Naiki Muliaina is the owner of Blue Moon Cabaret. Nai has been in SL for a long time and I often go to him for help and advice. I haven’t found a topic he doesn’t have an opinion on yet!
He is in the process of getting the Blue Moon website up to snuff, so be sure to check it out (click the linky at the bottom of the post). Nai has done stand up, comedy sketches, and more at Blue Moon, and I thought I’d share some of his ‘rules’ for performances. So without further ado, here’s Nai:
It is not the punchline, but how you deliver it.
I have written sketches and stories since 2009 in Second Life, and I generally try to follow a few of my own rules that translate across sketches, dance stories, plays, spoken story times and notices. For them that want to know what I follow, here they are.
1. Decide on the ending first. I am always restricted to short times on stage, so I decide on the ending then gear everything else to working towards it. If it is long enough to have a middle as well, that is great, but try not to side track too much.
2. Be concise. Do not waffle. Time and attention spans are limited, both in RL and SL. Make every line of story aim towards that ending you established in 1. Do not add every bit of story or joke you think of along the way or your story will sprawl and not only will every punchline during the story detract from the final punchline, you will lose attention spans and the audience’s attention.
3. Use characters. Thankfully at Moons we are blessed with easy tropes to put on characters. Nai is always an easy butt of the joke. Autumn has OCD, Beth is a pervert, Sath is our dapper man, Vicki can beat on Nai. Using established characters means I never feel the need to fill in back story and setting the scene is easier.
4. Do not add more than 1 line of back story. If you add more than one line of back story, you go down the road of explaining the story or joke. That is almost always an automatic fail when limited to 3-5 minute sketches as you either lose attention spans or you begin to ramble (see 2).
5. Keep it simple. I am aware I am in a minority there, but Moons has always had a focus on story driven acts and characters. If you pile in special effects, flashy sets, and extra sound effects, it all detracts from the character and story on stage. That said, if you are aiming for performance driven where story and characterization are less important, set the stage on fire (literally).
I will be republishing some old scripts on line soon so you will be able to see some examples of how I work.