Last weekend I was lucky enough to take Steve Kaplan’s Comedy Intensive workshop!
If you are even remotely thinking about writing, acting or directing comedy, you need to take this workshop. Honestly, it is the best I have taken.
A friend told me about the workshop and I wasn’t sure, so I started asking people about it. I belong to a few groups and am on a few message boards filled with actors and writers. I sent out emails asking and got tons of replies telling me NOT to miss this workshop. Whereas when I was asking about Robert McKee and some others, people would say, “just buy the book”, or “it’s a repeat of what you already know.” As well many of my animation friends from DreamWorks also took his workshop there and highly recommended it.
I was hesitant to spend the money since the film I am on is ending soon, but I am sooooo glad I did!
My background is both in acting and writing.
I went to Groundlings when I first came to Los Angeles, and did a lot of writing and learned improv-also very very good, and I think all comedic actors should join an Improv group where you also write-and I think all comedic writers should take an improv class where you also act. I have taken a lot of screenwriting workshops. I have also taken a few TV writing courses, workshops and am a published author. I have learned story structure from all different angles, and while I believe that all of them taught my something, Steve’s was by far the best for comedy.
I think it is not only because he is charismatic, funny, and knowledgeable, it is because he showed us many examples of what works and what didn’t work.
Knowing the WHYs of why something doesn’t work is essential to fixing the problem. As well as knowing why something worked.
Two of my all time favorite comedies are; BIG w/ Tom Hanks, and Groundhog Day w/ Bill Murray and while I knew I loved them, Steve explained why they worked. There are things about BIG that I knew worked before and were genius because of the way Tom Hanks acted in the film, but there is so much more there, hence why it is brilliant.
We also watched a lot of TV clips, and Steve broke it down for us.
I left the two day workshop feeling more confident and excited to write-okay well I am always excited to write-I don’t even know what writer’s block is-but I was even MORE excited after the workshop.
Ever watch a film and think, “Wow that sucked and I thought it looked good.” or “This could have been funny, but wasn’t.” Of course you have and then you and your friends talk about how this film missed it somehow? Well after taking Steve’s class you will know why.
After studying acting for many many many years, I tend to think differently than a lot of my writer friends, and some of what Steve said was a reminder or refresher from acting, that I know I still knew, just maybe the knowledge was locked away somewhere in my head.
He is brilliant, the workshop is brilliant, there is another one this fall/winter in L.A. sign up! It is a MUST!
On another note, in addition to this comedy workshop, if you are even remotely thinking about writing for television, you have to take Ellen Sandler’s TV writing workshop and get the book. She teaches you about structure for TV, and how to approach writing your own pilot, Steve will give you tools to make it hilarious.