How to write gooder.

Writing comedy for magicians and artists.

If you want to improve the quality of your show, then you must spend time scripting and writing. There is no avoiding it.  But how?  Every professional performer has honed their writing skills and if you want to take your show to the next level this podcast is for you.  Ryan Joyce talks with comedian, writer and performer Michael Paul about comedy writing and how to get started.

My guest on the podcast is Michael Paul Ziegfeld who has written for comedians including David Lettermen, Bill Maher, Chelsey Handler and Ellen DeGeneres.  He has television credits on The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live and has lent his voice to Pixar and Jim Henson Productions.  He has acted alongside Katherine Heigl in the movie 27 Dresses and coached Kevin Spacey in the movie The Ventriloquist.  The heart and soul of his work is his own performances that have taken him around the globe, headlining theatre tours, comedy clubs, cruise ships and opening for names like Lisa Lampanelli, James Brown and Joan Rivers.

If you have been thinking about writing new material for your show or improving existing scripts—this podcast is for you

In this podcast we discuss the following:

  • How the most successful performers write material
  • How to write material for yourself, by yourself.
  • The 3 questions you must ask yourself when writing comedy.
  • Who you should avoid when collaborating with others.
  • What every performer fears and how to avoid making these mistakes
  • Where to get inspiration for your writing material
  • Why we mimic other performers and how to avoid becoming a “hack”
  • What to do after every show to accelerate your growth as a performer
  • And more…

Plus Ryan shares 8 ideas for a better writing mindset and how to optimize the time you spend creating scripts and content.

This Touring Tricks Podcast is jam packed with valuable information from working professionals with the goal of trying to help out other performers.  Don’t miss this episode.

LAST WEEK’S PODCAST IS FOR MAGICIAN’S ONLY  (my uncensored thoughts on Fool Us and what happened)

Listen here:

Update (August 25, 2016) : Subscribe on iTunes! We’re approved and ready.  Click here to connect on iTunes.



Ryan’s 8 Tips for a Better Writing Mindset

  1. Start writing with NO filter. No judgements and no holding back.  It’s going to suck at first.  It’s much easier to edit—but it requires you to laying that initial foundation.  Creativity comes in layers—get the shitty layer out of the way. Start writing!
  2. Use music to help accentuate your tone. They use music in movies and films for a reason it can instantly put you into state – don’t choose music with words.  Google royalty free music for resources, download the samples and put them on a playlist or loop.  You’ll get used to the watermarks quickly if you can’t stand them purchase soundtracks.
  3. Keep writing—unless your one of those gifted people that makes me want to stab pencils in my eyes, understand this is work and it will take at least twenty minutes to get into a zone. Some days flow better than others.
  4. No internet, no email, no Facebook, no phone, no TV, no distractions. The importance of this became clear abundantly clear working cruise ships where every minute online costs you .79cents of dialup speed internet.
  5. Don’t give yourself room for excuses— Excuses leads to laziness. I do allow in my own writing occasional placeholders or “insert joke here” connotations after make a real effort but I also don’t want to inhibit the flow.  One thing that is not allowed is “I’ll brainstorm this later with my friend or tomorrow etc.”  Don’t rely on others as an excuse for not doing the work.
  6. It is work. Every professional goes through this process. By now you should know your most productive times of day. I’m a morning person so I am most productive between 6:30 am and around 11:30 I need to take a break.  By 3:30 I’m cooked—something I can hack with meditation but burnout is also a real option of over extending too often.  Usually the day before vlog day is a burnout day.  Know your most productive time of day and cater to that.
  7. How to practice of writing—start with your Facebook post. Look at what’s trending and write jokes about it.  Publish your best post—you get instant feedback.  I started journaling everyday as well—the more you do the better you get.  Journal writing is short and fast and devoid of any worry because I’m the only person that will read it.
  8. Read and Rehearse, Edit and Revise. With script work you absolutely have to read it out loud—and in different kinds of moods and different times of day.  I can write something that sounds great—then I read it and pacing doesn’t match or in most cases there are too many words.  Also the state of mind for writing is very different when adrenaline is pumping onstage infront of and audience.  Record your script (video or audio) and analyse.  Rinse and repeat.

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By | 2016-10-19T12:24:38+00:00 August 16th, 2016|Magic, Podcast|1 Comment


About the Author:

Ryan Joyce is a magician, hypnotist and voice behind Touring Tricks Podcast and weekly web series. He's appeared on worldwide tours and shows including Penn & Teller's Fool Us. Tune in weekly-- that's the recommended dosage. or iTunes

One Comment

  1. […] PS: If you didn’t catch this weeks podcast I recommend checking that out– it’s for magicians and performers who want to learn to write comedy for their shows and my guest is Michael Paul Ziegfeld. He’s written for all the late night comedians including David Letterman, Bill Maher and Chelsea Handler.  Listen to that podcast here. […]

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