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Magnet Theater Blog: News and Ideas about Comedy, Improv Shows & Classes in NYC

Posts Tagged ‘Video’

Tuesday August 26, 2014, 3:00pm - by Megan Gray
MVL-Listing   unnamed

The Magnet Theater’s Video Lab is pleased to announce a new 10-week program open to beginning filmmakers, as well as those with some (or lots of) experience in the field. Fill in your knowledge gaps or start from the beginning.

Learn the skills necessary to produce comedy shorts with hands-on guidance from current Video Lab members:

  • Expand skills by shadowing experienced filmmakers
  • Try your hand at various production roles including camera, lighting, audio, pre production, editing and more
  • Gain production experience & video credits
  • See your work on the Magnet Theater big screen as well as online!

This 10-week session is a prerequisite for applying to the Magnet Video Lab program. Program begins Saturdays in mid-October. Email magnetvideolab@gmail.com for more information.

Monday July 21, 2014, 1:14pm - by catherinewing

Lane KwederisLane Kwederis is a sketch performer at Magnet (she and I are the two women on the sketch house team, Party.) Lane also performs with her indie improv team, Power Nap, and her PIT musical team, [Title of Team] (That’s the actual title of the team, not a placeholder for this article). She’s got skills.  And she’s a wonderful person.

And I got to ask her some brilliant questions.  I’m such a good interviewer.  Check it out:

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Monday June 30, 2014, 7:43pm - by Magnet Theater

Pic of Charles Rogers magnetituneslogo-PODCASTmediumCharles is the co-creator of the feature film Fort Tilden, which recently won The Grand Jury Award at the 2014 SXSW Film Festival and The Special Jury Award at The Independent Film Festival of Boston. He is currently at NYU Tisch’s Graduate Film program, and his short films have screened around the country. He is the director and co-creator of Tech Up, a comedic web-series for Subway, featured on IFC and My Damn Channel.

Charles is a loving member of the Magnet house team The Music Industry and the host of his own show, Prank Calls with Charles Rogers, in which he live calls victims suggested by the audience. He also performs around town with his indie team Orange Augustus.

Subscribe and Listen with iTunes!

Or listen below on SoundCloud…

Monday January 20, 2014, 12:12am - by Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller

first improv class

On Wednesday, December 18th, I (Amanda Ariel Peggy Xeller!) got to interview Magnet’s own Russ Armstrong about growth in improv, understanding the makings of a good team, and how to be a good teacher, director, and improviser. Below is the transcribed interview.

 

Where are you from originally?

I’m from Michigan. I’m from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

How did you get involved in improv?

I started improvising in high school. I was watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? with my friends and started an improv group to play short form games. The Pioneer Comedy Troupe from Pioneer High School. It was my junior year of high school. We thought we were the coolest people in the world and we didn’t know we were actually the lamest people in the world.

 

You went to Northwestern yes? Did you do improv in college? What was the improv there called.

I did. Yep. It was the Mee-ow Show. It was billed as 1/3 improv, 1/3 sketch, 1/3 rock ‘n’ roll. Lots of short form stuff. It was great, super fun. It was a blast.

 

And you studied in Chicago as well? At iO and Second City? How does the training there compare to the training you learned in NYC?

It’s all the same stuff just different approaches to it. I think Chicago tends to nurture you finding your voice a little bit more. They give you a little more time, marinates in a way that Chicago does with everything, with theater and music and food. Because the spotlight isn’t on it as much, there’s less pressure to produce immediately. New York tends to have a little more pressure because it is New York. And it’s more expensive. I think they are both awesome attributes. It’s good to have that pressure. I love that about New York.

