A Stanford-centric comedy series may be coming soon to a YouTube channel near you, with “The Slump”—an online sitcom by newly established student organization The Stanford Sitcom Project—planned for release in the first week of spring quarter.
Participating students are currently in the writing phase for their show, according to Project president Magellan Pfluke ’16, but they expect to begin filming in three weeks. The 10-episode series will mainly focus on a group of five Stanford sophomores, with a different sixth actor featured each week. Each episode will be approximately 10 minutes, using a single camera setup (like “The Office” or “Scrubs”). The group hopes to create two series per year.
Pfluke, who is also a staff writer for the Stanford Flipside, said that he was inspired to start the project by a desire to counterbalance his humor writing with more physical comedy. He invited a group of friends from freshman year to form an executive board that would oversee the project.
Shalmali Bane ’16, story editor and actress for the project, noted that the executive board was made up of a diverse range of students, providing a wide representation of Stanford life.
“It just fell together so perfectly because we all somehow had this connection to this project,” Bane said.
Pfluke also noted that each episode has a distinct character, allowing different writers to draw on different sources for inspiration but also presenting the challenge of identifying a unifying storyline.
“I think the main difficulty at this point is creating an idea for the show that is broad enough that we can have a lot of different episodes in it but also narrow enough that when a writer sits down to write characters they know who they’re writing,” Pfluke said.
Participants framed the project’s meetings as conducive to lively discussion between members and as allowing every participant to influence the final product.
“It’s very fun and fast-paced, [with] quick wit, and it’s easy to get a word in,” said Tom Colton ’14, one of the organization’s twenty members. “But at the same time it’s also just a lot of banter and a lot of great ideas being thrown around by a lot of people with similar and different senses of humor.”
Although writing teams for the show have already been assigned, the Sitcom Project is also holding script workshop sessions so that interested students can participate. Pfluke emphasized the need to be as inclusive as possible in the project.
“I think our vision for this group is that it’s going to be a diverse showcase of student talent,” Pfluke said. “I just want to get as many talented, artistic people involved in this as possible.”
Contact Skylar Cohen at skylarc ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.