5 Tips to Improve Your Comedy

1362393747MichelleRead (1)(1)

Comic performer and writer Michelle Read shares 5 tips to help improve your comedy stylings ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab (20th October – 26th November)

 

Stop Press: Actors are Funny

Comedy work is hilarious* and fun and a great way for actors to develop their performance skills. It helps to unlock or identify some of the experience actors already have, including comic characterisation, timing and ensemble playing.

(*disclaimer – may not be hilarious.)

 

Improv Funny

Comedy Improv is an exciting and dynamic performance format and centres around the idea of play. It’s a fun (and scary) way to explore comedy performance and the spontaneous creation of comic material. It also focuses on teamwork and game structure. It can sometimes feel like jumping in a volcano*.

(*In the metaphorical exciting sense, not in the literal burning to death sense.)

 

Sketch Funny

Many comedy makers then work with improv to create material for sketches. Spontaneous ideas and characters are explored on the floor and / or written down until a text exists that can be rehearsed. This is a process that may be familiar to actors from devising work and it allows a deeper exploration of the processes in performing comedy. Yes, you have become a comedy writer as well as a comedy performer.

 

Stand Up Funny

And if you’re writing comedy – what about Stand Up? Stand-Up has a daunting reputation but isn’t actually one rigid form. It can include storytelling, monologuing, chatting, slide shows, performing a version of yourself, being a character, riffing on a theme, making a point. Or all of the above. Stand up is a personally created performance piece, with the only caveat that it MUST be funny every ten to twenty seconds. The process of making a piece of stand-up is fantastically challenging and really good for stress levels (and cholesterol). It’s a great way for actors to never be scared of anything else ever again.

 

Don’t be funny, am funny.

Or something like that. It’s a Zen mantra about comedy. Yeah… Really helpful.

 

 

Michelle Read is one of the tutors on Filmbase’s Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

The Screen Studio Academy Actors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for performers. Participants will learn techniques to successfully engage with audiences as well as explore personal comic presence.

 

Intro:

Are you looking to develop your acting skills? Voice and comedy performance are vital to becoming a versatile and successful actor and knowing how to utilise performance to create dynamic characters is a staple in any actor’s toolbox.  This programme is designed to challenge students who are committed to polishing their abilities to a professional level.

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different then finding myself in there.”  – Meryl Streep

This six-week programme will focus on vocal work, sketches and dynamic exercises. Clear precise speech and articulation skills will be developed to improve material delivery.

During the course, students will be immersed in the world of professional performance. Not only does the training run for two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but actors will be expected to set aside time for assignments and developing project work. Participants will also work alongside the Screen Studio Directors and Writers Academy courses at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Performers new to acting are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and be committed throughout the duration.

“The voice is the window to the soul”   – Daniel Day-Lewis

 

Course Content:

The course will cover voice work and comedy acting for film and television.  The workshop topics include:
• Introduction and basic structure of the voice.
• A focus on defining unique speech.
• Mechanics of the voice physiology and breath (breathe in – suspension – exhalation – recovery).
• Increased awareness of the back of the body, scapula and skull base and the relevant relation to posture.
• Introduction to the practice of developing and strengthening the voice from the opening of the main resonances.
• Examining the physicality of phonation.
• An in-depth exploration of crafting jokes as the building blocks of comedy.
• Learning the elements of comedy work and applying those to the text.
• Building comedy on text.
• Dealing with nerves and utilising them during audition technique.
• Creating accents and implementing them naturally.
• Performance coaching where regarding ideas and development.

 

Tutor: Maria Tecce

Maria Tecce is an actor, singer, and voice coach from Boston now based in Dublin. Maria has 15 years experience with the media and offers a special module to executives and public personalities in media interview techniques, microphone techniques, and best practices when appearing on radio, television, and presenting on stage.

The last few years have been Maria’s busiest; she has been performing and writing with Irish music-comedy act The Nualas. She also premiered her new show Strapless at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and launched her third album Viva.

