The Snowball Party (Origin Story)
The Snowball Party is best termed as the LA Weekly put it: “a tournament-like story adventure where the prize is a giant event filled with people who had equally bizarre evenings. Ingenious.”
It can also be described as:
-A ritual audio storytelling structure that promotes connection over connectivity, that serves activate the audience into a performative structure.
More specifically, the mechanics of the Snowball are as follows.
The audience of each Snowball mirror the shape of a tournament bracket (specifically the NCAA Tournament) The story will feature 32 bit size pieces of audio, each with a prompt for the audience members (aka Snowballers) to connect, share their narratives, and/or perform a shared action.
The Snowball begin at a set time with 64 audience members.
15 minute windo - 32 2-Stops. (two person meetups)
Sixteen 4-Stops (four people meetups)
Eight 8-Stops (eight person meetups)
Four 16 Stops (16 person meetups)
Two 32 stops.
One Final Moment with all 64 people.
The story of each Snowball will build as the brackets coalesce into a climactic moment
In February of 2020, I was gearing to relaunch the event I first created 10 years earlier. I’ve put my 10,000 hours to this project.I had spent the previous two years building technology to run the logistics of what is a very complicated experience, a sound and lights board for the experience, when a pandemic hit. And sadly the Snowball Party is the very definition of a superspreader.
And so I retreated into my fear and uncertainly and decided to work on another script. It was a story I’d been chasing. A ghost story, about my evolution as an actor, and my late father’s storytelling as a journalist. And when I looked up, after my two shots in the arm, I saw it was actually the story of my creation of the Snowball Party.
“We’ve shed old rituals without coming up with new ones. We’ve robbed ourselves of opportunities to celebrate. Why do we willingly throw away chances to throw fun parties? It could be an occasion to tell a new version of the town story; a community is a group of people who share a common story.”
David Brooks, New York Times.
So what is the common story we share?
The narrative that will fit into this
John PickDirectorThe Best of Craigslist (HBO/TruTv), Conan (TBS), The Public Theater
John PickWriterClassified Comedy (TBS), CBS Diversity Showcase
Pavana MoondiKey Cast
John ThompsonProducerSundance Shorts (Director), Tribeca Film Festival
Pavana MoondiKey CollaboratorsSlamDance, Schitt's Creek
Project Type:Game, Interactive Film, Other
Runtime:1 hour 30 minutes
Completion Date:September 15, 2021
Production Budget:150,000 USD
Country of Origin:United States
John Pick is a Los Angeles based writer, performer and producer. His series The Best of Craigslist is featured on HBO and has been performed at Joe’s Pub (The Public Theater) and was nominated for the Best Webseries by the LA Weekly, who called it called “absurdly hilarious.” He is also the producer of the Snowball Party, an interactive social experience which was rated a top event in LA by Thrillist. His work has appeared Chicago Public Radio, Conan and Funny or Die. He was the Grand Prize Winner of the David Mamet Video Contest (Broadway.com) He trained with the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago and at the UCLA Professional Program in Screenwriting. He is also the Editor of the People are the News, Chicago Stories by Grant Pick published in 2008 by the Northwestern University Press, a book of writing by his late father.
I am organizing Actors and Writers and Audience to pursue connection, laughter and anti digital age socialization be achieving a new form of ritual based around performance and shared action.
How do we get from here to there?
STORY OF ME + STORY OF US +STORY OF NOW
I grew up in a multicultural progressive environment in Chicago in the 1980s and that was the greatest lesson of my life. I fell in love with acting, storytelling and community building. When I moved to Los Angeles, I chased stardom but was always grounded by the same things that Chicago taught me: storytelling and ensemble and how to activate a community. I also taught storytelling in the LA Public Schools as a side job. From 2010-2016, as Obama and the Internet descended on our world, I produced the Snowball Party, a scavenger hunt where the prize is the people that you meet, and the Best of Craigslist, a series where we take crazy Craiglist ads and play the characters who post them. And over time, I found a collective thread, both are performative, activating rituals that produce joy, connection and catharsis, divided into bite sized nuggets of time. The Snowball Party resists the forces of isolation and combat the budding age of the Internet. It’s an analog experience for the digital world which serves to combat the empathy deficit.