Improv 301 June/July 2016

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Improv 301 June/July 2016

Jessica Peck
Welcome to Improv 301! Use this thread to post homework discussions, improv thoughts or questions, and any other interesting "finds" or "ah ha" moments you may have!  
Ken
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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Ken
    I waited too long to post my favorite moments in class, and so I can't remember any.  In fact I can't remember some of my classmates.  There was James, Erin, Linda, and Jeremy Shockley, right?  Who were the other four?  
    My working definition of a game:  Finding an unusual thing that can be heightened and/or justified.
    And here are 2 patterns or games I found in pop culture:  In the movie "Trainwreck", LeBron James is an incredibly rich, but cheap, celebrity who drives 45 minutes out of his way to retrieve a cheap pair of sunglasses, and who insists on his friend splitting their dinner check, rather than picking up the tab himself. In the TV show "Family Matters" Steve Urkel says the line, "Did I do that?" in every show.
    Great job in Week One Jess.  Looking for to the next five.  POPCORN!
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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Dana
In reply to this post by Jessica Peck
Hi guys!

I missed the first class, so I can't share any funny moments - sorry! Looking forward to this upcoming weekend.

I think the best way to describe the "game" of a scene is a unique feature of a scene that can carryover - whether it's a saying, an event happening (one of the best scenes I saw was a character walking up to the water cooler during scenes throughout the show, sipping water, listening, and then leaving and no one else on stage saw/acknowledged that character), or a character tick. The way I think about it, you can identify the "game" in a scene before you turn it into a pattern, if that makes sense.

My pop culture references are pretty limited. I love country music, and there's definitely patterns to be found in country songs that usually involve a break up, hooking back up with that girl, but never getting back together. Also, I've recently become a fan of the TV show Archer. The game there is that Archer usually goes on a mission thinking it will be easy or that he can do it, ends up getting in a bad situation, and the other characters have to come bail him out. Also his mom hooks up with/ was a former love of a lot of the bad guys which makes for a funny dynamic.

I'm excited to meet everyone and play!
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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Linda Ray
In reply to this post by Jessica Peck
My favorite moments were watching the experienced players make it look easy! I'm excited to be able to learn so much from them, as well as from you, Jessica, and humbled to have so much to learn.

I think the game is the idea or event that can be exploited to reveal more about the relationship and the circumstances in ways that are funny.

As for patterns: I've been trying to binge NCIS and about nine episodes into Season 1, the pattern started to almost obscure the stories for me. Someone comes in with coffee, someone makes a smart remark, a crisis occurs, everyone leaves the office together. Somewhere in the first 15 minutes a mutilated corpse is examined in detail. Then the charming multi-dimension nerd goes to town with chemistry and systems savvy. Everyone interrogates everyone tangent to the case.. Then something happens to reveal that the murderer is someone they didn't suspect. Case closed.

I'm also learning about stand-up and reliably funny patterns for writing jokes. I'm reading a book now someone who wrote for Phyllis Diller and Carol Burnett, and it's so funny how the patterns he suggests are the ones that get the biggest laughs, even for contemporary comics. The book is "Comedy Writing Step by Step," by Gene Perret.
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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Jeremy
In reply to this post by Jessica Peck
Favorite moment from class = Rocking horse causes boy to wet pants.

To me game is the "object" of the scene. The thing that unites the players on stage. Like a basketball in sports without it there is no game even with teams, officials, fans, a court, and the hoops. That basketball can be a pattern, character, contrast, or pivot.

I enjoy character tropes. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia will take a character pattern of behavior and play with that over various contexts and episodes. The illiterate nature of the character Charlie who writes with pictures but is also a deviously smart manipulator and good musician. Nice contrast and continued character theme.



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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Jessica Peck
All great examples from pop culture!!  Urkel is classic pattern with a catchphrase :)  And NCIS or any other episodic television shows are pattern central (i.e. SVU, CSI, etc.).  They have the same format for every show and insert the new criminal or scenario into the formula and you have a new hour of television.  

And all great game definitions!  These are all critical elements in discovering and understanding the game of the scene.  Once you discover the unusual thing you can start having fun exploring and heightening the details of the game for comedy gold!

