Alisha Brophy & Scott Miles Holiday Animation Card!

December 12th, 2014 by

Screenwriters Alisha Brophy and Scott Miles have reason to celebrate this holiday season. Their original screenplay “The United States of Fuckin’ Awesome” won them a Nicholl Fellowship in 2014. So here is a little something they have put together as a seasonal greeting:

Fun stuff! I have interviewed Alisha and Scott. Look for that sometime in January or February 2015.

Infographic: The Creative Process

May 2nd, 2014 by

Via @speeknocker:

That goes along with this one from the other day:

Now we have two scientifically proven visual representations of how the creative process works.

So we got that going for us!

“The Creative Process”: A Visual Representation

April 30th, 2014 by

Via @KellyMarcel:

Seems about right.

10 Ways to Make People Laugh

April 23rd, 2014 by

As readers may know, I’m not a big listicle guy… except for Saturday Hot Links which is where I tend aggregate the countless types of these items which skitter my way over the course of a week via the web. However I found this particular list to have some potential value for those of us who write comedy: 10 Ways to Make People Laugh.

Hey, what’re you laughing at? Psychologists debate whether humor arises simply from absurdity and incongruity, from a need to relieve tension, or from a desire to feel superior. Academics have identified 41 humor techniques, 10 of which are listed below. See which psychological motives you think are at play in the following examples.

1. Exaggeration

Taking things over the top can make for hilarious absurdity. In “A Night at the Opera,” Groucho Marx’s stateroom was crowded. How crowded? Take a look.

2. Timing

Speeding up or slowing down speech or actions can make them “funny strange” and “funny ha-ha.” Gilbert and Sullivan’s patter songs, like “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance, set the bar for speed talking. When it comes to slow delivery, pauses are key. Listen to the notoriously stingy Jack Benny’s pause in “Your Money or Your Life.”

3. Repetition

In Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein, when the horses rear up and whinny the first time the forbidding Frau Blucher (Cloris Leachman) gives her name, it’s ominous. Afterward, however, every time her name is mentioned, no matter how casually, the horses never miss their cue. Repetition makes what was once frightening ludicrous.

The other 7:

4. Slapstick

5. Malapropism

6. Sarcasm

7. Misunderstanding

8. Misdirection

9. Parody

10. Impersonation

How could a writer use this list? A couple of ways:

* If the humor in a scene feels flat, look at what you have at work there and see what type it is. Is that the best type for that scene? What if you think more visually and use slapstick? Or have a character get so wound up they blurt out a malapropism. It’s a way to take humor that isn’t working and trying other approaches to make for better comedy.

* When prepping a scene, the list can serve as a reminder about the variety of ways you can go about injecting humor into the moment. This can be corrective in nature. For example, what if you keep going to the well using exaggeration to generate laughs? Mix it up by brainstorming some misdirection or a misunderstanding.

* Even at the conceptual level, you can use this list to help spin story ideas. Impersonation leads to misunderstanding? That’s as old as Cyrano de Bergerac and we’ve seen it in movies such as Tootsie and Dave. Repetition leads to exaggeration? How about Groundhog Day?

I’m sure for most who traffic in comedy, it’s an instinctual thing. If it’s working for you, don’t over-think it, just keep doing what you’re doing. However perhaps a bit of reflection and thought about your approach to comedy can broaden your horizons and up your game.

By the way, I did a bit of research and believe I’ve found the academic article featuring the “41 humor techniques” noted in the article above. Go here to see a preview and there is a link where you can download the PDF for $39. But digging deeper, I found this link which, if you’re interested, you may find helpful…

For the MentalFloss article cited above, go here.

“Girls” as a horror movie

January 12th, 2013 by

From NowThis News:

Dr. Malcolm ‘drunk’ in “Jurassic Park”

December 29th, 2012 by

This is really dumb… and really funny!

5 Reasons Why Scriptwriters HATE Christmas

December 25th, 2012 by

HT to @JennaAvery for sourcing the link.

“Make Your Own Oscar Whisper Campaign”

February 21st, 2012 by

Mark Lisanti hits a home run with this funny piece at Grantland:

The bad news: With final ballots due by 5 p.m. on February 21 and the ceremony following less than a week later, time is running out for Oscar campaigners to sway susceptible AMPAS voters. The good news: In what’s largely considered a mediocre year at the movies, that’s still plenty of time for a savvy player to affect the outcome of many of the hotly contested, big-ticket categories. And so, as a service to anyone with access to a waffling Academy member and a desire to influence any of the major races, we’ve compiled these helpful talking points on all of the biggest nominees. With a well-timed phone call or a few seemingly off-the-cuff remarks over cocktails, you, too, can launch your own last-minute whisper campaign!

Just two examples:

The Artist

“There was supposed to be sound, they just forgot. Sloppy work, you can’t reward that.””I just overheard Harvey Weinstein bragging, ‘I’ve got all these gullible, unsophisticated motherfuckers to vote for a stuttering king and a mute French dancer. I can sell anything! Next year, I think I’ll do ‘blind ASL teacher.'”

“Harvey Weinstein killed my mother. She wouldn’t vote for Shakespeare in Love. He’ll stop at nothing.”

“Eh, too mimey.”

The Help

“Granted, some of the performances were great. Really, really great. But there’s more to a Best Picture than just ‘great performances.'”

“Oprah didn’t feel the script was strong enough to produce it herself, so she had her interior decorator do it.”

“As a white person, I’m not entirely comfortable with being depicted as having solved racism in the South. There are some guilt issues there we should maybe all work through together.”

“That shit pie wasn’t even locally sourced. I don’t care what they tell you, they shipped it in from a Du-par’s in Tarzana.”

For more, go here.