Check out some photos of the Baby Seals performing “Attack of the B-Grade Movie” at FAD Gallery during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
April 2nd – 19th, FAD Gallery 14 Corrs, Melbourne CBD
Writer of “Attack of the B-Grade Movie”
What is your writing process?
I usually just take Wuthering Heights, change the location and put a zombie in it. If zombies are out of fashion, I alter the lead character to a gumshoe.
What attracted you to writing B-grade movies?
Nothing. I don’t write them on purpose. If I was an A-grade writer, I’d write A-grade movies.
Which of your films is your least favourite?
Northanger Abbey, But With A Wolf in it. That flopped like a Norwegian high-diver with his spine ripped out.
How many pages do you write a day?
Four… Nine, if I’m drunk. Forty-nine if the pharmacy is open.
Is there a film you’ve always wanted to write?
Yes. I have an idea for a film set during the American War of Independence. It’s about a young boy named Jack who decides to buy a bottle factory, but then changes his mind… I know it doesn’t sound very interesting, but hopefully the director will put enough nice scenery in it that no one will notice.
What advice would you give to young screenwriters?
Selling your organs can be very lucrative.
What’s a film that moved you?
Picnic at Hanging Rock.
What’s your favourite genre to work with?
Sci-fi. No matter what crap you write, there’s always going to be some loser who enjoys it and thinks the poor quality is appealingly kitsch.
What’s the first film you ever saw?
A home movie of my dad throwing crockery at a vagrant. That shit stays with you.
Donald Mayer, thank you.
You got 10 bucks on you?
These are a few B-Grade movie poster studies that we used to help define the look of our show “Attack of the B-Grade Movie”.
When: 8pm Friday 13th March 2009
Where: Dantes, Fitzroy
Tickets: $10 @ the door
Sick of screaming at the TV? Does the naive character without a surname really deserve to die? Finally it’s your time! You are about to play a pivotal role in Attack of the B-Grade Movie…
Welcome to the world of Donald Mayer. It’s midnight and screenwriter Donald Mayer has just one hour to churn out his latest B-grade movie script. Tired and burned out from the sausage factory nature of the Hollywood studio system, Donald is completely out of ideas. The film is scheduled to go into production in the morning and desperation is setting in. Hocked up on caffeine and diet pills, Donald turns to the theatre audience for inspiration. Their suggestions form the genre, story and characters of Donald’s script. While Donald taps away at his typewriter, the players become his imagination; improvising the B-grade movie inspired by the suggestions of the audience. It can only mean Attack of the B-Grade Movie! Finally, a show that can hear you scream.
When developing our show “Attack of the B-Grade Movie” we were inspired by these original B-Grade movie posters. They’re just horribly awesome!
Attack of the B-Grade Movie
B Movies have always been a great source of unintentional comedy and this show from improvisation troupe The Baby Seals aims to cash in on that. The set up is this – one member of the troupe plays a Hollywood hack writer struggling to come up with a script, the others act out the story being “written” though in reality they are making it up as they go along. To provide inspiration, and to prove that it’s all improvised, the “scriptwriter” requests cues (eg an object, an animal, a name) from the audience which the cast then have to incorporate into the increasingly zany performance. The writer can also change the direction of the “script” at any time – or put things up to audience vote – if things start going in too silly a direction. Which they do, frequently.
Words like “madcap” spring to mind. There’s been a few of these kinds of guided improvisation shows around lately and, in marketing speak, results may vary. Attack of the B Grade Movie was one of the better ones that I’ve seen. The device of having the writer character to act as compere and the structure of the B Movie storyline to guide the scenes gave the show a coherence that can become lost in improvised acts. The talented and inventive cast helped too. The tale that evolved out of their antics the night I went, about psychotic 60s folk singers brainwashing people with hidden messages in their songs, might not have been Oscar material but it was a lot of fun. Of course the great thing about this show is you can make it even more fun with your own wacky input. Start thinking of peculiar objects.