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Sunday January 5, 2014, 11:07pm - by WillyAppelman

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Congratulations to the newest Magnet Sketch Team and the newest additions to Cash and Baby Shoes:

NEW TEAM HIGHLANDER
Kim Ferguson
Michael Delisle
Dmitry Shein
Melissa Caminneci
Dennis Pacheco
Dan Dobransky
Geri Cole
Hannah Wright
Sierra Pasquale

Newest Member of CA$H:
Matt Antonucci

Newest Member of BABY SHOES:
Roger Ainslie

Starting on February 9th, Magnet Sketch Shows will run at 7:30 PM on Sundays. See you there!

Also, be sure to check out the Best of Shows for Party., American Wormholes, and Baby Shoes at 7:30 on January 12th as well as CA$H’s “Black Tie” and “The Misses Present the Hits” on January 17th, 24th, and 31st at 7 PM.

Monday December 2, 2013, 10:04pm - by WillyAppelman

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We’re very excited to announce the next round of The Circuit, which will begin Friday, January 10th, 2014!

The deadline to apply is Friday, December 13, at noon. Applicants will be chosen by lottery. If chosen, you will be placed on a team of 8 improvisers and assigned a coach. You will rehearse with your coach and team once a week, with rotating performances on Friday nights at 10:30PM at the Magnet Studio Theater.

If you have completed Level 3 of Magnet’s Training Program and are not part of a Magnet house improv team, you are eligible to apply.

The Circuit is a great way to gain experience in being in an improv ensemble. We highly encourage those who are eligilble to apply. To apply, please fill out this form.

If you have any questions or comments, please email us at circuit [at] magnettheater [dot] com.

Wednesday November 13, 2013, 11:47am - by WillyAppelman

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During November, Alex Marino directs the latest installment of The Director’s Series, The Wake. Every Thursday night at 9pm, The Wake takes you on an adventure inspired by an obituary. I interviewed Alex via email to discuss The Wake and his inspiration behind the form.

What is The Wake and why did you choose this form?
The wake is a form I started thinking about when i was taking classes in LA. I was feeling kinda frustrated because we had been working on the invocation, which I found really interesting, but a lot of my classmates were really dismissive–they’d roll their eyes if they didn’t think the suggestion was cool, they seemed a little bit mocking of improv itself. It was LA and they were just too cool for it. So I started trying to think of a way to approach the invocation that would force performers to at least have a little bit of respect for the suggestion… and I figured “what if you had to do an invocation of a person who had just died… in a room full of people who loved them.” So it kinda stayed in my head gestating for a while. Then when Magnet first opened I was approached by a practice group, it was one of the first groups I’d coached in New York, and that was Louis Kornfeld, Megan Gray, Charlie Whitcroft, Jon Bander, Corey Grimes, and Kelly Buttermore. And after working with them for a little bit I asked if they’d like to experiment with this form I’d been thinking about and they were totally game. What we arrived at was a modified invocation of someone in that day’s obituaries, inviting them to come into the theater and share their story before they go. I heard, and this may be apocryphal, that the practice of holding wakes came from a period in Ireland where they disinterred a lot of old graves and found scratch marks on the inside of the coffins. They realized that something like 1 in 10 people were being buried alive. So they decided to leave the dead out in for a period of time after they passed to give them one last chance to wake up. So the Wake seemed fitting as a name for the form. I kinda liked the notion that this show is one last chance for the dead to come back.

I chose it for this Director’s Series because it had been a while since I’d seen it done and I wanted to work with the original cast again. A couple years ago I taught a class in The Wake, and those bozos have been asking me when they were gonna get to do it again, so I thought I’d invite them along too.

What do you find funny?
All kinds of stuff. Smart stuff, dumb stuff. Deep stuff, light stuff. Lots of things are funny. To me, the funniest thing to think about is that we’re all just a huge biological accident that learned how to wear clothes and comb its hair. That shit is hilarious to me. We’re a mostly bald, mostly flimsy, slow moving animal, with small, dull teeth and worthless claws. We can barely climb, we can’t fly, or hold our breath very long. We have bad backs and lethal allergies to peanuts and shellfish–but not all of us, so you don’t even know if someone is allergic until they just almost die. We eat and drink through the same hole we use to breathe and speak, and somehow we’ve survived long enough to figure out space travel, novelty t-shirts, iPhones and art that goes on your fingernails. It’s incredibly funny to me just how we spend our time.

