Mystache!

RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

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.

RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

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

RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

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

RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

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!

Have I Made it?

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

For the past seven years I have been creating content on YouTube, throughout this time I have experimented with many different genres and styles in order to find my voice. From parody music video to toying with special effects. Eventually, I have come to realise that uplifting comedy is really where I would like to leave my impression. However, making comedy videos on youtube requires one to have a whole new set of literacies. For example, on youtube the trolling community is quite large, I have received a number of hateful comments, something which I explore here. Jay Oatway explores this in his discussion about content creation, one thing that he emphasises is to first fully understand your community, to follow them on blogs and social media, in order to understand their expectations. To put it briefly, the reason that hate is often received is because the audience is receiving content that they do not expect. For example, my most disliked video is called “How to get money from vending machines”, when i look at the Youtube Analytics of this video, I am able to see that the audience mainly comes from the youtube search, which are people who legitimately believe that I’m going to show them how to make a buck. However, once they click on the video they realise its comedy and become quite upset, and revert to trolling. I explore this in more depth on my blog post here.

This whole dynamic is quite interesting, it is reminiscent of the Anonymous phenomenon that originated on fourchan. According to the BBC Documentary “How Hackers Changed the World”, the anonymous group has a very strong sense of community and understanding. One of the members while discussing the protests on scientology, explained that suddenly everybody who knew the same jokes as each other were coming together. Not only jokes, but the same set of shared values and culture. Thus, there was such a passion about certain acts of hacktivism which they conducted, such as taking down the Neo-Nazi Hal Turner. It is incredible to believe that something so intangible like the internet can develop such a large network of independant literacies. Andrew Blum, touches on this briefly in his TED Talk “What is the Internet Really” when he states that “my relationship to the physical world had changed”. Memes are a great example of this, they often sit online and are constantly remixed and recycled like on a “petri dish” until they become a subset of internet culture. Rosanna Guadagno also explores this in her study about what makes a video go viral, she explores the importance of emotional impact and found that a video was more sharable when it had emotion provoking content. I would like to compare this to a common stand-up comedy theory, discussed by the likes of Gene Perret and Judy Carter. Its understood that audience expectation and a sense of community is often what makes or breaks an engagement. In my case, because I have been developing my own voice, I often have not provided my audience with consistent content. This I believe it what has opened me up to hate messages. By constantly shifting my content, the audience does not know what they are receiving, and opposes my work.

 

Resources:

YouTube. (2016). BBC Documentary – How Hackers Changed the World [Full]. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfCewYcnSu4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].

YouTube. (2016). Andrew Blum: What is the Internet, really?. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE_FPEFpHt4 [Accessed 8 May 2016].

Oatway, J. (2012). Mastering story, community and influence. Chichester, West Sussex, U.K.: Wiley.

Guadagno, Rosanna E. et al. ‘What Makes A Video Go Viral? An Analysis Of Emotional Contagion And Internet Memes’. Computers in Human Behavior 29.6 (2013): 2312-2319. Web.

Perret, G. (2007). The new comedy writing step by step. Sanger, CA: Quill Driver Books/Word Dancer Press.

Carter, J. (2001). The comedy bible. New York: Fireside.

Pohate-o for the Potato

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

As with every professional engagement, being a content creator on youtube comes with its workplace hazards – In this case. Trolls. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to receiving not-so-positive comments, and have started to enjoy the creativity and often hilariousity of them. Last week this gem popped up under one of my videos:


Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.39.52 AM

Ouch, well, this leaves a bad taste in my mouth… In situations like this I cant help but laugh, In a way i feel complimented. Some person somewhere in the world has actually sat down, watched my video, logged in to youtube, thought about a comment, and responded to me, just to tell me how much they hated my video. I appreciate that.

Sometimes Ive felt so loved that I felt obliged to reply to the troll:
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 10.40.11 AM
Sadly, In these situations their initial creativity disappears and they often dont respond as viciously. Either way, its never a boring conversation.

I suppose what im trying to say is, people often ask me if the hate bothers me. I reply “not really, Ive gotten used to it, in fact I find it quite amusing”

Iv'e Been Thinking

Networked Media, RMIT Media Comms

Despite all the experimentation that has been happening on my youtube channel, one thing that ive always really wanted to maintain is uplifting content. I want to make people think and be entertained at the same time. Thats why I started the “Ive been thinking” series:

Here are the first four episodes:

It will be interesting to see how my audience reacts, considering they are used to comedy content from me.

Rockumentary

RMIT Media Comms, Sketchy Students Webseries

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.