3 Seinfeld-Approved Tips for Writing Comedy that Students in Television Schools Can Try!

Posted on October 28th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

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The years pass, but the influence of the sitcom Seinfeld lingers on. For many, the show was a perfect mix of relatability and clownishness, taking experiences familiar to many and making hilarious sport of them. It was life made extraordinarily funny.

A big part of Seinfeld’s success is owed to the wit of the writing, and though the show first aired all the way back in 1989, there are plenty of lessons for writers in the present day to take away.

Want a little wisdom from one of the most acclaimed comedies ever? Here are three takeaways from the Seinfeld writers’ room that are worth thinking about.

1. Students in Television Schools Can Make Small, Relatable Ideas Funny

Sometimes, it’s big, ridiculous ideas that get the laughs. Take Seinfeld’s “The Soup Nazi,” the rude man behind the counter at a soup restaurant. Funny? Yes, and he’s one of the most famous characters from the series. But situations like those aren’t the only kind that are laugh-worthy. Smaller, relatable moments are also great for getting audiences laughing.

In an interview with Vulture, former Seinfeld writer Peter Mehlman shared an idea he pitched to showrunner Larry David: “What if Jerry’s dating a girl who hates George?” That simple idea ended up being the basis for part of an episode. While a “smaller” premise might not seem as flashy, it can be easier for audiences to connect to.

2. For Writing Success in Your Courses In Television, Use Seinfeld’s Chain Method

Students in television schools might already know that finding the motivation to complete a project can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways to motivate yourself. Jerry Seinfeld himself has a method he uses when writing comedy: don’t break the chain.

For this method, he has a printout of the calendar for an entire year, all on a single page. Every day he writes gets a red ‘X’ drawn across it in marker. The goal is to never break the chain of days with red Xs.

 

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To make progress on a project, devote time to it every day

Apps like “Habits” for Android and “Way of Life” for iOS can serve the same purpose, with the added benefit of regular reminders not to break your chain. However you manage it, regularly putting in a little bit of work toward completing a project will let you see real progress.

3. Writing Comedy for TV Is a Group Effort, So Don’t Take Changes Personally

In his interview with Vulture, Mehlman also talks about collaboration on the series, and having to surrender scripts over to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld for editing and punch-up.
“There were times when it was like a complete makeover, and other times where it was more of a massaging,” he said, and though he said he got more control over his scripts as time went on, the process still risked instilling feelings of “a little loss of ownership.”

Higher-ups making changes are a guarantee in the TV business, and even showrunners have to answer to networks. Whether working on projects for courses in television, or for a show like Seinfeld, it’s important to accept that other people will have input into and comments on your work.

 

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When writing comedy, be prepared for others to edit your scripts

Considering all kinds of ideas, working consistently toward a goal, and learning to accept feedback are all important tips to help you further a career in comedy writing. These Seinfeld-approved tips are things worth practicing while enrolled in television school and beyond!

Do you want to hone your comedy writing skills at film and television schools?

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The 4 Best MIDI Controllers for Students in Music Production School

Posted on October 21st, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

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Producing music on a computer with a mouse and keyboard is possible, but it usually takes longer to get things done than it would with an instrument. There’s also something of the musical experience that is lost when a mouse and QWERTY keyboard are your only tools.

For many musicians, a Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) controller is a great upgrade. They typically look like the keyboard of a piano, and act like “real” instruments when used with music production software. Hit a key, and watch the corresponding note appear in your composition.

Want to add a MIDI controller to your setup? Here are the four best models you’ll find.

1. The Novation Launchkey 61 MK2 Is a Decent Bet for Students at Music Production School

If you want a full-sized MIDI keyboard, the Novation Launchkey 61 MK2 is a solid choice. With 61 keys and multiple sliders, switches, and pads to help you create your vision, it’s a great option for students who want a good amount of capability in an inexpensive package.

This product is designed for use with Ableton Live production software, and while it does map onto other programs, it could take some time to make everything work. Still, Novation promises that it “works with any HUI-compatible DAW,” so if you put the time in to tweak the settings, it should be a fairly versatile pick.