Do you find death funny?
Death is not funny, no, but everything around death is funnier because of it. Death is the ultimate straight man. I think to have laughter there needs to be a break in tension, which means there needs to be tension to begin with. The more the tension and the bigger the break, the more satisfying the laugh. The uneasiness people feel when they’re faced with death is a great primer for laughter, and that kind of laughter makes it easier to live with death.

What is the future of improv?
I dunno. At some point enough people are going to complain loudly and correctly enough about not getting properly recognized and compensated for content they improvise for commercials and movies… so probably a union will come out of that. And you’ll see “additional content improvised by” in the credits of films which will be good, but things will be weird… or maybe they wont. Maybe the improviser union will be chill. Eventually there will be an improvised show that is so undeniably good that it will get a run on Broadway. Eventually there will be an improvised show that wins a Tony. Some people will be upset by that… or maybe they wont. Maybe Broadway will have relaxed a bit by then. Someone is going to bring a true and honest, disinterested study of improvisation with all its techniques, history, and various applications to the university level, build a curriculum around it, and just like performance studies and jazz you’ll be able to get a college degree in improvisation. I would like to think that degree in improv would be worth more than getting a degree in performance studies or jazz, but it probably won’t be… and after four years, it definitely won’t make anyone a better improviser than performing in every black box and bar that will let you… but, no matter how much actual experience you may have in the field, you’ll need to have a degree in improv to be able to teach improv at the university level… So that will be a nice little scam.

The Wake plays every Thursday in November at 9pm. Make Reservations Here!

Friday August 3, 2012, 2:26pm - by WillyAppelman
Attention sketch comedians, writers, and actors: the Magnet Theater is excited to invite you to be a part of our new MAGNET SKETCH TEAMS!
Magnet Sketch Teams are the sketch comedy equivalent of Megawatt, our house improv teams. Sketch Teams are groups of writers and performers who will work with directors to create a run of sketch shows.  Individuals who have completed Level 1 of the Sketch Writing Program and/or Level 5 of the Improv Program are encouraged to apply.
The system will feature 4 rotating Magnet Sketch teams, each headed by an assigned director.  Those groups will write and perform approximately 3 shows every 6 weeks.  Similar to The Circuit, groups will perform in rotation for 4 months.  After this time, new groups will be formed.
Shows will take place Sunday nights at 9:30 pm.
The first round will begin in September with meetings beginning in August.  So, if you’re not available in August, please wait for the next round (December) to apply.
HOW TO APPLY TO BE ON A MAGNET SKETCH TEAM:
Send an email with the subject line, “MAGNET SKETCH TEAM APPLICATION” and your name to sketchdirector@magnettheater.com.  Include your improv/sketch experience and at least 2 writing samples as attachments (please limit total to 10 – 12 pages).
The deadline for submissions is MONDAY, AUGUST 13th. Apply today!
Thursday November 10, 2011, 7:31pm - by admin

 

Be part of the next generation of comedy video creators! FLICK is a monthly screening of filmed sketch and comedy produced by the best short filmmakers in the New York metro area. The show features new short videos each month, so submit your work early and often. After each month’s screening, a panel of Magnet faculty and staff will select the very best videos to be featured on the Magnet website for the following month. Make a splash! Get visibility for your creative content and meet future collaborators for the development of your work!

Here’s a recent winner:

Want to submit?  Read on after the jump.

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Monday July 11, 2011, 7:19pm - by admin

A screening and short Q & A session with the members of the Magnet Theater Digital Media Engine that wrote, shot, directed, edited, and produced the BEST PICTURE at the 2011 New York City 48 Hour Film Project.

Members include George Gross, Jon Bander, Mike Bell, Steph Garcia, Danielle Tolley, and Sean Taylor.

 

They Won!

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