Archive for the ‘Improv’ Category
Magnet Video Lab premieres its third season on Sunday at 6pm, so we thought we’d catch up with Annie Quick, one of the driving forces behind the entire operation (along with Jim Turner and everyone’s favorite friend, Armando Diaz). We asked her a few questions over email and she was kind enough to give her insights on what makes a great video, how MVL has grown, and how important deadlines are to the process (spoiler alert: very important). Check it out!
1. Why did you start the Magnet Video Lab?
I took Sketch Level 1 & 2 at Magnet and loved the structure of it—it’s a great way to get feedback and have writing deadlines. At some point I realized that’s what I needed for a few video projects I was working on—the self-generated films that were suffering from lack of a formal work structure.
Since Jim Turner and I both work in production and he’s also at Magnet, we thought it might make sense to start a group in the style of Magnet’s sketch writing classes. Our main goal was to have each participant come out of the ten-week session with a completed video.
2. What’s a Video Lab?
At one point, Jim had pointed out we were essentially creating a salon where creators come for mutual support, but in the end we decided that lab is a better handle—it involves assignments and deadlines and an expectation that you’re obliged to show up because your lab partners are counting on you.
Jim and I spent a lot of time talking about the roadblocks we encounter when we’re working on our own films. All steps of the process are challenging. At any stage a project can flounder from lack of labor, feedback, gear, time, etc. The thing that sinks most film projects, though, is the lack of a real deadline. That’s the main thing we wanted to give everyone.
We also thought about how a beginner might dip their toes into the water and gain knowledge and confidence in the process. The Video Lab is a place where beginners and experts help each other bring their projects to life. Everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in.
3. What’s your favorite thing about the Magnet Video Lab?
I love that we are all working on our own things. I know that other groups exist where everyone works on the same video together, and that’s cool too, but I think the Magnet’s program is unique because we support the individual filmmaker and help them to bring their own ideas into the world.
For me, that’s been educational because I’ve had to wear so many hats that wouldn’t if we were all working on one film. So, for instance, this session I helped one of my labmates with costuming and another session I was a DP, and for others I’ve helped out in audio.
I also take a lot away from watching other people go from blank page to done. Films are so time consuming to make, and so it’s really inspiring to be around a group of people who are finishing their stuff, and making great stuff!
4. How has MVL grown?
It’s been a trial and error process, taking a group of strangers and making them into a video-making team. At the beginning I thought of it as mostly a creative project, but it quickly turned into a lesson in group management. Jim and I have spent a lot of time tweaking the process and getting feedback from the Lab members so that each session is a bit smoother than the last. There are a crazy amount of details to handle when you have ten weeks and seven films to make.
In the first two sessions we kept it very small—only seven participants, so that we could beta test the process and figure out what we were doing. That first session Armando helped us to sort out a structure and also came to our table reads for feedback on our scripts.
In the third session our goal was to scale up a bit. We wanted to see if we could keep the level of engagement with a bigger group. We also wanted to add new people with different skill sets and experience levels. So far it’s been working great! It’s been both productive and friendly, and a great stretch for all of us.
The great thing about Magnet is that people come with comedy and story skills so even if someone doesn’t have any production knowledge, they still have a lot of useful feedback to give and a lot of talent to draw on.
5. What is your role?
I am part teacher, part student, part manager, part strategizer, part director, part production assistant. The first two sessions I did a lot of teaching about editing and post production, while Jim handled a lot of the shooting guidance. In our third session, people are more up to speed in those areas and we can be a little more hands off.
6. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to comedians creating their own videos?
Is it okay if I have three? I can’t pick just one.
First, learn to edit. It’s the most time-consuming part of filmmaking and the hardest to get someone else to do well. If you learn to edit you can control the pacing and, essentially, how funny something is. It’s also the point where a lot of projects get derailed. If you’re controlling that step you can make sure it gets out there.
Second, I’d say pay attention to capturing good audio. If, as a beginner, you learn that well, your videos will be 30% more credible right out of the gate.
Third, remember film is different than live. It’s pretty hard to retrofit stage pieces or improv into a watchable video. So start from scratch and write for film, at least while you’re in the beginning stages.
