forums forums (
-   -   Writing Material...the creative process. (

Frisbee 12-20-00 02:25 PM

Writing Material...the creative process.
this is not necessarily a Busker related question as much as it is a performing question in general so I will also post on Blah blah...

What kind of brain storming process do you use to write material for your show...whether it be street show, theatre show, stand-up material?...I am for some reason hitting some road blocks for material for a show I am writting that is going to be performed in March...and I am wondering if any of you have come across certain excercises that help your creative juices to flow freely again... feel free to email me anything as well if you dont want to post.


(old email address deleted)

Rex Boyd 12-22-00 09:00 AM

I don't think of new stuff very often but when I do it certainly helps for me to try to imagine doing the routine on stage especially if it is something that uses a volunteer and can't really be rehearsed ahead of time. Just create a mental picture of yourself on stage and go through all the possible things that could happen, even ways in which it could go wrong. Through this daydreaming process you can have your own virtual rehearsal.

Jim 12-22-00 09:27 AM


I moved the other (Blah Blah) thread into this Forum. I think it fits better here.

REX, if you want to cut and paste your reply below in to the other thread with the same name, I can delete this thread.


Chad 03-15-09 08:51 AM

I like to watch other forms of performing art to gather ideas for my magic shows. In doing so, I find funny/interesting bits that I can adapt to my environment without being a DIRECT hack ;)

A few examples:

I was watching my favorite musical, "Fiddler on the Roof" one day and got a great idea for a hat line. The line in the movie went something like: "One kopeck? Last week you gave me TWO kopecks!"

"I had a bad week", said the rich man.

"Just because YOU had a bad week, why should I have to suffer?" said the beggar.

That line became: "If you liked my show, it's customary to tip me at the end. If you didn't like my show, I ask that you tip me anyway. After all, why should be BOTH be disappointed?"

I've heard that line used by other performers since then, but I wrote it while sitting at my TV watching Fiddler...still don't know to this day if I'd heard it before that moment or if I came up with it on the spot...drives me nuts thinking about it...I've got a bit of an obsession with being original...

Another example:

While watching Baby Einstein with my boy, they were doing a little bit trying to teach "object permanence" with a stuffed animal under a box. It kinda reminded me of the Shell Game, which I perform with regularly. Well, I got this idea of having one BIG shell and 2 little shells on either side...and then playing the game like that.

Sure, School for Scoundrels have had jumbo shells out for ages, but did they ever only play with 1 big and 2 little shells...dunno actually...but I thought of it while watching Baby Einstein.

Final example:

I did some magic shows for King's Island (amusement park here in Ohio) 2 years ago & needed a closing bit to tie everything together. The whole show was about the audience trying to help me decide what I wanted to dress up as for Halloween. Well, once again I'm watching some kids show with my children and they're making Halloween masks out of paper bags. Somehow, that turned into my finale.

I took my Ultimate Sketch Pad drawing, taped it to a cauldron and then put it on my head. Then I got the audience to say "Happy Halloween", which were the magic words of the show & took the cauldron off my head to reveal that I'd magically transformed into Frankenstein.

I'm just a part timer trying to put together as original a show as I can muster. It's impossible for me to remember exactly where all of my thoughts came from...I still struggle with the hat line in example #1. For the life of me, I can't remember if I heard someone use it, or if I wrote it completely originally. It did pop in my head while watching Fiddler though. That much I'm sure of.

rottenbros 03-15-09 11:19 AM

I throw ideas out to friends and fellow performers then let them stew in my brain till the genii comes out of the bottle and then I write the idea down. Later I rethink the whole thing. While driving I do my best brain storming. Not sure why?

thatjugglingfool 03-15-09 01:36 PM

Write jokes for 15 or 20 minutes every day. I try to write at least five jokes a day. Most of them will suck, write them anyway. The more you write the better the writing will get. You'll still have tons of stinkers, but 3 workable jokes a week makes 150+ a year. If you have writers block then you just keep writing crappy jokes until you get unblocked, and sometimes when you look back at the crap a few months later you find ways to reword them into workable jokes.

Cosmo 03-15-09 03:59 PM

I tend to do a process called automatic writing, where I write down anything that comes into my brain, either on a particular subject or not. I tend to write a few pages of what I call quick poems, stream of conciousness writing that frees up my mind, just to see what floats to the top. This is an excellent method to get things moving, and flowing, without any judgement or perameters. See Keith Johnstone's book Impro on narrative skills. That is where i found this process.

You may or may not use this as script material, that is not important, the important thing is to get things moving, oftentimes, you will find surprises in what you have written. After this you can either start to write your material, or start working in the physical.

It is helpful also to work this aspect in the physical body, with improv exercises. Basically, you want to dissolve the blocks that you have set for yourself, and just play with the material, to bring back the sense of fun, which is why we are doing this stuff anyway. Why else would you structure your life around throwing things around?

I hope this helps, if not, at least it helped me, thanks for the question.


Marcus Wilson 03-16-09 12:28 PM

What is the show you are writing for?

What I would do would vary depending on what I was writing.

