When comedy doesn’t go as planned: thank goodness
by Zoey Duncan
Few people know the joy of failure like those who specialize in improvisational comedy. “The funny part about improv is the more you fail, the funnier it is,” says second-year broad- cast student Derek Hovinga. Hovinga is part of Sciencebear Comedy, the local eight- man production that will screen their first full-length film at the Calgary International Film Festival.
That film, Sketch, takes the best aspect of improv — the unexpectedly hilarious and genuine moments — and combines it with well-planned plot points. Sketch follows Jeffrey Patrick (Jeff D’Silva) as he tries to reunite his old comedy troupe for a big show. One member of the gang, Andrew Phung (played by Andrew Phung), has made a living as a stand-up comedian making racially fuelled jokes. Wholesome Patrick is partial to more classic comedy and one-liners, but the overbearing Phung is determined to make Patrick use his ethnicity as a punchline.
“The movie is pretty much based on [Jeff D’Silva’s actual] life,” Hovinga says, explaining that as a comedian, D’Silva’s audiences expect to him to play off his background. While the dialogue was improvised, the multi-man directing team had specific goals set for each storyboarded scene. The characters, Hovinga said, are like alter-egos of their real-life counterparts.
Sketch was shot over ten days in August 2009 with Sciencebear filling the main roles, and local up-and-coming actors rounding out smaller roles. As a broadcast student, Hovinga had access to some sound equipment on campus for mixing much of the music and sound effects in Sketch, as well as classmates who “don’t actually know they’re in the movie.”
“I really want this movie to represent Mount Royal, and say, ‘hey, SAIT’s not the only technical school, so is Mount Royal,’ ” he said. “[This is] just an experiment in hopes that it’ll help us so that we can film more stuff in the future.”
Showtime: Oct. 3 at noon Where: Globe Theatre Upstairs