The Green Screen Show

I went to a taping of Drew Carey's new show, The Green Screen Show.

The show concept is: take any live improv show ( like Whose Line or Second City ) and then do the show with a green screen as the backdrop. Then they pass the tape to animators who fill in the background and props with things relating to the improv as it progresses.

You'd think these improv creative extraordinaire type people could come up with a better name then The Green Screen Show. Maybe Improvamation or Aniprov or Whose Line Cartoons.

They taped four shows at the taping. It was fun at first but then it became work. If you have ever seen Whose Line you know people shout suggestions from the audience and the players use those in the improv. Each suggestion had to be re-filmed at the end. We had to stick around and the director had us recreate each suggestion so they could get the person who said it on film.

I had always heard horror stories about how people got trapped in the Friends studio and had to watch the same scene over and they couldn't leave. In comedy prison for 4 or 5 hours. I thought this taping would be different. We were trapped there for 4 hours. Five if you count the time outside in line. I was starving by the end.

I hope that the animators are really good. If they do some cheesy animation it will ruin the show. The animation is going to have to add comedic value for the show to work. If they just straight animate what the improv is about it's going to fall down. The animators are going to have to become part of the improv and play riffs off of the comedians improvs.

Also I think that these improv guys are too used to the standard improv style. Where everything goes to the fourth wall. The fourth wall is an invisible barrier between the audience and the players. The players use this wall for most of their invisible prop interactions. Like if you were to open a door you'd open it on the 4th wall, toward the audience. Or if you were writing on a blackboard you'd do it on the 4th wall. Mainly so the audience sees the front of you. The problem is going to come when the animators now have to animate these props on the 4th wall. They will have to block out the players.

The players aren't used to such a big space. The stage was huge they could have added near and far shots. Lots of room so that the animators could add stuff between the two actors. Instead they did the standard Whose Line come front and center, close proximity.

Also I think that the camera men aren't quite sure how the whole thing is going to work out. Most of the shots on the monitors didn't leave much room for animation. I saw mostly just tight shots on the players. Perhaps they had some wider shots that they weren't showing on the monitors. I hope so.

I think that once they see the product and value that the animator's add they may start to change their improv technique for the show. Let's just hope it doesn't get canceled before then.

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