2. The M-Audio Keystation 49e Is a Good Light, Basic Option

Students attending music production school who want something compact, but that still has a decent number of keys, will appreciate the M-Audio Keystation 49e.

Lightweight, and able to connect to iPads for on-the-go production, this controller also packs in a few dials and buttons for tweaking your tunes, but not as many as some other controllers. Like most MIDI controllers, its keys are velocity-sensitive, meaning the strength of a press will determine the loudness of the corresponding note in the software.

It’s not the most feature-packed option, but if you need a 49-key MIDI controller that is basic and compact, this is a good choice.

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iPad integration lets you take the Keystation 49e on the go

3. Students in Music Production Programs Will Love the Akai MPK Mini’s Features

For students who want something small, but also really good, there’s no beating the Akai MPK Mini MKII 25-Key. It’s the #1 seller on Amazon, and with good reason.
With the Akai MPK Mini, you get several backlit percussion pads, eight knobs, octave adjusters, and a built-in arpeggiator—all of which help musicians get the very most out of this small musical package.

It’s a great option for students in music production programs to take on the go, and as Equipboard—the world’s largest database of musical gear—puts it, “Some users like this MIDI keyboard so much, that despite originally buying it for travel use, they end up using it as their primary studio keyboard.”

4. Want to Go Pro? The Akai MPK249 Is the Beast You Need

This model is quite a bit more expensive than the others on this list. If you’re just dipping your toes into the water, or don’t have the budget for something expensive, this won’t be for you. However, if you don’t mind a bit of expense and want something that packs in a ton of features, the Akai MPK249 is a great buy.

This model comes with 49 keys, eight knobs, and 16 percussion pads, each of which has four banks (essentially upgrading it to a 64-pad system). Overall, it’s definitely the best option on this list for the budding professional who wants lots of tools at their disposal.

Whether you want something small and portable or something big and full-featured, there’s a MIDI controller for you. Add one to your setup to take your digital music production to the next level.

Are you thinking about taking your talents to music production courses in Toronto?

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3 Things Students in Film Production Courses Should Know About Handheld Camerawork

Posted on October 14th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Grads of Film Production Courses Know Handheld Camerawork Adds Realism

Getting steady shots is essential for professional quality productions. While this is usually best accomplished with a tripod, dolly, or shoulder rig, sometimes convenience, economics, or artistic preference will motivate you to use handheld camera techniques. Fortunately, modern video cameras have come a long way in terms of weight, flexibility, and stabilizing functions, but even so the deciding factor in handheld camera success will be the techniques you employ.

“Being quick on your feet at producing quality film and video work is what employers require,” notes Kalman Szegvary, director of Trebas Institute’s Film and TV Production program. In the program, students gain extensive hands-on experience in everything from screenwriting to post-production, including best practices in cinematography.

Here are some things to keep in mind to get great handheld camera shots.

1. Grads of Film Production Courses Know Handheld Camerawork Adds Realism

If you don’t have a tripod, forgot it at home, or your subject matter lends itself to moving shots, handheld shooting may be necessary. It’s an essential skill for all camera operators to develop and an important artistic concept for film directors to understand. It’s often used in television news and documentaries to capture urgent or demanding situations when speed and flexibility are top priorities.

Handheld camerawork is also an increasingly popular technique in film and television, easily adaptable for unpredictable conditions and adding an element of immediacy and realism. Commonly used in music videos and reality TV, it can be a powerful way to grip an audience and pull them into the action, enhancing emotional content like violence and chase scenes.

2. Students in Film Production School Know Good Posture is Important to Handheld Camerawork

Students in film production courses know that while shaky camerawork can be effective for certain artistic purposes, attaining a steady view is the more challenging issue at hand. Start with a steady stance, legs shoulder-length apart and slightly bent to act as a natural shock-absorber for your camera. Make your body like a tripod by keeping your balance, leaning against a tree or building for support if possible.

