Class sign-ups will begin next Friday, September 21 at 11am Pacific and are first-come, first served. Check back with us that morning for a link. 

9:00am - 10:30am

Artisanal Pencil Sharpening with David Rees
Have you got the right kind of point on your pencil? Do you know how to achieve the perfect point for the kind of work you need out of that pencil? Deep in New York’s Hudson River Valley, craftsman David Rees—the world’s number one #2 pencil sharpener—still practices the age-old art of manual pencil sharpening. In 2010, he began offering his artisanal service to the world, to the jubilation of artists, writers, draftsmen, and standardized test takers. David will teach you to sharpen your own pencil the old-fashioned way and SHARE HIS SECRETS.  

Julie Klausner Fixes Anything
Comedy writer and performer, podcaster, and author Julie Klausner has taught just about everything. She has helped people better themselves at performance, writing, sketches, and even book proposals. Got something you like, but know that it needs a little work? Julie is your fixer. Bring in anything­—a play, a story, a monologue, literally any original, creative work—and Julie will provide you with the tools and know-how to shape and actualize it.   

Storytelling with John Roderick
Are you an aspiring writer yearning to express yourself in your own unique voice?  Storytelling with John Roderick can help! John Roderick is a musician and storyteller and has previously collaborated with such MaxFun greats as Jonathan Coulton and John Hodgman.  Currently a member of the band The Long Winters, John has recently been expanding his talents into writing and storytelling.  His storytelling class will help you to find your own personal voice as a writer, and show you ways to learn to write in your voice.

Finding a Target, Having a Point with Carol Kolb
Carol Kolb is a former head writer of the Onion News Network video series and TV show on IFC (and before that, the editor-in-chief of The Onion). Now, she's working on a new TV show for Comedy Central. In this class, Carol will teach you how to write effective satire and parody in less than 90 minutes. Bring a #2 pencil or other suitable writing instrument for this fun and interactive workshop.
The Pentathalon: Bringing the Olympics into the Laser Gun Age with Dona Vakalis
Recently home from the 2012 Olympic Games in London, pentathlete Donna Vakalis will present a rare, candid look into both the Olympics and just what the pentathlon is. You'll divide into teams and compete in an abridged (but equally thrilling!) version of pentathlon followed by an awards ceremony. Finally, Vakalis will demonstrate her shiny new LASER GUN. And maybe (just maybe!) she'll give a few lucky participants the opportunity to give it a shot. She will also take time for a Q&A. Bring your workout clothes and your swimming gear!

1950s 3D Photography with Eric Drysdale
Colbert Report writer Eric Drysdale has been collecting rare vintage 3-D photographs for 15 years, and will share the story, technology and personalities behind the 1950s 3-D photography boom. You'll see a treasure-trove of one-of-a-kind images, amateur and professional, of every aspect of mid-century American life. Most importantly, you'll see them the way they were meant to be seen – as first-generation Kodachrome transparencies in backlit viewers from the 1950s with high-quality achromatic lenses. Whether some of those words mean something to you, or none of them do – don't miss a rare chance to step back in time through an amazing, and largely forgotten, technology.

The Art of the Interview with Mary O'Hara
The interview is a cornerstone to all kinds of creative work, be it radio, documentary or non-fiction writing. Mary O'Hara (who writes for The Guardian and is currently hard at work on her second novel) will present a guided workshop on conducting a great interview. Attendees will then get the chance to pair up for a brief, candid interview and transform those answers into the introductory paragraph for a profile piece about your classmate. Leave caution at the door and come prepared to reveal what makes you worthy of front page coverage!

Taking a Risk: Telling Stories You Never Thought You’d Dare to Share with Kevin Allison
This workshop, taught by Kevin Allison (of MTV's The State sketch comedy show and the popular comedy true storytelling podcast RISK!), provides students with an encouraging, constructive environment in which to tell a true life story they never thought they'd dare to tell and receive feedback from their instructor and peers. Class will include a short lecture on classic story structuring, building suspense, eliciting emotion, recreating drama, digging deeper into a story’s meaning, and using your voice and body to add levels to your listeners’ experience, so that your story stays with them.

Don’t Quit Your Dayjob: 7 Things I Learned Writing, Producing, and Directing a Documentary While Running MTV News with Benjamin Wagner
You've got a great idea for a new creative project, but with a 9 to 5 job, where's the time to get it started? Benjamin Wagner managed to write, direct, and produce a documentary titled Mister Rogers & Me, all while holding down a career as senior vice president of MTV News and he believes that there is no reason you can't do the same with your own dream and your own job. In this session, Wagner will explain why you don't have to drop everything just to get a new project off the ground, and reveal how creativity can peacefully coexist alongside the daily grind.
What It Takes to Make Successful Comedy Radio with Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson still makes radio comedy shows for a living and you can too.
British comedy series often develop as radio shows before moving onto TV, with BBC Radio broadcasting an hour and a half of sitcom, stand-up and sketch every day. Radio was the launch pad for such Brit-comedy luminaries as David Mitchell, Hugh Laurie, Steve Coogan, Armando Iannucci and Douglas Adams.* Come sit in a darkened room for a guided tour of the best of radio comedy. Find out how YOU can write and submit your own sketches to the BBC and get paid actual money if they’re broadcast. Or snog furtively on the back row with your MaxFun hook-up.
*assuming you know who any of those people are.

Beard Painting with Graham Clark
Comedian Graham Clark has a hobby. He likes to paint. He paints portraits and various things in several different styles utilizing a variety of mediums. Pretty normal, right? Well, he paints with his beard. Yeah. Each of his pieces not only captures Clark's unique artistic vision, but simultaneously becomes a time capsule reflecting the state of his facial hair at the time of composition. At MaxFunCon East, Graham will introduce the art of beard painting to a lucky group of hirsute participants. Experience this fun and meditative practice and leave with your own mini-masterpiece! Remember to wear clothes that you won't mind getting paint on. Beards will be made available for those unable to grow their own.

