YakTrack Production Update #1

Later today, Justin, Louis and I are getting together to continue our work on the Yakmala Yaktrack series and I thought a little update might be handy. Last week, we took out our old script for the “Staying Alive” YakTrack and read through roughly a half-hour of it. Mostly, it was to fix several misplaced jokes that were sorted incorrectly when each writer’s individual scripts were merged.

Using the method pioneered by Mystery Science Theater 3000 team, we watched “Staying Alive” more times that Justin would like to admit. Each time we added more jokes. During those sessions, each writer wrote down their own material and I assembled them into one script when we were ready to rehearse. Here’s a sample of the script:


E: You’re a stripper!


B: If only more people had rejected John Travolta. Like Kelly Preston.


E: Is he in someone’s bedroom?


B: She’s on the phone. Tony has terrible manners.


E: Darts, Checkers, Risk…


L: For the last time, Mr. Manero, I’m a travel agent.

For various scheduling reasons, we only rehearsed once before the project was put on hiatus.Coming back to it now, we elected a review/write format. While we take a half-hour to look at the “Staying Alive” script, we use the next half hour to take on our next YakTrack for “Gymkata.” As it happens, our fourth writer, Blake Hennon, has already written material for that film and eventually we’ll all get together and pitch jokes.

For technical reasons, there will only be four performers when we get to recording of the Yaktracks. The “Staying Alive” script was originally written for six. Over the course of the review process, we’ll be reassigning some of the material for the people present. As we’re using Mike Nelson’s Rifftrax as a model, there will be a “sync voice” occasionally saying lines from the film to insure the track is syncing up with the DVD. At some point, I’ll make a short preview clip with our material added to a scene from the film.

With “Gymkata” as our next film, I hope to add a new writer or two to the gang. The key to a good riffing script is a variety of opinions and backgrounds. MST3K generally had seven or eight people working on a script ultimately performed by three people. They also slogged through some of the worst movies ever made on a daily basis. We only subject ourselves to the films weekly.

Following “Gymkata”, I expect “The Color of Night” to be our next film.

About Erik

Erik Amaya is the host of Tread Perilously and the former Head Film/TV writer at Bleeding Cool. He has also contributed to sites like CBR, Comics Alliance and Fanbase Press. He is also the voice of Puppet Tommy on "The Room Responds."
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