Final Reflection of Sketchy Students

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“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss

“Nobody ever starts their final reflection with a Dr Seuss quote!” – Mark Poole in the Future when he reads this

Looking back at Sketchy Students, everybody will agree that it was a wild ride, there were many ups and downs and everybody learnt something. Throughout the process I was a member of the writing team, and I cant say that i disagree. When I was originally assigned to the writing team I was quite excited, because something I wanted to do was learn about how TV shows are written, so that some day I could write my own.

Firstly, I wanted to know how to lay out a proper script, this I feel I achieved. One Point. However, this was not nearly the largest learning curve, i believe the greatest thing I learnt was the importance of communication. Personally, I spend a lot of time on the internet, however, its mainly in the evenings that I sit down and make any long replies to correspondence This became a challenge during sketchy students, because often we would get feedback during the day, and if we did not reply quickly, we would miss the opportunity to contribute. Therefore I quickly became resigned and detached from the process, as I could not keep up with the pace required. In some ways this taught me detachment from the creative process, and was quite humbling, as I realized i was a cog in a larger machine. But at the same time it taught me how writing teams should operate.

One of my dreams is to work on the set of a sitcom, such as Modern Family, I would love to see how the world class comedy writers operate. One things for sure. They have stellar communication. Coming from a YouTuber background, I am used to writing and producing all my own material, thus I am very familiar with the end result from the onset. This led me to underestimate the workload for Sketchy Students, not that the writing itself was strenuous, but it required constant communication, iteration and improvement. Combined with the learning that face to face communication is the most effective, this meant that we needed as a team to meet as much as possible. However, we did not seem to get the opportunity due to our personal schedules. This lack of communication caused a lot of tension throughout the season, especially when it came time for us to finalize scripts, and we didn’t even have the story outlined properly.

Another thing that happened throughout the process was that the management team had a strong influence over the writing of the show. Admittedly this was partially due to the fact that the writing teams lack of communication led to inconsistency, however, for future projects I would like to see firmer boundaries between teams. I believe that if everybody did their jobs to the best of their ability, crossover roles would not be necessary and the show would still maintain its quality.

If I was to do it all again, I would make the writing team smaller, perhaps a streamlined 3 people. The story could initially be brainstormed, taken to a larger group, but then brought back to the 3 writers. This would make communication simpler as well as insure a more consistent storyline.

Mystache!

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Today, Imma Nohere made his acting debut in Sketchy Students. What does that even mean?

Well – Imma Nohere is a character that has been written into the show as the zero attendance student, that one that never shows up but still gets good grades. That is Imma. I was happily cast as Imma for the 3rd and 4th episodes of sketchy students, and today we did his first bit of filming. Due to one of the other projects that I am currently working on, I am going to have a moustache for the next few weeks, and for the sake of consistency I even need to have a moustache as Imma. So Imma Nohere has a moustache – and there is nothing you can do about it.

For the role of Imma, I wanted to have an American accent, because Im trying to work on my American accent, plus I wanted him to stand out as different from the other characters. I believe that this has been done aptly by the moustache and the voice that does not at all match the face. One thing to note however, is that my experience in the character of Imma did not yet feel very consistent, as I have not been him for a very long time, thus this first episode with him will be quite experimental on my part. I look forward to you seeing him next week!

Ch-ch-ch-changes

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So, it turns out that the revisions to script 4 were not received too well – and I can understand why. Firstly, the final script is quite far removed from the original concept that we had penned in class. Although there is reason for most of the changes, it does seem that group members who had originally had quite a lot of their work in the script, were suddenly left wondering where it all went. Even though we thought we had concluded that we would be passing the script on to each other for edits, I don’t think anybody expected there to be such drastic changes.  Our group was hoping to consult in order to ensure that there would not be such drastic changes, however, because we were receiving feedback at such a fast pace, it made it very difficult for us to keep our groups views all aligned.

In terms of resolution to this issue, I think the best bet is to detach from the outcome and just allow whatever makes the most people happy to go ahead. I come to this conclusion based on the fact that this is the last script, once it is resolved there will be no need to discuss the issue further. That being said I do acknowledge that if this was a multiple season show, there would certainly need to be drastic adjustments made to the collaborative process.

Sketchy BTS.

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Today the first Behind the Scenes of Sketchy Students was uploaded to Facebook… and it features me! Very exciting – thats all I wanna say.

Actually no, I also want to mention that today is my Brothers Birthday… Happy Birthday Bro!

However, in the world of serious, this evening I had a meeting with Simone and Dylan from the management team. We were discussing episode 4. It was decided that I would be the one who did the revisions for the 4th episode, so that is what happened this evening.

