April 14, 2014
Bits vs. Beats

This story might be apocryphal, but I stumbled upon the origin of the word “beats” in regards to dramatic writing.

When I first took sketch classes at UCB, and the term “beat” was used to explain hitting the game of the scene, I assumed that the etymology of the word was music-based. Comedy sketches are like songs after all. The good ones are 2 to 5 minutes long. A beat, I thought, resembles the hook.

But today I was Googling “Unit of Action,” and I found several accounts claiming that the word “beat” comes from a misunderstanding. Stanislavski was giving a presentation on his acting method to a group of U.S. theatre students. To describe a unit of action in dramatic writing, he used the word “bits.” But due to his thick Russian accent, it sounded like beats.  

So the “bits” that you do at McManus are closely related to the “beats” you write in your scenes. 

February 26, 2014
I miss Jay Leno, so I made a collage of him shaking hands with Robert Smith, Stephen Malkmus, Alex Chilton and Beck. 

I miss Jay Leno, so I made a collage of him shaking hands with Robert Smith, Stephen Malkmus, Alex Chilton and Beck. 

February 26, 2014
"Get the laughs, but follow the rules," is the 1st thing I say to myself before getting out of bed every morning.

"Get the laughs, but follow the rules," is the 1st thing I say to myself before getting out of bed every morning.

February 23, 2014
I want to dedicate this post to all my teachers who said I’d never be a footnote in a Mudhoney biography.

I want to dedicate this post to all my teachers who said I’d never be a footnote in a Mudhoney biography.

February 17, 2014
I called a real estate agent today to ask about a listing, and she said, “Just come by our office. We’re located on Hillhurst, across the street from where Dumb Starbucks used to be.”
That made my day. R.I.P. Dumb Starbucks.

I called a real estate agent today to ask about a listing, and she said, “Just come by our office. We’re located on Hillhurst, across the street from where Dumb Starbucks used to be.”

That made my day. R.I.P. Dumb Starbucks.

February 16, 2014
The NY Times surveyed bartenders to learn their slang. Always wondered why I heard, “The B.I.B. is here” every time I walked into McManus.

The NY Times surveyed bartenders to learn their slang. Always wondered why I heard, “The B.I.B. is here” every time I walked into McManus.

February 8, 2014

February 6, 2014
UCB's Sketchy Advice: Frank Garcia Hejl

ucbcomedy:

Sketchy Advice: A new segment from UCB Comedy. Established sketch writers from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre offer sketch students advice on being creative, the writing process, and adding to a writer’s room.

This week’s featured writer is Frank Garcia Hejl, a teacher at UCB’s Training…

Very helpful dose of Frank-style wisdom. 

February 5, 2014

In 1995, Mudhoney performed the “Bill Nye the Science Guy” theme song. END OF DEBATE.

February 3, 2014
When I was watching the Super Bowl last night, I noticed a familiar face on the Seahawks sideline: my sophomore-year high school PE teacher, Mr. McPherson. He’s now the tight ends coach for Seattle.
Mr. McPherson taught high school PE (and English and Algebra) for only one year in 1996-97 before becoming an NFL coach. As you can imagine, he was a pretty intense PE teacher. When we’d run the mile, he’d run with the class and was in far better shape any of us. He’d lap me a couple of times and would always shout, “C’MON SCORDELIS!” as he passed me. 
Even though I’m a diehard 49ers fan and despise the Seahawks, I’m happy that Mr. McPherson has a Super Bowl ring. 

When I was watching the Super Bowl last night, I noticed a familiar face on the Seahawks sideline: my sophomore-year high school PE teacher, Mr. McPherson. He’s now the tight ends coach for Seattle.

Mr. McPherson taught high school PE (and English and Algebra) for only one year in 1996-97 before becoming an NFL coach. As you can imagine, he was a pretty intense PE teacher. When we’d run the mile, he’d run with the class and was in far better shape any of us. He’d lap me a couple of times and would always shout, “C’MON SCORDELIS!” as he passed me. 

Even though I’m a diehard 49ers fan and despise the Seahawks, I’m happy that Mr. McPherson has a Super Bowl ring.