Maria recently donned the acting mantel as the saucy courtesan ‘Emelie’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in their critically acclaimed production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, played Irish singing legend Jack L.’s leading lady in the cult short film I Hate Musicals, performed as the iconic ‘Alida Slade’ in Hugh Leonard’s Roman Fever, and as murdered wife ‘Isabella’ in the BBC television series Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw. She has also worked in film and television with the likes of Jim Sheridan, Angela Landsbury, Patsy Kensit, Mia Farrow and Keith Carradine. “Singer Maria Tecce steals the show.” The Times.

www.mariatecce.com

 

Tutor Michelle Read

Michelle began her performance and writing career as a comic on the London circuit in the late eighties, performing regularly at many of the original clubs including The Comedy Store and the infamous Tunnel Club. On moving to Dublin she became a regular at the Comedy Cellar performing stand-up and sketch comedy and featuring in many Irish TV shows including Cursai Elaine, Couched, The Basement, Rant, Gerry Ryan Tonight, You Can’t Be Serious, Nighthawks and Saturday Live for UTV.

She is a founder member and regular player with the Dublin Comedy Improv since 1991 and has played with the team on two successful radio series for RTÉ, at the Edinburgh Festival, at the Catlaughs Festival, Kilkenny and all over Ireland. Michelle is also a playwright and theatre-maker and she regularly facilitates workshops in improvisation, devising and playwriting.

 

Guest Tutor: Sharon Mannion

Sharon Mannion is an Actor/Comedian and Writer based in Dublin. Her TV credits include Trojan Donkey (Channel 4), Moone Boy (Sky 1), Republic of Telly (RTÉ) and Don’t Tell the Bride – Narrator (RTÉ). She is a member of sketch group Ghost Train Willy and improv groups The Craic Pack, Dublin Comedy Improv and The Cardinals. She drinks a lot of tea and used to work in a chicken factory.

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses:

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Actors’ Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Acting, Soap and Television Acting and Acting for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

 

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Shooting a Horror – Five Fiendish Tips

Stitches

Ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab – Shoot Your Own Horror Short, writer, director and nightmare-maker Conor McMahon shares his 5 tips to scare the bejebus out of your audience.

 

1. Take your actors to one location and chop them up. Preferably a location that doesn’t mind you throwing fake blood around.

 
 
2. Make the first death the most impactful. The audience will be nervous about what’s to come.

 
 
3. If you’re making a comedy horror get funny actors. You can’t direct someone how to tell a joke.

 
 
4. Use the elements. Wind, fire, smoke and rain, will all add to the atmosphere.

 
 
5. In a scary horror less is more. In a comedy horror, more is more.

 

 

Filmbase Present

Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

SHOOT YOUR OWN HORROR SHORT! Learn the techniques needed to successfully direct a horror film with the Screen Studio Academy: Directors Intensive lab. Participants will focus on idea generation to intensify terror as well as creating atmospheric screen stories.

 

Intro:

The Screen Studio Academy: Directors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for filmmakers who want to take their skill to the next level. While examining different genres of horror, students will develop a group idea to shoot a short horror film.

The course runs two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) and directors will also be expected to set aside time outside of class for assignments and for developing project work. As well as working on the short, participants will also work with the Screen Studio Actors and Writers Academy programmes at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Participants new to directing are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and committed throughout the duration.

Course Content:

The course will cover directing for horror film and television, specifically focusing on:

• Creating a story that speaks to an audience
• Looking at fear triggers and how it’s translated in film
• Story and script editing
• Developing a directorial voice
• Working with producers and creative departments
• Understanding cinematography and lighting techniques
• Horror genre conventions
• Planning for special effects and gore
• Working with actors
• Post production

 

Tutor: Conor McMahon

Conor studied filmmaking at the Irish National Film School in Dun Laoghaire. In 2004 he made his debut feature film Dead Meat, which was funded by the Irish Film Board. Following this, Conor went on to direct Zombie Bashers, an entry in the RTÉ’s Storyland competition. The show was voted by the public as the winner of the competition.

Short Films Conor directed have won numerous awards including: Best Short at the Sitges Film Festival (Spain), First Prize in the Kodak Commercial Awards (London) and Second prize at Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn Horror film Festival.

