Spring has sprung, and with the effervescent buoyancy of a new born lamb, NextUp will soon be gambolling out into the world to do what it does best. In the spirit of rebirth and renewal, our crack team of video producers will be committing some of the best live shows on the stand-up circuit to film, and getting them to you, our discerning subscribers, while they’re at their very freshest.
Check here for details of how you can be part of the live audience at our special London recording event on June 2nd and have your laughter, and perhaps even the back of your head, immortalised for posterity. In the meantime, we’re whetting your appetite by getting the inside scoop on filming stand-up via an exclusive interview with NextUp’s video exec producer supremo (and, as it just so happens, co-founder) Dan Berg.
Inside Joke: So, Dan, what are some of the unique challenges and considerations that you have to bear in mind when filming stand-up?
Dan Berg: Unlike a sketch or short film, stand-up is a live event and therefore theoretically anything can happen - from unpredictable audience members to a comedian mucking up a line or two. Luckily, whilst we’ve had some – shall we say - interesting audience members, their input has always been to the benefit of the show rather than simply being pointless and distracting heckles. When mistakes are made by comics, if they're acknowledged - they often go down really well with the live audience so we end up leaving them in the edit. Our director Stuart Laws has been really instrumental in shaping our in-house style to make the finished video as authentic as possible
IJ: On the subject of audience input, can you tell us a little about the value of reaction shots of those in the crowd?
DB: Audience shots are an interesting one. I think they are often overused on stand-up specials and can take you, as a video-viewer, out of the moment. However, it is important to convey the magic of the live environment, and hopefully some sense of what it’s like being among a crowd of like-minded comedy fans. We try and achieve this by having a higher proportion of shots where we’re filming through audience members' heads, a kind of ‘point of view angle’. We find this strikes a nice balance between letting viewers feel like they’re there and maintaining focus on the comedian.
IJ: Do the comedians themselves ever have specific requests or demands as to the way in which they’re filmed?
DB: Yes! It’s great when acts have a filming style in mind which we can make happen. Often, they want the shooting style to suit or add to the tone of their show. For example, Marcel Lucont - a smooth operating French lothario - had lots of gentle pans and pull focusses, whilst Jordan Brookes’ show, which is a disorientating journey through his mind, used some very unusual angles and post-production filters to add to the effect. Sean Mcloughlin’s show which is incredible hour of brutally raw comedy - we toned down the colours in the edit to help complement the darkly funny mood in the room.
IJ: Do you have a favourite venue to work in?
DB: We’ve had the pleasure so far of only working with great venues but I think the Bill Murray is probably my favourite, not because the room is anything particularly special physically- but because of how amazing what they’ve achieved is; the owners just took a punt, bought an old pub’s lease and turned it into a great venue with the help of their fans through crowdfunding - all for the love of stand-up!