Monday, October 23, 2006

How Funny Do You Feel?


Here's one of the coolest things in the Park School this semester...especially if your friends and family say you are the most hilarious person they ever met (or even if you think you're funny and nobody else has discovered it yet...)

We're offering a special mini-course next month, taught by one of our alum, Rick Shaw. Rick has worked for decades as a comic and sitcom producer (remember "The Nanny"? that was one of his....); he's now doing special events and writing comedy for other performers. And he's coming to Park to teach a one-credit course in "Developing the Comedy Sitcom."

Here's how it's going to work:
Eight lucky students will be selected to participate in the course.

They'll meet with Rick on Friday, Nov. 10, late afternoon, in the conference room on the third floor. And they'll spend the weekend -- literally, the weekend -- doing exactly what comedy writers do....throwing ideas around, being outrageous, playing an idea out (and out and out) until it either explodes or fizzles out...

Please note: You will need to be the kind of person who is not easily offended by the kinds of stupid jokes and double entendres that can often be considered offensive. Really. That's the nature of this kind of situation and environment, and it's important to understand that this will not be your standard Park classroom conversation.

In fact, it's going to be as close to 'real world' as we can make it...which means I'm also going to hire a "runner" who will be in the conference room to take notes (real writers talk their ideas, they don't have time to type them) and go out for Chinese food (why do you think they call them 'runners'?).

By the end of the weekend, the group will have an idea for a script.

Over the next month, the students will work with Rick via our videoconferencing equipment; he'll be in LA, they'll be on campus, and they'll collaborate on a script.

In mid-December (or maybe early January...we'll see), Rick will come back to campus for a second one-credit mini-course. This time, actors will do a 'table read' of the script and the team will spend the weekend rewriting.
By the end of the second weekend, they'll have a script in hand.

Next semester, a group of students -- we're hoping at least some of the original group will remain involved -- will work with Rick to cast and shoot the pilot. And then, yes, folks, we're going to try to pitch it (hey, why not?)

Oh, and one more thing: we're also going to be shooting the process, just in case we can sell it as a really fun and interesting reality show.

There are no prerequisites to the course EXCEPT that it is open to Park majors only; in fact, we're hoping that we'll get a mix of students from across the school, from across departments, from across majors. After all, no program has a monopoly on creativity or humor.

But we're only taking eight. And you need to apply -- it's that "permission of instructor" thing.

How to do that?

Write a 100-word essay that shows why you should be in the course. Show us that you can be funny. And brief.

Deadline for essays is Tuesday, October 31 (Halloween! perfect!) at 5 p.m. Email them to me at

Tell your friends. Tell your friends' friends. It's going to be one more example of an opportunity to do something really cool -- and to learn amazing lessons in the process.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Note to self: SUBMIT AN ESSAY

9:39 AM  

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