Beat the Block

Waiting for your Muse to return your calls?

How Not to Shut Down a Comedy Scene Add Video

This clip goes very well with the previous clip on the "Yes and" game. Blocking, saying "No", is what stops the energy of the narrative. In the first skit, the actress says "Too bad there's no movie theatres out here on the mountain top...where we're hiking!" There's an implied big wink to the audience. Why would an actress make this choice? Well, it automatically drops the status of her partner, and therefore raises her status. It might get a quick laugh from the audience because it's unexpected, or because it's funny to see the status drop. But it shuts down the potential for the scene. This precise kind of event--sometimes called "mugging the audience" is less likely to occur in writing because you don't have anyone to match status with. But blocks are common. Sometimes you start to set up one situation, but shy away from it, either because you don't like the emotional content or because it sets up a problem you won't be able to write yourself out of. Rather than stopping, give it a try! Accept your offer and see where it may be more interesting, more provocative than the safer alternative.

Posted by Helen Marshall on March 13, 2010 at 9:06 AM 1125 Views

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