RTA School of Bite mentors students to create the comedy of tomorrow
February 06, 2013
A group of RTA students are taking a bite out of comedy.
Ryerson’s new RTA School of Bite launched this month with 10 participants taking a series of workshops with industry experts to produce the comedy of tomorrow. This is the inaugural project of the RTA Transmedia Centre, a research and development centre aimed at exploring new content. Students do not receive credit for their participation as the program is an experiential ideation process.
The lab is in partnership with Bite TV, a comedy-focused broadcaster, and is supported by the Bell Fund’s Professional Development Program. RTA Chair Charles Falzon wanted to create a program that pushes students to take their learning to a new level.
“This isn’t just about being funny but about being innovative and knowing how to think outside the box,” Falzon said. “We need a mix of comedy writers, transmedia developers and producers. This is purely a research opportunity to learn through doing.”
Leading the labs are Falzon, Bite TV founder Jeffrey Elliott, and Sam Punnett, a digital-media strategist. In addition, talent from SCTV and Yuk Yuk’s will also contribute by discussing fundamentals of comedy. Although participants didn’t audition for a spot, they did an interview to help leaders gauge complementary strengths and personalities among the applicants.
“The end goal is that we have at least five transmedia comedic concepts that are worth developing further,” Falzon said. “Some of them will be turned into prototypes such as video games and websites. Hopefully they can be sold and go into production but there is no guarantee. The point here is to take risks so that we are not pushing the participants to conform to a predictable model.”
Fourth-year RTA student Denielle Jackson is enjoying the lab and recommends it to anyone looking to get more out of the RTA program.
“It sounded like a good opportunity to go beyond what I’m learning in the classroom,” Jackson said. “I’m learning a lot about collaboration and how that plays into improv. I think it’s been amazing and feel fortunate to be a part of it so early on.”
Students are still in the first phase of distilling ideas and participating in brainstorming sessions. Once the five concepts are chosen, production will begin during late February or early March and finished prototypes will be distributed through Bite TV’s multi-platform channels of broadcast, online and mobile.
For more information, visit http://pages.bite.ca/sob/.