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Improv to Sketch & Sitcom Scripts
With Chris Head
Learn how your improv skills can take you into scripted comedy & learn how to use improv as an ongoing tool to support and inspire your writing.
Special guest teacher Chris Head (author of the forthcoming ‘Comedy from Stage to Screen: A Complete Guide to Stand-up, Improv, Sketch & Sitcom’) brings thirty-years of experience as a comedy director, teacher and script editor to BIT. In this unique weekend workshop, you will learn how to go from improvisation to scripted sketch and sitcom. As an improviser you already know much of what you need to be able to write well. This weekend will highlight how your existing skills and knowledge apply in scripts, and will also give you the extra insights and skills you need to confidently and skilfully write sketches and sitcom. In a dynamic process of improvisation and work on scripted material, you will learn:
– how to play improv scenes in a way that tees up scripted material.
– how improvisation can generate ideas for comedy sketches and can be used to develop sitcom scenes.
– how to find and develop the game of sketches and sitcom scenes.
– how to structure a comedy sketch and a sitcom scene.
– how to define character relationships and point-of-view in scenes.
– how to to set up character relationships in a sitcom situation.
– how to structure a sitcom episode
– how to plot a sitcom using the ‘set-pieces’ approach where you identify some big, funny scenes and then construct a narrative around them.
You will also learn how improvisation and writing can work hand-in-hand to support each other in your ongoing writing process. The beauty of combining improv with writing is rather than staring at a blank screen you can get on your feet (or ad-lib at your laptop) and you can further develop scripted scenes by getting them back on their feet. Furthermore, I always think of improv as live writing, so the better an understanding of writing you have as improvisers the more effective you will be. This goes both ways: you’ll be better writers if you have a playful, improvisatory mindset.
You’re very welcome to come as an individual but if you are writing with someone already, or are thinking you might form a writing team, then coming along as a duo or a team and work together on your writing. Either way, leave the course with a number of finished sketches/ sitcom scenes, ideas for many more and the tools to develop scenes and write them up. You’ll also collaboratively develop a sitcom on the course! This might even be an idea you do something with beyond the weekend, but at the very least having created one show you will have a clear understanding of how to do it again. The weekend will end with a briefing on how the comedy business works and ways to approach the industry with your ideas.
Chris Head is a comedy director, teacher and author who teaches stand-up, sketch and sitcom at Bristol Improv Theatre, Bath Spa University (where he helped write and teaches on the BA Comedy Degree) and independently in London. He is the author of “A Director’s Guide to the Art of Stand-up” and coming in 2020 is his new book “Comedy from Stage to Screen: A Complete Guide to Stand-up, Improv, Sketch & Sitcom”. As a director his shows have been seen at Soho Theatre and Bloomsbury Theatre London; Pleasance, Underbelly and Assembly, Edinburgh Fringe; and at international festivals including L.A. Comedy Shorts & Melborne Comedy Festival. As a script-editor recent work includes a broadcast BBC Radio 4 sitcom pilot (series pending), a commissioned Channel 4 sitcom script, the comedy drama You Only Live Forever at Assembly Edinburgh and Soho Theatre, and the internationally successful comedy short ‘Swiped’ (2019).
Bristol Improv Theatre
50 St. Paul\'s Road
Starts: Sat, 25th Apr 2020
Ends: Sun, 26th Apr 2020