On Monday night, I gave a guest lecture at the School of Visual Arts. The students said it was “very entertaining” — because when I lecture, I put on a show!
The class is titled “Careers in the Industry”, so I spoke about my various writing jobs. During the 90-minutes I covered a ton of topics including:
cliches in writing, the dangers of advice, my best jobs, my worst jobs, working at CNN, never say you “want to be a writer”, what happens when you don’t set goals, writing a polite email, writing for Leslie Nielsen, how topical humor is like a kidnapping, figuring out what the monster wants, the evil Genie, creating characters like you’re paining self-portraits, Charles Willeford’s tip about writing a page each day before you urinate, finding symbolism in everyday life, trying to fit 10 jokes into a :30 video, unpacking an assignment when someone says it should be “short” and “funny”, coming up with a show that’s cheaper than “Pants off Dance-Off”, and so much more.
I was thrilled that when I mentioned Rod Serling, everyone knew who he was.
I also took questions. Students asked about being assigned topics like “anti-bullying” and being made to write non-PC humor. I can’t properly paraphrase all the questions, sorry.
Another guy asked me what I’ve done in my career that has betrayed me the most. I gave a long answer in several parts, comparing my solo show (LONE DRIFTER) to much more commercial theater shows like “The Godfather Workout” and “One Man Star Wars Triology.” I said even though I didn’t create a show that appealed to Arts Editors, I learned to be a better writer and performer.
Many of my stories ended horribly. That is, by the end of the night it was like SCARED STRAIGHT for would-be comedy writers. Next time I do this, I’ll need to include more inspiring messages.
I also need to come up with a good response for this: when I talked about how the industry panders and condescends, one guy suggested that the industry may be right because Americans consume awful movies, TV shows and music. I didn’t want to get into a Marxist rant so early in the evening, so I just said plenty of people exit a theater and say “That was awful. I can’t believe so many people liked it.”
I screened my reel to showcase some of what I’ve done, then joked that I had to make a fast-paced sizzle reel because so many of the scripts were butchered. (Ha ha….sigh)
And because they were covering “independent” filmmaking, I showed the trailer for ANDREW 12-SIDED DICE CLAY.
Speaking of which, we’re in the FINAL DAYS of fundraising.
If I don’t reach my $7,000 goal, I won’t receive any money.
Also, if I do get the money it’s not to pay me, the budget will pay for editing, camera rentals, actor fees, camera operator fees, location costs and everything else that goes into NYC filmmaking.
Please kick in today and support