Sunday, 7 April 2013

Sketch Analysis:

So in my last post, i wrote about what was wrong with my missile defence sketch.

In this post, I'll take a look at my sketch that was picked up and performed by the team at newsrevue.

So in the previous post, I talked about 3 things:

  • No sense of the characters
  • Characters not being consistent
  • Inconsistent game of the scene

So what happened with Wonga.Com.


3 characters.

Betty, Joyce and George.   Who were all parodies of the 3 characters from the commercial.
Betty and Joyce are old ladies.
Betty and George know each other better
Betty and Joyce are friends
Berry doesn't know much about Wonga.Com or about loans and Joyce does
George is an idiot chasing rainbows, not knowing much about mone and being the chancellor of the exchequer

Game of the scene

It's a parody of the advert.
I'm not really this follows the game of the scene style.   need to think about this more.
Sure it's about the relationship of the characters but there is no normal situation->unusual thing->escalate format.   It's an advert parody.

What is slightly wrong
it should probably be clearer at the beginning that George is George Osborne.   So perhaps the dialog would be better as Where's George Osborn?
Also some of the dialog could have been slightly cut (around the sliders) but hey ho

In short, i see why it worked.

Consistent characters
Funny dialog

And I saw it being performed and it went down really well :)

So my lesson is:

Consistent Characters
Parody advert


Sketch analysis: Missile defences

So I wrote a sketch a few weeks ago on missile defences.   This sketch didn't get picked up by Newsjack, Treason Show or Newsrevue.

So for my own sanity.   I thought I'd analyse why.

Sometimes a good sketch just doesn't fit a show etc and that's okay but if you can find flaws then it might be worth it.    Helps you write a better sketch.

The sketch is here:

Sooooo, what's wrong with it.  Let's look at some of the elements

What is the game of the scene?

Well, the game of the scene in this sketch is inconsistent.    It's almost like 2 different sketches.

The first half of the scene is about ridiculous suggestions on missile defence systems
The second half of the scene is about quite a sensible suggestion.

It sort of makes me think that I really have 2 different sketches welded together.    As I said, the dialog is funny but it's not right.

Character Consistency

And having re-read the sketch.   The dialog is funny but I have no idea about the characters involved.  We have 3 characters.

Chief Scientist, Scientist 1 and Scientist 2.

Buttttt, they switch around in each others role.    Which kinda makes it difficult to perform.
At the beginning of the sketch Scientist 1 and Scientist 2 are making goofy suggestions and then at the end of the sketch they are speaking intelligently.    It makes no sense.   The characters aren't being consistent.

How do I improve this?

  • Setup front who the characters are, get inside their head, do their voices and mannerism.
  • Rewrite the characters to be consistent
  • Stick to the game of the scene (and have only one)
  • Maybe write two different sketches
As I said the dialog is funny, it just doesn't fit with the scene.   Since North Korea is still relevant.   I might come back to this sketch later this week and do some rewrites.

The game of the scene

As I am spending more time examining the theory of sketch comedy to help me out in my own writing.  I have scene the term "The game of the scene", quite a few times.

This term seems to crop up quite often with companies such as the Upright Citizens Brigade in New York.   Unsurprisingly it's a term that seems to originate from improvisation.   In the USA many sketch writers come from an improv background.   This is especially true for SNL (most of their writers seems to come from Second City, UCB or Groundlings).

I have zero improv experience, so it's kinda cool learning new stuff.

Sooooo, "The Game of the Scene".

Well, the best explanation I can find comes from Kevin Mullaney.

So "The game of the scene" is basically the point of the sketch.   What is funny and interesting about this particular scene or sketch.   According to Kevin, you really need to ask 3 questions:

  • What's the basic situation?
  • What's the first unusual thing?
  • If what, then what?

Kevin explains it pretty well in his own blog postings.    To summarize.   I think it's about taking a normal situation -> make something unusual -> escalate it.

It's got me thinking about my own sketch writing.   I have never purposely tried to write a sketch in this way.   It's a very improvy, second city / UCB / SNL way of doing it.

I might try and see if any of my existing sketches fit this format in anway.

Also, I might purposely try and write a sketch in this way.   Just to see what happens.

Anyways, food for thought!!!

This weekends sketches

wrote 3 sketches this weekend.

One sketch is a football sketch which I submitted to FFS.   Was pretty pleased with it, I felt it was pretty tight.   Let's see how that goes.   Depending on if they take it or not depends on whether i post it.

One sketch is on Obama and Kamala.   I wasn't so pleased with that sketch as I was experimenting a little bit with escalation.   I felt it rambled but let's see how it goes.   Submitted that to Treason Show but I suspect they won't use it because it's a little late and a little long and too close to their next show.   Also I didn't think it was my best sketch.
Also submitted to newsrevue.   For same reasons not so confident that they will run with it.

Depending on what happens, I'll post those sketches up soon.

Third sketch was a little fun one i posted up on the BCG forums here in a fun little weekly comp they run.   I really really enjoyed writing this fun little monologue.

Here it in anyways.  The topic was obituaries.

BBC News Announcer

We're saddened to announce the death of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Queen is one of the most loved and dedicated monarchs to ever reign.
Always there for her subjects whenever we needed to errrrr post things (beat) or buy stuff.

