Confessions by Connie: Christmas Special (United States | 2016, 3 min)
Directed by: Amanda Bruton
InterviewsConfessions by Connie: Christmas Special with Amanda Bruton
A New Jersey housewife confesses her true feelings about Christmas.
Interview:Amanda Bruton (Writer/Producer/Connie) is an NYC based performer and writer who originally hails from that exotic place over the bridge and through the tunnel known as New Jersey. As a performer, Amanda is best known for her critically acclaimed performance as Grandma Addams in the International Tour of The Addams Family Musical, directed by Tony Award winner, Jerry Zaks. She holds a BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and studied improv and sketch comedy at Upright Citizen’s Brigade. Follow her on IG and Twitter @amanda_bruton and keep up with her current projects at amandabruton.com.
Interview by: Megan Boyle, Short Sketch Comedy Curator
Q: How did you come up with your sketch idea?
Confessions by Connie is inspired by my own wild and wonderful Italian-American
family from New Jersey. I had been wanting to write a show about the larger-than-
life characters in my family for a long time but hadn’t quite figured out how. Then a
little over a year ago, a friend pushed me to submit a piece to a small comedy festival
that was asking for two minutes of original content. Despite the fact that no one in
my family is an artist or performer, they are all innately theatrical storytellers. So I
created the character of Connie “Big Ballz” Bumbaloni to share these family stories. I
made it to the finals in that comedy festival and decided to keep going.
Q: What dictated your choices in how you filmed your sketch?
I knew I wanted to keep it simple and shoot in a mockumentary and/or confessional
style. My DP/Editor, James Avance, came up with the idea of shooting both styles:
one direct address to the camera and the other behind-the scenes mockumentary
style so you get to see Connie in a more dynamic way. His fast and furious editing
style suits sketch comedy perfectly.
Q: What hurdles did you face while making this sketch?
?The first hurdle was how to create a set in a small NY apartment to make it look like a palatial mansion in NJ. James really likes the set to pop, and we also want it to look vastly different every time, so it always looks like another room or space in Connie’s house. I usually just try to find every random thing I can, depending on the theme, and then James dresses the set to make it into a masterpiece. The other challenge is editing about 20-25 minutes of content down to about 3-4 minutes. My process is to sketch out the story and topics and then we improvise around that on set. James has a hell of a time deciding what to keep and what to cut to keep it short. But I trust him implicitly and am always happy with the final cut.
Q: There is truth in comedy, what sort of truths were you hoping to touch on with
Connie is probably about 20% character sketch, 30% me, and 50% my family. I think what makes my family most interesting are their paradoxical views of the world. For example, my Aunt B is a devout Catholic who has worked for the church for over 30 years. And yet, gay men come out to her before anyone else. She’s a Catholic mensch. Several members of my family are Trump supporters, but they actually believe in socialized medicine and a women’s right to choose-ish. I believe these contradictions to be reflective of many Americans’ views right now and Connie embodies them all.
Q: Do you have any plans for sequels or additional sketches surrounding these
?The Confessions by Connie: Christmas Special is the second episode in a nine episode webseries. We try to put out a new episode every 6-8 weeks, either when the mood strikes me, or when there’s another holiday or event that Connie can to read to filth. The library is always open.
Check our Confessions by Connie: Christmas Special at the 8th Annual NYC Independent Film Festival!
-Amanda Bruton, Creator and Star of Confessions by Connie: Christmas Special