CHARACTER-A-DAY: Aug 1, 2014
Damien has seen it all. He is the first character in Season 2 of my Character-a-Day Project. In an attempt to get stronger at character work, I will spend every day of August making faces in a mirror and then filming and posting a new character bit. A new video every day at noon (central time). Some of these will be awful. Some of these will be not awful. I hope you enjoy them all.
CHARACTER-A-DAY: Aug 1, 2014
Last year I did this Character a Day Project, where I filmed one new solo character video every day through the month of February. I shot it with my iPhone in my closet. The videos were low quality and janky, and a good portion of them were pretty bad. But there was something about the process that the audience enjoyed, and that made me feel more creatively alive than ever. Each video felt like a stumble closer toward finding my comedic voice. There was something freeing about saying “hey world, I’m going to make a bunch of stuff and some of it is going to be not great.”
As comedy writers, I think we all too often end up sitting around waiting for great ideas rather than getting our hands dirty actually working through the shitty ones. This year, I promised myself I would start the project again on Aug 1. By this time, I wanted a pro lighting setup and an animated bumper on the front and back of each video. I wanted so many things to make them look more professional. To make me stand out. Now that Aug 1 is here, I just don’t feel ready. Then I remember; that’s the point! Push yourself through the experiences for which you don’t feel ready. Screw the polish and get to work on the only thing that really moves people: great writing. Make something every day.
I love this video from Dyson on failure. It’s inspiring to think about Dyson failing 5,000 times in order perfect one of his inventions. Since hearing Gladwell talk about the 10,000 Hour Rule, I’ve been thinking about racking up hours working at comedy. I am now wondering what would happen if I forgot about hours, and instead attempted to rack up failures. After all, in order to fail, you must first make something.
Here we go. Character a Day Season 2. I hope you enjoy the ride.
Please consider the following surefire pitches for new programming on your network. The selector of today’s theme, Ally Hord, has asked for more DYING MEDIA WORKPLACE SITCOMS.
- Mike Davis: Young American. Hungry to prove himself, Mike is full of ideas, but lacks a spine.
- Farouk: The group’s over-confident meddling leader. Always micromanaging, he gets the team in trouble by promising impossible things to the council of elders.
- Omar: Crotchety old copywriter and retired bomb expert. He’s got as few original ideas as he has fingers left.
- Abdul: A young wise-cracking graphic designer whose work is as abhorrent as the American Hip-Hop CDs and Pepsi Cola he hides in his desk.
- Nadia: Web designer. She is a woman. So she works outside in a hole.
- Maggie: Editor-in-Chief. Loyal to a fault, she turned down NYT to help save Highlights.
- Ramon: Cuban expatriate and master crossword puzzler. Meticulous in his work, Ramon is also a bitchy chain-smoking diva.
- Dawn: An old forgetful drunk who hasn’t designed a working maze since 1997.
- Dickens: Married man and pervert. When he’s not hitting on Maggie, Dickens is hiding suggestive images in the picture scavenger hunts.
- Toby: Marketing intern and Dawn’s son, Toby is an actual 5 year old boy.
- Lilly: Daughter. Education Reporter/ Former Copy Editor. Far from the little angel who used to be so thrilled to help her mother, Lilly just sits quietly staring daggers at her mother. For hours, it seems.
- Jack: Son. Sports and Music Correspondent. Where is Jack? Probably in some parking lot with those friends of his. Smoking weed, I’ll bet.
- Charles Barkly: Family Dog. Humor Columnist. This year’s newsletter will be dedicated to Charles who was taken from us all too soon when he got into some dish detergent this November. Why does everything good get taken from me?
- Todd Danielson: Husband/Father. Business Correspondant. Todd normally writes those funny updates from his work at a local software firm. But he’s been spending most of his days in the garage doing who knows what. His eyes are empty. Not the man I married.
- Rita Danielson: Mother. Editor in Chief. Bringer of Cheer. Spends most of her time at the family room computer screaming to no one in particular: “am I the only one who still gives a fuck?”
Do you love these? Yes, you love these. Let’s talk. email@example.com
Dear Mr. and Mrs. NBC,
Below are three new pitches on the theme: BELLE OF THE BALL. Thanks to the unstoppable Vanessa Gonzalez for providing today’s theme. Thank you NBC for all the money.
