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Alan Zweibel's Writing Exercise

Alan tells all

Alan Zweibel is a comedy writing legend and example to us all. He’s an Emmy-winning TV writer (one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live, co-creator of It’s Garry Shandlings Show, that kind of thing), a Thurber Prize-winning author, writer for Broadway shows and Hollywood screenplays, plus writing for himself in some great personal essays. In this excerpt from the essential Other Network Writers Room series, Alan offers a writing exercise he invented to develop his dialog writing skills and train his ear to differentiate characters. It’s also a brilliant way to learn to find your own voice as a writer.

Pick a theme or topic for the week. On Monday write a monolog as if one of your comic idols was delivering the material. On Tuesday write from a different personality’s point of view. On Wednesday write for a third, etc. through the week.

Our variation is that on Friday you write it for yourself. And on the weekend come try it onstage at the Un-Cab Lab Writing and Performance Workshop. April session: Saturdays, April 4, 11, 18, 25 (1-4pm) at M-Bar, 1253 N. Vine St. LA 90038. Register now for super sale prices. Audit the workshop just $10 per class or $25 for all 4.

Use the deadlines. Step up your output. Seize the week!

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