Founding Sketch Comedy @ UCSD.
In my fourth year at UCSD, I wanted to leave behind something of a legacy. I set out to establish a comedy organization that would provide enough benefits to its members that it would continue to live on even after my graduation.
Scope: Project Management • Branding • Marketing • Event Planning • Networking
Timeline: Founded in January 2020, currently ongoing
UCSD does not have a film department or any type of advanced curriculum for undergraduate filmmaking.
My Primary Goal
To provide UCSD students with access to free film equipment, members who can serve as a cast and crew, an advanced curriculum, and a platform for their content.
Exec. Board and Why I Chose Them
I chose Amanda as my first board member because of our close relationship and existing trust. I knew from her work in the UCSD Pre-Law fraternity that she was proactive in event planning and could advise me about the school's policies, as well as budget usage for our large events.
Andy is the youngest member of the board and provides us with a perspective that most of our new recruits will relate to. He's a proactive and committed member to Tritons For Israel, as well as multiple top ranked engineering committees, diversifying our exec. board's background.
Just like myself, Elias comes from a background in theatre and is very passionate about comedy. As a leader, he was the president of AEPi and has invaluable knowledge about managing large communities.
This calendar includes all public events, but does not include informal meetings and general body meetings.
This event calendar is structured to encourage socialization, learning, and collaboration within a small, but effective time frame. We have three events meant to bolster our curriculum and support our member's ability to create content, those being the writing workshop, production planning workshop, and most importantly, the Stevie Emerson guest lecture.
Large Scale Events
The day our organization became officially registered within the UC system, I personally reached out to Stevie Emerson and began organizing this event with him about 3 months in advance. I knew that for our organization to grow quickly within my final two quarters, we needed a new and emerging talent such as his to teach our members how to create high quality content. Likewise, developing a working relationship between himself and I would help lead to more events and collaboration with our organization moving forward.
(IN PLANNING) Our organization hopes to follow up this large event from our first quarter with a free-to-the-public stand up show on the UCSD campus during our second quarter. As of now, we are hoping to line up Stevie Emerson and Brent Pella as two co-headliners for an audience over 150 people.
Branding and Exposure
The Sketch Comedy brand had four different iterations, slowly developing and pulling inspiration from different sources. The above images are just a few of these inspirations that lended themselves to the following elements:
In the early stages of planning out this organization, I began drafting logos in a very cliche "how to make a business logo" type fashion. I began with color psychology in order to see what aligned with my perception of comedy in general. Orange landed directly on every category I had in mind.
With a color in mind I began developing a mood board of recognizable brands that also used orange. In the spirit of comedy, I thought of PornHub and began joking with friends about how it would be weirdly familiar to people who see it if we resembled them. Likewise, many adult films begin with raunchy sketch-like openings, such as the infamous Pizza Boy.
I used Kanye's Life Of Pablo and Frank Ocean's Channel Orange album covers as artwork references for what a color scheme of black and orange vs. white and orange would look like and experimented with both. The mock ups below show a few of the early mock ups that I could find.
Brand/Logo developed quickly from mock ups on the left to the model on the right. The final version is the textured image at the page's top.
The final touch to our brand, a brand which has been developed thus far by pop culture references, color psychology, and an inside joke, was to give it some texture. It was a no brainer to have the typography of the word sketch be literally drawn out in some way. As you can see above, I experimented with different fonts and punctuation to represent different aspects of the creative process.
Lastly, I also added texture to the orange background, which can be seen at the top of the page. This texture is representative of an imperfect product, which is often rough to the touch, yet visually appealing.
Online Presence and Content Platform
In order to create a presence around the organization that would interest students in joining, it's of the utmost importance that Sketch Comedy's content is seen by as many people as possible.
Platforms For Posting
Instagram - The quickest way to reach UCSD students via following them and posting events/content.
TikTok - Not good at targeting UCSD students, but great for getting views on created content.
YouTube - Similar to TikTok, but a much different audience.
Outlets For Involvement and Presence
Facebook - Important group announcements and information for new members to become involved.
Website - I am currently developing a website for Sketch Comedy, which will be the focus of another portfolio piece.
Initial Member Base and Continued Engagement
This was without a doubt the hardest part of the entire process. UCSD is a school heavily focused on STEM, leaving few students who are interested in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. Because of this, no matter how well my team and I presented this organization and planned out great events, we essentially are selling a product that few people want. It is a sad reality, but it is one we accepted. With that in mind, it was our hope to gain a member base of 30 students within our first quarter... and we did it!
Overcoming the initial challenge of acquiring interested members led us to the challenge of engaging them and making sure they continued to come to the events that we put on. We have been attempting to increase engagement by doing the following:
Personally meet for lunch or coffee with each member to create a personal relationship.
Offer free food at events.
Send text message reminders before events.
Invite them to shadow video productions.
The effectiveness of this approach will become more apparent as the quarter develops and when we are able to analyze our member retention rates over a longer period of time.
Making Content, The Fun Part
The purpose of this organization is to help students create content. We handle everything for them from supplying equipment to educating them about the creative process of comedy. It's not my place to share other people's content on here, but our group already has people beginning to produce videos and we hope to keep the ball rolling.