a 6 WEEK WRITING WORKSHOP w. RICH TALARICO
Sketch writers! Learn to conceive and grow your ideas into undeniable pitches, pitch to draft and re-write. Join Rich as he shares tips and insights from shows like SNL, MADtv, KEY & PEELE, THE TONIGHT SHOW and more.
“Rich knows how to write sketches — that much is obvious. But it was clear during his class that he loved helping people get better, too. He is well prepared, challenging, clear in his communications, and he even liked one of my ideas. I have never had a sketch class that helped people so much with how to think about comedy, but also gave us practical info about how the business works — writing, pitches, formatting, all the stuff you don’t know until you are exposed to it. Don’t wait to find a better sketch class. It might not come along.”
— Tim Marks, Executive Director at The KC Improv Company, and Co-Founder of Fountain City Sketch Comedy.
“I seriously don’t think I’ve had the chance to absorb that much good content in a small amount of time ever….even in college!”
— Jessica Christopher, Student
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EXCLUSIVE: TV producer and former Key And Peele writer Rich Talarico has sold his film pitch Kansas to Covert Media and Broken Road Productions. Plot details are being kept under wraps but it is described as an unusual/Charlie Kaufman-esque project. It’s the first project Covert has purchased based solely off a pitch.
“Rich has developed an incredibly clever concept,” said Covert Media CEO Paul Hanson. “We are thrilled to be working with him and Broken Road to push this exciting new project forward.”
Talarico, who has worked comedy variety shows like Saturday Night Live and Mad TV, is currently co-writing Paramount’s Substitute Teacher, based on the Key & Peele sketch, with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele starring. He’s repped by Paradigm and Morris Yorn.
Broken Road’s upcoming slate includes the Netflix film Naked starring Marlon Wayans and Cadaver for Screen Gems, while Covert’s pipeline has Ophelia starring Naomi Watts and Daisy Ridley, Forty-Six directed by Alik Sakharov, and Resurface,which is being produced alongside Broken Road.
with: DREW CAREY, JAKE WEISMAN, JANINE BRITO, JAMAR NEIGHBORS, NIC WEGENER, CHRISTINE NANGLE, NICK WIGER & RICH TALARICO
HOSTED BY SCOUT DURWOOD & HEATHER ANNE CAMPBELL!
Five comedy writers are randomly paired with five stand up comedians. Each writer has a week to come up with five minutes of stand up for their assigned comedian who receives his or her set in a sealed envelope onstage. The comedian must then perform the set they have never read in front of a live audience.
- WHEN:SATURDAY, SEP 24, 2016 8:00 PM(DOORS OPEN AT 7:30 PM)
- TICKET PRICE:$5.00
- SHOWROOM:THE LAB
- RESTRICTIONS:18 & OVER
Posted September 18 2016 — 10:07 PM EDT
Key & Peele is going out on top. In its final season, the show claimed the prize for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series at the 68th annual Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday.
“We have to thank Comedy Central,” Jordan Peele began while accepting the honor.
“This is just absolutely amazing,” Keegan-Michael Key said before thanking everyone from the cast and crew, including the folks at craft services… and Detroit.
Known for its trenchant humor tackling racial and cultural issues, Key & Peele emerged victorious over fellow Comedy Central series InsideAmy Schumer and Drunk History; NBC stalwart Saturday Night Live; and IFC’s Portlandia and Documentary Now.
The show was nominated for two other awards this year: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series.
This is only the second year since the Emmys split the award for Outstanding Variety Series into two categories: Outstanding Variety Sketch Series and Outstanding Variety Talk Series.
Proud to be nominated with my KP writing buddies. This is our year! Key & Peele is up for a total of 7 Emmys this year.
From time to time, I get approached with questions from people wanting to get my take on what’s happening for them in the worlds of writing or performing. I reply here through my website in this feature called “Ask Rich.”
ASK RICH – LITTLE OLE UTAH
Hello! You probably don’t know me too well. But I’m from little ole Utah. I’m a improvisor and writer. You gave me an award a few years ago at Camp Improv Utopia!
I am finally making the big move to LA. I don’t really know what I’m getting myself into. Or where to start. I just wanted to maybe ask since you are a writer as well if you would have any advice from someone trying to get into writing? If not I totally understand. You are a busy person 🙂
Thanks for writing of course I remember you and the award! You played a an OLD WEST SALOON PIANO PLAYER better than anyone did that year : ) I’ll do my best to answer your questions… Congrats on the move and welcome to LA. Remember, the first ten years are the toughest.
What are some classes you recommend for writers to take?
