Screenwriting Blog

Movie Outline Screenwriting Blog

Humor in a Dark Place

Filed under: Dan Bronzite's Script Tips by Dan @ 1:51 pm on September 7, 2011

The world we live in isn’t perfect and to be honest, although every day we all strive for perfection in one way or another, our lives would probably be pretty boring if Utopia did exist for us.  The simple truth is, bad things happen all the time and as human beings we are designed to deal with these events in different ways.  We all process information differently depending on our personality and the experiences that have shaped us and as such, not everybody is going to react to bad news in the same way.  Ultimately we are pretty tough creatures and it is our instinct to survive and we’ll do whatever we need to, with some exceptions, to live another day.

An example would be when a close family member or friend dies.  We cry, often uncontrollably.  We mourn.  We remember the good times. We go through all the stages of grief, but hopefully, at some point in time, we are able to move on.  We finally wake up one day without that horrible experience being the first thing on our mind.  We put one foot in front of the other and get on with our life.

Humor is one of those great wonders we are blessed with that can help.  Even in the darkest of places a witty line can suddenly put things into perspective and help to get us through a tough day.  It doesn’t have to be a joke, maybe just a comical observation or random, surreal thought.  Whatever it is, that moment of comedy works like a band aid and helps lift the tension.  This principle is also true when it comes to screenwriting.

Audiences love to laugh.  Now sometimes it may not be appropriate but that could be the best time to insert a subtle gag or some light-hearted comic relief into your script.  Okay, this may not be the greatest of ideas for certain sensitive subjects and scenes but why not give it a try and lighten the mood with a quip. Sarcasm is human nature and wit might lift an otherwise flat moment in your screenplay. Sometimes people laugh uncontrollably simply out of nervousness and not being able to digest the dark information that has just been fed to them.  And this can also create great comedy, especially if someone laughs at an inappropriate moment because this causes conflict and as we all know, conflict is crucial to creating an engaging story and three-dimensional characters.

A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Comedy

Filed under: How to Write a Script by admin @ 3:09 pm on February 18, 2011

Successfully transferring your sense of humor from speech and actions to script can be one of the more difficult skills to develop when pursuing a career in screenwriting. The key to comedy is timing, and anyone who’s ever tried to tell a joke or amusing anecdote knows that if you drift off on a tangent or deliver the punch line too early, you’re likely to lose your audience’s interest and the moment can pass without so much as a smile – not so good if you’re trying to write a hit sitcom!

The pressure to get it right is doubled when screenwriting comedy. Agents, producers and creative executives can be unforgiving, so you need to show them you can be funny while telling a coherent story right from the first page.

A major sticking point for most unsuccessful comedies is the plot. Regardless of how many jokes you cram into a scene, without a compelling storyline it’s highly unlikely that the person reading will make it to the end. Laughs can be added later as long as there is a strong story to build on.

It can also be a good idea to find at least one other person to write with, or at least bounce ideas around with. The combination of a technically skilled, conscientious writer, and an off the wall joker, with a gift for one-liners, can reap dividends when screenwriting comedy.

Finally, you need to discover your genre. Are you better suited to writing a laugh-a-minute sitcom, such as 30 Rock, Seinfeld or Frasier, or is your style more drama but with the occasional laugh, similar to shows like Glee and Entourage? Figuring this out will help you to learn how hard and often you need to push a joke in order to get the comedy blend just right.

For newcomers to the industry, it’s always worthwhile investing in screenplay writing software. Knowing how the write a script properly can make life so much easier, especially for inexperienced comedy writers. Screenwriting can be a challenging process, and using screenplay writing software to help structure your plot can make it much easier to work out where best to place your biggest laughs.

Resources

Screenwriting Blog

Buy Movie Outline 3 Online

30 Day Money Back Guarantee

What the Pros Say...

Hover over the screenshots to learn how Movie Outline can help your writing...