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Getting Started. The task : develop a prototype for a local news parody akin to the Daily Show or Colbert Report Do some research Round up a group of comedians Come up with a witty and memorable name. Early Research. We talked to Jim Spencer from Newsy.com
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Getting Started • The task: develop a prototype for a local news parody akin to the Daily Show or Colbert Report • Do some research • Round up a group of comedians • Come up with a witty and memorable name
Early Research We talked to Jim Spencer from Newsy.com about the online video business and tried to pinpoint an appropriate length for our episodes. We logged a lot of hours watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report in attempts to learn from the best. We read “Philosophy of The Daily Show” and “Philosophy of The Colbert Report” to gain some insights on the inner genius of both shows. But in the end we decided we would learn best by doing…
The Players Host: Ryan Beck Correspondent: Virginia Collins Correspondent: Dan Friesen Correspondent: Kyle Ayers Producers: Kayla Bell, Tony Brown, Xenia Shih Director: Travis McMillen
The Infinity Project • The task: develop a prototype for a local news parody akin to the Daily Show or Colbert Report • The process • Scour the internet for potentially funny news • (Attempt to) write jokes about news stories • Write script • Rehearse • Film episode • Edit, edit, edit
Lessons Learned, Part I • We need to rehearse more before we film. As in a LOT more. • We need to give Travis better camera cues. • We need to figure out that chroma key… • We could definitely improve our material. • Check the equipment. Double check. • We should avoid Kim Dude for the rest of the semester at all costs. With these lessons in mind, we proceeded onto our second episode…
Lessons Learned, Part II • A few extra run-throughs before we start filming makes a world of difference. • We still need to figure out that chroma key… • We should focus more on character development • The less time between punch lines, the better.
The Partnership of all Partnerships • The Infinity Project teamed up with IKnowComo.com to give our episodes some more publicity • The IKnowComo team posted our second episode on its website on November 30.
Our episode has been IKnowComo’s most-viewed post, with 58 views as of Dec. 2.
In fact, IKnowComo’s number of hits peaked immediately following the posting of our video on the website.
Philosophy of The Infinity Project • Shoot first, ask later. • Learn just enough to know whether a local news parody can be successful. • “Jokes aren’t the most important thing in a comedy. Character is. Situation can be funnier than a line.” –Ricky Gervais, The Office
Challenges • Arranging studio time around 8 schedules • Making sure our material was still journalistically fresh because writing jokes took far longer than we expected • Limitations of the studio • Finding sources (who were game) to be interviewed • Motivating our busy (and unpaid) comedians, especially with the last episode • Staying on task—especially Monday night writers’ meetings
Lessons Learned, Final • We would need many more resources to regularly produce a local news parody • An outlet for the final product • Talent: must be funny, able to write broadcast-like scripts, and have good on-camera presence and interviewing skills • Investment: funding (motivation for the talent)
Tips (for future IP-ers?) • Find versatile talent. The people on screen can make or break an episode. • When choosing stories to write about, look for trends. • Avoid chroma-keying in post-production. • Have the people on screen memorize their lines, or choose people who are really good at reading a teleprompter.