Writer/Performer/Teacher at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (NY)
Posting mostly music, comedy and Ghostbusters stuff.
Ask me stupid shit:
I had a lot of sketch students ask me advice about Maude submissions coming up, so I decided to post this. Here’s some advice for UCB students looking to have their packets read for Maude before your submissions. Keep in mind this is my personal advice specifically about UCB sketch and Maude sketch house team packets. But a lot of it can be applied to sketch writing and packet submissions in general.
-Before you pay someone to read your packet, do your research. Who is this person? Would their experience be helpful for THIS particular packet? Do they have similar sensibilities to you? There are plenty of qualified people to read your packets who aren’t on house teams, but I find that people who are closer to the experience might be able to offer you a little more insight. It’s not always the case, but worth keeping in mind.
-Take the note. But you don’t have to take EVERY note. Take the notes that are beneficial for your sketch. Not every single note will do that. You’ll pull your hair out once you get feedback from various sources and how much they might conflict. Relax. Take the notes you find most helpful to you and your sketch.
-Keep it simple, fun and clear and let your voice shine through. I read about 70+ packets last year and you can tell within the first page and a half if the sketch is on track. Can you introduce and explore the game clearly (this is the main focus for UCB)? Can you heighten and explore in an active and fun way while keeping your premise clear? Can you honor the truth of your game? Even if you have, does your individual voice come through? At your level, anyone can write A sketch. But can anyone write the sketch YOU wrote? Your voice is important. You have something great to add that no one else can. Remember that. But also remember the basics are there for you as a foundation. It’s what you build on that foundation that really matters. Nirvana changed the face of music with some pretty simple chords. Any asshole who learns to play guitar can play those chords, but it was the way Nirvana played them that made such an impact.
-Imagine it on its feet. Would this be a sketch YOU would want to watch? Imagine it up on that UCB stage. Read it out loud. Put a group together so you can read them out loud. DON’T BE PRECIOUS WITH YOUR WORK! I learned this the hard way. I was terrified to let people see my work, but I realized once I got over that fear it was extremely beneficial to hear it out loud and have other people read it out and put it on its feet. You’ll be able to recognize pretty quickly what needs to change.
-Remember that this shit is FUN. You should enjoy this. Does it make you laugh or at least entertain you? Do you love it so much that you can do this on a regular basis? If not, then you might have to reassess what it is you REALLY want to do.
-Finally, house teams are not everything. You do not need UCB, UCB needs YOU. Some very talented people don’t get on house teams. There are so many factors that go into it. Don’t let UCB stop you from doing what you want. Find a way to get your work in front of people. Work, work, work and love doing it. Even when it sucks! Failure is key to growth and progress. It’s a long hard road, my friend, but if you love it, it’s all worth it. Be undeniable. If they don’t want you now, trust me, they will later. But it takes that work and love to make it happen. It took me 6 submissions before I got on Maude Night. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself with that rejection, but dust yourself off and keep working. If you love this and you put in the work, something WILL happen for you.
For actors submitting: Be funny*.
OK! Hope that’s helpful! Break legs!
*But for real, for actors: Show your best. Don’t try to cram a bunch of shit in. DON’T RUSH to make the time. Be comfortable, take your time and show your best stuff that YOU can have the most fun with. When you’re having fun, it’s contagious. You got this.
Girlfriend // Ty Segall
Ty Segall, y’all. Love his albums.