Sunday, 7 April 2013

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!!!

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