Last Saturday my UCB show gave their first live performance. This is the culmination of each round of classes. For a Saturday afternoon at 3:30, we had a very big turnout of people who did not know us. I’ve never performed in public on a stage as an actor before, so I didn’t know enough to be nervous. I was just focused on being funny.
I was fortunate to get my first laugh by simply walking on stage. I’m 5’2’ and I followed two very tall people onto the stage. It was thrilling to get a big laugh!
When I got a second even larger laugh by sitting in a chair in an exaggerated “manspread,” I began to understand why people put themselves through the hell of becoming an actor.
Our class was broken up into two groups of eight. Each group had an hour during which we performed three monologues and nine skits.
Both groups received a single word such as “pancakes” as a jumping off point for the scenes. Although the class had been through the same training, one group excelled at creating characters and the other at creating great situations.
I recommend taking a class because it upped my writing game so much!
This Sunday is Father’s Day. Every year, I spend a little time remembering my father, and the gifts that he gave me. There were so many, but right now, I remember how hard he worked at things, and how he organized his work and taught me to work smarter. I definitely follow both of those principles. My other father, my stepfather, taught me to be honest and forthright, and to fight for what I believed was right.
I’ve been watching episodes of King of the Hill for a project, and Hank’s father, Cotton, is in the series as a negative influence in Hank’s life. But Cotton is not merely a negative character-he’s also a mentor, because Hank will do anything to get his father’s approval. Understanding the relationship between your characters and their fathers can be a powerful influence on your story.
A brief exercise:
1. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write about the gifts you father gave you, and how your life has been influenced by these gifts.
2. Reset the timer, then repeat for your villain or obstacle.
3. Reset the timer, and write a scene where the two characters discuss their fathers with each other. You may be amazed about what you learn.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz