This week is a continuation from week 23- please complete that one before moving ahead.
Here are more guidelines for Acting for Comedy:
Play the truth of the scene.
Avoid the urge to TRY and be funny.
Take your character seriously. You need to believe in them 100%. You must know more about the character than they know about themselves. This distance between yourself and the character is essential to gaining an understanding of where the humour will lie. You may know their strengths are actually weaknesses, but they do not. To give you an example, a character may be fastidiously obsessed by security, always locking things, never trusting anyone. They see themselves as the pillar of the local community. We (the actor and the audience) know them to be a compulsive, neurotic fool. The joke lies in the gap between the two perceptions. This can be developed by exaggerating your character’s feelings and beliefs. “exaggerate” meaning “feel it more”. If, in a tragedy, a character is stung by a bee, they might mind. If, in a comedy, they are stung by a bee, they will mind more; in fact they will probably mind more than usual. Or reverse it: they could pretend not to mind at all; but they would pretend not to mind too much, almost to the point of imbalance.
Further comedy we see on our screens:
The situation comedy, or sitcom, has been the most common, successful and culturally significant type of television comedy. As the name suggests, these programs feature recurring characters placed in humorous situations. Often performed before a live audience (or, in some cases, a simulated live audience in the form of a laugh track), usually filmed or taped with a multiple-camera setup, and almost always a half-hour in length, sitcoms are seldom presented as realistic depictions of life but often generate honest humor through the relationships between and ongoing development of characters.
A comedy-drama, is a program that combines humor with more serious dramatic elements, aiming for a considerably more realistic tone than conventional sitcoms. These programs are shot with a single-camera setup and presented without a laugh track, and typically run an hour in length. This can refer to a genre of television or radio drama series. There are several notable comedy-dramas, varying in different subgenres. This includes comedy-dramas like Desperate Housewives, Parenthood and Ugly Betty, medical comedy-dramas like M*A*S*H and Grey’s Anatomy, legal comedy-dramas like Ally McBeal and Boston Legal, and Glee – probably the first musical comedy-drama.
Sketch comedy programs differ from sitcoms in that they do not basically feature recurring characters (though some characters and scenarios may be repeated) and often draw upon current events and emphasize satire over character development. In the UK, two of the more successful examples are Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Little Britain.
This week’s challenges:
1. Please download the attached scripts, choose a role to play and record either as a self tape or if you would like other actors to read in for the other parts, please attend the next virtual class.
2. Business challenge
Ask yourself the following:
- Are you good at networking with business people? If no, how can you get better? What do you need to do differently?
- Do you already have connections within the industry? Who? How can they help you? Make a list of all the connections you have in the industry and file them. They may end up casting something that you are interested in and if you can make a link with them from a previous job it stands you in good stead.