Conor has worked on the popular RTÉ sketch show, The Republic of Telly, writing and directing sketches with acts such as The Rubber Bandits, Damo & Ivor and Georgia Salpa. His 2012 feature film Stitches, starring British comedian Ross Noble, won best film at the Midnight Xtreme section of the prestigious Sitges Film Festival. And most recently: Conor’s latest feature, From the Dark has been described by Fangoria as ‘a taut, coiled piece of dread-infused cinema that… delivers everything one could hope for from a fresh entry in that subgenre.’

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Directors’s Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Directing, Soap and Television Directing and Directing for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

 

Visit www.creativeeuropeireland.eu

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5 Tips to Improve Your Voice Work

Maria Tecce, actress who is appearing with The Nualas. Photo: Tony Gavin 20/2/11

Photo: Tony Gavin

Ahead of Filmbase’s upcoming Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab (20th October – 26th November), actor, singer and voice coach Maria Tecce shares 5 tips every actor should follow to improve their voice work.

 

Your whole body is your voice.

So many of us focus on the throat when we think about the voice. But your whole body is involved in producing sound and has potential for resonance and vibration. Like any athlete, the muscles we use to make sound need to be worked and strengthened. When we’re rehearsing, we’re using our voices regularly so it’s building up strength, but ideally, doing some kind of warm up before you do any kind of voice work is a good idea.

 

Never push your voice.

Not only are you likely to do damage but it’s exhausting. And it’s also exhausting for the audience to listen to. We work in many different types of spaces, some with better acoustics than others, so when you get into a new space, have a test run with some text to see how it feels and where you have to place your voice to fill the space. Instead of ‘projecting’ or pushing your voice, think of sending your thought out with more intention and clarity.  If your voice is released and in good nick and your breath is coming from a grounded, centred place, you won’t need to push.

 

Tension vs. Relaxation

The voice involves more muscles than just the vocal folds in the throat. All muscles have the potential to carry tension, especially around the throat, shoulders, and jaw areas, so be aware of where you’re carrying tension and give it some love. Tension is your voice’s worst enemy; relaxation is its best friend. When we are more relaxed, we can focus with more clarity, be more present in the moment and able to respond.

 

Breath is key.

Breath is the key for a strong, supported voice. It’s the imprint for vibration and sound. Getting that breath coming from a deep, grounded place gives you more power and choice when you’re performing. Whether you’re working on stage or in front of a camera, breathing helps centre you in body, voice, and thought.  It’s also a great tool to deal with nerves. God forbid you dry on stage or forget your lines, but if you do, breathe. Your body will remember when your mind doesn’t. Breath is the support for everything in your vocal arsenal.

 

Warm up.

Everybody has their own routine, ritual, or regime for warming up; there are as many warm ups as there are performers. Some people do very little; some people need an hour. But whatever you do, do something. Warming up isn’t just about preparing your body and voice to be ready to respond, it’s also waking up your thought. Clear thought = clear text.  The voice is one of the most flexible, powerful, elegant tools for communication we have. It can start a war. It can say ‘I love you’. It’s a powerhouse for emotion, passion, authenticity, texture, and colour.  And it’s all at your fingertips. Use it well

 

www.mariatecce.com

 

Screen Studio Academy: Actors Intensive Lab

20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays
€380 Members / €420 Non-Members

The Screen Studio Academy Actors’ Intensive Lab is a highly practical course for performers. Participants will learn techniques to successfully engage with audiences as well as explore personal comic presence.

 

Intro:

Are you looking to develop your acting skills? Voice and comedy performance are vital to becoming a versatile and successful actor and knowing how to utilise performance to create dynamic characters is a staple in any actor’s toolbox.  This programme is designed to challenge students who are committed to polishing their abilities to a professional level.

“Acting is not about being someone different. It’s finding the similarity in what is apparently different then finding myself in there.”  – Meryl Streep

This six-week programme will focus on vocal work, sketches and dynamic exercises. Clear precise speech and articulation skills will be developed to improve material delivery.

During the course, students will be immersed in the world of professional performance. Not only does the training run for two evenings per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays), but actors will be expected to set aside time for assignments and developing project work. Participants will also work alongside the Screen Studio Directors and Writers Academy courses at Filmbase to collaborate on developing projects through performance and workshop participation.

