By Pato Smith, aka Harry Pato, Class of 2020
ChiBus [CB]: Can you give us an introduction to the Follies family?
Pato Smith [PS]: Follies is the largest student-run event at Booth and it takes a huge team to make it happen. Follies is led by 8 co-chairs. Peter, Saumit, and myself are the Creative Co-Chairs who are tasked with overseeing the writing of sketches. We lead the writers’ rooms, give feedback on sketches, and ultimately choose the show lineup. Chris, Zidi, and Grace are the Marketing Co-Chairs responsible for fundraising and marketing. Manvitha and Aditi are the Production Co-Chairs responsible for the stage, rehearsal logistics, and securing the best and cheapest props. Follies relies on talented writers, actors, filmers, and editors to make the sketches possible. To put on the best show possible, Follies also includes Booth Dance Club, AudioBooth, and Economies of Scale.
[CB]: How did you get involved in Follies?
[PS]: I first learned about Follies during the First Day club fair. The co-chairs I spoke with were super outgoing and their passion was contagious. They presented as a close-knit group that would always be fun.
[CB]: Any previous experience that has helped you with Follies?
[PS]: In elementary school, I got to play Pirate #2 in the school’s Peter Pan play, but apart from that relevant experience, all of this has been very new to me. That’s actually a big factor in me joining Follies. I see Follies as a way to expand my skill set in areas like filming, video editing, and stage production.
[CB]: Where are you getting the inspiration for the skits?
[PS]: Follies actually has a communal spoon. Each week, we pass the spoon to a new writer who is tasked with stirring the pot at Booth. Honestly, I had a lot of trouble parting with the spoon at the end of my week, but giving it to Lukas Ruiz was a strong choice. This has escalated since migrating the class to Slack, providing us with much inspiration. But apart from ideas falling into our laps, we do our own supplemental research. We assign a co-chair to every Netflix series to steal obscure quotes that Boothies don’t realize are not original. For example, a frequently used line of mine, “I have this theory that if you cut off all her hair, she’d look like a British man”, is actually from Mean Girls. You’d never know, right? Personally, I like to lurk on Reddit and sort comments by “controversial” for extra inspiration.
[CB]: What has been the hardest part of putting it together?
[PS]: In my eyes, the hardest part has been doing work. I thought I just had to be funny. Filming for videos and rehearsing for live sketches has been tough. I had no idea how much work goes into putting together a show, and the difficulty is really compounded by how complex Boothie’s schedules are. I had major issues getting 4 people in a room to film a scene, so I can’t fathom how our other Follies members are creating these larger scenes.
[CB]: What has been the most enjoyable aspect of putting it together?
[PS]: I’ve really enjoyed watching how quickly sketches go from brainstorms to finished productions and being a part of that journey. We had writers come to back-to-back writers’ room meetings with much-improved scripts, then less than a month later, the entire sketch has been filmed and is ready for release. Seeing the talent around me, I’m going to look forward to releasing more videos earlier next year.
[CB]: Any teasers for us?
[PS]: My headshot for this article is a glimpse into the life of Harry Pato. I can tell you that our show this year will have a Lion King theme, but you will need to buy a ticket to learn more than that!