Comedy would definitely be one of my favourite film genres. But it's also one of the most difficult to pull off, in my opinion! A lot of Comedy is to do with the scripting, as you'll see below, 99% of the How-to hints are to do with scripting or characterization. Apart from Slapstick and Visual comedy it's ultimately down to the script to make us laugh. Here's my A-Z How-to when it comes to Comedy writing and film-making.
A... Adult Humour in Animation- When it's done properly you can't beat adult humour in a kids animated film - a little something for everybody!
B... Black comedy - often a touchy subject but if handled effectively can bring out some big laughs!
C... Children - Think of films like Role Models, where you have sassy kids telling the grown ups what's what!
D... Dead pan - this type of sarcastic humour goes a long way in a comedy. It lightens the mood while keeping true to the character - Chandler Bing comes to mind!
E... Ending - Important to leave audience with lasting impression of overall film - do we want an ironic/satisfying/cheesy/open ended finale?
F... Family - While we all think are own are boring/unfunny and often times annoying - the stories do often have a comedy factor. Meet the Parents taught us that our families are all a little crazy in one shape or another and Meet the Fockers certainly cemented that idea in our brains!
G... Gambling - Some of the worst bets you get yourself into happen in Vegas or whilst drunk and at a casino - we're thinking The Hangover/What happens in Vegas etc..
H... Holidays - Lost luggage, missed flights, sun stroke, disastrous hotel, no money, think Inbetweeners 2 - it's all in there in our worst nightmares - the comedy gold!
I... Impersonations/impressions - Think Paul Rudd in Knocked Up "on these shoes..."
J... Jokes - what's a comedy without the jokes?
K... Kung-fu / Karate / Krav Maga - an action comedy can also make the audience roll around laughing.
L... Laugh - if there's no laughter you may not have successfully accomplished a comedy... in fact you really haven't grasped the concept at all!
M... Mockumentary - This is becoming a very popular type of comedy with the rise of Modern Family, Parks and Recreation and the Office.
N... Narcotics - lets be honest 21 Jump Street, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, and most of Judd Apatow films just wouldn't be the same without the odd bit of Mary Jane! Having your characters chill out with a joint is bound to lead to hilarity!
O... One liners- Mean girls, Liar Liar and Anchorman - some of the most quotable movies every because of their outstanding one liners... they need to be well formed, funny and memorable.
P... Parties - Weddings, Stag parties, Bridal showers, birthdays, Funerals, etc - if there's a potentially disastrous situation pending - you've got a comedy film!
Q... Quest - sending your characters on ridiculous wild goose chases or surreal adventures can lead to very funny consequences. Nothing like a man or woman on a mission!
R... References - Nothing get's an audience chuckling like a modern day/current affairs/relatable joke or reference - being topical leads to a good satire and can get people talking as it'll be memorable.
S... Slapstick comedy - Fawlty Towers is, for me, the best example of Comedy Genius when it comes to Slapstick - it's eccentric, it's exaggerated and it's way too unrealistic but yet somehow I've no problem believing it's entirely something Basil would do! Tears will stream down your face....
T... Teenage comedy - the American Pie films speak for themselves. We've all had embarrassing moments growing up, and comedy is the platform to confront and deal with those memories - growing pains/dating/high school - all brilliant foundations for a good, cringey teenage comedy.
U... Uncomfortable - Like with teenage comedy, there's nothing like a bit of cringey/awkward comedy - you're laughing but it's nervous mortified laughter - you are embarrassed for the character but laughing cos it's not you and well... it's damn funny!
V... Visual comedy - it's all well and good telling jokes to beat the band, but there's nothing funnier than seeing someone make a fool of themselves. Just sit back and watch!
W... Women - Bridesmaids... enough said. I think one of the best things about women is our ability to laugh at ourselves - this allows us to create comedy gold on the subject of women! - write about what you know and never be afraid to .. 'go there!'
X... Xtra features - Farce commercials before the film can really set a tone for your movie and get the laughter going before the movie even begins. e.g. Tropic Thunder. Whilst having extra footage in the credit reel at the end, keeps people laughing as they leave the theatre.
Y... Yawn - Comedy is all about the non-stop humour, the laughs, the jokes... but we don't want to forget about the story line - having no plot and all jokes will bore your audience and when the laughter stops, they'll end up realizing that nothing has actually happened!
Z... Zoning - easy ways to create comedy situations - becoming the Zoning Board - friend zone, danger zone, enemy zone, work zone, school zone - Has the character got a nemesis? Do they socialize at work? Do they have a crush on their teacher? Do they keep getting arrested? You decide!
Keep tuning in, the next one will go up on Friday.
If you have any suggestions on which genre I should cover next, please leave a comment below!