Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Comedy in Screenwriting

I don't write comedy -- though it's a very lucrative field.

I do, however, deeply appreciate the great situation comedy we generally call "life."

We've all been in situations where something strikes us funny, but nobody else is laughing. 

That happens when two people look at the same events from different points of view.  The question is, how do you show other people the FUNNY point of view?

It's not random, and not just a Talent that you're either born with or not.  It is a learnable skill.

Here's a famous textbook on how to carve up the Event you are trying to recount, and show how it is actually very funny:

Allan Cole and Chris Bunch (the famous screenwriters) wrote a wonderful series of Science Fiction novels called The Sten Series, and those are all now back in print and well worth re-reading.  One of the most famous characters from that series is not Sten, the Hero of the title, but Kilgaur a heavy-worlder human descendant of the Scots who tells really long, really bad -- and really funny -- jokes.  These jokes illustrate the principles in that book because Allan Cole is a screenwriter.  He learned this stuff in on-the-job training.

You can find them in e-book, paper, and audiobook here on Allan Cole's Amazon Page

Here is Allan Cole's IMDB page

And here is a blog with a discussion of Allan Cole's autobiography and what screenwriters can learn from it.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg