I wrote last week that I wanted to go to the local comedy writers group since I thought it would help me find some different venues to perform at. Well, tonight was the night! I went to my first group meeting.
It was a great experience. I know I wrote that I thought the number one thing was finding other venues to perform at and not my material. Well, I decided to pick the brains of the other members on a bit that has been frustrating me for some time. I’ve had many personal brainstorming sessions, and I’ve come up with next to nothing to show for it.
In about ten minutes, the other writers in the group had some great ideas for me to work with. It was very eye opening. I knew there had to be a wealth of material there somewhere–there just had to be. And it’s one thing to see a pro comic performing their bit. Yeah, you know they put in a lot of time and effort, but it’s completely different when you take your material–something you’ve been digging into and have found nothing–and see all the comedic potential it actually has. I was afraid the bit was a lost cause. Not anymore.
I think what helped so much was that I’ve only been exposed to how I perceive my bit. I’m writing about my father, who was a gym teacher, waking my sister and I up very early to go running in the morning while school was out for the summer. My reaction had been something along the lines of, “I’d have rather have had a vacation.”
When I shared the idea with the group, they made the connection of my father teaching gym and making my sister and me run in the morning. I also found out they didn’t have the same experience in gym class (I always liked it); they hated gym class. It gave them a very different perspective, and I realized the audience will probably have this perspective as well. I hated getting up early in the morning myself, but it hadn’t occurred to me to make the connection to the audience’s potential hatred of gym class.
And as far as different places to show my work, there’s already an opportunity. The organizers of the group want comics to come up with sketch ideas. Then the comics will come up with their ideas, comics will act out the skits, and the skits will be taped. This is going to be very cool.