We'll miss her big royal face on our letters and coins. 
Well at least her right cheek, we've never seen her left cheek. 
She seemed to have had a tattoo of a lion or a big gate thing where her left cheek should be.
She probably should have seen a doctor about that, maybe that's what killed her.

Anyways the world moves on. The biscuits and jam guy will take over from her. 
And we will need much bigger coins and stamps to accommodate his great big ears.
It won't be the same!!!!
Long live email and paypal!!!! 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Some of the sketches that I've written

So I thought I would post some of my sketches earlier that i've written in the past month that have had some decent success :)

Vampire Benefit Tourists - was performed by The Treason Show in March 2013 - was performed by newsrevue for 3 weeks in March 2013

Pope's last day at work - I think was recorded but cut by newsjack

Pope Factor - good feedback from newsrevue although not taken as they were running their own pope factor type sketches

ways to avoid drone attacks - recorded but cut in the edit by newsjack

aaaaand here are the ones that didn't have so much success :)

russian meteories




missile defence

There are a few sketches that I haven't published, i.e. the recent ones that are submitted for other shows etc.

I will try and publish them later at an appropriate time.

Hope that you enjoy them

Sketch: Missile Defence

And another one that no-one picked up.   Not surprised on this one to be honest:

CHIEF SCIENTIST:   So, we’ve been told we need to bolster our missile defences to prevent a possible nuclear attack from North Korea.   What ideas do we have?

Everyone sounds confused
ALL:                              Errr, urrrrr

CHIEF SCIENTIST:   Come on we must have some ideas.   Just say what you think.   No idea is too stupid.

SCIENTIST 1:             How about a giant fishing net that catches the missiles.
CHIEF SCIENTIST:   Okay, no idea is too stupid (beat) apart from that idea
Anything else?

SCIENTIST 2:             How about a giant tennis net, that bounces the missile all the way back to North Korea?
CHIEF SCIENTIST:   And then a roadrunner goes meep meep.
Does anyone have an idea that doesn’t assume WylE Coyote is firing acme missiles at us.

SCIENTIST 1:             We could rig the GPS satellites so it thinks that Alaska is where France is.
CHIEF SCIENTIST:   Won’t Britain be annoyed?
SCIENTIST 1:             Nope they hate the little cheese munchers as much as we do
CHIEF SCIENTIST:   No, I mean annoyed about the nuclear fallout
SCIENTIST 1:             There wouldn’t be any
According to Britain for them to be affected by a giant fallout cloud, we’d need to hit
And we don’t know where that is anyways.  
We think it might be in Nebraska

CHIEF SCIENTIST:   So what’s the worst-case scenario if the missile shield fails.
SCIENTIST 2:             Well, at the worst.  It’ll hit Alaska.   And will kill thousands of errr (..) bears
CHIEF SCIENTIST:   Doesn’t Sarah Palin do that anyways?

SCIENTIST 2:             And the fallout will make the land totally uninhabitable
CHIEF SCIENTIST: Errrrrr, Why are we spending money on this again?
Just build the tennis net.

© 2013 Chris Hay - All rights reserved

Sketch: Vampire benefit tourists

And on week 4 of my writing.   The treason show picked up this sketch on benefit tourists.

Unfortunately I only found out about it a few weeks ago and missed the show, so never saw this performed.

Vampire Benefit Tourists

ANNOUNCER:           In 2014, William Hague is worried about the influx of Romanian benefit tourists coming to the UK.   The following is an intercepted advert trying to attract Romanian Vampires to the UK.

Done in the style of a visit Scotland Advert
Background music should be some scottishy pipey music.
ANNOUNCER 1:       In Transylvania, you vampires can only go out at night!!!   Here, we have no sunshine!!!   Surprise yourself!!!  Visit Scotland.

ANNOUNCER 2:       Self-conscious about your sticky outy bad vampire teeth.   
You could wait for months to get them fixed on the NHS in London.   Surprise yourself!!!  Visit Scotland!!!
our dentists have no queues.

ANNOUNCER 1:       Afraid of Garlic?   Just drinking the blood of one Frenchman could kill you.
Here, we have no Garlic (beat) or any vegetables!!!   Surprise yourself!!!  Visit Scotland.

ANNOUNCER 2:       Are you scared of being burned with holy water?  
All our priests are in prison or have taken early retirement
and nobody washes. 
Surprise yourself!!!  Visit Scotland!!

ANNOUNCER 1:       And the most surprising thing about Scotland is that you won’t be hunted.   Yes, we have no posh twats on bicycles calling themselves “Boris Johnston: Vampire Hunter”

BORIS:                        (stupid boris noises)
first the foxes, now bloody vampires.
can’t even kill them, because I’ve eaten the stupid bloody stake.
(stupid boris noises)

ANNOUNCER 1:       In Scotland, you are safe from posh vampire hunters.  In-fact, we don’t even have anyone posh at all!!

ANNOUNCER 2:       As of 2014, anybody can work here, no work permit required.   You too can be as happy as this Romanian living and working and Scotland as a math teacher.

VON COUNT:             I am the count that likes to count!!!   Only 365 days until you can live here too!!!! Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!   Let’s count down the days, 1 ah ah ah!!!

ANNOUNCER 2:       So, if you are pale, have bad teeth, are scared of vegetables and can’t move on from the past.  
Surprise yourself!!!  Visit Romania!!
(beat) especially if independence doesn’t work out.

© 2013 Chris Hay - All rights reserved