I'm The Director and I Blew It But the Cast Kicked Ass
That time when everything worked for me except me.
I’m going to try posting audio alongside the text here on The Laughing Gallows. I read everything out loud anyway to check for flow and other problems, and I have a mic sitting right here on my desk, so, why not?
Maybe you guys will find it helpful. Maybe I’ll be able to reach a wider audience. Maybe all my professional dreams will come true thanks to this one, seemingly-innocuous experiment. I’ll try it for a month or two and see how it goes.
Right then. To business. That being, the business of comedy.
I absolutely love making comedy. Sometimes the jokes work, sometimes not. In this case, the
cast did superlative work and I blew it by not capturing good audio. So, let me apologize to my team and also share the result even though it’s a bit jank.
I don’t want to beat myself up too badly because we did get lots of great stuff that same day but, on this one, I soiled myself professionally. A bit.
Even though this one won’t make the cut of The Mostly Serious History of Wine I still want to brag about how great these actors are and how great it feels to see a fairly wild idea come to life.
First, let me set the scene. Thank you for reading and sharing and considering going paid. It’s often said but it really does make a difference to indie artists like myself and my friends.
Why Improvised Comedy?
I am not an improvisor, but I’ve hosted, produced, and directed untold hundreds of improv shows. I love working with them. I got the idea of mixing what I do — writing, directing, hosting, standup — with improv when I pitched the idea of a Daily-Show-esque show to Village Theatre a decade ago.
The Village guys suggested using improv scenes in place of spots where a real cable news parody show, like The Daily Show, would throw to a video. It was a great idea, it worked, and I did heaps of shows based on that kernel of an idea for years.
In the wine doc project, I’m using improvised scenes in spots where a more serious, traditional documentary would use a reenactment. This works, first and foremost, as you will see, because I happen to know a bunch of unbelievably hilarious people.
Look, I am a writer. It’s my thing. I would love to write every syllable and then demand, like a Mamet-Sorkin lovebaby whom everyone abhors, that my dialogue be delivered exactly.
I simply can’t afford it. Locations charge by the hour. Video and audio equipment is rented by the day. Plus, people’s time is valuable. Hopefully, some day, I get to a point in my career where I can afford to make something like that, but for now, it is out of reach.
Hell, it’d be great just to be able to afford a DP and a soundie. Dreams!
What’s going to happen if I finally can afford to work Mamet-Sorkinesque and the result is nowhere near as funny as the way I’m doing it now? I’ll feel like a real doodoo dumdum then, won’t I?
Regardless, these guys can take any scenario and make a story out of it. Honestly, it’s thrilling to watch.
I’d be even more thrilled if you shared this post, any other post, or helped me make more stuff by going paid.
In this scene you’ll see James Joslin, Jessica Vance, and Bijou Ede. In the wider film you’ll also see Reese Garcia and Sarah Wilkin who performed on the day in separate scenes.
You might recognize Bijou’s voice from the cast of Grievance Gulch, our animated show which is out on Tubi here.
Let me reiterate: this audio sucks. The performers are captured on an overhead mic only in a very echo-ey room with the mic way too far away. And yet, as proof of the concept of a fake reenactment improvised in the moment, these guys nailed it.
I’m gutted that this one didn’t pan out because I love the moments the cast delivered. But I promise you, there were many other great moments that are in the final cut. You will get to see these guys shine when the film is done.
For now, thanks for reading, thanks for watching, and if you have a weird idea to make art, give it a shot. It might work.