This Friday was the opening night for the sketch show that I've been working on, Unicorns, The Middle Class, And Other Mythical Creatures. (And that's our preferred capitalization, for some reason. Maybe just because I like the way it looks and I'm on the PR committee.)
In my last post on the sketch revue, I sketched out the basics of the Writing Program (1 through 4, writing; 5 and 6, putting on a show); and I acted confused about whether or not something was funny.
Today I'm going to talk about collaboration, because putting on a sketch show is all about collaboration (unless it's a one-man show you're directing and starring in after writing).
At the Second City, Writing 1 through 4 are pretty permeable in terms of people joining and leaving certain classes. For instance, I stayed in my time slot (Saturday, 1-4pm) for all four classes; but by the time I got to 4, only one other person had been with me the whole time. The other participants either switched to different times or opted not to take the next class.
This permeability is a mixed bag: although you have to relearn every new person's idea of funny, by the end, you know a lot of people (even if you don't know them too well). The same could be said of the teachers: you get a new teacher for each class. (And I know there are jokes that would've killed one teacher that fell flat with another.)
Now, let's be honest: writing with other people in mind as an audience is itself a form of collaboration (if a twisted and uncertain form). I knew one kid who seemed to think of himself as pushing the envelope in terms of gross-out humor, but even he was keeping his audience in mind in order to gross us out. And when you write a joke and it doesn't get a laugh, you can tell yourself that people just don't get your sense of humor, but it still stings and should leave a mark. (At the very least, it might leave a scar that's less sensitive.)
This sense of collaboration goes into hyperdrive when you're actually turning these sketches into a show, which will be the topic of tomorrow's short post. (Yay short posts, am I right?)
P.S. I might in these posts say things like "writing with other people in mind as an audience is itself a form of collaboration," which you might vehemently disagree with in your own writing practice. I think you're wrong; but maybe I'm really only describing my own experience. Feel free to tell me so.