully active in the exercise, but not in a way that artificially steers the course of the “conversation.” Laughter is common and perhaps crucial to understand the concept.

One bit of advice offered by Ted Bardy and fellow teacher Glen Vincent in practically every class was to avoid using “tit for tat,” in repetition. I found this bit of advice to be crucial in writing my dialogue. People and characters need to respond to what’s been said to them. They don’t need to spit it back in the other person’s face.

That’s the inherent difficulty in writing fictional conversation. Unlike practicing repetition, scripted dialogue is created with specific purpose. The dialogues in FCD and FMCD are thematic in nature as the characters are there to discuss a specific topic. The flow of conversation needs to serve the purpose of the dialogue, but it needs to be real. When characters speak to each other, they need to process what’s been said.

Writing and acting are obviously very different, but they share one important similarity. Both mediums set out to make the inorganic real. When an actor is performing, it is their job to extract genuine emotion out of a scripted scenario. When I set out to write a dialogue, I need to take my characters on a purpose driven journey that resonates with the readers.

FCD & FMCD are unusual books because they’re all dialogue. I found that what I’d learned from Meisner Technique played perfectly into Socratic Method as I could implement repetition in my efforts to create authentic contemporary Socratic Dialogue. The characters constantly question each other but they aren’t merely working to advance the subject matter. Repetition helped me to avoid something that came across as stale and inorganic, even if you may not commonly find students walking around casually conversing in Socratic Dialogue.

Which is why I recommend that all artists dabble in forms outside of their comfort zones. I haven’t done many auditions since my time at the Ted Bardy Acting Studio. If that doesn’t change, I’ll still be forever grateful for the lessons I learned. Creating emotion requires immersion. To achieve immersion, you need depth and that’s only possible if you push your limits. I’m of the belief that creating art must at least be a little scary. Whether or not I was successful with that is up to you, the reader.

The ebook versions of Five College Dialogues and Five More College Dialogues are still just .99 cents for a few more days. Pick up your copy today!



October 2014



Awkward Ends at an Unawkward Time

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Before we begin, I did check to see that unawkward was in fact a word. Not doing so would have been, well, awkward. Dictionary.com says it is and you can trust things on the internet, right?

As MTV’s Tuesday triple threat of Awkward, Faking It, and Happyland solidified a new era in quality scripted programming for the network that aired music videos during the Clinton presidency, we learn that the trio will not be together for much longer. MTV renewed Awkward for a fifth a final season. While the episode count is unclear, we do know that we won’t be following the story of Jenna Hamilton to her college years.

College is rather unsurprisingly the number one cause of death for many high school shows. Dawson’s Creek, The O.C., and Gossip Girl lost much of their spark when characters were separated and uninspiring themes like time management and long distance relationship took the forefront of the melodrama. One Tree Hill skipped college altogether. Beverly Hills, 90210 was the only one that saw the survived its time at an institution of questionable higher learning.

Awkward would have had an awkward time of it since Jenna is the show’s distinct point of view character. It’s hard to imagine more than one or two of the show’s cast making the jump. Awkward without Sadie, Tamara, or Matty just wouldn’t work.

Beyond that, the show has struggled since creator Lauren Iungerich left after season three. The show has improved since Oliver Trask/Georgina Sparks knockoff Eva Mansfield bid adieu, but it’s probably for the best that the show is starting to make its way toward a clear end goal. The show benefited immensely from an often ambiguous academic timeline, but high school doesn’t last forver.

Awkward will depart having left a positive mark on both MTV’s scripted programming department and on high school works as a whole. The show’s often absurdist tone helped convey real life issues in a way that hadn’t been done before. It carved a niche in a well-trodden field that should put it in the same league as the aforementioned teen classics as time goes on. It’s made an impact already with Faking It, which is set in a similarly surreal high school.

We’ve got at least fifteen episodes left depending on what they choose to do with season five, which could give it either a Spring or Fall 2015 end date. That’s more than enough time to enjoy Sadie’s insults, Tamara’s rapid fire pop jargon, and Valerie’s obliviousness. It’s unclear whether Ming will return to give the Asian mafia the proper send off it deserves. Hopefully Jenna doesn’t break her arm again.



August 2014



Five College Dialogues is Available

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The moment we’ve all be waiting for is finally here. Five College Dialogues is available from Amazon and Touchpoint Press’ online bookstore in paperback and e-book. I found the release date to be quite fitting as most colleges are getting back into the swing of things right about now. It’s the perfect time of the year to explore the ins and outs of college life.

I’m also happy to announce that two sequels have been commissioned. Five More College Dialogues and Five High School Dialogues will continue The Chief’s mission to encourage students to critically examine both their decisions and their environments in a comedic yet sincere fashion. Work on FMCD is going well and I’m on schedule to have it ready to send to TPP by October.

I wanted to thank you the reader. Whether you’ve been with me since my TV Hell days (or even before that), or if this is the first you’ve read of me, I’ve always appreciated every bit of feedback I’ve received over the years. Today is a day I’ll always remember.

I’ll periodically include updates for promotional appearances/events on the main page of the site as well as on FCD’s page. I hope you enjoy the book and thank you for reading. Namaste.Five College Dialogues_Print_5x8_front


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April 2014



Introduction/First Post

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I thought about leading off my first post with something other than an introduction, but that wouldn’t be right would it? Alas, you’re here and I’m here and for now that’s what matters.

I’m sure some of you are wondering what Five College Dialogues is all about. It was a project born out of my desire to critically analyze the important choices that students make during their four years at college in a fashion that would be entertaining to read. Naturally, that brought me to Socratic Dialogue. The Dialogues follow a grad student who acts as a mentor to a few college students. Each dialogue covers a specific theme relating to college life. There’s plenty of humor, which welcomes the text to be more than an advice guide for students as it serves as a nostalgic recollection tool for anyone looking to reflect more of the choices they made in college. It’s fast paced, funny, and heartfelt at the same time. At least, I hope it is.

georgiaAs we are a few months away from Five College Dialogues’ publication date, this section of the website will be compromised of a wide variety of content in the meantime. If you’ve read my work before, you’ll be familiar with my eclectic tastes. I would expect to write mostly about popular culture and social commentary and less about myself as a person. They’re will also be some yoga articles here and there and anything else that seems like a good idea. A few of my recurring Rock columns could appear, but sadly Moan to Malone will remain retired.

I also might add that it’s fairly easy to set up users to make guest posts. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that, but the door is open in case there’s something that needs to be said.

Thank you for checking out my website. I’d also like to extend a big thank you to all of those who have supported my literary endeavors over the years. The road to publishing looks more like Snake Way than the Yellow Brick Road and the encouragement I’ve received even from people I hardly know has never failed to brighten my day. I hope I can continue to entertain you for years to come.

P.S. here’s the link to my Rock page if you would like to take a look at my older stuff. The Rock has some great new articles as well.