29.) My Kinda People
Embroiled in scandal, Donald, a racist basketball team owner is fired from the NBA, fined $2.5 million, and banished to another time period. Lucky for him, he wakes up in the 1863 Confederate South. In this simpler more beautiful world, Donald’s opinions are applauded by a community of like-minded white fellas who just so happen to be looking for a new way to make money off of strong black men.
30.) Bernice n’ The Boys
Bernice is a mop. A mop loved by two men. Every sunrise, Gary the day janitor visits her closet and whispers into her mop head for hours about the life he imagines for them. Every sunset, Paulo the night Janitor dresses Bernice up in a fancy little gown he made, and slow dances with her in the school’s empty shiny hallways. Torn between two mentally ill suitors, Bernice must learn that nothing is messier than true love.
31.) Hungry for Love
Delores was undateable and practically invisible to men. Until one day, when a plane crash stranded her on an island with five hunky bachelors who also managed to survive and swim to shore. Romance is in the air as the men scramble and fight to be near Delores. Because word is: Delores has a half-eaten candy bar hidden in one of her tattered pockets. Dear god, I hope that candy bar rumor is true. I refuse to die on this island. Not here. Not like this.
After a brief hiatus performing at the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival, I’m back with three new #Shitcoms. For our new readers, NBC is launching #ComedyPlayground, a contest that asks users to pitch the network their next hit sitcom idea. As a warm-up for the contest, I’ve been pitching NBC three new ideas every day for shows that should never ever be made.
Dear Gods of Men at NBC,
Please delight yourselves in the following three winning sitcom pitches. The selector of today’s theme, the sage J.R. Havlan, has chosen a wonderfully challenging theme: "NOT ANIMALS." Enjoy.
26.) Claudine and Co.
27.) Of Course this is a Zoo; Why Would You Say That?
28.) Free to Dream
Do you love these ideas NBC? Of course you do. Let’s make a gillion dolloars. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nitro is denied a bank loan.
- The clerk at FedEx Office thinks he recognizes Nitro from that 90’s athletic competition show: Guts.
- Debbie and the girls worry about Nitro because it’s 11pm and he’s just been sitting in a parked car in the driveway for hours.
24.) Poser Patrol
- Dylan comes to school wearing a sick new pair of Etnies, only to find that a day later Mike, Sam, and Shorty also come in with the same Etnies. Whats up with that?
- On his way to the teachers parking lot, Mr. Kev asks the boys if they know how to do a Kickflip. The boys laugh at Mr. Kev because of course they know how to Kickflip. Everybody knows that.
- The gang learns that fingerboards are gay
- Mr Karate gets jumped by a group of children
- Mr. Karate hides under a table while ninjas hold up a bank using only their fists
- Mr. Karate stands in his front yard burning his karate gi in a trashcan and yelling into the night “Leave me be. I’m just a man. Not a KARATE man!”
You like these ideas? I’ll give them to you for money. email@example.com
On May 1, NBC launches #ComedyPlayground, a contest that asks users to pitch the Network their next hit sitcom idea. I hereby promise that of thousands of terrible ideas they receive, mine will be the worst.
Dear Mr. and Mrs. NBC,
Below are three new pitches for shows on the theme of: DUMB JOBS. Thanks to Reagan Ward for choosing today’s theme. I’m believe these ideas will make all of us one gillion dollars.
21.) Phoning It In
22.) Yes, And I’m Hard
Want to begin development right now? I knew it. firstname.lastname@example.org
16.) Everything’s Fine
17.) Evolving with the Franklins
18.) Because You’re A Lannister!!!
You like? Let’s talk. email@example.com
Dear lords of NBC and protectors of the realm,
Please give some serious thought to the following three ideas. The selector of today’s theme, Victor Quinaz, believes that NBC audiences are waiting for one thing: shows about BABIES TEETHING. I couldn’t agree more.
13.) Dear God, Someone Help Us
15.) Big Time Small Talk
Please accept the following star-making pitches on theme of life’s greatest mystery: THE COSMOS. Thanks to Andy Cobb for choosing today’s provocative theme.
12.) Planet Jeff
Do you love these? Yes you do. firstname.lastname@example.org