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6 ways to write a Fringe smash hit

Six Canadian Fringe superstars share their personal wisdom on writing for Fringe, from finding the funny to throwing grammar out the window. 

Sam S. Mullins: Find it, break it, fix it 


When I'm brainstorming material for a one-man show, the first questions I ask myself are, 'What is something that I am still upset about? What is something that happened to me that I might never fully get over? What was a moment that changed me?' 
What sets the one-person show apart from stand-up comedy is that in the solo show, the protagonist must change by the end. So you need to find that moment of change in your life. What were the circumstances in your life which demanded that change? 

Take us to that broken place that you were in before you changed. Take us to that loaded place. It might be a terrifyingly vulnerable place to go, but in my experience, it's those moments of failure, heartbreak, embarrassment and revealing our true flaws where the audience identifies with us the strongest. 

Keep in mind this very simple formula: It is established. It is broken. It is fixed.

Once you have your moment of change and the sequence of everything going wrong at once preceding it, then you have the emotional core of the show. You have your Act 2 Break (it is broken) and your Climax (it is fixed). From there, the rest is just setting the table and finding the funny."

Sam S. Mullins is a Vancouver-turned-Toronto-based comedy writer and performer. His two one-man shows, Tinfoil Dinosaur and Weaksauce, were selected as Best of Fest at the Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg and Edmonton Fringe Festivals. His brand-new storytelling solo show, The Untitled Sam Mullins Project, is touring across Fringe Festivals in Canada this summer.


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