Clatter&Din owner Peter Barnes authored the following guest post on Family Seattle, a blog run by local Marketing Wiz and all-around good guy Mike Johnston. How are burritos and producing comedy similar?? Well, read on to see!
Producing comedy is a lot like making a burrito: a plethora of tangy challenges wrapped in a tortilla of high hopes. It requires a light touch and, at the same time, plenty of brutal honesty. Sound delicious? Well, there’s a little more to it.
And that’s because sound engineers are often caught between two or more clients who have very different opinions about what is actually funny. Having the “Is this funny?” conversation can be very stressful. Go ahead, try it: Tell me what’s funny... and you have five minutes before this baby has to be uploaded.
Comedy is subjective. For example, I love inappropriate, Family-Guy-type humor. Often that won’t fly with a target audience. Agency writers and producers are simultaneously expected to be funny and keep it just this side of offensive. This is hard. This is stressful. This is not funny.
And then the Creative Director enters the burrito stand.
This is exactly what the sound engineer needs in the session: one more opinion about what’s funny. And look out if there’s a struggle brewing between the writer, who may be inexperienced (or fabulous) at writing comedy, and the Creative Director, who may be a crusty old shit full of ego and baggage (or not). Add to this grease fire the agency client, who likes to put their mark on everything and “always knows what’s best for their client.” And now you have all the ingredients for a cockfight in a shitstorm, just waiting to happen.