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036 LIVE COMEDY WRITING SESSION – IDEA TO PREMISE (podcast)
You asked for it – you got it. One frequent request from listeners is to have an episode 100% focussed on writing. So, I challenged Gavin to come in with a handful of ideas he wanted to turn into jokes. Together, we go over his ideas, pick one and spend the episode exploring various angles until we decide what the premise should be for the bit. This is a raw, unedited live comedy writing session.
We use a process in the episode I call “EXPAND, CONDENSE, DEFINE”.
The first part of the process is to EXPAND upon the topic. Allow yourself time and permission to brainstorm on the topic without trying to edit yourself at the same time. Your brain has two hemispheres and when you force it to analyze as you create you end up with brain lock. So, we start with the mindset that “any idea is as valid as the next.”
Next, we look at the various ideas and CONDENSE the list down to the best few concepts. Granted, this is still guesswork since we haven’t told the joke onstage, yet. But we use our gut feeling on what the best 2-3 angles are on the subject.
Finally, we DEFINE what our premise should be moving forward.
I used to always start with there premise and then try to justify it with punch lines and tags. I still do that sometimes, but I find it much more liberating to talk through an idea and arrive at various points I never intended or expected to arrive at. By moving the pressure of the premise to the end of the process, we free up the brainstorming and allow all ideas to be valid – not just the ones that fit our preconceptions of what the joke is supposed to be.
At the end of the episode, the next challenge for Gavin is to take the ideas and form the jokes. So … stay tuned for what he comes up with (or doesn’t – haha!).
PLEASE let me know what you think about this episode. If you enjoy this format I will record more with other beginning students and some established comedians so you can glean their approaches as well.
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DOES YOUR WRITING NEED HELP?
If you feel your writing is holding you back, please consider enrolling in the online writing class. Creating sets and getting stage time won’t help one bit if you aren’t creating solid material. For more info on that click here.