There are times when we use storyboards to plan an episode, but there are times when we don’t need to plan every shot quite so carefully, or we can’t plan. At those other times, we’ve taken to to writing up a three-column page which indicates what we’ll see on screen (sometimes including screen shots or pictures that are more or less what we want to see), what props we will need, and what the characters will say. This is quicker than storyboarding, but still makes it clear what we will see on screen in a way which is not all tangled up in the puppets’ lines. Having a separate column for props is really helpful as a shopping list.
This three-column format is what we used with the House Party episode, where we shot a lot of improvised footage and didn’t know what we were going to get. I think this was the script we went to the studio with when we shot the party scenes. A lot changed that day — it was a long, hard shoot, and the beard-dyeing process was nasty — but a lot also changed later, in post-production. Once we had all of our footage together from San Francisco Pride and the soup kitchen, we realized that the Bitch Magazine references were making everything way too complicated. (We made the references because Bitch, a feminist magazine that Gus writes for, was having some financial trouble and actually asked their subscribers to hold house parties to support the magazine around the time we wrote the script.) So we edited them out. Can you catch the places with the edits? Are they seamless, or can you hear something or see something weird where something was edited out?
|HOUSE PARTY! –REVISED|
Illustrations of what goes on at a house party; blogs, visuals from houseparty.com; etc
(Screencaps of Erna filling out the forms)
(exeunt, opposide sides of stage)
(Cut to set. People and puppets are standing around awkwardly.)
(montage with peppy calypso music)
Erna’s right in front of the camera, dives off to one side Busby Berkeley style to reveal many guests standing around fooling with dye stuff and trying on bright red beards
Guests throw cards in the air, cheering wildly
Everyone files off set excitedly
(judd nelson-style fist-pump montage)
|Weena: Hey Erna, could you clean up some of your crap? this is kind of a mess.
Erna: But this is for my house party!
Weena: What’s a house party? Would she say “whats a house party?” sort of a self explanatory term (especially bc she is also thorowing one). Could she say “What house party?” in sort of a shocked manner? just an idea -Mary Kate Pappas 6/19/09 11:27 AM good point, thanks -gus andrews 6/19/09 11:38 AM
Erna: You know, like a house party. My friends. Come over to my house. Only I got SPONSORED to throw it!
Weena: That sounds like the lamest party ever.
Erna: Would you say that if you knew that it was sponsored by HOT DOGS? And hair dye. :D!
Weena: Yes. Yes I believe I would.
Erna: You don’t even know.
Weena: No, I don’t. Like, who the hell sponsored your hotdog party? Is that like a sausage fest?
Erna: I sure hope so. So advertisers have decided that since people aren’t going out during the recession, they want to hit us where we live. Hence, they created houseparty.com, where you pick the sponsored party you want to hold.
Weena: Fabulous. So you’re getting paid to advertise products to your friends?
Erna: Nope! I’m doing this for FUN!
Weena: You can’t buy new shoes with fun. Erna, advertisers usually get paid.
Erna: Well, they’re giving me free stuff to make the party better! It’s like a tupperware party, like Mom used to throw, only not mind-numbingly lame.
Weena: So let’s see what you got in the box here. ‘Kay a couple tote bags, some pens, some pads of paper, an apron…..and this is not mind-numbingly boring how?
Erna: Because I am the one throwing it! We’re going to eat hotdogs and dye our hair while watching American Idol.
Weena: So when is this party?
Weena: ….No, it’s not. Because that is when I am having MY party I planned a month ago!
Erna: I did not SIT THERE and fill out RIDICULOUSLY LONG APPLICATIONS for THREE DAYS for NOTHING! Even in Spanish for the Oscar Meyer Sabor de Mama party!
Weena: Doesn’t that mean “mom-flavored”? Show me these applications, I’m suspicious.
Erna: They ask you a lot of questions about who lives in your house and how much money you make and what you might do with a party. I told them about all my internet friends and my blog and stuff, and they adore me. heh heh I thought she was going to say something like “…and they care about me, they really care” — something in that ballpark, but it works just as you have it. -Nicola McEldowney 6/19/09 5:39 PM
Weena: Erna, that’s called getting your demographic information so that they can advertise to you better. And use you as a tool for advertising to your friends.
Erna: WhatEVER. Look, could you get out of here already, I have a thousand hotdogs to cook before Simon gets on the screen.
Weena: But I have half a dozen people coming over to raise money for Bitch Magazine! You can’t have your corporate crap at my party!
Erna: You can’t say Bitch at my party!
Weena: Fine, we’ll see whose party is better!
Erna: Whose cuisine reigns supreme!
* * *
ERna: Welcome, everyone to my My Boys’ Clairol-colored Oscar Meyer Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends in South Beach Living American Idol Driving a Ford Sabor de la Bitch party! LOVE THIS -Nicola McEldowney 6/19/09 5:40 PM
Male friend of Weena’s: Nice ironic corporate motif, guys!
Weena: Uh, yeah, that was planned. That was… totally planned.
Erna’s female friend, holding hotdog: Erna, who’s that? He’s really cute.
Erna: Some friend of Weena’s. He works at the soup kitchen.
Erna and friend: Hmmmmm.
Weena’s female friend: (holds up wig with hair dye) (giggles)
Rob Scott, in LARP gear: (strokes beard)
Erna: Are you thinkin what I’m thinking?
Weena: I think I’m thinkin’ it dawg.
Erna: Clairol beard-dying!
Weena: What are we gonna do with these these My Boys cards?
Erna: MASSIVELY MULTIPLAYER 52 PICKUP!!!
Erna: Cmon, guys! Let’s give back to the community!
Weena: Yep! These are authentic Hebrew National hotdogs. I mean Ballpark. No, no, wait — Oscar Meyer.
(everyone is gone)
Weena: Well, that was fun. But what do we do with all this crap now?
Erna: Yeah everyone just left it here. They didn’t want to to take it.
Weena: So much for that advertising strategy.
Erna: Well, maybe the company will want it back! So someone else can advertise!
(Voiceover as they pack the boxes)
Erna: Dear Mr. Houseparty.
Weena: We came in thinking house parties were a crappy form of advertising which just gave you a lot of plastic garbage you didn’t need.
Erna: YOU thought that! I knew it was gonna be fun!
Weena: But we left realizing the party was in us all the time.
Erna: It was a hair salon,
Weena: and a massively multiplayer game,
Erna: and good deeds, all rolled into one.
Weena: Does that answer your question?
Weena: The Breakfast Club.
Erna: P.S. Judd Nelson is totally my boyfriend.