Keep the camera close to your body for stabilization

Keep the camera close to your body for stabilization

Gloves and lumbar support belts can help for long handheld shots, and two hands are better than one when holding the camera. Do some pre-shot stretching and deep breathing to be relaxed and limber. Keep your elbow tucked in close to your chest, with the camera tight to your body, or firmly on your shoulders for heavier cameras.

3. Handheld Camerawork Can Be Used to Create Different Effects

When working on your final project at film production school, you might want to experiment with different shots and effects, such as the “zolly effect,” through handheld camerawork. The zolly effect, also known as the dolly zoom effect, gives a vertigo-like illusion to your shots. That’s because the zolly effect makes it appear as if the subject in your shot is being pulled toward the camera while the surroundings are being pushed back, or vice versa.

Here’s an example of the zolly effect in action:


To achieve this look using a handheld camera, begin your shot close to your subject with your camera fully zoomed out. Then, slowly walk away from the subject while zooming in. The result will be a surreal look perfect for dramatic moments of realisation or other dizzying instants in your movie.

Would you like to learn camera techniques at film school in Toronto?

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2 Tips for Flawless Album Release Events for Students at Event Management School

Posted on October 7th, 2016 - Written by: Trebas Toronto

Interested in creating memorable album release events after event management school

It’s tough to beat the glitz, glam, and excitement of an album release event. Not only is it a huge party, but there’s a crackling, electric excitement in the air, brought by attendees thrilled to be witnessing music history.

Attending event management school is a great way to get a handle on creating unforgettable events like the showcase for a new album. Throughout their studies, students learn the ins and outs of properly marketing an event, negotiating contracts, and budgeting—all of which play an important role in helping any event go smoothly. If you’re interested in organizing a great album launch, it’s also a good idea to look at recent successes when developing your game plan.

Here are a couple of tips for hosting flawless album release events after your graduation.

1. Kanye West Teaches Students in Event Management Courses That Big & Simple Works Well

If you organize an album launch after completing your event management course, it might be worth taking inspiration from Kanye West. Kanye West has a way of working his big personality to big advantage. This strategy was in full force with the album launch for The Life of Pablo, which is a perfect example of how a well-marketed and simple event can draw up plenty of excitement.

The party went down at Madison Square Garden, with the Kardashians, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean in attendance, among others. West just talked up a storm, played his album off a laptop, and then turned control over to the attendees, letting them have a big party until their time in the stadium was up.

Though there wasn’t anything elaborate at play, West did work two important things to his advantage:

  • He got big names to show up to a big party in a big place.
  • He let existing anticipation for the album (created by endless Twitter updates and a free track release) do the heavy lifting for drumming up interest in the event.

Whatever your thoughts about West, there’s no denying that bringing in big names to your events, as well as drumming up plenty of excitement on social media, can be some useful ways to manage a successful album release.

2. Frank Ocean Showed the World That Mystery Can Be an Asset To Album Launches

As students in event management school know, effective marketing is often key to an event’s success. Many event planning programs, like the one offered at Trebas, include an entire term on communications and marketing so that students graduate prepared to advertise their events.

However, as students might know, sometimes an alternative to big, showy parties is to keep things mysterious. In fact, some events and album releases benefit from a more enigmatic and low-key approach. This tactic is exemplified by Frank Ocean, who was so reclusive in the lead up to the release of his last album, Blonde, that the hashtag #FrankWatch began to trend.

After sharing very limited details about the album in 2013, Ocean was mostly silent about progress on the work. Nearing the release of the album, he started limiting public appearances. He shared an enigmatic video of himself working at building a staircase, and then an entire visual album, called Endless. Perhaps most notably, he offered a limited number of free copies of Blonde inside of (also free) magazines he distributed in pop-up shops around the world.

By limiting advance information on the album and creating time-sensitive, unique distribution methods, Ocean managed to make his album release not just an event, but the resolution of a long-running mystery. And fans ate it up.

Want to develop top-notch skills while studying in event management courses in Toronto?

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