Monday, January 02, 2006

The Ken Levine Comedy Writer Camp

I always thought a great scam would be the “Ken Levine Comedy Writer Camp” – like those Dodger fantasy camps where refugees from a fat man’s picnic get to wear actual Dodger uniforms, play catch with Tom Niedenfeur, and blow out their hamstrings on the real field in Vero Beach, Florida (hurricane permitting).

My spin on it would be to sign up twenty “campers”. They would meet at a studio, watch a horrendous runthrough then march off to a tiny office with no air conditioning, eat congealed Chinese food, and rewrite until 5 in the morning. The next day they see a runthrough of their rewrite, get network notes, studio notes, director notes, non writing producer notes, standards and practice notes, actor notes, actors’ managers notes, and notes from me that contradict all of the other notes. Back to the room, take out from Dr. Hoaglie Woaglie’s Tyler Texas BBQ (hot links, kick ass chili, beans, and all the fixin’s), another 5 A.M. rewrite with added fun features like the computer crashing, the lead actress coming up to the room and having a complete breakdown, and the showrunner getting called out for a phone call and being gone for two hours.

$2000 and I’ll throw in a T-shirt.

I bet there’d be a line waiting to sign up. You may be saying “Come on, writers aren’t that gullible.” Oh no? Are you familiar with “the Office”? (not the brilliant BBC show or the occasionally amusing NBC show). The Office is a storefront on 26th St. across from the Brentwood Country Mart. It offers carrels for writers, a quiet environment, coffee, reference material, and internet access. And charges HUNDREDS of dollars. Meanwhile, you can tote your laptop to any Starbucks, library, picnic table, hotel lobby, cigar lounge, food court, student union, Borders, Jamba Juice, even Gelsons and enjoy the same features FOR FREE. And yet, the Office is somehow still in business.

“The Ken Levine Comedy Writer Camp” – If you sign up by midnight I’ll even throw in a copy of Vicky King’s “How to Write a Screenplay in 21 Days”.

17 comments:

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Dr. Hoaglie Woaglie’s Tyler Texas BBQ? Don't know if $2000 will cover wagon costs, but you can't go wrong with Armadillo Willy's.

Philip Morton said...

I'm shocked that no one has done it yet. Truby or Sid Field should have been there long ago. Oh, wait, they've never sold anything have they?

Neil said...

If you can sign up an lead actor who is both abusive to writers and hates Jews, I will sign up tomorrow.

trevor said...

you just reminded me why i stopped being a writers assistant... a job that felt like you were paying two grand for the experience even if you were making a whopping ten bucks an hour with no benefits.

Television's Kynan Barker said...

"The Office is a storefront on 26th St. across from the Brentwood Country Mart. It offers carols for writers..."

For a while there I wasn't sure what you meant. I was picturing groups of angelic singers standing around you while you typed: "Oh come, all ye deadlines..."

Jon said...

Okay, for the rewrite, include another misspelling of carrel which involves "The Office's" Steve Carell.

Jason Looney said...

Are you kidding? We'd get to write comedy and hang out with other writers? AND there's a T-shirt?? Sign me up!

Joshua said...

I'd sign up but I'm in the big apple -

Seriously, though, didn't some guy do something like this, only instead of charging, he hired a bunch of pro film folk and didn't pay them for months of work.

BENth said...

Is it a nice t-shirt?

Ed Drone said...

You forgot to mention that all the credits will derive to you, and all the writers' notes, etc., will, too. Hell, if you filmed it all, you'd have a kick-ass reality show, and you could get funding from the networks, too.

You realize that somewhere, there is someone making this all into reality (including the "reality" show), don't you?

And he won't even credit you.

Or me.

Who was it said, about the music business, something like, "It's a cut-throat hog trough, filled with back-biting, deceit, and dishonesty -- but there is a down-side as well." Sounds like the same thing, without the music.

Ed

Scott the Reader said...

If the BBQ is included in the $2000 fee, I'm in.

Frank Strovel III said...

FYI: The writers of "Grey's Anatomy" now have their own blog.

Alex Epstein said...

Ken, people OUGHT to pay for an experience like that. Because I don't think many film schools will give you a real deal experience like that.

But you may be undercharging.

VP19 said...

Sounds like a great idea. But in order to actually be "hired" and participate in the camp, would I have to pretend I attended Harvard, or failing that any Ivy League school? I had to settle for the University of Maryland (although Peter Mehlman was one of my classmates).

Lazy Boy said...

I drink Budweiser!

DomeDwellr said...

Dude - I swear I just found this because I was Googling comedy writer fantasy camp. I would actually do it for $1k.

Obviously changinging jobs from electrical engineering to comedy writing would be a major shift and it would be nice to get a crash look at what you could be getting yourself into.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered pitching this as a reality show? (The kind where the participants don't know it's a reality show.)