The 2016 Savannah Film Festival Spotlight Award Recipient, Molly Shannon, attended a master class for the SCAD Performing Arts program. During the class, Shannon walked the students through her personal journey in the entertainment industry, as well as answering a handful of questions.
Shannon explained that she discovered her knack for comedic acting and creating characters while attending NYU. “Comedy organically came to me” recalled the 6 year “Saturday Night Live” veteran. Shannon also shared her gratitude towards her time at NYU, claiming, “School is so important because you get to know who you are as an artist.”
Post-graduation, Shannon moved to Los Angeles, where she began her own show alongside her acting partner Robert Muir. “The Rob and Molly Show” allowed Shannon to develop her talents after initially being declined from an SNL audition. After 5 years of developing her talents through her shows, Shannon decided to take a break. “I took a year off…and it all came back,” she said.
After jumping back into the business to do a show for SNL talent scouts, Shannon was invited to New York City, where she would eventually secure her spot as a cast member on the weekly sketch show. “I just don’t take anything for granted,” said Shannon when asked how she felt in between her SNL auditions “At least I’m out here in LA doing what I want.”
Shannon then took to answering the students’ questions, where she described the sketch comedy of SNL as a “heart pounding” experience that takes dedication and development. Her first sketch was almost cut, until she found a writer to help develop her character. “You [have] to be able to write your way in,” explained Shannon. In regards to creating her personas, Shannon detailed her personal experiences, saying she based her characters on “versions of my father, but as a woman,” and further developing them by thinking “what’s authentic…what does this character want?”
Shannon detailed how “improv is a great way to find your voice” as well as “[focusing] on nice people who support you.” Her final piece of advice for the class was to “enjoy school” and “just relax.”
Shannon’s film ‘Other People’ is in theaters now and playing at the Lucas theater at 8pm tonight.