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Thread: Short-Short Comedy Workshop

  1. #1

    Default Short-Short Comedy Workshop

    The "Golden Age of Radio" offered great opportunities for writers of all strengths.

    Fledging writers could horn their skills writing "five minute mysteries" working their way up to 30 minute productions, then in time, perhaps full length movies.

    Comedy paid the best and I suppose that's because not everyone could write comedy.

    Quality comedy writers did the whole circuit: one year they'd be part of Jack Benny's crew, the next year Fred Allen. If they were really good, Cecil B. Demille might offer them a contract for one of his productions.

    Anyway, I've written a basic 10 minute script we can use in this workshop for instructional purposes.

    If someone has the time it would be helpful if he would produce then post the video.

    Improvements are welcomed. Discussion heartily encouraged.

    Here it is. Let's get busy.

    The Hanging

  2. #2

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    I have read it, but am not inclined to produce the video. I am unused to reading modern scripts for video, but I have read many scripts for theatre (i.e. the stage -plays).
    How common is it to include such comprehensive staging directions? I can understand things like "man one enters room"; but your script included some specific details which are not part of the verbal script (e.g. The taking of the other guard's pipe).
    I don't think the script differentiates between the different characters. They both appear to speak the same way and have the same mind set. I guess its up to the actors to do all that??? I am really not skilled enough to offer a review of the script. What aspects of it are good or bad? A review of your own script may be useful.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    I have read it, but am not inclined to produce the video. I am unused to reading modern scripts for video, but I have read many scripts for theatre (i.e. the stage -plays).
    How common is it to include such comprehensive staging directions? I can understand things like "man one enters room"; but your script included some specific details which are not part of the verbal script (e.g. The taking of the other guard's pipe).
    I don't think the script differentiates between the different characters. They both appear to speak the same way and have the same mind set. I guess its up to the actors to do all that??? I am really not skilled enough to offer a review of the script. What aspects of it are good or bad? A review of your own script may be useful.
    Basically, it was skit humor, which is like fast food; you know, a hamburger and fries not steak!

    With skit humor the only rule you follow is it must get a laugh. All the other rules can be broken -- in fact, the very act of breaking the other rules might be how you get the laugh.

    By the amount of people who've read this thread and not responded, it's clear everyone is dismissing this script as of little merit.

    But think skit humor is the foundation of, say, sitcoms, romantic comedies, dark comedies, etc.

    I also think a lot of people capable of writing brilliant skit humor never try it because they think it inferior.

    In summary, I think skit humor is a great starting point for everyone serious about filmmaking.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimAndrews View Post
    I have read it, but am not inclined to produce the video. I am unused to reading modern scripts for video, but I have read many scripts for theatre (i.e. the stage -plays).
    How common is it to include such comprehensive staging directions? I can understand things like "man one enters room"; but your script included some specific details which are not part of the verbal script (e.g. The taking of the other guard's pipe).
    I don't think the script differentiates between the different characters. They both appear to speak the same way and have the same mind set. I guess its up to the actors to do all that??? I am really not skilled enough to offer a review of the script. What aspects of it are good or bad? A review of your own script may be useful.
    As far as a review of my own script, here goes.

    In skit humor anything and everything is allowed. However, if the humor is done in the traditional sense, then the question becomes how well was it executed.

    Gallows humor skits have been done over and over again; nothing new there. This is a tip-off that the script is going to move along basic lines; and it does.

    The first gag is an old chestnut -- absurd misunderstanding/miscommunication. The guards have to test the noose, one guard puts it around the other guard then despite the other guards frantic efforts for help, doesn't realize the guard is strangling.

    You chuckle because nobody can be that dumb, but what makes this chuckling different is that it's done in full sight of someone straggling to death -- dark humor.

    After the first guard is dead the second guard goes through a series of ridiculous attempts to conceal the fact he's dead. Sticking the pipe in his mouth is ridiculous, something straight from the Three Stooges, Abbot and Costello, or Road Runner comedies.

    The rest of the thread proceeds along this same scatterbrain course.

  5. #5

    Default

    By the way, I've completed another 10 minute skit. I call this one "Chicks"

    Chicks

  6. Default

    Sorry mate, but it's not quite there yet.

    The first sketch is already old. Monty Pythonesque but already done to death (pun intended) and just a variation on a theme.

    Your dialogue needs a lot of work. Your conversations are written, not spoken. Talk out loud (not just imagining it in your head) and you'll see where the weaknesses lie. Don't be discouraged, writing dialogue is not easy and you're on the right path, you just need to be a lot more critical of your own work.

    Not bad for a beginner but you need to improve your dialogue and get away from the clichés.

    Edit:

    On the second script, same comments about the dialogue and watch your spelling. The number 2 is spelt "two" not "too" for example. Also, if the girls say "Oh, em gee" then the letters need to be written "O. M. G.". If you write OMG without correct punctuation then either it should be said "omg" sounding like a Buddhist chant or it's the name of a character.
    Character are usually always in block capitals in TV scripts.

    The script should always start with INT (interior) or EXT (exterior), location and the time (DAY or NIGHT will often suffice). You can get script formatting software which will help you. The script is like a music score and has a set layout. If you don't conform to the layout it makes it hard to read.

    When the scene changes then you need a new scene, including the intro again, Int/ext location and time, all that stuff. Simply putting "time passes" in the middle of a paragraph won't suffice.

    Finally, at the rist of nagging, you need to sort out your dialogue, spend time just listening to people. Note how they speak, how they communicate, how they enunciate. Write your dialogue then get friends to speak the words out loud before commiting yourself in a script. There's a huge difference in reading words and speaking them.

    The bottom line still stays though. Not bad for a beginner. It is difficult to find new ideas but keep with it and I'm sure you'll get the hang of it.
    Last edited by Braveheart; 09-01-2010 at 03:28 PM.

  7. #7
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    That's what I call constructive criticism. It may be negative, but Braveheart takes the time to explain why things are wron and what could be improved. Thius we can all learn from it.
    Tim

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