The good news is there are so many comedy dojos in Los Angeles that a student has more choice now than ever. When I was touring the US with Second City in the 90s we went all over and found very few (if any) dedicated long-form theaters. Now, most major cities have at least ONE if not a few comedy/improv theaters. I would suggest that a prospective student call their local comedy theater and say “hey I want to maybe study there, can I sit in on a class to get the vibe?” Any theater worth their salt will let you sit in and get a sense of what they do. Ask them lots of questions and find out what they offer. Most of the big theaters here in LA offer writing classes.
I also suggest you go see some shows at whatever theater you are interested in, see shows at all of them and get a sense of where you might fit in best.
What are some dos and don’ts when pitching scripts?
Pitching is an art form. You have to try to get other people to see what you see in your head in a few sentences. The best pitches are the ones where once you throw out the first line, people’s minds start working. And, they can “see” what you see. Be brief, concise and hopefully funny. If you’re pitching a comedy sketch you will want to tell the people you are pitching to, the premise and a few jokes and possibly the out of the sketch, tho typically that’s the hardest thing to come up with, and not usually in the pitch.
What is a common mistake you see young writers make?
I do teach a lot of sketch writing classes, and the first thing that comes to mind is a lack of confidence. Most people come up with really cool and useful/valuable ideas but don’t even know it. They think “oh, that’s no good” or “no one would want to hear a sketch about that.” What makes you a unique writer is YOUR take on things. Trust what you think and know that your voice and opinion matter greatly. Don’t be shy.
When do you know a script is ready to pitch?
I typically tell my sketch students to keep a list (digitally) of the ideas they have. And, every time they return to the idea list, take a shot at adding a little something to the older ideas on the list. Once you feel the idea has a good start and a good few supporting jokes, you are probably ready to put it out there.
What advice do you have for working with multiple writers on a show?
Collaboration is a big part of writing sketch comedy and comedy. From Second City it was the ultimate collaborative experience. You needed your partners to help you and you needed to help them. It was the only way it worked. Some of the shows I’ve been on also foster this kind of atmosphere. If you have to / are lucky enough to collaborate with others, be a good sport, listen and try to offer help as much as you can. Learn the other writer’s strengths so when you find yourself in a pickle you will know who to approach.
What is the best way to find representation for writing?
Do great work. If you go to a rep when you first start, they will likely say “okay but what have you got that I can sell?” You won’t have much at that point. So, job one is to have a body of work that is of decent quality so when you do meet with and talk to agents you have lots to show them. I think you want agents and reps to find you. I think it’s a great opportunity to get involved in your local comedy theater. And, then crush that. You will use what you do/did there to talk to reps. Do a podcast/vine/youtube/comedy/whatever as best you can and crush that level. The next level finds you.
If you want you can go to the WGA (WRITERS GUILD AMERICA) website and find a list of all the writing agents in town and submit whenever you are ready.
What is the best way to make sure your content is copyright?
I’m no expert in this. I have heard that you can certify mail yourself a copy of it (don’t open it) and you will have a sealed dated proof of your work. You can also register any written work at the WGA. I found several pages online that tell you how to copyright work too, so maybe google it.
Is it worth to make a reel for writing?
When you have stuff worth sharing, it’s probably a decent idea to put those pieces somewhere where a potential rep or job provider can see them. Probably in the good idea category.
What do you think makes a good writer?
Having your stuff done on time and done well is huge. Just doing that you’ll likely be ahead of the game.
What are some tips you have for making characters stronger?
I really like Robert McKee’s book STORY and his chapter on Character. He can say it better than I can so check out STORY by Robert McKee and read what he has to say about writing characters. I’m (probably badly paraphrasing) but he says that CHARACTER = CHOICE. The harder the pressure, the harder the choice the more true the action to character.
What tips do you have for writers block?
My approach to writing is to try to take the pressure off. It’s ALL PRESSURE because you are always faced with a deadline. There’s always something you have to be cranking on. It’s a 24/7 job really because ideas come when you’re out at dinner/ relaxing / even sleeping.
So, if you feel stuck, just do something else. Work on a different idea. Watch a movie. Read something. Put down what is vexing you and come back with fresh eyes. I like the age old advice “if you don’t know what to do, you don’t have enough information.” So coming back with fresh eyes and a new take might un-block you.
When writing comedy, what are some important things to remember?
Be funny. Be concise. There was a great chess book years ago by Bruce Pandolfini called “Every Move Must Have Purpose” and he talks about how wasting moves in a chess game will lose you the game. I think that is true in writing. Every line must have purpose. You are always really doing one of two things, setting something up, or paying it off. Keep it clean, simple and don’t over-complicate ideas.
How do you receive inspiration?
I pay a guy.