Let’s Start a Band with Dave Hill
Always wanted to be in a sweet band but been too afraid to try? Dave Hill is willing to help by giving you that chance to bring extreme rock heat like you've always dreamed. Hill is no stranger to stage fright (He has the pills to prove it) and has built for himself a solid/sordid career in music and comedy. He hosts The Dave Hill Explosion at UCB in New York and as a musician has performed with several unstoppable acts, including Valley Lodge, Walter Schreifels Band, Cobra Verde, Diamondsnake (alongside Moby) and others. During MaxFunCon East, Dave will work with a class to write an incredible song in 90 minutes and then perform it as a group. Sound daunting? Don't worry, all skill levels are welcome (even that skill level that involves having no skill whatsoever) and Dave will be there as your helpful and aromatic guide and host. You are encouraged to bring your own (acoustic) instrument or use one of several provided.

2:00pm - 4:30pm

Make Your Own Bitters with Ben Harrison
Are you an enthusiast of cocktails, cooking, or just sipping on a bitters and soda? Of course you are! If you take this class, you will learn all about bitters, what they're made of, and how to make them. Participants will make their own bitters and taste them and other kinds of bitters in cocktails. You'll go home with your own bottle and you can use it to delight all your friends at your next cocktail and/or secret sex party. 

Self-Scripting in Song with Cynthia Hopkins
Internationally acclaimed musical performance artist Cynthia Hopkins writes and sings songs, records albums, and creates groundbreaking multi-media performance works that intertwine truth and fiction, blurring the lines between edification and entertainment. Her work has been honored with several awards and she is currently at work on This Clement World, a new musical performance work addressing the climate crisis (to premiere in early 2013 at St. Ann's Warehouse and the Walker Art Center); and A Living Documentary, an experimental piece exploring the challenges of earning one’s living as a theater artist in the 21st century. Ms. Hopkins will give a presentation about her work delving into the inspiration and reasoning that goes into its creation and will perform excerpts from her two new projects. Afterward, she will answer any questions you may have.

Big Girls Do Cry (and So Do Boys): Practical Lessons for Dealing with Emotion at Work with Anne Kreamer
When was the last time you cried at work? Or didn’t know how to respond when one of your colleagues broke down? Or did someone at work blow up at you – or did you yell at a co-worker?  Guess what? You are not alone.
Anne Kreamer has roamed the country talking to dozens of scientists and other experts and more than 200 ordinary Americans about their feelings – their positive emotions, their negative emotions, their crazy emotions — on the job.  Along the way she discovered that a lot more men cry on the job than you’d think, that saleswomen make more money during the ovulation phase of their cycles, and that the cultivation of positive emotions isn’t some Pollyanna myth but a scientifically proven tool to better health and problem solving.  In her talk, Kreamer briefly decodes the underlying neuroscience behind how the genders process and deal differently with emotion and will guide you through a short self-assessment tool to help you uncover your personal emotional operating style, and concludes with a few tools for how best to deal with your most difficult workplace emotions. 
Nailing the Pitch: Getting Your Ideas the Green Light with David Krasnow
You've got a story. It's a great story, everybody says so. Now all you have to do is write it up and send it to a complete stranger. Easy, right? David Krasnow is one of those strangers. As the editor of public radio's arts and culture program Studio 360, he spends much of his time deciding what's worthy for the airwaves. In this workshop, Krasnow will dissect a few pitches to find out why some land and others drift off course. While geared toward journalism, the same insights can be applied toward whatever creative project you may be working on. If you're brave, you can try out your pitch and get pointers from the crowd. 

The Nebulous History of Absinthe with Maxwell Britten
This class will be focused on dispelling the legend of Absinthe and its sordid past. Join MaxFunCon East's bartender Maxwell Britton to explore the true definition of the spirit itself. You'll hear about the far reaches of history where many of its ingredients dating back to ancient Rome were used medicinally; how the recipe itself was originally created in Switzerland, stolen by a traveling doctor who was known as Doctor Ordinaire and took the recipe commercial with the Pernod family; and how it became very popular among all classes of French. Legends of bad formulas and gory murders have been traced back to absinthe, but how truthful could these stories be? Did absinthe lead Van Gogh to cut his ear off? Perhaps not. Varied histories of slander campaigns and a battle against the wine industry led to bans and changes in production locations. Should absinthe be set on fire? Maxwell Britten tells all and more about absinthe, its portrayal in popular culture, in history, and how it is now currently making a comeback in the United States and beyond.

Alchemy 101: Fact into Fiction with Kurt Andersen
Kurt Andersen, the full-time novelist and part-time essayist (and host of public radio's Studio 360), will explore the practical connections between fictional and non-fictional writing. In preparation, each participant should write a short, strictly factual account of a recent real-world experience or event. Did you meet a curious stranger on the way to work? Did you discover a new part of town on the way home? Did you read about a scientific discovery you couldn't stop thinking about? No matter the story, bring it with you and in 90 minutes or less, you will learn by doing as Andersen guides you through transmuting your own story into something both more true and untrue.

The following morning activities will return for Session B:

Artisanal Pencil Sharpening with David Rees
Storytelling with John Roderick 
The Pentathalon: Bringing the Olympics into the Laser Gun Age with Donna Vakalis
1950s 3D Photography with Eric Drysdale
Taking a Risk: Telling Stories You Never Thought You'd Dare to Share with Kevin Allison
Beard Painting with Graham Clark
Let's Start a Band with Dave Hill