GEEK! The Musical – Part 1

Dr Horrible - written in the Writer's Strike of 2008, it's an amazing film!

Musicals aren’t usually my thing. The whole singing and dancing, etc.. It’s both unrealistic and often cringe-worthy. Although that’s the traditional Hollywood musicals that do that, there are ones that I do find very entertaining. These are specialised in the Geek way though.

I’ve always been a fan of Buffy since the first season and it’s something I find has influenced a lot of other things as well. The first time I saw the musical episode of Buffy, Once More With Feeling I’ve known that Joss Whedon could literally do anything and it would still be amazing. Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Proved this several years later, sporting Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, Felicia Day and Simon Helberg (Howard Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory).

But anyway, this post is actually a guide for people wanting to create other geek based musicals. So, apart from the fact that it’s better if you can actually read and write music, here’s a list that as a potential audience member, I would be looking for in a geek musical.

1. Have catchy tunes. I know it sounds obvious, but a catchy tune is fairly essential. Making it in riffs is a good idea (so a series of notes played over and over) enables you to get that catchiness without having to play the actual track too much. Also make sure it’s not too complex. You want it to be easily memorable. The simpler the better – but give it some sort of twist or flair!.

2. Humour is good!. Having funny lyrics can get people laughing. The more they laugh the more they miss, and the more they miss, the more they’ll watch it again. That and the fact that making it funny can also make it more memorable.

3. Don’t be afraid to get side-tracked. Leading on from humour, getting sidetracked is good in a few ways. It creates humour, makes up time and also expands the character. It can even bridge the song with a new direction, making it an important tool in story development.

(You can jump to 3.39)

4. Actions are better than dancing. I’ve never really been a fan of dancing (bar Michael Jackson’s amazing choreography), but overall I’d have to say performing actions – walking, working, fighting, etc… They’re all quite powerful anyway, only it actually makes more sense than dancing. It also provides a way for the story to progress through the song (which makes the song more natural – ironically, since they’re integral to the narrative and not just some weird outburst).

5. The fourth wall LOVES to be broken. This one you shouldn’t overuse, but musicals are based entirely upon entertaining the audience. Since this is the case, you may as well go full hog and break that fourth wall! Speaking directly to the audience may be a little cheesy, but it’s also kinda fun.

Come back later and check out part 2 of the GEEK! The musical.

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