Performers new to acting are welcome and encouraged to take part in the course. However, they should be willing and eager to push themselves and be committed throughout the duration.

“The voice is the window to the soul”   – Daniel Day-Lewis

 

Course Content:

The course will cover voice work and comedy acting for film and television.  The workshop topics include:
• Introduction and basic structure of the voice.
• A focus on defining unique speech.
• Mechanics of the voice physiology and breath (breathe in – suspension – exhalation – recovery).
• Increased awareness of the back of the body, scapula and skull base and the relevant relation to posture.
• Introduction to the practice of developing and strengthening the voice from the opening of the main resonances.
• Examining the physicality of phonation.
• An in-depth exploration of crafting jokes as the building blocks of comedy.
• Learning the elements of comedy work and applying those to the text.
• Building comedy on text.
• Dealing with nerves and utilising them during audition technique.
• Creating accents and implementing them naturally.
• Performance coaching where regarding ideas and development.

 

Tutor: Maria Tecce

Maria Tecce is an actor, singer, and voice coach from Boston now based in Dublin. Maria has 15 years experience with the media and offers a special module to executives and public personalities in media interview techniques, microphone techniques, and best practices when appearing on radio, television, and presenting on stage.

The last few years have been Maria’s busiest; she has been performing and writing with Irish music-comedy act The Nualas. She also premiered her new show Strapless at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Ulster Bank Dublin Theatre Festival, performed with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and launched her third album Viva.

Maria recently donned the acting mantel as the saucy courtesan ‘Emelie’ at Dublin’s Gate Theatre in their critically acclaimed production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, played Irish singing legend Jack L.’s leading lady in the cult short film I Hate Musicals, performed as the iconic ‘Alida Slade’ in Hugh Leonard’s Roman Fever, and as murdered wife ‘Isabella’ in the BBC television series Inspector George Gently with Martin Shaw. She has also worked in film and television with the likes of Jim Sheridan, Angela Landsbury, Patsy Kensit, Mia Farrow and Keith Carradine. “Singer Maria Tecce steals the show.” The Times.

www.mariatecce.com

 

Tutor Michelle Read

Michelle began her performance and writing career as a comic on the London circuit in the late eighties, performing regularly at many of the original clubs including The Comedy Store and the infamous Tunnel Club. On moving to Dublin she became a regular at the Comedy Cellar performing stand-up and sketch comedy and featuring in many Irish TV shows including Cursai Elaine, Couched, The Basement, Rant, Gerry Ryan Tonight, You Can’t Be Serious, Nighthawks and Saturday Live for UTV.

She is a founder member and regular player with the Dublin Comedy Improv since 1991 and has played with the team on two successful radio series for RTÉ, at the Edinburgh Festival, at the Catlaughs Festival, Kilkenny and all over Ireland. Michelle is also a playwright and theatre-maker and she regularly facilitates workshops in improvisation, devising and playwriting.

 

Guest Tutor: Sharon Mannion

Sharon Mannion is an Actor/Comedian and Writer based in Dublin. Her TV credits include Trojan Donkey (Channel 4), Moone Boy (Sky 1), Republic of Telly (RTÉ) and Don’t Tell the Bride – Narrator (RTÉ). She is a member of sketch group Ghost Train Willy and improv groups The Craic Pack, Dublin Comedy Improv and The Cardinals. She drinks a lot of tea and used to work in a chicken factory.

 

Dates:

  • 20th October – 26th November, Tuesdays & Thursdays

 

Class times:

  • 7.00pm – 10.00pm
  • Weekend/evening work may be required for collaborative projects (dates tbc)
  • Participants should set aside two to three hours per week outside of class time for assignments

 

Pricing:

  • €380 Members / €420 Non-Members
  • €150 Deposit

 

Location:

  • Filmbase, Temple Bar, Curved street

 

Follow on courses:

Participants will be offered priority booking for Screen Studio Actors’ Academy Advanced Courses from January 2016 in Comedy Acting, Soap and Television Acting and Acting for Transmedia projects.

 

To book your place, contact Filmbase Reception on 01 679 6716 and dial 0. For more information, email Lynn at lynn@filmbase.ie. Please read our Terms & Conditions before booking a course.

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