Why is stuff funny? A survey of psychological and philosophical studies of the mechanisms and purposes of humor

Economic class, childhood circumstance, and ‘nice’: there’s more to it than being quiet

What technical writing can teach us about performing arts: How to know your audience, figure out what they have and what they need, and think about them constantly

What guerrilla marketing can teach us about reaching out: find your intended audience and get the message to them in any way possible

Empathy doesn’t mean surrender: what we can learn from the 80’s fad of Sun Tzu

Improv skills list and approaches to developing each component skill – panel/workshop with education doctors, autism experts, social psychologists, older improvisers, younger successful improvisers, students, philosopher, maybe religion expert

Scene scaffolding: how to make improv easy by dictating more or less of the scene

Inventing new archetypes: create and explore a set of not-cliche detailed characters and settings that your team can have fun playing with if you all learn them together

N+1 – What it means to add just one new idea at a time to a scene or any work of art. Analysis of recorded scenes, analysis of sketch scripts, outlining new sketch ideas, and planned improvising

How to actually change the world with art: thinking specifically about what you want to change, whom to change, and how to help your audiences not feel helpless

Deconstructing your favorite thing – Come with ideas for your favorite genres of TV, theater, podcast, video, or anything else. We’ll start with one we already know — superhero movies, rom-coms, or American musicals — and show how to break down a genre of anything into its component parts so you can build comedy based on those parts, then add your own important idea to make it your own.

Understanding what other people find funny / comedy without contempt: What we find funny depends a lot on what’s old, new, and relatable to us. In this experimental five-session workshop with mediated discussions TBA, we’ll examine how to discover the things people different from us find funny (students are encouraged to get relatives, old friends from back home, and random internet people to weigh in), how to ask people about them to get information we can use, and what to do with that information. Students will end with sketch outlines that include humor elements that appeal to diverse audiences, with an optional follow-up performance two weeks after the final class.

Survey of collaboration methods: Some groups seem to collaborate effortlessly, but for those that find this a mysterious process it makes sense to take a closer look. There’s no one way to collaborate, so having a common language of collaboration techniques — emotional, logistical, and communicative — will help a range of current and future collaborators. We will look at the actual mechanics of productive collaborative duos and groups. We will also develop working vocabulary, go-to examples, and stories that we can refer to. The goal is to discover how we each can be most productive in collaboration and let partnerships negotiate working relationships and methods quickly, and that can help us find collaborators who adore working in our preferred style.

This workshop builds on a previous intensive where students spent a lot of time watching and reading interviews and memoirs outside class, analyzing what we see with a preexisting rubric, and shared discussion on a WordPress website.

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