It’s been a while since I’ve shared the important things that are going on in my school life. I’ve divulged things to the SMYN community about classes in video games or internet culture that I’ve taken and that’s all been fine and good. However, as my final college semester is coming to a close, I am tirelessly working on what is essentially my senior thesis. I would have had a real one if I was in my department’s honor’s program (which I could have been, but there were limiting factors), so this is about the best I can do.
I should back up, though. I am currently taking the best class I have ever taken at the University of Michigan. This Sitcom TV Studio course is affirming why I want to work in television. Not only do we get to be creative in front of the camera, but we get to work with especially nice cameras, microphones, and simply a state-of-the-art TV studio for a university in this part of the country.
We even got to meet Mark Cendrowski, U-M alum and the director of the popular CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Last week, he came to our class, had breakfast with us, answered questions and explained what the work process is like out in Hollywood. It was simply fascinating. This was followed by having our class crew some scenes from The Big Bang Theory with acting students – from episode 3×06 “The Cornhusker Vortex.” However, the most intriguing part was being able to watch a future episode from the show that will be airing in mid-April. We’re somewhat implicitly bound in a non-disclosure agreement, so we can’t really divulge the plot of this episode…but let’s just say it’s one you’ll HAVE to watch if you’re a fan of the show.
Ah yes, so what is this senior thesis, in essence, that I spoke of? Well, for a Sitcom TV Studio class, what better final project could there possible be than to pitch, write, produce, direct, and edit your own half-hour sitcom?
I have been involved in a group with three amazing classmates since the beginning of February to produce Straight Up Jake, a sitcom of a group member’s creation that is essentially about a 23 year-old named Jake who lives in New York and has just been hired by an ad agency. Jake is straight, but he believes that his boss (who is gay) has hired him under the impression that Jake could be a valuable ally in keeping this secret. While Jake’s grandmother feeds him guilt about being single, he is set up on a blind date that goes swimmingly with a beautiful girl…who happens to also be his boss’ assistant. So not only does he have to pretend that he’s gay to keep his job, but he has to make sure that this potential girlfriend doesn’t find out about the double-life he has to lead.
We’ve had a rough draft of the script for a couple days now and we’re getting into crunch time for this production, so to give you an idea of the work that’s involved in something like this…
Friday: Meet to nail out the final details of the script
Saturday: Email out scripts to cast, shop for props, have social event with cast and crew
Sunday (3/21): (All-day shoot doing sound for another group’s production)
Monday/Tuesday: Start planning out blocking/storyboarding
Wednesday: Table-read with actors, possibly make line changes
Thursday: Rehearsal Day ONE
Friday: Shoot scenes rehearsed from Thursday
Saturday: Rehearsal Day TWO
Sunday (3/28): Shoot scenes rehearsed from Saturday
Monday: Start editing
Tuesday: Final shooting day
Wednesday-ON: Edit like crazy…rough cut due 4/13
And I have three other classes to do work for, as well as a job as a sports official. And a podcast! We’ll see how SMYN fits into these plans…but just so you know, things are gonna get crazy around here.
Did I mention I’m playing the boss? Yeah, I’ll be a 44-year-old gay boss…it’s the reason for the facial hair growth and makeup will be required since I’m not an old fogey…yet.
If only I were doing this for a living…but that’s another bloggy rant for another time.