by Cheryl Hamilton
As massmouth kicks off its fourth season, storyteller Scott Schultz is preparing to emcee the first slam at Club Passim on September 17th. It’s an appropriate venue for the Marblehead native who spends each Saturday morning scribbling down new stories in his notebook at cafés throughout Harvard Square. It’s also an impressive evolution for a teller who freely admits that he almost let fear keep him from entering his first storytelling competition only nine months ago.
“I must have turned around three times while walking down to Doyle’s,” Scott recalls sitting outside Au Bon Pain on yet another Saturday morning.
He says he was ‘really nervous,’ which is a surprise not only because Scott won that fateful December evening slam with an entertaining story about his trickster great grandfather’s promise of a pet horse (Watch it here!), but also because Scott spent over a decade in Los Angeles performing stand-up comedy – a journey that came with inconsistent success.
“Everyone told me I had great delivery and presence. It was just that my jokes were not always funny enough,” Scott acknowledges honestly. His smile widens while describing the time a woman randomly interrupted a conversation he was having with an agent, only to tell him, “I just look at you
In Boston, Scott is also gaining a reputation for his funny expressions and even funnier stories – a talent he does trace back to Hollywood. Although Scott eventually grew tired of the formula behind stand-up comedy, he developed an affinity for telling longer stories that included humor.
“The problem is you can’t tell longer stories as a comedian until you ‘make it’ and I hadn’t quite made it.”
So in 2009, Scott returned to Boston where he discovered the local storytelling scene. While one might think he would have jumped at the opportunity to throw his name in the tin, it took 2010 Big Mouth Off winner Ben Cunningham's suggestion that he “just try it” to finally get him to put pencil to paper, which for Scott means starting with a series of bullet points and a clear destination.
“You have to know your transitions and know your endings,” Scott responds when asked what he has learned during the past nine months.
“Also, don’t get caught up in the details. In five minutes, too many details upfront will sacrifice the story when it’s just getting cooking.”
Scott records all his performances and listens to them to learn how he can improve. He also attends as many storytelling events as possible. Much like his LA lifestyle where he would make a point to show up at fellow comedians’ shows, Scott thinks it is important to support other storytellers. Outside of the recent Heartbreak performance produced by fellow tellers Owen Grey and Brendyn Schnyder (see even description here) at the Lily Pad in Inman Square, Scott could be seen eating a slice of pizza and trading storytelling gigs with new friends.
While he attends different events, Scott does warn people to be careful not to pick up other tellers’ styles too much. He saw it bring down some of the best aspiring comedians in Los Angeles. Known among circles out west as the guy with the “gift of gab,” Scott is presently expanding his repertoire and exploring more versatile topics. In his words, “I was afraid people would think I could only tell a certain style of story. I actually like to do the serious stuff also.”
|Scott at Club Passim|
To stream Scott’s audio stories or learn about his future performances, follow him online at https://www.facebook.com/ScottSchultzMonologues
All photos courtesy of Paula Junn.
Cheryl Hamilton recently moved to Arlington from Maine and is a guest blogger for massmouth.com. When she is not performing her one woman show, Cheryl works for the Cambridge-based international non-profit RefugePoint, which provides lasting solutions for the most vulnerable refugees in Africa.