Author Topic: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!  (Read 14792 times)

pretty penny

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2010, 10:46:19 AM »
Hi,

I read this a couple of times.. I come from a performance background and read it from an actor's point of view.. I think it leaves room in the script to improvise with it, and I agree with par that it could stand having some actors work on it with you, to work out the subtleties of it more.  I personally like the punchy ending of the first version, and the fact that it leaves room for the viewer to exercise some intelligence.  I did like however, the revision of the time frame of the relationship, especially the extension of the time to seven years as it played into that cliche of the 7 year itch, and played up the pathos (sp?) more.  I think the strength of the piece is that it seems so serious at first.. it reminds me of a D-generation skit (from the Australian ABC TV). I dislike the ending of the second one, it seems messy and contrived and over stated.. as I said, the best humour is allowed because of what your imagination can bring to it.. it depends I guess if you are appealing to a commercial audience though, which seems to love to over-extend on jokes, which takes all of the fun out of them in my eyes.  All a matter of taste, I guess. 

pretty penny

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #31 on: August 15, 2010, 09:22:14 PM »
Hi Eashort,

After sleep and more reflection, I'd like to add some more.

The gloves and mask etc at the start in the second draft is unnecessary as you already lay the necessary clue in the dialogue - the fact that he says "Anybody home?" is much more of a strangers or acquaintances greeting.. in such an intimate household, ie, marriage and family, I am betting that he would more likely say his wife's name, if it were John.  Besides, this is a punch line sketch, and by showing the gloves etc you give away the punch line.

If it were staged as a play as well, it is great as a one-hander. (one actor)  The addition of another player right at the end is flimsy. If I were setting it on a stage, I would cut the first bag laying down scene, have the actor speak from off stage and enter into the bedroom.  Snap black out on the punch line, after a beat.  The punch line of course being the physical action of filling the bags.

For a film.. if you were going to keep the second player, again, to introduce him at the end is messy.  Perhaps just a simple ruse of seeing a micro scene outside the house, of a key being put in the door.  Here you could have the gloved hand to hide the immediate identity of the person entering the house, and not showing the person at all, other than that.  I like the idea of a shocked and still response from John, too, if you were going to go with that.  People do act strangely in crisis, and it is rather over done to have the high action high decibel "who are you in my house" kind of scene.  I think it adds more of an element of humour, to have him stand there like a stunned mullet.  But then I like such films as "Little Miss Sunshine" so my humour is perhaps a bit obtuse.  Again, I guess it depends on the audience you hope to target with such a thing; I would clarify that in your mind strongly, I think it would help with your scripting choices enormously.

Offline eashort

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #32 on: August 16, 2010, 03:19:41 PM »
Pretty Penny,

Thanks for both of your responses. I am actually going to take the advice that you and par gave and try to work it over with some actors that I know, see what they say. It makes a lot of sense, considering they would be more used to what feels natural when performing and what doesn't than I do.

Offline par

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2010, 09:24:46 AM »
thanks to you too, ea....we need more playwrights.  also, see if you can get some directors in that mix with actors...some of what pretty said are really in a director's pervue but a lot is in the writer's.  the actors are necessary insofar as your seeing how something plays.  (i too have a very strong theatre background in all areas)

Offline AndyPNE

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2010, 09:08:48 AM »
Hiya hows you? thanks for the advice on replying to comments. I gotta say after reading the updated version of your work i still think the first version is better if its just a sketch that you are going for, because its shorter sharper and snappier. That works best for comedy sketches. The think the longer ending text would work but only if the scene is part of an actual show. If it was then i reckon you could milk it for a few more laughs. In fact something has just come into my head now. You could have the burgular trying to console John as he is crying uncontrollably onto his shoulder. The burgular very slowly edges out of the room and slyly steals a watch or even better, a picture frame of his wife from the bedside table as he leaves. Its kinda Little Britain i guess but its upto you. Just a question. Are you actually planning on staging it?

Offline par

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2010, 06:42:00 AM »
are you at the stage of staging it?   you're going to workshop it first, aren't you?

Offline mrsbee

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Re: Short Comedy Sketch..."The Dear John Letter" UPDATED!
« Reply #36 on: August 26, 2010, 10:25:15 AM »
Hi
I really liked the idea, though perhaps not that original, and the punchline is very good. I have one or two queries about your latest update. 1. How does he get into the house? Presumably it has to be through the door otherwise the game is up at the start. Might I suggest he finds the door off the latch and opens it very slowly - that could still look like a man arriving home and thinking there might be a burglar in his house. 2. I think you need to mention how quietly he moves around at the start. 3. I think. given the ending, that his reaction to the letter is too strong. I don't think a burglar would be "stricken" or "in complete and total shock" or "let the letter fall on the bed". He could be stunned or even outraged perhaps. 4. When the husband comes in and says he is phoning the police, why doesn't he budge?
A lot of potential here. Good luck!  :)