It comes from all over, how could anyone not be inspired?? Del Close once told me “A Comedian’s job is to experience strange things and report back to the rest of the world.” Your comedy voice is what YOU think about the very wide and vast world we live in. It’s everywhere if you look. Just live your life and write about the things that annoy/irritate or interest you. Look at anything and ask yourself “what’s my take on that?”
How does a young writer start getting paid for writing?
Wait. We get paid? ?
It takes time. You can’t worry about money really. You have to just do the work on whatever level you can as best you can every day. And, eventually things happen. Money comes and goes. There’s an ebb and flow to this kind of work and you have to embrace it. Keep your focus on the work money will come (and go.)
What’s a great place for a writer to start to “break into” writing?
Start where you are.
Wherever you are going next, you are going to get there from where you are. And, the good news is, you have already started. Your ship has come in! You are not waiting for something to happen, even right now you are a writer. Now, write. Write on whatever level you can. Put up videos, work at local comedy clubs, just do the work as best you can on whatever level you can. Good farmers don’t harass the ground, so just be patient— work hard and have some fun too.
directed by Dave Buckman
Originally improvised and written by LA based improv troupe Dasariski, ColdTowne presents a new comedic staged play about three brothers and the lives they try to keep hidden from each other and the lies we tell ourselves when we do.
featuring: Michael Jastroch, Kris Samuelsen, Jae Long, Frank Netscher, Joseph Dailey, Bonnie Cordova, Chaz Formichella, Rachel Sansom, Xaria Coleman, Kyle Moore and Bryan “Lubu” Roberts as Dead Uncle Ted.
Asst. Dir: Chelsea Bunn
The Way Of Improv
A 6 Week Course in Long Form Improvisation
Led By – Rich Talarico
Take away the pressure of having to think up the entire premise of your scene before you initiate. That’s not improv. That’s invention. Improv is about cooperation and DISCOVERY. Abandon the FLAME THROWER METHOD of starting a scene. Learn the TWO STICKS RUBBING TOGETHER METHOD to light the fire of scene and character discovery. With a focus on group mind, small thankless moves, and cooperation & discovery, you’ll learn to instantly create and sustain strong, smart, funny scenes. Walk the plotless path. “We don’t serve plot, plot serves us.” Students learn to play “WHO” and “WHERE” so “WHAT” simply appears. Meditations and group mind exercises will help you realize that –everything that happens in improv is either an obstacle or an opportunity. The choice is yours.
SATURDAYS 10am – 1pm
MAY 14 – JUNE 18
“I seriously don’t think I’ve had the chance to absorb that much good content in a small amount of time ever….even in college!”– Jessica Christopher
“Rich was inspiring and the students hung on his every word.” —Yvonne Landry Owner & Founder La Nuit Theater New Orleans
NEW YORK, March 29, 2016 – Comedy Central President, Original Programming, Kent Alterman, today announces renewals and extensions for eight current series:
“Review” – renewed for a third and final season, “Review” follows life reviewer Forrest MacNeil (played by Andy Daly) who avoids the boring subjects like film, food or art, instead opting for the tough subjects like joining the mile high club, living life according to the Magic 8 Ball, and even leading a cult. As always, MacNeil approaches these challenges with unwavering commitment, regardless of the personal consequences. “Review” is executive produced by Andy Daly, Jeffrey Blitz (“The Office”), Andy Blitz (“Late Night with Conan O’Brien”) and Charlie Siskel (“Tosh.0”). The series is directed by Jeffrey Blitz. Gary Mann is the Executive in Charge of Production for Comedy Central.
- Series Renewals and Extensions Set for “Tosh.0,” “Drunk History,” “Review,” “This Is Not Happening,” “Alternatino,” “Nothin’s Easy,” And “Questionable Science” With A Season One Extension for “Not Safe with Nikki Glaser”
SKETCH WRITING WORKSHOP w RICH TALARICO
“BRAINSTORMING & PITCHING”
Learn how simple ideas can be turned into undeniable sketch comedy pitches. This class will show you how to wring the most out of that first flash of an idea so you are able to explore possibilities you didn’t know were there. You’ll also learn how to contribute to others ideas in a writers room.
SATURDAY – MARCH 19th
10am – 1pm
116 W. CALIFORNIA AVE
GLENDALE, CA 91203
RESERVE YOUR SPACE:
As everyone knows, poetry has always been a passion of mine. It’s all about reducing to the essence; like a sculptor who insists he is freeing his work from the stone– poetry is about peeling away the layers until only the truth remains. Here now are some of my most beloved poems.
ONE WORD POEMS
by Rich Talarico
ROAD TRIP – PART II
THE LONG DESCENT