A lot of concerns were raised in the meeting and we tried to streamline the script to both make the filming manageable, as well as the characters consistent. For example, there was a concern raised that both Sandra and Phoeboe were ethnic characters, both female who never spoke besides using their phones. This was the entire depth of their character and this was still all they did in episode four. Besides the fact that the gag itself was getting lacklustre, it was also necessary to give them more depth. Thus during the meeting we discussed changing that part of the script. These are the kind of things we discussed. Overall it was a fairly efficient meeting.

The Power of Fusion

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So, after the melodramatically titled “great sit down” last week we have run into some road blocks. Luckily no car spikes. Just some road blocks. Its looks as if the originally planned episodes 3 and 4 are going to be too elaborate to actually be achievable in the designated timeframe. Therefore we have decided to merge a few of the gags together in order to achieve ultimate hilariousity and possibility.

Now, our final mystery character will not be appearing in episode 4, but will be entering earlier during episode 3, then the season finale 4 will combine everybody for an epic story.

From a writing perspective this means that now we need to make the gags deeper and funnier, in order to compensate for the lack of quantity. But then again it is much better that we can now aim for quality over quantity. Its just a reminder that within any creative endeavor is is important to remain detached. Sketchy students has been a constant reminder of this principle, with the episodes being reviewed by different people and constantly changing, and the fact that once stuff is written it gets interpreted by other people. They say that when writers write, producers almost always change what ends up happening, even if its on set. I don’t remember where I heard this. But now I believe it.

The Great Sit Down of 2016

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The title makes this post sound extremely ominous, and it is. So brace yourselves.

After having a very intense meeting with the management team it became apparent that the Writing team needed to sit down and have a face to face meeting in order to finalise the final two episodes. It had basically only been me talking to Simone and Dylan on a late night google hangout, and they explained to me that they were quite confused as to where the writing team was going with the show. Now – as the literary coordinator its my job to consolidate all the written materials and know where all the ideas are. The issue was – EVEN I DIDN’T! Therefore it was time to switch our gears from virtual to face-to-face.

Thus, today in class we all managed to sit down, IRL and have a proper discussion. We started going over the content for the next two episodes and we have now decided on the content that will be in them. This includes a basic outline of the gags for the episodes and the major plot points involved. There is quite a lot to get through, there will be a whole bunch of students running late, and a glorious entry for a new character. Stay tuned!

Rockumentary

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Disclaimer: the title has nothing to do with this post. But I was intrigued that my computers autocorrect did not have the word Mockumentary in it, however it did recognised rockumentary. Das messed up.

So there have been some interesting developments with Sketchy Students. Originally we intended for the show to be a mockumentary, however it seems that it has drifted more into the realm of sketch comedy. Originally when the idea was pitched it was going to be done with all of the major mockumentary tropes. Like crash zooms, looking at camera and talking heads (piece to Camera, Mark later corrected us). However, now that the trailer is released and we are moving at towards episode 1, it has become evident that we are going to need to move away from mockumentary. We decided therefore that we would do sketch comedy that uses mockumentary tropes. This allows us to use the piece to camera when it is appropriate and does not interrupt the flow, however we can also not use it if we feel its becoming distracting. This has made members of the writing team slightly uncomfortable, as most of us are quite familiar with the mockumentary format. However, win some loose some. Life goes on.

They See Me Role ing.

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Today was the day that the writing team felt really professional, before class started we all met up and had a ‘writing meeting’. Before class started we started discussing our roles and the collaborative contract. We decided that each individual would have a specific role to play. For example, I am the ‘literary coordinator’ this means that I organise all of the material that is being shared online. For example script drafts, character profiles and ideas. When they get posted I round them up and save them into a central location.

After we finished the meeting we presented our group to the class, the presentation went well, however I did not hear the feedback as I had to run to work. It was probably the worst bail our from class that has ever been seen by any lecturer ever. I ran out from MY OWN groups presentation and got onto the train in about 4 minutes. Respect.

However, it felt like a successful presentation, as we were able to have the face to face meeting before hand and really organise ourselves. We now have a designated: story board generator, literary coordinator, editor, team leader and production consultant. The slide can be seen here:Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.26.42 PM

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Having our very official looking meeting

Well that was Unexpected.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm94ygLMtBc

Lets start by taking a look at this classic clip from the 1992 film “Strictly Ballroom”, as it very much summaries my experience with my newfound writing team.

“That WAS unexpected” was what I thought when I found out that Dylan was not in the writing team, after pitching his idea to me last week, he had told me on Tuesday night that the class had quite liked the idea and that they were willing to go ahead with it. Thus, I had figured he would be in the writing team with me. Hes not… does that mean that I will be needing to uphold his vision? Well, i guess not really, its not exactly one persons vision anymore, now its teambiz.

During the class we got together and discussed writing, interestingly, there is a program called celtx, which is a free script writing program. Michael has used it before and will be willing to write the scripts with it this time around. Exciting. I personally am going to learn how to use the program for my own purposes, because I think its going to be a very useful skill. It seems to be a fairly solid and creative team, I reckon this is going to be fun.