(By Jeff McHugh) Several morning shows around the U.S. are having success with a regular feature in which personal quarrels on social media are reenacted on the air by the cast. If you are not familiar with Facebook Fights, here is an example from George, Mo and Cowboy Dave at 100.3 The Bull in Houston.
Facebook Fights works using the same principles as old-time radio, with actors (your cast), sound effects, a storyline of conflict, and cartoonish comedy.
Some shows have more success with the feature than others. Here are the best tips on how to produce a killer feature:
1 Go over the top. Use exaggerated character voices, insults, and premises. Some shows begin with a real-life Facebook argument and make it crazier, and others write it from scratch. Either way, outrageousness is key. Men voicing female characters and women voicing men is always fun.
2 Sound effects are key. Use a “ding” between character responses just as you might hear when someone posts on Facebook. Add keyboard typing sounds while each character speaks as if they are posting.
3 Set up clearly. Consider using a carefully worded, produced open that explains to new listeners what they are about to hear. Take a moment to explain who the characters are by name and who will play them.
4 Consider bringing in new players. At The Bull, Front Desk Leroy comes to the studio to play a part, adding a fourth voice to the feature. If you have musicians or comedians in the studio, let them play a role in your next production.
5 Name check at first, then stop. As each player reads their first script line, have them say “Greta,” or whatever the character’s name is. From then on, drop the name check and let the listeners enjoy theater of the mind.
6 Record and edit. This allows for safe ad-libs and multiple takes so you can capture the very best laughs for the final version.
7 Keep it short. Do one “fight” at a time and keep it around 2:00 minutes, including intro and exit. The bit often weakens if it goes longer.
Here’s another example from George, Mo and Cowboy Dave where we learn what terrible thing a son did that caused his mother to kick him out and block him on Facebook.
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.