So you’re an actor. And everyone’s telling you to ‘make your own work’. “Make a web series,” they say. “Be like those Broad City chicks. Be like that Awkward Black Girl. Be like those Workaholic guys. You know what you should do? You should be like that Lena Dunham girl and write your own Hollywood Ticket.”
“Great!” you say. “Thanks a lot. But how the hell am I supposed to do that? Where am I supposed to start?”
Last weekend, I discovered Where. To. Start…. The Write Your Own Starring Role Intensive with Melinda Hill and Laura House. This one-day intensive changed my life. I am not kidding. I showed up at the class with a notepad and a dream – discovering how to meld my acting self with my writing self and figure out where I fit in the comedy landscape.
I left with not only that HUGE question answered, but a fully fleshed out sit-com character to write for myself, the premise to the series, a cast of hilarious and theme driven supporting characters and a bunch of story ideas that I felt ready to start writing immediately into a web series and TV version of the show. IN SIX HOURS. Are you kidding me? No. And there were snacks.
I have been in awe of Melinda Hill (Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Bonnie Hunt Show, BBC’s World Stands Up ) and her stand-up for a while now because her comedic perspective is so clear. In her act, she plays an alternate version of herself, at times bubbly, naïve, at others sarcastically shallow and always romantically challenged. She’s hilarious and she seamlessly translates her various honed comedic personas into her work — including her award-winning web series Romantic Encounters and her series produced by FunnyOrDie, The Program. Comedians want to work with her and execs want to cast her. She’s selling her brand. Just like that Lena Dunham girl and all those YouTubers your Mom reads about in the Sunday Magazine section and then leaves you an annoying message about. I couldn’t think of anyone better to teach me how to find my comedic self. And then…. It got even better.
Melinda’s partner in crime for the class, who actually takes the lead as an instructor, is veteran TV Writer, actress and stand-up Laura House (Mom, Samantha Who?, The George Lopez Show, Mad Love, etc.). She’s not only an incredible writer/performer who has sold numerous projects to ABC, FX and Nickelodeon. She also already starred as a comedic character based on herself in MTV’s first scripted series, Austin Stories.
As an instructor/guide/comedic voice guru, she’s unstoppable. She’s fast, savvy and insightful when it comes to character, structure and story. She’s honest about what works and what doesn’t and she’s full of ideas and options NOT just problems. She has crafted an invaluable worksheet to guide you through the day in creating a show around yourself. It’s a framework for brainstorming you can use again and again.
If you’re in search of your comedic voice and ready to hunker down and write yourself that “Hollywood Ticket”, I can’t recommend these ladies enough. The clarity, creativity and insight of these two is unprecedented as is the productivity you will experience in the class. Seriously, someone said it was the most productive they had been in 40 years. This 6 hour intensive may very well change your life.