7. What’s your favorite internet video of all time?
Maybe this is cliché, but I’m standing by Dramatic Chipmunk. Love that guy.
Once again, thanks to Annie for all this awesome info! Don’t miss the screening of Magnet Video Lab’s third season this Sunday at 6pm. Did we mention it’s free? Because it is. See you there!
The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new Circuit Winter 2015 season, debuting next Friday, January 16th at 10:30pm at the Magnet Theater Training Center.
The teams are:
Coach: Matthew Sellitti
Coach: Shawn Wickens
Coach: Phoebe Tyers
Coach: Noel Dinneen
This is going to be a great round — come out and enjoy these FREE shows every Friday at 10:30pm!
We are now accepting applications for the Circuit Winter 2015 season. Circuit Teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program, and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.
The deadline to apply is Monday, December 29th at noon. Teams will be announced December 30th. Rehearsals start the weekend of January 3rd. Shows will begin Friday January 16th. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:30pm for nine weeks. If you have any questions email Circuit@Magnettheater.com.
For over four years, Brick has entertained Megawatt audiences each week with their hilarious, multifaceted attack and undeniable originality and last night, the Magnet community gave them the send-off they deserved.
With a full hour at their disposal, Brick began their set with a slideshow capturing the chemistry of a team that has spent over four years together and retained six of their eight original members with two delightful additions along the way. (They even had former member Tim Eberle cheering them on from the audience, showing the support that helped define such a team.) After the slideshow, the lights dimmed, Helter Skelter dropped in, rising in volume as the cast banged against the backstage wall, and Brick finally entered to do what they do best — give one hell of an improv show.
The ensuing set from Brick’s Rick Andrews, Julia Hynes, Joe Miles, Branson Reese, Amie Roe, Jamaal Sedayao, Caitlin Steitzer, and Jed Teres was filled with hilarity and indicative of a team that not only knows how to have fun with each other, but are also experts of the form. As the show reached its anticipated climax, the lights came down and the audience burst into a display of appreciation. The praise continued for the rest of the night and we’re sure the conversations about them will continue for years.
From their beginnings as “New Team Brick” to their Oh Shit! INSPIRADO throwdown to their string of “new form” shows, Brick has been a darling of Megawatt and improv at Magnet, and they will surely be missed.
Check out the videos and photos below from last night!
If you are any of the following …
• The person who always has the most audience members at your class shows.
• Constantly nerding out about improv to anyone who will listen.
• Someone who has a Magnet stamp on their hand nearly every day of the week.
• Itching for a free class.
• Interested in getting some marketing experience.
• A real human and not a wolf.*
… then you definitely sound like Street Team material!
How does it work? Glad you asked.
We want to fill the house with cool people who enjoy fun and laughter—and this is your chance to help us do that. The Street Team will partner up with the promotions department to help get the word out about our shows! If you’re enthusiastic about Magnet—we’d love to hear from you. (Plus, did we mention you can earn a free class? Right. Better get on this.)
Simply email Evan and Chrissie at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll give you all the details!
*Again: no wolves.
The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new Circuit fall 2014 season, debuting next Friday, October 10th at 10:30pm at the Magnet Theater Training Center.
The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new teams and additions for the fall 2014 season of Musical Megawatt, debuting this Tuesday, October 7th at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm and 10pm. We hope to see you there.
New Team Sonny
Laura Yoder Witt
New Team Cher
Jon de Guzman
We are now accepting applications for the Circuit Fall 2014 season! Circuit teams are made up of Magnet Theater students, graduates of our training program and veteran performers. We believe that in order to get better at improv, you need to do it.
The deadline to apply is Tuesday, September 23rd at noon. Teams will be announced Friday, September 25th. Shows will begin Friday, October 10th. Teams will perform Friday nights at 10:30 for seven weeks (not including October 31st or November 28th). If you have any questions email Circuit [at] Magnettheater [dot] com.
This is a general Circuit round. To apply you must have completed Magnet Level 3.
The Magnet Theater visited “The Howard Stern Show” and this is what Howard had to say about it. Listen!
The Magnet Theater is pleased to announce the new Conservatory Circuit fall 2014 season, debuting this Friday, September 12th at 10pm at the Magnet Theater Training Center.
Mark X Guinn
Team The Mertzes: