Six words can say a lot.
Legend has it that Ernest Hemingway thought so, rising to the challenge of penning a complete work in six words: “For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.”
Taking a page from the American author and journalist, Victoria residents Darryl LeCraw and Alex Miller recently began filming skits featuring just six words of dialogue.
A friend of LeCraw’s mentioned the Hemingway legend, given the elaborate nature of a series of online shows that LeCraw and Miller started producing in 2009.
Though they continue to produce The Skit For Brains Show, their small, tight-knit group of cast and crew is now focusing much of its time filming SixWordSkits.
Using just six words, they tell stories of zombies, revenge and even a sea monster.
“We’re big fans of the non-sequitur, like Monty Python, where at the end of it something happens where you didn’t see it coming,” says LeCraw, 32, a warehouse support worker by day.
“Absurdity,” adds Miller, 27, a carpenter.
The rules seem simple: actors can only say a maximum of six words in a skit, repeated words don’t count. Words can include slang and popular lingo. “Weird mouth noises” don’t count, Miller says. “We reserve the right to modify and amend the rules whenever we think it’s funny.
“By limiting us, it challenges us to come up with more action, more facial (expressions) and gag jokes,” he explains.
“It’s sometimes easy to come up with the idea, but getting it to the point where it’s like, ‘Yes, let’s film this,’ that’s a good challenge,” adds LeCraw.
They have filmed in Victoria, Oak Bay, Esquimalt and beyond, since an idea for a skit can strike at any time.
“Darryl once filmed a skit in the middle of the ice fields of Alberta while working on a documentary,” says Miller.
Despite the challenge of coming up with several skits a week, the team revels in pushing the creative envelope.
“If we could pay the bills with SixWordSkits, we would make our day job writing (and) filming pilots for our own original shows (and) films,” Miller says.
For now, the group is focused on building an audience, and having fun.
“We know the film industry is a giant maze of broken dreams, popularity contests and failed careers, so as long as we can do what we want to do, we are happy,” Miller says.
A new skit is posted at www.sfb.tv each day, Monday through Friday.