I know very few people that can simply go with the flow when it comes to technical malfunctions during an event. I can say this from experience having had my own issues during a film screening I did almost a year ago. Luckily I had by my side an accomplished performer, someone who knew how to take a potentially bad situation and turn it around completely. That man was local sensation (in San Diego County) Scott Paulson and I had the recent pleasure of seeing him in action, this time as part of the audience.

Thursday night after making a five hour flight back to San Diego from New York Scott Paulson arrived at Carlsbad’s New Village Theater to screen several silent era shorts. I of course had to attend and this time I coerced one of my best friends, Cecilia to come along. The hundred plus capacity room was packed to the gills and luckily we managed to score some seats in the front of the room.

Paulson is the master of showmanship, encouraging the audience to get involved with the films by providing them with musical instruments. While his Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra (usually made up of no more than 3-4 people) provides  the main soundtrack  the audience adds other sound effects, akin to what a pit crew would have provided at a movie screening close to one hundred years ago. Although he encountered numerous technical malfunctions (he was working with equipment that refused to perform properly) he smoothed them over by cracking jokes and playing to whatever film randomly came next.

As more of a historian myself, perhaps the one thing that lacks in Scott Paulson’s shows is any real concrete historiography of silent film. He tends to gloss over the facts only providing surface details so that he can segway into the performance. But perhaps this is not the point. When you get down to it Paulson is more of a performer, a vaudevillian, than he is a historian, because for him the show is more important than the facts. And for this historian (me) that’s a wonderful thing.

To find out where Scott Paulson is performing next check out his website at scottpaulson.info.