Doctor Eric 03-16-09 02:09 PM

I agree with thatjugglingfool. If you're having problems writing jokes for that particular show, then don't write for that show, just start writing other stuff, get your brain in the mood, you'll be able to start in on the stuff you need to write once you're feeling confident, and the gears are turning. When I have writers block, I sit down and write formulaic jokes, pages of them, just dirty, silly shit "Your mama", "big dick", "big pussy" jokes, whatever. They're easy for me, they start getting really surreal, I start getting in the mood, and then BAM!

Don't be afraid to use your training wheels, or to write a whole bunch of stupid shit before you write something good, turn off the editor, you can't edit if you have no content, edit later.

Mr.Taxi Trix 03-18-09 07:39 AM

I agree with most of the posts: if you want to write new material, write. It helps me to write down the text that needs to be communicated, things which must be conveyed for audience understanding, on whatever level. (You four need to hold this... ect) In writing this out, then looking at it, checking for clues, I often get ideas. It is also important to be willing to write crap and wait for the clue angel to descend. Watch this:

I also sometimes sit with my friends (performer or just plain funny) and write together. Sometimes we perform for each other, 5 minutes only, ala motionfest critique sessions. Its amazing what other people can think of: they're less attached.

Rachel Peters 03-19-09 06:42 PM

I find that I write to people (letters/emails) better than I can write to myself. If I keep someone in mind and ramble for a while I get myself trying to impress them and sort of flick that switch on.
Sometimes I'm talking with friends and then run off to write it down. I really should keep a note pad on me. I'm sure it hinders conversation when I run to my computer.

Fris -- why'd you never send those face photos I needed for your new paper promo??!

PS: Funny thing, that "automatic writing" Cosmo mentioned -- usually when I do it, everything comes out really rather dark.

Frisbee 03-20-09 11:37 AM

It is funny to see this post get resurrected. I posted this apparently back in Dec. of 2000. and only now everyone decided to respond to my question???

I do not even remember the show I was trying to write for 9 years ago, probably my own current show. The email address that is posted in the original is also obsolete so I will delete that now...

and Rach...I thought I had sent you some stuff that next day...I will send you some pics by the end of the weekend.

Rachel Peters 03-20-09 11:44 AM

Well, it's one of those good, timeless threads.

And no. You sent me your designs for The Greg Frisbee, but not your face photos. I just assumed you changed your mind.

Mr.Taxi Trix 03-20-09 12:19 PM

I'm still editing and composing replies to some mid 90's threads.

dave walbridge 03-21-09 03:51 PM

Having written shows ( and taught writing) for 10 years, I agree with all of the above..and more. Keep a notebook. Write often and write everything you think of - even half jokes or just premises. Get a comedy writing book - those are closest to what we do -- and read through it, doing the exercises.

Chad 03-22-09 08:04 AM

[quote=Frisbee;53486]It is funny to see this post get resurrected. I posted this apparently back in Dec. of 2000. and only now everyone decided to respond to my question???

I actually resurrected this thread in hopes that someone could tell me if my hat line was original or not. I didn't want to start a new thread since I found one (after some searching) that already it the forum-geek in me ;)

But, I still don't have the answer! No biggie, I can't claim that I've never used a stock line before...was just hoping that my memory was correct on this particular line.

Steven Ragatz 03-22-09 09:45 AM

Your line may be original is the sense that you wrote it, but it is an obvious train of thought, so there are going to be many who wrote the same line.

The version I wrote was "If you enjoyed my show, put five dollars in my hat. If you didn't enjoy my show, put five dollars in my hat anyway, there's no reason both of us should have to go home pissed!"

If you're going to write material based on the same premise as someone else, then your going to find major similarities even if you didn't think you directly copied from them.

Steven Ragatz

Stretch 03-22-09 11:44 AM

I find that "things come to me" after changes in routine. Either more sleep, or less sleep. After a busy weekend, or after a lazy weekend. After a great deal of physical exersize is another example. Often after an emotional high, combined with one of the above changes in routine. Not unusual to wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning with an insight. Writing columns of words, then connecting random words can also work well to spark the creative juices. These are all actions you can take, hope it helps. Cheers!

Isabella 03-22-09 08:43 PM

On the hat line thought - a lot of people do one about "If you enjoyed my show, put $ in the hat, if you hated it, write your complaint on the back of a $$ bill"

solrak29 05-22-12 10:25 AM

Its great to resurect such threads as such things change with the times.
Where other things are timeless and do not change. But here you have
people come and provide some insights that perhaps were not throught of
years ago. Or simply you didn't have the number of performers on this site
or consider the thought. There could be a million reasons.

I like this thread as it comes into my mind many times on writing material;
especially comedic material. A lot of folks copy (I used same and true lines
myself), but I think we all try for originality. But even then if you come up
with a really good line/script; I'm sure someone will copy it. So any tips for
that is great.

With that said, I used a lot of different hat lines, but there are not a lot of
guys in my area. But if I were to perform in an area where there is a lot of
performers and they are using stock lines; I would like to be original and have
my own lines ready; to be different. Or should one just stick to stock lines
in this situation?

With all that said, I script my show and rescript it continually for many
reasons. One is to document my creative process and see how my show has
evolved. Another, is to spark the creative process. I also keep something on
me at all times for ideas that pop up out of no where.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:56 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.