"What Would Happen If You Went Out With That Guy?"
Directed by Jennifer Treuting
Starring Kristen Acimovic and Evan Hoyt Thompson
Featuring Grant O’Brien
Director of Photography: Dan Zimmer
Edited by Angel Yau
I wrote this sketch in 2012, maybe? For the longest time, it was called “Subway Crush” because it was inspired by those momentary, passing crushes one has on strangers one encounters in public. (And also the insane thoughts that may go through your head at any given moment about that person.) Everyone involved worked really hard on this sketch, but especially Jen, Dan, and Angel and our actors Kristen and Evan.
Sketchy Advice: A comedy writing column from UCB Comedy. Established sketch writers from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre offer sketch students advice on being creative, the writing process, and adding to a writer’s room.
This week’s featured writer is Achilles Stamatelaky, a writer for UCB Comedy’s Beta team SCRAPS, writer for UCB’s Maude team (212), improviser on the weekend team Airwolf, and instructor at UCB’s Training Center.
See more of Achilles by reserving tickets to Maude Night (Mondays @ 9:30 PM at UCB Chelsea) or Airwolf (Saturdays @ 8:30 PM at the UCB East), watching SCRAPS on YouTube, or checking out his Twitter (@astamate) and Tumblr (iamachilles.tumblr.com).
A List of Things That Motivate Me To Write
Inertia is my nemesis, but The Deadline is my hard, unflinching best friend. You can’t negotiate with a deadline. If I have a Maude show in 2 weeks and I have a bunch of rewrites to work on and props to shop for, I will do it. If I need to get a shooting script completed for a Beta video, it’s gonna happen. Because of The Deadline. The Deadline does not forgive. It motivates. (I do often use self-imposed deadlines, but I don’t trust those because I can re-negotiate the deadline with myself at any time.)
Author Wrote a Fucking Book: a COMMERCIAL PARODY by UCB’s SCRAPS:
2. OTHER PEOPLE
Here’s a fact about John Lennon and Paul McCartney: they wrote some of the best songs of all time together, but they were extremely competitive with each other. If John wrote something good, Paul would be motivated to write something even better, and vice-versa. (A famous example: When Lennon heard that the first Beatles movie would be called “A Hard Day’s Night,” he rushed home to write the song before Paul could.) If one of them wrote something that wasn’t quite working, the other would help to make it better. Find the Lennon(s) to your McCartney. Get into a writing group. Show people your stuff. Surround yourself with artists that you are excited to collaborate with and are energized to compete with. Impress yourself, but impress other people too.
3. SEEING AND EXPERIENCING COOL SHIT
If I’m feeling “unmotivated,” I try to light a fire under my ass by experiencing things that are better than whatever I’m doing. Something that makes me think “Man, I could be doing something this cool. Why aren’t I?” A recent example was seeing Bo Burnham’s one-person special “what.” and thinking “Well shoot, this is so funny, interesting, unique, and inventive. Better try to do something just as good!” Here’s a short list of stuff I go back to for this type of motivation: anything and everything by The Beatles, the Empire Strikes Back, almost any episode of South Park or Breaking Bad, “The Book of Mormon,” museums, Michael Jordan highlights on YouTube… I could go on for ages.
Olympians Have No Lives: a COMMERCIAL PARODY by UCB’s SCRAPS
4. FUN TOOLS
All writers work with tools, so why not make your tools FUN to use? I would hate writing in a cheap marble notebook, but I LOVE writing in my Moleskine notebook. Sure it’s more expensive, but it makes me WANT to write in it. Same thing for my pen, computer, sneakers, etc. Give yourself permission to use tools that you WANT to use to create!
YouTube Ad Clusterfuck: a SKETCH by UCB’s SCRAPS
Sometimes the lack of motivation is really just burnout, so when I sense that in myself, I like to take a step back and do things that are not at all comedy-related. Go to a museum. Exercise. Shop. Talk to someone. Play softball. Just get away from your own brain and experience stuff.
I like this Henry Miller quote: “When you can’t create, you can work.” If you don’t feel like writing that sketch right now, maybe you can brainstorm a different sketch. Or go through whatever you have for a list of props you need for it. Or answer an email from an actor asking if they should bring their own make-up for that video you’re shooting. Next thing you know, you want to return to the actual creation of the sketch, but you’ve moved forward in the meantime.
7. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a project and start comparing that unfinished thing to someone else’s awesome completed thing. It’s not motivating. What is motivating is this mind-set: “Don’t compare your blooper reel to someone else’s highlight reel.” If you look at your favorite comedian, remember that they went through the same thing as you.
I did this week’s Sketchy Advice. Check it out!
welp, looks like I’m getting a PS4 this year