Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Calling for Comedy

By Russ Bickerstaff
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I recently got an email from Milwaukee Comedy Fest founder Matt Kemple asking me to mention again that the fest is still looking for entrants for the upcoming 2009 festival.


Set to run in the Off-Broadway Theatre August 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th, the Comedy fest has been running long enough to have established a spot on the calendar somewhere between Summerfest and Irish Fest in Milwaukee’s summer festival season. This year’s Four day comedy fest will feature some 30 groups from across the country, a Late-Night Improv Jam and a Teen Comedy Day.

With the call still going out to comedy groups, the exact schedule for the upcoming festival has yet to resolve into a coherent picture. In addition to vying for a spot as one of the 30 groups in the festival, funny persons are encouraged to submit video to the festival as well. They’re looking for anything—music videos, video sketches, parodies and suchlike. Videos will be included in programs throughout the festival.

The one stipulation that  the festival seems to have here is—no stand-up comedy. This is something that makes me excruciatingly happy. Sketch and group improv only—no stand-up. Please. No stand-up. Thank you Mr. Kemple . . .

Interested parties are encouraged to click on the Off-Broadway seating chart below--

Visualize your comedy here.


The first thing hopeful funny persons may wish to know about applying for the festival is this: it costs money. $25 to be precise. Check or money order made out to “Milwaukee Sketch Festival.” Submissions will be judged on originality, professionalism and “funniness.” Video footage of submissions will be watched “for at least ten minutes,” which seems fair. I remember judging entrants for a shorts program of a recently defunct local film festival and we would sometimes doom an applicant only seconds into viewing the entry. (It was rough work, believe me . . . ) Entrants can go on for up to 30 minutes in their applications if they so desire . . . three times as  long as the minimum viewing length for the judges. In comedy, success often lies in knowing when to get off the stage. In comedy applications here, success may be a matter of knowing when to end the video . . .

The actual application allows entrants a line exactly this long to describe, “what makes your show unique.”

 _______________________________________________________________


A line considerably longer than this is allotted for “Special Tech Needs.”

The last question on the application asks if in-town entrants are willing to host out of town entrants at their homes and out of town entrants if they are willing to stay with in town entrants. This sounds like a springboard for a bit of improv, but it probably isn’t . . .

Entries will be accepted until Monday, June 1st.
Entrants will be informed of their acceptance by Mid-June.

Good luck, funny people . . .

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