Looking forward to today's class!  And for reference here's a full class list for our 301:

Abbie
Brad
Dana
Daniel
Erin
James
Jeremy
Ken
Linda
Sue
Theresa
Tim
Zaq

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Re: Improv 301 June/July 2016

Erin
Hi everyone,

I have a few thoughts on patterns based on some of my current Netflix/hulu trends. I recently finished a series called Revenge and the pattern was that in each episode there would be some new discovery of something bad (basically these rich people screwed over a bunch of people's lives and now this woman is "undercover" trying to get justice back for her family) and then the main character and her best friend would find a way to seek revenge, which would inevitably lead to some additional discovery that linked back to some larger way this rich family was manipulating everyone. Each episode ended with a cliff hanger, but also some moment of clarify for the main character to question if she wanted to keep seeking revenge or if she was slowly losing her "good" by doing so.

I also watch a lot of Millionaire Matchmaker, god I love that show. And the pattern is that each time there are two millionaires that are "ready for love" and Patti gives them some "tough love" and then screens a bunch of women (or men) and also gives them a lot of critique and tells them not to have sex before monogamy and then they go on a date. The date consists of two parts - an activity and dinner and 7/10 times doesn't turn out so great. Which then loops back to Patti giving more tough love. Sometimes she bans people from her club.

Recently, I was at a bar listening to live music and these two young kids were there. It was way past their bedtime so it definitely seemed a bit "fish out of water." Their parents did not look concerned in any way that these children were out so late or at a bar. The children were surprisingly well-behaved.

Those are my thoughts for now. I hope you all had a great week! See you a little later today :)

Erin
Ken
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Improv 301 - Week 3 homework

Ken
1. We are the laziest soldiers ever!
2. Dude, I couldn’t agree more.  I don’t want to fire my weapon at the enemy – I’m too lazy to load my gun.
1. You think you’re lazy?  I didn’t want to dig my foxhole, and so I hired someone with a backhoe to dig it for me.
2. That’s nothing.  I’ve lost 20 pounds because I don’t want to make the effort to open up my rations.
1. Well, at least sarge isn’t pissed off at you like he is at me.
2. Why’s that?
1. Because yesterday I only gave him a verbal salute.  I didn’t want to risk straining my arm by saluting him the right way.
2. Oh yeah?  Well, my fiancé has written me 20 letters.  And I still haven’t written her back.  She’s probably found someone else by now.
1. You know, when I get out of the army, I’m not going to take advantage of the GI Bill and go to college.  I’m just gonna go home and let mom take care of me.
2. Dude, let’s just surrender.
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Homeworks

Timmy
In reply to this post by Jessica Peck
Hey all, hope I am considered fashionably late and not delinquently tardy, but here’s my 2 cents

Fave moment from class was everyone liking the jack in the box scene!

Game for me is “what is the point” of the scene. The “what are we doing to make these people laugh”. It’s something that is a pattern, or could be a pattern, that we will use to explore the relationship between the characters in the scene.

I also think it’s the basis of the shared reality of the scene, and denying/blocking game seems worse to me than other forms of denial.

My example of game / pattern was the recent David Cross stand up show. His set was a normal set up, punch line format. The set ups were usually 2-3 min of a story that usually focused on a personal interaction Cross had (going to Thanksgiving dinner, walking his home streets of NYC, etc. ) He would then lead up to the punch line in a fairly predictable way, and then subvert the premise in a glorious way with a punch line that was A to F. It was like a comedy magical act where he had you looking where he wanted you to, only to reveal that the card was in your wallet THE WHOLE TIME!!!

The punch lines were also all horrible subject matter that I think he purposely chose to challenge himself to write jokes about horrible subject matter (domestic violence, Nazis, etc.) And it was all done where none of the humor was exploitative of those subjects. Hopefully he’ll have this set as a special, because I’d love to try and deconstruct it some more.

Week 3
1.This graveyard is the most fun ever.
2. I am so glad we are burying mom here.
1. The coffin Ferris wheel is so majestic
2. I love how you can ride along the side
1. I am not as big of a fan of the flume ride, but mostly cause I don’t like getting wet
2. ok, Mom and l can go on that without you then
1. or just mom, then she can use the single casket lane
2. Its definitely good we got the fast pass. The line for the soon-to be haunted mansion was insane.
1. Yeah, mom has time to wait, but not us.
2. Let’s go get another churro.
1. yeah, I love that they bend them into the religious symbol of your chosing. Im getting a Buddah this time
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Re: Homeworks

Jessica Peck
I love all the other examples/definitions of game, good job all!

And we forgot to talk about the week 3 homework on Saturday! :(  Those that posted their scenes with heightening great job!  loved them :)  We'll discuss at the beginning of class this Saturday