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Undergraduate Program | T452:Topical Seminar in Design & Production

T452 Topical Seminar in Design and Production: Write, Produce and Broadcast a Web Sitcom
6:30PM-9:30PM T / TV127 & TV 169

Instructor: Robby Benson

Objective:  To learn, absorb, write, produce and shoot an on-going original, comedic sitcom entitled “Joe Blow & Lefty” that will be broadcast on YouTube for 3-6 episodes.

This course will enroll 12 students, each of whom will write (in a ‘writer’s room’ industry standard environment) original 3-4 minute comedy scripts, cast actors and produce/shoot in the TV production studio; then polish the line cut, both visuals and sound, in post and ‘broadcast’ (post) our original web sitcom based on topical, political humor.

The course will meet on Tuesday evenings.

“Joe Blow & Lefty” is an original pilot and template based on two characters created by Robby Benson.  “Joe Blow & Lefty” are moving men (or women).

Joe Blow is an open-minded, liberal thinker who went to school with his/her best friend ‘Lefty’ who is a right wing ‘devotee’. Aside from politics, they would stop a bullet for one another.

We will always begin and end each ‘episode’ when our actors/actresses climb into the ‘cab’ of their van. That is our only set. Multi-camera singles and one two-shot will be our coverage, except for opening and closing titles. The writing and acting “sells” the comedy and the series – not the set.

An example of the first episode could be that ‘our heroes’ are sitting and waiting in “traffic” because the “Million Moms For Gun Control” march has stopped their progress. Each has a point of view of this situation that is the antithesis of the other. This constant “conflict” should bring us back to the Norman Lear years of topical, political humor.

Pre-requisites: Some sense of screenwriting. A hands-on TV production class (T283 at a minimum). Knowledge of postproduction.

Exemptions: Students who have not completed all of the prerequisite classes will need approval from the course instructor Robby Benson. He can be reached at Because this course will be an intense script, production and postproduction experience, if you do not have an understanding of these skills – please be ready to work overtime to learn.

Expectations: This class will simulate industry standards – stimulate your goals, dreams, an urge to ‘tell your story,’ – and the quality that defines our business (‘old school’): to pass it forward, to those in class who do not have your skills and knowledge. {Also, we will explore You Tube media S.E.O. – Search Engine Optimization: title, description, tags, front-load interest, etc.}
Good storytelling is a 24/7 life-style; in other words, your ideas should never stop marinating in your mind/body/soul, night and day. It’s heady! Wonderful!

It will be an exciting semester and you will receive on-screen credit in each episode, for the work you supply to each episode that “airs.”