Q&A With Production Guru Kyle Austin

I'm sure you're aware that not all comedy happens in a live setting, yes? Good, then we can proceed with information about an opportunity to learn how to shoot and edit comedy videos. Kyle AustinOur Level 1 Production Class begins Monday, Jan. 9 at 7 p.m., and it will be taught by one of DCH's most technically savvy and always funny people, Kyle Austin.

If you've been reading the previous Q&A's, I'm sure you know how this works. We talked with Kyle to find out more about the class and his background. That's how this works. Q&A, take it away.

What is your background in production work? How long have you been doing it?

I worked for Baylor University for a total of six(ish) years. Three in college, and three after I graduated. I started as a simple camera op, and when I left I was directing the football games, (and did one year of sound). Lots of fun, not a lot of pay. I then took a job at White's Chapel UMC as the director of media.  Six-to-eight full-time employees, 15-plus part-time employees and I run a media department. Experiences include everything from making short videos, to putting on large concerts...and everything in between. I've been doing this for 10 years.

Why is it important for a performer to learn production, and how important is it for a show?

It's important for a performer to learn the aspects of it, just as it is a tech person to know the journey of the improvisers. It helps with a group mind, the tech person is a part of the cast, and it can make the experience better.

It can be as simple or complex for a show that you want it to be. Does your show call for videos, different lighting, sound...For example, the NYE sketch show was very "production heavy" compared to what you normally see there.

What skills can performers learn from production that they can use in their stage or written work?

One thing that comes to mind is the idea of knowing when to move, jump, edit, whatever the scene needs. For example, in a video we have the capabilities to "cut to" things and "cut back" when we want to. Why can't we do that in improv? Oh wait, WE CAN. I think that understanding different ways that a story is told can open your mind to the different ways an improv show can be told. It can also help develop formats.

Can you expand more on what will take place in the class? For example, will students be filming shows? Their own skits? Etc.

We're learning the basics of how to make a video, how to run sound, and how to do basic lighting. All of these are entry level tasks, and the end of the class will result in using all three aspects to shoot and edit a short video.

Who are some of your production/directing/editing influences?

Some of my influences...Editing: Bryan Bray - my old boss at Baylor who taught me how to tell a story through video.

Directing: James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, Judd Apatow

Producing: Tim Georgeff, Jerry Bruckheimer, Walt Disney

Thank you, Kyle, for taking the time to answer our questions. For those interested in filming their own skits and getting famous on Funny Or Die or YouTube, registration is still open. Hop to it!