Reflections on Second City

by admin on July 14, 2009

at the L station, chicago

at the L station, chicago

This is me, inside my head, on Second City. Not a reflection on anyone there, or the training, or any of that, but more just the nonsense that is going through my head and my self talk or something.

This was brought on actually by the friend requests I’ve sent plus ones that I have received on my facebook account. They made me want to write down some stuff and maybe. maybe some of this is universally true or maybe it is all just me over thinking overacting over reacting, etc

I felt like I had to be on. Under some degree of pressure all the time. I realize I was there to learn but here you are among people who are actually your true peers. Finally people who may actually understand what is going on in your head, at least as far as ‘show biz’ or being on stage or any of that sort of stuff. I want to look good and seem like I am one of the people that others are interested in. I want to stand out, but not in a show offy kind of way, just as a throw in a clever comment (and it needs to be really clever because mostly these folks are really sharp) and then some will nod and make a mental note. (This note could be used later when they have a tv show – yeah, I remember this one guy who was clever, we should get him) I also was making notes and judgements – not in a negative way – looking more as taking note of people who were, um, noteworthy. Gosh my vocabulary is astounding!

In class it’s sort of the same way except amped up a little because the teachers actually may have some connections. (not may, they do have connections) and I also want to make them take note. But not a note that I am a ball hog. I am a team player. A damn funny team player that sometime they could see fitting into ‘that role’ or whatever. This is also tempered by the “I am here to learn” syndrome. So I have a “pay total attention and don’t worry about being overly funny” tendency. This is the ‘he’s a professional, look how well he takes notes’ persona. Um, I took almost no notes at all. So I tried really working the craft or whatever you want to call it.

I didn’t try too hard to force funny, I just tried to let things flow and pick up as much as I could. But then there were people who seemed ‘on’ all the time. Naturally funny, or maybe so experienced that they just were funny through exhaustive practice. What were they doing in a level 1 class?

Oddly enough almost everyone there, including people from other classes, seemed like we were old friends, or at least knew each other somehow, and right away. There was an undercurrent of back and forth wordplay that normally doesn’t come until you really know people. That part I found interesting. We were all there for similar reasons, so maybe that’s why we felt comfortable, or we were verbally fencing, did that make it uncomfortable? Were we battling to see who was supreme newbie? I don’t really think so, at least not much anyway.

There were people there, not from my class, who also seemed connected just from a 15 minute conversation in the lounge on day one. Shannon, Moog, Richie, Tal, weird how all week we sort of checked on each other and made small talk on the streets, in the halls, in the clubs. Connections.

I’ll probably write more on this. I gotta get ready for work.

more – So I am writing my drafts for scripts in my sketch writing class and the first couple, I am not even trying to be funny. I am trying to figure out how we are supposed to be formatting the text, and how the ‘five points’ of plot need to be laid out and all that sort of stuff. Then I sort of realize, or you know I shouldn’t have been thinking this, that this is something that could really shape what Joe, the instructor, thinks of my sense of humor or whatever. And format is not so important, he’s not even looking at our sketches at all. He told us to print up three copies, so I was thinking one was for him to keep.

I have put contact information in the header, numbered my pages 2 of 4, etc, in the footer, and think that, well I want the form to be correct, and the spelling to be good, and of course it needs to be funny. So my final skit was funny. sort of. It read really funny. Spoken, it was still funny, but uneven. I wasn’t thinking about spacing out the talking and intermingling the action to keep it moving along. I’m a writer by background, and that sort of thing just didn’t much occur to me.

It’s odd how some of the sketches read sort of flat but performed really funny. And here we are inexperienced at this sort of thing, critiquing each other’s sketches. Maybe our thoughts and advices (advices, what is the correct term here? The plural, I give advice, we gave advice. Ok, no s) weird.

maybe the feedback (yeah substitute an entirely new word) was poor. We had no idea. But the class went on. And I am writing about goldilocks. A word thrown out to any would be SC folks, choose carefully, you are going to be sort of stuck with your concept and you’ll be molding and shaping it all week. Or you could move outside the boundaries of the class and go your own way. Don’t know how much that would help your writing. I would just pick a different tale from the beginning.

I think this post is wandering too much now, so I am cutting it off

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